This part of my life began when my very sick partner was diagnosed with Celiac. Even the slightest exposure to gluten can make him very ill for several days, so I have pursued gluten-free options with thorough aggression. In the U.S. a recent surge of gluten awareness means we have more choices than ever, but it still means hunting and analyzing and tracking down parent companies. After several years now of doing so, I want to share my tricks and tips with others who are still struggling.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Recipe Box: Flour-Free Cornbread

I grew up on Jiffy cornbread, which is really just corn-flavored bread.  When a lot of folks list cornbread recipes, they go for this classic flavor by adding a mix of gluten-free flours, gums, and sugar.  Turns out, you don't need any of that.  Classic southern cornbread is simple, slightly crumbly, and naturally gluten-free.


2 Cups cornmeal*
2 Cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup fat: butter, bacon grease, or vegetable shortening

I use a 12" cast-iron skillet for this, but you can use a 9x11 baking dish instead if you don't have one. 

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit

Melt the fat in the microwave, and grease the skillet or baking dish well

Combine all the ingredients and pour into the skillet or baking dish; let it rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as the oven takes to pre-heat (resting makes it fluff up and soaks the cornmeal)

Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, and the edges brown and pull away from the pan a bit

Let cool until it is warm to the touch before serving, with lots of butter and honey, or crumble and let it stale to make cornbread dressing.

If you are really acclimated to the sweet corn bread you get in restaurants, you can add 1/4 cup of honey to the mix with an extra tablespoon of corn meal to balance liquids and solids.  

*Corn products are often a cross-contamination risk for gluten because of how it is stored and processed.  Make sure you use a gluten-free labeled brand.  In the Southeast U.S., we use the Publix store brand yellow cornmeal without a problem. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Elimination Recipe Box: Creamy Mushroom Soup

The recipe is based on the food sensitivity elimination diet we are doing, and uses up the safe chicken base created from the Crock Pot Chicken recipe.  If you don't start with the chicken, it might be difficult to find an elimination-diet-friendly chicken broth or stock, so you may need to wait until you have finished the diet first.


2 cups chicken broth (from crock pot chicken recipe)
4-6 cups fresh mushrooms, half chopped very fine, the other half sliced into bite-size pieces.
1/4  cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (use whole milk if dairy allowed)

In a medium pot, cook mushrooms in a tablespoon either of skimmed fat from the cooled chicken drippings or olive oil, until water is mostly evaporated
Add onions and cook until starting to brown
Add chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes
Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes, then whisk in milk

If casein is allowed, top with a light shredding of Parmesan cheese.  

Elimination Recipe Box: Crock Pot Chicken

The recipe is based on the food sensitivity elimination diet we are doing, and has the bonus of producing a safe chicken stock for other recipes, such as soups and stews. 

4 chicken leg quarters
2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
1/4 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (use butter if you are not sensitive to dairy or casein)

Chop veggies into chunks  Place chicken meaty-side down in a crock pot and layer veggies, herbs, and oil or butter over the top.

Run the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8, until chicken is fork-tender.  Add two hours if starting with frozen chicken.  Add a few tablespoons of water if needed to maintain moisture;you should have at least a cup of liquid in the bottom of the pot when you are finished.  

Remove chicken and veggies to serving bowl. 
Pour remaining liquid through a fine sieve into a storage container (jar, tupperware, etc.). 
Rinse the crock pot with about 1/2 cup of water and pour through sieve into same container. 
Store drippings in fridge for up to three days or in freezer for several months.  To add more liquid to container, first remove the layer of fat that forms at the top of the cooled drippings. 

The leftover meat is delicious served cold and shredded on a green salad the next day as a packed lunch.