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Each recipe also contains suggestions for other sweeteners besides sugar. Nutritional data helps in monitoring protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake. Over 50 menus for special occasions….or everyday dining… and over 200 recipes for dishes so good your family and friends won't know what's missing!
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
Preheat oven to 425º. In medium mixer bowl using regular beaters (not dough hooks), blend the yeast, flours, xanthan gum, salt, gelatin powder, and Italian seasoning on low speed. Add warm milk, sugar, oil, and vinegar.
Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. (If the mixer bounces around the bowl, the dough is too stiff. Add water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time, until dough does not resist beaters.) The dough will resemble soft bread dough.
Put mixture on 12-inch pizza pan or baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Liberally sprinkle rice flour onto dough, then press dough into pan, continuing to sprinkle dough with flour to prevent sticking to your hands. Make edges thicker to hold the toppings.
Bake pizza crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Top Pizza Crust with your preferred toppings. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until top is nicely browned. Serves 6 (1 slice per serving).
And, yet for those of us with food sensitivities, these joyous occasions can be downright dangerous. The foods we once ate and that everyone expects us to continue eating are now off-limits. But the good news is that you can continue to eat these foods if they're prepared with appropriate substitutes for the problem ingredients.
I have wanted to write this book for a long time. Why? Because I live on a special diet, just like you. And I know from personal experience that it is the special occasions that can be most challenging. For example, it's not easy to say "no" when someone puts a piece of cake in front of you saying "Happy Birthday, I baked your favorite cake!
Food Plays a Symbolic Role In Our Lives
Perhaps I am more aware than others of the symbolic role that food plays in our lives. In addition to being a culinary professional, my sociological background keeps me aware of how we use food to communicate with others. It is the celebrations, the holidays, the special occasions in our lives where food becomes the celebratory medium. Rituals associated with food become the memories of a lifetime. Fortunately, my training as a home economist gives me the technical ability to transform recipes into dishes that are safe, delicious to eat, appropriate for any celebratory occasion.
If you've purchased my earlier books, you know my story. I suffered from chronic sinusitis most of my life until I learned to avoid my own particular food villains-especially wheat and certain wheat-related grains. For someone raised on a farm in Nebraska and who married into a wheat-farming family, this was unsettling to say the least! But, enough about that!
Today, I am an expert in helping people with special diet needs manage a healthy diet. Once they identify their own particular food villains (with the help of a health professional), I help them resume eating the foods they love¾without the ingredients they don't want.
There is almost always an appropriate substitute for a particular problem ingredient¾the secret lies in knowing what the substitute is and how to use it. I've created this cookbook so you can cook for those special occasions without wheat or gluten--and, if you want also without dairy, eggs, or refined sugar. You can also avoid corn or soy if you're careful to read ingredient labels.
Special Diet Not Limited, Restrictive, or Alternative
You'll notice I don't refer to my diet as restricted, limited, or alternative. Instead, I refer to it as a "special" diet because it is tailored to suit my body and its needs. I'm painfully aware of the psychological aspects of adjusting to this diet.
However, it is very important to refer to our diet with positive, rather than negative words. Our bodies hear what our brains are thinking, so I try to keep my thoughts and actions positive at all times. To me, "special" is a positive term. And, I constantly remind myself to rejoice in what I can eat, rather than what I can't eat. I've learned to indulge my passion for food and still enjoy the dishes I ate before I had food sensitivities. Whenever I'm tempted, I say to myself Nothing tastes as good as feeling good feels. All it takes is to imagine how I will feel if I eat the forbidden food, and that's enough to make me realize it isn't worth it.
Getting in Touch with Your Inner Chef
Some people love to cook. However, many others tell me they don't like to cook, don't have time to prepare meals, or feel inadequate in the kitchen. Despite the growing availa-bility of mixes and ready-made foods, you will need to prepare some dishes yourself.
Yes, this usually requires preparing most dishes from scratch. But, as I remind my students in cooking classes¾there are two major benefits when you cook from scratch: 1) you gain control over what you eat, and 2) you control the standards under which that food is prepared. And don't underestimate the psychological aspects¾it's very rewarding to create a tasty dish that you, your family, and your guests enjoy.
Cooking Is Like Producing a Play
A creative way to think about meal preparation is to imagine the cook(s) as the producer of a play. Your kitchen is the theater and the different dishes in the meal play different roles. For example, the entrée plays the main role, while the side dishes are the supporting roles. Desserts are the grand finale, breads are the rising stars, and so on. The audience is family or guests and the producer's job is to produce a safe, healthy, delicious meal for them. A little background music provides atmosphere. When you do a good job, the audience applauds you by saying how good the food tastes.
Inside each of us is the capacity to create healthy, nutritious meals for ourselves and our families. On those days when I resent the constant demand for three meals a day, I remind myself that I'm fortunate to be relatively healthy. Eating nutritious food that is right for my body is the best way to maintain my health.
For example, the smell of roses makes me think of my maternal grandmother who used a rose-scented hand lotion. When I think of her I inevitably recall the cookies she always had waiting for her visiting grandchildren. (Her 12 children produced lots of visitors). To this day, I associate those cookies with her and her warm, unconditional love.
Think back over your life and your secret anniversaries. For many of us, certain memories trigger thoughts of food and celebratory times. Perhaps it is winning the coveted part in a school play . . . or the music that played on your first date or . . . when you found out you were pregnant with your first child. Maybe it's a sad memory such as the loss of a parent . . . or the day you learned about a job transfer that took you thousands of miles away from your friends and loved ones. If these memories, whether they're happy or sad, evoke thoughts of food . . . then let those foods be markers for those anniversaries. Though she's been dead for nearly 20 years, I still have fond, warm thoughts as I prepare some of my Mother's favorite recipes. And, sometimes I prepare those dishes simply because I have that longing to reconnect with her using food as the medium. You don't have to explain why you're serving a particular dish. If it makes you happy or arouses melancholy thoughts that allow you to indulge your feelings, that's your secret.
Perhaps it is my training in sociology that enables me to see the symbolism in food. I prefer to use food in a way that celebrates life and the rituals we embrace. So my motto is "Celebrate anything and everything with food".
Posted December 2, 2000
Upon first looking at this book I was disapointed; I thought it would be vegetarian/vegan; however this is not a vegetarian cookbook. There are beef, pork, poultry and fish recipes. The information on gluten-free eating is very informative. The cookbook is set up differently then most. From the beginning there is discussion on gluten-free, egg, dairy etc. free cooking. There are definitions for ingredients; helpful to those just starting out in cooking free of gluten, eggs, dairy and sugar. Then, because the author feels strongly in celebrations as being the foundations to our social lives (a point well taken) recipes are split into catagories such as: weddings, birthdays, afternoon teas, super bowl parties etc. At the beginning of the book, in place of 'chapter headings' there are 'celebration headings' with the appropriate recipe on page #... The baked recipes have alternatives for flours, sweeteners, eggs, dairy and sound wonderful. I have never purchased any of Carol Fensters' books previously. I think this is a well written and much needed book. My birthday is coming up and I cancelled a big party I wanted to throw, because, I have just been diagnosed as gluten intolerant and must restrict my diet furthur with no dairy, eggs, sugar and salt. Had I had this book earlier, I might have gone ahead with the party. The author affirms in the cookbook that the recipes can fool even wheat eaters. I look forward to trying them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.