The end of apple season is here so its time to put away some goodies for the winter.
My first stop was Allenholm Farm. Run by Ray and Pam Allen, the farm is a true destination. The petting zoo is often wandering the yard and road out front. Make sure you say hi to Fergie, the highland cow. Kids will love the play structures and the animals to be fed. Chose to pick your own or buy from the farm store. Either way, don’t miss out on Ray’s handmade pie (ok, not for us Celiac’s but for everyone else!!!). For those who are gluten-free, ask if they have any gluten-free cones in stock. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But in a cone or in a bowl, their maple creemees are AMAZING. Maple. Froyo. Winning combination. Another hit is their apple slushies. Yup, you heard right. Apple cider semi-frozen. Drink with a straw.
I picked up a half bushel of Courtland apples, at Pam’s suggestion for sauce and butter. The first step to making apple butter is making apple sauce. I borrowed an apple peeler/corer from a friend and went to town.
Vermont Unsweetened Apple Sauce Proportions:
4 apples (cored, peeled, sliced)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
Throw your ingredients in a large pot. I quadrupled this recipe and made two batches. Turn the burner on medium or high, let the water come to a simmer and then turn down the heat. I let my apples simmer about 30 minutes or until I could mash the apples with a wooden spoon. I mixed my apples occasionally just to see how it was going. Once the apples cool (you don’t want a steam burn!), mash them as you like. For chunkier apple sauce, use a wooden spoon to mash the apples until you get a consistency you like. For smoother sauce, use a food processor or an immersion blender (my favorite tool). Store in the fridge, freeze or can to have a treat later!
Just in time for the holidays, LivingSocial is offering a deal on Jule’s Gluten Free. The package costs $30 and includes “Includes five pounds of flour, cookie mix, cornbread mix, and grahams mix and five e-books featuring 203 gluten-free recipes.” This could make a great gift for someone you know who’s just gone gluten-free!!!
Due to my food allergies, I was curious what Jule’s flours were made of as I had never tried them. The basic flour mix contains the following:
Expandex??? What the heck is that, you might ask. I had no idea. A quick Google search reveled it’s a propitiatory process of modified tapioca starch, with the brand name Expanex. According to the Expandex website, “Expandex® modified tapioca starch is a revolution in gluten-free baking. It enhances the texture and appearance of bakery applications so those living a gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy the foods they love.” Sounds like a miracle flour. Personally, I try to not eat a tapioca-based diet (it has no fiber or any other nutritional value) but it’s a great treat from time-to-time! It seems like this deal would be great for the holidays.
“The point is that a healthy gluten-free diet includes a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory dose of healthy fats and proteins, organic produce and grain-free flour alternatives such as almond flour, coconut flour and hazelnut flour. When going gluten free is done wrong, it’s the overpriced food version of diet soda; just as unhealthy as the original, if not more.” Check out “Why Going Gluten Free Can be Unhealthy”.
A great lesson for everyone to remember! Replacements are just that! Often “fake” foods are just as unhealthy, or sometimes worse, than the foods they replace (if you don’t believe me, read this graphic Craig’s List post on Olean in Fat Free Pringles).
If you’re gluten-free, look for whole-grain foods. Build well-rounded nutrition. Avoid sweets that are often loaded with extra fats to make them taste more like their gluten counterparts.
A new restaurant in town is pretty exciting, especially when the owners are from one of your favorite restaurants. Soon, Burlington will have Lucky Next Door, a sister restaurant to the ever-so-popular Penny Cluse. Lucky should pick up some of the overflow from crowded hours at Penny Cluse, as well as offer evening hours and a cozy place for a drink. Awesome! However… first reports of their menu don’t look that great for Celiacs— pressed sandwiches, quesadillas (wheat), banana bread, home-made croutons. Hmmmm. I will still give it a try, if nothing else, they have local ciders! Penny Cluse is very good at gluten-free preparation so I will be cautiously optimistic that Lucky would hold something fun for us Celiacs to eat!
In a long-overdue move, the FDA today released their definition for gluten-free foods. No longer will you wonder, it has no gluten ingredients but is it really free of gluten?
While labeling remains voluntary, it provides a uniform standard definition of “gluten-free” to aid the 3 million Americans with Celiac Disease.
The definition “gluten-free” requires that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Anyone using the labels “no gluten,” “free of gluten” and “without gluten” must meet these same standards.
Manufacturers have one year to bring their products into compliance.
This move by the FDA was triggered by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which requires that the FDA set guidelines for the use of the term “gluten free” to help people with Celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet.
Not mentioned in the FDA announcement is the controversy over what level of gluten-exposure is safe for Celiac’s. Recommendations are often less than 5 ppm gluten. Most tests are sensitive to only 10 ppm gluten (hence the controversy over Omission beer, which removes gluten from beer to below 10 ppm but some report still triggers Celiac symptoms). Is 20 ppm really a safe definition for Celiac’s?
Well, good news for those of us who were really questioning Dunkin’ Donuts GF products. They are using a dedicated facility and individually wrapping each item so there’s less worry about contamination in the retail outlets. The company explained this necessary protection in a Bloomberg Business article today. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts GF products are certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Their key to longevity and tastiness is rice flour and tapioca and potato starches (I mean, we didn’t expect them to be health food did we?! ;).
Navigating a new city and country is always tough when you’re Gluten-free. It’s outside your comfort zone, big time. Last week, I spent a few days exploring Montreal with my family. Saturday night we realized that Cavalia was showing Odyesso in near-by Laval. We decided to catch the show and grab dinner beforehand. So, how do you find a place that will handle your gluten-free needs?
I’ve increasingly had good luck with UrbanSpoon.com. A quick search of Montreal shows 243 gluten-free friendly restaurants. You can also view the results on a map to find places near you. I’ve found that restaurants rated with “$” are better for breakfast or lunch. Restaurants with “$$” or higher tend to have table service and a wider range of menu items. I also judge a restaurant based on user reviews. A place with 70% or higher seems like a decent place. Next, I also consider what types of food they offer and check out their menu online. From this, you can get a sense of what types of gluten-free foods you might be able to order. For me, I avoid seafood restaurants because I’m allergic to fish! Once you’ve picked a place, you might want to note a back-up place or two in case you get a bad vibe at the first one or its closed or such.
Another way to feel safer about eating gluten-free in a “foreign” place (even some US towns feel foreign to me!) is to take a card that explains your needs. My personal favorite has been CeliacTravel.com, which offers explanations regarding Celiac Disease to chefs and waiters in 54 languages! I kept a few of these in my purse when I was in Croatia and never had a problem! In hindsight, I wished I brought one with me to Montreal in French. I didn’t have any problems in Montreal but had a few uncertain interactions with wait staff.
A small, unassuming tea house in Multnomah Village holds a big surprise inside… All sorts of gluten-free options! We had our annual ladies brucheon there. Two of us were shocked and delighted to find that they will mix waffles or crepes up fresh using Bob’s Red Mills GF flour. We were there close to opening so they crepe plate/cooker/thingy hadn’t been used since being thoroughly cleaned the night before. When’s the last time I had a GF crepe? Hmmm… NEVER!!! It was a true delight. So scrumptious I didn’t even think about taking a picture until after it was gone. Support this new, independent restaurant in a cozy nook of town– and be assured you’ll have a great GF experience while also having a lovely tea. Check them out here: http://www.medleytea.com/
Menu and (formerly) crepes at Medly Tea House in Portland, OR
This letter was circulated by our local Celiac group. See below for more info:
From: Linda Pickett <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 10:15 PM Subject: Hurricane Sandy and CSA Region 3
Hi, all Region 3 Support group leaders.
I sincerely hope that this note finds you and your support group members well, and not seriously affected by Hurricane Sandy this past week in the Northeast. Here at the Jersey Shore the devastation is tremendous but each new day brings a resolve and perseverance to move onward and upward.
In my local role as the leader of the Seashore Celiacs CSA#96 support group, even before my own electricity was restored I have been in contact with some of the local support groups and CSA President Carolyn McKinley, gathering ideas for how we can live up to the “Celiacs Helping Celiacs” motto.
Today I met with the Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties to discuss how we can work with them to provide appropriate gluten free foods to the many celiacs who have lost their homes and all of their possessions. We discussed the possibility of coordinating with the gluten free food vendors for donations of their products to the Food Bank where it will be marked appropriately and provided to locations where there are requests for gluten free items or where we as an organization can direct those in need. Depending on the amount of products promised by vendors the Food Bank can also coordinate with their partners to spread the donations across the areas damaged by the storm. We may need some help from other support groups to accomplish this however. Whether it is helping with reaching out to the various vendor contacts you may have for donations, or if close enough perhaps folks from your groups being able to spend some time as a volunteer to help the food kitchens learn how to prepare and keep our foods separate, safe from cross contamination, available to any celiacs or gluten intolerant people in need We are certainly open to suggestions and any help that you or your groups might be able to provide.
Feel free contact me with any ideas, help, or also if there are members in your local areas who may need assistance during this critical time.
As you also may be aware, on a national level CSA has initiated a fundraising effort to establish a disaster relief fund for the needs of celiacs affected by Sandy . Information and a link for online donations which you should share with your members can be found on the website: http://www.csaceliacs.info/preparing_for_disaster.jsp Any funds received online through November 15th will be directed to the Sandy Fund. For anyone wishing to donate by mail, checks with a notation of “Sandy Relief” can be sent to: CSA, PO Box 31700 , Omaha NE 68131-0700 .