Gluten free has become the go to phrase on today’s “Healthy Packaging”. Gluten-free bread, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free pasta, gluten-free water, gluten-free gluten. Everywhere you turn someone is talking, writing or posting about the benefits of going gluten free and its healthy diet aspect.
Following a gluten-free diet is essential for people who suffer from Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten, gliadin (a prolamin protein) and glutenin (a glutelin protein), found in cereal grains, especially wheat, cannot be digested by an individual, causing damage to the intestines.*
But what about the rest of us who simply want to eat healthier. Should we assume eating less gluten is better for us? YES AND NO.
Clearly, eating a diet of fresh vegetables, whole sweet fruits, wild fish, shellfish, grass-fed meat, poultry, and pork, and non-processed grains and legumes*is healthy and, in this case, a gluten-free diet. However, much of the gluten-free packaged foods out there now are higher in one or more of fat, sugar and salt to help compensate for the texture and taste difference when gluten is removed. The food industry has added gums, stabilizers, alternative flours in order to create the same texture and flavor that is found in regular wheat-based products. So, what exactly are we gaining by eating gluten-free mini twisted pretzels verses the plain old kind? About 3 times the fat and double the salt!
So, whether you are following a gluten-free diet, low-carb diet, low sodium diet, or a high-protein diet they can all be healthy, nutritionally sound choices, but the same rule applies to all; processed, packaged anything is never going to be a better alternative to the real deal.
Real delicious, real deal, gluten-free recipes with delightful beverages to wash them down with.
2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour (Try Bob’s Red Mill Of King Arthur)
½ Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
15 Ounces Pumpkin Puree
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
¼ Teaspoon Ground Allspice
Combine the butter with the sugar and cream together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix briefly, then add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and gently mix until well-blended. Spread batter into a greased bread pan and bake at 325˚F for approximately one hour. Test the center of the loaf with a toothpick to ensure the bread is baked through (the toothpick should come out clean).
Yield: 1 loaf
Serve warm with Apple Ginger Butter for a tasty and filling breakfast on a cold autumn morning. This bread is also great as a dessert – add a dollop of Cinnamon Chantilly Cream and wash it down with Pumpkin Spiced Coffee.
Apple Ginger Butter
5 Pounds Mcintosh Apples (Empire Apples Would Work Great As Well)
1 ½ Cups Apple Cider
¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
2 Teaspoons Freshly Grated Orange Peel
1 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Juice
Peel, core, and dice the apples into small cubes. Add a few tablespoons of cider to the bottom of a saucepan and sauté the apples with the ginger for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the cider and the brown sugar and bring the ingredients to a boil. Cook until the apples are very soft and falling apart. Remove from heat and puree the mixture in a food processor or blender. Return to the pan and continue cooking on medium heat until butter is reduced to a thick consistency, about 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until use. Bring to room temperature or reheat to serve.
Yield: Approximately 3 Cups
Cinnamon Chantilly Cream
½ Cup Heavy Cream
2-3 Tbsp. Confectioner’s Sugar
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until cream forms medium to stiff peaks.
Yield: 5 servings
Pumpkin Spiked Coffee
1 Cup Hot Coffee
¾ Oz. Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
¾ Oz. Dark Rum
Fill mug with rum and liqueur. Add hot coffee and mix well. Top with whipped cream and a pinch of grated nutmeg, if desired.
Yield: 1 serving
Cumin Lime Quinoa & Black Bean Salad with Grilled Sweet-Spicy Shrimp
Yield: 2-4 servings
1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Can (15 Ounces) Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 ½ Cups Cilantro, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Roma Tomatoes, Seeded And Diced
1 Cup Zucchini, Diced
1 Cup Fresh Or Frozen Corn
4 Green Onions, Chopped
Salt & Black Pepper, To Taste
3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Clove Garlic, Minced
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Honey
Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
1 Pound Raw Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
¼ Cup Sriracha
½ Cup Honey
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
To prepare the quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Add into pot along with 1 ½ cups water, vegetable broth, or seafood broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes. Fluff with fork and chill in the fridge to cool (about 20-30 minutes).
In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the beans and other vegetables.
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour onto the salad. Lightly stir to combine and season with salt and pepper as needed.
For the shrimp, mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Add the shrimp and toss in the sauce to coat. Place shrimp on a pre-heated and well-oiled grill. Alternatively, shrimp can be skewered and basted with the sauce – cook on both sides, turning once. Shrimp can also be sautéed – add sauce-coated shrimp to a pan with a small amount of oil and sauté until the shrimp are cooked through (they will turn pink and opaque).
Serve the shrimp with the quinoa salad and pair with a refreshing Brazilian Limeade Cocktail for a healthy and refreshing meal.
Brazilian Limeade Cocktail
2 Oz. Smirnoff Coconut Vodka
6 Oz. Club Soda
2 Tbsp. Superfine Sugar
2 Tbsp. Sweetened Condensed Milk
Juice Of One Lime
Ice As Needed
Place lime juice, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vodka, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly and pour over ice. Top off the glass with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Yield: 1 serving
*Including grains and legumes such as amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, beans, lentils, and peas.