Mission Statement

Living & Loving Gluten & Casein Free is an informative and creative blog to enlighten those facing the challenges of a Gluten Free Casein Free lifestyle! There are original recipes and other recipes I have acquired along my GFCF journey! With tips, tricks and modifications to enhance your recipes and entice your taste buds. Topics include trips to the grocery store to find the best products available, awareness of ingredient labels, money savings with on-line ordering and understanding and providing answers in overcoming your daily frustrations and challenges. The blog will also take on issues with eating out, family meals, children lunches, traveling and planning for meals on the go. Living & Loving Gluten & Casein Free is here to lend a hand and to demonstrate the most effective and delicious ways to cook GFCF and stay within your budget.

Cheers! Ashley Lyerly

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tortilla Pizza

Just ate a delicious Tortilla Pizza! Take my GF tortilla recipe and roll the tortilla balls out thicker, more like a thin crust pizza or pita bread. Make one big one or several small individual pizzas. Cook tortilla in a pan, top with sauce, Vegan mozzarella cheese, peperoni and bake for 10 minutes.  The vegan mozzerella comes in a block, you can get in the refrigerated soy section at Whole Foods and I can also find it at Hy-Vee.  Enjoy! Ashley

Gluten Free and some Casein Free Halloween Candy list!!

Great new website I found!  http://www.glutenfreechecklist.com/


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Newly Diagnosed-100 Day Kit

Marc and I had a wonderful night out, thanks for babysitting Heather! Dinner at Kona Grill--by the way they have allergy menus; Gluten Free and Peanut Free menus available.  Then we stopped in for a drink at 75th Street Brewery. Saw an old friend I use to work with and she told me that heir five year old will be getting diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum this Monday.  I forgot to mention to her to check out the Autism Speaks website for the 100 Day Kit and the Aspergers and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit for newly diagnosed families to make the best possible use of the first 100 days following diagnosis. 


Just one example of where all of fundraising efforts go to. The 100 Day Kit is also available in Spanish.

Please take advantage of all of these great resources!! And please anyone feel free to ask me any questions on my blog.  I may not know the answer but can probably point you in the right direction.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Product Update-Chocolate Cake Mix and Frosting

Mac's elementary schools 50th Anniversary is today, Marc and I are also Brookwood Beavers. I volunteered to bring cupcakes since I would have to bring a treat for Mac. I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with green vanilla frosting (green is the school color).  I headed off to Whole Foods after work yesterday to find that they had rearranged all the aisles and products. In my confused daze to try to find all my favorite products I stumbled upon the Gluten Free aisle. I couldn't find the Whole Foods 365 brand which is my favorite GF Chocolate Cake mix.  I asked a young kid that worked there and he said they had gotten rid of many products but had also got in a lot of new products. So I started my frustrated search for a new chocolate cake mix. Why do they take GREAT products away?!?!?!  Anyway, I wanted to find one that was close to the 365 brand. The 365 brand calls for buttermilk, obviously we can't have buttermilk but I replace that with canned coconut milk and it is delicious and moist. Then I found Gluten Free Pantry Decadent Chocolate Cake mix and the ingredients looked similar to the 365 brand.  I could make the same modifications; soy butter instead of butter, soy chocolate pudding, Egg Replacer and applesauce instead of eggs, and canned coconut milk instead of buttermilk. OK this looked like it might work! 

Needles to say I new it was going to be a long day. Got up at 530am for a run, worked all day, went to the grocery store, then would have to cook dinner, do homework with the boys, put them to bed, clean up the kitchen and then it would time to make cupcakes. When I went to grab the icing mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen, which I really like both the chocolate and vanilla (just add soy stick butter) I was excited to see an already prepared frosting under the same brand. The frosting mix is pretty easy but this was even better! 

Skip forward about three hours….the boys were in bed after several stern ‘Get back in bed, no talking, no touching, no spitting, no standing up or moving!’  You have to cover all the bases.  I started on the cupcakes and it all looked like it was going to be pretty close to the 365 brand cake mix. The 365 brand instructions read that after adding the last ingredient -buttermilk or in our case coconut milk, to beat on high for two minutes. This really gives it a rich, thick, mousse like texture. The Gluten Free Pantry brand did not say to do this but I did anyway. I turned out just like the 365 brand! I was very pleased with this new product and recommend to anyone. Now on to the frosting… that is a different story.

 I opened up the prepared icing and was disappointed to find a gluey consistency with a not so pleasant flavor.  I really like the frosting mix from this same brand, Cherrybrook Kitchen, both chocolate and vanilla. Luckily I had some of that same vanilla frosting mix that I had made a while back and froze my leftovers.  I defrosted overnight and worked perfectly for my Green Brookwood Beaver Frosting.  Happy 50th Brookwood!

In a Nut Shell
To save you from wasting $3.99 plus tax stick to the Cherrybrook Kitchen frosting mix for now, maybe they will improve the prepared frosting at some point.

A good chocolate cake mix in replace of the Whole Foods 365 is Gluten Free Pantry.  Remember after you add the coconut milk beat on high for two mintues!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Restaurants-Going out to Dinner Gluten Free Casein Free

We all like to go out to dinner and have someone else cook and clean up.  You still can living Gluten and Casein Free! You need to do some research, don't be afraid to ask questions, speak with the Chef or Manager and know your products.

Many restaurants now offer Gluten Free Items and/or have a Gluten Free Menu.  Larger chain restaurants usually have an 'Allergy' tab on their website with several different menus; Gluten Free, Peanut Free etc. We all like to support our local business-larger local restaurant groups and your small Mom and Pop eatery just around the corner.  If they do not have a website or any food allergy information it would be a good idea to call ahead and speak with a manager.  A good time to call is between two and four in the afternoon; after the lunch rush and before dinner.

Products to Question
Many times gluten and casein are in products you would never even suspect.  Feel free to ask someone in charge with anything you think is questionable. If it is a scratch or pre-made product the supervisor should be able to check what are in the ingredients. Here are some products to look out for when you are dining out.

Appetizers-For example, we were out to dinner and assumed the Fried Calamari dusted in corn meal was only corn meal. After we ordered we asked the server to double check. It ended up to be a mixture of flour and corn meal and it also had an egg and milk wash for battering.

Salads-Something really simple that I usually forget is to ask the server to leave the croutons off! Sometimes there are some many it is hard to pick them all out.

French Fries can have a coating on them to make them crispier and/or give them a texture. Many times this contains gluten.

Salad dressing can contain casein even if it is not a 'creamy dressing'.

Soups can contain flour to make the roux-thicken the soup. For example, you may not expect the Chicken Tortilla Soup to contain gluten and/or casein. There are some out there that don't but always double check. 

Seasoning can contain gluten. This is kind of a tough one so you can always just ask for your hamburger to be seasoned with salt and pepper.

Soy sauce has wheat in it and many times products are marinated in soy sauce.  One of my all time favorite Mexican restaurants no longer in town marinates its steak and chicken in soy sauce. Who would ever think that a Mexican restaurant was using soy sauce?

Vegetarian items can use gluten as a binder. I had a pre-made black bean burger and discovered it had wheat in the ingredients.

Meats can use gluten and casein as a binder. I had ordered a Pot Roast dish, asked a few questions and found out it was pre-cooked product. They checked the ingredients for me and to my disappointment it contained wheat.

Tortillas-Check that they are corn tortillas not flour.

Obvious words to look out for are breaded, battered, fried, sauteed, sauce, creamy, cheesy.

Bring your own
Now I am not saying bring your whole meal to a restaurant, that would be rude. But bring those items that will make your meal enjoyable. For my son Mac I will bring his soy cheese, GFCF flour tortillas and Vegan ranch dip.  Mac can't have ketchup or salsa so when we get him a burger patty or the basket of tortilla chips are placed in front of us Mac can enjoy them too!

Preparation of Menu Items
Don't be afraid to ask if the vegetables can be steamed instead of sauteed, or to leave the lemon butter off of your grilled salmon or to substitute a salad with your burger instead of the coated French Fries.

You will soon be more aware of what questions you need to ask and the products to look out for. This is just a start to your expanding knowledge of Living & Loving Gluten & Casein Free! 

Cheers! Ashley

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GFCF egg free Banana bread

1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg replacer
1 T applesauce
2 T canned coconut milk
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 cup GF flour
½ cup sorghum flour
 2 t baking powder
1 ¼ t cinnamon
1 t xanthum gum
½ t salt
3 bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 350 mix oil, brown sugar, egg replacer, applesauce, coconut milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients.  Grease a 9”x5” loaf pan, pour in batter (will be sticky and thick) sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
*Tip-The egg replacer, applesauce and coconut milk are all modifications for eggs.
*Tip-Sorghum flour is a sweet flour with hearty protein.  You can replace about 20-25% of regular  flour with Sorghum for delicious baked treats.


1 huge handful of baby Arugula
½ cup of frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen mango or peaches
1 banana
1 scoop acai or mango sorbet
½ cup mango juice
1 T agave syrup
Combine all ingredients in blender.  Add any supplements you would like!
Tip-Kids can’t tell they are getting their leafy greens or supplements!!

Sweet Sweet Mashed Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes
½ cup vegan sour cream
½ cup vegan cream cheese
½ cup soy butter
1½ T. salt
1 ½ T. Agave syrup*
1 t. cinnamon
Peel and cut up sweet potatoes into somewhat same sized 1” by 1” chunks.  Put in pot, cover with water and 1 t. salt. Boil until tender.  Heat up butter, sour cream and cream cheese for about 50 seconds in microwave. Add all ingredients to sweet potatoes and mash.  With electric mixer mix until smooth. 
Tip- Cut up extra sweet potatoes into cubes and freeze.  Fry up in coconut oil for some yummy sweet potato hash browns!
*Agave syrup is from the Blue Agave Plant. Tastes similar to honey but sweeter so you don’t need as much. Find in the baking aisle at Whole Foods and the Natural aisle at most grocery stores.

GFCF egg free meatballs

1 lb ground beef
½ cup gluten free bread crumbs
½ cup gluten free Italian bread crumbs*
½ cup olive oil
½ cup water
½ cup cooking wine
½ white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 T Italian seasoning
1 Egg Replacer
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and roll into meatballs, brown each side in oiled pan, bake in oven at 400 for 7-9 minutes. 
*Tip- The GF Italian bread crumbs add a nice flavor but not very breadcrumb like.  You also need the regular GF bread crumbs for the texture.

Stocking your GFCF Pantry

In this Introductory segment I wanted to discuss some of the products I use the most, what they are and where to find them.  This is a good place to start stocking your GFCF kitchen, you can always just start with your first recipe.  Buy the ingredients for that and then work your way to stocking a GFCF kitchen.

For those just starting out, Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in types of bread and many other non-wheat products-for example deli meat can have Gluten. Casein is a protein that is found in dairy and used independently in many foods as a binding agent-for example hot dogs can have casein.  Gluten and casein intolerances are prevalent with people on the autism spectrum and those with Celiac disease; which is a disorder with the inability to tolerate wheat protein (gluten).

All purpose GF flour-Many of uses for this. This is in the Gluten Free aisle at Whole Foods and I have been able to find it at almost every grocery store I have been to in the natural section. I use this in my GFCF Creamed Peas and Corn recipe!

Xanthum gum-I never used this before but I use it all the time now. It is expensive but will last you a long time as  you only need to use very small amounts.  It is used as a thickener and a binder, it gives dough or batter its stickiness that otherwise the gluten would give.  This is in the Gluten Free aisle at Whole foods and I have found in most regular grocery stores in the natural section.  I use this in my GF Flour Tortilla recipe.

Egg Replacer  -I use this in baking for egg substitute. I use applesauce and puddings a lot as egg replacement too. It mimics what eggs do in recipes, but is animal and dairy-free. The box contains the equivalent of over 100 eggs. For each egg called for in a recipe, simply mix 1-1/2 tsp of egg Replacer with 2 tbsp of water thoroughly, and add to batter/mixture. This is in the Gluten Free aisle at Whole foods and I have found in most regular grocery stores in the natural  section.  Read how I utilize this product in my GFCFEF meatballs recipe.

GF Pancake Mix-This is a great product-very versatile, you can find it in the Gluten Free aisle at Whole Foods and in the Natural aisle at your grocery store.  See how I modify the product for my Doughnut hole recipe.

Agave Syrup-It is a natural sweetener from the agave plant, it is like honey but sweeter.  It has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which is a measure of of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. This is found in the regular baking aisle at Whole foods and in the Natural section at your regular grocery store. Check out my Agave Mustard Baked Chicken or Soy Nut butter Rice Cereal bar recipe for applications!

Xylitol instead of sugar-it is an all-natural sweetener found in many fruits and vegetables. It tastes and looks like sugar. Because it is all-natural, it differs substantially from artificially created chemical sweeteners like Splenda®, and aspartame. It can be found on line, in the supplement aisle at Whole Foods and at a local grocery that has a larger natural section than most around here. Perfect modification for my GF Tortillas or my Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes.

Canned coconut milk-This is a great casein free alternative for many applications-it is dairy free, lactose free, soy free-for those that have soy intolerance, gluten free and certified vegan.  It is really thick and can substitute for cream.  Plus it is packed with vitamins, minerals. You can find it in the ethnic section at all grocery stores. Several recipes for this one; Spiral Rice Pasta with peas, ham and Casein Free Alfredo Sauce and Mini Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce and Coconut Whipped Cream!

Earth Balance Soy butter-I have only found at Whole Goods, they also have soy butter sticks for baking and soy free butter if you have a soy allergy. Check out different applications in my Casein Free Alfredo aSauce, Agave Mustard Baked Chicken and Mini Chocolate Cake.

Casein free soy cheese-I buy this at our regular grocery store in the refrigerated soy section.  This is one cheese that Mac likes that is casein free!  You have to always check labels, rice,  almond or soy cheese can all have casein in them unless they say they are vegan casein free. So check the labels. 

Vegan cream cheese and sour cream-Two other staples in our GFCF diets.  They can be found in the refrigerated soy section at both Whole Foods and your regular grocery store.  See my Sweet Sweet Mashed Potatoes recipe to see both of the these used and my creamy Vegan Ranch dip/dressing recipe.
I hope this gives you a good start on your GFCF journey!  Check out all of my recipes including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks and dessert!