christinesglutenfreechallenge

Day 12 – Tuesday 24 February 2015

Today is the Coeliac Disease Food and Health Event – it has taken a long time to plan so hopefully it will all run smoothly.  Could not sleep so got up really early and updated the blog.

I had muesli for breakfast again – I enjoy this for breakfast, with a cup of tea. Arrived in the office for 7 am today and had a few jobs to do before leaving for Taunton to start setting up.  I was felt stressed out today with lots of running around.  I did have a break for coffee mid-morning with a friend to relax and prepare for the day ahead.

I arrived at Woodlands Castle, Taunton (http://woodlandscastle.co.uk/wedding-venue-in-taunton/) just before 12 noon to start setting up – there was a lot to do.  Yvonne, my colleague, who I have been working with to set this up, was already there and Helen, my work colleague and gluten free supporter, arrived shortly after.  Wizz from Plum Duff and Stuff (http://www.plumduffandstuff.co.uk/) arrived with gluten free Christmas Puddings and stayed all afternoon helping out – getting the freebee bags ready, moving tables and even sweeping the floor at one point.  Susan from Café Nouveau (http://www.lighthouse-uk.com/) and my gluten free challenger arrived early to start setting up the cookery demonstration.  It was really buzzing in the pavilion, so much to do and everyone just getting on with it.

Lunch arrived, which was a selection of gluten free sandwiches and fruit juice – not much went as we were all busy, I had half a tuna sandwich on white gluten free bread, which was ok and a small piece of spinach and salmon quiche that I had taken with me.  That was the last I ate today, apart from a sample of porridge, muesli and soup from the cooking demonstration and small cake sample from Sam at Liberty Cakes (http://libertycakesuk.com/index.html) – all gluten free.

The event was a total success with over 200 people attending during the afternoon and evening.  I was totally shattered after, but I had some great helpers throughout the evening, which including my friends mum Pat, my mum (who was in her element helping Susan with the cookery demonstration handing out samples, my dad and husband and Helens husband came along and sorted out all the IT.

Food today

Breakfast – Muesli

Lunch – Half a tuna sandwich on white gluten free bread and small piece of homemade spinach and salmon quiche

Snacks – various gluten free samples throughout the evening

Drinks –tea and coffee

Not a healthy eating day or much to eat today.  Too pre-occupied to think about food or make time to stop for something to eat!

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Susan, Cafe Nouveau Frome, setting up

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Wizz, Plum Duff and Stuff, putting bags together

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Mum helping Susan with the cookery demonstration

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People!

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My dad!

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Challenge Update – 24 February 2015

I started the gluten free challenge on Friday 13 March “to go gluten free until the Coeliac Disease Food and Health Event on 24 February 2015”.  I have decided to continue with it until Easter; as I have only been doing it for 12 days I don’t think that is long enough to give it a good trial. By continuing I will be able to try out some new recipes, find out how quickly I get bored with the limited foods available in the Supermarkets and see how expensive it really is to live off this diet.  I also keep being asked if I feel any different in myself or whether my weight has changed.  I have not noticed anything yet but maybe I will after a longer period on this diet. I am really enjoying the challenge and sticking to it, rigidly.

I don’t usually eat out that much, but over that last couple of weeks I have been out a few times and I am finding it really interesting seeing what cafes and restaurants have to offer.  Usually after a meal I will tell the staff what I am doing, especially as I take photographs of the food and menu.

I will continue the blog for the whole time and will include recipes that I make and other challenges set by my work colleague, Helen.  I would also like to do a proper comparison of the price of gluten free food against non-gluten free food, which will go onto the blog (I have already set up a page ready for this).  I am finding it more expensive, but have had to start from scratch – I have a whole kitchen cupboard dedicated to gluten free food.

Thank you for reading so far and please continue following my blog and sharing your thoughts and comments.

Christine

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Day 11 – Monday 23 February 2015

Monday morning again, another busy weekend has flown by.  Early start today as there is still lots to do for the coeliac event tomorrow.  Quick bowl of muesli for breakfast and a cup of tea, then off to work.  I took a small slice of homemade gluten free spinach and salmon quiche for lunch; as I was going out for a meal this evening, I did not want to eat too much during the day.   I took in a slice for Helen and will record her verdict tomorrow.  I also gave a slice another friend who said it was lovely.

I emailed Peter from Ceres (http://healthfoodsuk.com/store/) who is going to take some chickpea flour to the event for me to tomorrow so I can make the chickpea farinate bread (http://www.thisglutenfreelife.org/2011/03/chickpea-farinata-bread.html) which Helen set me as a challenge.  This will be for the bring and share lunch at work Wednesday lunchtime, so I will be up early Wednesday morning to cook this before work!

I did feel bit wobbly today, but I was rushing around a lot, so I was made to sit down with a drink for a few minutes (hot water with a slice of lemon) just to calm down – I was really stressed out today.

I met Barry and Ingrid for lunch (I was Barry’s secretary from 2003-2006).  We met at Palmers Garden Centre (http://palmersgardencentreyeovil.co.uk/) where I just had a gluten free biscuit and caramel snack and pot of tea.

After work a group of us went to The Podymore Inn (www.thepodymoreinn.co.uk/) for a meal.  I had contacted them last week to find out whether they catered for gluten free.  They were very helpful and I had a good selection to choose from on both the starter and main course menus.  For starter I had Homemade Chicken Liver Pate served with warm toast.  The gluten free toast was quite dense in texture, it was not dry as there was a lot of butter on it which had soaked in, the flavour was nondescript. For main I chose Mushroom Stroganoff (nicked from original 19th century Russian recipe) made with fresh sautéed mushrooms, served with fluffy white long grain rice, which was lovely, very creamy and tasty.  I did not have a dessert.  As per usual my drink was an apple and mango J2O.

A very enjoyable meal and good evening out with friends and work colleagues.

Food today

Breakfast – Muesli

Lunch – Homemade spinach and salmon quiche

Snacks – Orange, gluten free biscuit and caramel bar

Supper – Chicken liver pate with gluten free toast, followed by Mushroom Stroganoff with long grain rice

Drinks –tea and hot water with a slice of lemon during the day and a mango and orange juice with lemonade in the evening

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Day 10 – Sunday 22 February 2015

Today we had Genius gluten free croissants for breakfast, these were the ones that Jane let me have following our big band social gathering on Thursday.  They just needed 10 minutes in the oven.  The croissants were not light and flaky with the texture more like short crust pastry, they did have a buttery taste.  I like croissants so it was good to try the gluten free ones.

We popped to Asda this morning to do the weekly shop; I had a long list of gluten free items to purchase so that I could do some cooking later in the day – but I was not successful with everything required – more on that later.  When we got home I had a few chores to do before embarking on some cooking.

First salmon and spinach quiche, or to be correct, the pastry for the quiche – made from scratch – but I had to go to Morrisons first to buy the Xanthium gum as Asda did not sell this.  The pastry worked ok, I blind baked in the oven and it looked fine.  Cooked the spinach and salmon to put in the case and then made the cream mixture to pour on top.  This all cooked for 45 minutes and they (I have made two, one to take into work for a bring and share lunch later in the week) looked and smelt really good – I will take a slice for lunch tomorrow, and of course a slice for Helen, and will report back on the taste!

Next our supper and Phil had chosen stuffed butternut squash.  This should have been stuffed with roasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries with chilli flakes and parsley.  But I made my own version and used chopped up fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers, along with the chilli flakes and hazelnuts.  This was all topped with mozzarella and cheddar cheese.  It was very tasty and we both enjoyed it.  I think there was something missing – maybe just slightly more seasoning needed.  But I will try this again and maybe change some of the ingredients.  Whilst waiting for the meal we had a few Udis gluten free ancient grain crisps, jalapeno cheddar flavour and these were really tasty – not that I had many!

Both recipes (and pastry) taken from The Gluten-Free cookbook published by DK

Food today

Breakfast – Genius gluten free croissants

Supper – Stuffed butternut squash and broccoli

Drinks –tea during the day and a mango and orange juice with lemonade in the evening

Spinach and salmon quiche

Spinach and salmon quiche

A few ingredients

A few ingredients

Stuffed butternut squash and brocolli

Stuffed butternut squash and broccoli

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Day 9 – Saturday 21 February 2015

The weekend is here and lots to do.  I started by going into to town first thing as I needed to visit Ceres to collect some posters and business cards for the Coeliac Event (http://healthfoodsuk.com/store/).   When I arrived, Peter, the manager asked if he could have a stand at the event, which is great, so no need to collect posters.  I should have bought some chickpea flour, whilst there but forgot – must email Peter to see if he can take some on Tuesday for me!  Then another quick errand for the event – collect some small tasting pots, plastic spoons and shot glasses (for banana milk!) for Susan and Sarah to us at the Coeliac Event.

Back home and off to Cribbs Causeway, via Frome.  We stopped off at Café Nouveau, Frome (http://www.lighthouse-uk.com/cafe-nouveau) on the way to visit Susan and have (at very late) breakfast.  Phil had a gluten free hot cross bun and I had hearty nouveau porridge, which was creamy buckwheat and rice porridge cooked in almond milk with raisins and honey – it was delicious!  This was finished off with a cup of tea.  We stayed there for quite a while, going through the details for next week and Susan gave me an update on the cookery demonstration.  She also very kindly lent me a gluten free cookbook – now I have another excuse to visit when I return the book, and of course, I will have another meal there.  I also bought two chocolate brownies for work (I seem to be having a lot of these lately)!

During our time at Cribbs Causeway we visited the food department of Marks and Spencer – where they had quite a good gluten free selection.  From this we purchased some ‘Made without wheat gluten free’ cheese puffs and ‘Made without wheat gluten salmon fillet fishcakes.

Instead of going straight home we had supper at Cribbs and we chose Pizza Hut – they do gluten free pizzas.  My choice was a Margarita; as I knew would be gluten free – just cheese and tomato.  I was very limited at the salad bar with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, beetroot and peppers – avoiding all the salad dressings, coleslaw and pasta.

I enjoyed the pizza, the gluten free base was like bread in texture, but not unpleasant.  I thought the pizza tasted salty but that was probably the cheese.  When we paid for our meal I explained that I was gluten free for a challenge – Zara, who served us, was very helpful and, had I spoken to her before our meal I would have known that all the pizza toppings were gluten free – so I missed out on my favourite pepperoni!   I had a glass of apple and mango J2O with the meal.

Food today

Breakfast – porridge from Café Nouveau, Frome

Snack – Marks and Spencer ‘Made without wheat gluten free’ chocolate brownie (ok I kept that one quiet!!)

Supper – Gluten free Margarita pizza from Pizza Hut

Drinks – tea during the day and a glass of apple and mango J2O

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Susan and Christine outside Café Nouveau, Frome

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Enjoying porridge for breakfast

Delicious porridge

Phil eating a gluten free hot cross bun

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Excerpt from Café Nouveau menu

Marks and Spencer, Cribbs Causeway

Marks and Spencer, Cribbs Causeway

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

Extract from Café Nouveau Menu

Pizza Hut menu

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Day 8 – Friday 20 February 2015

It’s Friday and I have been gluten free for a whole week, I am enjoying the challenge and sticking to it. I will be more adventurous next week and start cooking some recipes, especially as I will have more time after the Coeliac Event on Tuesday.

Today I had the last of the muesli for breakfast. I had to go to Taunton for a meeting and as I arrived early popped into Mr Miles for a pot of tea (http://www.mr-miles.co.uk/) but did not eat the small biscuit that came with tea. Whilst there I looked at the menu to see if they provided gluten free food and the information below was on given on the menu.

“Food Allergy Information

“Our menu is very wide and varied. If you have any specific allergies which prevent you from eating certain foods, please ask our staff to check for you so we can make sure you are only served the items that are safe for you to consume.

“Every care is taken to avoid cross contamination. However, all the recognised allergens may be present in our kitchen.

The 14 recognised allergens are: Gluten, eggs, fish, peanuts, soya/soyabeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, lupin, molluscs, crustaceans, sulphur dioxide and sesame seeds.

“We have many gluten, dairy and nut free products, however milk, nuts and flour containing gluten are used in our kitchen. Traces of these items may be present in all our food items.”

I check everywhere I go to see what options are available.

Back to my day and off to the meeting and there were some chocolate biscuits, seedless grapes, a pot of shredded carrots and packet of Morrisons gluten free Beetroot Crisps, so a good selection.   Of course I only had fruit and tried the beetroot crisp, which I enjoyed.  As the meeting went on longer than expected Helen and I needed to get back to the office we decided not to have lunch – we were going to try Srumpers (http://www.thescrumper.com/).  We will next time we go to Taunton.

Back to Yeovil for me, feeling a bit hungry now, luckily I still had some fruit in my desk and a chocolate brownie – that will keep me going until tonight.

Long day – stayed in the office until just after 6 pm. When I arrived home I cooked a curry using an Asda Free from Tikka Masala with tomato coconut and a touch of spice sauce; to this I added an onion, mushrooms, some yellow and red pepper and chicken. We had this with Tilda pure basmati rice.  This was really tasty and I would definitely buy this Tikka Masala sauce again, even when I stop being gluten free.

Food today

Breakfast – Museli

Lunch – orange, apple and chocolate brownie

Supper – Chicken and vegetable tikka masala with basmati rice

Drinks –tea during the day and a mango and orange juice with lemonade in the evening

Morrisons Beetroop Crisps

Morrisons Beetroop Crisps

Meeting snacks

Meeting snacks

Tikka Masala

Tikka Masala

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Day 7 – Thursday 19 February 2015

I had muesli again for breakfast, which I am really enjoying, but I will buy something different when I go shopping at the weekend, maybe I will buy a decent porridge (see yesterday’s blog!)

I spent most of the day rushing around as there still lots of last minute jobs to do for the Coeliac Event next week and this was my last full day in the office – photocopying, registration lists, displays to sort out etc.  I had a packet of four nairns biscuits during the morning, but totally forgot the fruit, which was hidden in my desk.   Lunch was the last gluten free bap with ham, cheese and tomato (I will get some different lunches for next week as well).  Hopefully I will pick up lots of tips and recipes at the Coeliac Event; especially as Susan (Café Nouveau, Frome) and Sarah (Pure Gluten Free) are doing cookery demonstrations entitled – breakfast, lunch and snacks on the go – they could be made for me!

Throughout the day I drank tea and also had a glass of cold water with a slice of lemon.  There were a selection of cakes in the office today, but I was very good and avoided these – full of gluten (and calories!) 

I went out this evening to a social event for the Wessex Big Band, of which I am a member. Jane, a member of the band invited everyone round for a buffet as it was half term.  I had told her about the challenge and offered to take my own food, but Jane was happy to provide some gluten free food for me.  As it was the Chinese New Year there was a hot selection of Chinese, a Chilli and a cold buffet selection which included cold meats, quiche and salads.  Jane had also purchased some Asda free from brownie slices and Genius gluten free croissants for me.   I had a salad with a slice of beef and chicken leg (the healthiest meal I have eaten all week) and I really enjoyed it, followed by a brownie slice (there I ruined the healthy bit!)  During the evening I had two bottles of J2O (apple and mango and orange and passion fruit). 

Jane said to take the rest of the brownies and croissants home; so I will share the brownies with Helen at work (who reads this so I will have to keep to my word) and Phil and I can have the croissants for breakfast over the weekend. 

Food today

Breakfast – muesli

Lunch – Genius gluten free triple seeded soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato

Supper – Salad with beef and a chicken leg, followed by a free from brownie slice

Snacks – nairns biscuits

Drinks – during the day tea and cold water with a slice of lemon; during the evening an apple and mango and orange and passion fruit J2O

 

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Day 6 – Wednesday 18 February 2015

This morning I thought I would try the Asda quick cook gluten free golden syrup flavour porridge; this could be made with either milk or water and cooked for 2 minutes in the microwave. I chose water as I was getting low on milk. There was not a lot of porridge in the packet and the amount of water seemed to be very high in comparison. But I followed the instructions.

After 2 minutes in the microwave it still looked like water so I gave it another minute before removing and stirring. It looked revolting – give it a chance – let it cool a bit – maybe it will thicken up a little. I put the spoon in lifted to my mouth and it smelt disgusting – very sweet and sickly. I shall never know the taste as it went down the drain! Maybe I will try again tomorrow with much less water or even milk. Note to self – buy better quality porridge at the weekend. So I had muesli and used the last of the milk!

My colleague checks with me every day what I am eating and we had talked about pancakes yesterday, so we decided to have a tasting session. I made two extra pancakes last night and Helen did the same. Her husband made the pancakes with buckwheat flour. So mid-afternoon I tried the buckwheat pancake with a small amount of sugar sprinkled on it. I really enjoyed it – again it was a similar texture to the apple and cinnamon ones I had yesterday and had a very unusual flavour – I also learnt that buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb! So Helen is educating me as well! She also set me my first cooking challenge:

Your cooking challenge no 1 is…

First farinata – can be used with spreads (tapenade, or even bacon jam) and as an alternative to dunk into soups!

http://www.thisglutenfreelife.org/2011/03/chickpea-farinata-bread.html

Then, Trinity’s Seed Loaf

http://www.trinityskitchen.com/seed-carrot-loaf/

Enjoy!

I will be trying this at the weekend – look out for the results!

For our evening meal we had the rest of the roast chicken and gluten free stuffing with some fresh vegetables and gluten free gravy. I also sneaked a pancake for dessert as there was some pancake mix left.

Just escaping the gluten free diet for a few minutes – I was given some daffodils today to brighten up the new office – what a lovely thought and I love daffodils.

Food today

Breakfast – muesli (I really fancied porridge this morning!)

Lunch – Genius gluten free triple seeded soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato

Supper – Roast chicken left over from the weekend with fresh vegetables

Snacks – an apple and orange (forgot the biscuits – but tried a buckwheat pancake)

Drinks – during the day tea and hot water with a slice of lemon; during the evening mango and orange juice with lemonade

Buckwheat pancake

Buckwheat pancake

Daffodil

Daffodil

 

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Day 5 – Tuesday 17 February 2015

Today I also had some granola for breakfast with a cup of tea and for lunch I had a soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato. I also took to work a pack of four nairns biscuits and an apple and orange for snacks during the day.

It is moving day today in the office so a bit disruptive. My colleague, Helen brought in some salt fudge from Roly’s Fudge Pantry! (https://rolysfudge.co.uk/) and it is gluten free – we enjoyed this throughout the day. I also tried ‘itsu’ crispy seaweed thins, but that was not for me, too fishy! I also had my fruit – an apple and orange.

It is Pancake Day today, so that will be my evening meal. As it is the start of lent I have decided to continue this diet until Easter. This will give me a decent amount of time to find out more about being gluten free and try different foods.

Back to the pancakes – apple and cinnamon – cheating again buying the mix and just adding water and eggs. The mixture was very thick so I added slightly more water, it did not make much difference but I did not want to dilute too much. I only had three and that was enough as they were very filling. They were very cake-like in texture, totally different from the light pancakes I usually make. I just added a small amount of brown sugar.

I don’t feel that I am eating very healthily at the moment on this diet, but I will start cooking some recipes. I do eat fresh fruit every day.

Food today

Breakfast – Udis gluten free Au naturel granola

Lunch –Genius gluten free triple seeded soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato

Supper – Orgran gluten free apple and cinnamon pancake mix

Snacks – biscuits an apple and orange

Drinks – during the day tea and hot water with a slice of lemon; during the evening mango and orange juice with lemonade

Seaweed Thins

Seaweed Thins

Roly's Sea Salt Fudge

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Day 4 – Monday 16 February 2015

I started today with some granola and milk which was very tasty and a cup of tea. I don’t very often eat breakfast! Then I made lunch which was a soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato. I also took to work a pack of four nairns biscuits, an apple and orange for snacks during the day. The biscuit tin is usually passed around in the office at least once a day and there is nothing in there I can eat, so I will have to change that and put in some gluten free treats.

This evening we decided to go out for fish and chips as Palmers do gluten and wheat free fish and chips on Monday evenings.  I spoke to Colleen, the manager, who I knew from school; she explained they use soya for the batter and the cooking oil is changed on Monday so it can be used for the gluten and wheat free food before becoming contaminated. (http://www.liveglutenfree.co.uk/business/yeovil-restaurant-palmers-fish-chips). I could even have vinegar as the type used was gluten free.

The fish and chips were really nice, the batter tasted different and I thought it was much lighter. We also received good service; the staff were very friendly and helpful. The gluten free option was slightly more expensive. My husband, Phil, also had the gluten free option, choosing plaice and chips, but ruined the effect by having a beer! I had an apple and raspberry J2O.

Total cost

Fish and chips and two drinks = £22.10

Food today

Breakfast – Udis gluten free Au naturel granola

Lunch –Genius gluten free triple seeded soft roll with ham, cheese and tomato

Supper – Gluten free fish and chips from Palmers, Market Street, Yeovil

Snacks – nairns biscuits and fruit (apple and orange)

Drinks – during the day tea and hot water with a slice of lemon; an apple and raspberry J2O in the evening

Palmers Poster

Palmers Poster

Palmers GF menu

Palmers GF menu

 

Palmers, Market Street, Yeovil, with Colleen

Palmers, Market Street, Yeovil, with Colleen

Gluten free fish and chips

Gluten free fish and chips

One happy customer!

One happy customer!

Palmers Bill

Palmers Bill

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