Saturday, April 22, 2017

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, April 15, 2017

Starting your own Celiac or Gluten Intolerance 
Support Group - Part II

Free is for me:
So I’m pretty certain by now you've realized my major theme :-) If it’s free…it’s for me.  I don’t mind spending my time…but I don’t have the extra pocket change to spend my own money.  So now you've got your location and schedule pinned down…here are some Freebie (and Cheapo) hints for expanding your Support Group.  Don't forget to check out Part I.

With that free G-mail address…you also get a free blog.  Here's mine for our Gluten-Free in Florida Support Group.  Super simple :-)  Go ahead and get a bit inventive…work up a front page just for your meetings.  Tell people a little bit about what you plan on doing.  Post your location and your schedule for at least the next 12 months.  Make certain you post your contact G-mail address.  Then use that HTTP address as your webpage address.  Once you have that front page in place you won’t need to do any more blogging.  You can make corrections or updates as you need to.

DO NOT put your personal phone # out there…I still don’t feel that’s a safe thing to do.  BUT another freebie you can get with that same G-mail address is a Google Phone # that you CAN publish.  What it does is give you a phone # that you can publish that will link directly to your own phone.  You can make your own recorded message.  People call the Google phone # and get your recorded message, they then leave a message of their own…and you get notified by text or email that you have a message waiting.  You can then go into your G-mail account and listen to the message and return the call on your own phone. Be careful to set it up for messaging only and use it for incoming calls…you do get charged for any outgoing calls.

Business Cards:
Vista Print…that’s all I have to say.  Use that same G-mail address and get yourself some business cards.  These do cost about $15.00 but that’s pretty darn cheap and very good quality for about 250 cards.  I did put my Cell Phone on the cards.  And I don’t hand them out by the dozen.  I hand them out one at a time to people who ask me for some contact information...yes, I am cheap.

Press Release:
Go ahead and write up a Press Release.  Just one or two short paragraphs with all the important information – Who, What, When, Where and Why.  VERY IMPORTANT – include that G-mail address, your Blogger web address and your new Google Phone #. Then read it…several times.  Read it to yourself, read it out loud, read it in front of a mirror, read it to your dog/cat and then let someone else read it.  Make corrections, additions, check for spelling errors, grammatical errors…fix it until it doesn't need to be fixed any more.  The last thing you want to do is look like an idiot when you start putting things into print…with your name attached to it. Then store it in several places because it’s going to become important.

Free Advertising:
Stop by your biggest neighborhood health food store.  You know those free papers they always have in the bins at the front of the store??  Grab one of each and take them home.  Some place in the first few pages of the papers you will find email addresses for contact. Start emailing that Press Release you worked so hard on.  Send it out about once every six months.  Look around on Google for any online new papers, or places that accept Press Releases.  You may hear from one or two wanting to sell you space…just be polite and say ‘no thank you’.  Because what you truly want are those places that will accept your Press Release as part of their Community Resources and give you a little free advertising.  Over the years I’ve managed to get free advertising in just about every media available – Online, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, TV, Community Bulletins – you name it, with a little bit of research and a great Press Release you can get just about anything.


Never be afraid to ask for donations…and I don’t mean money.  I mean Gluten-Free products.  My little Support Group just loves getting samples to try out at our Meetings. There are tons of manufacturers out there just waiting to get samples of product into your hands.  Put your hands out and ask!!  Do some searching on Google and work up a list of different GF manufacturers.  Stick to Companies that specialize in Gluten-Free items…it’s safer for you that way.  Remember that Press Release??  Now it’s time to change it up a bit and ask for donations of product for your group to sample. Invite them to send brochures or flyers along with ordering forms for people to place future orders. Simply send out two or three requests per month to different manufacturers.   DON’T GET GREEDY…keep your requests to a minimum.  The idea is to begin building a relationship with these companies…not force them to dump you into their Spam Box.  A good rule of thumb is to request from each manufacturer only once per year.  Some companies will insist that you use their forms on their websites…don’t be afraid to do just that.  Many will ignore you, but many will email you back for dates and shipping information.  I try to make arrangements for stuff to arrive a few days just prior to the next meeting.  And I have it delivered to my home address.  That way all I have to do is bring it with me the day of the meeting.  And who doesn't love free stuff??

Carolanne Le Blanc


Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive
               Largo, Florida  33771

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Starting your own Celiac or Gluten Intolerance
Support Group - Part I

Find your passion
So you think you want to start a Support Group. Well you’ll need to find your passion for the task first. If you can’t do something like this with love and determination then you might as well give up now and allow someone else to take over. Better still hunt around a bit and drive the distance to join another group or locate one online. Starting a Support Group is no easy task…it will take hours of effort on your part just to get things started. Once you’ve got it started it will take on a life of its own and you can sit back and relax a bit. But you’ve got to be passionate about what you want to accomplish - then just jump in with both feet and get things moving.

Find a location
Location, location, location…yes, it is that important. More important is it has to be free. So you want a spot that’s easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and allows for handicapped access…and it has to be free. It’s my understanding that in the US at least most Community Facilities are obligated to give back to the Communities that support them; which often translates into free space…and sometimes into free coffee/tea too. Don’t be ashamed to ask for more…you might just be surprised at what you receive. Our Support Group has been getting free space, free coffee/tea/juice AND free GF lunch for over 3 years now.

Be consistent
Before you start making all those phone calls, or sending out all those emails…think about when you want your meetings. Since it’s only you right now, just go ahead and be selfish and pick a few days and times that work best for you. But you must be consistent. People tend to look for the patterns in their life…they like things they can count on to be there when they expect them. So choose a date and time that works for you this month, every month, ad-infinitum. Now once you start making those phone calls and sending those emails you may need to be a bit flexible…but you get the idea and you at least have a starting point. First Tuesday of every month at 7:pm or the second Saturday of every month at 10:am pick a few that work for you and keep those in mind when negotiating for your space. And don’t forget that most meetings run about an hour and a half to two hours long.

Getting started
So now it’s time to get started and find that location. Don’t go racing around like a spider in the rain...use the phone…use the computer. Set up a Gmail account specifically for your Support Group. Start contacting Hospitals, Community Centers, Libraries, you name it. Any Facility that might have meeting rooms and is supported by the Community is eligible. Even large Attorney’s offices, Doctors’ offices, Medical buildings, Senior Housing complexes or Hotels are places to call. Ask right up front if they have any free space available for your monthly Support Group Meeting. Don’t be disappointed by the No’s…respond politely and move on to the next one. Ask the No’s if they can recommend a place that would have some free meeting space. When they ask tell them you need free space for a Support Group for people living and coping with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. Don’t be shy…get the word started…you never know who you’re talking to and who might be looking for your Support Group in the future.

The space
What you’ll want is a meeting room that can handle at least 25 people…perhaps more. Our group is very small…about 12-24 people…but there’s a group just north of us that has 40-50 people every month, and one further south that can number in the hundreds. You’ll want a room that provides chairs…tables are nice…but chairs are important! Some may want you to setup and cleanup yourself for each meeting. That means you’re on your own for the first few meetings. Don’t be afraid to put people to work when they start showing up for your meetings. People love to be needed…and you’ll be needing them to help setup and cleanup or you’ll be stuck doing it all by yourself and it won’t be long before you resent that. Ask if the facility can provide coffee/tea or if they have vending machines that your members have access to. Ask about bathrooms. If they keep their bathrooms under lock and key it may not be the ideal place for your meeting. Ask if it’s ok to bring food in…you may want to do the occasional pot luck or bring in samples for people to try out. If you can do it…go and visit the space before you commit to it. It’s not going to do you any good if it’s in the middle of a construction zone, or near an area that’s loud and busy, or even hidden deep down in the bowels of an ancient building. Once you’ve found what you want…give them your dates for at least 6 months – preferably 12 months – and ask them to make certain your group is placed on their calendar.

Tell the world
So now you’ve got your free space and you’re on the calendar…it’s time to get the word out. Hopefully, while you’ve been getting all the work done…you’ve been telling anyone who would listen what you’re planning to do. And I mean everyone! Anyone who would stand still for five minutes and listen…your Doctor, your friends, your family, the mailman, the taxi driver…you never know who will need you in the future. Remember that Gmail address you set up…that’s going to be your main form of contact for a while. Be cautious about passing out your personal phone number. Use the email address as often as possible. I actually have two emails…the first is my spam filter…it gets used on EVERYTHING…even my business cards (I’ll get into that later). I check that email daily and anything that comes through that I want to read or answer I forward it over to my second address and then handle it from there. Set up a Facebook account with your Gmail address. Post your meeting location and dates everywhere. Do a search for others in your area that might be looking for Support Groups. Poke around on Google for any online groups or calendars that might be willing to carry your meeting information. There are tons of ways to advertise your Support Group for free…hunt them down and use them well.

Now that you have the first building blocks in place it's time for the most important up for your first meeting!!  Be there at least 30 minutes early...bring a friend along just in case no-one else shows up...and stay for the meeting.  First month, every month for at least three months.  If you're getting the word out...they will begin showing up.  If you build it...they will come.  Don't get discouraged.  Keep trying.  If after three months you're still sitting in the meeting room alone...well, then you may want to consider it wasn't the right time to do it.  You can consider trying a bit harder to get the word out...or release your reservation on the hall and go home.  But I really don't think you'll be doing that.  I honestly think that in three months you'll be needing to read Starting your own Celiac or Gluten IntoleranceSupport Group Part II...good luck!!

Carolanne Le Blanc


Meeting:  4th Saturday of every month except December
               Imperial Palms, East Clubhouse
               101 Imperial Palm Drive
               Largo, Florida  33771