Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gluten Free goodness

We've had this chocolate-cake-in-a-mug recipe in regular use for nearly three years.  With my birthday coming up tomorrow and Rob's next week, we were debating cake recipes and options.  I know there are several good gluten free cake mixes and plenty of online recipes that use several different flours in various proportions (and with varying degrees of difficulty to find).  There are also several good flour-less cake options that border on brownies.

A few weeks ago I picked up a bag of pre-mixed "Gluten Free Baking Flour" by Bob's Red Mill.  In theory it can be used as a straight replacement for regular flour so we tried it in our small mug-cakes first.  I figured if it was terrible we'd only be out a small bit of ingredients and a few minutes of effort.

It turned out great.  And as a bonus, mug cakes can be personalized for each of us, so I can toss in some peanut butter or chocolate chips, someone else could have coconut, another mint, etc.  Yay!

Also, I've been gluten free for about 6 weeks now, I think, and honestly it's so easy.  It helps that Rob tried it, too, and immediately noticed some improvements in his health.  He's been a bit more lax and finds that everytime he decides "oh, why not" he remembers pretty promptly.  Having a second person forgoing the cookies makes it a little easier, I suppose, but it's really not even tempting to me to eat something that makes me so ill.

We've found an excellent spaghetti option made with rice flour.  I've been happy eating rice, corn, cinnamon, honey, or chocolate Chex in the mornings, or fruit or eggs or yogurt with some (gluten-free) granola.  We got some gluten-free Bisquick which makes a decent pancake and also worked well for the chicken-and-dumplings last week.  For snacks, I like Nut-Thins ok though they seem salty; and a brand called "Food should taste good" makes some excellent vegetable chips that are sturdy enough to hold a bit of cheese or dip.  And of course corn chips, corn tortillas, potato anything, and rice anything means lots of snack options and also fill in for a slab of bread or pasta as needed.  We've even added polenta to our meals and love it.  (For those unfamiliar, it's an Italian/Spanish food that is basically a corn-meal mush that comes in a tube package like Jimmy Dean sausage does.)  We've had a few flavors (basil & garlic; mushrooms) and plain and like it just re-heated and then slathered with pasta sauce and Parmesan cheese and some Italian sausage or roasted peppers and vegetables.  Yum.

The slightly more conscious eating and slightly less "oh, here I'll eat a few of those leftover cookies" has possibly helped me drop a few pounds but I'm sure that's influenced more by the fact that I feel good enough to go for a bike ride or walk sometimes.  Really, I can't claim I'm eating all that healthy--I dig into ice cream or chocolate or jelly beans as much as ever if not more--but I feel better and that's so much more than enough to be worth watching what I eat.

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