Saquella and Prosecco Cafe

I was reminded today that I hadn’t mentioned the amazing hamburgers at the Saquella Café in Boca Raton and Prosecco’s Café in Palm Beach Gardens Forida both owed by the same folks. Their “Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shops” fit right into today’s FRESH and Healthy gluten-free lifestyle. Whether or not you choose to eat gluten free or are a celiac who needs to be purposeful about your eating habits these restaurants can be a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They opened initially as a way to get a good cup of Cappuccino using the coffee from Saquella Coffee Roasters in Italy who boast a 19 percent market share in Canada and the United States. Saquella Caffe

The Cafés have a Day menu filled with healthy alternatives including Buffalo burgers, chicken, turkey, and fish focused on grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free sources. They have amazing bakeries and gluten-free bread for any meal. Another customer raved that their Creekstone Farms blended beef hamburger had the best flavor of any they remember. Creekstone Farms provides  natural Black Angus beef that has never been given hormones or antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet, raised and grazed in the United States.  Perhaps your preference is Quiche or a Soup and Goat Cheese Salad, or an amazing Salmon Burger. The Dinner menu has some nice entrees including Scottish sourced Salmon, Risotto, Fork-tender Short Ribs, Chicken, and an Asian Stir Fry. Obviously, they serve gluten products so there is always a chance of contamination, but they do their best at preventing any cross contamination if you’re concerned about an allergic reaction.  This is a good choice for any meal and has a pleasant atmosphere as well.

If you’re curious about the history of coffee and it’s place in making history read The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee, learn or brush up on your coffee brewing techniques with Coffee Obsession.                                                   – Photos courtesy of Google Maps

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Outback Gluten Free Steak

Of all places to go for a meal you would think it would be safe for a celiac or someone eating gluten-free to go to a steakhouse. But surprisingly enough depending on the seasonings and the side dishes it may be more of a challenge than you’d think. And let’s not even talk about the price.

One of my favorite steakhouses has been the Outback Steakhouse, known of course for their steak but also chicken, ribs, salads, and freshnot canned vegetables, along with a gluten free desert called Thunder Down Under.  And yes, their seasonings are gluten free. Their wait staff has been trained to provide gluten free options.

There is an entre for most appetites. One of my favorites is the wedge salad for starters, the Outback Center-Cut Sirloin, cooked medium with light seasoning. Pair it with their homestyle mashed or baked potato and double steamed broccoli. Good flavors! Perhaps you would rather have a porterhouse, fillet mignon, or a New York strip steak. Some in our family would prefer the shrimp, salmon, tilapia, or lobster tails. Whatever your preference Outback’s gluten-free menu is a complete offering not an off-the-cuff thought process. If you’re counting calories, they even give you the calorie count on the menu.

The Outback Steakhouse team has taken time to work with dieticians and has strong ties with the Gluten intolerance Group, a nonprofit that provides information and support for consumers and education and certification for the food service industry. Although the Outback kitchens are not gluten-free there may be some cross contamination which they strive to minimize. They open at 11 AM for Lunch. With a moderately price menu, the ambiance, and lively conversation make the Outback Steakhouse a great option. Join their reward program for additional reasons to return.

If you’re a race fan and not gluten free whenever Ford Fusion #4 driver, Kevin Harvick finishes a race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the Top Ten, on the following Monday mention Bloomin Monday to your server for a free Bloomin Onion appetizer.

Australian themed Outback Steakhouse serves casual-American food at almost a thousand restaurants in twenty-three countries with headquarters in Tampa Florida. They are a gluten-free favorite.

Is Your Communion Bread Gluten Free

The celebration of Passover and the instructions of Jesus to commemorate his death using bread without yeast has been a dilemma for Celiac’s or those needing a low or gluten free communion bread to participate in the observance.

It’s not been a yeast or leavening issue as much needing a wheat free or gluten free communion bread. Over the years there have been various views of what’s acceptable; some believing that water could not be used to some believing that the bread that Jesus used at the Last Supper was a yeasted wheat bread. Today we are fortunate to have low and gluten free communion breads, low and gluten free communion wafers, and gluten free communion crackers, unheard of in previous generations.

  • Cavanagh Alter Breads make a Low Gluten communion wafer that consists of pure wheat flour and water. No additives and less than 20 parts per million of gluten. They also make a gluten free communion wafer with less than 6 ppm of gluten, however the gluten free wafer is not approved by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • Ener-G Foods makes a gluten free communion wafer using water, sweet rice and potato flour, potato starch, palm fruit oil, modified cellulose, and sunflower lecithin.
  • Yehuda makes a Matzo-Style Gluten Free Square that contains tapioca starch, water, potato starch and flakes, palm oil, maltodextrin, honey, egg yolks, vinegar, and salt. They do have a note on their package that says this is not to be used as a replacement for traditional Passover Matzo.
  • Other manufacturers that provide a plain gluten free cracker that could be used for communion for some communities include Nabisco Good Thins, Kame Mini-Rice Crackers, or Glutino gluten free table crackers.
  • If you’re looking for a gluten free bread (containing yeast or leaven) to cube or use there are numerous companies to choose from.
  • Perhaps you’d rather make your own gluten free communion wafers. gfJules has a recipe you may like to try.

Whatever your beliefs, participation in Communion and the Passover traditions with low gluten and gluten free bread or wafers is achievable and those of us who are Celiac’s or gluten free are especially appreciative to be included in the community.

Let’s Eat Donuts

Once you get the urge for a donut it’s always – where is a donut shop or place near me and who makes gluten-free donuts. Dunkin Donuts with over 11,000 independently owned franchises now has a individually wrapped gluten-free brownie but no donuts to date.

There are of course more donut shops that do not have gluten free options than do. Krispy Kreme only produces donuts with wheat – no gluten free options at the moment. Nothing on the visible gluten-free horizon at California Donuts.  In the Amish community Long Johns  is a special treat. Around the holidays in Holland it was a tradition to make fried cakes called Yum Yum’s rolled in sugar like the  Finsbury Foods Group makes in the UK. There is also a Yum Yums Donuts based in California with 71 locations but without a gluten-free option.

You’ll have to look for those local specialty shops. If you’re in Boynton Beach Florida stop by Joey Weiss’s Bakery where they have Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo as well as gluten free options. You can stop by Funky Town Donuts in Dallas Fort Worth on Wednesdays and Sundays for gluten-free donuts in the Medical District and Sundance Square.

No gluten-free donut shops close by? Then it’s bake your own or buy it from your grocer’s freezer. In the bake your own group would be:

  • King Arthur’s Donut Mix a cake like old fashioned donut. Just add the eggs, mile, oil, and butter. Available online or at your local grocer.
  • Stonewall Kitchen has a cinnamon sugar cake donut mix.
  • Pillsbury uses their Funfetti Gluten Free Cake Mix as the base for their donut recipe. Use their icing to glaze your gluten-free donut as well.

Already baked and ready to eat from your grocer’s freezer would have to include:

  • Katz donuts and donut holes. Katz is a gluten free bakery with many tempting products.
  • Kinnikinnick has soft donuts, pumpkin spice, maple or vanilla glazed cake donuts, cinnamon sugar and chocolate dipped.

There are a lot of recipes for homemade gluten-free donuts from some of your favorite sources, AllrecipesAmerica’s Test Kitchen, Bon Appetit, Dina Sheppards GF Donuts, to name a few. So what’s it going to be? Let’s have a donut.

Is Baking Soda Gluten-Free

Not all baking soda products are created equal. Are you concerned about aluminum, sodium, alternatives, or nutritional content? Let’s look at one of the most basic and needed minerals used in baking and many other uses as well.

Baking Soda used as the leavening agent in your recipe is activated by acid not by water. It is often combined with acidic ingredients like applesauce, cream of tartar, lemon juice, vinegar, molasses, yogurt, brown sugar, buttermilk, honey, or natural cocoa powder. If the carbon dioxide created from the baking soda and  acidic ingredients is not enough often baking powder a blended product, is added to achieve the desired results.

The gluten-free applesauce spice cake at GIG uses applesauce, sour cream, baking soda, molasses and baking powder to achieve its rise. Nicole Hunn has a beautiful gluten-free buttermilk pancake recipe that uses baking soda and butter milk. Shoefly pie is a good illustration of a molasses and baking soda combination. In the 125 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Donna Washburn ad Heather Butt is a nice yogurt and baking soda recipe for Cranbury and Apple Kuchen. Not just for baking, Dr. Guy Crosby of America’s Test Kitchen promotes a little baking soda to decrease the cooking time of dried beans instead of salt, also reported to decrease the resulting gaseous nature of beans (the musical fruit).

Pure baking soda has one ingredient making it 100-percent sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) Because it does not contain wheat, barley, rye, or oat flour it is also gluten-free. Other names for baking soda are bicarbonate of soda or soda bicarb for short. It is alkaline and measures 9 on the PH scale. There is no aluminum in baking soda like there is in baking powder. For best results it’s important to use the correct amount of baking soda in your recipe. Some recipes use baking soda to soften the whole grains in their bread recipes.

If you’re looking for a baking soda substitute or replacement use 4-teaspoons of baking powder. Baking Powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar, however some baking powders also contain aluminum.

Occasionally the question is raised if natural baking soda is organic, most often the question behind the question is if it’s all natural? Western Colorado, in United States contains what is believed to be the largest natural deposit of sodium bicarbonate mineral in North America with the only successful water mining process known. Mechanical extraction processes are used in Wyoming where a 127 billion-ton reserve deposit of Trona exits. Trona is a sodium carbonate compound that is processed into soda ash, bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda. Solvay also produces sodium bicarb products from the Wyoming deposits.

Some companies that sell baking soda products include:

  • Thrive Baking Soda whose label is shown here has 160 milligrams of sodium, 7% of recommended daily nutrition. It contains no calcium, iron, sugar, protein, or fat.
  • Church & Dwight’s Arm & Hammer has been a trusted brand for over 170-years.
  • Bob’s Red Mill baking soda has an aluminum free label however other manufacturers products are also aluminum free, not to be confused with baking powder.
  • Ener-G has a sodium bicarbonate substitute composed of Calcium Carbonate and Thrive Nutrition Label Baking SodaMagnesium Carbonate containing no sodium if you’re looking for a low sodium or no sodium leavening agent and you also add magnesium, calcium and fat to the nutrition label.
  • Rumford’s Clapper Girl baking soda brand is 100-percent sodium bicarbonate, zero trans fat, Kosher, and gluten free.
  • Frontier Co-op’s baking soda is also 100-percent sodium bicarbonate and available through herb and health food stores.

Fresh is best. To test stir into some white or distilled vinegar. If you see a mild or lackluster reaction its time to replace it. But don’t throw the old baking powder away. Use it instead clean the oven, pots and pans, or even in the bathroom on the toilet, tub, or sink where a mild abrasive cleaner is in order. Mix it with vinegar and water to keep your drains clean and fresh as well. If you’ve used the baking soda as a refrigerator deodorizer it probably won’t work very well in your recipe.

Almost every home has baking soda in numerous products including antacids, toothpaste, laundry detergent, fire extinguishers, and cat litter. Sodium bicarbonate is also known as an antacid used for acid indigestion and heartburn. It’s also prescribed as a remedy to reduce the acidity of blood and urine. Alka-Seltzer is one of the most popular antacids that contains baking soda in addition to other ingredients for heartburn and acid indigestion. Schering-Plough’s Zegerid is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that combines Omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate to treat frequent heartburn.

Choose a Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

Let’s consider one of the most popular flavorings for over 2000 years world-over. Soy Sauce is often compared to selecting a fine wine.  It was originally a way to stretch salt – an expensive commodity. The traditional fermentation process using soybeans may take up to six months or more compared to two weeks by hydrolysis in a bio-reactor. National Geographic has done an informative video on how soy sauce has been made in Japan for over 750 years. After brewing, some sauces can be blended with mushrooms or thickened with starch, sugar or molasses. Sweeter sauces are commonly used for dipping.  Soy Sauce manufacturers often modify recipes to regional tastes. There is a long history of soy sauce manufacturers in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Hawaii,  ChinaBurma, and the Philippines,

You may use Yamasa, or been in a restaurant with Kikkoman soy sauce on the table with a red or green lid. Red meaning traditional and green meaning sodium reduced soy sauce with ingredients including water, wheat, soybeans, salt and a preservative called sodium benzoate.  If your interest was to brew your own traditional sauce Cooks Illustrated has a detailed process you could follow. The commercial process of fermentation or faster hydrolysis in a bio-reactor is commonly used to make the sauce.

Numerous companies make a gluten-free soy sauce. Japanese tamari soy sauce is traditionally wheat-free and gluten-free like Kikkoman’s Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce traditionally brewed from water, soybeans, salt and sugar.

A good read is Ronald E. Yates book about the history of Shige Maki and the Kikkoman company and how they changed history.

Gluten-Free Cereals

Whatever your age the search for a gluten-free cereal may not be as daunting as it first appears. If you’re looking for something basic without allot of ingredients you can’t get more basic than Quaker Oats, Bob’s Red Mill, or McCann’s rolled and steel-cut oatmeal products. The common perception is that if oats is separated from wheat, barley, and rye grains so that it will not contaminate the oats it should be gluten free. That would make sense if you are sensitive to the wheat protein gliadin, barley protein hordein, or secalin in rye. However, if you experience bloating, headaches, and stomach discomfort it may be from avenin, a gluten protein found in oats. One in 165 persons was discovered to have avenin-sensitive enteropathy in controlled studies. Cheerios is also made from oats.

Some of the most popular rice cereals are Kellogg’s Special K, and the Chex brand from General Mills with flavors like Honey Nut, Blueberry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Corn, and Vanilla. Don’t forget Corn Flakes from Nestlé and EnviroKidz, Erewhon, Nature’s Path, and General Mills as well as the more sugar laden Lucky Charms, and Van’s Blissfully Berry, Cocoa Sensation, and Cinnamon Heaven Cereals. Cream of Rice is that perfect hot cereal for babies to the elderly.

You can make your own gluten-oat-free granola as well. Perhaps a granola from the folk from Bare Naked who make Cacao & Cashew Butter Granola, as well as Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt, Peanut Butter and Honey, Coconut and Cashew, Trail Mix and Dark Chocolate snack flavors.

Barbara’s Puffins has two cereals with gluten free ingredients multigrain and honey rice, although they are made in a factory that also produces products containing gluten.

Allot of choices from manufacturers and do it at home recipes. Many grocery stores have their own generic brands to choose from as well.

Gluten-Free Pasta

Pasta consumption as a whole has decreased over the past few years but manufacturers are adjusting with over 14 percent of new pasta products launched in 2016 globally being gluten free.  Your families favorite recipes may include spaghetti and meatballs, tuna noodle casserole, baked Ziti, stiffed Manicotti, Lasagna, Pesto Pasta to name a few. If you were Amish or of German heritage the extra-thick noodles for ham or chicken pot pie was common fare. There are over 300 shapes according to Luciana Squadrilli.

Gluten intolerance can be developed at any age. Regardless if you’re following a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you have to eliminate that dish of pasta. Out of 15 popular brands Brad Leone at Bon Appétit and his team picked the Andean Dream’s rice flour and quinoa spaghetti and Ancient Harvest’s corn and quinoa spaghetti, tied for first place.

Popular brands include Ancient Harvest, Barilla, Bionaturae, Jovial, Schar, Tinkyada, truRoots, Mueller, and Manischewitz. Your favorite gluten free dish may now be Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Ziti, Penne, Rigatoni, Elbows, Linguine, Rotini, Shells, Garden Pagodas, Veggie Curls, Lasagna, Fusilli, Egg Tagliatelle, Farfalle, Casarecce, Cupellini, Red Lentil Sedanini, wide egg noodles.  When cooked, bake it, stuff it, dress it with a good olive oil or your favorite gluten free sauce.

Pie: Gluten Free

You don’t need a holiday to justify a delicious pie even if you’re a celiac or eating gluten free. So do you bake, buy from the freezer or ship it direct? Perhaps your favorite is pumpkin, lemon sponge, or coconut cream, a fruit pie like apple or cherry. Or maybe even a German fruit pie piled high with fruit and a double crust would be amazing. If you’re going to bake from scratch you’ll need a gluten-free pie shell or pastry.

There are numerous pie pastry recipes out there. You can always get a proven recipe from bakers like King Arthurs, Pillsbury, Land O’Lakes, Martha Stewart, America’s Test Kitchen, Allrecipies, Gluten-Free Pies and others.

Katz Gluten Free makes personal and family sized pies found in your grocer’s freezer. Favorites like Apple, Cherry, Blueberry, and Pumpkin. The Maine Pie Company has Chocolate, ThreeBerry, Pecan, Pumpkin, Wild Blueberry, Sour Cherry, Apple, and Lemon Curd. Online you can find Harry and David’s Apple Pies, Williams Sonoma Cherry and Pecan Pies.

Use a Gluten-Free Yeast

There has been allot of confusion about yeast products and whether they are gluten-free. Common uses for yeast in addition to bread are alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, bio-fuels, and probiotics to name a few. Often when we don’t know how something is made it creates suspicion about its safety when it comes to gluten intolerance issues. Fleischmanns Yeast

Hops used in yeast recipes as well as alcoholic drinks are gluten-free. Potato yeast simply uses potatoes water and sugar, some recipes add flour. Because of difficulty in identifying if the source in Autolyzed yeast is brewers grain many prefer not to used it in gluten-free recipes.

Manufacturers of yeast products that supply your local supermarket have gluten free blends. Some of them include Bob’s Red Mill,  Fleischmann’s Active Dry, Hodgson Mills Active Dry are just a few.  Active Dry or ferment your own are ways to know if you’re adding a gluten-free yeast to your recipe.