News from RYZE Gluten Free
May is Celiac Awareness Month – YAY!
If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you know a strict gluten free diet is a must. Sure, it’s a major lifestyle change, but it’s not all that difficult these days. So many gluten free choices are at your fingertips – prepared foods, restaurant menus and baking ingredients galore!
Best yet, most of us notice an improvement in our health within weeks of removing gluten from our diets.
We have medical research to thank for better testing and protocols that make it easier to diagnose Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity. Celiac Awareness Month celebrates those medical advances. It also draws attention to the fact that celiac disease, an autoimmune condition, is hereditary. One in 133 Americans have this disease. Less than 25% have been diagnosed! (There’s more work to be done.)
Because this is hereditary, there’s a 1 in 20 chance that, if you have celiac disease, your first-degree relatives (siblings, children and parents) will have the disease too. During May, why not suggest that they get tested? Symptoms can range from digestive issues to anemia; from osteoporosis to neurological problems. Roughly a third of people with celiac disease will have no symptoms at all. A simple blood test can determine if they have celiac disease. Great information can be found on the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center web site. (http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/)
Back to the food; yes, it’s all about food! Celiac Disease is the only medical disease treated completely with diet. Imagine, a gluten-free brownie or a slice of pizza is your prescription for good health. If you have to take medicine, why not make it a decadent chocolate brownie?
So, celebrate Celiac Awareness Month with great gluten-free treats. Let RYZE Gluten Free steer you toward delicious home-baked goodies with flours blends that make it easy to turn family favorite recipes into gluten-free makeovers.
May is a Month for Food Celebrations
Mother’s Day & Scones. At RYZE Gluten Free, we are celebrating this month with scones and a salute to Moms everywhere. Make up a batch of delicious scones as a treat for Mom on Mother’s Day. You’ll find several recipes on our web page. They are easy and the dough can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. Just bake and serve to Mom on her special day. Add a pot of coffee or tea and you have a breakfast fit for royalty. Or take your celebration to the next level – let’s hear it for Breakfast in Bed for Mom (hint, hint)!
Picnics round out the final days of May. Think of Memorial Day weekend as the official start to outdoor dining, pot luck barbecues, and camping.
These relaxing outdoor events would not be complete without cookies and brownies (see recipes at ryzeglutenfree.com). However, don’t relax too much before you scan the food table for gluten opportunities. Pot luck picnics and barbecues can be the harbinger of gluten pitfalls and cross contamination.
As much as it would be nice if everyone labeled the food they bring to a picnic, that is not usually the case. Try to pair guests with their dishes before they become separated. Ask about the contents of the food they brought. It’s great if some are knowledgeable about the gluten-free diet. If in doubt, avoid those other dishes and stick to what you brought. Be first in line and load up on your food and other safe items like cheese and fruit salad before spoons get mixed up and the double-dipping begins.
If you are attending a barbecue, bring safe hot dogs, chicken or beef (in your own marinade) and your own barbecue sauce. Be first in line at the grill. Clean the grid carefully before grilling meats or buns and be sure to stay close by while your food cooks so no one sprinkles hamburger bun crumbs on your grilled chicken! If it’s not possible to clean the grill, cook your food on a sheet of aluminum foil.
From Breakfast-On-the-Run to High Tea: May is Brought to you by Scones
Make Great Scones Every Time
Easy and elegant, scones are a little like biscuits, but sweeter, more versatile and with a finer (think moister) crumb. Filled with dried or fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, or even cereal, there are endless treats in store once you apply a few basic baking tips.
Try your hand at savory scones, too. Herbs, chopped ham, bacon and cheese are wonderful additions. Enjoy scones plain or serve warm with softened butter or fresh preserves.
Making perfect gluten-free scones requires following a few tips.
Tips for Perfection
- Use cold butter straight from the fridge. Sometimes, especially when the weather is warm, you can cut the butter and freeze it for 10 minutes before using.
- Hands Off! Don’t touch the mixture with your hands. The warmth will melt the butter, make the mixture more homogeneous, and cause the baked scones to be heavy and dense. Okay, you need to handle it a little bit to nudge the dough into a ball or rectangle. But don’t be tempted to mix the dough to much. Pieces of butter and fruit should still be visible.
- Use a food processor, if you have one, to combine the butter and flour. It makes the entire process sooooooo easy and your warm fingers can wait for the baked goodies to come out of the oven.
- Dump the lightly mixed dough on a lightly-floured counter or sheet of parchment paper. The dough should feel a little crumbly and a little tacky. If it’s too wet, the scones will be heavy and dense.
- Press the dough into a one-inch or 3/4 -inch thick block and either cut into squares, wedges, or rounds. Gently flip onto a baking sheet using a rubber spatula.
- Scones are best when enjoyed straight from the oven and smeared with lots of butter and jam. But, as delicious as these are, you might not be able to eat an entire batch in one sitting. Instead, freeze some of the scones before they are baked so you can enjoy a freshly baked scone whenever the mood strikes you.
- Dust the Fruit. For more even distribution, lightly coat small chunks of fruit with gluten-free flour blend before folding them into the batter.
- Avoid Soggy Scones. Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.
- Making scones kind of feels like cheating as they taste so good but are really easy to make if you follow these tips.
Scones can be formed into circles as they are in the Cherry Almond Scones or cut into triangles, like the Cinnamon Raisin Scones. They can be formed into a square and cut into squares like the Hawaiian Scones or dropped as rounds as they are in the grab-and-go Breakfast Cookies. The dough can also be scooped, dropped and pressed as it is in the Lemon Raspberry Scones or baked in one giant scone that is scored into wedges that you finish cutting after baking as we’ve done with the Maple Peach scones.
Once you have a great recipe and a flour blend you like, it’s easy to vary your scones by simply adding chopped fruit, coarsely chopped toasted nuts or orange zest and orange extract or juice. Whether you already have that secret recipe or you use our recipes at ryzeglutenfree.com, follow our suggestions to guarantee perfect scones every time.