It’s been a long, long time since I first tried my hand at blogging about food, and food allergies. And my parents have talked for a long, long time about how their ideal retirement would be to own a little B&B by the seaside, which would include serving food. They could do it, too. My parents are good cooks. And I’ve been trained by them to be a pretty darn good cook as well.

I think we could run a restaurant–or at least write the menu for one. So that’s where the conceit of the new title comes from.

Now hosted on my own TheWordofGit.com, I’m going to try to be more faithful about writing up what I eat and how it worked out.

To recap, I myself am unable to eat gluten, soy, egg, birch fruits (apple, pear, etc), or kiwi. (Of all the random things…)

My father is gluten free.

My aunt cannot eat large amounts of wheat or dairy, and is very allergic to nightshades (tomato, peppers, etc).

Two of my best friends are vegetarian.

You can expect notations related to all of the above, and more. (Worst horror story I’ve ever heard: someone allergic to rice.)

About the only dietary concern I don’t have time for is veganism. I have an irrational resentment toward vegans, made worse by attending school with them for three and a half years. Plus, your desserts tend to suck ass. So, sorry, vegans. Here there be meat and cheese.

Having offended, lets get going!

I have neglected this blog terribly. Usually because I’m just too lazy after making something to go and write about it. This is BAD, because I am forgetting experimentations that turned out well.

I was reminded of how useful these can be when I stumbled upon a new Celiac in an unlikely place: The Retro Housewife. She was diagnosed only a month or three ago, is still feeling the frustrations. So I wrote to her.

You ARE lucky to have such obvious symptoms. Mine were subtle–weight gain and clinical depression. My fantastic doctor made the connection, but all my tests were negative or inconclusive until a DNA test was done. My father has it, so it was something we were aware of; his gut also makes LOUD protestations. Do be careful with you daughter, she might have ‘hidden’ symptoms. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 18, and 4 years later I still feel like I’m ‘detoxing.’

Having two Celiacs in a house of 3 people has improved our lives. We all eat better–more home cooked meals, less garbage. We regularly enjoy stews, chili (with different combos of beans and meats), lentil soup, cottage pie (beef and mashed potato), corned beef hash, and others. Remember, there are a lot of foods out there that only need small modifications! We now use corn starch in place of flour as a thickener, and it works like a charm.

Tinkyada is the best rice pasta, bar none. Better than some of the cheaper wheat pastas. Amy’s Meals are very tasty, organic, and they have a frozen pizza that works like a charm (we add more cheese).

Baking is tricky, even worse so for me because I’m also allergic to soy and egg. (Soy is a GREAT substitute, use it if you can!) For ease, we get baking mixes from the Gluten Free Pantry, Whole Foods 365, and Pamela’s (their brownies are to die for). A lot of people swear by the books by Bette Hagman, who died recently. Her GF flours are legend. I’ve found that cupcakes last quite well, and I make them ever 1-2 weeks, often experimenting with nuts, chocolate, flavors, etc.

After seeing your frustration in this thread, I wanted to pass along the tips I’ve learned since my diagnosis. I have more energy, feel lighter, and know that I never want to go back. Call it a blessing in disguise. I had my diet limited even further by actual allergies, and I just might scream if they ever find another to add to the list. But I’ve reached a point where I’m happy, well fed, and do enjoy cooking. Eating out is often dull (Burger, no bun.) but I’m used to it now. Never write off a whole dish for one sauce–ask if they can hold it. Some places will make, say, a flourless butter sauce for shrimp scampi if you ask.

And, when all seems bleak, enjoy the Celiac’s piece de resistance: Flourless chocolate cake!

And there you have it.

Figuring out which is which has driven me absolutely nuts over the years. So, what’s the answer?

There isn’t one. While most people can agree on what a glaze is, frosting and icing are essentially interchangeable even within the profession. But, since this is my blog and I like to make these things official, I’m going to give general definitions for all of these.

Glaze: A very thin topper. Can be either sweet, or savory–such as egg white used on breads and rolls to add gloss and crunch. As I’m allergic to egg that probably won’t come up much. However, sweet glazes almost certainly well. They’re typically somewhat syrupy in consistency. Consider the white, sugary glaze on some donuts and twisty pastries.
Icing: Midway between the two, not as thick as frosting. Will thicken and became somewhat hard. Like the chocolate used on donuts.

Frosting: Thick and creamy. The classic frosting. Remains fluffy. Prevalent on cakes and cupcakes.

There are, of course, umpteen more uses for, and styles of, frostings. These are just to give you a general idea of what sort of confection we’re dealing with here. They will be used in the title, if nowhere else.

Tres magnifique!! The Ener-G Egg Replacer came yesterday, so I set about "making something." This of course resulted in a 20 minute session of leafing through books and reading recipes. I finally went with something easy: GF Pantry's Cake mix.
Source: Gluten-Free Pantry Old-Fashioned Cake & Cookie Mix. JustChocolateRecipes.com Icing.

Possible Allergens: Potato (mix), milk.

Modifications: Egg replacer, almond extract.

Batter Type: Wet enough not to hold a peak, sticky enough to hold swirls from a spoon or mixer.

I had one wish as I started this cake: That it not be grainy and dry. Success! It came out moist and of a good consistency–not too heavy and not too light. I considered adding a bit of lemon juice to make it a yellow cake, one of my favorites, but my mother suggested almond. Divine.

I hadn't planned the icing ahead of time. After choosing chocolate I had a wealth of recipes to choose from, and ultimately went with one that was in our recipe drawer. This icing involves melting & boiling on a stove, but it isn't very work intensive. Throw in all the ingredients and heat.

Definately a winner.

Ideal: For tea time!🙂 Would also be a great birthday cake with classic frosting. The icing is a great presentation tool as it drips and swirls nicely.
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My first comment came from Joannad, who mentioned that she didn't know sprinkles had gluten. Neither did I until I thought to check a label in the supermarket. Gluten free sprinkles are available, but I don't see any articles about the subject. So, here goes.

Sprinkles ain't just sugar. They also include corn starch, wheat starch, and various colorings. Thankfully, not all sprinkles are created equal, so here's a run down on the fascinating world of Those Things You Put On Desserts That Your Mother Hates.

So you know, Wikipedia was my initial guide. Open the cut, folks! Read the rest of this entry »

Chewy, moist, almost toffee-ish bars. And? Really simple.

Source: The Gluten Free Pantry, alternate recipe on side of packet.

Modifications: Used 1/4 Xantham Gum + 1/4 cup water to replace 1 egg. Oven time cut down by approx. 10 minutes.

Batter type: Stiff and sticky, slow-moving lump.
Delish. Deevine. Only trouble? We tipped it out of the pan too soon, as it should be served hot with ice cream. Unfortunately, I misjudged the gooey/heat ratio and a good chunk of the bottom stayed behind. I don't care. It is just that good.

The insides are very gooey and the edges got crusty. Not great finger-food as they're a bit sticky, but very good.

Ideal: Make a big batch for Thanksgiving or Xmas and serve to the family with vanilla ice cream. We certainly will.

Recipe details below the cut…

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The original ice cream cakes with those little chocolate crunchies-! …but can we eat them?

Carvel has full disclosure on its Nutrition FAQ page.

Egg: Only in the vanilla layer of the cakes (as far as I can understand).

Gluten: Avoid sprinkles, cones, crunchies (SOB!), and flavors with cookie, cake, or brownie mixed in. Nothing too surprising.

Soy:  Check their tables for specifics but it appears to be mostly chocolates and manufactured candies. Products like M&Ms contain soy lecithin, which is safe for most people, but do some controlled experiments* and talk to your doctor to make sure.

* For instance, some people are more allergic to oats than others. I went a few weeks without oats, reintroduced them, and removed them again, paying careful attention to how I felt. Not so hot with oats, as it turns out. You should always be careful around foods you may or may not be allergic to. Know how it affects you and talk to your doctor.

FREE OF EGG, GLUTEN & SOY!

That's right, three big allergens knocked out of the running. Recipes, food & restaurant reviews, and whatever else pertains to eating healthily in this mass-produced world. It's home-cookin', the lovely way. You may call me Shen.

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