Mini Gluten-free Pumpkin Salted Caramel Turnovers (aka Pumpkin Cajeta Empanadas)

I'm already thinking about which Christmas CD I'm going to start listening to first, come October 31st. (Technically, it's not a CD. It's a download or one of the many holiday mixes on itunes, but I can't bring myself to stop saying CD. :P) I figure, if Costco has their Christmas stuff up, then I'm already behind!

Holiday menu plans are already in the works. I'm actually considering making these empanadas instead of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. They travel a lot easier and there's no slicing required. (I still don't own a pie/cake cutter.)

What will be on your holiday menu this year?

My husband's been taking sweets to work every Friday, because Friday is his official "cheat day," it's also my baking day. (Well, some of the work usually begins on Thursday.) It was tough to share these ;), but they were a hit. A few folks already asked for the recipe. Here I am posting it almost a week later (sorry!). I'm happy to report that I left the few leftover turnovers/empanadas out overnight/uncovered and they weren't stale, stiff, or dry.

Flakey and good, with a pumpkiny center that was still moist.

I think this is my favorite dessert so far.

This recipe makes about 24, unless you make them huge. (The photo above depicts a huge one that I baked for the hubby and I so we could eat it with ice cream on top!) You'll have about half the filling left after. Tips for what to do with it? Mix it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream for a pumpkin caramel milk shake. Or add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to it, heat it briefly, then mix everything to enjoy it as a pumpkin caramel pudding :).

The filling is thicker than pumpkin pie filling, almost custardy. I made it that way so that it wouldn't sneak out of the pastry during the baking process. It worked perfectly!

Then....use a small glass with about a 3 inch diameter to make the circles. Flatten them out a bit, add about 3/4 TBSP of filling on half the circle, then fold over and pinch the sides closed or seal with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush the pastries with cinnamon butter. To make the cinnamon butter I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and sugar to taste for every 8 pastries, and I brushed them right before baking (it's better to do it a little at a time like this because it will harden as it cools). Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, on the middle rack, in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 16 minutes.

Pumpkin Caramel Filling:
1 can pumpkin
1 13.4 ounce can of Nestle's dulce de leche (this one)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Combine pumpkin and dulce de leche in a sauce pan over low heat. While constantly stirring, cook on medium-low until the dulce de leche is completely melted into the pumpkin; stir in pumpkin pie spice. Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes, very slowly sprinkle in the corn starch while stirring (too quickly and it'll get lumpy). Raise heat to medium and reduce while continually stirring for 5 minutes. Set aside, stir in heavy cream and coarse salt.

Spicy, Soft and Chewy Gluten-Free Ginger Cookies

...And there's not a drop (or sprinkle?) of xanthan gum in this recipe, folks!  So if you want to make your gluten-free friend a special cookie this coming holiday season, you don't have to spend $12 on a bag of xanthan gum that you'll never use again (...let's avoid having it spill all over your pantry floor or cupboards, like it always seems to do in mine)!

I'm still experimenting with xanthan gum-free recipes, and I've found that making gluten-free bread without xanthan gum is pretty challenging.  It seems the dough doesn't want to rise as nicely.  But if you want to make a light pie crust or batch of cookies, all you need is a teaspoon or two of cold milled ground flaxseeds.  I heard about this baking secret from the gluten-free girl. (If you can make delicious gluten-free bread with flax, lemme know!)

Ok.  So maybe it isn't a secret.  I think I'm just a little behind, as with most things :).  And this is why I'm getting getting an early start on the holiday baking.

I can't wait to do a cookie exchange!  Only thing is, I think I might be the only one bringing a batch of gluten-free cookies.  But at least I'll be able to fool their taste buds into thinking that the chewiness is from gluten!

These Big Soft Ginger Cookies looked good.  But one thing I've learned from All-Recipes' recipes is that their members usually give THEIR OWN versions of the cookie/dessert 4 or 5 stars, but they seem to offer quite a few critiques of the original recipe.  So I read the tips and tweaked away, all the while remembering that I'd be working on a gluten-free version.

When using gums like xanthan and guar (What weird names.  Still feel like I'm speaking some sort of green-eyed alien language when saying them), more liquids are required.  I usually throw in a few extra eggs, or a bit more milk/water/etc.  But this time we're using ground flax mixed with a bit of hot water.  The result?  A cookie that isn't heavy.  Instead, it's soft, chewy, and even spicy.

That's how I like my ginger cookies, with a kick.  2 1/2 tsps of ginger did the trick for me.

Now that I've got you thinking about holiday baking, what Christmas cookie do you want to see gluten free?  Email me your requests starting.... now!

I can't seem to get my hands off of that Better Homes and Garden Magazine with all the pretty festive cookies on the cover.  But it's $10!  Guess what?  You can find those recipes by googling "Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies".  First link, promise!  I'll be making a few of 'em.  Don't they look good?!

Spicy, Soft, and Chewy Gluten Free Ginger Cookies
Makes about 16 medium ginger cookies

Bowl 1
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt

Bowl 2
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
combine 2 tsp ground flax with 2 tsp boiling water (in another small bowl)
3 TBSP olive oil butter
3 TBSP non hydrogenated shortening
2 TBSP molasses

1/8 cup sugar for rolling cookies in...

Preheat oven to 350

Mix together all the dry ingredients in one big bowl.  In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (I know sugar isn't wet, but you know :). And in yet another small bowl, stir together the flax and water. Then work everything together in the biggest bowl, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Roll the cookies into little balls, then roll them in the extra 1/8 cup of sugar you set aside.  Place them on a cookie sheet about an inch apart on a greased cookie sheet, and flatten them a tad with your fingers (they will spread, but don't leave them as brown balls.  Doesn't look pretty on the cookie sheet this way, and won't cook evenly either. :)

Bake for 9- 10 minutes in your preheated 350 degree oven.

How To Make Gluten-free Pastry

(...believe me, there should be many more exclamation points after that title!)

Flakes aren't usually a good thing, now are they? Flakes on a first date? Not so attractive. Flaky personality-- definitely not appealing. But I have to tell you, today I fell in love with something flaky and my husband is OK with it. Why? Because he's in love, too!

Maybe I shouldn't talk about flakes on a food blog :P. But, my friends, flakes are a very good thing today!

...Because we're talking about the amazing buttery flakes of a homemade pastry. That's right, and it's not just any pastry, folks. Say hello to a completely gluten-free pastry! I never thought the words "gluten-free" would ever be used in the same sentence as "pastry"! But I recently had a sweet reader contact me, and she asked if I could help her find/come up with a gluten-free pastry recipe. (She was looking for a cream cheese danish, so that's what we made here...also made an apple filling.) I'd been craving pastries myself so I couldn't say no :)! This lovely recipe provided the inspiration.

Thank you again, Catherine, for this opportunity! You helped me face my biggest fear. The thought of making gluten-free pastries used to scare me. Not anymore!

My husband, Jose, said I'm not allowed to make these very often ;). (He freaked out when I mentioned the butter content.) And I nearly threw a dish towel at the guy after he took the first bite and grimaced.

He was totally foolin' me!

After shedding tears of joy, I nearly shed many tears of sadness when he tried to trick me into thinking they weren't tasty. But then he apologized and said he loved 'em. He even said they were better than bakery pastries! 

What?! Maybe that's just love talking, but I was definitely happy to hear that. According to Jose, the buttery flavor made them over-the-top tasty. Amazing, that butter...huh?

They're realllllly good, give 'em a try! Perfect way to use up the 22 pounds of apples sittin' pretty in your fridge right now. I'm thinkin' apple turnovers! Oh wait, am I the only one who picked that many apples this fall ;)?!

So here we go with the recipe. It's a lengthy one. The process is definitely long too, but totally worth it! I made sure to mention every last detail, and also included a few pics, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me :)! Love to hear from you all! Makes me feel all warm and gooey inside, like I've just gobbled up a freshly baked pastry :D!

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt

2 sticks of cold butter

1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon orange juice

1/4 cup reserved white rice flour for rolling
powdered sugar for dusting
and nuts for sprinkling, if you like 'em.

Start by combining all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, to create a flour blend. Then, separate 1/2 cup of the flour blend. Put that 1/2 cup of flour in a medium sized bowl.

Next, combine the warm water and single tablespoon of sugar in a large cup or small bowl. Add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes foamy.

In a third large bowl, combine the 3 egg yolks, milk, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour (not the reserved half cup, that's for something else), then stir in the yeast mixture. Cover and refrigerate this for an hour.

Cut the 2 sticks of cold butter into small cubes. With your hands, combine with the reserved 1/2 cup of flour. The heat from your hands will slightly melt the butter--a thick buttery/flour mixture will form. Shape into a thick square, then refrigerate this for about 20 minutes.

At this point you'll have two things in the refrigerator. Once you've refrigerated the yeasty dough for the allotted hour, and the butter/flour mixture has chilled in the fridge for 20 minutes, you can take them both out and place them on a large work space/counter. Make sure you have some rice flour reserved in a small bowl and 2 large strips of parchment paper (about 18 inches long).

You'll first work with the yeasty mix. Place one sheet of parchment paper on the counter, then shape this dough into a ball. Sprinkle rice flour over the surface of the ball of dough you've just created. Sprinkle a bit of rice flour on the parchment, then place the dough on the parchment. Flatten it out a bit with your hands, then place the second piece of parchment over it and roll it out into a rectangular shape, with a rolling pin (doesn't have to be perfect). It should be about 1/2 an inch thick or so.

Next, place the rectangular butter/flour block in the center of the yeasty dough. Fold the top part of the yeasty dough over the body of the butter block. Repeat with the bottom part, then fold the left and right sides over the butter block. You want to basically enclose this butter block in the yeasty dough.

Place the parchment paper over the dough. Start by rolling up from the center. Then down toward you, from the center. Then left from the center and right from the center. This completes one round of rolling. Fold the dough over itself again (like you did when covering the butter block), sprinkle with a bit of rice flour, if necessary, and roll out the dough the same way.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Then remove the dough and roll it out the same way again. Refrigerate for one moire hour. Then roll again.

After you've rolled out the dough a total of 3 times, with 2-1 hour chilling sessions in the fridge…take a break and leave the dough in the fridge over night! :)

You can work on the filling while the dough is chilling. This part is easy :)! You can combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mix well then refrigerate until you're ready to prepare the pastries.

But if you want to make an apple filling, this is what you'll need:
3 medium apples
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
1/4 cup cloudy apple cider

Peel then cut 3 medium apples into thin slices. Combine in a sauce pan with all the ingredients (before you turn on the flame). Then cook on medium low covered for just a few minutes, until they just start to soften. Mix occasionally, then cook uncovered until they're a bit tender but not soggy. Discard/spoon out some of the excess juice and place in a container/refrigerate until you're ready to make the pastries.

To prepare the pastry…roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/2 an inch thick. With a knife, cut off the excess dough (so that it's a clean rectangle shape). Cut the rectangle down the middle, then create 6 square/rectangular pastry squares. This can get stick, so refrigerate the dough you aren't working with.

Next, cut a new piece of parchment or aluminum foil large enough to cover a big cookie sheet, spray with non-stick. Place parchment on cookie sheet. Arrange the pastry rectangle on the parchment so that one corner is facing you and it looks like an uneven diamond shape. If you need to smooth out the dough, you can wet your fingers with cold water and smooth it out with your fingertips. Put a generous dollop of filling down the middle of the dough rectangle/diamond. Gently lift one corner and bring it toward the middle, over the filling; repeat and do the same for the opposite corner. Two of the corners should now be covering the filling, with a small space dividing the corners as they pass. (If you're working with apples, I recommend arranging them one slice at a time down the middle, so that they're resting flat on the pastry, or on top of each other.)

Repeat with the remaining pastry rectangles.

When you're done, cover the pastries with a clean cloth or towel and let them rest for an hour in a dark area.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 25 minutes in the middle rack or until they're golden.

Gluten Free Sticky Toffee Pudding

If you never, ever bake anything in your life...
Or if you resolved to not eat sugar in 2013...
Make an exception for this life-changing dessert: Sticky toffee pudding!

It's one of my favorite foods.

I'll even go so far as to say that I'm sure they eat this for dessert in heaven (daily), while they peel garlic and chop onions with dull knives while dreaming of sticky toffee pudding in the underworld.

Yes, it is that good.  And friends, this gluten-free version is just as good as the gluteny one.  How do I know?  A few years ago, actually about 5, I posted a non gluten-free version on Flour Arrangements, and this one made me equally as happy.

Sure, it's quite ugly.  But you know what?  My toddler, (the biggest little food critic who happens to hate any food that doesn't look good--I mean, she won't even eat mashed potatoes because she doesn't like how they look!) yeah, she LOVES this dessert. 

And your family will too. 

You know how you're probably feeling guilty right about now for re-gifting your fake plastic pearls to that special someone this past Christmas?  This is the perfect way to make up for it!  Not just for them, but for you too ;). 

Be sure to sprinkle some sea salt on top of the toffee sauce! mmm....


Bowl 1:
1/3 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 TBSP teff flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Bowl 2:
8 large medjool dates, roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda

Bowl 3:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sea salt for sprinkling

Use this recipe to make the toffee sauce (I also added some maple syrup to it before it thickened)

Preheat oven to 350

Begin by combining in a large bowl all the ingredients from Bowl 1.

Allow all the ingredients in Bowl 2  to rest while you proceed to combine the remaining ingredients in a third bowl...

Cream together all ingredients in the third bowl, from the Bowl 3 list :).

Use an immersion blender to blend the dates, water and baking soda from Bowl 2.

Next, slowly mix in the ingredients from Bowl 3 into Bowl 1, then add the rest of the ingredients from Bowl 2.

Pour all of these magical ingredients into a greased 9 x 13 oven safe dish and bake on the middle rack in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 to 35 minutes.

You want the middle of the pudding to be a bit soft when you take it out of the oven.  Next, set your oven to broil.

Pour enough of the sticky toffee sauce to cover the top layer of the pudding; place in broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, until the top starts to crackle.

Remove from oven and pour some more toffee sauce on it, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Let it cool a bit then serve it with even more toffee sauce (load up on that sugar!).  Whipped cream would be really tasty on top of this too, but this dessert really isn't missing anything.

And before saying goodbye, I have to admit that I made this in honor of the US season premiere of Downton Abbey ;).

Gluten Free Multigrain Bread (that rises beautifully!)

For years, I have been trying to find (and make) a gluten-free bread with a deep, rustic flavor, and that actually RISES.   On cold days, I wanted soup and this kind of dreamy rustic bread for a hearty sandwich or just a slab of creamy butter. It was a craving for oh sooo long!  For years, so many loaves of bread ended up in the trash because they either had a beany taste, or they got stale before we got a chance to finish them (they were forgotten about and still aren't worth remembering).  Bean flours. Yuck.  I see them used in many bread recipes that come with a guarantee to rise.  But that bean taste... blah!  I just can't get over it.  I even tried using just 1/4 cup of bean flour (garfava, to be exact) in a recent recipe and I could still taste it at the end.  Bean there, done that?

The funny thing is?  I LOVE BEANS.  Just not in bread.  I love beans so much I used to crave them when I was pregnant with my first daughter; my husband and I used to joke that we'd call her Frijolina.  If you speak spanish, or if you know how to use a handy online translator, you'll know that frijole means bean.  Yes, that was my firstborn's first nickname, when she was about the size of a bean in my tummy when we lived in Beantown (true store, remember Boston?).  See, I love beans!  Just. Not. In. Bread!!!!  Of course, I do have a health conscious husband who's always keeping me up to date on the latest in health news, and he claims (after reading this reputable book)  that beans are actually not all that healthy for you, anyway (and that white rice is actually one of the safer starches... shocker!).  Some folks like to soak beans in vinegar to help get rid of the toxins... but, I digress!  Just wanted to give you the lowdown on beans and my complicated relationship with them.

Now, my health-conscious blog readers, I know!  Dun, dun, dun... I used xanthan gum!  Ack!  Shouldn't I be using something more healthy like chia seed or flax?  Well, truthfully?  I've experimented with them and they alone don't provide enough of the "oomph" required for a generous rise.  So, now you're probably wondering why I'm not using that lovely fiber supplement known as psyllium husk with or instead of the seeds.  Well, I don't plan on co-partnering with Charmin or any of their toilet paper competitors, so I'll just save you and me a few trips to the bathroom and stick with xanthan.  The amount of fiber required to provide the lift I'm looking for is quite high.  A few folks who've transitioned to using fiber as their "gluten-free glue" claim that it takes some getting used to and can cause GI upset.  But, for kicks, I actually tried using acacia fiber which is a fiber I am familiar with, and is similar to psyllium.  It's actually a more "gentle" fiber, in my humble opinion.  I've never had a bad reaction to it.  It did produce a bread with a pretty good rise, but, alas, xanthan is still the best.  Yes, it is a manipulated corn derivative, so use it sparingly--or not at all if you have an allergy, and do opt for the fiber in that case...but I recommend the acacia fiber for starters.  I, personally, do not react poorly to xanthan, and the quantity I use is so small that I don't mind sticking with it, no pun intended...(xanthan makes things so sticky!).

But the beauty of sharing recipes is that YOU can make them your own by experimenting.  Feel free to use this recipe and switch out the xanthan for fiber and let me know how it works!

I will still be experimenting with this recipe myself, but for a good reason.  What is it?  Well, this bread kinda rose so high that it started overflowing in the tiny glass baking dish I used.  Next time, I'll use a standard bread pan (I am so used to gluten free bread not rising that I didn't anticipate the overflow). My bread pan runneth over with gluten-free goodness, does yours? ;)  Also, I wanna try to make rolls with it at some point, but I think that would require a bit less liquid, maybe one less egg.  Anyhow, feel free to experiment with this recipe...but I do recommend trying it as-is at least once, because it would be delicious with a bowl of soup on a cold night like tonight.

I've got some exciting recipes to come! As soon as my kiddos get over the flu, I will be working on a fried chicken recipe.  Yes, the flu!  Dang, and I thought March was a time for flowers and sunshine, and as I write this there's thunder outside, a winter weather advisory in effect, and two kiddos ready to feel better! Last night, after a long day of caring for two sick babes, I needed something sweet and comforting so I made some delicious maple coconut rice krispies treats with the simplest ingredients (we'll just call them brown rice cereal treats ;).  They'll be up next!

Gluten Free Multigrain bread (THAT RISES and doesn't taste like beans! ;)
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup millet flour
2 TBSP almond meal
3 tsp dry milk powder
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
pumpkin seeds, if you want (I topped the bread with a sprinkle of Bob's rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds for texture)

1 fast acting yeast packet combined with 1/4 cup warm water

1 3/4 cups hot water
3 TBSP grade b maple syrup
2 large eggs at room temperature

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a standing mixer until well combined.  

2. In another small bowl, proof that 1/4 cup warm water with the fast acting yeast.

3. Combine the eggs with the dry flour mixture, add the hot water and the maple syrup.  Mix for about a minute in the standing mixer (at about a medium speed), then add the proofed yeast. 

4. "Pour" batter-like dough into a well-greased bread pan (I used a glass pyrex medium bread pan, but that was a bit small :) -- the bread dough, before rising, already filled the pan.  Next time I'm going to use a pan that leaves about 1/4 in of space from the top).  Smooth top with wet fingers and sprinkle with your favorite seeds/nuts/oats.


Cooking and Baking Gluten Free.

Adjusting to cooking gluten-free can seem daunting, but it will quickly become routine. I searched websites and gleaned information from whomever I could and these are some of the things I do to try to remain healthy.
I have a friend who is allergic to poultry, who says she just stopped eating anything prepared at anyone else’s house; the possibility of cross-contamination is just too great to take the chance. I agree. With only a couple of exceptions, even though the food would be considered gluten free under normal circumstances, e.g salad, it just isn’t worth the risk. I don’t know the conditions under which it was prepared and there are so many ways in which it could have been cross contaminated.

Unless you are going to have a completely gluten-free kitchen, don’t eat food or use utensils that have touched the counter top. When cooking or baking, I get out a small plate on which to set measuring cups, spoons, etc. Baking ingredients, such as sugar and baking powder, can be contaminated by a measuring cup or spoon, so, even if you are baking for someone else, never put a utensil into them that has touched the countertop. If I am baking for someone else using wheat flour, I measure all the other ingredients and then cover them and put them away before I open the flour. It can take 24 hours for flour dust to settle, so I cover anything that I don’t want to be contaminated during that period. I have a separate set of gluten free cutting boards and a gluten free knife for cutting vegetables, chicken, etc. And be careful about sharing a hand towel with anyone eating foods containing gluten. I am sure I sound like a fanatic when I say that I try not to touch my food with my hands when I eat it, but I have suffered too many times from cross-contamination.
Metal pans that have been washed in the dishwasher are safe to use, but I love to bake in stoneware. I am hoping to someday have a complete set of gluten-free stoneware, but in the meantime, I cover all my pans and baking stones with parchment or wax paper. And until my children bought me my own stoneware muffin pan, I used cupcake papers to bake the muffins and biscuits that have been a staple of my diet for the past year or so.
READ EVERY LABEL!! I can’t stress this enough. And be sure to follow up on any asterisks. Look for disclaimers that say that the food was processed in a plant or on machinery that also processes wheat, rye or barley products.
There are a couple of things that I learned from the owner of a great little store here in Salt Lake City:
The word “malt”, when standing alone, indicates a substance made from barley and needs to be avoided. When used in a longer word, such as “maltodextrin,” it indicates something else entirely, and is safe.
Any vinegar is safe to use. You don’t have to look for “distilled.”
From my research, “autolyzed yeast” can be made from either baking yeast, which is safe, or from brewer’s yeast, which is not. You have to call the company to find out which they use in their products. Someone posted on a website that they had called Swanson and the autolyzed yeast in their chicken broth was safe. I have not worked up the courage to try it, yet. Pain has made me wary…or cowardly.
One of the most important things you need to do is to think about all the things you CAN eat and not dwell on what you can’t eat. And find ways to enjoy the same flavors you enjoyed before, but in gluten free form. For her birthday cake this year, my seventeen-year-old granddaughter requested the chocolate cheesecake I created because I LOVE chocolate cheesecake and wasn’t willing to live without it. Be positive, be creative, and please share with the rest of us.

A New Diagnoses and a New Life

Two days ago, my life changed forever. After being sick for months and not knowing why, my doctor figured out that I have Celiac Sprue and need to stop eating gluten.
My jaw dropped when he told me. Until that moment, I was always making fun of what I called “the gluten free fad”. I worked with a girl who was gluten free and it was all she ever seemed to talk about, and I guess I just got sick of hearing about it. Now I wish I had made fun or her less and listened a little more, because I am so lost.

It seems like everything has  gluten in it. Pretty much every item in my pantry needs to be tossed and I’ve been pretty scared to eat ever since being diagnosed. I feel like I’m losing a war against food. When I try to think of something I can eat, all that pops into my head are images of things I will never eat again. The burger joint I used to love, the cronuts I will never try…. they just keep running through my brain, taunting me.
So right now I’m starving. And if I am being honest, I’m a little scared. I don’t know what my new gluten-free life will bring, but I know it is going to be a challenge. Luckily, I have a really good doctor and excellent insurance, so next Tuesday I am going to go to a special class for newbies. Hopefully after they show me the ropes I will be more confident about eating.
Until then, I guess I will stick to plain salad and whatever expensive gluten free things I can find at Whole Paycheck tomorrow. It will cost me a fortune, but at least I will be able to eat with confidence!
What about you– were you scared to eat when you were first diagnosed? What kind of foods did you eat?