This truly is the most wonderful time of the year! Happy Holidays from everyone at the NFCA.
In its best form, this holiday season is about sharing and caring for others. At the NFCA, we plan to use this time to renew our focus on our mission of raising awareness of celiac disease to improve the rate of diagnosis. We are determined to reach out to those almost three million people still needlessly suffering. It is on behalf of those who continue to suffer that all of us at the NFCA will continue to work passionately and diligently. During these difficult economic times, many Americans have elected to replace their usual gift giving with a donation that truly will make a difference in the New Year.
A donation to NFCA will help sustain the many successful awareness campaigns we continue to pursue, as well as champion many new and exciting programs we have created for the New Year. In 2009 you will see the launch of our newly enhanced website, the introduction of Club Celiac Central and the initiation of the NFCA's Lifestyle and Wellness health awareness campaigns. We will have opportunities to celebrate at Appetite for Awareness, educate at our renowned Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees and spread awareness with professional sports teams at Celiac Awareness Days. And, look for the expansion of the NFCA's G.R.E.A.T training program for the food and hospitality industries, as well as our Gluten in Medications pharmacy training program.
Your contributions allow us to further extend our reach and strengthen our ability to restore the health and reclaim the lives of those with celiac disease. We hope you will continue to generously support us in our efforts so we may fully realize this mission.
We would like to share our heartfelt thanks for the many ways you have enabled our work at the NFCA. The community has supported us and has allowed us to help others. Thank you so very much and may 2009 be a year of well-being and health for you and your family.
I wish everyone a joyful holiday and the happiest and healthiest New Year.
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By Christina Gentile,
NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
As the holiday season quickly approaches, many of us are beginning to plan our special dinners. The menu needs to be thought out carefully to make sure that everyone on the guest list has their dietary needs met. For those with celiac, that means no gluten. Many of us may use traditional recipes for the main course such as a turkey or ham. Preparing and cooking the actual turkey or ham may be no problem. However, the challenge lies in purchasing the right meats.
To add flavor, some manufacturers inject basting solutions into their turkeys during processing and these solutions may contain gluten. As for the ham, many are basted with a glaze that contains wheat starch or use a gluten containing flour "rub" to seal in moisture during packaging. Unfortunately, this means that manufacturers may take something that is naturally gluten-free and turn it into a product that is a source of gluten. Therefore, celiacs must proceed with caution.
The best advice I can offer is to ALWAYS read the ingredient label! Sometimes, the label may have "gluten-free" indicated somewhere on the package. However, it isn't always that plainly presented and you will have to do a little more investigation! For example, if one of the ingredients is "modified food starch" or "malt extract" find out what the specific source is—it may be a modified corn starch or a corn malt extract, which would make the product gluten-free, or it may be a modified wheat starch, which would make it not gluten-free. Furthermore, do not purchase turkeys that come pre-stuffed because the stuffing mixture most likely contains gluten. Also, be careful with the use of gravy packets that accompany turkeys because these may contain gluten as well. If you have looked over the ingredient label but are still unsure, I recommend calling the manufacturer before buying. They are the best source of information regarding the product and they can provide the specifics about the ingredients, how the product is made and if cross-contamination is possible in their facility.
I researched which manufacturers sell gluten-free turkey and ham products, and contacted several companies to get confirmation. The following are companies that carry fresh or frozen turkeys and hams that are gluten free.
If you decide to make gluten-free stuffing, I suggest using your favorite gluten-free bread ( one that you know tastes great and does not crumble easily). I like to use light tapioca bread because I feel that it gives my stuffing a great consistency, texture, and retains the same traditional flavor as my family's original recipe. When making stuffing, cut the bread into cubes and let it dry out in the oven at a low-temperature or leave it in a mixing bowl covered with wax paper for about 12 hours. If you want to make your own gravy, I recommend using sweet rice flour to replace wheat flour. You can also use potato starch, tapioca starch, or cornstarch if you desire a thicker gravy.
I wish everyone the best of luck and success when planning, cooking, and serving your holiday meals. Always remember to read the ingredient list carefully and, if you are unsure of a product, contact the manufacturer! Happy Holidays!
By Abby Schwartz,
NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
The holidays are just around the corner. With them come school parties, cookie exchanges, and other opportunities to indulge in sweets. Let your child take part in these celebrations by providing delicious, gluten-free cookies and candy to share with friends.
A staple at Christmas time, candy canes are usually handed out in classrooms, tied ornamentally to gifts and passed out by the school bus driver on the last day before vacation. They are simply wrapped in clear plastic, often with no way of identifying the manufacturer or the ingredients. Even on those rare occasions you can read the ingredients, your child may be at risk for cross-contamination from flour used to keep the candy from sticking to the wrapper. Does this mean candy canes are off limits? Not quite! Explain to your child that he is not to eat the candy canes that are handed out individually, and exchange these treats with brands that are known to be gluten free. Keep a box at home for such occasions, or better yet, send a box in to school to be handed out as a treat.
The following brands are gluten-free:
Natural Candy Canes by Pure Fun. These are also vegan, kosher, organic and free of the 8 major allergens. Find them online at www.naturalcandystore.com.
Spangler Candy Canes. Spangler makes their own candy canes as well as the ones licensed for Disney, Jelly Belly and Dum Dums. They come in a large variety of shapes, colors, flavors and sizes and are all gluten free. http://www.spanglercandy.com/spangler/newspr/techfaqs.php#Q3:
Another treat that comes with the holidays are cookies! Unfortunately, the majority of the ones that your child will encounter do contain gluten. Even flourless recipes sometimes come in contact with flour if it's used to coat a pan or a cutting board. It is inevitable that your child will go to a party and will not be able to eat the cookies that the other children brought. As a parent, it is difficult to witness yet another occasion at which your child will have to be left out. However, there is an opportunity in these situations for teaching your child to keep things in perspective, to adopt a positive attitude and to seek out solutions. In this case, the solution is to come prepared and bring your own cookies!
The following recipes come from some wonderful web sites on gluten-free cooking. My thanks to them for posting these for parents to share.
Gluten Free Cut-Out Cookies:
In your electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until creamy. Beat in egg yolks, lemon and vanilla. On slow speed, beat in the flour one cup at a time until combined. Divide dough into three equal parts, flatten into discs, wrap separately in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle your work surface and your rolling pin with rice flour and roll out one disk at a time to 1/8- inch thickness. The dough will break up a little bit on the first roll, but then becomes very easy to work with. On the other end, the dough will be hard to work with after it warms up too much, so keep extras in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. With a metal spatula, transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Depending on the size, makes around 40 cookies. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on parchment.
Put all ingredients into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy, scraping the bowl often.
Separate into individual cups and add gluten-free food coloring if desired. Frost the cookies to your heart's content and enjoy!
From Shauna James Ahern: www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com
Rosemary's Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 300°. Cream the butter and powdered sugar in a standing mixer, or by hand. Be sure to beat just until they are combined and then stop. Over-creaming butter and sugar in gluten-free cookies makes them spread, horribly.
Add the vanilla extract and mix it in. Combine the rice flour, tapioca flour, and almond meal in a large bowl. Sift the mixed flours for a soft texture. Add the sifted flour to the butter, sugar, and vanilla mix. Mix until just beaten in. Add the three kinds of nuts to the dough and mix until they are well integrated. Refrigerate for at least one hour before forming into cookies.
Form palm-sized balls of dough. Gingerly, roll them out into small logs. Place them down carefully on the silpat [non-stick mat for a baking sheet] on a baking sheet. You should be able to fit about fifteen logs of dough on the sheet.
Put into the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. The cookies will be firm to the touch, with a bit of give, when they are done. Sieve powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies. Set the baking sheet aside for ten minutes to let them cool. After ten minutes, gently lift the cookies onto a cooling rack. Let them sit for at least an hour before eating. These hold together and taste best when you let them sit overnight. Makes about fifteen cookies.
The recipes above are just two of hundreds that can be found easily online by searching for glutenfree cookie recipes. Since children love to participate in baking projects, include your child in the search and have fun experimenting together.
Finally, I want to include a recipe for potato latkes (pancakes) which are my daughter's favorite and a tradition during Chanukah. This recipe comes from www.epicurious.com.
What is the secret to making great latkes? We found that the starchier the potato, the crisper the latke. As for varieties, we tested baking potatoes (the starchiest), Yukon Golds, and boiling potatoes (the least starchy) and liked the flavor of them all. You can easily double this recipe for a crowd. Yield: makes 12 to 16 latkes.
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce
Preheat oven to 250°F. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander. Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.
By Nancy Baker,
NFCA Director of Education
Holidays are often associated with the foods we use to celebrate them. December and the traditional holidays within, are often greeted with collections of cookies and sweets. For many with a limited diet, replicated versions of past favorites just don't do them justice. The good news is there are many traditional recipes that are gluten-free in their original form! This means there is no need to alter a recipe or to buy specialty ingredients.
Some of these recipes are easier than others, but all are delightful.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and place the rack in the center of your oven. In your electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds VERY stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.
The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty. Spoon mounds of meringue, using two spoons, onto the prepared sheets. You can also transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Spoon out or pipe 2 1/2 inch rounds of meringue in rows on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a few shaved almonds, if desired. Bake the meringues for approximately 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, rotating the baking sheet from front to back (about half way through) to ensure even baking. The meringue is done when it's pale in color and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven, open the door a crack, and leave the meringues in the oven to finish drying overnight. Makes about 10 - 2 1/2 inch meringue.
Mix sugar, water, and butter. Cover the pan and bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat, cover and stir constantly as mixture cooks down. Cook until it darkens and begins to smoke. Pour out on buttered pan or rimmed large cookie sheet. Optional: While still warm (not hot) put squares of milk chocolate on top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. When cooled, break into pieces.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients. Roll dough into small balls and score with fork. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool. Optional: Place plain chocolate kisses on top immediately after removing from oven.
Yemasde Santa Teresa
Mix the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and water together in a saucepan and allow to come to a boil. Using your candy thermometer, boil to soft ball stage 238°F. Beat egg yolks thoroughly and then pour through a sieve into a separate saucepan. Slowly, pour syrup on the yolks, while stirring constantly. Place saucepan over low heat, allowing it to thicken slightly, approximately 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir until mixture is thick and no longer sticks to the sides of the pan. Pour mixture into a greased 18 x 13 jelly roll pan and let cool until warm to touch. While warm, form into small balls and roll in sugar.
Cut tops and bottoms off of the orange and score the orange into quarters, cutting down only into the peel and not into the fruit. Peel the skin and pith of the orange in large pieces, use the orange for another recipe. Cut the peel into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Put the orange peel in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Then pour off the water. Repeat 1 or 2 more times depending up how strong you want the flavor of the orange peels to be. Remove the orange peels from the pan. Whisk the sugar with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8 to 9 minutes (If you took the sugar's temperature with a candy thermometer it would be at the soft thread stage, 230 !234 degrees F.) Add the peels and simmer gently, reducing heat to retain a simmer. Cook until the peels get translucent, about 45 minutes. DO NOT STIR or you may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. If necessary, swirl the pan to move the peels around. Drain the peels. Roll the peels in sugar and dry on a rack, for 4 to 5 hours. Return to the sugar to store.
By Emily Freedner,
NFCA Staff Writer
On November 7, 2008 the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness hosted the Gluten-Free Taste of South Florida at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach, FL. The event was fun-filled and widely attended by the local community. Guests enjoyed products from multiple gluten-free vendors, the culinary delights prepared by the chef and doctor teams and the invaluable information shared by participating speakers.
The participating chefs included: Karen Wilkinson of Island Gluten-Free Bakery, Angelo Roman of Paradiso Restaurante, Manny Haider of Thai Kitchen, Fariba Ehsani of Graziano's Italian Restaurant and Mike Conte of Conte's Pasta.
The participating doctors and medical professionals included: Dr. Lorne Stitsky of Personal Choice Family Practice, Dr. Amir Lubarsky, Judith Eaton of New World Nutrition of Florida, Neelam Haider, and Katelyn Dervay of Tampa General Hospital.
The judges for the event included: Sarah Jane Kenyon, a professional golfer with celiac, Sonja Isger of the Palm Beach Post and Connie Maltin, a home economics specialist.
Congratulations to Team 5, Mike Conte and Dr. Lorne Stitsky, and to Team 4, Fariba Ehsani and Dr. Katelyn Dervay PhrmD., who tied for the best dish! They both created such delicious dishes that the judges just couldn't decide!
Over 200 attendees lined up to sample the gourmet gluten-free dishes prepared by the chefs. They were also able to enjoy gluten-free curried quinoa, pineapple stir-fry, gluten-free taquitos, artichoke and basil pesto, and array of gluten-free meats prepared by Boar's Head, a chocolate fountain, various rice dishes, rice chips, bread, cookies, brownies, gluten-free cupcakes, gluten-free beer from Anheuser-Busch and much, much more!
An enormous thank you Bob's Red Mill for providing all of the gluten-free flours and grains used in the dishes. Also, a huge thank you to Blue Diamond for the colorful and tasty centerpieces and to Prometheus for sharing information about how important it is for celiacs to encourage family members to get tested. Also, thank you to Alba Therapeutics for lending us Doug Jacobstein to speak about clinical trials in celiac disease. Last, but not least, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came to the event to support the NFCA and programs that increase celiac disease awareness!
That concludes the line up for our 2008 Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees! Stay tuned for next year's schedule so you can attend one of these fantastic events!
If you are looking for a delicious gift for the upcoming holidays, or a tasty snack for yourself, try Krazy-Krunch! It's a handmade treat that is the perfect blend of sweet, salty and crunchy. Better yet, it is drizzled with both white and dark chocolate! You can also add in a combination of your favorite nuts including almonds, cashews or pecans. When you order, you can choose from a variety of decorative wrappings, perfect for any occasion! Krazy-Krunch is newly available gluten-free! To place a special gluten-free order, call 215-460-5900 or 610-659-6259. For more information about this delectable treat, visit:
Turtle Mountain Gluten-Free Cookie Dough Ice Cream
It may be hard to believe, but Turtle Mountain has come out with gluten-free cookie dough ice cream! Cookie dough is one of my all time favorites, so you can imagine my excitement when I found it right in my local Giant Foods! It is delicious and, surprisingly, it is also dairy-free. Cookie dough is not the only flavor of ice cream they offer that is gluten-free! In fact, they offer over 25 different gluten-free products. They also have an easy to use chart on their website that denotes all allergens contained in each of their products. To view this chart, visit:
http://www.turtlemountain.com/health/allergies.html#tabletop For more information about Turtle Mountain and to find it in a store near you, visit:
Let's Do Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cones
Now that you've found some delicious gluten-free ice cream flavors, you can make ice cream cones for the kids! Let's Do makes a fantastic gluten-free ice cream cone. They are very close to the flavor of the real waffle cones and are nice and sturdy so they'll hold up as the ice cream melts. They are also casein, dairy and egg free so they are great for people with several dietary restrictions. Making ice cream cones with the kids could be a fun a
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