April 26, 2011

My Review on Become.com

A few days ago I completed an on-line interview for Become.com.  The following is a transcript of that interview, which can also be found by clicking this link:  Pocket Change/Become.com.

Why did you start Trav’s Gone Gluten-Free?
 I started “Trav’s Gone Gluten Free!” a few months after I found out that eating gluten was the culprit behind my long list of ailments.  At the peak of my illness, I had wasted away from 210 pounds to 145 pounds.  I was constantly dizzy, lethargic, and suffered with debilitating migraines on a bi-weekly basis.  It sucked, and it was scary!  In fact, when my mom saw me at my worst, she ran out of the house and started crying.  Once I started eating gluten free my health quickly improved. It was at that time that I decided to create a gluten free blog to help others in my situation.  When my blog began, there wasn’t much information out there for people suffering with celiac disease, or gluten sensitivities.  There were a few books, but they were expensive, as was most of the available gluten free foods on the market.  I wanted to hook people up with easy and inexpensive gluten free meals and desserts. I also wanted to make sure that when they visited my blog there would also be links to a ton of resources to make living gluten free easier.  So that’s what I did, and I’m still at it:)

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
 Just knowing that what I’m doing is helping people is really what I love most about blogging.  I remember how scary it was trying to figure out how to live gluten free.  The more recipes and information I can post on my blog, the easier it is for others to get used to the lifestyle change.  I often receive emails from my readers thanking me for the blog and telling me how much it has helped them. That’s my favorite thing about blogging.
- My second favorite thing about blogging is that I have a permanent, and easily accessible database of all the awesome gluten free recipes I’ve discovered and/or created from scratch.  It’s my own digital gluten free cookbook, and it never stops growing:)

Do you have a favorite gluten-free food? Why is it your favorite?
 I’d have to say my favorite gluten free food is the pure, corn tortilla.  I know it’s boring, but I use it for everything.  I make soft egg and cheese breakfast tacos, use if for a wide range of sandwich melts, cut it up and fry it for fresh nachos, and make enchiladas out of it. It’s very versatile, and always inexpensive, two important factors when trying to live gluten free.  Besides corn tortilla, I’d have to say all kinds of fruit and vegetables, since they’re all naturally gluten free.
  As far as mainstream gluten free products, I’m really into all of Betty Crocker’s gluten free baked goods (i.e., Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Cake).  It’s so nice being able to drop into the local supermarket and grab a box of gluten free brownie mix off the shelf.  It makes you feel normal again.

What’s your next project going to be?
  I’ve actually just finished a big project! I created and published a gluten free recipe app for Droids and iPhones.  It was a ton of work, but totally worth it.  I love being able to pull up my recipes on my phone while shopping for ingredients for gluten free meals.  It’s called “Gluten Free Desserts!” and can be found on iTunes, The Droid Store, and on Amazon.

  The next project I plan to work on will be called “Resurrected Recipes.” I am the founder of an on-line bookstore called Helping Hands Books (www.helpinghandsbookstores.com) that helps support local youth development agencies. Sometimes we get donations of antique books, and from those donations I’ve collected a number of hand-written recipe books from the 1800s that are loaded with great dessert and dinner recipes.  My project will be to “resurrect” them from the past and make them gluten free.

What’s the best advice ever given to you (with regard to gluten-free, celiac, blogging, or anything else)?
  To be honest, I’ve never received any advice regarding celiac, gluten-free eating or blogging.  I know that must sound strange, but it’s true:)  Most people don’t know much about it, and the one’s that know a little, always ask me for advice.

Any recommendations for people who want to start their own blog or start eating gluten-free?
  My recommendation for people starting to eat gluten free would be to keep it simple.  Start by really exploring the basics, like using corn-tortillas for as many things as possible, or rice and beans, eggs, fruit, vegetables, etc.  Something I know a lot of people do when they first find out  they can’t eat gluten, is they go out and blow a ton of money on gluten free baked goods and specialty products.  Gluten free can be done much less expensively and much more healthy if you get down to the basics of cooking.  Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, living gluten free forces you to learn to cook.  No more instant or prepackaged meals; everything has to be made from scratch.  Less convenient yes, but in the long run, it’s much better for your health and your bank account.

Who is your gluten-free icon?
  My favorite gluten free blogger is Carol Kicinski of “Simply Gluten Free.”  Not only is Carol a stunningly pretty woman, she’s a fabulous cook and takes amazingly beautiful food photography,  Her blog was the first gluten free blog I came across.  It was while reading her blog that I thought of the idea to begin my own.

What do you love most about blogging?
  Like I said earlier, my favorite thing about blogging, personally, is that my blog helps others.  However, I also love the fact that blogging allows us all to create a vivid, colorful, detailed record of our lives and our experiences.  It connects people who would have never met otherwise, and it doesn’t cost a penny to do it!

What equipment do you use?
  I use whatever cooking equipment is on hand, and I type my blogs up on my aging MacBook:)

How often do you work?
  I work on my blog about once a week.  Sometimes one every two weeks when things get busy.

April 21, 2011

Gluten Free Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

This has to be one of the easiest recipes out there!  I can whip this up from start to finish in about 20 minutes (after the Chicken is done marinating that is).  To grill the chicken breasts I used my handy-dandy Foreman Grill, but if you have an outdoor grill... even better.  Basically all you have to do is grill up the marinated chicken and then spoon some extra marinade over the cooked chicken and serve.

I served it up with some organic brown rice, but feel free to spice it up with seasoned steamed vegetables.  This one has a kick to it, so if you're not into hot and spicy, you may want to tone down the pepper flakes and chili powder.

  • 1/2 cup of Whole Grain Mustard (any kind, just make sure it's GF)
  • 1/2 cup of Honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Reserve about 4 tablespoons of sauce to glaze cooked chicken, and then pour the remaining honey-mustard mixture over the chicken.  Toss it up until completely coated and then cover with plastic wrap and let marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for about 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. 
  4. Pour the reserve honey-mustard sauce over chicken and let rest under foil covering for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with your favorite side and chow down!  

    April 13, 2011

    The Trav's Gone Gluten Free Recipe App!

    It was a lot of hard work, but it's finally done!  Yes, that's right, I've designed my very own gluten free recipe app for smart-phones!  Right now it's available on the Android Market and on iTunes, but it will soon be available from Amazon.com for Droids.  I'll make an announcement when it does:) 

    I labeled it Gluten Free Desserts!, but it's more than that.  Each tab features 25 different recipes that are linked to my blog.  Each time I upload a new recipe it becomes added to the app menu.  What I love about it, since I use it all the time now, is that it makes shopping for ingredients super easy.  Instead of writing everything down before I go shopping, I just cruise recipes on my iPhone until I find something I want, and then buy what's in the ingredient list.

    Another reason I like it is that I can take all my recipes wherever I go.  So if I'm at a friend's house, or away from home visiting a family member, I have easy access to loads of easy GF recipes in the palm of my hand.  If you know anyone with Celiac Disease, or anyone who simply wants to learn how to cook gluten free, tell them about Gluten Free Desserts!  It's not free, but it's cheap (.99).

    On iTunes, just type in "Gluten Free Desserts" in the app store and you should find it easily.


    April 9, 2011

    A GF Battle of the Big 3 Burger Joints!

    When I'm short on time and money, yet big on appetite, I'll typically go to one of the 3 three main burger joints: McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's.  Each has its own challenges related to keeping things gluten free. For example, did you know that McDonald's has wheat ingredients in its fries?  Unfortunate but true.  Wendy's fries are gluten free, and if you make sure by asking, are sometimes fried in their own designated fryer, making them gluten free. Burger King's fries are gluten free, but they are always fried in the same oil as wheat-battered food = off limits!

    I decided to document the way that each of the big 3 serve their burgers minus the buns.  Although I love Wendy's burgers, their staff never seem to be knowledgeable about gluten issues, and always look at me like I have an additional alien head growing out the side of my head.  The presentation of their bun-less burgers is typically less than spectacular. Here's what a few burgers with lettuce and tomatoes looks like served up.  Wendy's came in THIRD in my little secret shopper GF competition.

    Burger King actually has a button stating "Carb-Free" that they use when people order burgers with out buns.  Burger King staff also seem to know a little about gluten issues and never make me feel like I'm some kind of neurotic picky food person.  Although I'm always happy with the service and the product, their presentation could use a little improvement.  Here's what their GF burger presentation looks like. Burger King came in SECOND PLACE.

    Finally, the champion of GF Burger presentation is McDonald's by a mile!  Every time I order bun-less burgers from McDonald's, I'm treated with courtesy and the presentation is often exceptional.  McDonald's does GF burgers the best, which is why they've earned FIRST PLACE in my secret shopper GF competition.  Here's their burger presentation.


    Just So You Know...

    The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!