We are back -
Back from our summer travels,
back to school,
back to work, and
back to blogging.
While I missed the connection to the gluten free community during the summer (and had endless ideas on new things to post about), I had a splendid summer with the kids.
Maybe it is their ages (all older than 6 now),
or the fact that we seem to have this diet at least somewhat under control,
or the long-warm days of summer that we were blessed with this year,
but we really had a better-than-ever summer.
Okay, I am no saint - there were a few instances when "mommy could just use five minutes, please." But I was met with mixed emotions on the day before school started.
Honestly, my heart skipped-a-beat when I thought about the few hours of peace and quiet that awaited me. But this brief sporadic moment of happiness occurred in the middle of when I was sitting at the gas pump waiting for the meter to read full, tears streaking down my face. I am pretty sure it was the thought of summer ending that caused the emotional meltdown and not the thought of all of the hours I was going to have spend in the car driving my kids to soccer practice, ballet, piano . . ... But I was actually sad, for awhile.
This was on Monday, on Tuesday we went back to school and after dropping them off and reconnecting with the other somewhat haggard Moms, I actually came home and did a little dance while I unloaded the dishwasher.
I do have a lot to share - more on this later, but I learned to eat again this summer! We also tried some fantastic new GF products and traveled to London and Paris. I will write on all of the above, soon, but I received the following email today and thought it the perfect re-entry into the new school year.
The following is from Joanne:
Hello, my daughter has Celiac Spru also, she's 16 and was diagnosed this past Feb. She has been sick for 3 years now and last year I put her in cyber school because of it. During the summer I had a few visits with the District Foods Superintendent and informed me that she would have alot of options that were gluten free in the school cafeteria. Today she went back to school and had a problem getting something she could have to eat. More or less a salad (lettuce only) and a drink. What can you pack a celiac kid for lunch? I'm clueless!!! Especially since the breads taste so terrible.
Thank you, Joanne
One of the things that I find most frustrating about the GF diet is the broken food promise. We have all experienced it - you go out of your way to make sure there will be something to eat and then you arrive to find nothing safe or a bowl of plain lettuce, with some vinegar and oil. It just happened to me Wednesday. I went to a luncheon meeting. Normally I eat before going to anything but at this one they specifically assured me, in person, the day before that they would have something I could eat. When I arrive, you guessed it, no nada, nothing. And the meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours long - I thought I was going to die by the end of it.
I am not sure I can fix the broken food promise, but I can provide some suggestions for school lunches.The Gluten Free Teen takes her lunch to school everyday – long gone are the cute bento box lunch boxes, she prefers a brown paper sack (without smiley faces on it!).
Over the years, we have come to eat fewer sandwiches. I don't think she ate a single sandwich all summer. Now that we are back to school, she will start eating GF sandwiches again. Kinnikinnick is still her favorite. She likes the Kinnikinnick bagels, toasted with cream cheese. She also likes the Kinnikinnick White Sandwich bread, toasted then topped with butter and cheese.
My younger daughter, who is not GF but has gotten used to not eating much bread, will take some salami and cheese, with some rice crackers.
My son, who is also not GF but has eaten that way his entire life, likes what we call the Luke Special. It is a Mission corn tortilla, smeared with cream cheese and topped with cheese and ham. You then roll it up and slice it into little pieces. The cream cheese helps hold it all together.
Once a week or so I will cook some kind of a treat for dessert. Chocolate Cookies are always a favorite. We also just found the most amazing cookies at PCC. They are made by Lucy and they are so good. They are crisp and light, with a great taste.
Here is the recipe for the Gluten Free Teens Favorite Quinoa Salad - she adapted it herself from a recipe on Recipezaar.
1 cup dry quinoa (or 1/2 c quinoa & 1/2 c millet)
8 cups water
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup grapes, sliced in half
1/3 cup green onions, thinly sliced minced
1/4 cup roasted almonds (optional - I like the almonds, the GFT does not)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (San-J Wheat-Free Tamari Soy Sauce)
Boil the water in a large pot. Add salt and quinoa and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water. (Not so easy to do as the quinoa will go through most strainers. I drain it by holding the lid over the pot and letting out as little water as possible. Another thing you can try is a flour sifter basket). As an alternative, I cook my quinoa in a rice cooker. Just follow the directions on the package for the amount of quinoa, water and salt, turn it on and let it cook.
Prepare dressing in a large bowl, toss with the cooked quinoa and remaining ingredients.
I know there has to be other ideas for lunch out there and I would love to hear them. Can you give some more suggestions to Joanne? What do you pack for your gluten free child? What do you take to lunch?
For more tips on navigating school gluten free, including a letter to the school, visit Gluten Free Mom.com.