Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Break Bars

Like all kids, I like candy and chocolate. There are lots of regular candies that are gluten free, but one thing that I didn't think I would be able to have again was a Kit Kat bar. But then I discovered (well, really my mom discovered) Break Bars!!!! These are gluten-free "chocolate covered four finger wafer bars" that look and taste just like Kit Kat bars. They are made by a company called Glutano which also makes a lot of other gluten-free products. We buy them in our local health food store, A New Leaf; some supermarkets also sell them. You can also find them on-line (google Glutano Break Bar to find some on-line stores). So, if you are missing Kit Kats, I suggest that you try Break Bars.

Friday, January 19, 2007

gluten-free at school

In seventh grade this year, there have been many food projects. So far this year, there has already been one in Science, English, Social Studies, and Spanish. Most of the time my teachers tell me in advance when we will be having food. For English, Science, and Spanish, each person brought in a food and shared it with everyone. A few times there has been wrapped candy which I recognize that I can have. For example there has been tootsie rolls and starburst that I have had from other people. In Spanish we had a week long project where everyone brought in a different food and shared it. It was a little annoying for me because I could only eat something on one of those days(the day that I brought in my food, meringues). There was one other person in the class who kept kosher, so she couldn't eat anything either. Although I wish that we both could have eaten the food, I was glad that someone was in a similar situation as me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Tonight we tried something new -- making calzones using Chebe pizza mix. Chebe is a company from Vermont, with the tag line "Slightly unusual. Unusually good." They have a line of frozen dough products, including little rolls and breadsticks, that were among the first gluten-free products that we tried, and we still bake them regularly. We like the flavor and texture -- the rolls and breadsticks are slightly chewy.

Chebe also make dry mixes, including a "pizza" mix -- the basic manioc (tapioca) flour mix, with Italian spices incorporated into the mix. Tonight, we made calzones using the basic recipe from the back of the packet. It was quite straightforward -- combine the mix with eggs, cheese, water, and mix/ knead until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into four portions, roll each out into a thin circle, and spoon some filling on one half of each round (we used a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, olives, and tomato sauce for the filling). Fold the other half of the dough over the filling, seal the edges, brush with oil and bake. It was a pretty easy recipe, except for the tedium of rolling the dough out.

The Chebe web site ( lists a lot of other ways to use the dough, including a recipe for "pigs in the blanket" (little hot dogs wrapped in dough) -- this one is near the top of Emily's "we should try that" list. I've even heard of people using Chebe dough to make ravioli -- an easy to prepare gluten-free substitute for frozen ravioli or tortellini is still something that we are on the lookout for! If anyone finds one, please let us know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gluten-free Baking Classics

The Chocolate Ricotta Muffin recipe is from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. This was one of the first gluten-free cookbooks that we bought, and we love it. We needed to host a brunch for 50 shortly after Emily was diagnosed. We didn't want gluten crumbs scattered all over the house, so we decided to make it all gluten-free, including the baked goods. All of the recipes came from this cookbook and were an unqualified success -- cranberry walnut loaves, orange bread (with and without chocolate chips), chocolate ricotta muffins. All of these recipes freeze well, so we were able to bake them in advance and defrost them for the brunch. We have also tried the chocolate chip cookies, lemon squares, and apple pie. We like to make up a batch of the chocolate chip cookie dough, shape it into logs, then freeze the dough. When you want to make cookies, defrost the dough, slice and bake. If you want to sample some of Annalise's other recipes, check her website The Food Philosopher. (We don't have a financial interest in her book -- honest -- we just love her recipes!)


I was very surprised that gluten-free muffins, cakes, and cookies taste just as good as gluten baked goods. The other day, a friend who isn't gluten-free and I baked a batch of gluten-free chocolate ricotta muffins. When my friend tried one, she thought that they tasted just as good as any muffin, and I do too. This is a recipe that I use a lot, for dessert or for breakfast. On school days, I have barely any time to eat so I either have a muffin or a carnation instant breakfast to take with me to the bus stop.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
(from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts)
(posted with permission from Annalise Roberts)

Makes 10 muffins.

1 1/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
(To make 3 cups of this mixture, combine 2 cups brown rice flour (extra finely ground, she suggests Authentic Foods brand), 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (part skim)
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cup liners.
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. In another medium mixing bowl whisk egg, ricotta, milk, oil, and vanilla together until well blended.
4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and combine until well blended. Do not over beat.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and place in center of oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

Muffins can be stored in a tightly sealed plastic container in refrigerator or covered with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Best when eaten within four days of baking. Rewarm briefly in microwave.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gluten-free tortillas

One of the foods that I missed most was tortillas. I tried the corn tortillas that we bought in the store, but I didn't like them very much. My mom found this recipe on the Delphi Forums Celiac site. The person who posted it on Delphi found the recipe from a support group in Texas. Thanks for the great recipe! I always look forward to having the tortillas!

Tastes just like wheat tortillas! ( They are very flexible)

1/4 cup each cornstarch, tapioca flour, potato starch, white rice flour and brown rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 generous tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup water, more if needed

Mix dry ingredients and add water. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide into balls, roll into tortillas, and cook on a hot oiled skillet until it starts to bubble. Flip and cook on the other side. Makes 4 - 6 largish tortillas.

Some tips we learned from the people on Delphi and from making this recipe a lot:

-- You can roll the tortillas out using a rolling pin. It helps a lot to put the dough between parchment paper because it is very sticky. We bought a tortilla press, so we now put a ball of dough in the press between two pieces of parchment paper, then roll it out some more to get the tortillas really thin.

-- If the dough is a little sticky when you roll it out, dust it with white rice flour.

-- As each tortilla is finished, put it into a zip lock plastic bag while you are cooking the rest. It keeps them moist and flexible.

-- I like to have a wrap for lunch in school, but it takes too much time to make the dough in the morning. We've made the dough and rolled it out the day before and stored it in the refrigerator in between damp paper towels in a plastic bag. It only takes a couple of minutes in the morning to fry the tortilla and make a wrap. (I wrap the whole wrap in aluminum foil so it doesn't fall apart.)

-- If you like the recipe, you can mix up several batches of the dry ingredients and store in plastic bags. Then, when you want to make the tortillas, just add the oil and water and you are ready to go.

Our New Blog

My mom Rochelle and I decided to start this blog to share some of our great gluten-free discoveries. I am 12 years old and just got diagnosed with celiac in September 2006. We've learned a lot in the past few months, found some great recipes and products, and we want to share them with you! We're especially interested in hearing from other teens living the gluten-free life. Emily

A teen and her family's experiences living gluten-free.