Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gluten-Free Recipe: Quinoa Meatloaf

Gluten-Free Quinoa Meatloaf
Gluten-Free Quinoa Meatloaf
Gluten-Free Quinoa Meatloaf Recipe: A delicious, moist, and health-oriented Meatloaf variation using Ground Turkey and Quinoa and other gluten-free diet favorites to lower-fat, increase fiber, and maximize flavor! This recipe my wife created a while back produces my favorite meat loaf ever! It is wheat-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and transforms the traditional meatloaf recipe into one that yields fulfilling meal, perhaps even for those people who do not ordinarily care for meat loaf - all while also preserving the essence of what a meat loaf is all about.

I have always loved a great meatloaf, but did not have the occasion to enjoy a great one since starting a gluten-free diet, simply because of the fact most traditional meat loaf recipes rely on bread or breadcrumbs as fillers. To accommodate Celiac Disease diet requirements, as well as satisfy my own love of a great meatloaf, my wife created this wonderful wheat-free glutenfree version of meatloaf using quinoa instead of bread. I already absolutely love quinoa, and the result is an amazingly moist and delicious meatloaf that is significantly lower in fat and calories than a traditional meatloaf.

It also adds a bit of extra inventiveness in the form of health-friendly fiber via either Inulin (i.e., ground chicory root), or Benefiber (brand) dietary aid. I wanted to point out here that although Benefiber is wheat-dextrin, it is labeled Gluten-Free and considered Gluten-Free because wheat-dextrin does not contain any of the gluten-proteins that are at the source of reaction-problems for people with Celiac Disease. If you feel more comfortable choosing a filler that is not a wheat-derivative in any way, go with the Inulin, or perhaps omit completely if you desire.

The recipe is versatile too. Instead of forming the combined ingredients into a meat loaf, you can just as easily create hamburgers using the same recipe and topping (pan fried on the stove). My wife has tested the recipe on a wide range of people that have been absolutely amazed at how delicious and moist and flavorful meatloaf can be, and at how healthy it can be at the same time. I certainly appreciate it when a recipe is both delicious AND more healthy! And, at the advice of some people, this recipe has been entered into baking contests to show even more people how incredible a gluten-free meatloaf can be, whether they are are gluten-free / Celiac or not. It's always good to make recipes available that are friendly to everyone's diet (well, perhaps not for the vegetarians this time around, but for most everyone else).

Here is another LINK TO THE RECIPE over on our free gluten-free recipes library site: Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Meatloaf Recipe using Quinoa and Ground Turkey.

Enjoy! And, feel free to let us know what you think of this interpretation of "meatloaf" and how it compares to the ones you otherwise are used to or remember in your pre-gluten-free / Celiac days. Thanks.

Sorry my picture is not the best, as I think I chose a plate color that somewhat blends in with the meatloaf. But, you can see the texture of the loaf and the little quinoa grains in there if you look closely :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Copyrights and our Gluten-Free Recipes Book

I apologize in advance for what is undoubtedly to be an uncharacteristic discourse (or rant) for me...

I knew this would happen eventually - blatant copyright violations. Some people think that others' hard work should be FREE to them, and free to everyone. They themselves won't work for free, but expect the work product of others to be free and have no problem even claiming others' work as their own.

After just finding multiple recipes from our Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts book posted on the web and blatantly copied right from our book, I am nothing short of very upset. Copyrights mean nothing to some people it seems - which is perhaps why Hollywood and the Recording Industry keep suing people who copy their content on the web.

And, if copyright violation alone were not enough, one particular offender even claimed the recipes were her own creation! I'm sorry, I think NOT! My wife and I worked very hard, and spent years and many, many hours baking countless iterations of our recipes to get them right, and worked on them even to the point where some of our gluten-free cakes won baking contests (against "real" cakes). And now, I have others claiming our work as their own. It hurts. It really does.

We innovated, and poured our passion for excellent desserts into creating these recipes after I discovered I can not eat gluten. I refused to eat desserts that didn't taste like "the real thing" to me. So, after trying other recipes without success (in reaching that "real" status), we went against nearly all accepted "norms" for gluten-free baking at the time when we produced the recipes for our gluten-free desserts book, by first of all removing all *gums* from the recipes. This was almost unheard of prior to our book. We then broke out of the potato-starch and bean-starch mold, decided not to use "flour mixes", and instead treated recipes like any other non-gluten-free recipe (where each recipe uses a custom forumulation of ingredients).

We made use of Sweet Rice, sorghum, amaranth, and even some buckwheat in a few recipes -- things that now seem quite common, perhaps in part due to our contribution to gluten-free baking. We tested the recipes on non-gluten-free people, and entered baking contests with them. We created a book to make these recipes available to other Celiac Disease sufferers and gluten-free and wheat-free individuals, and tried to keep it affordable (especially given that it is full-color throughout, and we only can afford to print a couple thousand books at a time).

We have received many Emails since the release of our Gluten-free desserts book stating how much people appreciate the quality of the recipes and the color photography in the book, and I now have a waiting list for our "next book", which was to be the Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones book. But, fact is, when people simply post the recipes from our existing book on the web for all others to use freely without purchasing our book, our dessert book sales grind to a near halt. Thus, what is our incentive to create any MORE recipes when our existing ones are being copied without any compensation to us? I had even planned to give the next book away (as an "E-Book") to anyone who purchased our Desserts book. But, why bother? It'll just get posted on the web somewhere, so I might as well post it myself, or better yet, given my current state of mind, I should just stop working on it.

We laid out a fair amount of our own money to produce and print our gluten-free recipe book - not some big "corporation, but WE personally. We have yet to break even on this investment, and with our recipes being copied freely now, we may never do so. We invested our time, money, and determination to "get it right". We sell the books directly, so we know exactly who has and has not purchased them for 90%+ of the books out there, and that makes it even tougher when I see the recipes posted by people that never purchased our book. This makes me wonder how widespread the copying problem is!

I don't know why some people apparently have no problem affecting the livelihood of those that work hard to create great recipes and copyrighted content. And, I now direct these next bullet points at only those that think it fine to post our recipes and copyrighted material online in violation of the DMCA and other existing laws...
  • What price for our book, other than FREE, would be low enough that you would purchase it instead of copying it?
  • Do YOU work for free?
  • Can I copy YOUR work or steal your assets you worked hard to create, without you gettting upset?
  • Is it not enough I post various free recipes on this blog and on my recipe-library page?
  • Do you know some good lawyers? I sure hope so, because I do, and my close friend from college is one that just loves helping me out with various "issues".
I am usually upbeat and try to be helpful to the entire gluten-free community, but at the moment I am distraught and in jeopardy of losing interest in posting information helpful to the Celiac and Gluten-Free community. But, I realize that many of my readers DO value the recipes my wife and I create, and the information we share on this blog, and I would be punishing those not responsible for the copyright issues if I was to just quit my blog and all of this gluten-free writing.

Perhaps my biggest mistake was thinking that problems like this would not diminish our efforts. But, such is. The world is now a different place than when I was young, and the lessons my parents and grandparents taught me about respecting the work of others is no longer a universal concept - especially when it is so easy for some exploit the Internet for purposes to the contrary.

So, I am in one really screwy state of mind right now, and am on the edge of saying to heck with it all. What can I do? I could start selling my book on Amazon or Borders or such just to get more exposure, but how does that avoid the problem? Sure, Amazon will discount it considerable. Is that all I need to do? Will that stop people from copying the content? Sadly, I fear it would make little difference aside from me selling more books at lower margin (break-even if I was lucky). Or, perhaps I should just sell the full rights to my books and let some big publisher or corporation deal with those who copy content -- ANY PUBLISHERS LISTENING OR READING THIS?... , now is your chance, while my mental state is "off".

Well, another option that I am considering is a simple one: no more printed copies of the book. Those of you with printed copies of my Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts book may end up with collectors' items as the book goes out of print when I sell the last of my current inventory. I can not afford the risk of printing thousands of books to have them sit here as the recipes in the book are posted on the web by those who have no problem with such actions.

Now, to all of you that have purchased our book and have resisted the urge to post the recipes and baking instructions all over the web, THANK YOU!!

And, I realize that even with a money-back guarantee on our book, you all had to "take a chance" with an unknown and find out for yourself that our recipes are really wonderful and are as close to the "real" desserts as any can be. Perhaps if we didn't completely suck at marketing, we'd be out there on the television shows, radio, or whatever, getting the word about our recipes and our book around. But, neither my wife nor I is interested in doing so, and as such, it is just word of mouth we will continue to rely on. So, THANK YOU to all who have spread the word about our book too, while not just copying content!

Finally, in an effort to encourage purchase instead of outright theft via copying, I am considering dropping the price of the book down to where perhaps more will just buy it. I know such a move is in essence, irreversible, like selling through Amazon would be (they would instantly mark the book for 1/2 off). If dropping the price considerably would stop the copying, I would perhaps do so. But, if I do that, my current inventory of (printed) books will be the last - at least the last that *I* have printed, as it will be a money-losing proposition.

Anyone have thoughts on this they want to share? I welcome the input.

If you are interested in buying the book, please, don't order it without telling me what you think is a reasonable price first. I currently list the book for $29.95 + Shipping ($4.50 in USA). If that is, in your opinion, just too much to bear given high gas prices or anything else, just contact me.

Tell me what you think is reasonable, and/or what will prevent people from just copying the book contents on the web. I will give you a coupon-code to use towards a book purchase for your trouble, and with luck, I'll come out knowing whether I can do anything to minimize the copyright infringement activities through pricing / other changes.

Thank you. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Autism and Gluten-Free Diet

There has been a long-running debate in the Autism and Neurological Disorders community about whether adherence to a gluten-free and/or casein-free and/or whey-free diet is truly helpful to Autistic children and patients. We may soon finally see some definitive proof, or disproof, of whether the wheat-free, gluten-free, milk-free diet concept is advantageous or not, thanks to a clinical study underway at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at Houston, TX.

UT Houston researchers are studying diet in Autistic Children to discover whether there is a possible link between gluten and/or dairy products. This is supposedly the first double-blind clinical study to determine whether science can back the anecdotal claims of parents that posit how removal of gluten and/or dairy products from their kids' diets brings about positive change and improvement in symptoms. The study employs some investigative experts in the fields of gastroenterology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences.

Researchers acknowledge that a lot of children with autism present with gastrointestinal problems as well, but they currently lack any definitive scientific proof that these issues are directly related to brain development and resulting autism symptoms. So, this study will, in its first phase, enroll 38 autistic children between 3 and 9 years of age and try to elucidate the impact and influence that gluten and milk proteins effect on these children - if there is any correlation. Cosomorphin (a milk peptide) and gliadomorphin (a gluten peptide) are targets of the investigation, as they are thought to perhaps be related to behavioral changes in autistic children. Another aspect of this research will look into the intestinal permeability (leaky gut) issue to see how that concept interplays with autism and gluten / casein proteins.

I find this all quite encouraging, as it will certainly help shed some light on the impact, or lack thereof, a gluten-free diet (and/or milk-free diet) for a "treatment" for autism. I tend to favor science fact over just observation, though I give credence to both, and I especially find *proper* scientific study (like this one, which is using a double-blind placebo controlled approach) useful in understanding and assessing the prospects of any treatments for any conditions.

I have had a fair amount of our gluten-free dessert recipe books sell to parents that say they are trying a gluten-free diet for their children and to (or through) medical professionals, especially allergists (wheat and/or gluten allergy treatment), dietitians, and doctors that treat autism. Just the anecdotal evidence of a fairly strong correlation between autism and celiac disease, as shared between families that have claimed successful outcomes and improvements in autism symptoms by applying a gluten-free diet, has been enough to create demand for our recipes book among this group of people.

And, though I certainly enjoy selling our books to people with autism, so their kids can enjoy great desserts while being free of gluten, I would love for there to be some scientific proof (by way of this and other double-blind scientific diet studies) to back their decision to implement a gluten-free diet for their autistic children too. I'm sure parents of kids with autism feel the same way. Well, stay tuned and hopefully the study results will be forthcoming in the next few months!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gluten-Free Breakfast the easy way

Although I love Homemade Gluten-Free BlueBerry Buckwheat Teff Waffles, and Buttermilk Millet Gluten-Free Waffles, and my Gluten-Free Diet Pancakes for breakfast, I also sometimes just have a taste for something quick and easy to make that delivers a bit more protein into the diet and incorporates some fresh vegetables and herbs at the same time.

Today's "gluten-free recipe" (so simple I hardly call it a recipe), is one of my favorite quick to prepare breakfasts that is nothing more than scrambled eggs with some fresh produce from our garden: cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano, and thyme. I think it takes me more time to walk outside to the garden and collect the ingredients than it does to actually cook the eggs :)

I like how colorful the end result is, and how the tomatoes and herbs bring a bit something extra to the recipe (over basic scrambled eggs). I'll vary the type of vegetables I add... sometimes onions and garlic, and other times some fresh cubed zuchini or white squash too. Recipe variations are rather easy to come by. And, this is certainly a recipe is has a low glycemic index, making it suitable for diabetics or blood-sugar concerns too.

I don't concern myself with the cholesterol in the eggs either, as I eat so little in the way of cholesterol containing foods otherwise, it just isn't going to make any difference in my gluten-free diet.

The garden produces everything I need except for the eggs, and though I wouldn't mind raising some chickens for the eggs, our city has ordinances in place where we have to get written "approval" from our surrounding neighbors, and I don't want to deal with that particularly. Hmmm... maybe an Ostrich would be a neat way to get some eggs? :) Actually, I see those giant eggs at Whole Foods (for something like $20!!), and can't help wondering what they taste like. But, that is a bit out of scope for now, and I will stick to my simple chicken eggs and garden vegetables.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gluten-Free Recipes : Pumpkin / Tomato Soup

This is a continuation on the recent series of Gluten-Free Blog postings I have featured here using recipes that put our annual garden harvest to use in delicious and healthy gluten-free diet delights.

Today's post is combines our recent very versatile tomato, onion, peppers, basil, and garlic "base" recipe with another long-time gluten-free favorite (and highly versatile) vegetable: pumpkin! Our garden produced everything but the pumpkin for the recipe... our zuchini and white-squash and other squashes could be used instead perhaps, but pumpkin was my choice of the moment, and I had some left in the freezer from last year still that I wanted to use up. So, here is the result.

This "gluten-free recipe" is about as easy as it gets, presuming you have had created the constituent recipes - baked pumpkin and the fresh tomato and vegetable base recipe - from earlier :)

If not, don't worry, you can achieve a similar outcome (well, sorta), using a jar of your favorite gluten-free pasta sauce (and perhaps some added vegetables and herbs) along with pumpkin puree. The only problem with using canned pumpkin instead of preparing your own baked fresh pumpkin puree, is the texture will not quite be the same. Perhaps the close-up picture from my prior posting on gluten-free pumpkin "pasta" will make that evident, as you can see the fibrous nature of the cooked pumpkin that I'm using for this latest pumpkin/tomato/vegetable and herb soup/stew (pictured here).

Aside from just combining the pumpkin with the tomato "base" recpe, I add some hot red-pepper flakes to my version of the recipe, to give it a bit of extra zing. But, you can certainly season as you like. It is a super-healthy low glycemic-index soup that is quite flavorful! You don't taste pumpkin much per se, as the tomato and peppers, onions, basil and garlic tend to provide the bulk of the flavor in this recipe. But, the pumpkin adds some heartiness and makes for a recipe that is just a bit different.

This is a great way to use all that cooked pumpkin up that we freeze every Fall. After a year, I am *just* finishing up eating the 60 pumpkins we cooked and froze the flesh/pulp from last year. And, I just purchased the first of this year's harvest that I now need to bake and start freezing again: 15 pumpkin-pie pumpkins for $7.50 direct from a nearby farm. Wonderful!

Again, these very affordable (50cents each!) pumpkins have made for wonderful recipes all year round, whether for gluten-free pumpkin-roll cake, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin "pasta", gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin cake or this current recipe for pumpkin soup/stew. I hope you are able to enjoy these recipes as much as we do!