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A few days ago a New York Times (NYT) staff writer by the name of Catherine Saint Louis  published an interesting article in the Dining & Wine section of the NYT called Removing ‘Sacrifice’ from ‘Gluten-Free’.

She talks all about her dining experience with her friends, always having to qualify her cooking with the statement “it’s gluten-free” as if to offer some condolence to the fact that it an imposter to its gluten counterpart.  I have said that more times than I have hands to count on, and watched people turn up their noses in refusal of the gluten-free food, all because it’s gluten-free.

However, a few weeks ago . . .

Laura & Me at Tasting Table

I got an exciting call from my friend, Laura Hahn, with Guilt Free Foodie Cutie.  She was going to have a gluten-free table (at a full of gluten event).  The table would beshow-casing Sweet Christine’s GF baguettes and brownies at the March of Dimes Chef’s Tasting Gala taking place at the Please Touch Museum three days later.  We decided it would be best to partner up and make spreads for the baguettes and a topping for the brownies.

In two days, we had everything planned and were cooking till the minute we ran out the door.  Rushing to meet Laura, I arrived at the same time as she did.  We loaded her stuff into my car, and while shoving it in the back, I notice that my car started to venture forward into the street, gaining some momentum.  In high heals, I started chasing after my car, jumped into the driver’s seat, and tried to assess the situation before the situation assessed me; luckily I didn’t have to get very far.  In all the excitement, I had forgotten to put the car in park!!!  Um, can we say, “Ding-Dong?!!”  That had never happened before.  I guess there’s always a first for everything.

With the minor situation behind us, we reached the loading dock, and hauled our stuff through the underground maze like tunnels.  Once we reached the table, we began decorating it, slicing bread, cutting brownies, and adding the spreads.  Laura had made a Tuscan White Bean Dip finished with an Arugula Pistachio Pesto.  I had made a Winter Squash Ricotta Spread topped with pomegranate seeds.  I was hoping to find a recipe for my latest and greatest idea, but it appeared that a recipe didn’t exist, so I began to create my own with my latest favorite ingredient.  Can you guess?!!  MOLASSES!  (For the health benefits of molasses, click here.)  If you want to read this mouth-watering recipe, click here.

Spreads, brownies, & Ingredient Cards

We had a FANTASTIC night, meeting such fun and interesting people!  As we watched the faces of those sampling our foods, we saw faces of relaxation, delight, and euphoria.  They came back for seconds and thirds.  We waited in anticipation for them to express that it was gluten-free, and yet people could not believe their pallets or their ears.  Though some said they could texturally feel the difference, there was no taste difference at all.  The truth was that we were proud to announce that our food gluten-free, because it was AWESOME!!

Unlike Saint Louis who only had one guest say he couldn’t believe that it was gluten-free, the majority of our samplers couldn’t believe it.  With lots of practice and patience in the kitchen, I truly believe that my gluten-free food is often superior to its gluten counterpart, but maybe that’s because I’m making everything from scratch, which seems to be a lost art.  Though 20 years ago it was hard to find a gluten-free product, and 10 years ago the gluten-free products tasted like stale jail food, today’s gluten-free products are excellent; however, it does take a bit of trial and error to know which ones to use.  Saint Louis did not choose all the brands that I would have chosen, so of course my first thought to her dinner party was that I would have chosen a different flour and a different pasta.  I would have indeed made my cheesecake with a nut crust and not have used any flour.  There are also excellent gluten-free graham crackers to make a crust with, too . . . however, the more we try the more we learn.

Three Tips for Making Gluten-Free Food Better than the Original

Some people have the misconception that “gluten-free” means “taste-free.”  Here are 3 tips to make your gluten-free dishes delicious:

1. Choose the Best Tasting Brand

To read more, click here . . .

This article can also be found on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Celiac Central: Bits and Bites Page

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Traveling Trail Mix

If you’re about to travel for any of the upcoming holidays, this is an easy traveling snack to through together.

In any kind of container, mix a hand full of the following ingredients.  Feel free to tell me other foods you like in your trail mix!
– Nature’s Path GF Whole O’s
– Corn Chex
– Eden Organic or Ocean Spray Cranberries
– Raisins
– Happy Baby Green Puffs
– Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
– Snyder’s GF pretzels
– Optional: Nuts of any kind

Dried Cranberries, OrganicNewman's Own Organics Raisins

Enjoy Life Semi-sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
Snyder's Of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

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My daughter & Me at Thanksgiving Dinner

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year because it speaks to cool, crisp air, falling leaves, harvests, family gatherings, and lots of food.  This all sounds great!  Then the reality of the situation hits; my imagination runs wild and I see a playground for gluten: The slide is a big wet lasagna noodle, the swings seats are plump, cushy pumpkin muffins, the dirt is stuffing giving way under the shuffle of feet as animals, adults, and kids slurp and slide all over, smearing gluten from one play structure to the next.
Then the chilly fall air blows across my face and I’m back to reality – gobs of friends and family hovering over the food, fingers picking, serving spoons jumping from one platter to the next. . . This could end up as a regular old disaster, but I then I take hold of my imagination and decide to control the situation with ORDER.

To read more, click here . . .

This article can also be found on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’s Celiac Central: Bits and Bites Page

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