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Jun 11, 2013 10:49 AM

Newly Celiac Sister coming to visit... what to cook? Where to buy?

My sister was just diagnosed with celiacs. They found it by accident, and she is rather annoyed as there were no symptoms.

She will be staying with us for about 5 days. There will be many restaurant meals, but some home cooked ones. Any advice? I cook vegetarian at home, and we get an amazing bunch of fresh, seasonal veg from our CSA. It is pretty warm here these days, so I dont want to bake anything for hours aside from granola (see below).

I will make a big batch of my granola for her (buy gluten free oats, and make sure I'm using other ingredients that were not manufactured in places that also do wheat). Where can I buy gluten free oats? We have wholefoods and trader joes available?

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  1. I'm not sure if WF and TJ have gluten free oats, but if pressed, I'd say they likely do. Another source is the GF section of your local supermarket, or a health food store like Nutrition S'Mart.

    As for other meals, make things that don't require flour, bread or pasta and you're pretty much golden. If Asian is on the menu, either out or at home, it would be nice if you picked up a bottle of GF soy sauce. The San-J brand is GF.

    When eating out, don't fret too much about choosing a safe place. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate GF diets; many even have GF items highlighted on the menu. When we go to our favorite Asian grill, I bring my San-J tamari sauce along. The chef will prepare my meal in the kitchen separately.

    Before you purchase ingredients for sauces and such, check labels. Red flags on ingredient labels will include wheat, barley, rye and their associated flours and proteins. Rather than spend a fortune on specialty products, maybe pick up a GF AP flour mix in a small size. For $4-5 you'll have all the flour you need for sauces and such. The gluten-eaters won't even know they're not eating wheat flour.

    Best bit of advice - before heading to WF or TJ, look in the standard aisles of your supermarket. Most things that aren't a processed, pre-packaged, ready-to-eat meal are naturally GF.

    For an elegant dessert, how about flourless chocolate cake? Or jet over to the closest Outback and have them set you up with some of the brownies they use in Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. They're flourless and decadent.

    Really, just read labels. You'll be surprised at what's safe for her.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DuffyH

      Total agreement here. My 11 year old nephew was just (as in 48 hours ago) told that he must eat GF. His dad is a Type I diabetic, so the family wasn't eating a ton of carbs, but it's amazing where wheat lurks. One of his favorite movie treats was a pack of Twizzlers, shared with his little brother. Well, those little red sticks have wheat flour in them, so they're a no go. He (and your sister) will be okay, but all the family is learning to read labels super-carefully now.

      1. re: pinehurst

        I remember how shocked I was when I found out that Twizzlers had wheat in them! GF red licorice does exist, it can just be a little tricky to find. Next time I see it, I'll make a note of the brand name.

    2. My Trader J has GF oats.

      Also be aware of cross-contamination--for ex, using a knife to cut a sandwich made with GF bread if it was previously used to cut wheat bread and has not been thoroughly washed in between. Other things to watch--wooden cutting boards, wooden salad bowls, and wooden spoons.

      x3 on the "read labels" advice. Wheat or "modified food starch" is hidden in many, many processed foods. Cooking out of your CSA goodies will go a long, long way in avoiding gluten.

      1. My daughter is a gluten free vegetarian. She really loves lentil soup, even in warm weather.

        She also relies on different "veggie burgers" by mixing a bean (like garbanzo) with quinoa an egg and spices. Pan fried and served with GF buns or served with a tasty dip on top (crab cake style).

        Main dish green salads are nice in warm weather, using beans, cheeses, roasted vegetables.

        Potato salad with a protein.

        Stir fry, tofu, rice, veg.

        GF Grain salads are nice. Cold or room temp -especially nice using rice or quinoa at room temp. Mediterranean flavors are nice with these for summer.

        1. The commonly eaten GF staple grains are:
          Rice, millet, quinoa

          Your sister is coming for just a few days. You should be able to get enough rotation out of those three to cover those days.

          None of them require baking at all. All are available at Whole Foods, and rice you can get just anywhere.

          What does she like to eat, and what are you planning to make?

          1. If you like eggs (some vegetarians do I think), omelettes with oven roast veg are yum.
            They are also fast and could work for any meal.

            I would check your local farmers market for people selling gluten free home baked goods. Its often cheaper than a supermarket.

            fresh mushrooms from the pan with garlic oil, nice piece of cheese, sundried tomatoes, fresh fruit and yogurt is a really yummy breakfast combination.

            Gluten free onion jam is nice with the cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes (for my taste anyway).
            But thats more preparation than you want for a visit.

            caprese salad. fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes. Optional (bell peppers). yummy, easy and gluten free.

            stir fry vegtables (chinese tomato and cabbage stirfry is delicious) you can get naturally gf noddles easy enough (there is a rice and seaweed ones).

            flourless peanut butter cookies (basically 1 egg, a jar of natural peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, mix and bake for 10 minutes)

            flourless chocolate cake is pretty easy, but be careful to get a gf chocolate. Your more likely to find a plain dark chocolate, but read the back.
            making your own gauche and using it for hot chocolate or white icecream is popular and easy
            (same warning for icecream, read the back)

            I'd mostly just cook as normal, while being very careful with anything convenience, and cook something sweet to snack on.

            -make sure all oils/sauces/spices are named gf even those that really should be gf.
            -sub a gluten free flour mix or type for for bread flour but you will find it easier to skip meals that require flour.
            -fresh fruit and veg are naturally gf so thats easy
            -if you buy meat for her, make sure nothing has been added to it (sauces hide flour)