Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gimme 5 Campaign

If you know me, you know I do not normally promote fundraising within my blog. This is an exception. My friend Cindy is an incredible, positive person. I often complain about managing gluten and dairy-free kids. This is nothing compared to what they have to endure. Read the story below and hopefully you will agree. If you can take a minute to even donate $5.00, that would be a big help:

Did you know that giving a tax-deductible donation as little as $5 can help two energetic boys and their family have some piece of mind in their fight against life-threatening food allergies? Carson (age 6) and Benjamin (3) both live with life threatening food allergies. Benjamin was diagnosed with an anaphylactic
allergy to peanuts and almonds, as well as asthma in November 2011 at only 18 months old. Benjamin also has a dairy allergy as well as a severe gluten intolerance. Benjamin's asthma complied with his life threatening allergies puts him at extremely high risk. Carson was diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to almonds in November 2012 at age 5. Since then our daily lives require emergency medicines in tow at all times. We are never more than an arms length away from the life saving medicine.

Going out to eat as a family has been severely restricted. We currently have two places that we trust. Trips to stores include avoiding isles with peanuts, the bakery and other high risk areas. When we do get invited to birthday parties, it takes multiple conversations with the party planners to ensure there are no nut products to be consumed. As you can see each part of our daily life needs to be mapped out cautiously. It brings a lot of stress an anxiety to precious young boys, who should be carefree.

For the first time these activities are within our reach with the help of an Allergy Alert dog from Angel Service Dogs, Inc. (ASDi) named Gia. An Allergy Alert Dog will add another “defense” against peanuts/almonds that we, as parents, can’t provide. This dog is being trained to sniff out peanuts/peanut oil and almonds/almond oil on items such as a shopping carts, bowling balls, movie theater seats, playgrounds, play areas and common places others would take for granted as being “safe.”

Your donations for Gia will be used to train Gia, fly Carson and Benjamin's family to Colorado to meet Gia, and have an intensive 10-day training. Any funds received in excess will go to ASDi™ and will be used for training other dogs for families in need.
Your donation is tax deductible whether it is $5, $50 or more. You can donate on-line here or your donations can be made via check to:

Angel Service Dogs, Inc.
3815 Highview Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80908

Thank you in advance!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen Review plus waffle recipe!

           Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love

Thank you to Carlyn Berghoff for providing a complimentary copy of her cookbook for my review.

Take a hearty cookbook filled with some fun, family-friendly, mealtime staples (minus the gluten, of course!), mix in a good selection of tips and resources for living with gluten sensitivities, and a healthy dash of some personal storytelling and you’ve got Cooking For Your Gluten-Free Teen.

Chef Carlyn Berghoff, CEO of Berghoff Catering and Restaurant Group in Chicago, didn’t set out to become a figure in the gluten-free community. Yet when her daughter Sarah became sick and was later diagnosed with Celiac disease, Berghoff knew she had to change up her cooking style at home. After hours of experimentation in the kitchen, she ended with some success stories and, consequently, material for a new book.

Divided in two sections—one devoted to the gluten-free lifestyle, the other carved out for Berghoff’s recipes—this colorful resource offers a wealth of support to those new to the gluten-free world and showcases perspective from Berghoff herself, Sarah, and that of Dr. Suzanne P. Nelson who specializes in pediatric gastroenterology and is accustomed to delivering the Celiac diagnosis (and coping recommendations) to teenagers and their families.

Berghoff’s recipes are laid out in a clear, easy-to-follow manner and are sprinkled with some enticing photography throughout. She made a list of the top 30 foods children miss being on a gluten-free diet and has included these in the book. Look for favorites like crispy chicken, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, cupcakes, and more.

I tested a number of recipes in the book and would say my favorite was the hamburger buns; I had never thought to make my own. I fought my desire to use my own recipe and ingredients but decided to use Carlyn’s instead (except I used my gluten-free flour blend). My family was ecstatic. I even went so far as to buy a muffin top pan. The only problem is that the pan holds only 6 buns and there was not instructions on what to do with the rest of the dough. The yield on the recipe says 8 buns but I think you could make about 12. I ended up making rolls in a silicon muffin pan with the extra dough (yum).

In the recipe, it was not clear when the dough was supposed to rise. I proofed the dough, punched it down, portioned it and then let it rise again. I’m not sure if that was the right technique but it worked. Having experience with making bread certainly helps. I just bought a second muffin top pan so I can make 12 at a time. I plan to put the extras in the freezer.

The outside was crisp and the inside very soft and moist; it was not crumbly or dry at all. After cutting them in half, I found it helpful to toast the bun slightly. I would say the only problem is that if I make a lot of these, I might end up getting used to having a bun again!
If you are looking for options for other allergens like dairy or egg-free variations, which can sometimes go hand-in-hand with gluten sensitivities, the substitutions are generic and it doesn’t look like it’s been tested. Also, many of the recipes include dried egg whites which may or may not be available in your supermarket. I didn’t see a substitute for the dried egg whites so I used 1 egg white. I have since bought the ingredient and will be trying some more recipes. I’m curious as to how it will be different.

All in all, I think it’s a great book for those who are cooking for children and teens. Make sure you have the ingredients on hand as well as the equipment. Berghoff also offers lots of tips for substitutions and general cooking.

Check below for Berghoff’s recipe for waffles. For me they came out a little on the moist side because I used egg whites instead of the dried powder but they were consumed quickly. That is how I judge the success of a recipe!


1 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (or flour of choice with xanthan gum in the mix)
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried egg whites (I added 2 egg whites which worked but the waffles were very moist; maybe try just 1 egg white if you don’t  have the powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast
½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons milk (regular or lactose-free) or non-dairy alternative (almond, rice, soy)
1 egg, well beaten
¼ cup canola oil, melted butter, or non-dairy alternative

Butter, pure maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar or Cinnamon Sugar, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, dried egg whites, baking powder, baking soda, yeast and salt. Whisk to mix.

Add the 1¼ cups milk, the egg, and the oil. Using a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed just until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Do not overbeat. Important: Let the batter stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the 2 tablespoons milk and mix until smooth.

Cook on a non-stick waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The recipe makes 4 waffles in an 8-inch diameter pan that makes 7-inch waffles, and the recipe can be doubled.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Barbara's Bakery cereal review and giveaway!

Thank you to Barbara's Bakery for providing complimentary samples for my review.

How could you not love a cereal that’s named after a funny looking bird? Barbara’s Puffins give their consumers a satisfying crunch in a variety of flavors and a fun, fact-filled cereal box to peruse while you’re munching. For example, did you know puffin couples mate for life? Pretty inspiring, right?

Barbara's Bakery has been around since 1971. Most of us probably know of the brand from the cereal aisle, specifically the puffins and the shredded oats. Although many of the cereals don't have gluten ingredients, it was only within the last few years that Barbara's started producing gluten-free cereals made from certified ingredients (e.g. oats). Today, they are producing more than five varieties of gluten-free cereals besides the other cereals. Note: according to the website, the cereals are under 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. For some people, this may not be low enough but for others, it is acceptable.

Puffins are made from oats and corn and are all made without wheat. Two of the Puffins cereals, Honey Rice (this flavor was popular with my kids) and Multigrain Puffins (also a hit) are certified gluten-free. Other Barbara’s cereals that are gluten-free include the Multigrain Honest O’s, Organic Corn Flakes and Brown Rice Crisps. The Brown Rice Crisps are perfect for gluten-free rice crispy treats as most other crispy rice cereals include a malt flavoring which is not gluten-free.

One of the things I really like about Barbara's cereals is that they're high in fiber and low in sugar. Our family favorite, although not certified gluten-free, is the Cinnamon Puffins, which contain nearly half as much sugar as the leading cinnamon flavored cereal.

Interested in winning a box of gluten-free cereal to try? Each of these options is a separate way to enter and the more you do the greater your chances of winning. If you’re already following me through any of these social media outlets just leave me a comment referencing the giveaway. Deadline for entries is Thursday, May 30. Thanks!

How to Enter

1. Follow this blog and leave me a comment to show me you're following it! 
2. Follow me on Twitter @thefamilychef and leave a comment to indicate that you're a follower.
3.“Like” The Family Chef on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you've liked the page.
4. Link to this giveaway through Facebook and leave a comment on my Facebook to let me know!
5. Link to this giveaway on Twitter and leave a comment on my Twitter page to let me know.
6. Leave a comment on this blog post about what you enjoy most about being gluten-free.
7. Sign up to receive posts via email and leave a comment saying you’ve signed up.

While you're at it, checkout Barbara's Bakery on their Facebook and Twitter pages!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Real Simple Delicious Soup Review

 Thank you to Real Simple Delicious for providing product samples for my review.

When you’re craving a nice, comforting bowl of soup but aren’t prepared to make it from scratch, there are other options besides resorting to a can. One refreshing example is the Real Simple Delicious line of soups from Cook! These tasty, gluten and dairy-free blends come in the refrigerated section of select grocery stores but can be frozen for longer shelf life.  Flavors include Thai Green Curry, All Bean Chili, Zucchini, Red Lentil, French Onion, Carrot Ginger and Azteca Veggie.

The company—launched in the San Francisco Bay Area just a few years ago—operates under the philosophy that quality and convenience can go hand in hand.

The soups are perfect for those hectic nights when you’re scrounging for a quick dinner the whole family can enjoy. The soup also works well as a base for larger meals. I served the Thai Green Curry soup over chicken and rice and it turned out great (see photo below). The curry wasn’t too spicy (my husband wanted more spice but I thought it worked well) but do be aware that there is tofu in this particular soup in case you are allergic to soy.

The Azteca Veggie, was a tasty blend of carrots, onion, corn and tomato with a nice addition of summer-y squash. The soup ran a bit on the salty side but had a nice flavor.

The zucchini soup was also surprisingly flavorful as I was not expecting such complexity from just garlic, onions and a touch of mild chile. I would definitely get this one again and consider it family friendly. I had some leftover pasta so I added that to mix and it worked well. You could put almost anything in it. It was very tasty.

With special emphasis on avoiding toxins and allergens in our diets, Cook! delivers meal plans and ready to eat dishes to households nationwide.  The soups, however, are available at various health food stores including Whole Foods, Real Food Company and Rainbow Grocery (see website for complete list).

Real Simple Delicious will be changing their name to Nona Lim. Get the story here. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Either way, it's easy, fresh, tasty, and healthy… the soup’s on!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gluten-Free Dishcrawl in San Francisco kicks off celiac awareness month

May is celiac disease awareness month. To kick it off, raise money and awareness, and ok, have some fun in the process, I joined forces with Pica Pica Maize kitchen (my favorite 100% gluten-free restaurant) and Dishcrawl SF to organize a gluten-free dinner crawl through San Francisco's Mission District. Find Me Gluten-Free, a free app for iPhone and android phones, also helped to sponsor the event by making a donation to The Taylor Family Foundation. Part of the proceeds from the event are also being donated to the foundation.

The group met at Grub restaurant which is located at 758 Valencia Street. Grub has been open for over 2 years and specializes in upscale comfort food. They are well known for their macaroni and cheese but what I didn't know is that they offer a gluten-free version! The chef makes a special cheese sauce and the pasta is cooked in its own pot. It was a big hit. They also served a delicious salad as well as brown sugar coated kale chips. These were just slightly sweet; a great appetizer.

Once we were done with the first restaurant, we made our way over to Osha Thai at 819 Valencia where everyone had a seat on some very unusual chairs! The group was treated to an assortment of wonderful Thai food including green papaya salad, lemongrass chicken, stir-fry veggies with tofu and jasmine rice (oh, soo good!). The manager talked about the story of Osha Thai and how it was started by two women. There are 7 locations in San Francisco. The focus is fresh food with wonderful ingredients. We made sure the dishes were free of soy sauce (watch out for that in Pad Thai) and MSG (in case anyone was sensitive to that). The environment was lively and fun.

Lastly, we "crawled" down to Pica Pica Maize Kitchen. They served a "little bit of everything" plate; a mini arepa, yucca fries, plantain and taro chips with their version of guacamole. We heard from the CEO, Tom, about how Pica Pica came about and what they are doing moving forward. If you haven't had a chance, they just opened their third location in the Castro. I'll be heading there soon!

Also in attendance was Kim Rice from GFCF Living. Besides being a friend and fellow blogger, Kim has been very supportive of me, attending events and cooking classes. That is me with her in the black. Since I was running around making sure everyone was happy, I forgot to take a lot of food photos. Check her blog for her article and more photos. Although I don't have any pictures, I also really appreciate the support of Gluten-Free Grocery located at 234 Townsend Street in San Francisco. I was happy to see owner Topher Delaney there attending the event. They are another group that is so important for the gluten-free community.

Pica Pica was the perfect place to end the evening. We were then treated to amazing gluten-free and dairy-free treats from Zest Bakery, another one of my favorite gluten-free establishments in the bay area.  Justine brought us some amazing coconut cake and brownies which were the perfect ending. Thank you very much to Justine and Zest for providing the dessert. You know I love you guys.

Lastly, I have to thank my amazing co-organizers, Adriana Lopez Vermut of Pica Pica and Kristin Wyke (see below) of Dishcrawl. If it had not been for these lovely ladies, this event would not have happened. I had the initial idea but they were the ones who executed. I think the consensus was that the event was a huge success and the first of (many?) gluten-free dishcrawls. Thank you everyone!