Archive for Book Review

Ricki Heller’s ‘Good Morning!’ Breakfast eBook

    Several months ago when Ricki requested volunteers to test recipes for her breakfast ebook we jumped at the chance. Rita and I have been fans of Ricki’s nutrition philosophy and her delicious, nutritious recipes for quite a while. Even now, there is a double batch of her Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad  (we live in Texas where I serve it chilled with greens) in the refrigerator right now waiting to go to a potluck later today. The last time I brought this to a potluck I had to scrape the bowl to get a tiny amount to add to my lunch the next day!

Good Morning eBook

Good Morning eBook

Author:
Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN
Author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without
Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar
Web: http://dietdessertndogs.com
Twitter: @RickiHeller
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dietdessertndogs
–Honorable Mention, 2010 Cuisine Canada Culinary Awards
–one of only three cookbooks recommended on Ellen DeGeneres’ website!

For a full Table of Contents and photos of many of the recipes, see this post.

Every one of these recipes is:
low glycemic
refined sugar free
egg free
dairy free
gluten free
Delicious!

The recipes are all great for anyone following an anti-Candida diet (ACD); for vegans; those on a gluten free, refined sugar free, egg free or kosher diet; or Type II diabetics.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita
PS – The Gluten Free Edge is moving to our own domain as soon as we sort out some of the technical tangles.

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Reading, Writing, and Reviewing

    Ever since Lori asked if I could put together a class on the topic of ‘gluten-free’ for The Caring Place I have been reading and reviewing books from our local Georgetown Public Library because I believe in quality reference material. At about the same time Barb had sent me a link to a book review and the next thing I knew I was head-over-heels in reading materials both borrowed and purchased.

    Libraries have always seemed like magical places to me. All of those books on so many subjects: if I could read them all then I would certainly know everything. At least that is how I viewed the school library at Meadowbrook Middle School when I first became aware of library passes and the resulting unlimited access to all those books! OK, so now I know better but still there is so much knowledge that can be gained just by going to the library. So I have borrowed books, read books, reviewed books for the local library and on Amazon, purchased books, and donated books. If the class learns nothing from me at least there will be a rich and varied resource to fall back on.

    The assembled collection (below) covers so many related aspects of gluten that I was having trouble narrowing down the information to present. Simple, keep it simple – you can see from the list of books that I have real problems with that.

    So I decided on this approach. On the first day we meet there will be samples of home-cooked pasta and sauce using store brand GF ingredients from HEB and a sample of commercial snack food (Glutino pretzels). We will introduce ourselves and then together we will plan the next meeting around the most pressing needs of the group. And we will continue from there.

Gluten Related Reference Material at the Georgetown Public Library:

Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic
Peter H. R. Green and Rory Jones

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide: With a 30 Day Meal Plan & Over 100 Recipes
Alexandra Anca and Theresa Santandrea-Cull

The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian, and Mexican Recipes
Vanessa Maltin

Gluten-Free Kids: Raising Happy, Healthy Children with Celiac Disease, Autism, and Other Conditions
Danna Korn

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food: a Practical Guide
Chef Alain Braux

The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well Without Wheat
Bette Hagman

You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free! 500 Delicious, Foolproof Recipes For Healthy Living
Roben Ryberg

Planned Donations Purchased but Currently Out on Loan:

Dangerous Grains
James Braly and Ron Hoggan

The Gluten-Free Vegan
Susan O’Brien

    Rita has been reviewing some of the books with me. Since she is also a Certified Health Coach I hope to have her lead a ‘gluten-free’ tour of a Georgetown grocery store.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

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Ricki Heller’s Recipe Books

    Can you imagine ‘tastes great’ and ‘healthy’ as describing the same recipe? Ricki Heller with her PhD in nutrition and love of good food manages to create recipes that do just that. Living in Toronto and backed by years of experience teaching, running a bakery, and veteran of  television demos, she uses her imagination to create new and innovative recipes to nourish the body and delight the spirit.

    As I began to follow Ricki’s blog ‘Diet, Dessert, and Dogs’ I drooled over the recipes, admired the photography, and enjoyed the saucy comments allegedly from said dogs, Elsie and Chaser. I decided ‘what the heck’ I’ll just sub in some gluten-free flours and see what happens. Somehow that first attempt was a winner and I began cooking more and more recipes from Ricki’s blog. Before long I was following along the trail that Ricki was blazing and gluten-free wasn’t so bland anymore. 

    Ricki’s first recipe book, Sweet Freedom, was published in 2009 and in April 2010 made it to Ellen DeGeneres ‘bookshelf’.  This recipe book is filled with wonderful healthy vegan dessert treats. Vegan? I never thought to go that way until I realized that when family and friends mentioned egg and/or dairy allergy that the vegan recipes automatically cover those conditions.

    When Ricki began designing gluten-free, vegan breakfast dishes for those battling Candida infections I knew that those were automatically good for folks dealing with diabetes. It has been pointed out to me that you cannot cover ALL dietary constraints with one recipe and I agree. However it is possible to share delicious food with people and cover many issues without treating them as a big deal.

     That is why when Ricki announced her new recipe ebook in development and put out a request for recipe testers I jumped right in there. ‘Blended Cereal with a Boost’ was pictured in The Gluten-Free Edge on January 20th right after my Pork and Beans in Pumpkin Sauce recipe. ‘Blended Cereal with a Boost’ is the best hot cereal I have ever tasted!

     The latest test recipe was the multi-serving baked pancake pictured below. I loved it because this is real fuel that kept me going for hours and it was light and luscious. Ricki hopes to have her new eBook, Top of the Morning: ACD Recipes without Sugar, Gluten, Eggs or Dairy, published sometime in March so stay tuned!

Giant Upside-Down Apple Pancake

Giant Upside-Down Apple Pancake

Doesn’t that look delicious?

Gretchen (Mom)

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Chef Alain Braux

————————————————————————————————————————
Press Release:
    Edible Austin presents author Alain Braux talking about his new book, Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food at  BookPeople on Monday, February 14, from 7–9 pm. Treat yourself (and perhaps a loved one) to an evening of conversation with Chef Braux (recently named in the Top 10 Food Celebrity list as well as a Best Sweet Bites of 2010 by the Austin Chronicle), who will prepare his bliss-inducing Flourless Chocolate Torte for us. Also meet Sarah Bartholow from Hail Merry, who will be sampling a selection of their scrumptious gluten-free and vegan products. We’ll also have a selection of celebratory beverages on hand. Free!
————————————————————————————————————————

    Alain’s comment `gluten-free junk food is still junk food’ is such an astute observation. He believes we should eat thoughtfully, be aware, and indulge joyfully on special occasions. Enjoy dessert on Valentine’s Day at Book People and chat with Alain – he loves to talk about food!

For those of you who live in Georgetown you can find a copy of Alain’s book at the Georgetown Public Library – NBNF 641.563 BRAU.

    Alain is also the author of How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Food. Both books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions.

Features found in his book aside from the wonderful recipes:
1) Narratives from people about their journey of GFCF discovery – one of these stories might be your `aha!’ trigger
2) Sympathy for the many reasons you may be attempting to self medicate and suggestions on how to find the right doctor
3) Why keeping a food journal is so very important (there may be additional sensitivities)
4) Setting yourself up for gluten-free and casein-free success
5) A comprehensive list of resources for Celiac Disease and Autism including books, magazines, organizations, and online support
6) Those mysterious food additives that could indicate `hidden’ gluten – pages of them
7) `Safe’ and `not safe’; in medication, vitamins, toiletries, household cleaners

    Rita and I visited with Alain recently at People’s RX at the Westlake location where you will find an extensive gluten-free grocery section and gluten-free options in the deli. The North Lamar and South Lamar locations also have gluten-free options in the deli.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

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Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food – Crêpes!

Book Signing Event
    Rita and I have enjoyed our gluten-free French gourmet adventures since meeting Alain Braux. After we had prepared his Brownies a la Farine de Coco for a fund raiser we found out about the book signing event at Book People in Austin. So of course we had to be there. Alain still has a trace of French accent so hearing him speak so knowledgeably about nutrition issues is a double treat.

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

    Alain’s first book, How to Lower Your Cholesterol With French Gourmet Food, as well as Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food are available at Amazon and both books are downloadable from Kindle.

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Available at Georgetown Public Library
    I came home to Georgetown with an autographed copy of Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food plus a copy that Alain generously donated to the Georgetown Public Library.

Peoples RX Drug Store Visit
    Rita and I made arrangements to meet with Alain at the Peoples RX Drug Store location in the Westlake section of Austin where he cooks, consults, and advises people regarding nutrition. The store has an awesome selection of wonderful nutritious food in keeping with the philosophy of food as medicine. The refrigerators contain local sourced fermented foods, name brand staples such as Udi’s, and best of all, Alain prepared treats! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful is the Flourless Chocolate Cake prepared from perfect organic ingredients. Several of these cakes were baking while we had a tour of Alain’s kitchen domain. I came home with a slice from the deli case to share with Don, who kept repeating, ‘you have the recipe for this’! Yes, it is in the book. I also bought some fresh fermented daikon radish and sauerkraut.

Crêpes!
    While in the midst of preparing for our family Thanksgiving it seems that I was focused entirely on Alain’s exquisite range of baked goods. Now that the holiday is over and going back over the book again to pick out another recipe I find that somehow I skipped completely over the sections on Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Meat and Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Side Dishes, and Desserts!
    A careful reading of the recipes reveal Alain, the Nutritherapist, at work in the kitchen with the respect he has for the healing power of the ingredients and the care with which they are combined. So then the dilemma: which one to prepare first. There are so many enticing recipes calling my name. However, Don and I had just been talking about pancakes as being a good soft food during his dental surgery recovery and Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes filled with finely minced ham, an over-easy egg and grated cheese might be a good start. And we definitely chose the crepes upon finding all required ingredients were in the house (too often the defining criteria).

Preparing a Crêpe

Preparing a Crêpe

    Don, healing very well, has returned to his usual self-prepared breakfast leaving me obsessed with these savory crêpes! After three batches I have finally started to turn out crêpes that are presentable as well as tasty. It is a matter of getting the batter thin enough and cooking them long enough – they may look done but they are much more flexible and fold nicely when they have cooked a bit longer.

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Alain has given us permission to share his recipe for Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes.
Ingredients:
8 oz buckwheat flour
2 oz garbanzo bean flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper, ground
1 lb (1 pint) soy or almond milk
4 oz eggs (2)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb (1 pint) water

Procedure:
1. Weigh your wet ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl: soy or almond milk, eggs, oil, and mix well together. Weigh your water separately.
2. Weigh the two flours with salt and pepper in your mixer’s bowl. With the whisk attachment, start mixing at low speed.
3. Add the liquid progressively as the machine runs. Adjust the consistency to fairly liquid with the water. Pour into a large ceramic bowl. Let rest covered for at least 1 hour.
4. When ready, heat some olive oil or coconut oil in your frying pan. Depending on the size of your pan, pour enough batter to cover the whole pan while whirling the batter around the pan. Cook until the sides turn light brown and start to detach from the sides of the pan. Flip over and finish cooking. Reserve on a hot plate kept warm. Cook all the crepes until your batter is used up.
5. To serve, place a crepe back into the pan on medium heat, place the ham slice at the bottom, then the egg, then the cheese or you can do ham and cheese only, or use ratatouille as a filling and so on. Your culinary imagination is the limit.

Notes from Alain:
    All over France, you can order your “galettes” with a multitudes of fillings. “La complete” is usually a slice of baked ham, an egg (sunny side up), grated Swiss cheese over it and folded like an envelope. In my region, we like it filled with ratatouille (see recipe in Side Dishes), folded and sprinkled with grated cheese and gratine under a broiler.
    For Casein-free, replace the cheese with Meat and Egg Dishes (pg 253) Swiss-style cheese alternative (see shopping list) and voila!

Note from Gretchen (Mom):
    Professional kitchen equipment is not a requirment. These came out very well with my usual bowl and whisk.

Note from Gretchen (Mom), Rita, and Don:
Yum!

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Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food!

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food

     “Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food” is the second cookbook by Austin Chef Alain Braux. Alain has impressive credentials as a traditionally trained French chef but, even more interesting, is a nutritherapist – a term used in Europe for nutritionists who use only food as a healing medium, as opposed to conventional nutritionists, who usually work with supplements, homeopathy and herbal medicine.

    Since writing his first book, “How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food“, Alain recently discovered that he was gluten intolerant and has gone on to compile his knowledge into a new book for those of us who love good food, more especially traditional French food.

    Alain’s comment `gluten-free junk food is still junk food’ is such an astute observation and one that resonates deeply with Rita and me. He believes we should eat thoughtfully, be aware, and indulge carefully on special occasions.

Features found in this book aside from the wonderful recipes:
1) Narratives from people about their journey of GFCF discovery – one of these stories might be your `aha!’ trigger
2) Sympathy for the many reasons you may be attempting to self medicate and suggestions on how to find the right doctor
3) Why keeping a food journal is so very important (there may be additional sensitivities)
4) Setting yourself up for gluten-free and casein-free success
5) A comprehensive list of resources for Celiac Disease and Autism including books, magazines, organizations, and online support
6) Those mysterious food additives that could indicate `hidden’ gluten – pages of them
7) `Safe’ and `not safe’; in medication, vitamins, toiletries, household cleaners

    Now about those recipes: this book contains a carefully chosen distillation of Alain’s gluten-free baking repertoire that focus on breads, breakfast, tea time treats, and cookies. The dairy-free options are carefully noted as not everyone with the gluten issues has problems with the dairy protein.

    The recipe that initially grabbed our attention was Brownies à la Farine de Coco or Coconut Flour Brownies (chocolate, go figure). We baked them for a benefit to raise money for a local Georgetown organization known as The Caring Place where I volunteer working in the food pantry. The benefit event was an evening of music with two tribute artists plus desserts contributed by a local bakery and homemade desserts created by The Caring Place volunteers.

The Caring Place Benefit Event

The Caring Place Benefit Event

    I make good tasting food but my presentation skills are not first rate – just never had that gene. Turning a basic pan of brownies into something that looked appealing next to professionally prepared items was worrisome. There were quite a few crumbs remaining in the baking pan (which were not wasted – Don had them as mix-ins for a scoop of ice cream). So each brownie was placed on a cupcake paper for background and I added about one-half teaspoon of melted raspberry jam as a glaze to anchor any more stray crumbs. The chocolate-raspberry fragrance was nearly intoxicating as Rita and I drove them to the venue.

Raspberry Glazed Coconut Flour Brownies

Raspberry Glazed Coconut Flour Brownies

    Rita and I enjoyed listening to the two entertainers warming up and checking out the stage facilities while we helped with setting up the service tables. But we had been running all day so once it appeared that all was in order we headed back home to plot out our Thanksgiving meal.

Rita Setting Up Coconut Flour Brownies

Rita Setting Up Coconut Flour Brownies

    Our family Thanksgiving meal is on Friday this year due to travel considerations. It is working out so well that Friday may become our designated family gathering day. Rita and I are baking Alain’s Cookies au Chocolat et Pecans – Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies for one of our desserts at this meal.

    Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are with whatever and however you are celebrating!

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

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You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free

    Playing with ingredients, dreaming up recipes, and trying to get that ‘just right’ texture is a fun kind of challenge for me and one that I greatly enjoy. But as Clara has reminded me on more than one occasion, some of you like to get in and out of the kitchen while still preparing good gluten-free food. The chemist-like experience of blending mixtures of flour does not thrill everyone.
    It does make sense to have a variety of gluten-free recipes to draw upon. and Rita completely agrees with this philosophy. Then Clara loaned me one of her favorite cookbooks, Rita brought over a bag of certified gluten-free oats, and a new round of recipe testing began.
    The book is You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free by Roben Ryberg published in 2008. Her approach to simplification is single-grain recipes and she presents four basic ones to choose from; corn, potato, rice, and oats. We had the oatmeal so this past weekend we were off and running.

You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free

You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free

    We usually cut all of our test recipe ingredients in half because we just can’t eat all of our experiments. The first recipe we tried was for the oat-based pancakes. It was extremely helpful that Ms. Ryberg wrote the measurement for oat flour in cups and grams. Because of that we were able to weigh out the rolled oats and run them through the blender to make the correct amount of oat flour. These pancakes were so close to our old family stand-by, Kiddies’ Favorite Pancakes, which I created for them when they were toddlers that it was amazing.

Oat Flour Pancakes

Oat Flour Pancakes

    The next recipe attempt was a little more ambitious – the oat-based Carrot Cake. I love a good carrot cake and the carrots and apple juice were already in the house, so no extra trip to the grocery store wasa needed. Since the recipe was for a single layer I made the whole recipe. Plus carrot cake begs for raisins and I added 1/4 cup of raisins. Usually I make cupcakes rather than a cake layer and attending to the cautionary note regarding ‘slightly crumbly ‘I added a little more xanthan as suggested. Rita nominated this cake to be our standard carrot cake recipe for the future!
    You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free is a keeper and before I return this one to Clara (thank you so much for sharing) I will purchase one of my own.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

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