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  • Guest Review: Gluten is my Bitch by April Peveteaux

    I was sent a copy of Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux to review. I’ve experimented with going gluten-free, but my trial was pretty short-lived. So I thought the review would be more useful coming from my friend, R.D., who has celiac disease and truly needs to eat gluten-free. Here’s what she had to say …

    As the title suggests, the author is funny, but rather brash. Some newly-diagnosed people might find it too abrasive at first (when I was first diagnosed, I was an overly-sensitive self-contained pity-party that could cry at the drop of a bread basket!). But Peveteaux is completely right that the best way to approach this diagnosis is with humor and honesty, and she has a lot of great tips. Also, she is candid about the fact that her humor comes from a bitterness about having to be gluten-free. She even directly addresses those annoying hipsters who choose to be GF (and vegan or paleo). Anyone who has to be GF will ultimately connect with this book.

    The book starts out as a how-to guide on figuring out whether you need to be GF. Peveteaux’s story is entirely too familiar: no problems with gluten until a sudden onset of horrible stomach/bathroom problems without an obvious source, then invasive medical testing and a diagnosis of Celiac disease. Anyone who has been through this process will find Peveteaux’s descriptions recognizable and humorous. She also addresses those lucky people who discover a gluten intolerance/allergy without having stomach/bathroom problems. Later, she tackles how to deal with a child’s diagnosis, including several helpful tips about hidden sources of gluten in a child’s life (who would have even thought about Playdough?) and suggestions on snacks for GF kids of different ages.

    Because the book is a sort of hybrid between an introduction to going GF and a recipe book, it actually does not include very many recipes. However, the recipes I tried were all good, easy, and excellent resources for someone new to GF living. They are the types of foods you fear you will not be able to eat ever again on a GF diet (chicken fried steak?!), and they do not taste at all GF.

    I will say the recipes sometimes needed a little spicing up for my taste, but each was easily adaptable. For example, the macaroni and cheese was excellent, but next time I will add a little extra flavor – maybe some bacon or a more pungent cheese like gorgonzola. The Cowboy crepes were so good even my gluten-full boyfriend really enjoyed them. The chess pie (which I had never heard of) certainly lived up to its description as causing a “sugar coma” and was delicious!

    Peveteaux also provides good gluten-free cooking tips that will save a lot of time and bad experimentation. I wish someone would have told me not to eat GF dough (the terrible flavor of what looked like delicious chocolate chip cookie dough caused me some serious psychological damage), and that I could have saved a ton of time and frustration (and ended up with a better tasting pie) by just buying a frozen GF pie crust from Whole Foods instead of trying to make a GF crust from scratch.

    Overall, I think this book is a really good resource for anyone new to the GF diet.

    Thanks for your perspective, R.D.! (And I don’t remember any pity parties when you were newly diagnosed.)

    If you’re interested in purchasing the book, the Kindle edition is $9.99 and the hardcover version is $13.90 at Amazon.

    Impromptu Baking Day {Stock the Freezer}

    We are having some pleasantly mild weather today, so I’m going to turn on the oven. I’m actually running low on frozen baked goods, so the timing is perfect. I’ve pulled out some butter to soften, and I’m coming up with a game plan. Here’s what I’m thinking:

    Lemon Blueberry Muffins

    Banana Bread

    Snickerdoodle Bars

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Whole Wheat Toaster Pastries

    The last three are new recipes that so hopefully I’m not getting overly ambitious here – but I really want to get some things baked and frozen before it’s too hot to turn on the oven even once a week!

    I will post updates on Facebook, and have a Baking Day update here later as well. ^_^


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    Evening Roundup: Two new recipes

    I tried two new recipes today: First, I made these Cloverleaf Honey-Wheat Rolls from Cooking Light – the recipe has been in my “to-try” file since it was published in 2002, and I guess it just took 10 years for me to get comfortable enough with yeast breads to make them. I overbaked them a little, which was unfortunate, because they have a lovely, light texture and are fun to pull apart. I think they’ve become my go-to roll for the time being.

    The other recipe I tried was Heavenly Homemaker’s Warm Vanilla Soother, because we’ve had a plethora of sore throats around here. I made this is a double boiler to avoid scrambling the yolks, and although it took a lot longer, I think it’s the way to go. I used nonfat milk, and was able to create some foam just by whisking vigorously. My husband loved the taste, but I think it needs some chocolate, LOL!

    Get a free Kindle download of Gooseberry Patch’s Hot Cocoa Cookbook ($2.99 value; 5 out of 5 stars in 2 reviews). Be sure to check that the price is still $0 before you click “buy.”

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    Savings Lifestyle has a “recipe” for a homemade stain remover that I am going to have to try – baseball season is starting, and the coach has asked everyone to wear white pants. (Obviously, my son’s coaches are not the ones who do laundry in their house!)


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    Pantry Challenge – Week 4 Update

    {This is embarrassing.}

    I joined the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats with good intentions but I have to admit that it’s been a total fail for me. I intended to use up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    I used some of the noodles, some of the beans, a little of the cornmeal, and actually had a lot less jam that I thought. So I still have quite a bit of this stuff to use up.

    What I realized during this Pantry Challenge is that I can only multitask so much. I’ve been very focused on other goals, and I just don’t seem able to add working in the kitchen into my routine right now.

    But I really want to, because we eat a lot healthier when I cook more. So that is something I am going to work on in the coming weeks, to find a balance between accomplishing the goals I’ve been focusing on with cooking and baking (which I really do enjoy, when I do it).


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    Pantry Challenge – Week 3 Update

    I know I said I was joining the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats, with the goal of using up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    But I’ve made hardly any progress at all. As I mentioned when sharing my menu plan for the week, I haven’t felt much like cooking because I’ve been focused on other projects. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s just not possible to do everything at the same time, let alone do everything well.

    However . . .

    I do want to make more progress with this pantry challenge before it ends. And my family will eat better if I do. So I’m planning to use anchovies in tomorrow night’s Pasta Puttanesca, and I finally acquired the ingredients to make Key Lime Bars and Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken with Egg Noodles. I will also finally get around to making cereal bars, which will use up some jam.

    I do really like cooking . . . I just need to plan better!


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