Each January, the second Monday is designated as National Gluten-Free Day. But if you can’t eat gluten, which can cause discomfort and even damage in the gastro-intestinal system for those suffering from celiac disease, every day needs to be a gluten-free (GF) day.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye; it helps to give structure to baked goods, but it can cause pain and inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease.
Kris Berger Long, executive director and chief development officer for the Scholars of Toledo Foundation, has been diagnosed with celiac disease. She and her husband, Gary, like to eat out, which is often a challenge for those who can’t eat gluten.
But this isn’t a problem in Toledo, Ms. Long says.
The entire staff at La Scola “is very in tune to all dietary needs,” she says. Gradkowski’s is also “a great option. They have delicious bread that makes all your dinners extra special.”
Ms. Long says that, in her experience, all of the establishments in the Mancy’s Restaurant Group are “sensitive to GF;” and Grumpy’s, P.F. Chang’s, Burger Bar 419, Executive Diner, The Beirut, Organic Bliss Deli and Bakery, and “all the Main Street Ventures restaurants accommodate” those in need of gluten-free dining.
“My advice is to talk to the staff,” Ms. Long says. “I haven’t found anywhere in Toledo that wasn’t willing to talk to me about my needs.”
Joy DuShane, executive assistant at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, loves to cook, bake, and nurture family and friends by feeding them.
But when her two granddaughters, Ashlynn and Kayleigh Montgomery, were diagnosed with celiac disease, she had to become conscientious when cooking, both while visiting the girls at their home in Minnesota and when the family gathers at the DuShanes’ house in Toledo.
“Watching which spices to use” is a concern for Mrs. DuShane, as blends and seasoning salts can often contain gluten. But most sweet and savory recipes are easily adapted to make them gluten-free. “Basically,” she says, “the only alteration I need to make to those recipes is changing out the flour with multi-purpose gluten-free flour.”
Toledo-based Dei Fratelli, which produces a variety of tomato and tomato-based items, now sells gluten-free condensed soup — tomato, of course.
Mrs. DuShane says that when Kayleigh was traveling to attend her boyfriend’s family reunion during the summer, she brought some cans of the soup with her as a fallback option. “She really appreciated having it ... as there were a few nights when there was barely anything for dinner that she could eat. So, afterwards, she heated up a can of her treasured GF tomato soup and totally enjoyed it.”
"Rather than saying it is difficult to accommodate the disease," Mrs. DuShane would say that her granddaughters, and others with celiac, "have choices they have to make every day, every meal. That has included dorm food, restaurants, and their own personal grocery shopping."
Fortunately, with greater awareness and a wide variety of helpful products and accommodating restaurants, those choices are now much easier.
White Chocolate Cherry Brownies
1 20-ounce box Krusteaz Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup prepared coffee, cooled
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8-inch-square glass baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together mix, oil, water, and egg until combined. Stir in cherries and white chocolate chips, then spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out nearly clean. Let cool completely. Trim 1/2-inch from edges of brownies, then cut into 4 columns and 4 rows.
Yield: 16 brownies.
Source: Adapted from Krusteaz.
Streusel-Topped Banana Bread
5 ripe medium bananas
2 cups gluten-free multi-purpose flour (Glutino gluten-free all-purpose flour was used)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter or canola oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons gluten-free multi-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Prepare bread: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch or an 8x4-inch loaf pan (use gluten-free flour); place wax paper or parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with a hand mixer. On low speed, beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. On medium speed, beat in the eggs, sugar, and butter. Stir in walnuts or pecans, if using. Pour into prepped loaf pan.
Prepare streusel: Combine brown sugar and flour in a small bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Top off the loaf with this then pop it in the oven.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (9x5-inch pan) or 65 to 70 minutes (8x4-inch pan) until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes at least. Remove from pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight in the refrigerator before slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf.
Source: Adapted from Emily Rabbitt and Joy DuShane.
This recipe contains no flour, so no substitutions are necessary to make it gluten-free. Peanut butter and peanuts can be substituted for the cashew butter and cashews.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-natural cashew butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped, roasted cashews
Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add cashew butter, oil, and beaten egg; stir with a large spoon until combined. Stir in chopped cashews.
Roll 1-1/2 inch balls of dough and place them on prepared sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. With the bottom of a glass, flatten the balls to 1/2-inch thickness.
Bake for 14 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet so the cookies can set, then cool completely on a rack.
Yield: 20 cookies.
Source: Adapted from Luane Kohnke’s Gluten-Free Cookies: From Shortbreads to Snickerdoodles, Brownies to Biscotti - 50 Recipes for Cookies You Crave.
Contact Mary Bilyeu at email@example.com or 419-724-6155.
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