Tag Archives: Celiac’s disease

Gluten-Free Cream Puffs

Cream puffs. A heavenly treat for those able to digest gluten. A fast treat for those who can’t.

Start to finish each batch only takes about 30 minutes. Which is great, because each batch only makes 6-8 puffs (depending on size) and if you’re like me (and my family) you’ll need to make many, many batches to satisfy everyone. In fact it took me six batches the first day and four the second for everyone to be happy. During that time I converted the original recipe enough that it takes half the time to make and fewer ingredients – which is great because after so many batches I ran out of many ingredients the original recipe called for.

First get your ingredients together and preheat the oven to 400F.

You’ll need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, a measuring cup, a couple of measuring spoons, a wooden spoon, and a small bowl.

In the pot pour 1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

in the bowl

1/2 cup rice flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

*                          *                         *

Have two eggs cracked and ready.

Gently melt the butter into the water, then turn the heat to high and let boil until volume increase. Quickly turn burner to low and pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix with the wooden spoon until  ball forms.

Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time. Mixing until smooth between each egg. Mixture should be a thick dough. Put into a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off.

Squeeze onto the lined cookie sheet in 2-3 inch lines. Alternatively you could drop them on, but be sure not to squish the dough or they won’t puff.

Place into pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. No less. Turn the heat down to 375 and bake for an additional 15 minutes. If the time is too long and they begin to brown you may decrease the second baking time, not the first!

Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Fill with cream, pudding, or for a savoury treat cut the sugar to 1 teaspoon and remove the vanilla from the pastry recipe. Otherwise follow directions and fill with savoury treat of your choice.

I’d like to point out it’s incredibly difficult to take pictures while also filling a cream puff and fending off three ravenous children, so please forgive the angle.


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Gluten-free Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

Cookies are the perfect treat.
They’re easy to carry with you, and they can be enjoyed in so many ways. With a glass of milk or beside a warm cup of coffee they complement any weather or appetite. As leaves change colours and the air cools, thoughts drift to turkeys and pumpkins.
Pumpkin pie isn’t as easy to make as it once was,  pie shells really aren’t quite the same. There are some good substitutes such as almonds or crumbs from gluten-free ginger snaps, but even a good substitute doesn’t quite live up to the memory. Nothing compares to those memories – and likely never will. Instead we find new memories. These cookies are perfect. They’re comparable to a soft gingerbread, soft and chewy and oh so good. In fact I think I may modify this for our gingerbread houses this year .
2 1/2 cups Gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tsp guar gum (Or xanthan gum)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by small tablespoonfuls.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies.
  4. To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the cookies with a fork, or spoon over to cover the top. The glaze also works well as a ‘glue’ for designs cut from sugar sheets.

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Gluten-free: A Fact of Life

Today we visited new friends at their home for the first time. Within five minutes of stepping through the door, Ella ate a cookie. With gluten in it. The second she found out it had gluten, she cried. She spit it out, hid her head, sobbed, pleaded with me to leave.

We didn’t leave. Partly because I felt bad to leave when we’d only just arrived. But also because I knew we had some time before a reaction occurred (and I didn’t really want the results in the van – I hoped it would happen outside).

I did, however, cuddle Ella, and talk to her about the gluten how she felt emotionally and physically. I also told her she didn’t need to play, we could find a quiet place for her to sit where she’d be free from other children. Though if she’d still insisted we leave, we would have.

She didn’t stay hidden for long, she joined everyone else picking berries, and racing through the yard.

She was upset, she’d asked if the cookie was gluten-free. She’d been told it was safe. Unfortunately she asked a three-year old. Ella sobbed, “I don’t want to throw-up. I don’t want to feel yucky.” She knew what was coming.

I could’ve prevented all this from happening. Part of me wishes to turn back the clock and erase all of my baby girl’s pain. But there’s another part of me that can see the lesson learned. Ella now knows to ask an adult, more importantly: Mommy or Daddy, to find out if something contains gluten. She is also more aware of how her body specifically reacts to the gluten. And so am I. We’ve discovered that it becomes painful a lot faster than we realized, but that she can prevent herself from throwing up long enough to find a safe space to do it (though apparently our van constitutes a safe space).

Also I want her to learn how to be safe at other people’s homes. I want her to know it is possible to visit others, and still be safe. I don’t want her friendships limited to the non-gluten eaters.

One book I read just after finding out about the celiac’s disease told parents to tell their children that gluten caused every little upset. If they fall and scrape their knee, it’s because they ate gluten. They catch a stomach bug and throw-up, gluten’s to blame. The point was to scare the child away from ever wanting to try gluten.

I have several problems with this. First it creates a very scary view of the world. Second, a parent should not lie to their child, third, the child will figure out what gluten does to their body, but they’ll figure it out faster with a parents guidance. Lying to the child will actually make the process take longer because the child will have to figure out which of the many upsets are really caused by gluten. Then have enough of them to realize what the results are.

Also the child will soon realize that mom and dad lied. They’ll no longer trust what mom and dad say about gluten. SO the child will be more likely to stray from a  gluten-free lifestyle.

At 4.5 Ella knows to avoid gluten. She knows to ask first, she knows exactly what it’ll do to her. We have never needed to scare her. Even at the stores when they have samples to taste she’ll sometimes ask for one. We can’t always tell how safe the item is. We let her know it MAY contain gluten or may have touched gluten. It MAY make her sick. We then let her decide what to do. Sometimes she tastes it, sometimes she doesn’t. If the item contains gluten, she says, “No thank you.”

By being truthful and open with her, she’s gained the knowledge and experience to begin to protect herself. As she gets older we’ll continue to assist her. We’ll show her what a gluten cookie looks like vs a gluten-free. The same with breads etc. Most of the time a single look is all it takes to tell the difference. If the look doesn’t give it away, then the smell will.

Yes at times the girls may taste something with gluten, and they may end up sick because of it. It won’t be fun. But the experiences provide new information. And that knowledge is what they need to protect themselves. One day they’ll be on their own no one will step between them and gluten.

We follow a special diet, but in no way should that limit our life in any other way. Gluten-free is a fact of life. But it does not define us or our life in any way.

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I Can Eat A Rainbow – Can You?

Everywhere we turn we’re bombarded with information about healthy eating. Some of it good, others not so much. Some sources say cut this or that, some say low fat,  low cal, but all the processed junk food is okay because it meets the basic requirements of being low fat and low cal.

When we’re bombarded with all of this information, it can make it really difficult to know just which information to pass onto our children. as parents, we can become stressed that our child isn’t eating, or is eating too much, or the wrong food. We often loose sight of the most important point – a balanced diet. A balanced lifestyle.

For those who know the Canadian food guide or food pyramid, you know there are a certain number of foods a person should eat every day – even children. I don’t want to go against the established authority here, but I don’t agree with those guides. At least not completely. The guides say children ages 1-5 should be eating basically the same, and that doesn’t cut it for me. Just as adults need to adjust their intake for their body needs, so to should children.

An active slim five year old does not need to eat the same as a plump, not quite walking one year old. Therefore I’m telling you to throw out the guide, and trust. Trust your child to eat what his or her body needs. But, and this is very important, it’s up to you, the parent, to provide a healthy varied diet. It is not up to you to force your child to eat something. In fact if you do, you’re more likely to cause a more long lasting aversion, whether to that particular food or to certain textured foods, or just new foods in general.

For younger children, just starting to eat solids, allow them to pick at the food, play with it, taste it, spit it out. Assume more will end up on the floor, them, the table, the floor, the dog, than in their stomach.

After they master the pincher grasp, as they toddle around the house, periodically stop them and offer, where they stand, a healthy food. Also have available for them to graze a healthy variety of finger foods. Fruits, vegetables, crackers, cheese etc.

As they get bigger and have clear preferences, allow them to choose what they want to eat, allow them to help with the shopping, make the list, find the items, allow them to cook. Even a two year old can help in the kitchen, even if it’s just washing the lettuce, or stirring the batter.

The older they get, the more freedom you provide. Give your child the information they need to learn to make healthy choices. When you’re shopping and they ask for the cookies and you say ‘no’, tell them why. Is it because of the budget, or for health reasons. For us we often say ‘no’ to store bought, but will offer to make something similar, but healthier at home. We also tell the girls why an item isn’t healthy, we show them the label. As people with celiac’s disease we read a lot of labels, and that’s good for our children in a number of ways.Most importantly it gets them looking. One day they’ll decide for themselves what to eat, it’s our job to give them the information they need to make balanced choices.

When our children ask us for a certain food we talk about why it’s a fun food or a healthy food. Sometimes we’ll talk about other foods they’ve chosen to eat that day, and give them information about balancing their diet with healthy and fun foods. If they choose to eat marshmallows for breakfast,t hen they probably won’t feel very good, they could have upset stomachs, they might not have the energy they need to play. If they choose to eat a tomato, mushroom, and cheese omelet, they’re more likely to feel good, and have energy to play.

If you have a picky eater and you’re worried about the over all health of your child? First, don’t panic. Second, it’s mostly harmless.

One way to encourage healthy eating in children is to give them power. The more power they have over the experience the more likely they’ll eat. Let them shop, let them make the food, let them choose when and how to eat. It’s easy to say we eat when we wake up, then again at noon, and again at six, with a snack in between, but children don’t work that way. Many children need more food earlier, and less food later, but when we pressure them to eat out of synch with their body, they eat less than they would if they followed their body.

Making Sushi Rolls

Make the food fun. I invited a friend over and she said she’d bring fresh fruit. I expected a store bought platter, or a dish with cut up fruit. Nope. She brought a party. A long wooden skewer through the center of the regular old fruit made it so much more fun, and when they were done eating they had swords! Okay not all children turn everything into swords, they could’ve been magic wands.

Cut the cheese, bread, anything into fun shapes. Have healthy food available at all times of the day, pre-prepared and ready to snack. Have your children help prepare the food. And whatever you do, don’t stop your child from eating because ‘it’s almost time for dinner.’ If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat, then don’t stop them from eating, ever. Let them figure it out. Sure you may not have the family meal, but there are other ways to make up family time. Play a game at the table instead.

You can encourage your child to figure out what they don’t like about certain foods. We always tell the girls, you don’t have to eat it, but I want you to taste it. We don’t force, and they can spit it right back out. The point is to try new foods, not worry about manners. We’ve discovered Ella loves octopus, sushi, and countless other foods. There are several she won’t touch, but as she explores she’s willing to try new foods, and old ones she didn’t like before become better. Not always edible, but better.

We also don’t lie about foods. We won’t tell the girls, just taste it, then insist they taste a certain amount. Licking it is good enough. If we wanted a certain amount eaten, we’d say that from the beginning. We also don’t hide foods from them. If we offer them a piece of chicken covered in cheese, we don’t hide a vegetable in order to get them to eat it (though grating cheese over vegetables is something my girls love). If they don’t like it, that’s okay. They can pick apart their meals and eat what they choose. There have been times when Ella’s had eggs, peanut butter sandwiches, or some other  quick, low flavour food for supper every night for a week. Everyone else has dinner and she makes her meal, or waits until someone else is ready to make it for her.

Children rely on us to get them food and drink, they’re not able to choose to eat watermelon or pizza on a whim. Someone needs to get it for them. As adults we’re able to run to the store and buy something we suddenly want. Remembering that allows me more patience with my children, when they don’t want what I’ve made. And that is the final point to remember, patience. Realize this too shall pass, and one day you’ll look back and laugh about how your child only ate, or never ate such and such. We can lead a horse to water, but not make him drink. The same is true with children. Let your children know why their bodies need a mixture of foods, why a certain food is a healthy choice, give them the information, and allow them to decide what to do with it. You are, after all the one doing the shopping and can veto some choices if you feel the need.


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Gluten-Free Churros

Two of the things I miss most since going gluten-free are cinnamon-sugar pretzels and churros. It’s a toss up which I miss most, but now I’ve found a fast, easy, gluten-free recipe that almost makes up for my not being able to eat my favorite treats while at Disney World. So for father’s day I decided to make my wonderful husband these:


1/2 C. mashed potatoes (mashed with butter and milk)

1/4 C. sugar

1 egg

1/2 C. sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 C. all purpose GF flour mix

1/2 tsp guar (or xanthan) gum

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

oil for deep frying

cinnamon-sugar (we prefer it mixed 1:2 ratio) or you can use confectioners sugar


In a large bowl, combine potatoes, sugar, egg, sour cream, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix well, then stir into potato mixture.

Heat oil in an electric skillet or deep fryer at 375F. Or if you’re more basic, like me, fill a heavy saucepan about half-full with oil, then using a deep-frying thermometer, heat to 375. Fill a piping bag, with a large tip affixed, and pipe small strips of batter into oil. Be sure to keep your tip close to the oil so there’s less risk of splatter.

Fry until golden-brown on all sides, about four seconds. Drain on paper towels, roll in sugar while still warm.

Serve warm and enjoy.

I’ve tried dropping by the teaspoonful into the oil, but couldn’t get the center cooked before the outside burned, piping certainly resulted in the tastiest treat.


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Let Eagles Soar And Children Play

What is our job as parents?

Don’t answer right away, think about it for a moment or two.

Is a parent’s job to teach their children? To protect their children? To drive them to soccer practice? How about to Love them? Teach them how to be good adults?

I don’t think any of those are correct. Children won’t always take the intended meaning from a lesson. A parent might intend to teach their child how to cross the street safely, but the lesson the child learns is actually that streets are dangerous and from that point on they cower. At first the parent may believe this is a good thing – after all their little one can’t get run over if they never cross the street. However on closer look the parent taught their child that the world is scary and dangerous. And by instilling that fear they also inhibited their child’s ability to actually assess the world for real danger and the likelihood of injury could actually increase.

To drive them to soccer practice? I think not. Soccer isn’t for everyone.

To love them? Perhaps. But more importantly to love them in a manner they receive. A parent can love with all their heart, but if that child doesn’t believe the parents actions are actually love, then it isn’t.

How to be good adults? What is a good adult anyway? One that makes lots of money, or has a big house, lives naturally? That’s a pretty vague notion, something else must be the main goal of parents.

To protect children? Maybe. Partially. Unfortunately many parents believe they need to protect their children from imagined dangers. Or real dangers that are better experienced than protected from. We’re guilty of this on occasion as well. However, our children still have the opportunity to be children. They run barefoot, they climb trees (or they try anyhow), they pick up bugs (and slugs – blech), they ride horses, they swim, but most importantly if they want to try something we usually let them.

We recently met a family with one child on a special diet for health reasons. At eleven that child is not allowed to attend birthday parties on her own, plus she must bring her own food. She is not allowed to attend day camps for fear she might eat something that isn’t good for her. Sure she might eat something that could get her sick, but is it really doing her any good being protected by her parents?

Let’s look at what she’s learning. She can’t be trusted to know what is or isn’t safe. The world isn’t safe. Only her parents can keep her safe, but only if she is segregated from the rest of the world.

What isn’t she learning? How to protect herself, to advocate for herself. She isn’t learning that the world can be safe and that other people are willing to look out for her as well. She isn’t learning how to play freely with her friends. Every single aspect of her life is shadowed by her diet – all out of love.

So if I don’t believe these are what being a parent is actually about, then what is our job?

As parents it is our job to raise our children to have positive views of themselves and the world.

Perhaps you’ve seen it also. People who see the good in the world, the good in the people around them are happier. They also tend to have better ‘luck’ than those with a negative view. They go farther in life, live longer, live happier.

How do we go about raising children with positive views of themselves and the world?

We allow them to roam free as much as possible. When they’re little, just learning to crawl, allow them to navigate a safe room freely. Allow them to gain confidence in themselves and learn that the world is safe. As they learn to walk and climb, follow behind, if you must, but allow them to climb up and down those stairs a million times. remove anything that’s likely to be truly dangerous and let them explore their home without hearing “No” all the time. The more freedom they have the more confident they become. They learn their limitations, but also their strengths.

As they get older, let them ride the bike. Let them climb at the playground. If they fall, hug them, kiss them, let them cry. Encourage them to try again. If they are afraid of something, let them be afraid, but don’t deepen their fear.

As a baby Agatha was afraid of dogs. We never forced her near them, but if we saw one, we didn’t pick her up and run away either. We’d pick her up, and talk about the dog as it passed. Once it was gone, we’d wave bye-bye and say “wow, you were really brave, you didn’t cry as the dog walked passed.” Eventually she gained the courage to pet a dog. Now she loves them.It would have been easier for us to pick her up and walk away from dogs, but would it have done her any good? She’d be less likely to ever get bitten by a strange dog, but she’d be afraid. The fear could have grown, she could have become afraid to leave the house for fear of seeing a dog. We allowed her the opportunity to see that most dogs are friendly and ways she can keep herself safe around dogs she doesn’t know.

What other ways can we encourage a positive view of the world and of themselves? We can spend time with them.

When we went to the playground last week, we played pirates. The entire family joined in the fun. Tomorrow we’re going birdwatching. We play games at home – both made up and structured. We cuddle and read books. Spending time with our children lets them know they really are important to us. When we follow their lead, it shows them their ideas are valuable.
That is ultimately the key. Children need to know they are worth their parents time and that their thoughts are worth listening to.


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Baked Pasta With Cream Tomato Sauce

I’ve always loved pasta. According to my mom the only thing I may have liked better than pasta was steak. Those tastes haven’t changed. What has changed is my ability to eat pasta. after being diagnosed with celiac’s disease pasta was one of those foods that became more difficult to enjoy. Most importantly I could no longer order pasta with creamy tomato sauce at our local restaurant. Experimentation ensued. It took me quite some time, but I finally found the perfect sauce.

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 purple onion finely chopped (yellow onion pictured)

1/4 yellow pepper chopped

1 good sized tbsp minced garlic

3-4 oz cream cheese

1/3 c whipping cream

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

1 pint cherry tomatoes chopped

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c crumbled feta

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Saute onion and pepper until just limp. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

If using dried herbs add them with the garlic. Though fresh is better.

Add tomatoes and herbs, cook until hot. Cube cream cheese and mix into skillet until almost melted. Pour in the cream and feta, mix well.

Meanwhile cook 16oz pasta of choice. Drain pasta well mix sauce and pasta in a dutch oven. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top, place under hot broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

For a healthier alternative use light cream cheese, instead of whipping cream use plain yogurt. The taste will be slightly less sweet, but still equally good, my husband even said it was the best sauce he’s had. Instead of pasta cook a spaghetti squash and serve as directed. Adding a bunch of fresh baby spinach with the tomatoes adds a bit more colour and nutrients. For a full meal in one pot add cooked salmon or chicken. For a formal presentation pour the mixture into individual ramekins before broiling, serve with salad and pair with a chardonnay.  This meal has many option, experiment and find the one that works for your family.

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