Most people aren’t used to cooking with unprocessed foods. Nor have they ever spent much time looking for “gluten” in their food. So don’t freak out if you still can’t figure out what to eat. I’m going to give you some ideas for breakfast and lunch. And a sample menu plan (with a shopping list) for your dinner!
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Regain your confidence in the kitchen! Individual Classes Starting At $49. Are you frustrated with trying to figure out why some gluten free recipes work and others are a miserable failure?
|If you usually eat cold cereal for breakfast, then this week try Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex, or Strawberry Chex. These Chex cereals are the only mainstream gluten free cereals. If you live near an urban center, you may find that your grocery store carries other gluten free specialty cereals, and if they do then feel free to try them.||If you usually eat a breakfast bar for breakfast, first check to see if your usual bar is marked gluten free. If not, then I’d suggest switching to cereal or fresh fruit for a week. You’ll be tempted to read the labels on all of the breakfast bars in the grocery store, but that’s just going to depress you. Save that for next week. Unless your store carries Larabars – those are all gluten free.||If you usually eat a hot breakfast, then see how many eggs recipes that you can come up with. A few that I can think of off the top of my head are: scrambled, fried, poached, omelette with veggies, and frittatas. Bacon, sausage, and hot cereals are all processed and should be avoided this week unless they are marked gluten free.|
|If you have access to a microwave at lunch, then the easiest option is to eat leftovers from last night’s meal for lunch. Add a salad or fresh fruit if you need to round out the meal. Lunch is easily the most bread-centric meal of the day, so don’t freak out when everyone around you is having sandwiches. You will be able to eat good bread again.||Not crazy about the microwave? Then try a large salad and some fresh fruit. I like to add chickpeas to my salad as the protein – that way I don’t have to worry if I forget to take my lunch to the refrigerator. A lot of salad dressings contain gluten; an easy solution is to make your own vinaigrette at home and take that with you to dress your salad. Check out these recipes from Michael Ruhlman’s new book, Ratio, if you need some guidance.||If you have to go out for lunch, then try to get the lunch moved to a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu (or a chef who’s familiar with the diet). If you’re new to gluten free foods, then you might get frustrated-trying to identify the gluten foods on your own. Don’t be afraid to inquire about the food with the restaurant staff. They should be able to tell you which items are gluten free, or can be prepared gluten free. And, if you call ahead, hopefully all of this can take place discreetly in the background.|
|The easiest way to go about preparing a gluten-free dinner, may be to simply stick with the classics. Just prepare some simple servings of meat (seasoned with salt, pepper, and/or other herbs). And, a side of fresh vegetables, followed by a side of rice and potatoes.||If you’re ready to try out your new-found Gluten-Free culinary skills, then try one of the Gluten Free Dinner Recipes from our own Recipe Database. Each one can be printed out on your own PC printer. Also, you may want to try some of the recipes in our free eBook (available at the top of this web page.) The point of these options is to keep you from having to search far and wide for gluten-free recipes. That’s quite annoying for beginners.||Eating out for a gluten-free dinner is, of course, quite similar to eating out for lunch. Do some snooping in your local paper, or do some Google (or Yelp), searching and find a gluten-free restaurant near you.|
How about some Homework? Make a list of what you want to eat for each day of next week. Here’s an example:
Monday: Rice Chex and banana for breakfast, green salad (with chickpeas) and balsamic vinaigrette dressing for lunch; cheddar cheese slices and an apple for snack; baked chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and roasted veggies for dinner.
This is covered in more detail in our Gluten-Free eBook. It’s packed full of practical tips and strategies to help you get started and stay gluten-free successfully. And be sure to Subscribe to our Newsletter for even more great tips on Gluten-Free living. Take a look at our very own Gluten Free Recipes database for a never-ending supply of great-tasting gluten-free food options.
Starting A Gluten Free Diet Can Be Ugly: Once upon a time, I was a 23 year old newlywed that needed to learn how to bake gluten free bread. I was confident! After all, I’d spent many a day baking and cooking with my mom and grandmother, and I was armed with a brand-spanking new bread machine.
What else could I need? I scoured the internet for a gluten free bread recipe (there was not much too choose from at the time!) and settled on one that involved soaking brown rice overnight and then grinding it and making bread dough from the mush.
Yes, you read that correctly. We’re just not going to even talk about how badly that turned out!
Over the next few years, I experimented with gluten free bread mixes, bread recipes that used ump-teen different gluten free flours, and recipes from the backs of random gluten free flour packages. Nothing was good enough! Every single loaf of bread either fell after it came out of the oven, never rose to start with, or had a weird taste and was too crumbly for a sandwich. This would not do!
I was determined to make good gluten free bread for my husband, and I decided that, by golly, I was going to find a recipe that worked, even if it meant coming up with the recipe myself. And I did. After years of tweaking recipes, and changing one thing after another, I finally came up with a gluten free bread recipe that worked!
But, I know you don’t want to hear that it’s going to take years to be good at gluten free baking. And that’s not what I’m going to tell you. It took me years to develop my first bread recipe because I had no freaking clue what I was doing! You, on the other hand, can be baking all sorts gluten free foods that get WOW reactions in a few short weeks.
Follow These 5 Steps & Become Amazing At Gluten Free A few months ago I decided that I needed to create a couple of new bread recipes. Was I in for another multi-year ordeal simply because I needed to use a different mix of GF flours? Absolutely not. I wrote out the new recipes, baked them, and they were awesome. I baked a 2nd batch to confirm the recipe, and they were ready to send out to my newsletter readers! Two batches and I was done! Trust me, that is the kind of confidence that you too can have. There is no need for you to go through the long learning curve that I did!
Step 1. Stop Expecting Perfection.
I recently asked a large FB group what was keeping them from enjoying gluten free baking. One of the responses was, “a lack of a 100% guarantee that the recipe will turn out.”
I know none of us want to have a recipe turn out badly, but it’s going to happen. And that’s good. You’d never learn a thing if some of your recipes don’t go wrong. To truly understand your ingredients, you have to be able to contrast recipes that work and recipes that don’t. Keep reading and I’ll show you how to use those failures to boost your skills even faster.
Step 2. Use a Scale.
Two of the reasons that my first bread recipe took so long to develop is that I did not understand the tremendous advantages of using a scale to weigh my ingredients and using recipes that are written by weight. There is nothing about gluten free baking that I feel more strongly about than this. Buy a digital kitchen scale and use it!
Step 3. Take Notes.
A sturdy notebook will be the 2nd most useful tool in your gluten free kitchen. Use it as a journal and write down everything that you can measure and observe about the recipe as you are preparing it. And don’t just do this the first time, do this every time that you’re making a recipe that you want to learn from. And every time you make a tweak to a recipe. That way, when a recipe is unexpectedly WOW worthy (or unexpectedly bad) you’ll be able to look back at your notes and see why. That is how you make the most of the inevitable failures!
My gluten free cooking classes include a printable note-sheet that you can complete as you work on a class. Each of the sheets is customized for the particular recipe that you’re working on, so that you measure and observe the right variables. This has been invaluable in trouble-shooting results.
Step 4. Cook In A Group
If learning from your own mistakes expedites your gluten free skills, just imagine how much you can learn when you do you gluten free baking with others and can learn from their successes and mistakes too. In the group-coaching version of my classes, this kind of learning has taken place spontaneously. As we all baked bread in different kinds of loaf pans, we got to see how the shape, material, and size of each loaf pan affected the finished loaf of bread. Learning that, on your own, would take years of experiments and lots of money on loaf pans. Instead, we got to see it happen, discuss it, and quantify it in one week.
Step 5. Experiment
Find someone who’s doing research and experiments and read about what they are doing! All of my biggest aha! moments in gluten free baking have come from reading articles about “normal” baking and then applying it to gluten free recipes. The aha! moment that allowed me to create a yeast-free bread recipe that would make a sandwich-sized loaf…yeah, that came from reading an article on baking cakes with wheat flour. Now, getting all geeky about recipes and rations and baking techniques may not be your cup of tea, and that’s fine. But find the people that do love that and learn from them.
At this point you may be feeling some resistance to following through on this tips. That’s to be expected! It’s really discouraging to go from being an awesome cook to not knowing what the heck to do with these gluten free ingredients. It’s perfectly normal to just want it to be easy. To just want to wave a magic wand and have everything work.
But it is going to be okay! You’re going to be an awesome, amazing gluten free cook very, very soon. There will be a day when you decide that you want to bake a cake, and you pull out the flours and make a phenomenal cake and it’s not stressful at all. There will be a day when you can make every single food that you and you family love with gluten free ingredients, and you’ll all sit down and eat it, and the fact that it’s gluten free will not be at the fore-front of your mind at all. You’ll just enjoy sharing good food with people that you love.
One of the more popular questions about changing to a gluten-free diet, is how to go about cooking gluten free baked goods. Many people love to bake their own bread, cakes, and pies. While others, simply want to learn how to avoid having to buy all of these products.
The good news is that it’s really not that hard to learn to bake gluten free. You can find many recipes for gluten free baking on my blog, but let’s discuss some general tips here.
The most common ingredients used in gluten free baking are brown rice flour, corn starch (or tapioca starch), and xanthan gum. Brown rice flour and corn starch are pretty easy to figure out. They will provide the main ingredient in many gluten free baked goods. The availability of these ingredients may vary in your area. But, you can find them online at Amazon with a little effort.
Xanthan gum is something that you might not have heard of. It is the ingredient that takes the place of gluten in our bread and baked food. Just as gluten provides elasticity to wheat bread (allowing the bread to become light and airy instead of doughy) Xanthan gum does the same thing for gluten free bread.
The easiest way to get started in baking gluten free is to take a recipe that you like and simply substitute gluten free flour and some xanthan gum for the gluten-containing ingredients. You might not get things exactly right the first time, but that’s OK! You’ll get a feel for the portions as you go. So don’t be alarmed if the dough doesn’t have the texture that you’re used to with wheat flour. Things will most likely look and taste a bit different as well. This is totally normal and to be expected. Now that our own taste buds have become acclimated to gluten free flours, we find that we enjoy our own gluten free baked goods even more than those made from store-bought brands.
Enter your email address below! So you can get our free eBook, and email updates about all things gluten-free! Learn some great tips, and have fun–all while you’re wrapping your head around the idea of using a scale, keeping a kitchen journal, and all that sort of great healthy stuff.
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