October 2013 archive

{WGF?!} Gluten Free Beer Round Up


1) St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer  2) Bard’s Tale Beer  3) Green’s Gluten Free Beers (I like them ALL)  4) Redbridge  5) New Planet  6) Daura (not 100% GF)

Do you need to serve gluten free beer for that “special-needs-someone” this Thanksgiving? Here are my top gluten free beer picks to make shopping a little easier. I listed Daura even though it’s technically NOT GF. It has a great taste, so if you’re just trying to eliminate gluten from your diet (not allergic to it), then I recommend this one. (*Personally, I can’t handle Daura or O-Mission beers for that matter). Here’s a PDF describing why some GF beers aren’t 100% gluten free (from the FDA).

1) St. Peter’s Sorgham Beer
Main ingredient: Sorghum
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (5)
Price: $ $ $ $ $
This one is a bit pricey, but totally worth it. The flavor is pure perfection. Hoppy and crisp. It’s also hard to find in a typical supermarket!

2) Bard’s Tale Beer
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (4)
Price: $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Sorghum and Hops
This is my go-to beer. It’s your typical light ale (the working man’s 6-pack). Be sure to check the expiration date on these suckers. I’ve had a couple of flat and yucky-tasting bottles.

3) Green’s Gluten Free Beers (I like the entire line-up: Quest, Discovery, Endeavor)
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (5)
Price: $ $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Sorghum, Buckwheat and rice
The entire line-up of Green’s is fantastic. These taste like the real deal. A great “craft beer.” They are hard to come by (I don’t see them in the store very often). Try them all!

4) Redbridge
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (2)
Price: $ $ 
Main ingredient: Sorghum
Meh. This is the easiest GF beer to find at your local grocer. I’m not a huge fan, but if it’s the only thing available, I’ll buy it. The flavor leaves a weird aftertaste. Meh.

5) New Planet
Taste Rating: * * * * * (3)
Price: $ $ $ $ $ !
Main ingredient: Hops
This is another working-man’s beer. It tastes like beer should taste – hoppy and light. I’ve only seen 4-packs of these. And at $9.00 for a pack,…well, there’s nothing “working-man” about that price point.

6) Daura (not 100% GF)
Taste Rating: * * * * *  (4)
Price: $ $ $ $ 
Main ingredients: Gluten-free barley malt (processed)
Another typical larger. It has a very nice taste (much better than Redbridge). Again, if you have Celiac disease, I don’t recommend this one. Only for folks who are trying to cut the amount of gluten in their diet.



Sweet Treats With The Sugar Studio

BShop_food2BShop_food1 The Sugar Studio delivered the sweetest treats to BlogShopSF this week. Their presentation made quite an impression too! Feathers, striped tissue paper, colored string, and a little bit of washi tape made an otherwise plain wooden spoon look super cute. Their macrons were absolutely perfect. If you’re having a party in the Bay Area, I highly recommend them. thesugarstudio.org


Olives On The Side

Olives4We live in the midst of many olive groves here in California. We are thoroughly spoiled by having access to some of the most amazing olive harvests this time of year. One of the easiest and most rewarding appetizer to make is marinated olives from our local growers.

This recipe is easy to change up or down, add chilli peppers if you want spicy or substitute lemon for orange if you prefer tangy.

Marinated Olives

3 cups of mixed olives, black, green, greek or french style cured olives
1/4 cup of good olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 cup of marcona (spanish almonds) or regular california almonds
1 Orange (scrub skin to clean off wax) carefully zest, then juice the orange
2 sprigs each fresh Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary
2 cloves minced Garlic
Several good generous twists of fresh ground pepper and some sea salt to taste

Put olives in large bowl or jar with firm lid, add almonds, all spices, and orange zest, then gently stir or shake the ingredients, mixing them well. Add olive oil, orange juice and vinegar to the ingredients. Place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, about an hour before using remove the ingredients with a slotted spoon and place in serving bowl, bring to room temperature.

If using same day, let the ingredients meld together on the counter and gently stir to move the ingredients, use a slotted spoon and place into a serving bowl when you are ready to eat (it’s best to marinate the ingredients at least 5 hours so that flavours get happy with each other).

These are delicious with a main meal, served with a salad, or as an appetizer prior to your main dish (or, according to my husband, eat randomly throughout the day, he’s Greek, with a touch of Portuguese so this is one of his favourites).


Enjoying Autumn

Fig leaf circle path, inspired by Andrew Goldworthy

Somehow in Northern California autumn arrives in a flash overnight. One moment, we’re sauntering around in sandals and short sleeves, enjoying the long indian summer, sipping cucumber water and mulling if lavendar or calendula blossoms work best in frozen ice cubes…then bam! The trees drop every leaf, and cold nights turn into blanket tugging wars.

The best feeling is when the leaves fall into multi-coloured puddles under the trees and bushes. Time to pop on the wellies, wrap a scarf around the neck and enjoy a very brief season that will be followed by the long (much needed) rainy season. Wishing you all happy autumn days.


{WGF?!} Pamela’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

I’m excited that my first WGF review (WHAT the GLUTEN FREE?!) is a positive one. I will do my best to share the best-of-the-best GF products with you. I should know, I’ve been trying them since 2005! Without going into too much history here (I know, you want to read about the product review) I will give you a little insight to my Celiac diagnosis at the end of this post. I was diagnosed in 2005, so I’ve tried lots of crummy GF food and I’m happy to say that GF options have only gotten better since then!





Great texture. Huge square chunks of chocolate goodness. And all you need is a stick of butter and an egg. Sooo easy.

Can’t really say anything terrible here. I might cut back on the amount of butter, but it’s not a make or break for me. I also let them cook in the oven a wee bit longer: 16-18 minutes (never 12 minutes).
*Side Note, these cookies have never turned out the way they look on the package (blonde). They’ve always come out a deep brown color.

Being Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

In 2005 I pretty much thought I had Cancer. My skin was turning gray, I lost a bunch of weight, my brain felt like it was melting and I could barely keep my eyes open. My dear friend Suzanne laid down the law, she wasn’t going to talk to me until I saw a doctor for my ailing body.  I despise going to the doctor, so this was a really big deal. I finally went. I was tested. A lot. Finally after a series of 10+ tests, the results were in. My anti-gliadin panel came back. Here’s how it works:

Negative = 11
Equivocal = 11-17
Positive = 17+

My results came back with = 49
Yeah, kind of high.
No doubt, I have Celiac Disease.

Also, it runs in my lovely Scottish family: My grandmother, mother, aunt and cousins all have it. It’s interesting that it didn’t really hit me until I was in my 30′s!

I made drastic changes. I failed a lot. And after some time, I finally found my GF groove. It took a lot of trial and error. Back then, there really weren’t any yummy GF options. And gluten is a sneaky bastard. It’s freaking everywhere! I still get “glutenated” from time to time, but it doesn’t stop me in my tracks like it used to. You could say that I’m kind of a Celiac veteran now. If you have any questions about GF living, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am more than happy to share what I know.


1 2