Today I have the pleasure of sharing a post from another good friend. What’s that you say? I say that about everybody in this series? Well, truth be told, you’re right! Everyone participating in this series is a good friend of mine (and there are many more of my good gluten-free blogger friends who didn’t make it into our holiday event). Several of our gluten-free bloggers participating in our Home for the Holidays … Gluten-Free Style event I have not yet met in person, but I know that will happen eventually and I look forward to the time when these friends become “In Real Life (IRL)” friends (as some would say) versus “virtual” friends.
photo courtesy of Gluten Free By Nature
One comment that I’m seeing repeated from readers is how happy they are that they are being introduced to new gluten-free blogs. I absolutely love reading that! That’s always one of my goals in sharing information here at gfe. Meeting people is all about networking, which of course means what it says. Meeting one person or being their friend can lead to another person and then another.
Today’s featured blogger/host of our event is Stephanie of Gluten Free By Nature. (Sadly, Stephanie’s site is no longer in operation.) Stephanie used to comment on Melissa’s blog, Gluten Free For Good. She lived nearby and had the same whole foods approach as Melissa to gluten-free living. I followed one of Stephanie’s comments back to her blog and became hooked on her real food recipes that were not only gluten free, but also met the requirements of the remainder of her family’s food intolerances.
Stephanie, her son, and her daughter all have celiac disease. In addition, there are casein, soy, peanut, and sesame issues to deal with, and her family avoids eating refined sugar. They embrace local, seasonal, sustainable, and organic foods. Eventually, Stephanie moved closer to my area (only a few states away now) and now lives very near another gluten-free blogging friend.
Pretty soon Stephanie and I were friends IRL and actually got to spend some time together with a small group of friends twice this year. We all had an amazing time together. There is something so incredibly special about the time spent with gluten-free friends. If you’ve experienced that, you know what I mean. If you have not yet experienced it, I hope you do in the near future. It’s good for your soul.
Where am I going with this? Let yourself be led to other blogs; you may find a gluten-free living approach that completely meshes with your own, one that you aspire to, or maybe even one that makes you question the status quo. You may also make real friendships online that provide the support that you never ever imagined could be possible. If nobody at home—family or friends—really “gets” what you are going through, turn to these other folks … turn to us.
That’s why we’re all blogging. We want to help others to live better gluten-free lives and, of course, to live gluten free more easily. We want folks to achieve optimum health. We want folks to avoid all the heartaches we have gone through. Heidi recently shared a post, Why We Do What We Do, that really captured why bloggers feel compelled (some would say driven and most of the time they would be right, and “what’s wrong with that?” we’d reply) to share their ongoing stories, share recipes that work, and relentlessly research the most current and helpful data—whatever the subject matter.
Readers of our Home for the Holidays event are commenting that they are finding the series so helpful as a source of recipes and valuable resources. We all truly appreciate that! I just want to remind you that these folks are here for you all the time, not just during the holidays. Find the ones whose recipes and styles work best for you and stick with them. Subscribe to their blogs or just make a point of visiting daily to get the support you need!
Back to Stephanie … one thing that I admire about Stephanie is that she is active in the blogging community and always advocates for others who are gluten free. She shared her family’s experience inthe May/June 2010 issue of Living Without magazine as evidence that we need accountable gluten-free labeling. Note that this article occurred a full year before the First Gluten-Free Labeling Summit (also referenced as the 1 in 133 Event or The Tallest Gluten-Free Cake Event) held in May 2011, which was spearheaded by Jules Shepard and John Forberger. (Incidentally, if you’ve been following our schedule, you know that Jules will be hosting our Home for the Holidays event tomorrow on her blog, Jules Speaks Gluten Free.) We’re still waiting on a gluten-free labeling law, but you can always keep up with the latest news in this arena at 1in133.org.
Today Stephanie shares a recipe that she says works for everyone—Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thank goodness because I don’t think anyone would want to pass these little gems up! They are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan. In her post, Stephanie shares all the events that she’s made these cookies for (those lucky folks who were in attendance!) and the “home” and “holidays” connection. I seriously love the ingredients in Stephanie’s cookies. There’s nothing complicated at all about the recipe, but it’s clear that these are delicious cookies … certainly worthy of holiday memories! You already know that I love pumpkin (and chocolate, too, of course).
Stephanie also has three cookbook giveaways for you; each cookbook will be awarded to one individual:
~ The Food Allergy Cookbook ~ Written by Amra Ibrisimovic and Carmel Nelson, this beautiful cookbook came out in July. It contains over 100 recipes developed by two authors who have personal experience with food allergies. The subtitle of this cookbook is: A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals. From the publisher’s release: “It also serves up a list of restaurants with alternative menus, tips on working with your doctor and traveling safely, a lesson on deciphering food labels, and tons of helpful resources. Carmel and Amra will help you concoct healthy and flavorful recipes that finally prove…it IS possible to easily serve, eat, and enjoy allergen-free fare.” The chapters of this book are Holiday Menus– Winter Holiday, Thanksgiving, Spring Holiday; Soups; Appetizers; Salads and Side Dishes; Entrees; and Pastries and Desserts. The recipes are simple and appealing, and most use readily available ingredients that you’d have in your pantry. For example, the Sweet Potato Hash Browns recipe calls for sweet potatoes, ground nutmeg, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, and water. Some recipes do use eggs, but substitution options are offered. One ingredient that I found odd in some recipes was cottonseed shortening. (Here’s Dr. Andrew Weil’s take on cottonseed oil.) One typically sees that in processed foods. I’d replace that ingredient with another shortening or oil that worked with the other ingredients in the recipe; e.g., grapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil. Overall, I think this is another good cookbook to add to one’s collection.
~ The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen Cookbook ~ Ali Segersten and Tom Malterre co-authored this book. As I’ve shared before, this book is so much more than a cookbook in my opinion. It’s absolutely full of info that allows one to have a gluten-free, whole foods kitchen plus the recipes you’ll want to make. One recipe in this cookbook that one of my support group members makes that we ask for again and again is Hijiki Salad. If you’re not familiar with that word, hijiki is a seaweed. As a rule, I don’t like seaweed, but when it’s combined with shredded carrots and a few other simple ingredients, this salad is delicious and even addictive. Ali is one of our gluten-free bloggers for our holiday event. She shared her Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies with us earlier. Made with ingredients like hazelnut meal, sweet rice flour, coconut sugar, molasses, and butter, these cookies promise to be as tasty as they are adorable. The recipe is already getting great reviews on her site.
~ The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen ~ Laura B. Russell has made many, many people happy with this cookbook. It’s an absolutely stunning cookbook with recipes that folks rave over. The most negative thing that I’ve seen written about this book to date is that the pot stickers take some time to make, but that reviewer also admitted that they were well worth the effort. Personally, I have yet to make any of the recipes from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, but I’m adding that to my New Year’s goals!
Be sure to head over to Stephanie’s blog, Gluten Free By Nature, to enter the giveaway for these three cookbooks. Update: The giveaway has now ended.
Remember that any entry in our entire event is an entry for the final giveaways from Caveman Cookies (gift package of $89 value), Free From Gluten Shopping Spree ($150 value), and the Vitamix (5200 Super Healthy Lifestyle package–$550 value). We also have some other items being added to the giveaways for the entire group. Jules (the same Jules we discussed earlier, Jules of GF Jules and more) has donated a gift package that includes one bag of GF Jules’ cookie mix; one bag of GF Jules’ graham cracker/gingersnap mix, and one bag of GF Jules Gluten-Free Flour Mix. This package is a $40 value plus the cost of shipping, but it will be split per Jules’ request so that there are three winners! One person will win the cookie mix. One person will win the graham cracker/gingersnap mix, and one person will win the flour. This giveaway ends tomorrow night at 10:30 pm EST. Jules wants to get this package out to you as soon as possible, so you can use it for your holiday baking. She says the graham cracker/gingersnap mix is wonderful for making gingerbread, gingerbread people, and even gingerbread houses. (You can see all of Jules’ products here.) Maybe you’ll win and use your product to create a cookie recipe for the Gluten-Free Cookie Swap on Facebook that Jules is hosting. That event is a whole lot of fun and has some awesome prizes!
+ so much more (as noted above)
There’s so much good gluten-free stuff going on at this time of year … enjoy!
Originally published December 14, 2011; updated August 4, 2020.