Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adopt a GF Blogger: Linda, The Gluten-Free Homemaker

My sneaky scheme to pass off a completely gluten-free Thanksgiving spread on my family worked beautifully. Everyone had been tantalized by delicious cooking smells throughout my 48-hour cooking marathon and had been plied with just the right amount of pre-feast snacks so they were eager to sit down to our festive meal.

The table was set beautifully by my creative eldest daughter, with our heirloom china and silver and with a lovely centerpiece of bittersweet. This parasitic vine slowly strangles its host plant, but it sure is beautiful with its bright red berries and yellow caps that keep their color even after they are dried.

It wasn't until after we were all patting our bellies and scooching the chairs back that I let on that EVERYTHING that I made for our feast was entirely gluten-free and safe for my celiac husband to chow down. That raised a couple of teenaged eyebrows, but my picky eaters didn't respond that they had suspected anything or that any dish had tasted funny. I just got thanks for a great meal (and many subsequent leftover meals) and a request to make twice as much gravy next Thanksgiving. And buy that cruddy jellied cranberry sauce in the can instead of my terrific Apple-Cranberry Chutney. Philistines.

My ambitious menu for our Thanksgiving feast was amended a bit. I didn't get around to baking up crackers or rolls, the Copper Pennies salad didn't end up on the table and I subbed out my Apple Sour Cream Pie for a different apple dessert that caught my eye on Linda the Gluten-Free Homemaker's great blog. This Applescotch dessert is a kissing cousin to an apple cobbler and was adapted by the resourceful Linda from a recipe in one of her beloved Mennonite cookbooks.

You make a sugar sauce on the stove which you pour into your pan as the bottom layer and then top it with gobs of sliced apples mixed with a flour base and then bake it up. It is really delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Linda's got lots of other great down home cooking recipes on her blog, as well as many kitchen and homemaking tips, celiac news, product reviews and other items. She is also the headquarters for Gluten-Free Wednesdays, a weekly blog carnival that links up gluten-free recipes and menu ideas. Each month she also lobs out a challenge to Gluten-Free Wednesdays participants and this month the challenge was to tackle a GF pie.

I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce you all to Linda and her blog and to officially "adopt" her for the Book of Yum's Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event. There will be a roundup for this event after the December 10 deadline, so time's still open to adopt your own GF blogger and give one or more of their recipes a test drive.

Monday, November 29, 2010

WHB Hosting and the Gluten Free Food Find of the Week: Poha

When groceries are so inexpensive at the Asian markets in Albany, I feel free to grab packets and bottles and cans of interesting-looking new edibles and fling them in my cart without remorse. We've discovered so many great naturally gluten-free new foods (one must still read labels diligently though) including new varieties of rice, a world of gluten-free noodles from all kinds of culinary traditions, and wildly exotic spices and sauces.

One of my new favorite discoveries is poha (also spelled pohe), a Western Indian comfort food. Poha is a quick cooking product made of pounded or flattened rice that is available in either thick or thin varieties. I bought a package of thick poha for $1.89 at the Indian Bazaar on Central Avenue in Albany that contained 4 cups of poha, enough for two separate dinners for our family of four.

According to my blogger colleague TongueTicklers, poha is one of the first solid foods that children smack their gums upon. She also notes that a dish of poha is a favorite breakfast or snack food and gets packed in many a lunchtime tiffin, whether it is cooked up savory or sweet. Since I have more of a salt tooth, I went savory for my poha test drives.

First I cooked up TongueTicklers' recipe for Kaanda Pohe, which pairs poha with sliced potatoes, which sounds like altogether too much starch, but which blends together beautifully. I added some (well, a lot) curry leaves that I sauteed with the spices and this was an aromatic and belly-filling dinner indeed. You soak your poha in water for a short while and then drain it in a colander. It absorbs the liquid and becomes sort of spongy, rather like a rolled oat, with a delightfully chewy texture.

I also tried poha again a week later without the peanuts, topped with the chopped up last blast of cilantro from the garden. Another winner.

Scheduled next on the Crispy Cook poha experiment trials will be this recipe for Mane Adige's recipe for Gojjavalakki, in which you whir your poha around in the blender or food processor and cook it up with tamarind, rasam powder and other spices. Sounds divine. But gotta trek back down to the Big City to buy more poha!

I am going to include this poha post in this week's edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is now in its fifth year, making it one of the Grand Old Dames of food blogging events. Weekend Herb Blogging started over at Kalyn's Kitchen and is now run by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything. The weekly event includes posts about edible plant ingredients, whether they be fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes, herbs, or flowers. I always find out about new ingredients and new ways to prepare old favorites with this event.

As the guest host of Weekend Herb Blogging #262, I would love to showcase your blog post, which may contain a recipe or information about growing or using a plant ingredient, to include in my recap after this week's deadline of Sunday, December 5, midnight Eastern Standard Time. WHB submissions must include a link back to The Crispy Cook and to Haalo's WHB rules link. WHB submissions must also be specifically written for this blog event and not cross-posted to other blog events.

In your email submission (to oldsaratogabooks AT gmaildot coM) please include the following information:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (please check the details below for specific photo requirements)

Looking forward to seeing what you and other great cooks from around the world will be submitting!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gluten Free Treats at Nova Mae Cafe in Bennington, VT

There's a wonderful cafe full of gluten-free treats in downtown Bennington, Vermont. Nova Mae Cafe, located at 512 Main Street, is named after owner Kim Post's young daughter, and is a delightful way to refuel when you are visiting this vibrant college town. You can get soups, salads and sandwiches (I forgot to ask if they carry GF bread), coffee, tea and....

a whole shelf full of gluten-free baked goods in their bakery case. I saw scones, pumpkin pie, brownies and two cute little iced apple breads that I snapped up for Dan. What a score!

Kim is the effervescent owner/baker/chef at the Nova Mae Cafe, helped by her adorable mom when I was there. Next door to the cafe at 514 she also runs Junque, which is one of the coolest shops for funky home furnishings, vintage linens, artsy cards, handcrafted clothing and other kinds of gifts. I have found some great items for our home and to adorn the shelves of our used bookstore at Junque over the past several years, including some heavy chicken bookends, a vintage avocado colored tablecloth to match my Crispy Kitchen, hand embroidered napkins and table runners and fun cards.

For hours and more information about Nova Mae Cafe you can call them at (802) 447-9490. See you there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Growing and Eating a Gaudy Purple Cauliflower

While not the most prolific vegetable in my upstate New York garden, the cauliflower is so delightfully odd-looking and so terribly toothsome, that I always like to buy a six-pack of seedlings each spring to intersperse among my plants.

This year my local farmer offered the Graffiti purple cauliflower variety so I snapped some up and coddled them throughout my growing season. Only two of my six Graffitis formed heads. Here's the first one in all its glory, nestled among my autumnal asparagus stalks.

The color of this cauliflower is a deep magenta and the florets are spectacular on a raw vegetable platter. I tried cooking up half of my first Graffiti to see how it would change color when cooked, and it was a weird shade of blue (it's the plate on the right in the photo below), so I'm just going to keep the second cauliflower (still out in my patch, a very cold hardy plant) for my crudite plate.

I'm sending this post about the purple cauliflower I grew to Weekend Herb Blogging, now in its fifth year. This weekly blog event celebrates the edible members of the Vegetable Kingdom and was started by Kalyn's Kitchen. Now headquartered by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once, this informative and always tasty roundup always surprises me with exotic plant ingredients I never heard of before or with new ways of preparing more common vegetables. I am delighted that I will once again serve as guest host for this Weekend Herb Blogging next week, so I will dig out some more vegetable favorites to blog about.

This week's WHB roundup will be hosted by Anh, of A Food Lover's Journey. Anh is a Vietnamese ex-patriate living in Melbourne, Australia, and she presents many Southeast Asian recipes and new culinary delights on her beautifully-photographed blog. I have bookmarked her latest post involving a recipe for Gluten-Free Mango Clafouti that looks delicious! Stop by Anh's blog after the Sunday deadline for WHB #261 to see all the great entries.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My First Jelly Making, Gluten-Free Food Gift Ideas and Some Crispy Housekeeping

Let's get the housekeeping out of the way and that'll give you time to get ready for my jelly.

First, I had a poll here on the blog to see which holiday recipe readers would most like to make gluten-free this year and the winner was clearly bread and rolls. Ah yes, a crusty roll or piece of bread is what my GF hubby misses most. I manage to bake crumbly, soft rolls and buns but without that evil gluten, bread does not have that lovely tall structure and crispy crust that he crunches in his bread reveries. I'm going to try doing some more bread baking over the winter and will try those artisan GF bread recipes that I've seen circulating around the Internet, so I will give this top priority in the Crispy Cucina and will report back on my results.

The second most popular thing poll participants want to see made gluten-free is cheesecake. Well, I have my Mom's GF Cheesecake recipe here in the Crispy Cook archives, as well as a toothsome Lime Cheesecake with a Raspberry Swirl (Christmas colors!) that you can check out. But clearly people want some more GF cheesecake recipes, so I'll think on it. My family loves caramel so maybe I'll try that out (and double up on my gym workouts).

Coming in third on my poll list was Stuffing and I do plan a post on converting my Southern Grandma Trudie's cornbread dressing into a gluten-free version, but since I will be making it for Thanksgiving I won't be posting the recipe until afterward. Hopefully I will remember to photograph it in all its luscious stuffing-dressing glory during the madness of getting all the feast dishes done at the same time.

The second item of housekeeping is to announce the winner of the Live Gluten Freely prize package full of General Mills GF products and the random number generator picked commenter number 3, Margaret. Congratulations Margaret! Please contact me by email at oldsaraTog abooKs AT gmaildo tcom to let me know your shipping address so you can receive your prize. If I don't hear from you within the week, I'll move on to another randomly generated winner.

Last on the announcements is a cool contest and poll by the good folks at Triumph Dining. They have a survey over at their blog to assess the winners of their First Best of Gluten-Free Awards. The first 2,000 folks who complete the survey and vote for their favorite GF foods and brands will receive a pack of their GF Dining Cards. Triumph Dining publishes the Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide and Essential Gluten-Free Dining Guide and these are great resources, especially when you are traveling. The Dining Cards are handy for passing over to your wait staff when you are trying out a new restaurant and they include specialized cards for Mexican, Thai, French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Japanese and Chinese eateries.

I gave them my input yesterday and there were Dining Cards to sign up for (I already have a pack, so I left mine unclaimed), so head on over if you want to give your favorite GF manufacturers some love. I know I appreciate having Nut Thins, Chex cereals and Redbridge beer readily available in my local stores to keep my celiac husband happy. Holiday hint: the Dining Cards are perfectly sized as stocking stuffers.

Back to my first successful jellymaking experience. I am not counting the time I tried harvesting some wild grapes and ended up with blotchy purple skin and a whole lot of nothing after realizing I needed a jelly bag halfway through my never-ending recipe. I've made a little strawberry jam, and canned a whole basement full of pickles, relish, chutneys and dilled veggies, but jelly has seemed kind of daunting, what with needing to be crystal clear and firm and all.

I had a bountiful garden harvest of garlic and after planting a bunch of cloves for next year's crop, there were many cloves left over which had naked patches where they didn't separate from the other cloves as neatly. One doesn't plant these skinned cloves as they may rot in the ground without their papery covering, so I have been having a bit of a garlic cooking festival at our house to use up these partially-peeled babies up.

A bunch of garlic went into a batch of this terrific Rosemary Garlic Jelly, recipe courtesy of The Lemon Verbena Lady. I didn't mince up my garlic as finely as I should have, as most of it clustered at the top, even when I turned it over a couple of times during cooling (a jelly no-no?), but it set quite well which I was happy about.

This jelly has a great flavor; it's mellow from the garlic, herby from the rosemary and sweet behind it all. It is nice blobbed over a softened brick of cream cheese and served with crackers. I am going to try it over tangy goat cheese next and think that will be even better to cut the sweetness. Lemon Verbena Lady also recommends using it as a glaze for roast pork or chicken.

I'm linking this post over to this week's edition of The Gluten-Free Holidays, which has the theme of "Gifts of Good Taste". Alta at Tasty Eats at Home is this week's hostess and she shares her recipe for Macadamia Almond Brittle. Alta will have a whole batch of GF food gift ideas and recipes to share later in the week, so be sure to hop over there to check them out and to look into her GF cookbook giveaways too.

I have some other previous posts about other great gluten-free food gifts to give out during the holidays, for care packages for your favorite students or to bring as a little gift when you are a dinner guest. And here they are:

Puppy Chow - an easy to make gift of crushed Chex, peanut butter, powdered sugar and chocolate. Fun to make with your favorite junior chef.

Homemade Preserves and Pickles - This is a quick gift if you were a busy bee during canning season. I like to cut out a little fabric circle with pinking shears and then secure it over the top with a rubber band to dress it up my jars. I have a bunch of canning recipes here to look through, but the ones that are particularly appropriate for gift giving are Dilly Beans (great on a relish tray or as a cocktail garnish), Apple Chutney (for spicy food fans), and Sweet and Sour Wax Beans (cut them up into winter salads).

Sesame-Rosemary Crackers

Toasted Nuts

Southern Cheese Crisps - Tasty by themselves or with a schmear of your favorite dip.

Sweet Treats - I buy tins at the local charity thrift shop for 25 cents, clean them and line them with waxed paper or foil to cushion them. Favorite gift cookie recipes include Elegant Sesame-Ginger Cookies (vegan), Rudolph's Nose Cookies (no bake cookies packed with cocoa and cherries and rolled in red sugar), Peanut Butter Kisses and Almond Cloud Cookies. I also have a few tiny loaf pans and you can make mini-loaves of GF zucchini bread, cranberry nut bread, banana bread or other favorites for gift giving.

I am also linking this post about Gluten Free Gift Ideas to Linda the Gluten-Free Homemaker, who is the brains behind Gluten-Free Wednesdays. This weekly blog carnival provides a wealth of gluten-free recipes, menu ideas, restaurant reviews and other blog posts. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda in person recently and have been really enjoying reading her blog posts. She is one great cook!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Countdown to our Gluten-Free Thanksgiving 2010

Preparing a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast takes a bit of planning and reconnaissance in the kitchen, but adding in other dietary considerations (some of my family members are vegetarians) adds another layer of thinking about recipes.

Since receiving the celiac diagnosis five years ago, I've been planning and cooking meals that are mostly gluten-free and mostly pescatarian or vegetarian, including our family's Thanksgiving meal, but this year I'm making things easier on myself by making it all gluten-free.

Not that I'm telling my holiday family and guests, mind you.

I will let the vegetarians know that aside from a roast turkey and accompanying gravy, they are free to roam the Thanksgiving table without fear of ingesting meat. And I will whisper in my husband's ear that he may do the same without being glutened. My Thanksgiving gift to him. And not incidentally, to me, as the Chief and Crispiest of Cooks.

I still plan a lavish spread (because I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to have leftovers during a busy retail season at our bookstore, because I have teenagers) but I will not be making gluten-free AND Gluteny kinds of stuffings, two kinds of desserts, etc. etc. as I have in the past. I think I have just gotten to a different mindset about cooking in my kitchen as we have tried to transition from our previous cooking/eating ways to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Whereas right after the G-bomb hit with my husband's diagnosis I was overwhelmed with the enormity of having to retool the kitchen, rethink my repertoire of recipes and cooking methods, and relearn how to bake (fuhgeddaboutit!), I am now more at ease with shopping and cooking gluten-free than not. Weird.

I'm certainly planning to be less mentally CRISPY a cook when I am putting the finishing touches on my Thanksgiving spread and calling everyone to the table. If anyone asks about whether things are gluten-free before the feasting is over, I plan to get a distracted look and hurry off to say "I forgot to put out the salt and pepper", or "I forgot to turn off the stove". I will only let slip that the entire deliciousness is gluten-free after the fact, when they are lulled into a post-prandial daze.

At least, that's my devious plan. Keep your fingers crossed for me on my secretive gluten-free guerrilla assault on my otherwise GF-wary diners.

Here's my game plan for a totally Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Feast:


Magical Muhammara (a fantastic Middle Eastern dip courtesy of author Diana Abu-Jaber, I sub in GF bread crumbs)
Grandma's Stuffed Celery
Cream Cheese Glazed with Garlic-Rosemary Jelly (recipe to follow in another post this week)
GF Crackers (Sesame-Rosemary Crackers if I'm extra-ambitious, but more likely a couple of packages of store-bought Nut Thins)

Main Event:

Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy (for the omnivores)
Roast Portabellas with Rice Stuffing and Mushroom Gravy (for the vegetarians)

Mashed Potatoes
Copper Pennies Salad
Sweet Potato Pudding
Cole Slaw
Green Bean Casserole with Crunchy Fried Onions (courtesy of Jill of Hey, That Tastes Good!)
Apple Chutney (with dried cranberries thrown in to macerate for a couple of days)
Cornbread Dressing
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Balm Vinaigrette
Relish Tray (olives, carrot sticks and Dilly Beans)
GF Parker House Rolls (courtesy of Art of Gluten-Free Baking)

Sweet Finale:

Apple Sour Cream Pie
Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie (courtesy of the Fat Free Vegan)
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

My daughter and I made a batch of these Chocolate Dipped Strawberries during the summer, to serve as an elegant ending for our wedding anniversary dinner and I was amazed at how ridiculously easy they were. They look so beautiful that I had always assumed they were difficult to assemble, but after perusing some cookbooks and Internet recipes I came up with this breezy way to make these simple little show stoppers.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulls left on, rinsed and patted dry

1 (8 oz.) pkg. gluten-free milk chocolate chips

1-2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

Melt chocolate chips in double boiler over low heat. Stir often. When chips are fully melted, add in shortening as needed to achieve a runny, liquid texture.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.

Holding strawberries by hulls, dip in melted chocolate to coat on all sides except hull. Place gently on waxed paper to cool.

That's it! Chill when cooled. You can also get fancier with these dessert treats by swirling on lines of melted white chocolate or dipping their little bottoms in crushed nuts while they are still warm.

I'm sending this Thanksgiving 2010 post over to Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person recently. She is a lovely, supersmart lady who shares her gluten-free recipes, entertaining ideas, health information and so much more on her wonderful blog. Shirley's hosting week 2 of a Gluten-Free Holiday series sponsored by Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Shirley's theme this week is Thanksgiving Favorites.

Hop on over to Gluten-Free Easily to see what other bloggers are planning for their Turkey Day. I just visited and see that my tentative feast menu may be subject to change based on some droolworthy options over there. You can also leave comments there to enter to win some wonderful cookbooks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Semi-Annual List of 100+ Gluten-Free Blogs

There is an explosion of great gluten-free blogs nowadays. When I first started this list a couple of years ago, I had fifty or so bloggers listed and now the list numbers well over 100.

There is probably a gluten-free blogger that shares your cooking style, whether you are an adventurous cook who likes to dip into a variety of international cuisines; a mom in need of kid-friendly recipes; a budget-conscious gourmand; someone who loves to bake and is in need of retooling for the gluten-free kitchen or someone who is all of the above! I hope this list and summary helps ease you into the GF lifestyle. I know I am grateful for all the camaraderie, recipes and information I have gleaned from the fantastic and supportive Gluten-Free blogging community.

Bloggers are listed alphabetically and are actively blogging away as I type this. Probably a few new ones just launched. If you would like to add your blog to this list, and heaven knows I must apologize right now for not being able to know about or visit them all, please leave a comment below. Newbie GF bloggers, please have at least 30 blog posts under your belt before you ask me to list you here so I know you have staying power. I do delete blogs on this list where bloggers haven't added a post in over a year.

I continuously maintain this blog list on the link "100+ Gluten Free Blogs" that you can find on the list of links on the right hand side of The Crispy Cook, so I add new bloggers to the list as I find them.

A Baking Life - There's lots of gorgeous photography and plenty of gluten-free baking going on at Tara's blog about GF living in Maine.

Absolutely Not Martha - Jackie blogs about La Vida Gluten-Free, fashion, recipes, and GF celebrities. She also runs Vanilla Spoons, a GF gift basket company.

Accustomed Chaos - Trials and tribulations of a SAHM raising 3 kids in a gluten free household. Sharing product reviews, recipes, rants, tricks and tips for gluten free parenting.

Almond Flower - Gluten, grain and sugar free baked goods are on the menu at this blog.

Angela's Kitchen - There's a lot of scrumptiousness going on at this gluten-free and dairy free cooking blog. Angela's also got lots of tips for dining out safely in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area and a spectacular GF Lemon Layer Cake recipe.

Aprovechar - Sally's got lots of healthy, gluten and other allergen-free recipes and meal plans, along with a dollop of contemplative essays about women's health and the importance of nurturing one's self.

Asparagus Thin - Manda is a Philadelphian and gluten-free, vegetarian blogger. Baking is her passion.

The Baking Beauties
- Jeannine is a Manitoba Mom who knows her way around the kitchen and is navigating a new gluten-free lifestyle just, well, beautifully! Great baking recipes and photos.

Baking for John - A non-celiac wife learning how to bake gluten-free for her celiac husband. Hmmm. That sounds familiar!

Blackbird Bakery - This Texas custom gluten-free bakeshop is run by Karen Morgan, and you'll find many delicious GF dessert recipes and a lovely side of art on her creative blog.

Book of Yum - Vegetarian with some fish and seafood recipes added, this blog features a lot of Asian recipes and recipes that are not only gluten-free, but dairy and egg free. Book of Yum also has a lot of raw food and vegan recipes to try and is the home of the monthly Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger Event.

Bowl of Soul - Aimee is the adventurous and positive soul blogging about La Vida Gluten-Free at this stylish blog.

Brazen's Culinary Adventures - Brazen is an Aussie mom with lots of gluten-free and child-pleasing recipes on her blog.

Cannelle et Vanille
- Just the most gorgeous food and photography blog you'd ever want to spend hours perusing. The hostess is Aran, a Basque ex-pat living in the U.S. and all the sumptuous recipes are gluten-free.

Celiac Chicks - These New York City gals know where all the good gluten-free restaurants, delis, pizzerias and foodie havens are and also dish out good gluten-free advice about travel. If you sign up for their email newsletter you can also enter contests for free gluten-free products.

Celiac Princess - Vanessa's blog is full of news, links and tips for leading a happy, healthy GF life. She is the author of "Beyond Rice Cakes", about living with celiac disease and a new cookbook "Gloriously Gluten-Free".

Celiacs in the House - A thrifty mom of two teenagers (now that sounds familiar!) in Columbus, Ohio reports on her gluten-free home cooking experiments and thrifty meal ideas.

Celiac Teen - Lauren's a Canadian teenager interested in good food and fashion and she is one fabulous baker!

Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog - Chaya is a New York mom, teacher and bubbe (grandma)who cooks gluten-free and kosher. You'll find lots of great home cooking here, but no chocolate recipes since her husband doesn't touch the stuff. Fortunately, Chaya gets her chocolate fix baking for her non-GF family and students.

Cinnamon Quill
- The Cinnamon Quill is a wonderfully talented baker (not to mention an awesome food photographer). All her recipes are vegetarian or vegan, in addition to being gluten free of course.

Cook it Allergy Free - When her son and husband were diagnosed with celiac disease, Kim sprang into action by starting a Master's program in nutrition and educating herself and others about healthy, gluten-free and allergen-free foods. Great recipes.

The Crispy Cook - Hey, that's my blog! Gluten-free and mostly vegetarian recipes, with the occasional fish and seafood recipe. Some product reviews, gardening posts and other fun stuff.

The Daily Dietribe - Iris is a weight-loss coach and studying to be a food nutritionist, so you'll find lots of tasty, beautiful and healthy gluten-free advice and recipes on her blog.

Daring to Thrive - Lauren's finishing up her PhD in social psychology in the Portland, Oregon area and reports of gluten-free recipes and doings in the Portland area.

Delightfully Gluten Free - Cassandra is actively involved with the North Texas Gluten Intolerance Group and shares her recipes, posts about celiac disease and product/restaurant reviews.

Die Hard Foodie - Kitschen recently eliminated wheat from her diet and gives out great recipes, travel tips and restaurant reviews on her blog.

Diet, Dessert and Dogs
- Ricki's the author of "Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar" and has a great vegan and gluten-free blog with lots of baking and healthy recipes. And the occasional canine photo op.

Don't Need No Stinkin' Wheat - This California grad student dishes up lots of fabulous food that is gluten- and lactose-free.

Eat This - Whole grains, natural ingredients, and sugar-free recipes are the focus of this Michigan blogger. You'll find plenty of vegetables and plenty of flavor and some gorgeous food photography to boot!

Elana's Pantry - Elana's a Little League baseball coach and Boulder, Colorado businesswoman whose elegant site promotes gluten-free cooking, healthy homemaking and environmentally-friendly information.

Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen - While not a gluten-free blog per se, there is a wonderful archive of gluten-free recipes on this popular food blog.

Fidgety Budgie - Lots of great recipes, knitting info, book reviews and ruminations from the life of this Portland, Oregon home cook.

Fire and Salt - Brian's a Portland, Oregon fire-fighter, so we know he's already a great cook and he cooks gluten-free for his celiac wife. Terrific recipes.

Flour Arrangements - Sophie's got a sweet tooth, and you'll find plenty of gorgeous photographs of her gluten-free baked goods with mouthwatering recipes.

For the Love of Food - Noosh is the host of this gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and soy-free blog with excellent recipes, including Persian culinary delights.

Free From - Lucy is a U.K. mother of three, one of whom is a celiac, and has years of experience documented in this blog about the gluten-free lifestyle, product reviews, and resource links.

Fresh Ginger - Ginger is a wheat-free, but not totally gluten-free blog (she can tolerate spelt) with loads of fabulous farm-fresh and international recipes. Look for her Appetizer and Cocktail Recipes of the Week. Awesome photography to boot!

The GFCF Experience - Blog host Thomas is a Montana father of four who feeds his family a gluten-free, casein-free diet. You'll find lots of great recipes, information about Autism Spectrum Disorder and parenting anecdotes.

Giddy Up Gluten Free - Dorothy's the artistic soul behind this Seattle-based GF and casein-free blog. Look for lots of adapted baking recipes and tips.

Ginger Lemon Girl - Carrie is from North Carolina and has a particular penchant for gluten-free baking. She also hosts a Gluten-Free Girl interview feature which showcases other gluten-free bloggers and a Kid-Friendly Fridays event for gluten-free goodness that kids will lap up.

Glugle Gluten-Free - This blog focuses on providing all-inclusive information for the newly diagnosed celiac or gluten-intolerant.

Gluten-Free Baking 101 - Elizabeth Barbone, author of the awesome "Easy Gluten-Free Baking" cookbook maintains this blog about baking tips and updates on her gluten-free baking classes and other information.

Gluten Free Betsy - Cupcake lovin' Betsy is a Chicago woman with a lot of great recipes for baked goods and other treats, product and restaurant reviews and tips for living without wheat.

Gluten Free Easily
- Shirley is a dynamo who leads a celiac support group in her native Virginia and is a wealth of information about how to cook with naturally gluten-free and unprocessed foods.

Gluten Free Philly - Get the scoop on new GF products, events and restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

Gluten A Go Go - Sheltie Girl is a Westchester County, New York baker extraordinaire whose experiments with various wheat-free flours, thickeners and binders are inspirational and beautiful.

Gluten Free Anna - Anna is a young Hollywood actress who gives out the skinny on GF products recipes and traveling GF.

Gluten-Free Bay - Isaiah in upstate New York cooks up wonderful kosher, gluten-free food with an emphasis on heart-healthy recipes and food that is Ashkenazi Jewish, Ethiopian and Indian.

Gluten-Free Cat - This self-described fitness fanatic, health nut, wife, teacher and GF foodie has lots to say about navigating the GF life and offers many awesome recipes too.

Gluten Free Cooking School - Mary Frances has a tasty blog of recipes and wonderfully detailed cooking lessons for the beginning or advanced gluten-free cook.

A Gluten-Free Day - Wonderful gluten-free recipes and ethereal photography from Finland.

Gluten-Free Discoveries!
- This Boston-area teen blogs about restaurants and recipes and is one of those cool Daring Bakers, who produces beautiful and tasty GF delights each month.

Gluten Free Frenzy! - This Utah gal has plenty of recipes and health tips for the GF community and some great photos to boot!

Gluten Free for Good - Melissa is a nutritional therapist who blogs about the healthiest gluten-free recipes. Wonderful advice and information with the added bonus of lovely food photography.

Gluten Free Frugal - Here's a budget-conscious mom chronicling the gluten-free life with little kids in South Dakota.

Gluten-Free Fun - Erin is a New York City resident who has lived gluten-free with gusto for 25 years! You can find product and restaurant reviews, recipes, and other information.

Gluten-Free Girl - Shauna James Ahern married the Chef, published a book and had a perfect baby girl, all in one year. Her blog is more essay than recipe heavy, but when the recipes come, they are perfect and seasonally fresh. Make sure to buy her book, "Gluten-Free Girl" and make your local library buy it.

Gluten Free Gobsmacked - This girl Cheekalina can cook! Lots of great recipes for everyday comfort foods to the wildly exotic to all kinds of baking.

Gluten Free Goodness - Cheryl is an Alexandria, Virginia dietician whose blog features her tasty experiments in gluten-free and other allergen-free cooking.

Gluten-Free Greenie
- Wendy is an artist from North Carolina who provides delicious GF recipes and information about gluten-free dining and products in the Raleigh-Durham region.

Gluten-Free Guide - A stylish blog about life as a celiac with lots of recipes, travel tips, essential posts about Thanksgiving and cupcakes, and product/restaurant reviews.

Gluten-Free Guidebook - Hilary Davidson is a professional travel writer who was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago. Her blog has information about celiac-safe dining in cities across North America, as well as Spain, Turkey, Peru and other countries.

Gluten-Free Hippie - Lyra's beautiful blog is gluten-free and features scrumptious, healthy and beautiful recipes.

Gluten-Free Homemaker - Linda is a Maryland Mom homeschooling her three boys and cooking up delicious gf foods for her family.

Gluten Free in Cleveland - Dana's started a new blog about gluten-free dining options in the Cleveland, Ohio area and dispenses some tasty recipes and photos.

Gluten Free in Georgia (and Florida)- I guess I can't say it any better than Ginger in describing her blog, "Adventures in Gluten Freedom with a Crazy Southern Blogger Chick". Decadently good gluten-free and sugar-free recipes, witty writing and lots of fun and useful GF information from this Mass Communications Professor.

Gluten-free is Life - Kim is the GF mom of two kids, one who needs to eat gluten-free as well, and she provides lots of healthy and kid-friendly recipes on her blog.

Gluten Free Journey - Dianne in the U.K. dishes about cooking gluten-free and experiments with lots of international cuisines.

Gluten-Free Maui - Amanda is "eating gluten-free on a rock in the sea", Maui, and has a fantastic, easy Southern Hot Pepper Sauce recipe you won't want to miss.

Gluten Free Momsense - Great parenting tips, recipes and resources from this Frederick, Maryland mom.

Gluten-Free Monkey - This mom cooks for her celiac son with diabetes, so look for lots of family-friendly, GF and sugar-free recipes.

Gluten Free Optimist - This Maryland blogger provides lots of GF product information, health news and a healthy dose of humor to wash it all down.

Gluten Free Portland - Dave provides the dish on gluten-free products, eateries and news in the Portland, Oregon area.

Gluten Free Raleigh - Zach is the dynamo behind this blog about celiac and wheat-free dining, meetings and shopping around the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area and has lots of other great health and other news of interest to the larger GF community.

Gluten Free Saratoga - Suzanne in Saratoga Springs, New York, dishes out great recipes, tips on gluten-free eateries and groceries in Saratoga County and other interesting tips.

Gluten Free South Africa - Irish-born Aylena lives in South Africa and blogs about the gluten-free life in the Southern Hemisphere with lots of tasty recipes.

Gluten Free Sox Fan - She's a lawyer married to an Aussie and has some really great recipes, including a homemade mushroom ravioli with pesto.

Gluten Free Spinner - Mary is passionate about entertaining friends and family with good food that's gluten-free and kissed with her well-stocked spice shelf.

Gluten Free Steve - Steve gives out the skinny on gluten-free products, recipes, and restaurant/eatery reviews for those in the Denver, Colorado area.

Gluten Free Taste of Home
- A blog packed with GF product reviews and giveaways, restaurant reviews, recipes and more from Cinde in Washington State.

Glutenfreeville - Lots of great information about gluten-free products, restaurants and other GF lifestyle information from California mom Nancy's blog.

Gluten Freeway - Navigating a gluten free life in Los Angeles is the focus of Stephen's new blog, with lots of product and restaurant reviews.

Gluten Hates Me, But I'm Surviving -Marlow is a Southern gal who's having way to much fun in the kitchen cooking great gluten free foods and inventing cool new kinds of martinis.

The Gluti Girls - A mother-daughter blogging team with lots of luscious recipes.

The Good Eatah - Life with this Massachusetts native involves gluten-free, dairy-free cooking, in between skydiving and biking trips.

Good Without Gluten - Jeff in North Carolina appreciates good food and has a great recipe blog. The polenta recipes are my favorites.

Grain Damaged - A Portland, Oregon gluten-free support group with great information on area restaurants, bakeries and gluten-free hot spots.

Growing Gluten Free - Amanda is the Florida homeschooling mother of three who is the Queen of Bargain Shopping and Coupons. She also makes a mean GF corn dog!

Hey, That Tastes Good!- Jill lives in Philadelphia and blogs about local gluten-free eateries and has some excellent recipes, as well as the occasional gluten-free travel report from Slovakia.

Hold the Gluten - Maureen is a New Jersey mom with lots of witty information and mouthwatering recipes about life on planet celiac. She even does podcasts...whoa!

I Am Gluten Free - Ellen is a musician and excellent cook, judging from the delectable range of gluten-free recipes on her popular blog.

It's Just Not Dinner Without Cat Hair -Sheri concocts some wonderful gluten-free recipes, particularly for baked goods, interspersed with cute pix of her cat and dog menagerie.

Jeena's Kitchen - Jeena is a U.K. food blogger with a ton of gluten-free recipes in her index. Her focus is healthy and fresh food, with an emphasis on Indian recipes. My family is hooked on her Onion Bhajis recipe and all the variations with other vegetables that we cook up.

Jenn Cuisine - Jenn is a chemist living in Switzerland with a GF husband and an arsenal of awesome photography and culinary skills. Just a breathtakingly delicious site.

Jennifer Gluten Free in Georgia - Jennifer has been living for years with celiac disease and is very knowledgeable about gluten-free foods and products and dining opportunities in the Georgia area.

Karina's Kitchen - Karina is the Gluten-Free Goddess, whose blog reflects her background as an artist and writer, with lots of gorgeous food photography. Karina's gluten-free and other allergy-friendly recipes have a Southwestern flavor and a focus on fresh and natural ingredients.

Kat's GF Kitchen - Albany, New Yorker Kat has a husband who has recently gone gluten-free and this blog chronicles her cooking adaptations and experiments.

Kill.the.gluten - Two sisters in law cook gluten-free in a stylish and tasty manner and also offer good gluten-free product reviews.

Lea is Gluten-Free - Lea lives in Western New York on a farm with lots of animals of all kinds and cooks up some wonderful things to eat. I've bookmarked quite a few of her recipes.

Life Gluten Free - A gluten-free blogger mom with an emphasis on sugar-free and healthy cooking and eco-friendly lifestyle tips.

Lilac Kitchen - A blogger over in the U.K. whose lovely pastel purple kitchen inspires her to bake up scrumptious and Daring things.

Li Loves David - Somewhere in the Southeastern U.S., Li blogs about her gluten-free world as a celiac, with the occasional scrumptious recipe.

Life After Gluten - Denver, Colorado pastry chef Tiffany learns to live La Vida Gluten Free after a celiac disease diagnosis. Great recipes and travel tips on dining safely in Mexico.

Living Without Wheat - Babyfro is the American hostess of this fun blog which explores recipes, products, and books for GF eaters.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures - After suffering from undiagnosed gluten-intolerance for most of her life, Oklahoman Lynn is reveling in retooling her family favorite recipes into delicious foods that are free of gluten, tree nuts, peanuts and sesame.

Make Mine Gluten-Free - Another Coloradan named Tiffany has good information about gluten-free products and eateries.

Maple N' Cornbread - Jennifer is the Mississippi Maple lover who cooks up a storm for her gluten-free husband, with a particular passion for baking.

More Gluten-Free Options - Blogging from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Stacey provides lots of information about GF dining, product reviews, bakeries and the occasional gluten-free recipe.

Mrs. G.F. - Lots of great recipes for kids and for easy, tasty meals from the Slacker Mom.

No Gluten Required - Kristina has a Master's Degree in Gastronomy, a custom set of Gluten-Free wooden utensils and a whole lot of great recipes, product and restaurant reviews and good advice.

No Gluten, No Problem
- Kelli and Peter Bronski blog about recipes and gf living and are the authors of "Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking."

Only Sometimes Clever - An Arizona homeschooling mom who blogs about the gluten-free lifestyle, books, GF products and hiking.

Pig in the Kitchen - This U.K. pig is one of the funniest food writers out there and her recipes for her family of many allergies are great to boot. Throw in some great food photos and it's a blog party!

Please Don't Pass the Nuts - This New York City psychotherapist and social worker shares recipes and lifestyle advice for gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free, lactose-free and other -free diets.

Rachel's Recipe Box - This New England homeschooling mommy's blog contains a wealth of gluten-free, dairy-free recipes and advice about healthy living.

Real Sustenance
- Brittany is a gluten- and dairy-free cook with lots of Skills (that's a capital S there) in the kitchen. Gotta try that won ton dough recipe and soon!

Savvy Celiac - Amy offers a wealth of information for parents of celiac kids and their families, as well as news and Minneapolis/St. Paul GF recommendations.

The Sensitive Pantry - If you are looking for recipes and kitchen advice about eating gluten- and egg-free , check out this stylish blog. There are also many recipes that are tagged as vegan and casein/dairy-free.

She Let Them Eat Cake - Maggie is the baking diva that provides a ton of tasty recipes for GF and often dairy-free meals, with an emphasis on REAL foods.

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
- Amy's maintained a healthy weight loss by eliminating refined sugars and gluten from her diet, but that doesn't stop this blogger from creating spectacular recipes for the things that make life sweet. Amy hosts Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays to highlight fabulous foods made a little bit healthier.

Sorry I Can't Eat That - Allie in Western Massachusetts gives out advice on gluten-free groceries, restaurants and other places.

Spice Lovely - California blogger Kajora dines gluten and casein free with plenty of flavor and a free hand with the spices. Lots of great recipes and reviews.

The Spunky Coconut - A Colorado mom and food coach/personal cook that specializes in gluten-free, casein-free and sugar-free cooking dishes out some great, healthy recipes. She is also the author of the new "Spunky Coconut Cookbook".

Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried - Naomi over in England is a homeopath and her recipes for lovely, healthy and kid-friendly treats are spectacular. She also started the blogging event, Go Ahead, Honey, It's Gluten-Free, to inspire theme-based gluten-free recipe roundups.

Strawberries are Gluten Free - A Canadian mom of three young kids and a celiac husband who shares her family-friendly recipes and menus.

Sugar and Spice - A Boston girl who likes to cook, read nonfiction, kick box and watch the Red Sox.

Sure Foods Living - Alison, a California mom, maintain a excellent informational blog about living gluten-free and avoiding other food allergens.

Tasty Eats at Home
- This Texas mom knows how to put a great meal on the table quickly, even when it's gluten-free and from scratch.

La Tartine Gourmande - French ex-pat Bea (accent aigue in there over the e) is a food and travel writer/photographer, whose blog is achingly beautiful. Find over 100 gluten-free recipes in her recipe index.

Trav's Gone Gluten-Free - Philadelphian Travis explores the gluten-free world, with many recipes and reviews of gluten-free beers and other products.

Triumph Dining - The publishers of the "Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide" and Grocery Guide have a blog packed with tips about finding gluten-free food throughout the U.S.

Wasabimon - Culinary Wordsmith Stephanie Stiavetti blogs about gluten-free food, photography, organic cooking, and health issues from her computer in San Francisco.

Wheat Free Meat Free - Kalinda cooks for her vegetarian celiac husband in Chicago and this blog features her great recipes and wonderful food photos.

Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen - Husband and wife nutritionists and cookbook authors Ali and Tom have a wonderful blog about healthy, gluten-free eating coming to us from Bellingham, Washington.

A Year of Crockpotting - Stephanie is the hilarious, gluten-free chef who has a strong attraction to her herd of crock pots--but she's OK with that. A funny and tasty food blog which started on January 1, 2008 with a new crock pot recipe each day.

This list is just an appetizer, there are so many other great gluten-free food bloggers out there that I haven't had time to taste and more sprout each day. If you have a gluten-free food blog that you would like me to visit and add to this blogroll, feel free to leave a comment and I'll get to it. Again, newbie bloggers please have at least 30 blog posts under your belt before you ask me to stop by so I know you have the fortitude for long-term bloggery.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Rare Bird and a Giveaway

The first dusting of snow arrived last week and as I was gazing out at the falling flakes through my back window I spied a rare feathered friend in the fields behind our house. See this brown speck in the very center of this photo?

It's a male ring-necked pheasant! I had seen one of these beautiful game birds in our parts 15 or more years ago. We had a male that would jump onto our lawn tractor and flap his wings at us with vigor, making his distinctive cry. I'm not sure if he was try to ward us off his territory or was just hopped up on mating hormones, but we could get quite close to him. Not so with the present pheasant, who was very wary and kept stock still when I would lift my window curtain to peep out at him. He came within 50 yards of the house, but never came closer, perhaps because of our dog's scent.

What a handsome bird! Well, fear not, we did not bag him and eat him, though I haven't seen him again and hope he is just roosting in another field down the road and not residing in some coyote's stomach.

Since this is a food blog, rather than a birdwatching blog, I will turn to my giveaway. As part of General Mills MyBlogSpark program, I received a Live Gluten Freely prize pack containing all the gluten-free products you see below. I am delighted that I am also able to offer one of my U.S. readers the chance to receive a Live Gluten Freely prize pack as well.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment below letting me know what gluten-free product or food you are most thankful for by November 20, 2010. That'll get me in the Thanksgiving spirit! I will pick a randomly generated winner from the available submissions after the deadline.

I used a box of my Betty Crocker GF Brownie mix to make these terribly tasty Mexican Brownies. They have a bottom crust of crushed Cinnamon Chex cereal mixed with melted butter and brown sugar and were polished off rapidly by my hubbie and daughter and two of her sleepover pals. Okay, I had one too. Alright, two brownies. You can check out the recipe here at the Live Glutenly Free website that General Mills has developed to assist consumers with recipes, and GF health and lifestyle information.

Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adopt a GF Blogger: Kristina of No Gluten Required

Checking in with other gluten-free bloggers is a good way to get a fresh viewpoint on how to cook or plan meals. The Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger event founded by Sea at the Book of Yum is a great incentive for me to check out what others are cooking for supper and to learn new kitchen tips.

For this round of Adopt a GF Blogger, I have picked Kristina, from No Gluten Required, a new Maryland resident (by way of Boston) with a degree in Gastronomy (impressive!) and an adventurous culinary spirit. On No Gluten Required you will find her musings and kitchen test notes about such diverse edibles as Bacon Pomegranate Salad on Endive, Sauteed Sweet Potato Leaves, Artic Char with Preserved Lemon, and Blueberry Rhubarb Brown Butter Almond Tart.

She also writes a really good rant now and then. See her post about GF flour blends here. And I was also impressed and educated when reading her latest post about how she felt upon relocating to a new hometown and having to relearn where to eat with ease and safety. It's a moving post about moving.

What is most striking to me is Kristina's header photo in which she brandishes her customized wooden kitchen utensils, each sporting a snappy Gluten Free logo she lasered herself at the MIT labs. Read all about that here. How cool is that?!

No Gluten Required had a recipe for GF Spaetzle, which is something I've been meaning to try some day, so I gave Kristina's recipe and technique a whirl. One works in small batches of 1/2 cups of spaetzle dough, so I had time to improve my spaetzle flinging technique. I found that my spaetzle was really clumping together in the first batch, so I flung smaller bits into my boiling water, a la Egg Drop Soup, and they were a little too threadlike and dissolved. I got the hang of things after the first several batches and then would put my last spaetzle batch in a colander to drain and then toss it with a bit of melted butter to keep them from clumping together.

We ate our spaetzle tossed with mushrooms sauteed in butter, a sprinkling of poppy seeds, snipped parsley and a little salt and pepper. Sehr gut!

The recipe made a bodaciously big batch of spaetzle. When I make it again I will cut the recipe in half as we only needed a small bowl of this substantial German comfort food favorite to fill our bellies. I would estimate that it made 8 hefty main dish portions. I would also boil up much more salted water for the spaetzle than several quarts, as I found that the water got gummy from the tapioca starch after the first several spaetzle boils and this made the resultant product stickier and stickier as the batches mounted.

You can see some of my other Adoptees in past posts here at the Crispy Cook:

Flour Arrangements (wonderful, creative GF baker)

Gluten Free Kay (a serious gardener and backyard farmer)

A Gluten Free Day
(stunning food photos and great recipes from

Gluten Free South Africa (made two of her recipes for the holidays, panforte and zucchini madeleines)

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (made homemade crackers for the first time with
FFVK "holding my hand" with great success)

Book of Yum (my GF blogging kindred spirit on the West Coast)

Fresh Ginger
(if you enjoy spicy cuisine, farm fresh ingredients and homemade cider, this blog is for you!)

Jeena's Kitchen
(onion bhajis are in our household's permanent recipe rotation now)

Gluten A Go Go
(Coca Cola Cake, awesomely delectable)

And be sure to check out Sea's roundup at the Book of Yum after tomorrow's deadline, when there will lots a delicious GF smorgasbord for us to all sample.

I'm also sending a bowl of this gluten-free spaetzle over to Presto Pasta Nights, a weekly showcase of all things noodly, which is headquartered over at Once Upon a Feast. This week's guest host for Presto Pasta Nights is Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and she will be posting her delicious roundup this Friday night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Crispy Cook Meets Betty Crocker

Man, this past week I was the Extra, Extra Crispy Cook. I helped organize our school's annual arts and music festival on Friday, went on the road with a good bit of our used bookshop at the Chronicle's Autumn Leaves Book Fair in Glens Falls on Saturday, and worked at the shop and home at computer central in between. But even more wild was my beginning of the week adventure in Minneapolis to meet with a brigade of marketing mavens and what seemed like half the staff of the General Mills corporate headquarters.

Yours truly and ten other gluten-free blogger buddies were invited by General Mills to come for an intensive day of sessions to let the company know about the gluten-free lifestyle and how we shop, cook and live to keep our families healthy. This company, one of the world's largest food manufacturers, makes and sells some of the most popular food brands in North America, including Betty Crocker, Progresso, Yoplait, Old El Paso, Green Giant, Pillsbury, and Haagen Dazs (hurray for Rum Raisin!) so even though I generally cook from scratch, I was intrigued about being asked for my input and pleased to see that such a large company was interested in making more food options available for the gluten-free community.

I was psyched to meet so many passionate, articulate gluten-free bloggers during the day. Here's Amy of The Savvy Celiac, a great source of information and news and Minnesota area recommendations, with Cinde of Gluten Free Taste of Home, whose blog is all about gluten-free product reviews and giveaways (Amy's the blonde, Cinde's the brunette). And that's Danna Korn in profile on the far left, a rock star in the GF community who is the author of the several great books about living gluten-free, including Gluten Free for Dummies which I have recommended to many others who are new to the GF diet. Danna is also the founder of R.O.C.K. (Raising our Celiac Kids), a support group for parents. My local readers may be interested to know that there is a Glens Falls R.O.C.K. chapter.

In the photo above you can see a picture of (from left to right), Amanda of A Few Shortcuts, who gives you all the latest shopping bargains, recipes, and homemaking hints from her Florida home, Amy the Savvy Celiac, and Shelly, who, though not a blogger (yet?) is an active member of the Minneapolis/St. Paul R.O.C.K. along with Amy.

And below you can see Cinde on the right (whom you already met above) and Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker, who has fantastic home cooking recipes and household tips on her Maryland-based blog. Linda is the brains behind Gluten-Free Wednesdays, a link up of GF menu ideas and recipes to help make meal planning a little easier for the GF cook.

Most of our day was spent in information sessions being peppered with questions about how we've had to retool our kitchens, pay more for food on our gluten-free diets, alter our shopping habits, and the extent of our advance planning for our dining out experiences. Being an assertive and passionate bunch, we bloggers also got to fling the pepper back by making our various needs and desires known.

Chief among our desires were:

- Better certification/testing of food labeled as gluten-free (especially without the chilling afterword "may be made in a facility that also processes wheat, tree nuts, milk, etc.")

- Ingredient lists that are shorter rather than longer and which contain less chemicals and less additives that are unrecognizable as food. As in "why is there ester of wood rosin in my frosting?

- Products that contain less white rice flour, more fiber and more nutritious GF flour choices

- Less expensive GF foods.

I think our voices were heard and am encouraged that General Mills is sincerely interested in improving their product line for its GF customers. The fact is that gluten-free consumers read labels with a vengeance; we have to because eating gluten makes us and our loved ones sick and because manufacturers frequently reformulate products and add gluteny things back into products with "new and improved taste".

While a lot of smaller companies have sprung up over the past decade to provide wonderful GF foods for us to enjoy and which are available in "regular" food markets, General Mills is by far the largest company and has the most resources to be able to really expand the availability of more GF foods in mainstream markets. I think we were able to give the company a lot of important information about cross-contamination, the range of gluten-sensitivity and -intolerance and our powerful individual stories about how we and our families have been affected by gluten. I know I learned a lot from my fellow bloggers and I thought I was pretty up to speed on GF issues.

We also got a little time in Betty's kitchen to bake some sweet treats, though the General Mills staff didn't realize that possible gluten-contamination of wooden utensils used to make all their many other previous baked goods was a health concern, so they were disappointed that our gang of bloggers was not partaking of their specially prepared sweets. I know that this was a good education for them.

I was a baking partner with Jill of Hey, That Tastes Good, who is a wonderful food photographer and GF food adventurer. I was already a fan of her blog, as we gave her Fried Calamari recipe a test drive recently and I became a kitchen hero. That used to be Dan's favorite appetizer when we would dine out in the pre-GF era.

Jill's the one not wielding the gluten-suspicious rolling pin.

From left to right, my other new blogger friends included the effervescent Maureen of Hold the Gluten, who writes her information-packed blog posts about cooking, travel and health news from New Jersey, Vanessa the Celiac Princess, a newlywed (check out her gorgeous wedding photos and the spectacular GF reception spread) and author of a much-dogeared and beloved cookbook at our house, "The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook", Lyn of Lyn's Kitchen Adventures, an Oklahoma mom and splendid from-scratch baker who keeps things gluten, tree nut, peanut and sesame-free in her kitchen, and Shirley of Gluten-Free Easily, who finds the time to lead a celiac support group back home in Virginia when she is not blogging up a ton of recipes whose emphasis is on naturally gluten-free foods and whole foods.

Feel free to add comments about what you'd like to see in the best of all possible GF worlds and I will be happy to pass them along to my contacts at my next opportunity. I can tell you that General Mills is listening and made lots of staff available to meet with our group, so this bodes well for our future.

I hope you all find time to visit the blogs of my new GF friends and say hello. They are all wonderful women with lots to share and interesting points of view and I was inspired by them all.