Feb 3, 2009

Gluten-Free Kisses

With Valentine’s Day coming up there’s bound to be a bit of smooching going on. If you’re avoiding gluten but still feeling queasy, the ‘Evil Gluten Monster’ may be making sneaky attacks.

As you may know, Tummy Boy has Celiac Disease and I, his girlfriend, do not. He is a very sensitive Celiac and if he gets even a crumb he’s sick for days. Back in the beginning of our Celiac adventure we read about getting ‘glutened’ from kisses in a book about Celiac Disease. If I eat a sandwich and then give Tummy Boy a kiss; he gets just a bit of gluten. It’s not enough to have an attack but it’s enough to make him feel queasy.

When gluten is in the air, what are love birds to do?

- If you just ate, kiss on the cheek.

- Brush your teeth after every meal. Dentists recommend this anyways, don’t they?

- Be careful with other cross-contamination issues. Don’t share straws, drinks, forks, Chapstick, etc.

- If it is a special occasion or a romantic meal consider having the entire menu Gluten-Free so that you don’t have to worry about kisses.

Following these tips will help ensure that Valentine’s Day is full of love, not tummy aches.

This is not intended to be medical advice.

Feb 2, 2009

Celiac Dating Ideas

One of the biggest challenges I’ve found with dating a very sensitive Celiac is that one of the most popular date ideas- visiting a fun or romantic restaurant- is out of the question. Finding fun dating ideas can be a challenge for anyone, but trying to accommodate severe dietary restrictions means that you need to be extra creative.

The Celiac Picnic- Find a romantic grassy spot to lay out a blanket. We have yet to find a Gluten-Free bread we crave, so we choose to make our own ‘Lunchable’. Pack fresh fruit like grapes or watermelon for a juicy snack, and Fuze vitamin drink for a beverage. Some of Yo-Plait yogurts are Gluten-Free, and can help fill the tummy. Nut Thins are our Gluten-Free cracker of choice, so pair those with cheddar cheese slices (Cracker Barrel makes a Gluten-Free kind that is pre-cut into the perfect cracker size) and some Gluten-Free Sara-Lee ham or turkey. (Remember: As always, this is just a guide and you should always check with the manufacturer if a product contains your allergen or sensitivity.) Tummy Boy is a big fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so he and I would pack some of those for dessert to sweeten up the kisses. Pack the perfect picnic in a cooler with an ice pack to keep everything chilled. Bring along sunglasses/sunscreen, and magazines, a beach ball, or an MP3 player for entertainment. Or just relax and watch the clouds with your sweetie!

Paint-Your-Own Pottery- Around where we live there are several really fun paint-your-own pottery studios. We find this a great way to relax and talk and bond together. Tummy Boy even made a wicked cool Celiac plate that he painted bright orange like a caution sign and in the center he put a skull with wheat cross bones. It is certainly a conversation piece in his parent’s dining room among the expensive German Hummel collector’s plates. After you paint it, you come back in a week to pick up your masterpieces. Do I hear a great excuse for another date?

Movie Night- A classic date that never goes out of style. Pick out a DVD together (if you’re low on funds, see if you can rent one from your local library or borrow one from a friend) and gather up pillows and blankets to pile on the couch with you as you snuggle. May I suggest the delicious and sweet (and not that bad for you!) GF Lesser Evil popcorn?

Board Games & Dessert- Grab a bag of Namaste GF Brownie Mix at the grocery store and mix it up together. While you’re waiting for the fudgy squares, sprawl out on the living room floor with a puzzle or your favorite board games. When the brownies are done, enjoy them together of course!

Jan 24, 2009

Dreamy Creamy Pasta Primavera

Tummy Boy and I have recently stumbled upon a Gluten-Free (and vegetarian!) gold mine with Alouette cheeses. In the two weeks since we have discovered Alouette, I have cooked with it three times!
According to their website:

Is Alouette gluten free?
Yes, all Alouette products are gluten free.”

So, the other night we were in the mood for a romantic dinner and I made a wonderful (If I may say so myself) and easy Gluten-Free Pasta Primavera. It’s hard to describe just how good this was, but we were definitely members of the clean plate club.
They have a recipe on the website but we took a little liberty with it. Here’s how we did it:

1 bag Bionaturae Pasta (We used the Spaghetti shape)
1 tub Alouette Garlic & Herb Spreadable Cheese
1 small jar Roasted Red Peppers
A splash of Gluten-Free Vegetable Broth (Brand: Kitchen Basics)
1 jar Sliced Mushrooms
A few Oil Cured Olives (More or less to taste- Tummy Boy did not care for these but I sure do!)
1 handful Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 small Zucchini
1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Tummy Boy got the pasta boiling while I worked on the other ingredients. For prep work: I chopped up the zucchini in small half moon shapes, or you can do them julienne. And I opened all the jars, un-pitted the olives and cut them in half, sliced up the roasted red pepper, and picked over and washed the spinach. I heated up a small sauce pan and cooked all of the vegetables in with the olive oil until the zucchini was lightly browned on each side. At that point I tossed in the splash of vegetable broth and scooped the Alouette into the pan too. I stirred everything around as the cheese melted instantly into a yummy sauce. Tummy Boy had the pasta finished at that point, so I poured the vegetable/sauce mixture into the big spaghetti pot and stirred.

We lit some candles and had a very romantic evening and some Gluten-Free kisses too.


Jan 22, 2009

Top 10 Gluten-Free Products

Gluten-Free Girlfriend and Tummy Boy have put together their list of Top 10 Gluten-Free products. We hope this list helps save you time and money if you’re new to living Gluten-Free. If you’re not new to this diet, we challenge you to see if you agree with us. In any case, these products are the best of the best, and they are really worth trying!

(Tummy Boy’s note: These are 10 gluten-free products that don’t suck, and in ways they are a lifesaver. Trust me we could go on about gluten-free products that do suck.)

In no particular order:

Bionaturae Pasta- Spaghetti, fusilli, etc. this pasta is the real deal. It’s made from potato, rice, and soy for a delicious texture. Tummy boy and his girlfriend happily eat it together and neither feels like they are missing out on anything. This is even better than the beloved Tinkyada GF pasta!

Gluten Freeda’s REAL Cookies: Chip Chip Hooray- All we can say is Wow. The first time I made these to surprise my hunny I couldn’t keep my fingers out of the cookie dough! I was really reluctant to try them but I am so glad we did. They come in a tub with pre-formed frozen cookie dough balls, and you just bake and eat. They don’t help with the waistline, but if you’ve been craving REAL cookies again these will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Against the Grain Bagels- Tummy Boy insists that these are always in stock. They don’t have the same texture as wheat bagels, we have yet to find tasty ones that do, but don’t get me wrong we LOVE these. They’re eggy and cheesy and are great with cream cheese, as a breakfast sandwich, as a REGULAR sandwich, or in any way you can dream up.

Maple Grove Farms Pancake Mix- Sunday morning rolls around and we are in a maple mood. Maple Grove Gluten Free Pancake Mix hits the spot. These are fluffy and delicious and really fill you up. To the woman who told us about it in the grocery store- thanks!

Against the Grain Pizza Crust- The Against the Grain company is so good we had to include them twice. As a guy in his 20’s, Tummy Boy (and I) has tried LOTS of pizza crusts. Most are acceptable, but he loves how thin, flaky, and cheesy the Against the Grain one is.

Rice Chex- Since Rice Chex reformulated their… formula… they have joined the Celiac community. On mornings we lay in bed a little too long and Tummy Boy has to be out the door, he’s a very happy Celiac with a big bowl of Rice Chex. It’s tasty for breakfast and they also have some awesome GF recipes on their website. Hey Rice Chex, Thanks for making the small change that was huge to us.

Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Cake- In October we whipped up a delicious GF chocolate cake for Tummy Boy’s birthday that the whole family enjoyed. My only complaint about this cake is it’s slightly hard to make, but then again I’m really lazy.

Kinnikinnick Donuts- Gluten-Free Girlfriend likes these donuts better than gluten donuts! They’re a traditional cake donut that comes in both cinnamon sugar and glazed. Warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds and wow.

Van’s Gluten-Free Waffles- These waffles are such a staple to us that they almost missed our list because we forgot they were Gluten-Free! Watch out Eggos, this is by far Tummy Boy’s most popular breakfast choice. He even happily substituted these waffles for Sloppy Joe buns the other night.

Bell & Evan’s Chicken Tenders- Last on the list but CERTAINLY not least. These are breaded chicken tenders that are quick and easy out of the freezer. As the meat eater in our little family, Tummy Boy says if you spray the pan with Pam they come out crispy and juicy...and um chicken like?

There you have it! Tummy Boy and I are all about taste, quickness and easiness for our busy lives. 10 Thumbs up to these products.

Disclaimer: Gluten-Free Girlfriend & Tummy Boy are not affiliated with any of these products or brands. They are owned by their individual companies, and this Top 10 list is merely our personal preferences.

Jan 21, 2009

(Easy) Tasty Gluten Free Desserts

Tummy Boy sure has a sweet tooth! When I can pull him away from his bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, we enjoy these delicious desserts. They’re soo easy!

Warm Apple Donut Delight

Kinnikinnick Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Musselman’s Chunky Home-style Apple Sauce
Vanilla Ice cream

Heat up the cinnamon donut in a paper towel for a few seconds in the microwave until warm. Spoon out some apple sauce into a small bowl to also microwave for a few seconds. Place the donut on your plate, and then spoon some warm chunky applesauce into the donut’s hole. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chex Muddy Buddies
From the Rice Chex Website!

9 Cups Rice Chex (Gluten Free)
1 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (Gluten-Free Girlfriend’s note: We use Nestle morsels)
½ Cup Peanut Butter
¼ Cup Butter or Margarine
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar

1) Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
2) In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3) Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Broiled Grapefruit
We made this last night for a lighter tasting dessert.

1 large grapefruit
1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Cut the grapefruit in half. A grapefruit has sections like an orange, so don’t cut it so you can get apart individual sections (vertical), cut it horizontal instead. Cut a bit of rind off each end so that the grapefruit half can sit easily on the baking tray without wobbling. Section off each bite of grapefruit by running a knife around each individual section. Place ½ tbsp. of butter or margarine and 1 tbsp. of brown sugar on top of the grapefruit half. Place the grapefruit halves on a baking tray in the oven (set to broil). When the butter is melted the grapefruit is done!

Jan 20, 2009

Quick & Easy Work Lunches

Today is a historic day and Gluten-Free Girlfriend wishes the best to the Obama family.

Tummy boy rushed out the door this morning, which inspires today’s post. These lunches are far from gourmet, but they are filling. Tummy Boy and I often forget to pack the night before, so with a quick trip to the grocery store on the way to work, these lunches do the trick!

Barbeque Rice & Chicken

Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice
Perdue Short Cuts Chicken Strips
Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbeque Sauce
Cabot Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Bring along a Tupperware container to mix it all up. Pop the Ready Rice in the microwave for 90 seconds; heat the chicken on a paper towel; toss it all in the Tupperware and dig in!

Hormel Chili & Tortilla Chips

1 can of Hormel Chili
Tostidos Tortilla Chips (Caution: These are made on the same lines as wheat ingredients, and although the lines are washed in between there is the possibility of cross-contamination)
Cabot Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Bring along a Tupperware container. Heat up the Hormel Chili; sprinkle some cheese in; and dip in the chips- super easy.

Turkey & Cheese Roll-Ups

Sara-Lee Pre-Packaged Turkey
Frigo String Cheese
Lay’s Stax

Pull apart the string cheese lengthwise in several (2, 3, 4) pieces and wrap turkey around it. Compliment it with GF Lay’s Stax for the bread-esque feel.

We consider these options Gluten-Free fast food, and we hope these suggestions help you out of a pinch someday!

Jan 19, 2009

Welcome to Gluten-Free Girlfriend

Welcome to Gluten-Free Girlfriend! I'd like to take the first post to introduce myself and my family. My name is Laura, and I am the Gluten-Free Girlfriend. My sweet Celiac boyfriend is Christopher, AKA Tummy boy. We're young adults and are looking forward to a lifetime of happiness together.

When Tummy Boy and I started dating he had warned me that his stomach is bad sometimes and he just gets sick sometimes randomly. He has been battling stomach issues his entire life, and when he went to the doctor's they told him it was stress, or IBS, and to basically just deal with it.

After a few months of dating, life handed him some big changes and at that point his intestines decided they have had enough. He got very ill, was hospitalized and given a battery of tests, and even ended up missing work for a month. I was so scared as we got possible diseases and conditions thrown at us right and left. (Stomach cancer? bleeding ulcers? hepatitis?) During this time he was told to live on a diet of dry pasta, dry toast, and bananas, and we couldn't understand why he wasn't getting better!

His doctor finally took him seriously and really explored what could be wrong with him. We consider ourselves lucky because eventually a Celiac test was ordered, and an endoscopy, and then it was a confirmed diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Not stomach cancer, but Woah.

Since then, we battle the 'evil' Gluten monster every day. After many months of it, we're getting pretty good- so I bring you Gluten-Free girlfriend to share our successes and secrets.

Gluten-Free Girlfriend (& Tummy Boy)