Celiac Disease Research Study

If you have celiac disease you may be interested in a research study being conducted by the Celiac Team.   They are dedicated to connecting people with celiac disease to clinical trials in an effort to produce new and more effective treatments.  Celiac disease damages the small intestine after an adverse reaction in the body to ingesting gluten which is found in wheat, rye and some oats.

If you are interested in taking their short questionnaire to see if you qualify please visit their website and let me know if you will be participating in the study.

Celiac Team

Good luck!

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These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty

I have been searching for a good gluten-free pretzel and I found it with the Glutino Pretzel Sticks.  I bought a bag to try from vitacost.com and they have been sitting in my pantry for a few days just waiting for me to open them up.  I was a little hesitant because the gluten-free crackers I’ve had thus far have not been the greatest so I wasn’t sure if the pretzels would also disappoint.

I got a little hungry watching House last night so I thought I would grab a handful of the pretzel sticks and let my taste buds be the judge.  Wow!  These babies tasted just like a regular pretzel stick….I was impressed!  You can find so many ways to use these too (homemade chex mix, chocolate covered or dipped, smash them to make a pretzel flavored crust).  I decided to take the rest of the bag to work this morning so I can enjoy them as a side item with my many lunch salads for some crunch…..great job Glutino!

Vitacost

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I had a wonderful holiday and spent some good quality time with my family.  I made 2 turkeys (one fried with a dry rub and one roasted), cranberry sauce, squash dressing, sausage stuffing, asparagus wrapped in proscuitto with buerre blanc sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, broccoli with pecan brown butter, asiago red pepper biscuits, spinach dip, a cream cheese pesto spread and ended with pecan pie, pumpkin pie and a chocolate tart.  It was probably one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve prepared and of course everyone ate too much, but that is all part of the experience!

I wanted to let you all know about a site I discovered over the holiday that has saved me a ton of money on gluten-free products.  Have you heard about Vitacost.com?
They have over 30,000 health and wellness products, including vitamins, supplements, herbs, personal care products, organic foods and more; and it’s all way cheaper than the health food store!
If you decide to check it out, please register through my link so we can both get a $10 off coupon!

Vitacost.com

Check out Vitacost.com, my favorite place to buy all of my health and wellness products at great prices! Register through this link and we’ll both get a $10 off coupon!
 
I bought several Bob’s Red Mill products and the prices are so much better than what you will find at your local grocery store.  I also highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill cornbread mix which I used for the first time to make the cornbread for our squash dressing……it was THE best gluten-free cornbread I have made to date.  This site also has many other gluten-free products and your shipment will arrive very quickly.
 
Happy shopping!

Best Turkey Leftover Recipe….Turkey Taquitos

This will be my last post for the week so I can enjoy my Thanskgiving with my family and hopefully you will do the same.  So once you have that delicious turkey meal what do you do with all the leftovers?   I wanted to leave you with one of the best turkey leftover recipes that I have had….turkey taquitos.  I have made the familiar turkey soup, turkey pot pie and turkey sandwiches, but this recipe by Melissa d’Arabian transforms your turkey leftovers into a dish with bold flavors that are vastly different than the flavors we experience on Thanksgiving.  Here is her recipe that I will be enjoying on Black Friday this year.

Ingredients Taquitos:

2C plus 1T vegetable oil

1/2 yellow or white onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

1T minced jalepeno

1 1/2 C shredded turkey meat

1 1/2 C shredded jack cheese

1/2 C mexican flavored canned tomatoes, drained and chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

18 corn tortillas

Ingredients Cranberry Salsa:

1/2 C cranberry sauce (prefer whole berry)

1/4 c fresh cilantro chopped

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 jalepeno coarsely chopped

1/2 onion corsely chopped, covered and microwaved for 1 minute

1/4 C each diced red and green bell pepper

1/2 C mexican flavored canned tomatoes, drained and chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill the tortillas with a tablespoon of filling and roll into a thin taquito, securing with a toothpick. Keep the taquitos covered with a damp towel before cooking otherwise the corn tortillas will dry out and crack. Heat 2 cups oil in a straight-sided pan to 350 degrees F. Place the taquitos in the hot oil in batches and shallow fry until crisp, rolling to cook all sides, about 3 minutes.

Drain the taquitos on paper towels and salt. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

To make the cranberry salsa place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until blended, but still chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Turkey Taquitos.

 What’s your favorite turkey leftover recipe?

Day of the Big Race

Yesterday was the day of my first 5K race.  I had been training for weeks and when the day arrived I was eager and a little nervous.  My husband and children were going to be my cheering squad so we all piled in the car and drove to a church in Acworth to park.  We had to walk about a half-mile to get to the registration tents to pick up my race number.  Along the way we saw a lady dressed in a turkey outfit.  I wondered to myself if she was going to start the race and we would chase her since it was called the “Acworth Turkey Chase”, but I figured she was probably just there to cheer us on. 

I arrived at the tent and got my race number and gathered my safety pins to attach my number to my hoodie jacket.

Number 149…..looked lucky to me!  I searched next for the closest portapotty so I could empty my bladder and then began stretching.  There was a crowd of people of all ages and dogs who were all excited to run.  A few minutes later they announced over the loud speaker for the timed runners to make their way to the starting line.  I kissed my family goodbye and then headed that way.  As I continued to warm up with stretches I managed to hit some guy in the chest with my left arm as I was stretching them outward to warm up…..classic me.  It was an overcast brisk fall day and I was ready to get my jog on.

The horn sounded and the crowd took off like we were in Pamplona, Spain during the running of the bulls.  Many people passed by me, but I kept a steady pace that I felt comfortable with.  When my side started to hurt I would walk for a bit and then pick up my jog again.  There were a few steep hills and I elected to walk up those as well.  I tried to run as much as possible and I enjoyed the scenery as we ran by a lake, over a bridge and through some woods where a creepy guy shouted to all the women running by “You guys are looking so good and so skinny.”  He motivated me to pick up my pace.

I rounded mile two feeling pretty good and I knew the finish was not too far off.  I walked up the last hill and then rounded the corner toward the finish.  As the end came in sight I saw the smiling faces of my two kids and my loving hubby cheering me to the end and I couldn’t help but beam with pride.  I picked up my pace and finished with a final time of 39 minutes and 31 seconds.  I was 179th out of 213th timed runners and I was satisfied with my accomplishment and my race tshirt.

Maybe I’ll do it again next year!

Roast Turkey with Citrus and Sage

 

Nothing conjurs up memories of Thanksgiving like the smell of fresh sage.  The aroma fills your head with visions of turkeys and dressing and cranberry sauce.  What a wonderful herb!  I was using some a couple weeks ago while roasting a chicken and I asked my eight-year old son, Tyler, to smell it.  He obliged and quickly responded with an “Ewwww!”  He didn’t appreciate that glorious smell, but I told him when he gets older it will remind him of Thanksgiving.  This is due to the fact that I always use fresh sage when making my roast turkey.  This year I will be doing my tradional roasted bird and I will also be doing a deep fried turkey. Can’t wait to dive into that delicious poultry!

Ingredients:

18-22 lb frozen turkey completely thawed (remove neck, gizzard and livers from body cavity)

2 navel oranges cut into sixths

2 lemons cut into sixths

1/4 – 1/2 c fresh sage leaves kept whole

2 small or 1 large yellow onion cut into sixths

olive oil

ground sage

6c chicken or turkey stock  (use about 4c for gravy)

2T unsalted butter softened

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

butchers twine

Preheat oven to 425F.  Rinse your turkey thoroughly with cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels.  Season the inside of your bird with salt, pepper and some ground sage.  Stuff your citrus, onion and fresh sage inside both body cavitys.  Place the turkey neck bone in a roasting pan and pour about 1c of stock into your roasting pan.  Lift up skin flap covering breasts and spread 1T of butter under skin onto each breast.  Coat the outside of your bird with olive oil, salt, pepper and ground sage and place on rack in roasting pan.  Fold skin over turkey body cavity and tuck  wings under body.  Pull legs together and secure with butchers twine.  Place in oven for 15-20 minutes and then turn temperature down to 325F.  Your turkey should be done after about 4-4 1/2 hours.  Baste your bird every 30 minutes with additional chicken stock.   You may need to cover the turkey with foil during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking time so it doesn’t get too brown so keep an eye on it. 

Once it is done let your bird rest for about 20 minutes before carving.  Take the stock and drippings from the roasting pan and make a gravy.  Use a fat seperator or chill your stock to remove excess fat (you could also use the fat in place of the butter for your roux).  I start mine in a large pot and melt about 4T of butter and then add 4T of gluten-free flour to make a roux.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and then whisk in your stock from the roasting pan and add an additional 2-4 c of stock.  Cook until thickened and add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper as needed.  This makes an amazing gravy!

The Quest for Pumpkin

I decided to make a completely homemade pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.  I was inspired when I saw a youtube video of Ben Starr (those who watched Master Chef will know who he is) making a pumpkin pie using nothing from a can.  I was mesmerized as I watched him and knew immediately I must tackle this project!  Today I set out to buy a pumpkin.  According to Ben Starr you can use either a large pumpkin or a pie pumpkin for his recipe.

 I drove to Publix at lunch to find not a single pumpkin.  I knew there was another Publix a couple of miles away so I drove over to that one, but again no pumpkins at all.  I was frustrated so I asked the manager to check to see if they had any in the back.  He called his produce manager who said he had been trying to order them, but no luck in getting them.  I had about given up and was heading to Whole Foods because I figured if anyone would have them they would.  I happened to pass one more Publix on the way and decided to try them one last time.  To my delight when I walked into the store there was a small basket centered around some hay bails containing 7 pie pumpkins.  I grabbed two of them and hurried to the cashier with my bounty.  Who knew it would be so difficult to find pumpkins after Halloween?  Was there some sort of pumpkin shortage I didn’t know about?  I remember they were scattererd all over the stores in October, but apparently those who want them in November to make pumpkin pie are on a wild goose chase to find these beauties.

For those that want to traverse the stores in search of pumpkin here is the recipe I’ll be using this year (revised to be gluten-free).

To make pumpkin puree preheat oven to 350F.  Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out seeds and strings.  Place pumpkin cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and fill pan with 1/2 c water.  Bake for 30 minutes for sugar pumpkins and up to 90 minutes for larger pumpkins.  When it is ready the pumpkin should look collapsed and should be soft when you touch it with a wooden spoon.  Remove the pumpkin and let cool.  Scrape flesh out with a spoon and puree in a food processor until smooth.  Pour puree onto a clean towel and pat down gently for 5 minutes with towel to remove excess water.

Crust Ingredients (enough to make 2 crusts):

2 1/2 c gluten-free all purpose flour or flour blend

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

1  T granulated sugar

3/4 c shortening

1T rice vinegar

4T ice water

1 large egg slightly beaten

Mix flour, salt, xanthan gum and sugar in a bowl.  Cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form.  In another bowl beat vinegar and egg with a forkd.  Add ice water and then stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until dough forms a ball.  Work with your hands to obtain a smooth texture and add more ice water if dough is still too crumbly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.  Divide dough in half and roll each ball between 2 sheets of wax paper until it is about 2 inches wider than a deep dish pie plate.  Remove top layer of wax paper and place your pie plate onto your dough.  Gently flip your dough over so it rests in the pie plate.  Flute the edges of the crust with your fingers.  Prick bottom crust with fork and then prebake in 450F oven for 10-15 minutes.  Put crust in fridge while you make the filling. 

Filling Ingredients:

2c pumpkin puree

1 1/2 c heavy cream

1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk

1/3 c granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 T ground ginger

1 T ground cardamom

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

Presheat oven to 425F.  Whisk filling ingredients together until smooth.  Pour filling into unbaked crust and bake in center of oven for 15 minutes.  Lower your oven to 350F and continue baking for 40 minutes.  If crust begins to brown too much cover it with foil.  Test the pie center with a knife and if it comes out clean it is ready.  If you get any streaks on your knife continue cooking for 5-10 minutes longer.  Once done let pie cool completely and then refrigerate overnight.  Let pie come back to room temperature before serving with a dollup of whipped cream!

Sausage Apple Stuffing

Have you ever found recipes on products and then stick them somewhere and never use them?  A couple years ago I came across this sausage stuffing recipe and have never made it so this year, in addition to our wonderful squash dressing, I’m going to make the Tennessee Pride Sausage Stuffing with the addition of apples.  My family can chow down on the dressing and the stuffing so this will be a great addition to the menu.

Ingredients:

1 lb Tennesse Pride Country Sausage (mild or sage)

2c chopped onion

1c chopped celery (including leaves)

1 Honeycrisp or Fuji apple chopped (my addition)

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

1 tsp marjoram

10c dry Udi’s gluten-free bread cubes

1/3 c flat leaf parsley chopped

2c chicken stock

2T unsalted butter

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cook the sausage in a large skillet until browned and drain on paper towels.  Cook onion, celery, rosemary and apple in sausage drippings until tender.  Combine sausage, vegetables, parsley, seasonings and bread in very large bowl and mix well.  Stir in chicken broth to moisten stirring well.  Pour stuffing in greased 13X9 baking dish and dot with butter.  Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes until golden brown.

What is your favorite stuffing/dressing recipe?

Cranberry Sauce….NOT from a can!

All this week I’m going to share the recipes that I will be making my family for Thanksgiving this year.  First up is my made-from-scratch cranberry sauce.  I know some of you (we won’t name names) are satisfied with taking a can of either the jelly or whole berry variety and opening it up via can opener on Thanksgiving day, but I ask where is the fun in that?  There is nothing like the taste of freshly made cranberry sauce to ring in Thanksgiving and it is so easy to make.  I make mine a day or two ahead of turkey day and it is great!

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 granny smith apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
1/4 cup orange juice
grated zest of one orange and one lemon
 
In a pot on the stove cook the cranberries, sugar and water over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until the cranberry skins begin to pop.  Add the apple, zests and juice and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Refrigerate for at least 24 hrs (sauce will thicken).

Put the can openers away and try this version this year and let me know your thoughts!

Uphill Battle

Yesterday I decided to do my running to practice for my first 5K in my neighborhood instead of on the nice flat track to prepare myself in case the course has hills.  I decided to run/walk to my son’s elementary school which is about 1.5 miles and then back so that would get to me to around the 3 mile mark.  I started off strong with a nice fall wind in my face.  I concentrated on my breathing so I wouldn’t get that pinch in my side.  Everything was going great….until I got to that first hill.  I tried to run as I could feel the incline under my feel, but my running turned into a brisk walk. 

Whenever I came to another flat section of our neighborhood I ran, but when there was something steep I resorted to walking.  I got to my son’s school and immediately turned around and headed back home.  This time the wind was at my back and my hooded jacket that I had been wearing when I started was now tied around my waist.  I could feel the sweat building under my arms and into my tshirt, but I pressed on.  I found myself trying to run when a car was going to be near….I don’t know why.  As if they cared whether or not I was running or walking, but it did motivate me somewhat. 

I was so happy to see my house as I rounded the last hill.  It took me about 40 minutes to get those 3 miles in, but I think I’m now ready to do this 5k thing!

Wish me luck!