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5 Reasons to Create a List of Gluten Free Foods

Organization can help anything – including living a gluten free lifestyle. By creating and keeping a list of gluten free foods, you’ll quickly see how helpful it can be. Here are 5 reasons (and there are certainly more!) to create your own list of gluten free foods.

  1. Shopping reference – A gluten free foods list is extremely helpful when it comes time to go grocery shopping. If you keep your list organized by store and by aisle, you will see how quickly you can accomplish your regular shopping trip. Some people choose to have an online list as well so that it’s easy to order all the gluten free foods that are not available locally.
  2. Keep track of favorites – With so many great gluten free products being introduced, it’s a good idea to keep track of which brands and items your family enjoys. You can even rate the items on your list. One way to get really organized is to use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel and have columns for brand, item, store you buy it from, price and rating. No matter how you keep track of it, having a list of gluten free foods will help you know what you like – and also help you determine which products you have yet to try.
  3. Share with friends and family – If you are invited to dinner at a friend’s home, it’s nice to have a list of gluten free foods that you can share with them. Most people are happy to accommodate special dietary needs. With a list of gluten free food that works for a gluten free diet, your host or hostess will be well equipped to create a wonderful meal that works for everyone.
  4. Keep motivated – Having a huge list of gluten free foods that are OK to eat can be motivating. Any time you feel deprived or that you wish you could eat wheat, looking at your list will help you realize just how much food you CAN eat while staying healthy. A well built list can really serve to remind you how much variety is possible while remaining gluten free.
  5. Dining out – If you can bring a list of gluten free foods with you to a local family restaurant, chances are the chef can prepare an amazing meal for you – completely gluten free. More and more restaurants are realizing how important it is to be sensitive to dietary requirements. With a helpful list, you will make it much easier for the restaurant to help you.

Even if you find only one of these 5 reasons helpful, the time you spend creating the list will be well worth it.

Tasty Gluten Free Appetizers

With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to expand your repertoire of gluten free appetizers. If you have a house full of guests you need to feed gluten free appetizers easy should spring to mind. Thankfully there are a few ways you can come up with delicious and satisfying gluten free appetizers.

Sources for Easy Gluten Free Appetizers
There are a few ways you can approach putting together great appetizers. The first is to find ready-made gluten free appetizers. The second is to research a few gluten free appetizers recipes. Each method has it’s own set of benefits.

If you’re in a rush then finding ready-made appetizers will likely be your best bet. The best place to get gluten free appetizers from is a local gluten free bakery. If you can give them a few days notice you will be able to place a special order. Gluten free bakeries are particularly helpful for making items to go along with dips and spreads. Gluten free crostini or crackers are ideal with salmon spread or hummus.

Another option is to make gluten free appetizers yourself. Many gluten free recipes are quick and easy to follow and don’t require a lot of advanced preparation. A little bit of smoked salmon, some cream cheese and a few diced green onions will make a terrific salmon spread that can be used on veggies, crackers or gluten free breads or bagels. Experiment with a new appetizer recipe each time and before you know it you’ll have a stack of favorites you can turn to anytime you need to prepare appetizers in a hurry.

Asking Friends and Family
If you’re holding a party and asking people to contribute a dish, you can always provide a gluten free appetizer recipe and ask friends or family to follow it. Or give basic guidelines on what works in a gluten free diet and what doesn’t. If you’re attending an event at another person’s home you can offer to bring the appetizer. Likely no one will ever know it was gluten free!

Gluten Free Appetizer Ideas
If you’re trying to decide what to make, here are a few ideas:

  • Baked Brie
  • Smoked Salmon Mousse
  • Hummus and Gluten Free Crackers
  • Stuffed Dates
  • Grilled Mushrooms
  • Artichoke Dip
  • Candied Pecans
  • Basil Shrimp
  • Fresh Salsa and Tortilla Chips
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings

Gluten free appetizers can be easy, fun and delicious. With a little bit of notice a gluten free bakery can help you out – or prepare your own! The internet is an amazing source of terrific recipes. Even if you don’t have a house full of people to feed, why not try a few appetizers with your own family for fun this week?

Making Bread with a Gluten Free Bread Machine

There is likely no better smell on earth than that of freshly baking bread. Finding a great tasting gluten free bread that also has a good texture can be a difficult task. There are a good number of gluten free breads on the market, but what if you can make one that is even better right at home? Gluten free bread machine bread will taste better and have a better texture than products you can find on a shelf, not to mention the amazing aroma that will fill your home.

Benefits of a Gluten Free Bread Machine
One of the best things about a bread machine is the labor that it saves. If you combine the time-savings of a bread machine with gluten free bread machine mix, you’ll be amazed how easily you can have freshly baked gluten free bread in your own kitchen.

What to Look for in a Gluten Free Bread Machine
Most gluten free bread can be made with any kind of bread machine, as long as you use it exclusively for gluten free bread. Don’t make a loaf of wheat bread for friends and family and then use the same machine for gluten free baking.

Here are some features that you should keep your eye out for when shopping for a bread machine:

  • Gluten free mode (this can be helpful as gluten free breads do not need to be kneaded as much as wheat containing breads).
  • Programmable
  • Keep Warm setting
  • Bake Only – If you like to knead and create your dough by hand.
  • Dough Mode – Combines and kneads but doesn’t bake. This can be helpful for pizza dough.
  • Rapid Bake – This can be a great setting for gluten free bread mixes. It cuts out steps and produces great gluten free bread.
  • Double paddles – Machines with double paddles tend to mix the ingredients a bit better but they are more expensive.

There is also a gluten free bread machine on the market specifically made for gluten free baking. Bready is a combination of machine (they call it a robot) and mixes. Put in a mix, add yeast and liquids and hit the start button. Bready will bake breads and gluten free cakes. The machine and 4 mixes runs about $300 with additional mixes running about $7 each.

A great way to evaluate which machine to go with is to read gluten free bread machine reviews. Find out what other consumers think of the Bready system versus traditional bread machines. The one drawback to the Bready is that you’re limited to using their mixes. With a regular bread machine you can use any combination of ingredients which may provide for more flexibility.

A Guide to Gluten Free Candy

Who doesn’t love candy in some shape or form? Whether you’re partial to gluten free candy bars or enjoy melt in your mouth confections like gluten free maple squares, you’ll be happy to know that there is a huge variety of gluten free candy available. In our guide we’ll give you a list of gluten free candy manufacturers along with some tips for shopping for gluten free candy.

Shopping for Gluten Free Candy
If you go to the local grocery store, you may be disheartened in your search for gluten free candy. Unless it’s specifically labeled, how can you tell what is gluten free and what isn’t? While many companies use ingredients that don’t contain gluten, sometimes the packaging process DOES. (Some manufacturers coat their products in a gluten containing powder so it doesn’t stick to the packaging.) If you do shop locally, do some research ahead of time to determine which brands and individual products are gluten free.

The simplest way to find a great selection of gluten free candy is to shop online. From organic hard candy to gluten free candy corn, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for. There are several great merchants, even organic gluten free candy companies who have a terrific selection of gluten free candies to choose from. Since the internet is an easier place to post information than the local supermarket, these online gluten free candy stores are able to provide complete details.

Large Candy CompaniesGluten Free Candy List
Here is a partial list of the larger candy companies and the products that they currently list as gluten free. Manufacturing processes can change regularly, so please check all labels or call the manufacturer directly to verify.

Hershey’s – Hershey’s doesn’t provide a full gluten free list of their products. However, they do state that they will list all wheat, rye, barley, malt and oats ingredients on their labels and will disclosed shared equipment processes. Currently only Hershey’s Kisses and the 1.55 ounce milk chocolate and milk chocolate with almond bars are disclosed by the company as being gluten free. Call Hershey’s at 800-468-1714.

Nestle – Nestle offers a good selection of gluten free candy. Here is the current list: Milk chocolate bar, Baby Ruth, Bit-O-Honey, Butterfinger (only the original candy bar, not the spin off products), Goobers, Nips, Oh Henry!, Raisinets and Sno-Caps. Call Nestle  at 800-225-2270.

Mars – Are M&M’s gluten free? You bet! All varieties except the pretzel M&M’s do not contain gluten. Whew! Snickers and and Dove chocolate candies are also reported to be gluten free. Call Mars at 800-627-7852.

The best way to determine if your favorite candy is gluten free is to call the manufacturer. Most companies have a list they can share with you.

The Joy of Gluten Free Cheesecake

Of all gluten free desserts, gluten free cheesecakes have to be some of the most decadent and delicious. While most of the ingredients in the cheesecake itself are gluten free (cheese, eggs, sugar, etc.), the issue comes in with the crust. In this article we’ll give you some tips for finding delicious ready-made gluten free cheesecakes and also some guidelines on creating a perfect gluten free cheesecake crust from scratch.

Ready Made Gluten Free Cheesecakes
If you’re lucky enough to have a gluten free bakery nearby, chances are you can pick up a specialty cheesecake that is also gluten free. A few grocery store bakeries are also carrying a selection of gluten free baked goods and occasionally offer gluten free cheesecakes. The brand Pamela’s is now offering a gluten free cheesecake that some grocery stores carry in their frozen foods section.

Homemade Gluten Free Cheesecakes
Fortunately, most cheesecake filling recipes are already gluten free. The area you’re likely to have trouble with is finding a gluten free cheesecake crust. The traditional cheesecake crust is made from graham crackers. Making gluten free graham crackers from scratch just to use in a crust can be a daunting task. There is a simpler method!

This gluten free cheesecake crust recipe is adapted from Bette Hagman’s “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Dessert”.

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups of gluten free baking mix (experiment with a few brands to find your favorite)
  • 2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled
  • 1 cup pecan pieces or chopped pecans

The easiest method to make this crust is to combine the sugar and baking mix in a food processor. Then, using the pulse mode on the food processor, add the butter and pulse until small crumbs form. Add the nuts and pulse until blended but don’t over do it. Pat the mixture into the bottom of your spring form pan. It will seem crumbly but will stay together once the cheesecake batter is added. Use any cheesecake filling recipe you desire!

Few gluten free foods are as delicious as gluten free cheesecake. Once you’ve found a filling you love you can try lots of variations. A New York style cheesecake can be dressed up with lemon zest and blueberry sauce. Or try chocolate drizzles and shavings as a cheesecake topping.

Cheesecake also freezes remarkably well. If you spend an afternoon making a few cheesecakes you can store them for later. For best results, freeze your whole cheesecake for a few hours until firm but not frozen solid. Then carefully slice the cheesecake into individual servings and then freeze them in individual containers or baggies. To defrost just let them warm to room temperature. Then you can enjoy gluten free cheesecake whenever the desire strikes!