Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mesquita Bread, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread/Rolls from Portugal

Mesquita Bread, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread/Rolls from Portugal this isn't actually about Gluten-Free Travel.  But this is about a really great Gluten-Free bread or roll recipe from Portugal.  So that counts as travel right?
2  Cps Gluten Free Baking Flour Blend (extra for dusting)
½  Cp Potato Starch
½  Cp Tapioca Flour
1/3  Cp Cornstarch
½  Tbl Xanthan Gum
1 ½  Tsp Salt
3  Tbls Granulated Sugar
1  Tbl Active Dry Yeast

2 Large Eggs
4 Egg Whites
4 Tbls Oil
1 Tsp Cider Vinegar
1 ¼ Cps Water

1. In a med sized bowl, measure all of the dry ingredients, except the Yeast.
2. Stir or whisk dry ingredients well.
3. Combine liquids in a separate bowl and mix or whisk well.
4 Warm liquids to about 120 Degrees, (20 to 30 seconds in Microwave)

BEFORE mixing the dry and wet ingredients together:
5. Lightly grease cookie sheet, use a Paper towel. Wipe off any excess.  If making bread then lightly oil loaf pan.
6. Coat a large cutting board or smooth surface with some additional Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Be generous, the dough is sticky to touch.  Skip this step when making the loaf of bread.
7. Sprinkle yeast over the top of the dry ingredients and pour liquid mixture over the top and mix with a wire whisk till it thickens, and then use a rubber spatula to finish folding it in 2-3 minutes until it is smooth. It will be soft and sticky to the touch.
8. With the spatula form the dough into a ball in the bowl you mixed it in using the spatula to slide the dough onto the floured smooth surface.
9. Sprinkle a generous amount of Gluten-Free Baking Flour on top of the dough ball.
10. Use some of the flour on your hands and push down, and smooth out the dough ball to about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick.  This does not need to be perfect and you do not want to handle the dough too much at this stage
11. Choose a glass or a plastic cup that has an opening about the size of the roll you want.
12. Use the glass or cup like a cookie cutter and press it into the dough, then place the cut outs on your oiled cookie sheet. Lightly cover the cookie sheet with Saran Wrap to prevent any drafts on the dough. Place cookie sheet in a warm area. Let rise until double in size,
13. Preheat oven to 375, remove plastic wrap from cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Rolls should be light brown on top surface and crusty when you tap on it.
14. Remove from oven and place rolls on a wire rack to cool.  Makes about a dozen depending on the size you choose.  Maybe only 11 if you can't resist a nice freshly baked roll with butter
1. Lightly oil a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan.
2. Scrape Dough ball into loaf pan, lightly cover with plastic wrap, and let rise to double in size. This takes about an hour. You do not need to coat the dough ball in flour for this method.
3. Pre heat oven to 375
4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned and it should sound a little hollow when tapped on. If it is browning too fast then lightly place a piece of aluminum on the top.

5. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. Or at least cool enough that you do not burn yourself when eating it off the rack :-)  

Carolanne LeBlanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive

               Largo, Florida  33771

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Wellness Event, Jacksonville FL

Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event

Just recently, a friend and I drove 4 hours to go to the Gluten-Free Allergen Friendly Wellness event in Jacksonville Florida.  I normally like to make it a get-away weekend…get a hotel room for two nights, drive over on Friday and then home again on Sunday.  Then I relax and spend the entire day Saturday at the event, wandering the Vendors tables, listening to the Speakers, making new connections, wandering the Vendors tables again :-)  If I can, I leave Saturday night open to getting together with others from the event for dinner.  People that I’ve chatted with, Speakers, even an occasional Vendor…we’ve all got to eat! lol
If you’ve ever asked if it was worth it to travel to one of these Gluten-Free Events my answer is always a resounding ‘yes’!  Personally, I love going to the events.  Mostly to be able to stand in a room filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of people who totally understand what I live through every day.  They get it!  And I get to talk to them, meet people face to face who know what it’s like to monitor every bite, read every label, research every new product. I’m not a shy person, I love to start a conversation.
If you ever see me at an event please stop and say hi!  I would love to talk with you.  I remember my very first Gluten-Free event…I had no clue what to expect.  When I saw the convention hall filled with nearly 1,500 people I was in awe! I spent so much time talking to people that I never even got around to trying any of the samples.  Thank goodness my daughter was with me…she filled my bag with all kinds of goodies for me to try later.  Back in the hotel room it was like opening up a treasure when she dumped the bag out so we could go through it.

This past event had some great speakers too!  Jenna Drew (DoTerra), Jennifer Cuevas (Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet), Dana Martin (ABC Gluten-Free), Julia Mcrae, (Certified Nutritionist), Beth Mincher (Elemental Wellness), Jennifer Eccleston (Jen Tilly Tea), and Nikki Everett (GFAF Wellness Events)  Real people who walk and talk my lifestyle.  Real people who are available to have a conversation with, or join for dinner, or ask questions of and receive honest, down to earth answers in simple English.
Another reason for going to a Gluten-Free event is of course the new products and services!  Even those huge national manufacturers will often use these events to introduce new, never been seen in stores, product. Brand new, small, local businesses looking for loyal customers will be there eager to show off their ideas.  In Jacksonville I found several, new to me companies, with products I just love!  Cookies from Caly’sKitchen, sauces from H & B Gourmet Foods, paleo snacks from InBite, simmer sauces from Saffron Road, burger buns from SmartBaking, and gravies from ZiZi’s Gourmet Gravy…a company so new they don’t even have a website yet.  
So at the end of the day I wandered the tables again, picking up anything I might have missed and buying products that I truly wanted to try at home. And if you purchase in bulk you can often get the best deal around. Vendors are more than happy to see you carrying out all their product just so they don’t have to!

If you're looking for a Celiac Friendly or Gluten-Free event in your area check here:  Gluten-Free for Life Expo  And don't be afraid to travel a bit to attend one of these great events!

Carolanne LeBlanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive

               Largo, Florida  33771

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's talk Toilets! Gluten-Free Travel

Let's talk Toilets!  Gluten-Free Travel

Before I leave on any vacation I do a little research first.  Of course, what can I eat is always a big one…especially since we enjoy experiencing the foods particular to wherever we roam.  I do draw the line at bugs and raw proteins though, even if two of my travel mates occasionally enjoy a taste.  I also research toilets and bathroom etiquette. My travel mates think that’s pretty funny…but they’re not ashamed to take advantage of my research, trust me. Am I obsessed with toilets? No, I’m not.  But living with Celiac Disease all my life, two pregnancies and being born without ‘outdoor plumbing’ as my Mom called it, I’ve learned to pay attention to where the toilets are.

Here in the States public restrooms are pretty easy to find.  There are rest stops along the highways…and Fast Food places are always an easy stop.  Grocery Stores are too. Gas stations…if the doors are outside you’ll need to go inside and ask for the key. Stores and Shops…you may see little signs in the front window stating restrooms are for customers…just become a customer and you’re good.  Hotels and Motels are options for emergency stops…the bathrooms are usually right off the main lobby…perhaps near the pool area.

PAY TOILETS:  I can’t remember the last time I saw a pay to go bathroom here in the States.  But I’m certain there are still a few around. They used to be just simple coin meters placed right on the stall doors.  At large festivals and fairs you’ll often see Bathroom Attendants with tip jars.  Show them you’re glad to have a clean place to stop by putting something in their tip jar.  And don’t be too surprised if you see them put their hand out for you.  They’re actually trying to earn a living by cleaning up after you. And trust me, at some of these large events that's a lot tougher than you might realize.

In other countries you may be asked to pay a few coins to use the facilities…don’t be a stingy tourist.  It’s possible that attendant is trying to earn a living to put food on the table at home.  If you see little packets of paper offered…take one.  Toilet Paper or Paper Towels…it generally means that item is not available inside.  These are the times when it becomes very important to carry your own toilet paper and antibacterial wipes.  Depending on the country you’re visiting you may be able to find a toilet…but on occasion not much else.  Be prepared.
CRUISE SHIPS:  Their main goal is your comfort and safety…they want you back…so clean, easily accessible, toilets are just about everywhere.  On board, in customs, in port, on excursions…finding a bathroom is generally not a problem.  The further you get away from the ship things may begin to change a bit…but don’t be afraid to ask.  Touristy areas can be very accommodating…again, they want you back.

TO FLUSH OR NOT TO FLUSH:  That is the question. There are still many places in the world where the indoor plumbing is not designed to handle anything more than human waste. So flushing the used paper is taboo.  If that’s the case you’ll often see a small sign on the door (if there is a door) and a trash bin right near the toilet. If you forget to toss the used paper and end up flushing it instead, don't panic. But do try to remember the next time.

ALWAYS GO BEFORE YOU GO:  In many countries businesses frown on people wandering through just to use the bathroom.  So a good rule of thumb whether you’ve been shopping, eating or drinking at an establishment is to always use the facilities before you leave.

SQUAT OR SIT:  Yes, this is the option depending on the country you’re visiting. I remember as a child wondering about the footprints I’d occasionally see on the toilet seats at the Shopping Mall.  Some countries use raised commodes, or toilets, while others still prefer squat toilets that are truly not much more than a hole in the floor with places on either side for your feet.  Even if you’re lucky enough to find a familiar raised commode don’t count on there being a toilet seat. We spent two weeks in Peru from Lima, to Cusco, to Aqua Caliente, to Puerto Maldonado, and back to Lima. Everywhere we went it was the toilet restaurants, in market places, in stores, even in the eco lodges. It didn’t matter the quality of the establishment – we were taking our chances when visiting the restrooms.

So remember…just because you’re comfortable using whatever system you may have grown up with, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is the same.  Be prepared to be flexible, make adjustments as needed and certainly don’t let any minor inconveniences spoil your trip.  You’re on vacation to enjoy yourself…not worry about potty time.  With two bad knees I’ll never use one of those squat toilets…so you won’t see me traveling to any country that uses them.  But that would certainly never stop me from traveling to any other country…and yes, I actually used that toilet in the Amazon Jungle. Notice the small trash bin nearby? And no I did not forget to flush...we were in the middle of the Amazon Jungle.  No plumbing...just an occasional bucket of water to clear the pipes.  And in spite of that it was an absolutely amazing trip!  Next year I guess I'm going to learn how to use a Bidet.  I've never used one before but apparently they're in the house we rented in Portugal.

I remember visiting a friend once who was very proud that her home had indoor plumbing.  On the second floor no less!  Turned out it wasn’t much more that a toilet with a piping system that connected to the outhouse in the back yard…and a bucket of water!

Now if you really want to talk to someone who is obsessed with toilets check out the Toilet Guru!

Carolanne LeBlanc

Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive

               Largo, Florida  33771