Note from Alice
Gluten-Free Birthday Parties
How to throw a gluten-free party
A welcome to our newest column
Soups and Stews
Delicious recipes for cold weather
We've Been Accepted!
NFCA will present at 2009 ICDS
All Things GREAT
Updates on the success of GREAT
Celiac on the Slopes
An Update on A.J. Clemens
2009 Webinar Series Begins
Information on the first session
The best gluten-free products
Celiac in the News
Recent news about celiac disease
Volume 3 Issue 12
CeliacCentral Printable PDF
Note from Alice
NFCA Executive Director
With every New Year dawns the promise of a better tomorrow. For me, that better tomorrow is one where those suffering with symptoms of celiac disease receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis and those living with celiac disease possess the knowledge, skills, and resources to manage their disease so that they may live the healthiest and fullest life possible. At NFCA, we extend a hearty welcome to 2009 and embrace this wonderful opportunity to announce a few of the exciting projects we are set to embark on this year.
1. The NFCA will launch a series of informative monthly webinars for physicians, dietitians and newly diagnosed celiac patients interested in learning about the gluten-free lifestyle, along with best practices for those with celiac disease. Check the NFCA website at www.beyondceliac.org for details.
2. The NFCA's GREAT program (Gluten-free Resource Education Awareness Training) will be expanded to include regular webinars for chefs and food service personnel to update them on the latest in commercial gluten-free cooking. We know that you will find more and more wonderful restaurants across the country offering delicious and safe gluten-free food for you and your families to enjoy.
3. The NFCA is developing a program related to women's health and wellness with a focus on reproductive health issues. Our goal is to escalate the recognition of celiac disease as a factor in several health issues facing women. Personal stories are an effective tool for relaying the true impact of this autoimmune disease. We invite you to share your story concerning women's health with us. Please send your stories to Nancy Ginter at [email protected].
The NFCA's new programming will give new audiences the information they need to manage celiac disease and the gluten-free lifestyle both professionally and personally. In 2009 we hope to increase recognition and knowledge of celiac disease across expansive and diverse populations, maximizing our ability to restore health and reclaim lives. May this New Year be the beginning of new hopes, new possibilities and new joys for all of you. All of us at the NFCA wish you and your family's blessings of happiness, peace, and good health in 2009.
Back to Top
Throwing Your Child a Gluten-Free Birthday Party
By Abby Schwartz, NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
As 2009 begins and the family calendar slowly fills, one date is marked boldly in our home: my daughter's birthday. Granted, hers is not until November, but we will go through many ideas and plans before settling on a party theme. Because she has celiac, food is a critical factor. Luckily, there are endless options for throwing a smashing birthday party complete with delicious, gluten-free food.
A Piece of Cake
Let's start with the most important element: the cake. Years ago, for our daughter's fourth birthday, we ordered a cake from a gluten-free bakery, drove two hours round-trip to pick it up, and carefully transported it to the site of her gymnastics-themed party. It was a masterpiece: layers of vanilla cake sandwiched with fluffy mascarpone cheese (think tiramisu) and topped with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and chocolate shavings. The kids took a few bites and left the rest of their $40 cake to run off and do more tumbling on the mats.
After that year, we started baking our own birthday cakes. Two of our favorite GF mixes come from Miss Roben's. We love their chocolate and yellow cake mixes. Both are simple to make with a few added ingredients. We bake them in a sheet pan and frost them with ordinary, brand-name frosting like Duncan Hines or Pillsbury. Be sure to check the labels, as some are gluten-free and some are not. My daughter loves to help with the baking and decorating. She adds sprinkles, chocolate chips or chopped nuts to the iced cake and the result is delicious. The kids love it, too, and never suspect they are eating something gluten-free.
One bonus to using a gluten-free cake mix: it can easily be used for cupcakes. Check the package for baking times and ladle the batter into a lined pan. They are a little harder to frost than a sheet cake, but make a great treat to send in to school with your child if his or her birthday falls on a school day.
To kids, the food at a party is one of the least important details. I confess to having spent too much time over the years at other children's birthday parties worrying about my daughter's feelings being hurt when she can't eat the pizza or other entrée being served. Every single time I watch the other kids take two bites of food and run off to continue skating/climbing/running/shouting/laughing, I am reminded that it is not as big a deal as I thought. My purpose in pointing this out is to remind other parents that the food component of a successful birthday party need not be a source of stress. Kids are not looking for gourmet fare. Give them foods they like in portions that are child-appropriate, easy for little hands to manage, and quick to hand out and clean up. Here are a few ideas:
For older children (hot dogs can be a choking hazard for toddlers) hot dogs are a classic favorite. Boiled, grilled or microwaved, they are easy to make and hand out and tasty to eat. Many brands offer gluten-free options, including Hatfield, Dietz & Watson and Hebrew National. You can provide toppings like mustard, ketchup, relish, onions, even cheese, to add to the fun. Go ahead and use regular buns for the guests and either give your child a gluten-free bun or put a couple of hot dogs on a plate.
Regular readers of this column know I am a huge fan of the gluten-free frozen chicken nuggets by Bell & Evans. I have tried many alternate brands and none come close to the flavor and texture of these delicious chicken nuggets and tenders. They are frozen uncooked and bake up nice and crispy in 25 minutes. Serve them with a variety of dipping sauces (try gluten-free ranch dressing, ketchup, barbeque sauce, honey mustard, pesto, and pizza sauce) and enjoy.
Burgers are a classic and can easily be grilled at home. They can be enjoyed by your child Á la carte or on a gluten-free bun. As with the hot dogs, offer your child's guests regular buns. Serve them with a variety of toppings and everyone will enjoy creating their personalized burger.
Fortunately for celiacs, there are countless snack foods that are mainstream, popular and gluten-free. Be sure to check the websites and ingredient lists of the major manufacturers for a complete list of gluten-free products. A few notable companies are Frito-Lay, Herr's, Lay's, Utz, Orville Redenbacher and our favorite: Robert's American Gourmet-makers of Pirate's Booty and other organic, all-natural snacks. Put out some bowls of salty, sweet and crunchy snacks and your child's guests will have a ball. Here are some fun and yummy ideas:
♣ Potato chips with sour cream and onion dip. Yes, the classic Lipton's Recipe Onion Soup Mix is GF!
♣ Corn tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole
♣ Chunks of fresh fruit with cream cheese dip (mix a jar of Jet Puffed Marshmallow cream with a package of softened Philadelphia cream cheese)
♣ Sliced raw veggies with ranch dressing. Try strips of sweet red pepper, cucumbers and baby carrots with Newman's Own or Wishbone ranch.
One final idea that is always a big hit: build-your-own sundaes. Supply ice cream and a slew of toppings (whipped cream, hot fudge, nuts, M&Ms and more) for a dessert that no kid will be able to resist.
With children, blending in is key. That is why I avoid serving the gluten-free sandwiches, pizza and other foods that are tasty but still noticeably different from their gluten-containing counterparts. With so many food options available that can withstand the peer test, it is a wiser move to serve what you know will pass, differences undetected. Enjoy your 2009 birthday parties!
Back to Top
Introducing Our Newest Column, Nourish
By Linda Simon, NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." -Hippocrates
"Great!" you say. It seems reasonable that the treatment for gluten intolerance is a change in diet, but so hard to do if you do not cook! Unfortunately, a large number of Americans today do not. So, NFCA and I are introducing a new column called Nourish. It will teach simple cooking techniques along with good gluten-free nutrition.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Linda Simon, a registered dietitian and personal chef. For several years now, I have been cooking for gluten-free clients, teaching gluten-free cooking classes and developing new gluten-free recipes. I do it because it's fun! Now I want to share the creativity, joy and satisfaction of cooking and eating gluten-free with you!
Nourish will include one or two simple recipes each month. Several successful techniques and types of equipment will be used. I will discuss how to cook meals that are easy, quick, or cheap. We will also focus on improving nutrition, highlighting what varying ingredients have to offer.
So let's start at the beginning, with breakfast.
Breakfast Risotto, Three Ways: Before we get to the recipe, lets start with some tips: Using brown rice is a great way to start the day with healthy and hearty whole grains. If you like a creamier dish, more like rice pudding, opt for short grain or sweet brown rice. It is a bit more difficult to find, but so worth it. Check out well-stocked Asian markets because they often carry interesting kinds of rice, including these. You can buy a big bag and store it in the freezer for use in other dishes.
Dried fruit plumps up and naturally sweetens the breakfast risotto. Any combination of fruits will work. Cinnamon helps reduce spikes in blood sugar, and as an added bonus, will leave a nice scent in the kitchen. Optional walnuts and/or ground flax seeds can be used to garnish the dish, adding fiber and omega 3s. The walnuts will give yummy and contrasting crunch, but don't cook the nuts or the flax seeds in with the rice. They will lose some omega 3s and get mushy. Add them in right before serving.
Any left over Breakfast Risotto stores well in the fridge or freezer. Simply warm it in the microwave, adding some water if it thickens more than you like.
Now for the recipe!
Crock-pot Breakfast Risotto: Wake up to breakfast ready and waiting. What's not to love?
1 cup short grain or sweet brown rice
1 cup dried fruit (any combination of raisins, cranberries, apples, dates, etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups cold water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/2 cup ground flax seeds, optional (Grind them in a coffee grinder and store extras in the freezer).
Put rice, fruit, cinnamon and water in a 6-cup crock-pot. Turn on low before going to bed. Cook for about 8 hours. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with optional nuts or ground flax seeds.
Pressure Cooker Method- Make friends with a pressure cooker. I have several and use them almost every day for all kinds of dishes. Be sure to read the manufacturers directions.
Using the ingredients listed above, put rice, fruit, cinnamon, and water in a pressure cooker. Lock on the lid and bring to pressure over high heat. Turn down heat to medium or low and maintain pressure. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Cool under running water or allow the pressure to release on its own. Serve as explained above.
Stove-top Method- no special equipment needed.
Put rice, fruit, cinnamon, and 5 cups of water in a heavy saucepan. Over high heat, bring water to boil and cover. Lower heat to maintain a simmer. Liquid simmers when it has just a few small bubbles. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Stir occasionally, more often as the water is absorbed. Tip: It's OK to add even more water if needed, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning the risotto. Serve as explained above.
Linda Simon [email protected]
Back to Top
Soups and Stews for the Cold Winter Months
By Christina Gentile, NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
There is nothing more enticing and relaxing than a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter night. The aroma, heat, and taste of a delicious bowl of soup is a true hallmark of the winter season. Usually, homemade soups and stews are made using flours and gluten-containing thickening agents. When I cook homemade soup and stew using my family's recipes, I substitute all-purpose flour with white rice flour, and if a thickening agent is needed, I use cornstarch, potato starch, or potato flakes. When using a broth, it is important to remember that not all are gluten-free. Be sure to use a gluten-free broth such as Swanson. In addition, some bouillon cubes contain gluten; opt for a gluten-free brand such as Celifibr Vegetarian Chicken Gluten-Free Bouillon Cubes.
A good broth and stock, fresh and flavorful ingredients, and a mixture of seasonings can create a delicious soup. A high-quality stock creates a flavorful soup, but takes a couple hours to cook. However, it is not difficult to make and can also be frozen for later use. If you do not have the time to cook a homemade stock, you can always purchase a gluten-free version. Cooking soups with fresh vegetables is a great idea because it adds many nutrients to the dish. When adding vegetables to your soup or stew, try sautéing them in a pan for a few minutes before adding them to help bring out the flavor. When cooking the soup, keep the stove at a low simmer. Do not boil the soup because the soup may burn, the nutritional content of the vegetables will be reduced due to the heat, and the soup may lose its color and appearance. If you are on the go and do not have time to cut up vegetables or cook meat, try using frozen vegetables or purchase pre-cut vegetables, and opt for pre-cooked shrimp, chicken, and meat. For a hearty vegetable-based stew, try adding gluten-free pasta noodles, cubed potato, and black beans. Below are several ideas for gluten free stocks, soups, and stews. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Stock Recipes:
Chicken Stock: Place 4 pounds chicken (backs, wings, and bones) in a large stock pot. Add 4 quarts of cold water, 2 large sliced onions, 2 cups sliced carrots carrots, 2 cups chopped celery, celery leaves, 1 bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Slowly bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer, skimming off surface foam for the first 30 minutes. Simmer for 2 hours and strain. Yields about 7 cups.
Beef Stock: Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large roasting pan. Add 4 pounds beef bones and brown in oven, about 10 minutes, stirring pieces frequently. Add 2 large sliced onions, 2 sliced carrots, 2 sliced ribs celery with leaves and roast until browned. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stock pot. Pour off fat from roasting pan and deglaze with 1 cup hot water, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan; pour into stockpot. Add 1 bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 2 sprigs parsley and 1 teaspoon dried thyme to stock-pot and cover with 4 quarts cold water. Slowly bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer 4 to 5 hours, skimming off surface foam during first 30 minutes of cooking; strain. Makes about 3 quarts.
Vegetable Stock: Combine 3 each of finely chopped carrots, celery, leeks, and onions, along with 1/2 pound mushroom pieces, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme in a large stockpot. Cover with 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 2 hours; strain. Makes about 2 quarts.
Garden Tomato Soup
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1-small green pepper, chopped
¼ cup butter or margarine
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes (about 7 medium)
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Potato flakes for thickening
1. In a 3 qt. saucepan, sauté celery, onion, carrot and green pepper in butter until tender
2. Add 4 cups broth, tomatoes, sugar, curry, salt and pepper; bring to a boil
3. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, add potato flakes and simmer until desired thickness
Cream of Spinach Soup
2 cups chopped fresh spinach (or 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed)
1 cup chopped onion
¼ cup butter
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 1 pound)
1 ½ cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1 ½ cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or vegetable bouillon cubes for vegetarian option)
2 cups half-and-half
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¾ cup sour cream
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for 3 minutes or until limp. Add potatoes, chicken broth, water, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add spinach and cook for 2 to 4 minutes longer until spinach is tender.
2. Working in batches, purée soup mixture in a blender. Return to saucepan. Whisk in half-and-half, salt and pepper.
3. Over low heat, bring to just before simmering. Whisk in the sour cream. You may want to use an immersion blender to get the sour cream fully incorporated.
4. This soup can be served hot or chilled. Garnish with chopped chives, sprinkles of allspice, or a dollop of sour cream.
3 large leeks, cut lengthwise, separate, clean. Use only the white and pale green parts, chop.
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
2 lbs potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt & Pepper
Marjoram - dash
Tabasco sauce or other red chili sauce
1. Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper in a medium sized saucepan. Cover pan, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Check often. Do not brown leeks! Browning will give leeks a burnt taste.
2. Add water, broth, and potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes. Scoop about half of the soup mixture into a blender, puree and re