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About Beth

Beth created one of the first gluten-free companies in the US, wrote books, and now shares 40 years of living well without gluten in her latest book, The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free. She believes no one should go without because of gluten. Through her cookbooks, lifestyle book and essays, she shows us how. Travel, restaurant dining, parties, dating, raising kids – she’s been there and takes celiac disease and the gluten free diet along for the ride. Join her as she answers all your baking and lifestyle questions.

Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 4 Go-Stick Treatsbanana go sticks

Here’s a great grab-and-go breakfast or snack that’s healthy and loaded with fiber and potassium, too.  Whether you use unsweetened cocoa, coconut, or ground nuts, you’ll be getting lots of nutritional bennies in each treat.

Make a batch ahead of time so they are ready for school or breakfast on the run.  You’ll swear you are biting into a chocolate bar when you try the bananas coated with unsweetened cocoa; the coconut variety tastes like coconut cream and the nuts will make you think you’ve bitten into a nutty ice cream treat. What could be better?

No need to add fruit preserves if using the nut or coconut coating.  However, the preserves are a nice touch to cut the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate.

2 large organic bananas
¼ cup plain yogurt, preferably organic
2 teaspoons fruit preserves (no sugar added), optional

Toppings: (Choose your preference)
4 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa
¼ cup unsweetened coconut
¼ cup chopped unsalted almonds or peanuts

4 skewers or long toothpicks

Line a large plate with wax paper.  Peel the bananas and cut in half through the center.  Place a skewer through each banana half lengthwise.

In a small plate, combine yogurt and fruit preserves, if using.

In another plate, add cocoa, breaking up any clumps.

Spread the coconut over another plate, breaking it up with the back of a fork.  Spread the nuts over another plate, if using.

Coat each banana half in the yogurt mixture then coat it in one of the addition toppings.  Set on the wax paper lined plate and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 days.

When you need a Go-Stick, grab on out of the freezer and away you go!

Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 12 pancakesHealthy Banana Pancakes

Most pancakes are, by definition, heavy in carbs and sugar.  Add maple syrup and you increase that load of unfriendly calories.  No wonder you’re sleepy by 10 a.m.  Not these pancakes, however. They are light and filling and don’t use a speck of sugar.  Using bananas as a substitute for fat makes them diet-friendly, too, and the small about of flour comes from nutritionally-dense flours like buckwheat, oat and flax meal.

Best yet, these can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer for a healthy on-the-go breakfast.  If you are home, enjoy them with additional sliced bananas or strawberries and just a smidge of maple syrup, if you must!

The most challenging part of this recipe is keeping two bananas on the counter long enough to turn very ripe. (Someone always swipes them off my counter!) Make sure to select flours that are labeled “gluten free.”

4 large eggs
2 very ripe bananas, preferably organic
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons oat flour
1 tablespoon golden flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon of salt
Olive or coconut oil, optional

In a medium size bowl, thoroughly whisk 4 eggs until frothy.

In a second bowl, mash the bananas and add to the eggs.  With a fork, beat until any lumps are nearly gone.  Add the vanilla and set aside.

Mix together buckwheat flour, oat flour, flax meal, baking soda and salt.  Whisk into the egg and banana mixture.

Lightly oil a no-stick griddle or add a small amount of olive or coconut oil to a frying pan.  Heat to medium or 350 degrees F.

Spoon the pancake batter onto the pan and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Top with additional sliced banana or other fruit.

On the go tip:  Roll each pancake in chopped fruit.

Recipe By Beth Hillson
Serves 3balanced breakfast sandwich

Breakfast can be a balancing act.  Trying to find something that contains protein and nutrients and has a good amount of healthy carbs is not the first thing you want to deal with in the morning.  But, let’s face it.  You stand a better chance at handling all those little daily challenges if you are fortified from the get go.  So, here’s a great twist on breakfast, a Balanced Sandwich, to help jumpstart the day. Besides, it’s a yummy meal that can be wrapped in waxed paper to eat on the way to work or school.  Now go get your breakfast on.  And have a great day!

3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 teaspoon white horseradish (from the jar)
3 Glutino or other Multigrain English Muffins
6 slices cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
3 large eggs
¼ pound Boar’s Head or other gluten free Pastrami Turkey, thinly sliced
½ cup coleslaw (optional, but I love cole slaw any time of the day)

Mix together mayonnaise, ketchup and horseradish. Set aside.

Separate English muffins and toast the halves.  When toasted, top each half with a slice of cheese.  Let it melt slightly and set aside.

In large skillet, heat the oil or butter. Crack the eggs into the heated pan and fry just until the whites are set.  Cover the pan and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until yolks are no longer runny.  Remove the skillet from the heat.

Spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of the mayonnaise mixture over half the English muffins.  Top with turkey pastrami, coleslaw, and fried egg. Cover with an English muffin half that does not have mayonnaise on it.  Down it promptly or wrap in waxed paper and eat on the way to school or work.  Don’t forget the napkins!

From Beth Hillson

Move over lazy summer days.  Now that school is back in session, our lives are frantic again.  We are pulled between school schedules, sports practice, and our own routines.  The last thing we need to do is stop to fix a nutritious breakfast.  But maybe it’s the first thing we need to do, too.

Here are three nutritious grab-and-go breakfast and snack recipes that will help to fill hungry tummies with healthy food and jump-start the day.

(1) balanced breakfast sandwichCheck out the Balanced Breakfast Sandwiches I whipped up with Glutino English Muffins (one of my favorite prepared foods), fried eggs and breakfast meat.  This quick and delicious meal has lots of possibilities.  Add cheese, turkey, guacamole – you name it.

 

 

Healthy Banana Pancakes(2) Don’t think you need to pull up a seat and load the plate with a stack of pancakes to enjoy my Healthy Banana Pancakes.  A mixture of banana, eggs and a small amount of nutritionally-dense flours, these sugar-free pancakes can be grabbed from the freezer or the fridge and eaten on the go.

 

(3) Banana Go-Sticks are ready when you need a quick, healthy breakfast and don’t have a minute to spare.  Grab one or two from the freezer to eat on the way to work or school.  These filling treats will see you through to lunch. banana go sticks

 

 

 

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

By Beth Hillson

This time of year, rising high school juniors and seniors are starting to visit college campuses as they consider where they would like to spend the next four years.  In addition to curriculum, size, and geographical location, students who have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive also have to consider if campus food service can accommodate their diet.  Read on to see if your college prospects make the grade.

I interview Rob Landolphi, Manager of Culinary Development at the University of Connecticut.  Rob instituted a gluten-free dining option in all the campus dining facilities beginning in 2002.  (UCONN was voted the #1for gluten-free-friendly campus on UDI’s web site this year.)

Here are some of Rob’s tips to consider when you are looking at colleges:

  • Contact Dining Services or Residential Life directly.  (The name of the office will vary from college to college.)
  • Ask how they handle gluten-free diets.
  • Ask to set up a tour of the dining hall and the kitchen.
  • If their guard goes up or if they seem hesitant, be wary.
  • If they show you the kitchen and serve you a gluten-free lunch, that should put your mind at ease.
  • Ask if the college offers gluten-free foods in all the dining facilities. If not, find out how far the gluten-free dining hall is from your dorm and the buildings where you will be taking most of your classes.
  • Check the hours of operations.
  • Find out if gluten-free food is prepared in a designated area.
  • Does the college label all the food so it’s not necessary to locate a chef each time you eat in the dining hall?
  • Does the dining hall have a gluten-free zone?
  • Can you eat in the same area as your friends or is gluten-free food only served in a separate dining room?
  • What gluten-free brands are used?  Are they willing to bring in other brands?
  • What happens if you don’t like the option for that day?  Can you order something else?
  • Can you call ahead and order food?
  • Is there a web site where you can find out the options for the day?
  • Does the gluten-free option cost more money or is it included in meal plan?  (It should be included.)
  • What restaurants near campus have gluten-free choices?  Do they deliver?  (For times when your friends are ordering out and you don’t want to be left out.)
  • Ask to speak with a student who has been taking the gluten-free option.  Chances are at least one or two have offered to serve as a resource.

Reprinted with permission from Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free, by Beth Hillson, 2014, page 248.

Serves 8

This light, refreshing salsa is packed with flavor and perfect for summer entertaining.  Serve with sturdy corn tortilla dippers.  This way, you are guaranteed to get a big mouthful of deliciousness in each bite.  The salsa is great with grilled lamb, fish, and chicken, too, so you might want to make a double recipe.

3 cups finely chopped seedless watermelon, (about 3 pounds with the rind)
1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantroWatermelon Salsa
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of one lime
Gluten Free Corn Tortilla Dippers

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the all ingredients except the dippers.  Toss gently to coat.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day. Serve with lots of chips.

 

Makes  9-12 Large Brownie Squares

Chocolate Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies

Decadent doesn’t begin to describe this luscious treat.  When you think about it, what could be bad about a treat that combines chocolate, salt, caramels and pretzels?  Perfect for a summer picnic or barbecue, you’ll be making these over and over in the next few months.  And no practice is involved, these are easy, quick, fun to make and always turn out well.  Even the kids can help.  Just keep little fingers away from the molten caramels.

I made these for the folks at Glutino/Boulder Brands recently.  I put out a giant platter and turned away for a moment.  Alas, only crumbs were left.  Make a platter for your family and watch them disappear just as quickly!

The instructions are for making a box of Gluten-Free Pantry Brownie Mix.  You could use any gluten free brownie mix that makes an 8 or 9-inch square pan of brownies. Omit the eggs and butter here and follow the instructions on the package.  I used Glutino Salted Caramel Pretzels and Kraft individually wrapped caramels.

1 box Gluten Free Pantry Double Chocolate Brownie Mix*
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/3 cups coarsely ground gluten free Salted Caramel Pretzels, divided
24 gluten free caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons cream or milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with aluminum foil.  Lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil or use no-stick aluminum foil.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 2 minutes or until light and frothy.  Slowly add the brownie mix.  Beat to moisten.  Add the butter and mix to combine.  Fold in ½ cup of the chopped salted caramel pretzels.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and the cream.  When the brownies have baked 18 minutes, heat the caramels in the microwave for 1 minute at medium power.  Stir and heat another 30 seconds if the mixture is not melted.  (Don’t worry if you see small lumps of candy.  These will melt as you stir the mixture.)  Let cool 1 minute and spread over the top of the brownies.  Some of the mixture will swirl into the brownie batter.  That’s good!

Gently press remaining chopped pretzels into the caramel mixture with the back of a rubber spatula.  (Don’t touch the melted caramels with your fingers.  They are hot!)

Return the pan to the oven.  Bake an addition 17 to 20 minutes or until the center seems set and does not jiggle when you touch the pan.

Cool.  Lift from the pan using the edges of the foil.  Cut into squares.  Enjoy!

*Use any gluten free brownie mix that makes an 8 or 9-inch square pan of brownies and follow the instructions for preparation on that package.

Makes 6 Burgers
Recipe By Beth Hillson

Turkey Burger Deluxe

Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer.   It’s time to start your barbecues!  Here’s one of my go-to recipes that is part of every barbecue at my house.  Vary the add-ins and add-ons to suit your taste.  Try adding chopped shiitake mushrooms when you sauté the onions.  Top the burgers with fresh sauerkraut, tangy pickles or fruit slaw.  Serve these with your favorite condiments, too.  Whatever way you present these, they are sure to be a hit.

The secret is to use ground turkey.  (I prefer the dark meat.) It pairs well with so many flavors.  Sautéing the onions (and other veggies) first lends a nice punch to the burgers as well.  Don’t forget to pick up some of your favorite gluten free buns.

1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices gluten free bread
1 ½ pounds ground dark meat turkey
¼ cup flavorful gluten-free barbecue sauce, smoked or tangy is best, more to top burgers
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Gluten-free coleslaw
6 gluten free hamburger rolls  (Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse are my two faves)

Heat a grill to medium heat or preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Set a large lightly oiled ovenproof skillet on the stovetop or on the grill and heat to medium high.  Sauté onion (other veggies, too) in olive oil until soft and slightly caramelized.  Set aside to cool.   Keep the skillet handy.  You’ll need it for the burgers.

Microwave bread for 30 to 45 seconds or just until soft.  Tear into small pieces.  In a large mixing bowl, combine bread pieces, ground turkey, barbecue sauce, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Add onions (other veggies, too) and mix well.

Form into six burgers.  Put the skillet back on the stovetop or on the grill.  The skillet should still have a coating of oil.  If not, add a tiny bit more (1 to 2 teaspoons).  Add burgers and brown for about 3 minutes.  Flip to brown the other side.

Close the lid on the grill to finish cooking the burgers, about 10 minutes or until they are no longer pink in the center or set skillet with burgers in the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until center is no longer pink.

Here’s another way to grill the burgers:  Start burgers in the cast iron skillet placed on the grill with the temperature set at medium heat.  Cover the grill and cook for 5 minutes. The outside will become firm, preventing the burger from sticking to the grids.  Turn the burgers onto the grid to grill and brown for an additional 10 minutes, flipping midway through.

Toast or warm rolls.  Serve one burger on each roll with coleslaw and extra barbecue sauce.

Multi Grain High Fiber GF BreadMultigrain Bread
Recipe from Beth Hillson
Makes 2, 4 ½ x 8 ½ loaves

I’ve been trying to avoid carbs lately and when I do eat them, I stick to gluten free whole grain flours.  They digest more slowly and don’t cause my blood sugar to spike.  I can’t swear to it, but I think I stay fuller longer, too.  Besides, these flours are high in fiber and nutrients.  They have to be better than breads made with white flours and starches.

I started experimenting with this recipe a couple of years ago.  My goal was to use mostly buckwheat as it is known to lower blood sugar. However, the consistency, without other grains, was dry and crumbly.  So I cut back on the buckwheat and added other whole grains.  The results were delicious and the structure was nearly perfect.  Then I added flax meal and milk powder, boosting the dough with even more protein and moisture.  Perfecto! The structure of this loaf is very light, not something you would expect from a whole grain bread.  And the taste is delicate and nutty owing to the incorporation of these wonderful flours.

If you can’t have dairy, replace the milk powder with the same amount of a dairy free milk. Hemp powder works well but I really like quinoasure, powdered quinoa protein.  Sliced bread freezes nicely.

1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons oat flour
1 cup potato starch or cornstarch
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons amaranth flour
4 tablespoons ground flax meal
½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk powder
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 packets active dry yeast (about 4 ½ teaspoons)
4 large eggs
2 cups + 3 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons oil
1 ½ tablespoon cider vinegar

Lightly oil two 4 ½ x 8 ½ inch loaf pans.  Set aside.

Combine first 11 ingredients (up to yeast).  Blend.  Whisk in the yeast.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, water, oil and vinegar.  Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the liquids and beat on medium using the paddle attachment.  When liquids are blended with dry ingredients, raise the speed to medium high.  Beat for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and shiny and strands of dough pull away from the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide dough between two prepared loaf pans.  Cover with oiled plastic and let rise to the top of the pan.

Bake 30 minutes.  Turn onto a wire rack to cool before slicing.

 

 

Recipe From Beth Hillson
Serves 2 to 3

I was in Charleston, South Carolina for a conference recently and could not leave without trying some of the outstanding cuisine for which Charleston is know.  A signature dish, shrimp and grits, was served everywhere.  Some chefs added other seafood, ham or sausage, and some flavored their dish with Cajun spices.  I wish I could have sampled each one. Since most are gluten free, that wasn’t such a far-fetched idea — if I had only had a few extra days.  If you go to Charleston, be forewarned that some chefs add flour to their shrimp and grits.  So check before diving in.

Shrimp and Grits is truly comfort food.  Each bite was pure heaven.  But, what really fascinated me was the grits – chewy and flavorful beyond anything I had eaten before.  One restaurant told me they buy them from Anson Mills in Columbia, SC.  As soon as I got home, I ordered from them.  How great to bring a touch of the South to my Yankee kitchen.

All of Anson Mills’ grits are labeled gluten free.  Unfortunately, their products do not come with instructions for preparation.   You’ll have to refer back to their web site for that or use the ones I call for.  Here’s the recipe I created using Anson Mills’ quick white stone-ground grits.  This can be made with other grits, of course.  Follow the product instructions for the ratio of water to grits.

To Make the GritsShrimp and Grits
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup quick white stone-ground grits from Anson Mills or another brand
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Additional salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Shrimp Mixture
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chicken or pork Andouille sausage (about ¼ pound), cut into thin slices
3 ounces smoked ham, cut into julienne strips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
12 large shrimp, peeled, and deveined if necessary
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of Cajun seasoning
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallion (about 3 scallions)
1/4 cup white wine or water

Make grits: Bring water, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan. Whisk in grits and cook at a bare simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until grits are tender and have begun to thicken, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.  Stir in cream and the cheddar and Parmesan cheese.   Add additional salt, if needed, and several grinds of black pepper.

While the grits are cooking, make the shrimp mixture. Set a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add olive oil.  Cook sausage and ham stirring until sausage is cooked through and ham is golden, about 3 minutes.

Transfer sausage and ham to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to skillet and heat until foam subsides. Cook shrimp, garlic and Cajun spice, turning, just until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in sausage and ham.  Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter tomato and scallions.  Toss until tomatoes are wilted.  Add wine and cook down about 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up any brown bits in skillet.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve shrimp mixture over grits.