Beginners Guide to Gluten-Free (and a Tasty Recipe for GF Rhubarb Scones)

 

Scone

All of my kids are celiacs. When the first son got the diagnosis, I was completely overwhelmed. HOW can I feed my family without bumping into wheat? It’s in everything! Then my own doctor finally convinced me that although I wasn’t experiencing the GI issues that my kids were suffering with, statistically it was very probable that many of my other health issues were due to the same little protein. Well hell….he was correct, and now I was faced with giving up ALL my favorite binge foods! Goodbye donuts, banana bread, crusty french breads, sourdoughs, pancakes, cookies….<insert leaky eyes!>

Since that time, a LOT of gluten-free product has come on to the market and a simple Google search will bring up a gazillion links….which only adds to the overwhelm if your doctor has told you to give up gluten.

What I wish I would have known waaaay back then was….going gluten-fee is just like anything- Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!

The obvious first step is to go through your kitchen and get rid of everything made with flour- pasta, breads, mixes, breading, packaged foods, seasonings and condiments (check the labels), cereals, canned soups, and frozen prepared foods. Look for hidden wheat in the ingredient list.

Common sources of hidden wheat:

All purpose flour
Bran

Bread (any type made with white flour, wheat flour), bread crumbs

Bread flour
Bromated flour
Bulgur
Cake flour
Cereal extract
Couscous
Crackers, cracker meal
Durum flour
Enriched flour
Farina
Flour
Fu
Germ
Gluten
Graham flour

Types of wheat (common and botanical names):

Club wheat (Triticum compactum Host.)
Common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
Durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.)
Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum)
Emmer (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell.)
Kamut (Triticum polonicum L.)
Semolina (Triticum durum Desf.)
Spelt (Triticum spelta L.)
Triticale ( x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.)

Triticum: Triticum aestivum L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum compactum Host., Triticum spelta L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum, Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell., Triticum polonicum L., and x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.

High gluten flour
High protein flour
Instant flour
Malt, malt extract

Matzo, Matzoh, Matzah, Matza, matsa, matso, Matzo meal, Matzoh meal, Matzah meal, Matza meal ,matsa meal, matso meal, matsah meal or matsoh meal

Noodles
Pasta
Pastry flour
Phosphated flour
Plain flour
Seitan
Self-rising flour
Soft wheat flour

– See more at: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=52#sthash.HT2fl3YD.dpuf

All purpose flour
Bran

Bread (any type made with white flour, wheat flour), bread crumbs

Bread flour
Bromated flour
Bulgur
Cake flour
Cereal extract
Couscous
Crackers, cracker meal
Durum flour
Enriched flour
Farina
Flour
Fu
Germ
Gluten
Graham flour

Types of wheat (common and botanical names):

Club wheat (Triticum compactum Host.)
Common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
Durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.)
Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum)
Emmer (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell.)
Kamut (Triticum polonicum L.)
Semolina (Triticum durum Desf.)
Spelt (Triticum spelta L.)
Triticale ( x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.)

Triticum: Triticum aestivum L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum compactum Host., Triticum spelta L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum, Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell., Triticum polonicum L., and x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.

High gluten flour
High protein flour
Instant flour
Malt, malt extract

Matzo, Matzoh, Matzah, Matza, matsa, matso, Matzo meal, Matzoh meal, Matzah meal, Matza meal ,matsa meal, matso meal, matsah meal or matsoh meal

Noodles
Pasta
Pastry flour
Phosphated flour
Plain flour
Seitan
Self-rising flour
Soft wheat flour

– See more at: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=52#sthash.HT2fl3YD.dpuf

ll purpose flour
Bran

Bread (any type made with white flour, wheat flour), bread crumbs

Bread flour
Bromated flour
Bulgur
Cake flour
Cereal extract
Couscous
Crackers, cracker meal
Durum flour
Enriched flour
Farina
Flour
Fu
Germ
Gluten
Graham flour

Types of wheat (common and botanical names):

Club wheat (Triticum compactum Host.)
Common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
Durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.)
Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum)
Emmer (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell.)
Kamut (Triticum polonicum L.)
Semolina (Triticum durum Desf.)
Spelt (Triticum spelta L.)
Triticale ( x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.)

Triticum: Triticum aestivum L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum compactum Host., Triticum spelta L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum, Triticum turgidum L. subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell., Triticum polonicum L., and x Triticosecale ssp. Wittm.

High gluten flour
High protein flour
Instant flour
Malt, malt extract

Matzo, Matzoh, Matzah, Matza, matsa, matso, Matzo meal, Matzoh meal, Matzah meal, Matza meal ,matsa meal, matso meal, matsah meal or matsoh meal

Noodles
Pasta
Pastry flour
Phosphated flour
Plain flour
Seitan
Self-rising flour
Soft wheat flour

– See more at: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=52#sthash.HT2fl3YD.dpuf

Artificial flavoring, natural flavoring
Caramel color
Dextrin
Food starch
Gelatinized starch
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Maltodextrin
Modified food starch
Monosodium glutamate, MSG                                                                                          Oats (may be contaminated with wheat due to agricultural cultivation practices)                      Shoyu                                                                                                                                  Soy Sauce                                                                                                                           Surimi
Teriyaki Sauce
Textured vegetable protein
Vegetable gum
Vegetable starch*

 Gluten is also found in rye and barley, so that has to go as well.

Once your kitchen is clean, the issue becomes what to eat!  Going gluten-free is much easier when you realize that the majority of your gluten consumption has most likely come from just a few places: bread, breakfast cereal, and prepared frozen meals. There are some pretty good gluten-free breads and breakfast cereals out on the market. Yes, they are more expensive, and in my not so humble opinion, not incrementally better for the money. Basically, the GF manufacturers KNOW they have us over a barrel and they plan to take advantage while they can. Solution? Make your own. Yes, you can! It’s actually MUCH easier to make GF bread than regular bread. It has fewer steps and it’s a lot less messy. You CAN do this!

A tasty and inexpensive replacement for breakfast cereal is old-school oatmeal. Make sure you buy oatmeal that is labeled gluten-free. Oats are naturally GF, but are often processed in plants with wheat, thus contaminating them. Bob’s Red Mill has a terrific GF oatmeal that is reasonably priced and goes a long way. I add chopped nuts and some dried fruit before I put mine in the mircrowave to cook. If it’s too plain, a little bit of honey helps out. I will admit that it took a couple weeks before I got used to the flavor of oatmeal that wasn’t covered up by sugar, but now I love it.

So now we get down to dinner….and this is where cooking GF can get tricky. If you LOVE pasta, there are very good/excellent rice or quinoa pastas that actually cook up with a lighter texture and don’t sit on your stomach with the same weightiness of wheat flour (semolina, whatever) pastas.

If you love breaded chicken and fish….there are GF panko bread crumbs, or make your own from the leftover GF bread. Most other recipes that use flour for thickening can safely and reliably use cornstarch.

But the easiest dinner is something simple- a protein, a veggie or two and an alternate carb source, like sweet potatoes, corn, quinoa, rice, pinto beans…..you get the idea.

The key to success is to PLAN AHEAD. Actually, that is good advice whether you have to avoid gluten or not. The time to be planning dinner is the night before, not in the car on the way home from work. If you”re anything like me, by the end of the work day I have so little brain left, it’s a wonder I can even drive home. Scary!  I found I get much better results if I can get into the habit of thinking about what I want to make for dinner the day before I make it. When i get bored with my dinner rotations, I look at ethnic food/recipes as many cultures do not use a lot of wheat. For example, Indian and Chinese foods are generally centered around rice, and  Mexican food relies heavily on corn. You don’t have to buy special cookbooks; just poke around on Pinterest for inspiration! My favorite sites for inspiration are Epicurious, Food 52, and Cooking Light.

Winding back to the beginning, going gluten-free is really more about avoiding highly processed foods and cooking more from scratch. The upside to cooking more simple/fresh food is you might lose weight! I sure did!

But life really isn’t worth living if you can’t have a treat now and again, right? And the thought of going through the rest of my life without EVER eating a chunk of crusty French bread is truly depressing……..so here’s to high-quality, utterly delicious, mouth-watering gluten free breads and goodies! Heck yeah!

The following scone recipe is SO simple and easy, your Border Collie can make it! And check out the Gluten Free tab at the top of the page for more delicious road-tested recipes!

Scones

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a super easy and fast recipe. The scones can be frozen and reheated for later. Store extras in the fridge if you don't freeze them.
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 8 - 10
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups gluten-free flour (If the flour mixture does not have xanthum gum, add ½ teaspoon of xanthum gum to the bowl.)
  • 1 stick of butter plus 2 T butter
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus extra for topping
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons baking powder
  • About 2 cups cleaned and chopped rhubarb
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut butter into smaller chunks and using a pastry blender or forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in very small pieces. It's okay of it isn't perfectly blended.
  4. Toss a couple tablespoons of sugar into the rhubarb and stir to coat all the pieces. Dump the rhubarb into the bowl with the flour mixture and gently mix.
  5. Mix the vanilla extract into the rice milk and dump it all into the bowl with the dry ingredients/butter mixture. Using a large fork, stir the whole mess until it begins to form a thick dough.
  6. Dump the thick and lumpy dough out onto the lined cookie sheet. The dough might need to be kneaded a bit to get it to come together into a solid mass. Squash the ball of dough flat with the palm of your hands and shape it into a large flat "patty" about ¾' - 1" thick. It does not have to look perfect. I usually squash the edges into the shape I want and try to create a large, thick rectangle.
  7. Taking a sharp knife, cut through the dough and the raw rhubarb to create triangles in your desired size. Sprinkle the top generously with additional sugar.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
 

 

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