Every Friday during Celiac Awareness Month I am profiling some great gluten-free food bloggers! While I focus The Savvy Celiac on news and lifestyle, you won’t see many recipes here. I leave the creativity to folks like Linda Etherton. Her website The Gluten-Free Homemaker has fabulous dishes for any meal you might make. Just this month she highlighted gluten-free options for Cinco de Mayo and there’s still time for you to take a look at her chocolate treats for Mother’s Day!
The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Linda Etherton suffered with weight loss and constipation before she was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2000. “Because I had constipation rather than diarrhea, it threw the doctors off,” Etherton said. “After finding out I had an uncle with celiac disease, I looked into it and knew that was the problem. I pushed for the endoscopy, and in the end the GI doctor said, ‘I should give you your money back. You diagnosed yourself’.”
With Etherton’s desire to help others with the same diagnosis, she started The Gluten-Free Homemaker in 2008. She also co-hosts Gluten-Free Wednesdays with Gluten-Free Easily, All Gluten-Free Desserts (owner Shirley Braden profiled here last week) and Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, a blog carnival that allows people to share great gluten-free recipe ideas every week.
With all of the profiles this month, including Etherton’s, I have few standard questions. Her answers might make us feel a little more comfortable in the kitchen.
What are her must-have ingredients in the kitchen? “A few years ago I might have said something like rice flour,” Etherton said. “Now I’m actually eating grain free, and while I still use gluten-free grains to bake for my family, I don’t use them as frequently. Instead, I’m more focused on eating naturally gluten-free foods. So rather than worrying about spending extra time and money on specialty gluten free items, make sure your kitchen is stocked with naturally gluten-free foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, nut butters, hummus, yogurt, eggs, etc.”
What is her favorite tool in the kitchen? “I really couldn’t live without my KitchenAid mixer. I use it when cooking too. It’s great for shredding cooked meat as well as combining uncooked ingredients for meatloaf, meatballs, and homemade sausage,” Etherton said.
What is your biggest gluten-free mistake? “For a long time I really really wanted to make a full size loaf of bread that would stand tall and stay soft without toasting for a few days. I tried many times and finally gave up. Even the very good breads out there for sale now are not big loaves. It just doesn’t work. So when baking bread for lunches, I learned to use a a flat bread recipe put into English muffin rings. It makes great buns which can be sliced horizontally and then used for sandwiches or burgers.”
Want to learn more about this flat bread recipe? Click here. They look yummy!
What is the best cooking/baking advice you can offer? “I started out using Bette Hagman’s cookbooks, which I borrowed from the library. I learned a lot from those books. Many of the recipes I eventually adapted, but they gave me a starting place. So my advice is, when starting out, follow recipes exactly. Then, once you know what the texture and consistency should be like, begin to experiment. There are many great cookbooks and blogs available. Make use of them.”
I would agree with her “following the recipes” tip. Take it from someone who can easily screw up cooking, until you really know how gluten free ingredients work, you probably want to go with tried and true recipes that work. Then, I would add, start thinking about making some substitutions to your favorite recipes.
You can find Etherton on social media as well: