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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in gluten-free (56)


Honey-Infused Chocolate Covered Bacon (using raw cacao)

In the last post, we learned that yes, you can cook bacon naked, and without peril to your naughty bits, if you simply cook it in the oven. It's easy, saves time, does not splatter, and this method helps you save or toss the grease without mess. For this chocolate-covered bacon recipe, you need evenly cooked bacon that stands at attention, so using the oven is the best way to acheive this.

We've also learned that bacon can stop an argument on a dime, just by its mere mention. If this legend is indeed true, then chocolate covered bacon will one day bring about world peace.

For those of you who have removed cane or beet sugar from your diet, the ganache for this recipe is made from honey, and you will love it.


Here is what you will need:

(Double this recipe for 1 lb of bacon. If using more than one pound, make the ganache in batches for 1 lb of bacon at a time)



In your small saucepan or stove-safe ceramic dish, bring the coconut oil and honey to a boil by placing the burner on high. It will start to bubble like this:


Keep the pan on the stove until the honey and oil come to a full boil like the picture below. Let it boil for 30 to 45 seconds. No more than 60 seconds as you do not want this to burn. When cold, the ingredients will be separated, but after boiling they will come together and make a sort of caramel.



Let the honey and oil mixture cool for 5 minutes. If you place the raw cacoa powder in too early, you may burn it. The mixture should be warm but not hot. When at the right temperature, slowly add in the raw cacao powder a little at a time, stirring to completely incorporporate the chocolate/cacao into the mixture. Keep adding until you get the proper spreading consitency. You will get the right consistency somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of cacao. I like it a little thicker (so I use almost the entire 1/4 cup), you may like it a little thinner. If you don't use it all, return the extra to the package to use later!


The consitency of the chocolate mixture will look something like this. It will slowly drip off of the spoon, and will be easy to spread.  


Lastly, break the cooked bacon strips in half and using a spoon, spread the chocolate onto one side of the bacon, half way up the strip. Make it a nice thick coat, using the bacon like a spoon. Chocolate lovers can put the chocolate side down on their toungue, while bacon lovers may put the bacon side on their toungue. Each will give you a slightly different experience. Covering one side also helps make the bacon look good on the plate right away. You don't have to use a separate plate to wait for the chocolate to harden and then waste a bunch of chocolate on the plate.

After it hardens a bit, place in the refrigerator, covered, for an hour or overnight. Served best chilled.

Enjoy!  (and have the leftovers for breakfast, seriously).




Recipe: Chocolate Squash Muffins (grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

Grain/Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free

Copyright & Photos: Elisabeth Veltman, The Tender Foodie

If food were fashion (and we know that it is) then squash is the new black. Squash makes very moist, healthy, and yummy muffins. Loaded with antioxidants, magnesium, B Vitamins, and iron; you can serve these muffs for breakfast or have them hanging around as snacks. I think you might like paleo muffins even better than regular 'old wheat muffins. I do!

Inactive prep time: 1 hour
Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 35-45 min.
Makes 12 muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


1 cup mashed butternut squash or acorn squash (roasted and peeled), or mashed pumpkin flesh (my favorite to use is Tropical Traditions Organic Pumpkin in a box).

1 small banana (or half of a large one)

4 TBS ground flax mixed with 8 TBS filtered water & left for 5 minutes to gel (this is your egg replacer)
½ cup almond butter (can also use a nut-free sunflower butter)

¾ cup honey

¼ cup coconut oil, melted (if your almond butter is very oily, you may need to leave this out, if the almond butter is very dry, leave it in.)

½ cup dairy-free raw cacao powder (make sure it is dairy- & gluten- free if you have guest w/ these allergies). I use Navitas Raw Cacao Powder.

½ cup coconut flour (exactly - sift out the lumps before you measure)

½ TBS of gluten-free cinnamon (McCormick brand) - Learn more about spices

1-teaspoon gluten-free, aluminum-free baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

1-teaspoon gluten-free chocolate extract

¼ teaspoon of sea salt

Optional: add 1 cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips for extra sweetness.


1.    Vent the squash (poke several holes with a knife), the roast the squash whole at 425 degrees for about 1 hour or until a knife easily pierces through the center.  Cool.  Cut In half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Then scrape out the flesh into a measuring cup.
2.    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3.    Grease a 12 muffin tin with coconut oil, or use paper muffin cups
4.    In a food processor (this works better for paleo than a blender) combine the squash, banana, almond butter, flax seed mixture, honey, and coconut oil. Add the vanilla and chocolate extracts. Blend well.
5.    In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut flour, raw cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt, then add it to the wet ingredients and blend well.
6.    Scoop into the muffin cups filling to the top.
7.    Bake for 35 minutes.  A toothpick will come out moist with a little crumble.

Let muffins cool, and then remove from tin and nom.

*Please note: coconut is a drupe, not a nut, but some people are allergic to coconut (and the oils), so please double check with your nut-allergic guest to be sure that they can eat coconut.


Writer, owner of Blue Pearl Strategies, and lover of all culinary delights, Elisabeth started The Tender Palate & Tender Foodie, for people with food allergies, sensitivities and intolerance. She believes that everyone should live deliciously and have a healthy seat at the table.


Recipe: Roasted Chili Chickpeas


Copyright Elisabeth Veltman

I was first introduced to roasted chick peas by Chef Jenna Arcidiacono when I was looking for a high protein late night snack.  She sent me a link to a recipe, and since there were a few ingredients I could not ingest, I re-invented.  So, voila!  These little babies are quick, easy to make and carry; and are a hit at a party.   Plus, if you are like many Tender Foodies who can't eat safely off of the buffet table, you can eat what you have brought, without having to keep meat in your purse or back pocket.


See Also

Six Tips to Sticking to Your Eating Plan During the Holidays

Top 10 HIdden Sources for Holiday Gluten



2 33 – oz cans chick peas (garbanzo beans)

2 TBS chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS salt (adjust salt to taste)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

2 TBS low salt gluten-free tamari sauce

6 TBS olive oil


1. Want more heat?  Add 1/2 TBS of Ancho chili powder

2. Want even more heat?  Add an additional 1/2 TBS of Chipotle chili powder

3. You can also add finely minced garlic (3 cloves)

If needed, you could add a little more olive oil if the marinade gets too thick.



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse well & drain the chick peas.  Set aside.  Whisk the spices, GF tamari, and olive oil in a bowl. (Mix in optional garlic).  Add the chickpeas and mix until well coated.

Place the coated chick peas in one layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Roast for 45 minutes.  Stir half-way through from outside in and re-spread into one layer.  Serve immediately hot or can be served cold the next day.


FOOD: This marinade is too good to waste.  So toss some roasted turkey or chicken in the bowl (pictured:  Applegate Farms sliced turkey) and coat it with the left over "sauce".  Then make a gluten-free sandwich (see my favorite breads here).  Yum.  I think I'll try this as a pre-grill marinade for chicken.  What do you think?

TIME:  save time by roasting some squash, along with the chickpeas!



Top 10 Hidden Sources for Holiday Gluten



With December in full swing, holiday parties abound as the perfect event to put a little cheer into dreary weather. Those of us with gluten allergies are well-versed in avoiding party foods that obviously contain gluten—like gingerbread cookies, pie, crackers and bruschetta. But what about the foods that you might think are safe and free of gluten?

It may come as a surprise, but gluten can masquerade under different names (hydrolyzed vegetable protein, monosodium glutamate, barley malt extract, modified food starch, and many more). And even more shocking are the products that might contain one of these forms of gluten, so I've compiled this list of foods to beware at your next holiday party. Your best odds are to bring your own dish to share, (or eat beforehand, so you're not tempted at the party).


The Top 10 List!

1. Swedish Meatballs: Most premade meatballs are mixed with breadcrumbs or flour as an inexpensive way to stretch the meat. And that's not even considering the gravy the meatballs are doused with. If you aren't completely certain about the ingredients, your best bet is to just stay away.

2. The Meat and Cheese Platter: Many deli meats contain natural and artificial flavors (including those which include gluten). I have unwittingly consumed gluten-laden turkey, not realizing that the "natural juices" that it was marinated in contained MSG.

3. Candied Nuts: Most times these should be gluten-free, but I have seen packages of candied nuts that contained maltose (which may be derived from barley, which is not gluten-free). Of course, if you make a giant batch yourself, you can control what ingredients you use, and as a bonus, a tin or bag tied with a ribbon full of candied nuts makes a lovely hostess gift.

4. Bloody Marys: Some brands of Bloody Mary Mix (ahem... Mr. & Mrs. T) are not gluten-free. Whether the gluten is from the caramel color, the disodium guanylate, the autolyzed yeast extract, or something else I can't pronounce, let alone spell, I do not know. But if you're craving a Bloody Mary, make it with pure tomato juice or V8, which is gluten-free.

5. Bacon-Wrapped Little Smokies: Whenever my friends Rob and Amy host a party, there is a crockpot full of bacon-wrapped little smokies. And no matter how good it smells, with its brown sugary, bacony goodness, I stay away. Why? In this case, the source of gluten is likely not the bacon, but the ingredients in the little smokies sausages, or the sauce that it contains (soy sauce, worchestire sauce, and smoke flavoring all contain gluten of some kind, unless made gluten-free). And because the holidays are such a busy time of year, I don't have weeks to recover from ingesting gluten. So I smell but don't taste.

6. Cheese-Flavored Popcorn: Do you remember those Christmas tins of 3 different flavors of popcorn? When I was a kid, I adored these, alternating between the caramel and the cheese corn (Chicago style!). But as I went gluten-free and started reading labels carefully, I realized that not all cheese popcorn is created equal. And while there are brands out there that are gluten-free, there are also those the use MSG (or other gluten-containing ingredients) as an inexpensive way to flavor.

7. Fudge: Two years ago, I was tossing back fudge at a holiday party, not thinking twice about it. I had surveyed the buffet and pegged the homemade (though not by me) fudge as one of the safe items for me to eat. It was lightly spiced, like chai, and I was enjoying my 5th piece when the hostess came up to me and said, "Do you like it? Its gingerbread fudge! I crumbled up gingerbread cookies into fudge as I poured it into the pan!" Needless to say, the gingerbread cookies were not gluten-free, and because I had failed to ask questions (or avoid the buffet altogether), I had to cut short my time at the party.

8. Candy Canes: Most—but not all— candy canes are free of gluten (and dairy)! This is one of the safer items, but it's still best to check the package ingredients and brand before you accept that peppermint hot chocolate, or unthinkingly stick a candy cane in your mouth. I know Bob's, Spangler's and Hammond's all make candy canes that are free of gluten. But read ingredients anyway.

9. Eggnog: When made from scratch, eggnog should be gluten-free, containing only cream, milk, sugar, eggs, nutmeg and flavorings such as bourbon, rum or vanilla.I have, however, seen some of the carton-ed stuff containing wheat flour, presumably as a thickener. Like candy canes, eggnog should be safe, but read labels to be sure.

10. The Dip on the Veggie Platter: Usually a ranch dip accompanies pre-made veggie trays, and chances are fair that the dip contains gluten. By all means, eat the vegetables, but unless you know for sure the dip is okay, it is safer to avoid. And this isn't even considering a cutting board that has already been used to cut bread and other gluteny items and thus is subject to cross-contamination. It is always safest to bring something you made yourself, but then make sure you serve yourself first. I've been to plenty of parties where a congregation around the food table means hungry (and unthinking) guests use the pasta salad spoon to also dish up "safe" fruits (thereby contaminating the most innocuous seeming item at the party—the fruit platter).


Before you Party...

Holiday parties mean temptation in the form of food and drink aplenty. To stay safe, read labels, bring your own food, or, do as I do now: eat beforehand so you can make smart decisions and not graze mindlessly at the party. Have a small meal with protein and fat (like almond butter on an apple, or a coconut milk smoothie) before you head out the door. You'll be eating something you know is gluten-free and safe for you, the lack of starchy carbs means you won't feel bloated at the party, and the protein and fat will keep the pangs of hunger at bay so you're not tempted to indulge in something that looks safe, but might not be. This is also the best way to make sure I can still fit into all my party clothes after the new year!

Happy holidays!


A note on MSG from Elisabeth


We had a reader question about whether or not MSG (monosodium glutamate) is gluten-free.  There is a lot of chatter on different sites about MSG, and MSG can come from a variety of sources like corn, sugar beets and wheat.  Many sources say that MSG in the US is rarely made from wheat today (or that the protein is distilled/process out of the end-product, and the purity of any distillation is also of some debate), but I have no evidence of that either way right now.  Also, I double-checked with Kyra, who, as a pastry chef works closely with her ingredients and their sources.  She said that she included MSG as something to beware of, in part because her own reaction to it mimics her reaction to gluten, but mainly because there are food processors that use MSG as a flavoring.  More importantly,  even if the processor is a US company, they don't necessarily strictly use US ingredients: she's worked in places that have sourced their ingredients from Asia, where the MSG may or may not be derived from wheat.

Whether derived from wheat or not, MSG does, however, cause reactions in many people such as nausea, headaches, lightheadedness and heart palpitations or heart rate changes.  Though the FDA say it is a "safe" additive, enough people have an adverse reaction to it that is similar to an allergic reaction.  It is best to avoid MSG, esp. if you have allergies to its source product, or a reaction to the MSG itself. As Kyra told me, "its better to be safe than sick!"

Thanks to our reader for this question! 

~Elisabeth Veltman



Gluten-free Pastry Chef, Kyra Bussanich, of Crave Bake ShopKyra Bussanich is the owner of Crave Bake Shop, and the first gluten-free winner of the Food Network's Famed, "Cupcakes Wars".  Kyra graduated with honors from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu patisserie program, which gave her a solid foundation of knowledge about classical French baking techniques which she was able to apply toward baking gluten-free.  Kyra was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder when she was 20 years old. Part of staying healthy meant switching to a gluten-free diet, avoiding all wheat and overly processed foods. Whenever possible, she uses local ingredients, and serves customers with multiple allergies, as well.


More About & From Kyra



Roasted Sweet Potato Chips with Nutmeg & Cinnamon


This is the ultimate, healthy, B, C, and A Vitamin, Beta-Carotene-loaded, and anti-inflammatory-ily spiced side dish.  The fat of the olive oil actually, according to Worlds Healthiest Foods, enhances your bod's ability to absorb the beta carotene.  Cinnamon is one of the most studied spices for its anti-inflammatory benefits, too.  Another side benefit of this side, is the sweet potato's high content of tryptophan, which might make those late night rummagings a sleep-supporting win. 

Plus, if you need some lovin', this recipe is a quickie. 


Preheat Oven to 425 degrees


2 large sweet potatoes

1-2 TBS of olive oil

1-1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt

3 tsp of cinnamon (approximate - size of potatoes vary a great deal)

1/4 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg (approximate - just kiss each potato as you grate the nutmeg on the top)


Combine & Roast

On a sheet pan, place a sheet of parchment paper.  I like to use parchment because it helps veggies brown and caramalize, saves the pan (and if you place it correctly, you don't have to wash the pan... shhhh.  Don't tell anyone).

Slice the sweet potatoes to be about 1/4 inch thick for soft potatoes and quite thin for actual chips.  The thinner you slice them, the crispier the potato chips will be.   Both are really good.

Place the chips on the parchment lined pan, then pour about 1 TBS of olive oil in your hand.  Massage the oil over each sweet potato chip - tossing with your hands.  Then sprinkle the salt evenly over the chips, and again toss the chips in your hands to spread the salt to both sides of the potatoes.  Add more oil & salt if needed - depending upon the size of your tubers.

Evenly space the potatoes on the parchment - you want each chip's little bottom to be on the parchment (don't double up).  this way the bottom will be browned.  Sprinkle the cinnamon evenly over the top of each chip.  You can use a sifter to be exact, if you like.  I tend to use my fingers to pinch a little over the top of each.  Then grate a kiss of fresh nutmeg over each chip.

Place into the pre-heated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes a great partner to soup or roast chicken, or your favorite gluten-free sandwich.



Add a pinch of cayenne to your cinnamon for a little kick.  Thanks Marti & Lori!



According to FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network), Is nutmeg safe?

"Nutmeg is obtained from the seeds of the tropical tree species Myristica fragrans. It is generally safe for an individual with a tree nut allergy."