Favorite Christmas Food Memories from the Staff at GLUTEN FREE ANGELS:
Chloe "Every year on Christmas Eve, my parents and I make a big batch of Swedish meatballs. This is my favorite holiday tradition."
Becky "My favorite holiday food memory is the first year I took over baking all my grandma's holiday goodies. Peanut butter fudge, snickerdoodles, and divinity were her favorites. I was the only one to get her recipes. It will forever be our secret. I think my grandma would be happy I'm sharing them with all of you!"
Jeanette "Every year at Christmas time my family all comes together to celebrate. The catch is we celebrate a Harry Potter Christmas theme. My whole family gathers in the kitchen to make Harry Potter treats, including butter beer, chocolate frogs, and other delicious foods."
Ron "Walking into my grandmother's kitchen on Christmas day and enjoying the mix of savory and sweet smells that filled it."
Christie "My fondest food memories come from a collection of customer interactions from seeing satisfied looks on the faces of customers who can enjoy eating again. Seeing people experience that kind of joy and happiness - knowing that they can eat foods that we carry despite being gluten intolerant or celiac, those memories are very special for me!"
Courtney "I've always enjoyed cooking the holiday meal, but my favorite is figuring out how to use up leftovers in new and delicious ways. So many fun ways to use turkey and ham! We always cook enough to eat for a week."
"To Stuff or Not to Stuff: That is the Question?" Thursday, November 16, 2017
Turkey and stuffing! They are the marquee entrees on the Thanksgiving meal menu. It is these two dishes that garner the most requests from family members and relatives on how they are to be prepared. One of the most common sources of contention at this holiday gathering is this: Should the stuffing be cooked inside or outside the turkey?
Cooking stuffing outside the turkey has in recent years been considered the safest and best way. Without the large turkey cavity empty, air circulation in and around the bird improves, allowing it to cook faster and more evenly.
Kathy Bernard, the Technical Information Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has said that when you remove stuffing that isn't fully cooked from a fully-cooked bird you risk cross-contamination. The current recommendation from the FSIS for stuffed turkeys is to cook them until the stuffing is 165°F no matter how overcooked the rest of the turkey may become. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing will not have reached that all-important safe temperature. Stick your thermometer into the middle of the stuffing and you'll see for yourself.
It is also recommended to not stuff the bird until right before it goes in the oven. It may save you time on turkey day, but stuffing the bird ahead of time creates an optimal environment for bacteria to flourish: The moist stuffing, likely warm from the cooked veggies and stock, will sit in the fridge for hours before it gets below the "danger zone"-the range of temperatures in which bacteria can grow. This allows any bacteria present, already thriving in moist conditions, to multiply like crazy. Plus, once the turkey goes into the oven, the stuffing, now cold from the fridge, will take quite a while to heat up, again spending hours in the danger zone.
To Stuff or Not to Stuff?-> Here is What "Our Angels" at Gluten Free Angels Say
Chloe "I cook it separately because I make a vegetarian stuffing for some of my friends and family."
Becky "I cook it separately because I was raised with doing it that way and I prefer it like that."
Ron "I like it in the bird, but precooked, the Alton Brown method, to absorb all the tasty juices."
Christie "I like my stuffing traditional with half a can of whole cranberries added to it. I prefer outside of the bird. Firm and moist. I love our Gluten Free stuffing!"
Courtney "I like my stuffing cooked in a separate dish so that it gets a little crunchy on top, but still moist inside. Growing up it was always boxed. But I like getting creative with it now."
VIDEO - Cook STUFFING in Turkey the RIGHT WAY! Watch this VIDEO from the Food Network that instructs you on how to properly cook stuffing in your turkey so it is safe and healthy!
"Our Favorite Desserts at Gluten Free Angels" (October is National Dessert Month) Tuesday, October 26, 2017
"There is no better way to bring people together than with desserts." ~~ Gail Simmons
"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!" ~~ Charles Schulz
So just where did the concept of desserts come from?
Desserts appeared to have originated from the custom of removing the aftertaste of a meal with a sweet taste, as desserts leave a mouth sweet-tasting and revitalized.
We know that sweets were fed to the gods in ancient Mesopotamia and India and other ancient civilizations. Dried fruit and honey were reportedly the first sweeteners used in most of the world, but the spread of sugarcane around the world was essential to the development of dessert.
Like you, we appreciate and even love our desserts! We don't know what we would do without them. And thanks to Gluten Free Angels, those of us who are gluten intolerant and struggle with food allergies can now enjoy equal opportunity access to our favorite delectable dessert dishes and baked goods!
As you probably know and appreciate, Gluten Free Angels specializes in creating Heavenly baked goods like gluten free muffins, pies, cakes, breads, cupcakes, scones, and cookies. Who says that desserts cannot be incredibly yummy and still be safe and good for our health!
So now our staff employees at Gluten Free Angels share with you - our wonderful customers and website visitors, our FAVORITE DESSERTS!
We hope our passion for desserts and for all things sweet inspires you to visit Gluten Free Angels so you too can indulge your sweet tooth and be liberated from the fear and stigma that all too often comes with being gluten intolerant!
And for those of you who are not gluten intolerant, we extend a warm invitation to you, as well. Just see if our decadent desserts don't rival your favorite (conventionally produced) desserts!
Gluten Free Angels -> "Our Favorite Desserts!"
Becky - Monster Cookies "These cookies are creative and fun to make and the kids like them a lot!
I like to make treats that bring the kids to Gluten Free Angels!"
Chloe - Cupcakes and Cakes "Cupcakes are my favorite dessert because I really like to decorate them!
It's easy to make cupcakes and cakes too in different flavors and they are easy to experiment with. I've always liked the creative part of making cupcakes.
Lemon cupcakes are my favorite."
Ron - Lemon Meringue Pie "I still remember as a kid my mom would bring home a half dozen or so pies and store them in the freezer. So when I would come home from school I would take slices off the bottoms of the pie containers and then hide the empty pie boxes in the attic so she wouldn't find them in the garbage.
I love all things lemon because they're sweet and tart."
Courtney - Brownies "I like brownies because they are chocolatey, soft, and squishy.
I like to bake them and I like to eat them with ice cream and chocolate syrup."
Jeanette - Lemon Bars "I really like lemon bars because they have the perfect amount of sweet and tart."
Christie "I choose to be gluten free and because I do have choices in what I can eat I am not going to put anything out at Gluten Free Angels that I don't love to eat and that doesn't taste delicious."
Christie's Inspiration for Creating Gluten Free Angels Monday, June 19, 2017
Take a pinch of ingenuity, add a dash of experimentation, stir in those all-important key ingredients- passion and research, mix in creative culinary exploits, and toss in a few chance encounters - including one with an adorable gluten intolerant child, and you have it - the creation of Gluten Free Angels!
Read in Christie's own words how she came about her very personal inspiration for starting our favorite gluten free café in Bellingham!
Why Is Gluten Free More Expensive & Can I Afford It? Monday, May 1, 2017
Is eating healthier/gluten free sometimes more expensive? Yes, it can be. But there are two aspects to consider. Is it worth it? You have to be the judge of that. Although many would say it is considering how dangerous and unhealthy food allergens and gluten can be to our bodies. Another question to think about. Can I take steps to lower my food bill so I can afford to eat gluten free? Absolutely!
Let's first look at why a gluten free diet tends to be more expensive. It's helpful to know what goes into the making of gluten free foods that can cause them to be pricier than mainstream, mass produced foods. At Gluten Free Angels, for instance, we take pride in developing our own gluten free flour blends so you enjoy ideal taste seasoned with the right texture, exceptional flavor and packed with complete nutrition! That means every food item we make is handmade and contains fresh, natural ingredients. In order to meet the specific and unique dietary needs of our customers, we frequently make custom, small batches of bakery goods, desserts, and breads. This translates into more food prep expenses and sometimes intensive labor costs.
We have also found over the years that there is "trial and error" involved in preparing gluten free fare. It is often one part science, one part art. And it is not an exact science! This means we use a lot more ingredients in order to perfect our gluten free foods-ensuring good food health for you while meeting strict food safety guidelines.
Another cost to consider is gluten free grain production. Gluten free grains are more expensive to procure primarily because of the rigorous and frequent quality control tests mandated by the U.S. Government - to ensure that all grains are indeed gluten free before they reach establishments like Gluten Free Angels. The Government requires grains to be rigorously tested (pass-or-fail evaluation) at three stages - when they come into a manufacturing plant, again when they are processed, and yet again when they are being bagged. The FDA legal standard calls for 20 parts per million, meaning that during each of these exhaustive tests gluten must be detected in fewer than 20 grains out of every 1 million grains examined at once. Some gluten free companies adhere to an even lower 5-parts-per-million requirement.
These stringent tests are done according to Celiac standards - ensuring that the more than 3 million Americans with Celiac Disease do not have their health endangered from possible gluten contaminated food. It is a very painstaking and time-intensive quality control process, which drives up the costs of gluten free ingredients! But it is worth it because these strict measures serve to protect and safeguard you - our customer!
More costs on our end come from procuring oats - which are naturally gluten free. We must buy oats from facilities where no wheat is grown or processed. Oats are mainly grown in the same areas as wheat or at plants that also process wheat. This means we must obtain oats produced in facilities where no wheat is grown or processed to eliminate cross-contamination risk- ensuring the safety of our customers. This increases our price for purchasing oats.
When all is said and done, we like to think that the modestly higher prices you contend with is a small "price" to pay for food that is really good and really good for you!
Tips For Cutting Costs On A Gluten Free Diet
One of the best ways is to cook or bake as much from scratch as possible. This greatly reduces the costs associated with packaging, as well as the expense of multiple levels of commercial food preparation. Another benefit of cooking from scratch is you can cater to your individual preferences, such as egg free, sugar free, soy free, etc.
Menu planning is a huge money saver! You'll be less likely to opt for fast food or dine out if your meals are planned. Planning a month in advance will help you use your groceries efficiently by reducing both waste and expensive dashes to the supermarket for last-minute items. Keep variety in mind, too. Include items from different food groups and foods that are various textures, shapes, colors and temperatures. Make it fun!
Buying seasonal is a smart way to save money! Consider the difference in purchasing fruits like strawberries or blueberries during the summer when they're in season compared to the winter from the frozen section. You're talking at least a $5 to $10 difference in price.
Freezing Meals will help keep your food spending down. Take one day each weekend cooking meals that you will freeze and reheat at least a few nights each week. After you master this process you can extend your prep to create enough meals for two weeks and eventually a month.
Consider using whole ingredients. The biggest expense in a gluten-free diet is the cost of specially processed foods. Fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, beans, rice, quinoa and corn are naturally gluten-free, are healthier and cheaper than processed foods, and help you avoid products with hidden gluten.
Save On Your Food Bill at Gluten Free Angels! - Pre-order in bulk from your favorite Angel at Gluten Free Angels and receive a price break - get a 10% discount when your purchase includes 12 or more of ANY food item!
NEXT BLOG TOPIC: Meet the Angels at Gluten Free Angels!
Is A Gluten Free Diet Right For You? Monday, March 20, 2017
If you're reading this blog, chances are that you already know that Gluten Free Angels provides support and hope for people, who, for one reason or another, cannot consume gluten. If you have celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, or you have a wheat allergy, you know all too well how important it is too avoid gluten.
But what if you have not yet adopted a gluten free diet or even tried gluten free food? Perhaps you've enjoyed some of our Gluten Free Angels cuisine and you liked it but you're not sure if you want to go entirely gluten free? Is there enough variety in a gluten free regime? Will you be missing important nutrients? Will you enjoy food as much when it's gluten free? Would being gluten free align with your food preferences and fit into your personal lifestyle?
First, it might be helpful to know that gluten itself does not offer special nutritional benefits. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and in the U.S. oats because of their frequent processing with wheat. Gluten is responsible for the way dough is able to rise when you put yeast in it.
Yes, a gluten-free diet can be a healthy and satisfying way to eat, but a lot of that depends on your food choices.
Be sure to ask yourself these four questions when considering a gluten free diet:
Are you choosing whole grains most of the time?
How balanced is your diet?
Do you drink alcohol?
Does your diet have enough variety?
Simply put, whether a gluten-free diet is healthy depends on which gluten-free foods you choose, how often you eat them and whether your other food choices are healthy ones. Eating a healthy gluten-free diet means paying constant attention to what you eat. This isn't something that you should do casually.
The basis of a healthy gluten-free diet, as with any diet, should be natural foods. Lean meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products are all safe, for example, for people with celiac disease. The best gluten-free diet is one that contains foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meats. Grains that don't contain gluten, such as quinoa and amaranth, are another healthy option. More and more products are being made with such grains, from breads and breakfast cereals to pastas.
Gluten-free whole grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, millet, corn and rice, are all good sources of protein, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and iron.
At the same time, be aware that you should avoid replacing gluten-containing foods with more red meat, full-fat dairy, starchy vegetables, sweets and fats, which can lead to a higher intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and unwanted calories.
Take comfort in knowing that a healthy diet really doesn't need to change much when you give up gluten.
In other words, be assured that you can get all the nutrition you need from eating foods that are free of gluten.
And visiting Gluten Free Angels would be a perfect place to begin your new gluten free lifestyle!
NEXT BLOG TOPIC: Costs and Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet?
Are You Hungry For A Conversation About What Gluten Free Really Means? Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017
Welcome to the first installment of our Gluten Free Blog! We are glad you stopped by to view what will be the first of monthly blog posts that are intended to enlighten, educate, entertain, and, we hope, inspire you in the area of healthy, safe, and enjoyable eating!
As Gluten Free Angels is committed to quality, choice, and safety in concert with a gluten-free lifestyle, our Gluten Free Angels News Blog will showcase a wide assortment of food-related topics - often from a personal perspective. This blog will address various aspects of healthy, enjoyable eating - from the merits and benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle, debunking myths about gluten free foods, ways to pursue a healthy lifestyle, latest trends and developments having to do with what Americans are eating, tips on how to make healthy and delicious dishes, suggestions on how to address food allergies, recommendations on how to find foods made with healthy, all-natural ingredients, and much more. Of course, we'll also look at the practical, real-life ways that you can go gluten free and for the right reasons!
Because we want to give you a first-hand, personal look at how we do things at Gluten Free Angels, we will periodically share stories - through words and pictures, on our unique perspectives for why we work at Gluten Free Angels. You'll have a first-hand look at the potential health benefits of gluten free foods - from baked goods, to hot dishes, sandwiches and desserts. We'll also offer you recipes and tips for how to integrate a gluten free routine into your life in ways that are simple and practical.
You can count on reading about topics that are bound to be relevant and useful to your every-day lives! Our goal at Gluten Free Angels is to create simple, fun, and healthy eating choices and options that enhance the quality of your life! So, we want this blog to be, in part, a platform for sharing best practices when it comes to creative ideas and practical steps toward healthier, more enjoyable eating!
We also want to hear from you - our customers and visitors to our website! Because we value your input and ideas, we will often feature your experiences and reflections as they pertain to such topics as learning about unique culinary creations, adopting alternative eating habits, adhering to healthy eating in general, and examining the real-life impacts of consuming gluten free fare. Think of this blog as a stimulating, exciting conversation that reflects shared, mutual interests!
Let the conversation begin!
NEXT BLOG TOPIC: Is a Gluten Free Lifestyle Right For You?