Friday, June 27, 2008

A Gluten Free Independence Day Brunch

Barbequing on the 4th of July goes without saying and if you need help with preparing a gluten free barbeque, check the archives for the Memorial Day blog. I thought I’d take a different approach to celebrating our Nation’s birthday by focusing on the delicious, healthy, gluten free berries that are in season. Berries are a healthy, red, white and blue way to start off Independence Day. Prepare a delicious and patriotic brunch with beautiful desserts for your family and friends.

Blueberry or strawberry pancakes or waffles topped with Horizon Organic Cream (add a little confectionery or raw sugar to sweeten it to your liking) are a crowd favorite. An alternative is to bake fresh blueberry muffins (see recipe below) and accompany them with egg omelets. Bob’s Red Mill makes excellent pancake and muffin mixes and Maple Grove Farms has a delicious pancake/waffle mix.

For dessert, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (blackberries work too), combine to make lovely red, white and blue parfaits when layered with the aforementioned organic cream and sugar or Greek Yogurt (Fage is a great brand) in a clear glass. Another yummy fruit dessert is fruit dip served with a platter of fresh berries. The simplest recipe is to beat together a 6 oz. container of Dannon or Horizon strawberry or raspberry yogurt and an 8 oz package of Organic Valley Farms Cream Cheese and then refrigerate it for an hour.

The below recipe make scrumptious blueberry muffins:

1 c brown rice flour, 1/2 c white rice flour
, 1 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp baking soda,
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon,
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg,
3 tsp grated lemon peel,
2 eggs,
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar,
1 c plain yogurt or sour cream (Greek yogurt, such as Fage, is really good),
1-2 tsp GF vanilla extract,
1 1/4 c fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries.

Mix 1 c confectionary sugar with a little cream or milk and drizzle on cooled muffins. Make icing as thin or thick as you like. Top with 2 or 3 blueberries and a raspberry or slice of strawberry for a red, white, and blue effect.

Baking Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin pan with a non-stick spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and lemon peel. Mix well. In a food processor or large bowl beat eggs. Beat in brown sugar. then add and beat in yogurt and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture and gently fold together until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Whatever you choose, enjoy some fresh, in-season berries before you hit the barbeques and have a happy, healthy 4th of July from!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Baseball and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly. I love going to a Saturday afternoon game or a warm summer night contest. I try to always be responsible by having a meal beforehand that will hold me over, but sometimes I need a mid-game snack. Whether the innings are particularly long, the game goes into extra innings or I just want to indulge in some over-priced, unhealthy stadium food, every now and then it’s necessary.

Most stadiums and most security guards won’t give you a hard time if you bring your own snack and sandwich and explain your “food allergy”, but if you forget your snack or finish it and are still hungry, you may have to venture to the concession stands. This can be a risky endeavor because the cleanliness and therefore cross-contamination-freeness of stadium concessions stands can be iffy, so always scope out the situation (whether you’re gluten intolerant or not!) before ordering. Hebrew National and Ballpark Franks are gluten free, as are cotton candy and whole, still in the shell peanuts (but check the package anyway!). Popcorn can be ok, but that depends on what it’s cooked in. If you have your tickets in advance, call up the stadium’s customer service and inquire about all the brands and ingredients. I know Yankee and Shea Stadiums sell Carvel ice cream, which is also gluten free (although the chocolate crunchies and sprinkles are not)!

So, as well prepared by eating before the game, bringing your own gluten free snacks and trying to get as much information as possible ahead of time. Enjoy the baseball season and Let’s Go Yankees! Sorry, Red Sox fans....check out to find a great pre or post-game restaurant to accommodate your gluten free needs!