I can’t say enough about Disney Cruises!

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This was a fantastic dessert (Mango Mousse) made by the phenomenal and extremely cautious chefs on The Disney Wonder cruise. We went to the Western Caribbean and it was FANTASTIC! So much incredible food, so well thought out and so wonderful!

The cruise was so well worth it, and even though we were in steerage (HA) we were treated like royalty. There were many memorable things about this cruise but, honestly, the food was some of the best I have ever had. No – I did not gain weight (like I had been warned I would).

They took extremely good care of us. Eric and Carmen did not have ANY reactions from the food that we were served.

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Sampler of a grilled chicken dish AND a salmon with mango salsa.

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Shrimp with a lovely cream cocktail sauce!

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Carmen polished off that mango mousse in a heartbeat!

This cruise was a magical and HEALTHY experience with absolutely no adverse reactions. We were exceedingly pleased with the entire experience. Well taken care of, 3 course meals (which they got to order the night before) and best of all pancakes in the morning!

Ah Disney – you made this experience magical. THANK YOU from a mom who has to fight everyday to make sure my family is safe. I didn’t have to lift a finger and that in itself is just such a huge weight lifted!

To ANYONE looking to take a cruise where your dietary needs are meet (and far exceed expectations) look no further than Disney Cruiselines!

 

 

 

Buche de Noel!!!

It is that time of year – the time of year that we make a super yummo, super sweet, extra chocolatey YULE LOGS!

Here is the recipe we use for this AMAZING treat that even those who are not GF will eat with no clue that they are eating GF…which is a testament to the idea that GF food tastes like “foot”. This my friends is FAR from tasting like “foot”

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (superfine cane sugar recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Extra powdered sugar for dusting

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400° F

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter.

  1. Separate egg yolks from whites. Place egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Set egg whites aside.
  2. Beat egg yolks on HIGH using an electric hand or stand mixer. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to beat on HIGH until mixture is creamy.
  3. Combine cocoa, potato starch, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a large whisk to thoroughly mix OR sift ingredients.
  4. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg-sugar mixture. Fold in grated orange peel until combined.
  5. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat on HIGH until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  6. Use a large spatula to gently fold the egg white mixture into the cake batter. Fold until ingredients are blended.
  7. Use a spatula to scrape cake batter into prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake in preheated for about 7 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  9. Cool cake on a wire rack.
  10. When the cake is completely cool, carefully invert it- with the parchment paper still on the bottom, onto a large sheet of waxed paper, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
  11. Slowly peel the parchment paper from the cooled cake.
  12. The cake is ready to fill – smear with the recipe for icing below and roll it up. You can use a fork to make the chocolate look like bark, you can also dust it with powdered sugar.

This photo is NOT ours but this is what it should look like though poinsettias and eucalyptus are not a good idea to decorate with, both are kinda toxic (unless you are a koala)

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We decorate ours with littlest pet shop toys or playmobile toys just for giggles and THIS is the recipe that we follow for the ultra decadent icing….

1 Stick of BUTTER

3 C Powdered sugar

2/3 C Chocolate Baking Powder

1/3 C Milk

1 tsp GF Vanilla

melt the butter, then add the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until creamy. If it is too thick, you can add more milk.

This is probably one of the most delightful treats ever.

A conversation starter

Someone got extremely angry with me for saying that Snickers Bars are GF…well…they are. There is a great list of GF candy out there and here it is –

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GFcandies.htm

It is what it is, right there on the link.

Someone recently told me that her niece was diagnosed as gluten intolerant and she was feeling so sad for her. She said all kinds of things that were not true. She said that rice and corn were forbidden as were potatoes. If that were true, many with CD or intolerance would curl up in little balls and rock themselves into oblivion. Wrong assumptions make a newly diagnosed persons life a nightmare. Corn gluten and glutenous rice do not contain gluten. This makes me very sad. Potatoes are fantastic and things like Lays Potato Chips ARE gluten free. There is even a little GF symbol on the back, which I understand is an expensive logo to purchase.

Again, I say even if it DOESN’T say GF – read the label – familiarize yourself with the no-no’s. Rye, Barley, Wheat, Spelt – and the kicker, soy sauce, if it has soy sauce and it was made in the USA – walk on. Asia isn’t known for it’s “amber waves of grain” so they don’t add wheat, but here in the USA – we add wheat. Silly – very silly but super dangerous.

I hear people who struggle to understand about the disease or the intolerance. If it is an intolerance, it can be just as painful and uncomfortable and some people with CD never have any real symptoms so it makes it harder for them to stay away from gluten which can ultimately kill them. Yes, KILL. While intolerance typically does not result in death it is not pleasant to have symptoms.

Now – I feel like I am a broken record but you can find GF foods EVERYWHERE! When I say everywhere – I mean it.

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A Subway Salad – thankfully, Carmen isn’t that sensitive and can have a few cross-contaminated things but we do have to be careful.

We love going to “normal” places and having “normal” food!

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A mushroom cheeseburger from Red Robin

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A happy couple of campers!

My point is – please get to know your food, where it comes from and what is in it before limiting yourself (or jumping down someone’s throat)

Like a treasure hunt

I often equate shopping for food and eating out like a hunt for buried treasure. Just because food doesn’t say “gluten free” doesn’t mean that it is and likewise if sometimes it says gluten free it really isn’t. I read a lot of labels. I have become so adept at it that I can read a label faster than most. It’s actually something I take great pride in.

I get concerned that there are a bunch of folks out there who rely on that “gluten free” tag and only shop looking for that as opposed to reading. Here are MY quick solutions –

If a label says ANY of the following, put it back on the shelf and thank it for it’s time – – –

Malt, Barley, Wheat, Spelt, Rye – – – and like vowels there is the redheaded stepchild (the Y of the Gluten Free world – Oats). In doing research, I have found that really the biggest reason that people have issues with oats is that it is sometimes processed on the same equipment that other things are processed on. An oat itself is not a gluten item but stuff that gets crossed with it is so – the “Y” of the gluten world, in my opinion.

Some people who are celiac have other sensitivities too such as corn, rice, soy, dairy and I recently heard of zanthan gum. Know what you have issues with and scan those labels.

Recently, I bought some Trio Bars, Trio Bars are endorsed by the Celiac Research Institute and yet they don’t have a GF label on them. So, you see – know your food and what you are looking for. People are so used to being told what to buy instead of looking at labels it’s crazy. They often ask advice on the best GF this or that – I once was asked which fruits and vegetables to avoid because of gluten and truly I was asked this because there was no label.

People PAY A LOT for labels and companies bank on that so just KNOW what is in your food, know what to avoid and know that you don’t need something to say those magic words “gluten free” to be safe.

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Carmen at a Sushi Bar – Tempura, true Tempura is corn starch, Miso Soup is soy, Fresh Spring Rolls are made with Rice Wraps and rice is just rice

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Daddy wants some too!

Grrrrr

I realize I spend a lot of time venting anger by being on a soapbox about certain things. It’s that I am passionate and have things to say, things that I know I am not alone in thinking.

Here goes –

STOP jumping on people who MUST eat GF by picking apart the ingredients of pre-prepared mixes because you don’t understand what Xanthan Gum is, if it contains corn starch or GOD FORBID canola oil…BACK OFF! People who are celiac must eat gluten free, they are not doing this because it is organic or GMO free. It is healthy for celiac’s but it is NOT a choice it is mandatory. Mandatory is the key word here.

Many celiac’s have so many food restrictions, when they find something that will not hurt they go for it. My daughter is lactose intolerant too, even though she went on a “reset” diet in hopes that it would reset and she would no longer be lactose intolerant. It did not work, so now we look for not only GF but for Dairy free as well.

Do not breathe down my neck to tell me about how vaccinations caused it or GMO’s or “big pharma” or antibiotics are to blame. News flash – I don’t CARE who is to blame. I only know in her case it was heredity. Her grandfather (suspected), her father and her all have/had celiac’s disease. I don’t need people telling me that my late father-in-law had too many GMO’s growing up and that all the stuff I ate when I was pregnant or the vaccines basically sealed her fate. Leave us ALONE and just accept that it is what it is and do not judge our food intake. I spend enough time looking at labels already checking for landmines. I don’t need some high and mighty dork who eats only whole grains and non-processed food that I should be sighted for child abuse. Maybe you shouldn’t follow me if you are going to judge me.

And that’s all I have to say about that – steps off soapbox (again) but I’ll keep it close in case I need to do it again.

Chili Cheese Fries - fake cheese, fried in soybean oil, potatoes, canned chili

Chili Cheese Fries – fake cheese, fried in soybean oil, potatoes, canned chili

 

 

A Supper full of NORMAL

Tonight I was given a thumbs-up from my daughter for the supper I made. She said, “Mom, I’d give you more thumbs but I only have two!”

What did I make? Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free…YAY!

What I have discovered is that just about every food can be modified to be “safe” as we call it. I love that challenge you know? I love making things that would be considered “forbidden due to allergies” in a way that makes my family happy and doesn’t hurt them. The best part is that I have been doing this a while and I know how the flours react to heat, what the better flours are and how to do these creations quickly. I don’t know about you but I just don’t have a lot of time at the end of the day.

I don’t measure much when it comes to cooking, I eyeball it so that makes it difficult to share recipes but I can tell you what I put into things…

The key to a great crust on the fry is the “Dry, Wet, Dry” method.

4 Cube Steaks

2 eggs

1/4 c Lactose-Free Milk (can use goat milk or almond)

2 1/2 C Namaste Flour Mix

Salt, Pepper, Franks Red Hot Sauce – to taste

Coconut Oil for frying

Add the Franks to the milk and eggs – mix it up (Wet) – Flour with dry seasoning. In a frying pan add enough coconut oil (high temp oil) to fry up the steaks. Heat the oil until it hits about 325 – add steak – fry about 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Take it out and salt it.

Serve with brown gravy –

12 oz of beef broth

3 TBS Coconut oil

3 TBS GF Flour

Salt and pepper to taste.

Make a roux with the coconut oil and flour, add the gravy, heat to boil (for thickening)- stir in seasonings

Make up a batch of your fave mashed potatoes. Everyone has a different method for this so I just hold tight on this one, I do it several ways with several variations. Any way you do it – right on!

Peanutbutter cookies for dessert (Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Cookie Mix) I’m not a big baker and I prefer others to figure out the best flour combos for this.

Anyway – this is my special way to feed my family, GF and Lactose Free.