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April 27, 2010

100 Days!

I just wanted to make a quick post to say that yesterday marked our first 100 days as Mr. and Mrs. GF!  I will have a post soon regarding hosting a gluten-free friendly wedding!

Cheers, my love! I'm looking forward to many 100 more.


More Bang for Your Buck

Last week I accompanied a girlfriend to a little food shop in the town where we work. It's the kind of place where you get a salad, a water and a bag of kettle cooked chips for lunch and it costs you $25. Don't ask me how or why, it just does. I avoid places like this like the plague, but once in a while, it's nice to splurge on a homemade soup.

As my friend browsed the lunch selections, I spotted a basket front and center in the shop, full of individually wrapped brownies and signage that screamed GLUTEN FREE! It looked like a new, locally made brand, and I'm always up for trying new gluten free things and supporting small businesses, so I brought it up to the counter to inquire the price and purchase. It rung up to $5.29. "Are you serious?" I asked the quiet guy working behind the counter. I was miffed.

I put on a grim smile, paid, and walked out of the store, full of angry thoughts. When I got home that day, I told Mr. GF about the brownie, which I hadn't yet eaten, and he said he'd gotten one once at a small organic grocery store near us for a similar price. He said it was "meh". Now, if I'm paying over $5 for a brownie, I expect it to be good. GOOD. Amazing, even! And I had to laugh, because Mr. GF and I had baked a tray of gluten free Betty Crocker brownies the night before (with peanut butter chips mixed in - yum!). And for a box of mix which yielded 12 brownies, plus the chips, Mr. GF paid about $8. We decided to have a brownie off. Eating the $5.29 brownie and then one that we had made at home, I had clearly made a bad choice. It was crumbly and dry tasting, lacking any kind of rich chocolatey flavor. It was just "meh".

I am a very forgiving person when it comes to food. I often joke that I'll try anything once (really, I will). And I am all for supporting small businesses that produce goods that are "special", like gluten free foods. It's great to have more availability out there. But slapping "gluten free" on a package and slapping a hefty price on that singular item just rubs me the wrong way. Yes, I know I paid the $5.29 and I didn't have to, but there are people out there who may not know better, and as long as we keep paying those ridiculous prices, they'll keep charging us $5.29 for a brownie.

So the lesson is, my friends, that 1) Just because a treat says "gluten free" does not mean you should buy it, and 2) The more knowledge you have about your diet and less expensive alternatives out there, the less you'll have to shell out your hard earned money for something that's less than wonderful.

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie Mix - $5.99

April 15, 2010

May is Celiac Awareness Month

It's Tax Day, friends! It's hard to believe that we're halfway through April. It has been a beautiful month, with flowers blooming, leaves appearing on trees. Everything is growing and thriving. Let's talk growing and thriving, TGFW style.

You may have noticed that there's an addition to the sidebar of my blog. We are gearing up for Celiac Awareness Month, which is the month of May. If you click on the badge, you are brought to a site called TriumphDining.com. I am joining them in spreading awareness of Celiac Disease. For every site that adds this badge, they will donate $5 (up to $5000) at the end of May to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). How awesome is that? If you have a website or blog, please consider adding this badge and spreading awareness. Knowledge is power!

The Gluten Free Challenge

Another very cool way to spread awareness is to take part in the Gluten Free Challenge. The weekend of May 22-23, challenge yourself to go 100% gluten free. Don't think you can do it? Try! Put down the whole wheat pasta and try brown rice pasta. Pass on bread when you go out to eat. If you think it sounds impossible, keep in mind that 1 in 133 people in America do this every day, not because they want to, but because they have to.  I strongly encourage you to give it a try. It'll change your way of thinking at the grocery store and in the kitchen. You'll take pause before you order that blueberry muffin on your morning Dunkin Donuts run. You might even find yourself feeling better and healthier!

If you think you might give it a try, please comment here and let me know. And then go and tell your friends and family and encourage them to do the challenge. Chances are you have someone in your life with gluten-intolerance. Imagine how happy they'd be to know you are better understanding their lifestyle by experiencing it first-hand. Take this as an opportunity to have them over for dinner, where you prepare a scrumptious gluten free meal! I guarantee your relationship with this person will grow and thrive. All it takes is one weekend.

Cheers!

April 9, 2010

I just had to laugh...

A coworker approached me this morning and handed me the Fairfield County Weekly circular, knowing I would find it of interest. The article is great, and I'll post more on it later, but a glance at the cover made me nearly snarf my coffee all over my laptop.

I don't know if it's just the awkwardness of the layout or the glaring WHEAT IS MURDER, but it just made my whole morning. It must be somewhat satire. I mean, I'll be the first person to speak up about the struggle Celiacs have in life, but come on. Just look at that guy's serene face. He just wants to give you a-pizza! 

There was some great information in the article, including a complete listing of locations in CT that offer gluten free pizza. So I will definitely be adding that to the Dining page this weekend for all you pizza lovers out there!

And now I want you to look at the circular cover again and quickly click on this video:


Have a great weekend, everyone!

April 8, 2010

Email me!

One of the major joys of writing this blog is getting messages and comments from friends and family that they enjoy reading it, or that they know people with gluten-intolerance who find it helpful. That is why I do this; I want to shed light on what it's like to really live a gluten-free lifestyle, and hopefully entertain you in the process. It's not anything exotic or trendy (*cough*atkins*cough*). It's a real struggle that over 2 million people in this country deal on a daily basis!

In an effort to grow this blogsite into a friendly resource that anyone can come to for useful information, I want you to feel free to contact me at any time. I know leaving comments isn't everyone's cup of tea (though they're always welcome), so I have set up email where you can get in touch with me directly.

Contact me at shannon@theglutenfreewife.com.

I'm looking forward to connecting with you more in the future, and thank you for reading!

April 7, 2010

King Arthur Flour Goes Gluten Free!

Great news! King Arthur Flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/) is going gluten-free with a whole line of baking mixes, joining the ranks of gluten-free friendly name brands like Betty Crocker and Bob's Red Mill.

In addition to the baking mixes, their website has an extensive list of baking recipes to try out. As anyone who has attempted baking gluten-free from scratch knows, it's not an easy task, and can take quite a bit trial and error to get it right. Just ask Mr. GF, who has witnessed some hilarious attempts by yours truly...

That was supposed to be chocolate chip cookies. It's otherwise known as The Epic Chocolate Chip Cookie Fail of 2009. Thank goodness Mr. GF still wanted to marry me!

For more on King Arthur going gluten-free, check out this article posted on Boston.com:
http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2010/04/07/king_arthur_flour_co_launches_gluten_free_product_line/

I can't wait to try these recipes out. Hopefully you'll never see something like this again!

April 4, 2010

Recipe: Mustard Glazed Easter Ham

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your day. Whether or not you celebrate the holiday. today was just gorgeous and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of the day outside in the sun (I have a burn to prove it)! Since we weren't traveling home for the holiday, we agreed to dog-sit for a friend, so I knew I'd have my hands full all day. Mr. GF has been working a lot of overnights which means sleeping well into the day, so dinner had to be easy and delicious and done by 4:00pm so he could take it to work with him.

I picked up a 2 lb ham the other day and knew I wanted to make it in the crock pot. I found a very simple recipe online this morning and made a few tweaks so I could blog it here. I don't have a picture of it to show because I couldn't chow it down fast enough (and my camera battery was charging), but trust me when I say that if you're a ham fan, you'll really enjoy this. This recipe is for a 2lb ham, serves 4.

Gluten Free Easter Ham

Ingredients
2lb cooked ham, scored diagonally (most come that way already)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp spicy mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg (original recipe calls for whole cloves stuck in the ham, I just subbed for nutmeg which I already had on hand)
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp corn starch

Place ham flat side down in crock pot. In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar, mustard, lemon juice and nutmeg. Spoon mixture over ham, making sure it is completely coated. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Switch over to low for another 3 hours.

In small bowl, whisk orange juice and corn starch together. Remove ham from crock pot onto a small plate. Stir orange juice mixture into the liquid in the crock pot and let it thicken. Put ham back in crock pot, spoon some liquid over it and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve hot.

I served with baby red potatoes, roasted with olive oil, S&P, garlic and rosemary, and steamed green beans.


Enjoy, and Happy Easter!

April 2, 2010

Have Celiac? There's an app for that!

I had a couple friends wonderfully reach out to me this week with little goodies that can assist the gluten-free traveler! How sweet is that? I'm so happy to share these with you, and if you ever have a helpful tool, article or recommendation, please send it along!

The first goodie is actually an app for iPhone called Gluten Freed. It's an application the detects your location by satellite and suggests places near you that offer gluten free food and dining options. It is based on user input, so you can add places that you know of to suggest to other app users. Pretty awesome if you're on the go and don't have time to plan ahead! Mr. GF and I are Blackberry users, so I am hoping to find a similar application. What a great little aid to have, thanks to the wonders of technology. Sometimes I am wary of the overload of "apps", I mean, do we really need an app to play Monopoly? Sit down with your family and play. It's no wonder we all have the attention span of a gnat. But I digress. If you're an iPhone user with Celiac or someone you know has Celiac, check it out!

The second treat is a link to Yelp, a website where people can review anything in any city. It's a great resource for real reviews, especially for restaurants. So when I received this link from two friends yesterday, I knew I had to pass it along to you! It's a little guide to gluten-free dining options in Boston. So whether it's your home stomping ground or you're having a little getaway (I'll be back soon, Boston!), here are some places that may be worth your while to visit:

Gluten-free in Beantown