Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vitamin D Deficient

This summer I have read article after article on the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiencies in American woman. We all know that calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, but vitamin D is important for calcium absorption. You don’t want your daily calcium coming from your bones so having the daily dose of calcium is so important to preventing osteoporosis. As a celiac, I have been very careful the past ten years to make sure I was getting plenty of calcium daily and doing weight bearing exercise for bone health.

I have never even worried about vitamin D because I am an outdoorsy person—tennis, swimming, walking—and I assumed I received plenty of vitamin D through sunlight. I am not a milk drinker, but I take a calcium supplement that has vitamin D in it.

I went in for some standard blood work for an upcoming physical and all was well, except my doctor said that I was vitamin D deficient! I guess the sunscreen I wear 365 days a year was really working. The funny thing is that I still have my “SPF 50” tan and the dermatologist still looks at me cross eyed when I walk in to her office with skin in a golden honey hue.

So to prevent one problem, I have created another. I guess that is the way it goes with health and prevention. Now I need to take even more vitamin D in supplement form and I’m trying to choke down a little more milk (yuck) every day. I don’t want to forgo my sunscreen though, having freckles removed is low on my list of fun things to do.

Kendall Egan

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dinner's ready, gluten-free that is!

As part of my plan to learn how to cook while home from college this summer, I attempted to prepare my first, real complete dinner meal last week.

I made Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce, which seemed like a good choice because I wanted something simple but more interesting than plain grilled chicken.

It was a bit of a risk because I get squeamish touching uncooked meat. Actually, once I see raw meat I have trouble eating it even after it’s cooked. I know that if I want to learn to cook – I’m not a vegetarian and don’t have trouble eating meat others make – I have to get over it.

I started preparing the meal around 4 pm, mixing together sauce and cutting the chicken while holding it down with a fork so that I didn't have to touch it. Then I put the raw chicken into a Ziploc bag with the sauce and refrigerated it. Two hours later I took out the chicken, stuck a few pieces together on skewers and put it on the grill. The recipe said to leave the chicken on for about four minutes, but I ended up keeping it there for close to twenty. With the chicken pushed together on skewers it didn’t cook as fast as the recipe said it would. When it was finally done, I spread on a peanut sauce I had made while the chicken was cooking.

For a side dish I made Hamburger Helper's gluten-free fried rice. I left out the chicken in the recipe on the box since I was serving it with the Chicken Satay. Overall I thought that the fried rice was pretty good.

The Chicken Satay was a little less tasty to me. If I ever make it again I would not put the chicken on skewers or add the peanut sauce at the end. The skewers took too much effort and time. While grilling the chicken, the skewers burnt and broke off so that I had the stick new skewers in most of the pieces at the end anyway. The sauce was a little too spicy and thick for me. Changing the sauce recipe by adding more water and less crushed red pepper could help fix that.

I made the dinner for my whole family and my mom said that she liked the meal a lot, but that might have had more to do with the fact that she didn't have to cook for once.

While the recipe was a change from plain chicken and rice, I can't say that I would definitely make it again. At school I know I would not have enough time.

But I did learn a few things, like the fact that sometimes you have to change a recipe a little to make it work for you. I also found out not everything will go smoothly.

Don't worry, though. I am not giving up in my attempt to learn how to cook. Next time I think I will stay away from meat – just not ready for it yet. I found a recipe for Spinach, Pear Panini that sounds pretty good. I’ll let you know my next experience in the kitchen goes.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Trend is “bite sized”

Small plates, tapas, bite sized portions are a huge trend right now. It could almost be called a “right sized” portion after years of “supersize me.” Pamela’s Products annual recipe contest for 2010 reflects this new idea by casting a net far and wide for gluten-free mini-creation using Pamela’s Products.

Scratch chefs have until August 16th at 11:59pm PST to submit new recipes using something from Pamela’s Products. Look to the website for the entry form,

Here is my idea…mini chipwhiches! I would use the Simplebites chocolate chip cookies and sandwich vanilla ice cream in the middle and roll the edges in mini-chocolate chips. Simple, bite-sized and delicious.

What I’m hoping is that someone submits a recipe for a slider bun. I think sliders are the most sublime bite size burger going. How fabulous does a mini-bacon cheeseburger with sautéed onions and a toasted bun sound? I’m sure more inventive people could come up with better toppings, but the novelty would be to enjoy a slider with a bun for a change.

Maybe even some maple-walnut silver dollar pancakes or a twist on mini-cupcakes….the possibilities are endless! We’ll know soon enough what bite sized entry captures the Pamela’s panel of judges’ taste buds. The recipes will be featured on the website and in the newsletter.

I can’t wait to find out who wins.
Kendall Egan

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gluten-Free Tastykake?!

I have exciting news for anyone who lives near a Rita's Italian Ice.
Rita's just introduced a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet cream ice flavor. And yes it’s……GLUTEN FREE!
The Rita's website does not have the allergen information for this flavor yet, but my summer job for the past few years has been serving up Italian ice on hot and sunny days so I was able to sneak a peek at the ingredients for the ice.
I was surprised that the Tastykake ice is gluten free because the Birthday Cake cream ice does have wheat flour in it. (Most Rita's products are gluten free besides the ices that contain things like cookies and the Blendini's that have cookies or pretzels. You can check most allergen information on their website.)
I’ve had never had a Tastykake before so I was very excited to go to work and taste one without the gluten and with a lot less of the fat and calories. I can’t tell you how close the taste is to an actual Tastykake, but the other ices associated with products, like the Swedish fish and Peeps ices, taste just like the real thing.
To me the Tastykake ice was creamy and sweet and that is how I imagine a butterscotch krimpet would taste.
Not all of the customers that I waited on loved it though. Some people thought it didn’t have a lot of flavor while others said it was too sweet.
You can taste the ice before you buy it. Just ask the worker waiting on you for a sample.
Let me know if you try the Tastykake Krimpet Cream Ice and how you like it!