Taking a little detour tonight…talking about food.
While Seth and I do not have celiac disease, we are both wheat intolerant and follow a gluten free diet. Eating gluten free has helped Seth’s environmental allergies (either that or he grew out of them) and it also greatly improves his demeanor. The main change I have noticed in myself since eliminating gluten from my diet is a huge decrease in sugar cravings. I haven’t researched it, and I am not sure that is typical or if it is even related! At any rate I honestly can’t say I am thrilled about eating this way, in fact I would even say I have done a bit of grieving over it, but I am assuming that most people feel that way when they have to eliminate such a staple from their diet. If it weren’t for Seth, we would not be doing this. I very much miss wheat, most especially the bread I used to make from my freshly ground wheat. My grain mill now mainly hosts brown rice. I have learned to make the best of this though, and also hold on to hope that one day maybe we will be able to afford those expensive allergy treatments (we would like to have NAET) and once again be able to eat wheat. In the meantime, after reading that a blogging friend was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought I would put together a post of what we have found that we like best in the gluten free food world.
Regarding our diet in general, it is very heavy in beans, which is good because they are high in fiber and getting enough fiber can become a bit of an issue when you eliminate wheat. Beans are also inexpensive which helps offset the cost of the gluten free foods. I especially love plain old black beans over quinoa with a bit of hot sauce for a simple dinner. We eat a lot of quinoa which I buy in bulk (here’s a great summer quinoa recipe) and white rice (yes white, I have a Liberian son!), although I mix in brown rice sometimes, which was our staple before Gabe joined our family. I bake with brown rice flour that I grind myself, combined with alternative flours such as tapioca and potato starch that I buy at a local international market (much cheaper than buying those at large chain stores.)
I want to point out that while we strive to eat locally and organically, I have resorted to ordering several gluten free foods on Amazon to make it affordable. By purchasing in bulk and signing up for their subscribe and save program I save a lot of money of foods that would otherwise be far more expensive. Our food expenses have really grown since going gluten free. I find it too difficult to feed a family of seven two different diets though. So with the exception of store bought wheat bread (until I can afford a second grain mill for wheat) and semolina pasta (on pasta nights I simply make two separate pots of noodles), we all eat gluten free.
Anyway, the main thing I wanted to do here is make a list. So here it is:
Gluten-Free Baking Classics
I abosolutely love this cookbook and have been happy with every recipe I have tried. I haven’t felt the need to purchase any other gluten free cookbooks because I find it easy to make most recipes gluten free, and the only niche I needed to fill cookbook wise was the baking one. I really like the flour blends that this cookbook calls for, and find them easy to make myself. The sandwich bread recipe relies heavily on millet flour which I grind myself, and I find that it gives a nice flavor to the bread as opposed to other brown rice flour heavy recipes. I have made cakes (there is an excellent lemon cake recipe), cookies, muffins, and even hot cross buns from recipes in this book and have been very pleased.
Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
There is a small but good gluten free section in this book. If you like their technique for making ahead and storing bread dough in the fridge and want a gluten free version, this book has that. I go through phases where I like to make bread this way.
Pamela’s Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix, 4-Pound Bags (Pack of 3)
While making our own flour blends is cheaper, this is a staple at our house because I don’t always have time and this mix eliminates lots of steps from gluten free recipes as it contains xantham gum, baking powder, and even salt I think. It has a really nice flavor and makes great pancakes, waffles, muffins, brownies, and other quick breads. We use Amazon’s subscribe and save program for our Pamela’s mix.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain, Rolled Oats, 32-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)
This is the cheapest gluten free oats option I have found, ordering through Amazon’s subscribe and save program in bulk.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)
This is also my favorite easy pizza crust mix, also ordered on Amazon.