Close up of baked dog treats on baking tray.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Dog Snacks

I enjoy giving Milo snacks when he’s being a good dog – and he loves getting them! I have found gluten-free treats at the pet store, but they are about twice as expensive as ones made from wheat flour. So I’ve been giving him the regular snacks, making sure I wash my hands thoroughly afterwards to eliminate any traces of gluten.

I’ve seen several recipes for homemade dog treats on the web and decided to try making some with sorghum flour to see how Milo would like them.

I started with this recipe from dogtreatkitchen.com. Milo loves peanut butter, so I thought this would be a good first choice and easy to make.

Milo seemed to love the treats and could hardly wait for me to get my camera ready before trying one. (see nose shot below.)

I think I will try this recipe again using cheese instead of peanut butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (I used chunky)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • Additional flour for rolling
  • One beaten egg to brush on top (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I used olive oil spray)

Combine dry ingredients.

Oats, sorghum flour and rice flour in a white bowl.

Oats, sorghum flour and rice flour.

Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. I had to add a little extra flour because the dough was very sticky.

Measuring cup full of peanut butter next to the peanut butter jar and doughnut cutter.

I used Smucker’s natural peanut butter because it doesn’t have any sugar added to it and not very much salt.

Knead the dough to thoroughly to combine ingredients. Add extra flour a little at a time if it is too sticky.

On a sheet of wax paper roll or pat out the dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. I sprinkled extra flour on top of the dough to be able to handle it better when placing the snacks on the cookie sheet.

Rolled out dough with doughnut cutter on top, some shapes already pressed out.

I used an old doughnut cutter to cut out shapes so I would have two sizes of snacks.

You can brush egg on top of the snacks to give them a hard, shiny finish, but it is not required. (I did this after taking the photos below.)

Dog snacks on a baking tray ready to cook.

The first ones I cut out were a little sticky and hard to manage, so I added more flour to the top of the dough.

More dog snacks on a tray - some are shaped like doughnuts and some are like doughnut holes.

More snacks cut out and ready to cook.

Bake for 40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Milo the dog licking the white mixing bowl.

Milo was very excited about getting to lick the mixing bowl.

Snacks can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for one week. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Close up of Milo's nose and eye looking in the camera.

Milo wanted a snack so much he nearly knocked the camera out of my hand.

Close up of Milo's nose me handing him a snack.

Milo enjoying his very first homemade gluten-free peanut butter snack.

Adapted from peanut butter dog biscuit recipe at Dog Treat Kitchen.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES! What more can I say? Maizy is my BEST FRIEND!

 

Kids with Celiac Disease

Here is a fun video of kids discussing what it’s like to have celiac disease. Watching this makes me grateful for all the amazing gluten-free choices of food that are available today.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Whenever something is bothering me, I know just what to do – kick some grass over it and MOVE ON!

Finished layer cake with white butter frosting applied and shredded coconut spread over the top.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

When I was teenager, my mother used to buy these coconut layer cakes made by Pepperidge Farms (I can’t believe they still make them!). They were one of my favorite desserts and I really missed them after being diagnosed with celiac disease. When I found Karina’s recipe for a gluten-free coconut layer cake I was very excited about having this kind of treat available once again!

I made this cake over the Labor Day weekend. The only things I changed from Karina’s recipe were in the icing ingredients – I used real butter and almond milk instead of non-dairy butter and coconut milk.

My icing turned out slightly thin, so it oozed down on the sides a little bit. My cake wasn’t as pretty as Karina’s but I thought it turned out pretty well, since this is only the third time I have ever made a layer cake!

The cake was very moist and was so good I wanted to eat the whole thing at once! But I knew I would have a sugar overdose if I did that, so I took it to work with me on Tuesday to share with my co-workers. It was gone by the end of the day, so they must have enjoyed it, too!

Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 14-oz can organic light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Use parchment paper to line two 9-inch round cake pans. I had never used parchment paper for baking before, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out. I was very pleased with the results!

Two round cakes pans with round pieces of parchment paper in the bottom of each one.

Parchment paper in the bottom of the round pans.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix the flours and dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, oil, coconut milk, lime juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth – I used a hand mixer. The batter was very thick and sticky and wanted to crawl up the beaters. I had to be careful not to push the beaters directly down into the batter, keeping to the sides of the bowl.

large brown mixing bowl with cake batter and beaters.

The batter was very thick and sticky.

 

Close up of mixer beaters with cake batter on them. Some of the batter has gone above the main part of the beaters.

The batter was so sticky it wanted to climb up the beaters.

Spoon the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans. I used a large spoon to spread the batter out to the edges of the pans.

Sticky cake batter sitting in the middle of round cake pan.

The batter was so thick it didn’t spread out when I put it in the pan.

 

Cake batter in round baking pan spread out to edges of pan.

I used a large spoon to spread the batter out to the edges of the pan.

Place cakes in the center of the oven, side by side and bake for 33 minutes, until firm and springy. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Two golden, round cakes cooling in the baking pans.

Baked cakes fresh out of the oven.

 

Close up of cooked coconut cake in baking pan - the surface is wavy.

As the cakes began to cool there were sunken areas across the top, but it didn’t seem to effect the levelness of the layers when stacked.

Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, a little at a time
  • Flaked, sweetened coconut for topping

Instructions:

Cream the butter and vanilla with a mixer. Add in the powdered sugar and less than half the almond milk, and mix until smooth. Slowly add the remaining milk, a little at a time, mixing after each addition, until the icing is smooth and creamy.

White mixing bowl with creamy butter mixed up in the bottom.

While the cakes were baking I mixed up the icing.

Icing the Cake:

After the cakes are completely cool, remove one from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Top side down, center the first layer on a plate.

Bottom layer cake turned out of pan onto a plate.

The bottom layer came out of the pan perfectly and the parchment paper peeled off nicely without any major divots.

Place about ¾ cup of the icing in a bowl and mix with some of the flaked coconut. Cover bottom layer of cake with the mixture.

Bottom layer of cake with coconut icing spread over it.

I mixed a little coconut in part of the icing to use on the bottom layer.

Carefully remove second cake layer from pan and place on top of the bottom layer.

Plate with both layers of cake, icing in between - no icing on outside yet.

The top layer came out easily without cracking and fit nicely on the bottom.

Spoon out about a cup of icing and spread evenly over the top of the cake. Carefully spread frosting over the sides of the cake as evenly as possible. Spread flaked coconut over the top.

Finished layer cake with white butter frosting applied and shredded coconut spread over the top.

Allow the icing to set before cutting. The cake can be wrapped and frozen for serving at a later time, if you wish.

Makes one 9-inch layer cake.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com by Karina Allrich

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy won’t let me eat anything with SUGAR in it because it makes me chase my tail. I bet if Maizy had a TAIL she wouldn’t be able to eat sugar either!

An assortment of iron-rich foods: eggs, spinach, beans, prunes, steak and liver.

Celiac Disease and Iron Deficiency

One of the first symptoms I had of celiac disease was anemia. I still have to take an iron supplement daily, since my body has trouble absorbing nutrients from food even though I follow a strict gluten-free diet.

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine that leads to malnutrition and non-absorption of vital nutrients. Iron is one of the main mineral deficiencies seen in people with celiac disease.

According to Baylor University Medical Center research, it is not unusual for patients to continue to be a risk of developing anemia even if they are following a gluten-free diet.

Not only does anemia make you feel really bad, it can also be life-threatening. It is very important for anyone with celiac disease to have their iron levels checked on a regular basis.

The symptoms of anemia include weakness, headaches, dizziness, breathing problems and pale skin. A complete blood count (CBC) test is necessary to diagnose anemia. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor so you can get the test.

For people with celiac disease, staying on a gluten-free diet is important because it decreases the chances of malabsorption. It may be necessary to make other dietary changes such as increasing the amount of iron from the foods you eat.

Foods that are high in iron include red meat, especially organ meats like liver, egg yolk, oysters, dried fruits, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach. Iron supplements may be another option for some patients, but it is crucial to consult a doctor first. Iron absorption is increased markedly by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron.

So be sure to eat your spinach and get tested regularly!

Source: Iron deficiency in celiac disease is common problem, emaxhealth.com.

Milo graphic

Milo says….

You can keep the spinach, but I’ll have some of that liver PLEASE!

 

Ceramic bowl filled with beef and sorghum stew.

Slow Cooker Beef and Sorghum Stew

When I was a child my mother used to make this wonderful beef and barley stew. I can’t eat barley now, because it contains gluten, but I thought I would try this stew with whole grain sorghum instead. Fall is coming soon and this recipe makes a good, hearty meal that will stick with you through those chilly evening football games.

This stew will cook more quickly on the stove, if you don’t want to use a slow cooker. Feel free to change up the seasoning to suit your taste. I used some basil that I grew in my garden last year and dried. I also put in some fresh thyme I have growing in my garden this year and it was really good. I love using fresh herbs in soups whenever I can.

Whole grain sorghum has a slightly courser texture than barley. It also will tend to fall apart when you cook it a long time. I liked that, because it thickened the stew a little bit. If you’re cooking this on the stove at a higher temperature, the sorghum takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to cook to a soft texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lean beef, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 32-ounce package beef broth
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 small to medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup whole grain sorghum, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Directions:

I let the whole grain sorghum soak in a cup full of water while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

 

Whole grain sorghum in a strainer after rinsing.

I soaked the sorghum in water while preparing other vegetables and then rinsed it before adding it to the stew.

Cut beef into bite-sized chunks and sauté in the olive oil with the minced garlic and pepper for 5 minutes, or until browned. Place seasoned meat in your slow cooker.

Beef and minced garlic browning in skillet with a little olive oil.

Beef and minced garlic browning in skillet with a little olive oil.

Add chopped vegetables, beef broth, tomatoes, and basil.

Close up of Food Club Stewed Tomates can.

Here are the canned tomatoes I used in the stew.

Close up of a 32 ounce box of Pacific Organic Beef Broth.

This is the brand of beef broth I like to use because it doesn’t taste as salty as some others.

Browned beef and cut up vegetables in the slow cooker.

Browned beef and cut up vegetables added to the slow cooker

Drain sorghum in a strainer and rinse. Add sorghum to stew.

Beef, vegetables, broth and whole grain sorghum in the slow cooker.

Beef, vegetables, broth and whole grain sorghum added to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours, then on high for 1 hour, or until the vegetables and sorghum are tender.

Add the thyme just before serving.

Sprigs of fresh thyme on a wooden cutting board partially chopped.

I used chopped, fresh thyme from my garden.

Serve warm with gluten-free breadsticks or cheese biscuits.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Beef stew is the BEST SMELL in the whole world! I watched Maizy cooking it ALL DAY and FINALLY she put a little taste in my bowl. I LOVE having dinner with Maizy!

Gluten-Free Cereals Review

I generally try to limit my consumption of processed foods in my quest to get proper nutrition while sticking to a gluten-free diet, but I do enjoy having a plain old bowl of cereal for breakfast every now and then. I admit that most gluten-free cereals aren’t very good, especially for the price, and many of them have a lot of added sugar to help them taste better.

I like to add walnuts and fruit to my cereal to increase the nutritional content. Gluten-free cereals tend to be low on certain nutrients, especially B vitamins, unless they are enriched or fortified.

One of my favorite gluten-free cereals is Perky’s Crunchy Flax with Chia by Enjoy Life. What I like about this cereal is that it’s slightly sweet without being too sweet and it sticks with me throughout the morning. I believe it’s staying power comes from my favorite ingredient – whole grain sorghum flour!

Perky's Crunchy Flax with Chia box front

Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, which, combined with protein and starch in the sorghum endosperm, makes it more slowly digested than other cereals. The slower rate of digestibility of sorghum products makes them more filling and may be beneficial to diabetics. Enjoy Life is one of the first companies in the U.S. that has used sorghum as a main ingredient.

Side of the Crunchy Flax box showing ingredients and some nutritional information

Sorghum flour is the first ingredient.

 

Another gluten-free cereal I tried recently is Ancient Grain Flakes by Freedom Foods, an Australian company.

Ancient Grain Flakes box front.

Although the flavor of the cereal was ok for a gluten-free cereal, I was disappointed by the misleading description of the cereal on the front of the box. It says the cereal is “made from buckwheat and sorghum”, but when you look at the ingredient list on the side of the box, it has rice and corn listed as the first two ingredients, then sorghum and buckwheat.

Ancient Grain Flakes - side of box showing ingredients and some of the nutrition information.

Sorghum is the third ingredient.

It’s funny to me that the Freedom Foods logo at the top of the box has the words “honest, nutritious & free” underneath. It’s seems like a more honest statement would be “contains buckwheat and sorghum.”

One thing I did like about the Freedom Foods cereals was the allergen symbols at the bottom. This makes it easier to see which common allergens have been eliminated from the product.

Close up of the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box showing FREE FROM and seven icons for various allergens, gluten being the first.

The allergen icons at the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box are a nice idea.

The flakes have a definite corn flavor when you first bite into them. I found that I was hungry again about two hours after I ate this cereal. I probably won’t be getting this one again.

Update: Here is a pdf from the Enjoy Life that has all the nutrition information for Crunchy Flax with Chia cereal. 100 gm breakdown Cereal Crunchy Flax with Chia

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Happiness is LICKING the cereal bowl when Maizy is finished with it!

Baked breadstick on small plate broken in half so you can see the inside.

Gluten-Free Italian Breadsticks

I made these breadsticks last weekend to go with an Italian chicken soup that I love to make in the summer when I have fresh eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers from my garden.

The original recipe called for 1 1/3 cups of rice flour, so I split that into equal amounts of rice and sorghum flour. This makes a breadstick that is slightly heavier in texture, but more flavorful and nutritious, in my opinion.

I decided to sprinkle them with dried rosemary instead of parsley – I love the flavor of rosemary in bread!

These breadsticks are best served warm right out of the oven, but I found the leftover breadstick was still pretty good warmed up in the toaster oven two days later.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free dry active yeast
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning – (I used 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 1⅓ cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine yeast and other dry ingredients, in a mixing bowl.

Brown mixing bowl with flour and other dry ingredients mixed up in it.

Dry ingredients mixed.

Add olive oil and vinegar to milk and stir together. Slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until a thick dough is formed. I mixed this by hand and it worked ok, but you can use a mixer if you prefer. The dough will be very sticky.

Dough mixed up into a ball in brown bowl.

Wet ingredients added to make a thick dough.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray (I use olive oil spray.)

Coat hands with small amount of olive oil and divide the dough up into 6 equal portions. Putting oil on your hands will make the sticky dough manageable. You can also use plastic bags over your hands or latex gloves, if it is easier and less messy.

Six breadsticks uncooked in baking pan.

I put a small amount of olive oil on my hands before making each breadstick to handle and form the dough more easily.

Form each portion into a long breadstick that is uniform from end to end, coating hands with small amount of olive oil between each one. They will bake more uniformly if they are of even size and proportion.

Place each formed breadstick on the greased baking sheet. I wasn’t ready to bake the breadsticks right away, so I let them sit covered with a towel for about 40 minutes and they puffed up a little. You can cook them right away, though, if you want to.

Breadsticks in baking pan, dough has risen slightly so they are a little larger.

The dough has puffed up a little after waiting about 40 minutes.

Combine the melted butter and garlic powder in a small bowl. Brush butter mixture on top of each breadstick.

Uncooked bread sticks in baking pan with butter on top.

I brushed melted butter on each breadstick.

Sprinkle bread sticks with rosemary.

Uncooked breadsticks in baking pan with rosemary sprinkled across tops.

I sprinkled crushed rosemary on top of the buttered dough.

Bake for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Brush breadsticks with remaining butter mixture.

Baked breadsticks in baking pan glistening with butter.

After I took them out of the oven, I brushed them with the rest of the melted garlic butter.

One cooked breadstick on a small plate.

Each breadstick was about 6 – 7 inches long.

 

Adapted from Megan’s Italian Garlic Breadstick recipe at TheGlutenFreeVegan.com.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

When I take Maizy for a walk, she always puts a leash on me first. I think she’s afraid she’ll get LOST if she gets away from me. I can ALWAYS smell the way back home, especially when it smells like breadsticks!