Monthly Archives: February 2012

Chocolate chip “cookie dough” stuffed rice krispy treats

Because it’s just a ridiculous concept, I had to try to make these chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed rice krispy treats that I saw on Pinterest from Love Veggies and Yoga. I combined that recipe with this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie for healthy chocolate chip “cookie dough” made from chickpeas.

I had made the chocolate chip cookie dough dip recipe before and eaten it plain, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to amp it up a bit.

For the cookie dough dip (inspired by this recipe):

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained) (250g)
  • 3 pinches salt
  • tiny bit over 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2-3 T. almond milk
  • 2 T. brown sugar (I used Splenda blend)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 to 3 T gluten free oats

Directions: Add all ingredients (including just half of the chocolate chips) in a food processor, and blend until very smooth. Then mix in the rest of the chocolate chips. Chill in the refrigerator.

For the rice krispy bars (inspired by this recipe):

I made a half recipe of the normal rice krispy recipe on the back of the box, but if you were using a full 9 x 13 pan I would recommend using the whole recipe.

2 cups mini marshmallows (I use Campfire) plus an additional 1/2-3/4 cup

4 cups gluten free rice krispies (note: don’t use the puffed rice, not even close to the same. They’ll turn out soggy/overly chewy, I’ve made that mistake before.)

3 T. butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Take the marshmallows (reserving about 1 c of marshmallows) and melt them in a pan over a low heat with the butter. Add vanilla. Remove from heat and add in the Rice Krispies cereal. Stir to combine.

Put them together:

  1. Spray a brownie pan and press half of the rice krispy mixture into it (I also spray my hands to press it down without it sticking).
  2. Press clumps of the cookie dough onto the top of that layer so it’s fairly equally spread. Then sprinkle the extra mini marshmallows on.
  3. Quickly spread the rest of the rice krispy mixture on top and press down to seal the middle layer in.
  4. Allow to chill in the fridge while you melt some chocolate chips in the microwave.
  5. Spread chocolate over top and put back in the fridge to set up.

I’m trying to forget that these are in my fridge right now, but it’s not working very well.

Thanks to Pinterest for another brilliant find!

Youtube videos about Celiac disease that are actually good

I don’t think it’s quite a bandwagon yet, but I’m jumping on board with the Gluten Dude and Erin from Gluten Free Fun in commenting on the “Sh*t gluten-free people say” video that Cappello’s made (which they have since removed from Youtube).

I’m not going to spend too much time belaboring how lame the video was. But I will say I was not happy to see my gluten free people depicted as bitchy, needy, and frivolous. There’s a lot of work to be done in raising awareness that Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder. You don’t see anyone making a “Sh*t people with Lupus say” video, now do you?

So, here are a few videos on Celiac disease that made me laugh. Ones that were created by people actually living with Celiacs, not a company trying to increase sales.

1. The Quinoa Song:

These guys are great, and this song is actually really catchy/informative! “If you have Celiac Disease, allergy to wheat, the Inca Gold will save you – it’ll get you off your feet!”

2. Royal Empire Celiac Awareness

Gluten Dude shared this video and I loved it so I’m sharing it to give these guys some more views!

3. The Rap on Celiac Disease:

And this one had me cracking up. “Celiac disease, all the way!”

4. Celiac Disease: What kids have to say

This one didn’t make me laugh, but I love these kids. They aren’t following any fad and eating gluten free is hard for them, but they can always find the good in things.

Hopefully more funny, silly, heartfelt, and *hilariously awful* videos will start coming out soon!

Dear Buca di Beppo…

Your gluten free menu is worthless and your decor is trashy.

Have a nice day,

Anna

I know, harsh. But I reallllly dislike Buca di Beppo. Their ridiculously large portions, their inauthentic dished, their poor quality ingredients, the silly knick-knacks on the walls – just bad. But I could overlook all of that if they didn’t have the worst gluten free menu I’ve ever seen.

First I should say that I respect any restaurant that actually has a gluten free menu and staff who are knowledgeable enough to accommodate gluten free diners. Buca di Beppo is a bit of an outlier though, since their food is all served family style. So, you basically have to force your entire table to eat gluten free, or you can pay up the wazoo for your own meal (which I ended up doing). My friends wanted to go to Buca so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, but usually I have the mentality of “I can find something to eat anywhere”. This time that was not the case.

Here it is, folks:


Problems with this menu:

  1. The disclaimer at the top is good to have (and I’m sure required by their legal team), but it also says that I’m supposed to speak to a manager? Awkward.
  2. There are no prices on the menu. Since it’s not coming with pasta I thought it might cost less, but who would know? I also wasn’t sure if the dishes were still in the family size or if they were single serving since it was a special menu. It just says “salmon” – how many pieces of salmon? Does it come with something? Who knows?
  3. The only vegetarian things on the menu are three salads, green beans, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Vegan options = house salad and green beans. That sure sounds like it’d make a satisfying meal!
  4. It seems like they could so easily offer gluten free pasta. Maybe I’m overlooking something, but it seems like if you dedicate a pot for just gluten free pasta and do a bit more quality control on cross contamination of the sauces, it would be really simple.
  5. No desserts.

I should so be a gluten free restaurant consultant. I’d whip this place right into shape.

So what did I end up getting?

This lousy piece of plain salmon (appears larger than it was. It was probably a 4oz portion, for $10)

And a salad.

Everyone else at the table gorged on bread, garlic bread, calamari, baked ziti, fettuccine alfredo… It was not a great time to be a Celiac.

Needless to say, Buca di Beppo is now on my “will not return” list. While it’s promising that they have such a large chain implementing a gluten free menu, it’s not at all a pleasant dining experience. for gluten free guests.

Celiac side efects: anxiety

There are hundreds of symptoms and side effects of Celiac disease, and each person who’s diagnosed seems to be affected by a different cocktail of them. Even once you start following a gluten free diet, there are still plenty of lingering side effects that may come and go, be triggered by accidentally ingesting gluten, or just be an ever-present thing you have to deal with (worst case scenario).

One of the side effects that doesn’t get as much attention is anxiety. A German study showed that female adults following a gluten free diet for celiac disease show higher levels of anxiety than do members of the general population. These are women on a gluten free diet, not undiagnosed.

Since our physical well being and the effectiveness of our digestive system is so important to our mental well being, it makes sense that gluten can cause all kinds of issues in your head as well as your tummy (like the link to eating disorders and depression).

I’ve been known to have really high anxiety in certain situations – top on the list is when I’m hungry and know that I won’t be anywhere with food in the next few hours (like at the beach, in a movie, waiting for a table at a restaurant, etc.).

Over the last couple of years I’ve been much less anxious and generally calmer about managing my Celiac’s, which I can attribute to a few things:

  1. I’ve gotten better at packing a snack for myself though, even when I’m sure I won’t need it. Just having it in my purse helps reduce the anxiety. And I’ve gotten over thinking that other people will think I’m weird/a pig for eating at random times. So what if our dinner reservation is in 30 minutes? I’m hungry now. Plus I won’t be able to eat the bread basket, so I’ll be eating at least 30 minutes later than everyone else anyway.
  2. Making sure I get a ton of vitamins, minerals, and nutritious food every day. Your body thanks you when you eat well and your mind follows.
  3. This might be cheesy, but yoga has been a lifesaver for me. It’s a time to clear your mind, concentrate on yourself, and relieve stress. I go to yoga at least once a week, and it works wonders.
  4. For immediate relief from anxiety, running is my cure. Running or cleaning. I like to put on some really obnoxious rap music, sprint as long as I can, and then when I feel like my heart is going to explode, stop and walk it out. Sometimes I’ll even do a little Rocky-style punching in the air…if no one’s around to catch me.
  5. Keeping Celiac in perspective; it’s not cancer, it’s not MS, it’s Celiac disease. Sure, it’s not curable, and it’s a total bitch to deal with, but it’s not the end of the world. I’m strong and I can handle it.

Gluten free Valentine’s Day Candy

As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, here are a few sweets that are safe to give to your gluten-free sweetheart. Obviously your first line of defense is chocolate – something heart shaped or chocolate covered strawberries. Just steer clear of truffles unless you know they’re gluten free because I’ve found that most of them have barley or malt in them.

Something new I learned today = Godiva and Lindt chocolate makers explicitly say not to consume their products if you have a gluten allergy.

Godiva says “ALL of our products including solid chocolate pieces may contain gluten. Any person with a gluten allergy should NOT consume ANY of our products.”

Lindt says “Gluten can be found in several premium chocolate products that Lindt & Sprungli produces; either as a cereal ingredient or as a barley component… trace amounts of these gluten ingredients and components may have the opportunity to come in contact with non gluten products.”

I’ll admit, I totally eat Lindt truffles. The ingredients are just cream, chocolate, and butter. It also doesn’t say “may contain wheat” on the nutrition label, just that it may contain nuts. Stupid gluten free labeling. Or non labeling in this case.

Anyhoo – I guess steer clear of Godiva and Lindt to be safe, and go with one of these less classy options. Or just buy flowers :)

Surf Sweets Fruity Hearts
I’m not really into gummy things, but since basically all licorice is filled with wheat, these could be a good alternative.

NECCO Sweethearts conversation hearts
On NECCO’s website they have a full list of their gluten free products. Something I didn’t know was that Clark Bars are gluten free as well, I don’t think I’ve ever even had a Clark Bar because they seem like they’re for old people? I’ll have to pick one up.

Valentine’s Day M&Ms
They’re adorable, they’re pink, and besides the pastel Easter ones, they’re my favorite holiday M&Ms.

Happy Valentine’s Day!