Hey all, Happy Monday to you! I am going to start off this post asking you to bear with me today as I get a bit off topic. Of course, you can always just feel free to just skip ahead to the recipe, while I rant. I have just had so much on my mind these past few weeks as I work my way through this elimination diet, as well as the several other transitional journeys I have found myself embarking on.
Something that has been weighing heavily on me is the idea of identifying yourself with certain traits or the things that you think make you, who you are. What we think people see when they look at us. Our ego. We all have many traits that we identify with. Maybe it’s your job or career path, maybe you are always the funny one in a group, maybe it’s you identifying with being quiet and shy or eating a certain way – whatever. With my diagnosis late last year of IgA Nephropathy, an autoimmune form of kidney disease and now being in the first rounds of this elimination diet, these together have caused me to challenge much of what I have always identified with.
Although I have had the restriction of gluten on my diet for over 10 years, I have still always identified with being a non-picky eater. For the most part I would try anything once (as long as it was safe), I was continuously up for checking out new restaurants and I was always happy to go with the flow of whatever food situation I was in, hanging with vegans, being around paleo folks and so on. I had gotten into a nice routine of knowing what was safe for me and how to communicate what I needed in a very clear and quiet way. Without passing judgement, I always truly felt bad for those that have a laundry list of restrictions (self imposed or otherwise), where going out to a restaurant or someone’s home becomes a hassle and every meal, a massive challenge. I have always been so grateful that beside the many, fairly simple, self-imposed restrictions I’ve put on my diet and of course, gluten – I would never ruin other people’s experience, I felt like I could keep it to myself and I could always find something I could eat, almost anywhere.
This elimination diet for me, which currently is no gluten (duh), meat, dairy, eggs and legumes, will continue to change and evolve as we work towards finding what might be affecting my kidneys. I now find myself having to have full blown interrogative-style conversations with servers at restaurants, grilling them about every single ingredient. Rather than a democracy, I basically have to tell whoever I am going out to eat with, where we are going, because my options are so limited. I walk the aisles of stores having to rethink what I used to buy and I now have to look at meal planning in a whole new way and sadly my husband is collateral damage to all of this. Though I have certainly been here before and for now, the extremity of the situation for me, is theoretically temporary, I also know for many of you this is normal, every day life! So, I hope you don’t confuse this as a complaint against dietary restrictions, but more I hope you take away the challenge in changing what we know, breaking habits and being forced to look beyond the outward of what we cling to.
Throughout this process, I have also found myself feeling vulnerable and weak, it took me forever to even be able to tell people about my diagnosis. I feel like people expect for me to be the picture of health, I am so careful and mindful about every single thing I consume, I talk a big game about how important it is to know where your food comes from, avoiding processed foods, opting to make things yourself and taking control of your health with your diet. Now somehow, here I am, the one diagnosed with kidney disease and battling a slew of random symptoms from taking a few rounds of pharmaceuticals. I have always prided myself on taking control of my health and avoiding crazy treatments or drugs and those closest to me could see the changes in my health from where it was before, to where it was after years of eating mindfully. So, you can imagine the discouragement I felt with this diagnosis. I truly felt like I had lost a sense of who I was.
I am very fortunate, as a blogger, to have the opportunity to sample and test out many different gluten-free cookbooks, of all different types from a variety of different sources and authors. Generally, I am always very happy with them and so excited with in the 9 years I have been gluten-free, how far recipe development has come. The things people are doing in their gluten-free kitchens now, blows my mind. I can honestly tell you that when I first went gluten-free – 9 years ago, I honestly never thought some of what is being made now, even the things that I am making and creating, were ever even possible.
Bread is something that I have just come to accept as something that will never be the same for me. It has come a very long way in the 9 years I have been eating gluten-free, but I still generally find it to all to just be – OK. I have made a few good recipes here and there, there are some decent store-bought brands that are OK when I am really craving a sandwich, but by-in-large, I tend to just avoid it and not go out of my way. What’s the point?
When America’s Test Kitchen contacted me, with an exclusive invitation to check out an advanced copy of their latest creation – The How Can It Be Gluten-free Cookbook – I, of course, instantly and happily obliged. I was so excited to try out their recipes and share one with you. As an industry standard, America’s Test Kitchen works recipes to utter perfection, sampling, testing and playing around until they get it just right. This cookbook is literally the results of a yearlong gluten-free odyssey in the Test Kitchens.
America’s Test Kitchen Revolutionizes Gluten-free Cooking
Not only did America’s Test Kitchen send me the book to test out and review, but they also sent a large container of their pre-made custom created all-purpose gluten-free flour blend to bake with. So, in addition to this incredible gluten-free sandwich bread recipe, I am also sharing their easy-to-make, economical gluten-free flour blend recipe and a simple sandwich that I am obsessed with, don’t get very often and had to make with this yummy bread. Oh, and one lucky Tasty Yummies reader will receive a copy of The How Can It Be Gluten-free Cookbook. See the bottom of this post for the giveaway.
My favorite thing about this amazing cookbook is the fact that America’s Test Kitchen knows not every reader will want to make a homemade blend, they evaluated all the leading store-bought options and found two commercial blends (King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill) work well in all of their recipes, too. The recipes include everything from foolproof bread, cakes, cookies, pie crust, pizza dough, weeknight dinners, and even fried chicken.
Besides being filled with amazing recipes, The How Can It Be Gluten-free Cookbook helps readers understand gluten-free baking and cooking, with an extensive section in the front of the book explains the science of gluten as well as breakthrough strategies that every gluten-averse cook should utilize.
Finally, you’ll learn what to stock in a gluten-free pantry and the very best ways to cook many familiar (and not so familiar) gluten-free grains. With The How Can It Be Gluten-free Cookbook, you’ll acquire more than just recipes that will amaze your family and friends: You will also get a valuable education in gluten- free cooking and baking.
Just an FYI for you 100% dairy-free folks, as someone that generally tries to avoid dairy when I can, many of the recipes in this book, including this bread recipe and even their flour blend, do include dairy. So, keep that in mind if you need to be dairy-free. They offer dairy-free subs in many cases, but I did think it was worth mentioning. For this particular bread, I went with goat milk dry milk powder in the actual bread recipe, since that is what I keep on hand for baking and it worked great. But, since I can consume dairy as long as not in large amounts or too regularly, I decided to keep the butter and use their blend as-is.