Gluten Free Crepes

Breakfast for dinner, in our non-gluten-free days that was a common Sunday night dinner option for us which usually meant waffles and occasionally crepes. After about a two-year hiatus we enjoyed eating crepes for the first time since my son’s diagnosis this past Sunday night. We also tried out a new gluten free flour option by Pillsbury which we picked up at Costco for $7.69 for 4 lbs.

Oh it was fun and tasty to have crepes as an option again!

I used the recipe right out of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for crepes swapping cup-for-cup the Pillsbury Gluten Free flour for the flour called for in the recipe. The results were tasty. We also like to dress our crepes with lemon juice and sugar and this time we also added slightly-salted cashew pieces that we pick up at Trader Joe’s.

Here is the recipe for crepes which is double the recipe in the cookbook:
Yield: About 18- 20 crepes
Ingredients:
3 cups milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Pillsbury Gluten Free flour

Instructions:
Beat with an electric beater the milk and eggs and salt slowly adding the flour until all is mixed in one bowl. Heat a lightly greased 6 inch skillet. Remove skillet from heat and pour two large (serving) spoonfuls of batter into pan.

Lift and tilt skillet to spread batter to cover entire bottom of pan. Return to heat and cook crepe on one side only until bubbly all over and the edges brown and crisp up. Remove from pan with a spatula and place in a toaster oven to keep warm. Place parchment paper on rack if toaster is also used for gluten-containing items. Repeat with remaining batter lightly greasing pan as necessary. It can take 30 – 40 mins to cook all the batter so plan time accordingly.

Dress crepes with your favorite pancake toppings like syrup or fruit. You must try them with lemon juice, sugar and cashews and then roll-up the crepe to eat.

HVP and MSG

“You need to avoid HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) as its source is wheat, unless otherwise noted. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is not wheat based and is not critical to avoid for Celiac disease.”  This statement began our on-going discussion about foods to avoid with our son’s Pediatric Gastroenterologist.

I will not pretend to be an expert on these two additives but I will be a parrot repeating what we learned from the discussion. We are now alerted to watching for the occurrence of HVP or (Hydrolyzed Vegetable  Protein) on food labels. Generally we have found that the words, “Contains Wheat” appear on labels where the presence of wheat can be found either directly (as in the ingredient list) or indirectly (as a source for an additive). However we will pay more attention to labels and also look for HVP.

In doing a little searching on the internet I have found that there appears to be some misinformation (shocking I know) regarding MSG (monosodium glutamate), HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) and the Celiac diet. Our son’s specialist has stated over and over that MSG (even though the phrase “glut” appears in the name) is not a problem for Celiac sufferers because it is not derived from wheat. The specialist emphasized that HVP and MSG are NOT the same products as they are derived from different sources.

What I can determine is that HVP and MSG are both used as flavor enhancers and can be added artificially to foods and are also found to be naturally occurring in some foods. MSG seems to be more commonly used than HVP.

The most common products that use one or both of these flavor enhancers are: Chips with artificial spice and cheese flavorings, beef jerkey, bouillon cubes, seasoning salts, luncheon meats, flavoring packets for rice or noodles and Ranch dressing. There are for sure more, but these are a few of the most common.

Just get used to checking labels.

Progress Update: Specialist Visit

The Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. greeted us with, “You are now normal!” as he entered the room, with a grin on his face, for our check-up visit one year since son #1 was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  He was very encouraged with son’s weight gain (16 lbs in a year!) and growth rate (3 inches in the last 5 months and climbing!). We can expect more!

Progress

So how is this new Gluten-Free diet working out? We get asked that question often. Well we are thrilled to report that back in the first week November of 2013 Grandma came to visit us and was able to watch the kid’s soccer games. My son who has Celiac Disease was just her height in November which was a mile-stone for him at the time. We then visited the same Grandma for Christmas and guess what? Grandson was nearly 3 inches taller than Grandma! In just a few months he has grown nearly 3 inches! Gluten-Free eating is working very well for him. It is not a passing fad diet for him it will be his diet for life.

What to do about using flour?

“I’m going to send you some Gluten-Free flour that we have discovered.” exclaimed my very-supportive sister-in-law who ventured down this path over a year ago for her daughter.

Soon a box of Better Batter flour arrived at our house. One of the first things I made was bread. Yes bread. Yeast-challenged as I am I did make bread, but that story is for later. The great thing about Better Batter is that the folks who make it mix all the gluten-free flour types up for you and add the xanthan gum (the gluten replacement). So many gluten-free recipes call for different measures of like ten different flours (CRAZY) then ask you to add the xanthan gum (EXPENSIVE). So this mix (Rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, potato flour, xanthan gum, and pectin a lemon derivative) is already made up for you.

In my experience with it, I have discovered that adding a little more BUTTER (thank you Julia Childs and the movie Julie/Julia) just smooths out the graininess. I use it to thicken soups, in the cheese sauce for chicken enchiladas, and have baked bread and cookies with it. I substitute it cup-for-cup or tablespoon-for-tablespoon and when possible just add more real BUTTER. Yum.

Just clean them really well!

“Not TOO crazy.”

That was music to my ears. “So I don’t need two colanders? What about a designated bread board? What about bread cutting knives just for GF bread?”

My son’s specialist answered, “No, No, No, Just clean them really well.”

Whew. Sparking clean they will be.

In a related matter, we don’t have much counter space and was reading about shared homes having two toasters . . . our solution: Parchment Paper! Yes, we probably will spend more in parchment paper over the course of years than we would spend on a new toaster . . . but at our house it is all about space.