Just What Do Gluten Intolerant People Eat?

So I’ve been getting quite a few requests lately about just exactly what it is that gluten intolerant people are supposed to eat. I know how hard it can be trying to prepare meals in the absence of a major ingredient which goes into the production of many foods, especially if it’s meals for longer-term periods which you’re trying to prepare, or even for life in the case of those who are severely gluten intolerant.

So here’s a meal plan I’ve put together which you can use as a base from which to expand on and exchange the ingredients so that you can never run out of ideas as far as the composition of a gluten-free meal goes:

Meal Plan #1

For breakfast, enjoy a cup of skim milk, a cup of fortified gluten-free breakfast cereal and half a cup of grapefruit. For your morning snack a teaspoon of creamy peanut butter will do on a slice of gluten-free rice bread.

For lunch you can help yourself to some turkey and lettuce wraps, a corn tortilla and half a cup of papaya. For your afternoon snack you can help yourself to an ounce of low fat cheddar cheese and an apple.

For your gluten-free dinner some Tilapia (rubbed in chilli) with lemon and asparagus will make for a delicious and filling meal, along with a fresh coleslaw salad with half a cup of cooked brown rice and then have half a cup of blackberries.

Meal Plan #2

For breakfast help yourself to a cup of fortified gluten-free corn cereal, an ounce of skim milk, half of a small banana. You can follow that up with a small apple as your morning snack.

Lunchtime would have you enjoying a Spanish tortilla alongside an unsalted tortilla, served with coleslaw and washed down with a cup of skim milk. You would then enjoy a medium nectarine for your afternoon snack.

Dinnertime would see you enjoying chicken prepared to your liking with prunes and green olives, served with half a cup of cooked brown rice and steamed broccoli spears. Enjoy six ounces of low fat vanilla yoghurt with that.

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Meal Plan #3

Now to bring some variety to the typical gluten-free meal plan, with this one you’d enjoy a scrambled egg for breakfast with a slice of gluten-free soy bread and a cup of skim milk. A small banana will do for your morning snack.

A healthy gluten-free lunch would be comprised out of a smoked salmon salad with a slice of gluten-free buckwheat bread and six ounces of low fat vanilla yoghurt. One apricot will do for your afternoon snack.

Dinnertime would have you enjoying beef that’s stewed in vegetable broth instead of making a traditional beef stew that would otherwise have a gluten-based thickener, served with a cup of cooked soba noodles and half a cup of carrots. Top your dinner off with a cup of strawberries.

Mixing and matching these meal plans can yield an endless number of combinations and will have you never having to worry about variety again, but what it should also do is give you more ideas based on what is actually quite an extensive list of gluten-free ingredients to prepare you food with.

Navigating an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

As much as I actually enjoy the process of preparing meals for my family, particularly the daily dinner, sometimes the mood calls for the lot of us to go out and enjoy dinner prepared by someone else, with the favourite alternative being that of an all-you-can-eat-buffet. This is not because of the “all-you-can-eat” factor, but rather just because of the variety on offer, which means everyone can enjoy dinner together and yet we’re each helping ourselves to different foods — to each of our favourite foods.

It also makes for a nice change enjoying some food which was prepared by someone else, on more of a personal level, but what inevitably happens is that you tend to criticise the cooking a bit and iterate through the various considerations of just how you could have perhaps prepared a certain food better or in fact you find yourself wondering just what recipe they used to prepare a certain food in a certain way.

Some of the pitfalls of frequenting a buffet every now and again tend to show up along the way however, such as getting food which is not all that fresh, having to eat or leave on your plate some overcooked food or food which doesn’t quite taste the way your eyes suggested it would. There’s also the small matter of getting overwhelmed by all the choices and it happens even to those who regularly visit all-you-can-eat buffets. With all those choices you can find yourself overbalancing certain food types and ultimately not getting a healthy and nutritious helping of your dinner, or you might fill up a bit too much on a certain food type to find that you don’t have any space left to get a good chunk of that dessert you were keeping a keen eye on.

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The trick to navigating your way through an all-you-eat-buffet resides in exercising a little patience. Wait until the top-pickings have indeed been picked off by other diners as this normally means you can benefit from what a lot of buffets unfortunately do, which is put the older food at the top so that it can be consumed first, with the fresher food lying in wait underneath.

If it comes to it you can even just help yourself to the deeper-lying food in the case of self-serving buffets, but not all buffets implement this practice of serving older food first. It is however somewhat of an industry standard which permeates even the restaurant industry, so it’s very likely that it occurs.

In addition to playing the waiting game to get your fill, always fill your plate up with less food than you think you’ll be satisfied with. You can always go back for seconds if you want, otherwise you run the risk of falling “victim” to what buffets are all about — creating the illusion that you’re going to fill up on more food than you usually do whereas you end up walking away not having eaten much because you’re overwhelmed by so many different choices.

The three-bites rule must come into effect, which simply states that you should put on your plate a portion of a certain food which amounts to three bites max.

Delicious Eggless Pancakes for a Filling Breakfast

It was all the better that I tried this recipe out on a Saturday morning when the whole family gets up a little later, which means I had some leeway for the experimentation I wanted to get in and it wasn’t a matter of having to get it right first time because everybody’s rushing off to work (hubby) and school. I could very well have tried it out for the very first time during the week because this is quite an easy pancake recipe which has worked out perfectly each subsequent time I’ve made it.

So I emphasise eggless just because I wanted to add a bit of variety to the breakfasts we often have, but this works particularly well for those who have an egg allergy, especially if it’s an egg allergy you’ve developed after having already had a taste of just how delicious pancakes can be…you’re welcome!

The ingredients

The utensils and measuring instruments I use for all my baking (although these are to be griddle fried) were all passed down from my grandmother who bought them in the USA and brought them across the border into Canada, so I inherited the use of US measurements since we in turn brought everything over from Canada when I was knee-high. I’ll tell you; these things are built to last because I still use grandma’s baking utensils.

So anyway, I reckon it’s all the better since this recipe represents typical US portions and yields up to twelve pancakes, a perfect number for my big family of 7 since one or two tummies always want seconds. So the ingredients are:

2/3 of a cup of whole wheat flour

1 cup of all-purpose flour

A 1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of white sugar

2 and a 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 small, finely chopped, ripe bananas

1 and a 1/2 cups of skim milk

Preparation method (very easy)

Seriously, it’s as easy as mixing the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl (large enough so that you have no problem mixing everything in) and stirring. Stir in the bananas and milk, only until the mixture is slightly moist.

Oil the griddle lightly and heat (you can also use a frying pan) on medium-high heat. Now scoop (you should be able to pour it as well) the batter in amounts of around 1/4 of a cup to brown on both sides for each pancake.

Serving

Serve hot with whatever toppings you enjoy your pancakes with. You’ll notice that this is one of the healthier pancakes to make, so you might want to keep things as healthy as possible using something like honey with low-fat butter instead of something like full cream butter and syrup. Either way, enjoy and there are many different ways you can experiment to get slightly different outcomes, like perhaps adding nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.

The pancakes should have a fluffy appearance if done right, but you can also use overripe bananas, in which case the pancakes will have a little bit of browner appearance.

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Enjoy!

A Million Ways to Prepare Rice

Rice is perhaps one of the easiest foods to cook and is probably something we all learned how to cook back when we were eager to learn how to cook like mum. I mean I can bet you that even if you’re trying out a new brand of rice or even a new variety, chances are you only read the cooking instructions to reaffirm what you already know.

It’s very difficult to mess things up with rice and you perhaps only have to overcook it once in your life to learn. Even for those who prefer not to de-starch their rice it’s really hard to mess things up.

If however you do overcook it or that and the “excess” starch makes it appear to be more like a samp or porridge, you can always roll it up into rice balls or press it into small cups as part of a refreshing “presentation,” much like how they do in restaurants when you order a rice dish like curry and rice or even grilled fish with rice.

Otherwise if your desire to prepare the rice in your rice dishes is strictly by design, there are many different ways of doing so.

Fry it

It took me quite a while to master what is otherwise the very simple dish of fried rice, which is served with a range of salads, meats and paste sauces. Fried rice is a popular dish in Indian Ocean islands such as Mauritius and is quite a healthy dish given what the rice is usually paired with. But yeah, I guess you can fry what most of us would refer to as “normal” rice — that rice with the medium sized grains which you find everywhere, but obviously you’d have to boil it first in the manner you usually cook rice and then fry (preferably in a tiny splash of olive oil) in little chunks in a shallow pan while stirring all the way through.

Otherwise use long grain fine rice if you don’t want to first boil the rice and then fry it as some extra cooking work, since long grain rice cooks much easier and quicker and so it can be cooked almost exclusively through frying.

Season it

This is something they particularly love doing in South America, which is adding seasoning to the rice. Seasoning gives rice a nice flavour to it if you’re not content with boiling it in salt water to give it some taste and the great thing is that you select any seasoning of which the flavour you’d love to dominate the taste of your dish.

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Butter it up

This particularly makes minced meat dishes taste that much more special, even in the case of the minced meat baked into a meatloaf or something like that. Simply add a spoonful of butter to your rice when it’s simmering and getting rid of the remaining moisture. The butter should turn the rice all the way yellow, but this yellow hue would be much deeper than that of seasoned rice.

These are just a few of the many ways you can prepare rice and don’t be afraid to experiment.