Works For Me Wednesday–Gluten Free Cooking on the Cheap

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My husband has a disease. Yep, it’s DH, a disease where you itch like crazy on your knees and elbows if you eat any wheat or gluten. Even the littlest amounts will trigger it.

So as we’ve adapted– We now make tons and tons of Mexican and Southeast Asian food. Asian food is based typically in rice, so that’s easy to get and gluten free. Who can’t make stirfry? It’s easy, delicious, and fairly inexpensive. Mexican food can be made with a corn base, which is also gluten free. For a simple enchilada meal, we use gluten free sauce (Walmart makes a good one–in fact most of WalMart brand food is gluten free), corn tortillas, meat, beans and cheese. Maybe I’d throw a little rice and corn in and layer those same ingredients to make an enchilada lasagne. Or you can mix most of the same stuff, put a cornbread top on to make a tamale pie. Just don’t use regular flour in your cornbread recipe– I like to use tapioca flour. It’s cheap, in my local store and it reacts almost the same as regular flour.

Lastly, just read labels *really* carefully. We figured in the beginning that there wouldn’t be any cereals in the store for him, so we special ordered some. That was a little insane. It was a tiny tiny box for something like $7. We just discovered that the Malt-o-Meal Rice Krispies and Malt-O-Meal Fruity DynoBites don’t have wheat or gluten at all. Now he’ll eat those for breakfast, or we can make the Krispies into Krispie treats for dessert.

Our one indulgence is Pamela’s Pancake Mix. It’s about $6 a bag, but it can make pancakes, crepes, or even chocolate chip cookies. Our local supermarket has it, and it’s his favorite breakfast if he isn’t making potatoes and sausage.

When we heard he had this disease, we were figuring we’d have to do alot of special order foods. We’re finding that thanks to modern labelling, it’s not that hard to find good tasting, cheap, and healthy gluten free foods in our own supermarket.

This is what’s worked for us. For other Works For Me Wednesday ideas, see Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer. Thanks Shannon for hosting another great week of this!

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About jaimeanne

I'm me. Graphic designer extraordinaire, urban master teacher of social studies, former adjunct professor, high school principal, and now most importantly-- Mom to the cutest little girl ever. I try to live by the quote, "Work like you don't need money, Love like you've never been hurt, And dance like no one's watching." I believe in Christ, and sometimes I'm just trying to figure out what He wants me to do. This blog chronicles that journey.
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18 Responses to Works For Me Wednesday–Gluten Free Cooking on the Cheap

  1. Heather says:

    I found the same thing as well. We used to have to be careful about everything as the kids have a wide range of food allergies. We were amazed at what “normal” foods were safe. David S. over at A Maggid’s Musings has a list of great gluten free recipes using a basic (and relatiely cheap) flour he and his wife came up with. It is very similar to the mix I used to use for everything.

  2. Lady Why says:

    Gluten causes my daughter’s eczema to flare up so these are great ideas! Thank you!!

  3. redhatmandan says:

    It’s a good thing I love rice. 🙂

    I can’t express how thankful I am of Jaime. She’s done a tremendous job in ensuring our food is gluten-free, and she has had to make the sacrifice also. She makes her cakes and brownies out of wheat for herself, but it is a sacrifice in regular meals to have to remove wheat all together. She’s done a great job.

    I’ve learned a couple of things from this disease. First thing, if you’re gonna have a disease, this is not a bad one to have. The effects are basically that your body itches all over, a nuissance, but not deadly. Secondly, you find out just how pervasive wheat is in the American diet. Even sauces have wheat (as a thickener). Most Rice A Roni rice packets cannot be eaten because they contain wheat. The only Rice A Roni packet that is wheat free is the Long Grain/Wild Rice packet. Thirdly, that you can’t just go to a friend’s house to eat food; you have to make sure that your friend knows beforehand that you can’t eat wheat products. Finally, there are many great alternatives, but in the end, I miss SOURDOUGH BREAD!!!! :((

  4. jaimeanne says:

    Thanks for the link Heather! David does have some amazing recipes I know Dan would like to try.

    Lady Why, thanks for dropping by. Good luck with controlling her eczema.

    Dan– two words: Spelt Sourdough. We have freezer space. We can order and use throughout the winter. Gotta order soon though, as the seller is only available through the Farmer’s Market here.

  5. redhatmandan says:

    Let’s order this weekend. what say you? 🙂

  6. Lisa S. says:

    Wow, thanks for the tips. My son is on a artificial food-dye/MSG free diet and it IS amazing everything they put that stuff into! White vanilla yogurt – Red dye #40. Pickles on your hamburger – Yellow #5!
    RiceARoni is banned from our house too, because of MSG, as are canned soups, broths, crackers- and most cereals are either colored or preserved with the 3 No No preservatives.
    Next I want to try to eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup, but I’m running scared on that one!
    We like rice noodles or cellophane noodles with our Chinese food when we are “riced” out.

  7. Kristen says:

    We eat a lot of pamela’s mix too except founf a local co-op here in twon and you can get 3/4lb bags in a acse for $32. Those small grocery bags are so expensive! It’s a Untied Natural Foods buying co-op. It’s worth it! You can also get the really yummy Tinkyada rice pasta-its the best brand-not mushy at all!

  8. Laurie says:

    Yeah, those kind of dietary/lifestyle changes are difficult at first, yes? But sounds like youi’re mastering beautifully and that you have lots of support and different resources.

    And would you agree that Ava is an *amazing* motivation to be healthy??

  9. Mira says:

    One thing you might want to consider is purchasing a mill and the grains to grind for yourself. You can buy bulk spelt, rice, beans, etc and make your own flours and mixes.

  10. jaimeanne says:

    Hi Mira! Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been eyeing one up. The Nutrimill– but it’s a good $200 so we’re waiting a little bit for it. I’m still a little confused though on what I’ll do with all of the flour once I have it. This whole mixing flour thing is a little beyond my culinary skills at the moment.

    Laurie– So good to hear from you! Ava is definitely the best motivation to be healthy. She’s the only thing (besides maybe Dan in my ear) that keeps me biking at 6am three days a week.

    Kristen–I like that idea. How do you find out about local food co-ops? Is there a site or listing somewhere?

    Lisa– You are much more disciplined than am I. I’m not so sure I could cut high fructose corn syrup out. I like dessert too much. It’s definitely my downfall.

  11. Seema Sandhu says:

    For GF Pamelas mix. Amazon has a good deal at 6 packs for 24$.
    There are some other multi packed GF food available as well.

  12. Seema Sandhu says:

    Hi Jamminne,

    I was excited to see that you that Malt-O-Meal being gluten free. I wrote to them to make sure. Here is the response:

    “Thank you for your email message regarding Malt-O-Meal® Crispy Rice cereal. We apologize the Crispy Rice cereal is not a gluten free
    ingredient product.

    Currently, our Malt-O-Meal Fruity Dyno-Bites® cereal is the only product that does not contain any gluten ingredients. We remind consumers to read the ingredient statement each time they purchase a product to ensure no changes have occurred. At Malt-O-Meal, our main objective is to produce wholesome quality products and offer them at a reasonable price. Your comments regarding the gluten status of our cereals will be shared with the rest of our company. ”

    Hope this helps.

    Seema

  13. jaimeanne says:

    Ahhhhhhh! Thanks for doing that! Good thing Dan wasn’t too hip on the Krispie treats! He loves those Dyno-Bites though. Thanks so much, Seema!

  14. redhatmandan says:

    Seema,

    Thank you for asking them about that. Yeah, I like the Dyno-Bites. They are a good alternative to my usual favorite cereals.

  15. Seema Sandhu says:

    What kind of bread mixes are you guys using that you find are good?
    Are there any with yeast that you prefer? I have tried some but my hsuband is not sold on any.

    Thanks.

  16. jaimeanne says:

    We’ve only tried one so far– it was from Chebe. Cheap, easy, and we liked it. I don’t think it had yeast in it though. We ate the foccacia and their pizza crust. Both were good.

    We have a few in the cabinet– when we make them up, we’ll report on it.

    If you find some good ones, please let us know. Thanks 🙂

  17. Pingback: WFMW: Free Credit Report « The Life and Times of Daniel, Jaime, and Ava Simone

  18. scarr@emich.edu says:

    Hello everyone, I’m 22 and just found out that I have celiac disease (so no wheat, rye barley or GLUTEN =( But I read that Gluten is also in Red and Yellow Dyes. I can’t find out which ones and can’t see the nutritionist for another two weeks, does anyone know? I thought it was just red dye 40 but I’m honestly not sure…. Any info would be great thanks so much

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