If you think cooking gluten free is hard, then think again - it doesn't have to be. I was the person who never cooked. Before kids, I was a practicing attorney in Chicago and dinner was anything you could carry out or microwave in 60 seconds or less.
When Alex was a toddler, my idea of a meal was to tear up some ham, microwave some canned veggies and serve it with a glass of milk. I honestly did not even know how to boil an egg before we went GF.
Then, Alex was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and everything changed. At first we starved because gluten free was not as popular as it is now (there was no GF pizza from Garlic Jim's) and I had to learn to cook.
I remember the first time Bart and I went out on a date and left the kids at home with their first GF meal:
We were going to a concert at Chateau St Michele and literally had no idea what to make and leave for the kids.
It may sound crazy, but it was just not our lifestyle to cook (this was before you could even find frozen GF pizza crust).
Bart was reading Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids: 150 Family-Tested Recipes and making a list of all our options (I still have this list stuck in the front of my favorite cookbook). I had the computer on and was looking at a recipe to make a homemade pizza crust - I was so clueless that I didn't even know what went on top of a pizza.
After two hours of reading, arguing and then finally making a gluten free pizza that our kids sorta liked, we made it out the door. I was so tired from cooking them a meal before we could go out for our meal, that I was just plain grippy and didn't know how we would survive.
Then we went through a phase of eating breakfast (that is eggs) for every meal. We lived on omelets and smoothies for a while.
Eventually (as good human beings) we evolved and adapted.
We adopted the idea that the easiest way to live gluten free is to live "simply" gluten free - eat fruits, vegetables and meats that are natural and whole and you won't have to worry about reading labels, cross-contamination or labeling.
I actually learned how to cook - you really just have to read the directions.
And our taste buds changed. All of a sudden my kids thought fried and processed food tasted disgusting! I served them the GF spaghettios when they came out thinking it would be a great treat and they thought I was crazy. They wanted to know where the good food was! Another one was applesauce. We started making our own and then my kids wouldn't eat the packaged stuff.
And now 6 years later, they naturally snack on whole fruits and veggies (I sometimes shutter when I look back at the trash I used to feed them).
Moral of the story - if we can do it, so can you.
I definitely still have moments when I dread having to cook - one was last night. I looked out and saw our apple trees were so full some branches were leaning to the ground and I thought "I should really make some applesauce." But I was tired and it was raining, and it was Thursday night which for me is a glass wine and Vampire Diaries with my teenager (yes, I see the irony in the fact we have given up trash food for trash TV!)
Usually when I have these moments, if I just persevere and get myself going I find that the dread of doing the task (making homemade applesauce) was worse than actually doing the task. Honestly, you can usually whip up a simple meal faster than you could drive to your local McDonalds.
So my son Luke and I (he is the applesauce maker in our family) got busy and we had a huge pot of applesauce boiling within 20 minutes.
Take advantage of the season and make some homemade applesauce. It is actually fun to make, extremely easy and extremely tasty.
To make it even easier and more fun, I highly recommend the Back To Basics Apple And Potato Peeler. With this little tool, we can peel, core and slice an apple in a minute. That translates into a big pot of applesauce in under ten minutes (and it is fun).
Recipe for Homemade Applesauce
- 8 apples - peeled, cored and chopped (see note below on types of apples)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
NOTE on apples: Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.) Different types of apples will make a more bitter or a sweeter sauce. We typically use Granny Smiths because they are hard and thus easier to peel. But they are also more bitter and require more sugar, so adjust the sugar accordingly.
- In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If apples are sticking to bottom of pan, add more water. If you have a potato masher, you can use it to chop up the apples as they cook. If not, just keep cooking them until apples are soft and mash with a fork.
Check out our website for more great Gluten Free Recipes.