Making a Gluten-Free House a Home
We all know that taking care of three kids is a busy job; turn that into a gluten-free home and life gets more interesting. Linda Etherton’s blog, glutenfreehomemaker.com, has been a favorite stop of mine for a long time. She offers up real recipes with foods you’ll find at your local grocery store, with the exception of some of the gluten-free flours.
Linda’s boys are almost grown: one’s in college, another’s going this fall – both attending a nearby university but living at home – and a third’s just a few years from college. Her oldest son is gluten intolerant and she has celiac disease so this is a woman who knows gluten-free. I had Linda’s Almond Meal Pancakes for breakfast (see photo below) and enjoyed the touch of cinnamon she added.
My favorite line from her blog: “I never apologize for serving gluten-free food because the food I make tastes great!”
Q & A:
You were diagnosed 12 years ago. How has your diet evolved during these years?
I started out eating very basic meals with meat, potatoes or rice, and vegetables. I cooked a whole chicken and vegetables in the crock pot and made instant mashed potatoes once a week for a number of months as my body healed and I was learning the ropes of the diet. The only reason I used instant potatoes was that I was still very weak from lack of nutrients due to my intestinal damage.
I soon branched out and began trying different types of gluten-free pasta. The choices back then were not as good, but there were choices and spaghetti was another easy meal.
Once I got my strength back, I was eager to begin baking and finding gluten-free versions of our favorite muffins, cakes and cookies. I have almost always made gluten-free birthday cakes for my kids because I will not bake with wheat flour. Both my kids and their friends have always enjoyed the cakes.
I used to make a lot of casseroles which used creamed soups. I wasn’t sure what to do when I couldn’t eat those soups any more. Then I discovered Mexican casseroles which were a whole new thing for my family and everyone liked them. I also learned to make creamed soup from scratch which is better than store bought anyway. However, once I stopped being so dependent on it, I didn’t use it as much anyway.
In many ways I learned to cook all over again, only this time I was paying more attention to the ingredients in the foods I ate, and I was motivated to be creative.
You say that everything you cook or bake is gluten-free. You’re the only celiac and one son is gluten intolerant. How do you make gluten-free food work for the rest of your family?
My kids were young when I started eating gluten free. I served them gluten-free pasta and that was their only choice, so they got used to it. The pasta also got better. I serve it to guests now too, and while they notice a difference, they think it is good.
As for the other food I cook or bake, I won’t settle for food that doesn’t taste good. I have my failures when I’m experimenting, but anything that is a regular part of our menu tastes good. My kids all agree and so do friends and family. Sometimes the gluten eaters in the family are jealous when I reserve certain foods for me and my gluten-free son.
You also bring in regular products for everyone but you and and your son. How do you separate gluten-free and gluten in your home?
My kids learned quickly that crumbs make Mom sick. The main cooking area of my kitchen is gluten free. Gluten containing foods are stored in a portable cabinet in the eat in part of the kitchen. Any sandwiches are prepared there. In a previous house where the kitchen was smaller, the gluten food was kept in the dining room.
The refrigerator is mostly gluten free. Anything that is not gluten-free, my gluten-free son is old enough to know that it’s not for him. We do have separate condiments. The gluten-free jars and bottles are labeled GF.
What is your favorite gluten-free meal?
Honestly, I really enjoy pizza. Now that I am cow dairy free (my gluten free son is too), I use either Daiya cheese substitute or goat cheese. It’s still one of my favorite foods. While my homemade gluten-free pizza is different than wheat flour pizza, it is still very good, and all my guys enjoy it. It’s one of those foods where the gluten eaters wish they could have the leftovers, but they are reserved for the gluten-free eaters.
Thank you Linda!
These were tasty slathered in butter (actually Earth Balance Coconut Spread) and real maple syrup for today’s breakfast and, the good news is, I have enough left over for tomorrow’s breakfast. I skipped the sugar in the recipe, as I often do, so I could drench the pancakes with syrup and have a clear conscience For those new to almond flour, I find it a hearty texture somewhere between cornmeal and whole wheat. If you aren’t cooking these in a non-stick pan, as I did not, make sure you generously oil the pan because almond flour can stick.