Carrabba’s, Oatmeal Brulee, and More

gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, oats, brulee, National Oatmeal Day

May is going to be one very exciting month around the gluten-free blogosphere and, likewise, here at gfe! For one thing, I have a Carrabba’s review and gift card giveaway up right now on my Out and About page. Carrabba’s has a gluten-free menu! The giveaway will be open through June 3. Check it out here!

Most of us with celiac or gluten intolerance know that May is the primary month that has been set aside for Celiac Awareness Month. (Although there are others, which I shared in my guest post over at Anali’s First Amendment last May.) According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, of the 3 million people who have celiac disease, 95% remain undiagnosed. That’s 2.8 million folks who don’t yet know they have a life threatening disease. There’s no doubt that seems like a large number, but, I know it’s really hard to visualize/put a face on those numbers. And, despite that figure, almost everyone still thinks that celiac is relatively uncommon—except those diagnosed with celiac and/or those involved with celiac/gluten intolerance education, who know differently .

It’s the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center’s (UCCDC’s) fact sheets (PDF file) that truly put these numbers in perspective. Here’s some data on the number of individuals affected by other, much better known diseases/conditions to give you an idea just how common celiac disease is: 2.7 million have epilepsy, 2.1 million have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus affects 1.5 million, 400, 000 have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and 30,000 have cystic fibrosis. So there are fewer cases of all those illnesses than there are of celiac. Need some visuals? To transport everyone in the U.S. with celiac, it would take 4,400 Boeing 747 airplances or 936 cruise ships. (Please read more on the facts and figures of celiac in the UCCDC fact sheets.) We need to do everything we can to ensure that folks who have celiac get diagnosed. Whether you have celiac disease or gluten issues of any kind, please take a moment (that’s all it takes!) to email your Congressional representative right now and ask him/her to support May as National Celiac Awareness Month. Having the month recognized by Congress will do much to spread awareness. This bill has been introduced every year since 2006, but has not yet passed. In addition to establishing May as National Celiac Awareness Month and raising overall awareness about celiac disease, the bill would also establish the need for increased Federal funding for celiac disease research, as well as ensure access to nutritional counseling for patients with celiac disease, standardized testing and criteria for diagnosis of celiac disease, and a standardized definition of a gluten-free diet. All of those are needed greatly; again, I ask that you please take a moment now to email your Congressman and support this bill.

To commemorate this month and spread awareness on both celiac and non-celiac gluten issues, here at gfe, I’ll be featuring several notable guests and sharing some discussion posts (and more info) of my own.

What else is going on?

The Gluten-Free Lifestyle Blog Carnival is up over at Amy’s Simply Sugar & Gluten Free. There are 25 entries sharing everything from product reviews, recipes, support and advice, and tips—definitely something for everyone! Check it out here.

Chandice of Gluten-Free Frenzy has been featuring a different gluten-free blogger each week. This week I’m honored to be in the interview seat. If you are interested, head over to her site and see what I have to say. Plus, check out the previous features on some of your favorite gluten-free bloggers and meet some new ones as well!

Have you been following the Jamie Oliver inspired 30 Days to a Food Revolution event over at Diane’s? There will be 30 days of guest posts from bloggers all promoting cooking and eating real food. Last week, five bloggers weighed in. I kicked off the event with a post on “instant food” and pointers on how to make your own instant food, plus a recipe for Garlic Lime Chicken (courtesy of Leanne Ely)—all right here. The rest of the week featured Kelly of The Spunky CoconutEllen of I Am Gluten Free, Linda of Gluten-Free Homemaker, and Beth of Delectably Free. And, in case you didn’t know, in addition to terrific information and recipes shared, there’s also a fantastic giveaway associated with the 30 Days event—fabulous cookbooks and gluten-free services! Up this week are: Jenn Cuisine, Sure Foods Living, dinners & dreams, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, and The Messy Chef. I’m so looking forward to these posts and all the rest in the series. Hey, I admit I was even a bit disappointed when I realized there wouldn’t be any new posts on the weekends. LOL There’s really some inspiring stuff in these posts; they make for great reading and advice. And, the real food focus is exactly what the gfe concept is all about.

This month’s roundup for the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! blog carnival is up over at Naomi’s Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried. The theme is Breakfast in Bed. Naomi has created a pajama party scenario—such fun while enjoying fabulous recipes. Don your PJs and join in here!

Now for that Oatmeal Brulee … When I ate brunch at Posana Café recently, one of the most intriguing items on the menu was Oatmeal Brulee. Brulee? Did someone say Brulee? I’m a fan of that other brulee,  Crème Brulee, from way back. It was like one of life’s little miracles when I went gluten free and discovered that Crème Brulee was on my “yes” list. Of course, as I shared in my review of Posana Cafe, the Crab Benedict won out over the Oatmeal Brulee that particular Sunday morning. I didn’t regret that decision one bit (the Crab Benedict was stellar!), but that oatmeal brulee has been in the back of my mind ever since. It sounded so good, but healthy, too.

An online search yielded a recipe on Recipezaar. It had great reviews and seemed easy enough. However, the recipe called for half and half and brown sugar. Since I revealed my own Food Revolution commitment last week and because I was making this Oatmeal Brulee for myself to enjoy, I used full-fat coconut milk instead of half and half. And, instead of brown sugar, I used Demerara sugar. From my research, it seems that Demerera sugar is still refined, but not as heavily refined as white sugar. And, I was pretty sure either honey or maple syrup would burn too easily and not provide the caramelization needed if I used them as topping. So Demerera seemed like the best choice of sweeteners on hand. As far as oats, I’ve been trying to gradually increase the amount of oats I’ve been eating to see if I can eventually eat them without any issues. Oats are so beneficial  to one’s diet, if one can eat them. The jury is still out on me eating oats, but not on the oatmeal brulee. It’s delicious! My initial thought with my first bite was that it tasted a lot like rice pudding. It does have a similar texture and flavor—in a good way! If you like your oats, I think you’d really enjoy Oatmeal Brulee for breakfast.

gluten free, dairy free, oats, brulee, National Oatmeal Day

Oatmeal Brulee
(Please click here for a print version of this recipe.)

2 cups water
1 dash salt
1 cup quick oats (see info on gluten-free oats here)
2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk
4 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Preheat broiler.

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in salt and oats.

Keep uncovered and lower heat to slightly below medium. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring from time to time.

Stir in coconut milk.

Spoon mixture into 4 buttered ramekins (or similar baking dishes).

Sprinkle one tablespoon sugar over each serving. Broil for about 3 minutes or until sugar is bubbly, melted, and as caramelized as you would like.

Adapted from Recipezaar

Shirley’s Notes: I only had gluten-free rolled oats versus quick oats, so I ran mine through the food processor a bit to create a finer consistency and allow them to cook more quickly. They still took longer to cook than the time noted above, probably about 10 minutes in total. Broiling worked fairy well to caramelize the sugar, but I think the classic torch would work better because I was a little timid about getting the dishes too close to the broiler. Therefore, it took much longer to caramelize the top.  I’d really like to try this recipe in the future with coconut sugar, also known as coconut “sap.” (Be sure to read Kelly’s recent post on coconut sugar.)

gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, oats, brulee, National Oatmeal Day

I hope you enjoy all the good things linked here today. Stay tuned for more!

Not just gf, but gfe!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Gluten-Free WednesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter Thursday, 5-Ingredients Monday, and Wellness Weekends.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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33 Responses to “Carrabba’s, Oatmeal Brulee, and More”

  1. Deannna on May 3rd, 2010 7:15 am

    Yum – a dairy free brulee? Delicious!

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 7:02 am

      Hey Deanna–I know … super yum, huh? :-) I even put a couple spoonfuls of the leftover oatmeal brulee in my smoothie … worked beautifully.



  2. Alta on May 3rd, 2010 1:31 pm

    I love this idea! Yum! And you should totally try coconut sugar. I bought some a while back and I love it. It’s slightly less sweet than sugar and tastes kind of like brown sugar or demerera sugar. And while I can taste coconut in it, it won’t leave a coconut flavor in baked goods. I used it recently in my brownie bites and they were great!

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 7:04 am

      Hi Alta–Yes, coconut sugar is on my list. Will have to order it online. I’m not sure if I can even buy it at the upscale grocery. Even if it does have a slight coconut flavor in some applications, that wouldn’t bother me a bit. I love coconut anything! Brownie bites … hmmm, did I check out that recipe already? Better go look! :-)

      Thanks, Alta!


  3. Aubree Cherie on May 4th, 2010 11:59 am

    Thanks so much for some of the info on celiac. I don’t ‘officially’ have celiac, but I don’t eat gluten because I know, at a minimum, I have an intolerance. I also love that I can always count on you to keep me up to date with all the blog happenings! Its greatly appreciated! (Seriously, this brain of mine isn’t always up to the par in the remembering department :D)

    The brulee looks faaab-u-lous! I’ve never tried one because they sounded scary. The fact that this recipe only has 5 ingredients makes it seem a lot less daunting!

    ~Aubree Cherie

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 5:44 pm

      Hi Aubree–There are many of us who are not diagnosed celiac. Yes, that includes me. In my support group, it’s about half with celiac and half with gluten intolerance/gluten sensitivity. But, spreading celiac awareness will spread awareness of all. :-) I’m so glad you like the links that I share. It helps keep me straight, too. ;-) Then I have a post I can reference, too. There’s so much good that’s going on in our gluten-free blogging world, I just have to share!

      I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle traditional brulee, but this one was a cinch. It’s nice to have a brulee recipe, too, that doesn’t call for eggs, since so many folks have issues with eggs, too. I’d like to try these with a few variations in addition to using coconut sugar like I mentioned. It’s fun to experiment!


  4. Linda on May 4th, 2010 2:51 pm

    Sounds delicious! I do the same thing as you and put my oats through the food processor. It does help.

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 5:51 pm

      Hi Linda–It seems there are some gf quick oats and Glutenfreeda even has the handy oatmeal packets, but I haven’t checked out all the info or prices on those yet. I like the Gifts of Nature gluten-free oats that I use. It seems several of us use the food processor to create quicker cooking oats. ;-) They can also be cooked pretty quickly in the microwave and I might do that next time for a single serving oatmeal brulee. :-)



  5. Alea on May 4th, 2010 3:49 pm

    Thanks for all of the links. I find it amazing how many people who tell My daughter and me that they went to the doctor after we shared why we didn’t eat gluten and have been diagnosed with celiac’s disease.

    Thanks for the tip on putting the gf oat through the food processor! I will be trying that very soon!

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 5:54 pm

      Alea–This is just awesome that you are spreading the word that way and improving the celiac diagnosis rate and the lives of those individuals! Bravo, my dear! :-)

      Hope you’ll be happy with the food processor trick. Just don’t over do it or you’ll end up with oat flour. :-) Although having seen your baking results (YUM on that German Chocolate Cake!), I think you’d make something wonderful with the oat flour. ;-)


  6. Lindsay at Kitchen Operas on May 4th, 2010 4:56 pm

    Oooooooh yum! This looks incredible — thanks!

    • Shirley on May 4th, 2010 5:57 pm

      Hi Lindsay–It’s nice to see you hear at gfe—welcome! Thanks for your kind words on the brulee. :-) It’s such a simple recipe and way to make oatmeal special without making it unhealthy.


  7. Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea on May 4th, 2010 10:37 pm

    I’ve seen a few blogs (yours was the first) with something to contribute towards Celiac Awareness Month. Although I don’t have celiac disease, I would like to do something but I’m not sure what since I already blog gluten-free. Do you have any tips, Shirley?

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 6:28 am

      Hi Zoe–Thanks so much for asking about ways to promote Celiac Awareness Month. A post with links to sites like the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, etc. would help. Maybe share why you eat gluten free. Share some of the symptoms of celiac and gluten issues. Again, you can find info on various symptoms from the sites above, NIH, etc. You could cite a few and link to other sites’ listings. You might add a little something on celiac/gluten intolerance each day to a post, or you might do one post. You could ask someone with more expertise to do a guest post on your site. Last, I find the most compelling info to be the stories of those who have celiac/gluten intolerance themselves or are eating gluten free (e.g., folks on SCD who have Crohn’s). Both the University of Maryland’s Celiac Center site and NFCA’s site share personal stories. The first actually shares videos with stories and guidance and the latter, many eye-opening cases (now categorized by symptoms). A link to those would be so educational. :-)

      Hope that helps! Thanks for spreading the word, dear … much appreciated!


      • Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea on May 7th, 2010 12:01 am

        Thanks, Shirley! I once wrote a report on celiac disease as part of a science assignment for school, maybe I could use that in addition to a possible guest post? Thanks for all the resources. I’ll look into it.

  8. Ricki on May 4th, 2010 11:28 pm

    Happy Celiac awareness month! Wow, so many great links to check out–wish I had time to read everything I find interesting on other blogs! ;)

    Your oatmeal brulee looks fantastic. For now, I guess I couldn’t establish a “brulee” because stevia doesn’t caramelize. . . but one day!

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 6:33 am

      Hi Ricki–I know … one could have a full-time job reading blogs! :-) I hear those jobs do exist (mostly corporate folks finding out what the peeps are saying about their products), but then when would we have time to write our blogs? ;-) Thanks for the kudos on the oatmeal brulee. You’re right … the stevia wouldn’t caramelize, but hey maybe even a slightly toasted oatmeal brulee would be yummy. Everything browns some, right? I’ll try it and let you know. ;-)


  9. Maggie on May 5th, 2010 7:16 am

    What a yummy little treat. Pete and I love that other brulee too. I will definitely give this recipe a try – a much healthier treat! And I’m sure the babes will like it too :)

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 6:35 am

      Hi Maggie–I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like brulee. I’ve met folks who can’t have it due to dietary restrictions, but none who didn’t like it. ;-) This one is a healthy way of indulging a bit as you said. Hope you’ll report back if/when you give it a try! :-)


  10. Kilee Johnson on May 6th, 2010 12:17 am

    Wow! I would have never thought up this recipe in a million years and it looks amazing! I am adding it to the “blog recipes I have to try” tab!

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 6:58 am

      Hi Kilee–Welcome to gfe! :-) I just checked out your blog and left a comment. It’s great to find another gluten-free blog!

      Well, I didn’t think of this recipe either. Just modified the one on Recipezaar … but I’m happy to share it. ;-) Hope you’ll report back after you give it a try!


  11. Nancy on May 6th, 2010 1:56 am

    OMG! You had me at coconut milk! Actually you had me at brulee. And then there’s the coconut sugar. I had no idea that even existed. I’m totally going to try this. It sounds heavenly… I might need to get one of those little torches.

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 6:39 am

      Hi Nancy–Welcome to gfe! :-) Must check out your blog, Gluten-Free Nancy. And, ah, a fellow brulee and coconut milk lover … so happy to meet you. ;-) Can’t wait to hear your report back, especially if you get your own little torch. I think all of us have a bit of “pyro” in us … nice to have a good reason to use that primal characteristic in the kitchen!


  12. annette on May 6th, 2010 9:27 pm

    my son will love this! i’m very curious about coconut sugar. can’t wait to try this!

    • Shirley on May 6th, 2010 10:20 pm

      Hey annette–It’s good to see you again. :-) I was actually thinking about you today. I need to subscribe to your blog under a different email address. I wasn’t checking the other one. :-(

      Hope your son (and you) enjoys the oatmeal brulee! So many of my blogging buddies use coconut sugar and love it. I’m next on the list. ;-) Let us know what you think!


  13. Cindi on May 18th, 2010 9:12 pm

    Hey!! I love oatmeal, so this sounds wonderful to me! I haven’t read your blog in a while – bad friend :-( so I’m taking a look while I have a few minutes. Hope to see you soon!

    • Shirley on May 19th, 2010 9:35 pm

      Hey Cindi–Good to see you! I’m sure you’d love this oatmeal and since you are not dairy free, you could actually make it with half and half as the original called for. Too bad you are not close … I have tons of half and half left over from our gluten-free tea last night. ;-) Hope to see you soon, too … need to check the forecast to see if we’re headed to the mtns this weekend!


  14. annette on June 1st, 2010 8:40 pm

    this is good! i also used rolled oats but soaked them overnight so they took no time at all to cook. i cooked the oats in a metal frying pan and stuck the whole thing under the broiler until the sugar carmalized. the kids were very happy. :)

    • Shirley on June 2nd, 2010 6:56 am

      Hi annette–So good to see you, especially with your oatmeal brulee review. ;-) How very smart to soak your rolled oats overnight to shorten cooking time—love that! So happy you all really enjoyed the treat. :-) I know the gfe readers will appreciate the feedback and soaking idea, too.

      Thanks so much, dear!


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