Questions on Gluten-Free Freezer Cooking Answered

Mary Beth Lagerborg, one of the authors of “Once-A-Month-Cooking: Family Favorites, has been kind enough to answer some questions that I had regarding the gluten-free meals in her newest book.  Here are the responses from that interview:

Q:  Mary Beth, what inspired you to include a gluten-free section in your latest book?

A: We have been asked many times over the years to include menu cycles for special diets. This is the one that really seemed to make sense, given the growing number of children and adults with gluten-intolerance.

Q:  What research have you done on your recipes to ensure that they are gluten-free?  What is your training in this area?

A: We composed the gluten-free cycle and then sent it to two consultants to help us adapt the recipes to be gluten-free. When the menu cycle was completed, we then had it tested by two women who are gluten-intolerant.

Q: Are the recipes that you’ve included “brand new” recipes or adaptations of “old favorites”?

A: Most are adaptations of “old favorites.”

Q: Are the recipes formatted to mix flours, Xanthum gum, etc. or are they more “simple” in their approach?

A: As I recall only one of the recipes calls for flour, and we used rice flour.

Q: Do the gluten-free recipes freeze as well as the “regular” recipes?  Are there special preparations that need to be made to keep the integrity and flavor of the gluten-free items? The gluten-free recipes freeze every bit as will as the “regular” recipes. We made no special provisions for freezing them.

Q: Have you had people with Celiac or gluten-intolerance taste-test the recipes?  What was their response?

A: Yes, and they were pleased with them. Our goal was to find recipes that both the gluten-intolerant and other family members would enjoy, so that the family could eat the same meal together.

Q: Can you give us a sample of one of the recipes (and perhaps a photo) to entice us?

A: Yes! The Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup recipe was created by consultant Lori Baird, who gives classes on eating gluten-free at Whole Foods Market.

cookbookcover

Q:  Do you plan on including gluten-free cycles in future books…or perhaps doing a strictly gluten-free book?

A: It is very likely we would continue to offer a gluten-free cycle in each future book.

Q:  When and where can we purchase this book?

A: Both Once-A-Month Cooking and the new Once-A-Month Family Favorites are widely available in bookstores and on Amazon. Currently they are available in Sam’s Club and COSTCO.

Marybeth, thank you so much for your time–and for being sensitive to the needs of the gluten-intolerant!  We’ve had a great time learning about your book this week!

Readers–Don’t wait to sign up for the drawing for a copy of this great book!  I will be posting the winner on Monday, so follow the instructions to enter!

Gluten-Free Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup

I’m so pleased to share a recipe with you today from the “Once-A-Month-Cooking: Family Favorites” book that we are giving away!  The allergy consultant for this book was Lori Baird from Eating Allergy Free.  Lori has Celiac, in addition to a host of other food allergies.  Lori demonstrates how easy this recipe is in the video below.

Here is the recipe for this amazing soup:

VEGAN CREAMY TOMATO SOUP               * Serves 4 in 45 minutes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 14.5 oz. can unsalted white beans, rinse and drain
1/4 cup onion, ,finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried tarragon crushed
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 14.5 oz. cans unsalted, diced tomatoes, undrained

Tip: If you do not have lemon on hand, use 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar or rice vinegar.

HEAT oil in large stock pot on medium high heat.

SAUTE onion with 1/8 teaspoon of salt until tender, but not brown; for 1-2 minutes.

STIR in garlic.

ADD carrots.  Sauté vegetables until tender for 1-2 minutes; stirring occasionally.

STIR in tomatoes, beans, and tarragon; bring to boil.

TURN heat to low and simmer for ½ hour; stirring occasionally.

ADD lemon juice, zest, cracked black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

PUREE until smooth.

ENJOY soup hot or cold!

Serving suggestions: Try this with a pinch of cayenne and stir in some fresh finely chopped spinach or watercress before serving.

This recipe is free from: Gluten  Wheat  Lactose  Casein  Dairy  Soy  Yeast  Corn  Egg  Nuts  Seafood and  Shellfish.  Also is low in sodium and no add sugar.

Interview on Gluten-Free Cycle with Once-A-Month-Cooking Author, Mary Beth

I recently had an opportunity to interview Mary Beth Lagerborg, one of the authors of “Once-A-Month-Cooking: Family Favorites” regarding the gluten-free section of her latest cookbook.  This is part one of the interview; I will post the rest, along with a free recipe from this book, later this week!

Q:  Mary Beth, what inspired you to include a gluten-free section in your latest book?

A: We have been asked many times over the years to include menu cycles for special diets. This is the one that really seemed to make sense, given the growing number of children and adults with gluten-intolerance.

Q:  What research have you done on your recipes to ensure that they are gluten-free?  What is your training in this area?

A: We composed the gluten-free cycle and then sent it to two consultants to help us adapt the recipes to be gluten-free. When the menu cycle was completed, we then had it tested by two women who are gluten-intolerant.

Q: Are the recipes that you’ve included “brand new” recipes or adaptations of “old favorites”?

A: Most are adaptations of “old favorites.”

Q: Are the recipes formatted to mix flours, Xanthum gum, etc. or are they more “simple” in their approach?

A: As I recall only one of the recipes calls for flour, and we used rice flour.

Q: Do the gluten-free recipes freeze as well as the “regular” recipes?  Are there special preparations that need to be made to keep the integrity and flavor of the gluten-free items?

A: The gluten-free recipes freeze every bit as will as the “regular” recipes. We made no special provisions for freezing them.

Q: Have you had people with Celiac or gluten-intolerance taste-test the recipes?  What was their response?

Yes, and they were pleased with them. Our goal was to find recipes that both the gluten-intolerant and other family members would enjoy, so that the family could eat the same meal together.

Thank you, Mary Beth!  I can honestly say that the meal I made already from this book was really, really good!  I can’t wait to try the others!  Readers, be sure to sign up for our mailing list (top of right sidebar) for your opportunity to win a copy of this book!  The winner will be posted next week, so be sure to sign up by Friday night!  Extra points for tweeting (use @kimsmith in the tweet), sharing with other social networks, etc.  If you help spread the word, leave me a comment and let me know!

I should also mention that you can sign-up at www.glutenfreehomemaker.com to win a copy of this book, as Linda is also giving away one copy to a lucky reader!

Interview with Once-A-Month-Cooking Authors

Meet the authors:authorphoto

Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson’s original bestseller Once-a-Month Cooking™ started the bulk freezer cooking phenomenon from recipes made for their own families. Both live in Colorado and continue to share a passion to help today’s cooks save time and money while building family relationships over delicious meals.

Mary Beth is the creator of the website dwellingspace.com, providing tools on creating a home full of acceptance and creativity. She is also the former media director for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). Mimi travels extensively to regions like Jordan, Ecuador, and Rwanda, and teaches Once-a-Month Cooking principles and benefits internationally.

Find out more at the official Once-a-Month Cooking website, or join our bulk freezer cooking discussion on facebook.

The following is an interview with the authors, but it is a “general” interview, not gluten-free specific.  The interview more specific to the gluten-free aspect of this cookbook will follow later this week, so stay tuned!

You were the first to publish a book about bulk freezer cooking, and many others have come after you. How did you think of this concept—and what made you feel it would work for so many women?

Mary Beth: Mimi developed this method at a time when we were writing articles together. She wanted me to call The Denver Post to see if they wanted us to write an article about it. I thought Mimi was crazy, and asked her to call. When the paper sent a reporter and photographer to her home within a week to do a food feature, we knew we were on to something. We’ve found over the years that Mimi’s three reasons for creating the strategy—to save time, money, and make possible good times at the table —resonate with most families.

Mimi: As a mother of three young children, I wanted to streamline my life without taking away from the things I loved. At the time, I was working with Hmong refugees in Denver, trying to sell their handwork.

I studied my days by writing down how I spent my time in 15-minute increments. And I found I was wasting the most time in the kitchen. I remember the day I decided I would cook until I ran out of the food I had on hand. I put all the dishes I had prepared on the dining room table. When I counted 30 meals I was ecstatic, because I knew I didn’t have to cook dinner again for a month. Every month for the next year I used the method, once for me and once with a friend, so I was able to perfect it. If someone was having a baby, I’d say “You buy these groceries, and I’ll prepare you a month’s meals.”  It became the gift I gave my friends.

What are your top three favorite recipes in the new Once-a-Month Cookbook Family Favorites—and why?

Mary Beth:

  1. Country-Style Ribs (This slow cooker entrée provides great aroma-therapy!)
  2. Corn Soup with Basil, Avocado, and Crab (This delicious soup proves that frozen entrees can be both elegant and delicious.)
  3. Penne in Cream Sauce with Sausage (My son Drew keeps asking me when we’ll have this one.)

Mimi:

  1. Lemon Chicken (It’s so fast and tasty! Great for unexpected guests; it can be on the table in ten minutes.)
  2. Uptown Joes (Great for picnics or ballgames in wide-mouth thermos.)
  3. Beef Pot Roast (I love this one for its smell. There’s nothing like coming into a house that smells good.)

What wisdom could you offer to the busy woman who has never tried this method?

Mimi: Even preparing two of any entrée at one time will show you how much time this technique can save! In the beginning, try this technique with a friend who can help you with the many tasks, even just answering the door, the phone, taking care of the kids, and making sure the ingredients are ready. The first time you try this, I’d recommend trying the free, downloadable one-week cycle from our website once-a-monthcooking.com or a two-week cycle from the book to get used to cooking in bulk. And don’t try to shop and cook on the same day if possible, to conserve your energy.

You say that anyone with a side freezer can implement the Once-a-Month Cooking plan—how do you make it work?

Mary Beth: I’ve frozen even the month’s-worth of entrees without a separate freezer. But I have to clean out the freezer before my cooking day, and I freeze most entrees in plastic bags, which can be squished flat or wedged into corners.

Beyond the obvious rewards of reducing food prep time, hassle, and grocery bills, what are you hoping Once-a-Month Cooking Family Favorites will do for busy families?

Mary Beth: My hope is that this technique will make it possible for families to spend more meals together around a table. The family dinner is a simple concept with profound, measureable advantages for children and parents. We relinquish it too easily to busy schedules. I want other families to discover that a warm meal and good conversation are simple, valuable gifts that anyone would enjoy. Mimi: and I truly believe there isn’t any other family activity that is more meaningful or productive.

If you haven’t entered the contest yet to win a copy of this book, it’s not too late!  Just sign up for our mailing list (look to the top, right sided of this page).  You can get extra entries by also following the instructions listed in this post.  Please be sure to tell your network of connections about this contest!  Let everyone know, so maybe we can spread awareness about Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance.  The more people that know, the better off we will all be!

Cookbook Contest! Enter to Win!

cookbookcoverThe contest is officially open!  Only one rule to enter!

Sign up for this website’s email list (top, right) to receive periodic updates, news, and tips about living the gluten-free lifestyle.  The winner will be chosen from all those who sign up!

Extra points for tweeting, blogging, stumbling, or posting about this contest on the social networks.  Be sure to use @kimsmith in your tweets, so I see it.  Other social shout-outs, leave in the comments below.  Extra points, also, for joining our facebook group or promoting it to your friends.

As you can see, we want to spread the word!  🙂  The more people who know about the gluten-free cooking cycle in this book, the more people that might be helped by it.  I am so excited about all the mainstream awareness of Celiac and gluten intolerance that has come about in the past few months!

BBQ RoastI have to tell you, I cooked one of the recipes in this cookbook yesterday and it was really good!  It was the BBQ Roast.  Preparing it was simple.  I didn’t get to freeze it, but I did marinate it for about two days before cooking it.  It was delicious.  I cooked it as directed, using the broiler option instead of the grill…I bet it would be even better in the crock pot…hmm…maybe next time!  I’m just thinking that it would soak up more of the marinade while it cooks that way.  Try not to drool on your keyboard.  🙂

Win a Once-A-Month Cookbook!

cookbookcoverI am so excited to tell you about this new book, “Once-A-Month Cooking: Family Favorites“!  I’ve always loved the idea behind the “once-a-month” cooking and have put it into practice in a minimalist form over the years.  So, why is this cookbook so special?  It has a 2-week GLUTEN-FREE cycle of meals!  How amazing is that?

I’m super excited to let you know that I’ll be blogging all week about this book, sharing interviews with the authors, recipes, and reviews.  I’ve already tried one of the recipes and was very impressed (more on that later!).  [NOTE:  Not all of the recipes are gluten-free, but you can always make substitutions…as I’m sure you probably already do!]

In the meantime, if you would like to win a copy of this awesome, hot-off-the-press book (published September 1, 2009), sign up for this website’s email news list (top, right column).  I will be selecting one winner from the list subscribers next week!  I may even send out some bonuses…we’ll just have to see!  🙂

Please leave your questions and comments below and let me know if you’ve used the OAMC method before and how you liked it!  Can’t wait to hear your comments!

October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month

This has been valid since 2007 in Michigan, but many other states have also followed suit.  I thought it might be a good reminder to everyone to spread the word.  Sharing the month with Breast Cancer Awareness, Celiac kind of gets left in the background, but you can help spread the word!

Here is the original legislation, as written on the official Michigan Government website:

Whereas, Celiac Disease, also known as Celiac Sprue, is an inherited auto-immune disorder that affects as many as one in every 130 Americans, or approximately 67,000 Michiganians, of which only 13,000 are currently diagnosed; and,

Whereas, Celiac Disease, a reaction to the ingestion of protein fractions found in wheat, barley, rye, oats and their derivatives, damages the lining of the small intestine preventing the proper absorption of nutrients into the body; and,

Whereas, Some of the symptoms of Celiac Disease include chronic ill health, infertility, fatigue, anemia, gastrointestinal distress, other auto-immune diseases, increased risk of malignancy, and osteoporosis; and,

Whereas, The disease was first described in the second century as wasting disease, and the factors of it were not described in medical records until the 20th century; and,

Whereas, In the past, Celiac Disease was a diagnostic puzzle as it covers a wide spectrum of physical, neurological, and immunological conditions that mimic many other diseases, but it can now be easily diagnosed with a blood test; and,

Whereas, The Celiac Sprue Association/USA and its more than 100 affiliate support groups have made tremendous strides in reducing health care costs and patient suffering by raising public awareness and striving for early diagnosis; and now therefore be it

Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, Governor of the State of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 2007 as Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

Recommended Reading

I’ve been involved with the online business networking group, Mom Masterminds for some time.  One of the things that they do is teach others successful business practices in using blogging as a tool to increase website traffic.  In some cases, this is done using interns on already established websites.  How does this relate to Celiac and eating gluten free?  I’m glad you asked!

One of the websites that is involved in this process is Family Foodies and the intern on this project, Brenda Wilkey, will be blogging about gluten-free living for the next several weeks!  She’s already posted some great items that you should check out!  Here are a few recent links:

Great job, Brenda!  Keep up the fantastic work!

Connect on Facebook!

Celiac Support Network of Barry County

Promote Your Page Too

Change of Meeting Date

Our group will be meeting on Monday, September 14 this month, instead of the normal “3rd Monday”.

Please bring a recipe that you would like to convert to be gluten-free and we will work on the recipes together. We’ll send out the newly-converted recipes via email list after the meeting, so be sure to sign up to the right, if you haven’t already!

Hope to see you all there! Melia’s bringing treats! Yummy!