Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Chili Fest A Success

A belated post after Hurricane Sandy.

Fun and great food were had by all at GIG's first Chili Fest on October 13th while listening to Ruby and the Diamond Kings.

A special thanks to our 6 entrants: Ellen Wasyl, Mary Anne McCarry, Lori Coco, Miriam Francis, Linda Lawton and the representatives of the Deep River Fire Department Carlos Uphold and Kevin Brewer.
Their entries varied widely including traditional beef and bean, turkey chocolate, butternut squash-white bean-chicken, and vegan black bean. All were enjoyed with corn bread donated by Pamela's (made by our GIG group volunteers), brownies donated by UDI's and coffee compliments of Westbrook Dunkin Donuts.

In the end it was a tie between the Deep River Fire Department's beef and bean chili and Miriam Francis's vegan chili.  Both taking home $300 a piece to support their respective organizations. Congratulation's to Carlos Uphold and Keven Brewer from Deep River and Miriam!

Friday, October 5, 2012

2012 Chili Fest - Volunteers Needed!

Saturday, October 13th 4 PM– 8 PM
1784 House at the Elks Lodge, Seaside Ave., Westbrook, CT
Celebrity judges will vote for the best chili!

Live music provided by
Ruby & The Diamond Kings

Tickets: $10 at the door, $8 in advance
Kids under 12 free!

Call 1-877-819-1820 or visit for more info.

Our first chili fest is just a week away, and your help is needed to help make this event a success! Whether you can come and help out for an hour, two hours or even the whole 4-8 hours, every set of hands will greatly be appreciated. We need help to sell tickets, collect tickets, stamp hands and refill baskets with corn muffins.

If you want to just come and have fun, enjoy the band, enjoy some chili (vegan and gluten-free included, plus a kid-tested one), come on down!

Please e-mail Sybil Nassau at if you can help.

And to those who have already volunteered, many thanks!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lunch and Learn Event a Success

Our September 15th Lunch event called Lunch and Learn: The Healthy Truth About Food, Medical Research, and Nutrition, with nationally known sisters, bloggers and cookbook authors Claudia Pillows, Ph.D and Annalise Roberts, had quite a turnout. 

The morning kicked off with a lecture and slideshow presentation by Dr. Claudia Pillows, followed by a catered lunch by La Piastra Restaurant in Cromwell, CT, then a cooking demonstration by gluten-free cookbook author Annalise Roberts.

Dr. Claudia Pillows
Photo by Kirsten Carbone
Dr. Pillows talked about achieving a healthy immune system through a balanced diet and some of the latest, most up-to-date information on what we know about celiac and gluten intolerance, while injecting a little food-for-thought humor into her slideshow, like the slide that said "If grain diets help you lose weight, why are they fed to the cows to fatten them?"  Dr. Pillows also talked out digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome and she referred to the Mediteranean food pyramid as a healthy alternative resource for basics on eating.

Annalise Roberts preparing samples of her gluten-free bread
Photo by Kirsten Carbone
Annalise Roberts handed out delicious samples of some of the recipes from her latest cookbook, such as bread, lime tarts and brownies, before giving a demonstration of several of her recipes using gluten-free baking techniques, from the 2nd edition of her cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics.   The recipes she demonstrated included a cupcake recipe, pie crust and bread dough.

Annalise covered the different flours used in gluten-free baking in detail, as well as the process she went through to develop and refine her recipes.   Annalise's focus is classic baking, and she thoroughly tests all of her recipes before publishing them.  One tip she gave participants was to thoroughly shake flour in a plastic bag prior to using it, then use a spoon to transfer the flour into the measuring cup before leveling, in order to keep the amount of flour in the recipe consistent.  She also recommends par-baking pie crusts before filling to prevent them from getting soggy.

The GIGSE group was very engaged and asked many questions throughout the demo.  Several found that Annalise has a warm and comfortable way of working with a group that felt like having a conversation with your good friend from next door.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delicious Gluten-Free Cupcakes at Cupcakery

Cupcakery, a new gourmet cupcake eatery, has just opened in the quaint town of Chester, Connecticut (right in the village), and they are offering a daily selection of gluten-free cupcakes.  The chocolate flavor in particular is so dense and luscious it will remind you of molten lava cake.  I tried a gluten-free chocolate cupcake with coconut icing and it was unbelievably rich and decadent.  And each one is a little work of art, decorated to perfection, with both classic and unusual flavors like pumpkin marshmallow, caramel apple and peanut butter with peanut butter ganache.

Owner Kim Wilcox recommends that you call ahead for the flavor of the day (860) 526-2253. You can also place orders for parties, birthdays and other celebrations.  Cupcakery is located on the garden level of the Local Beet Co-Op, at 1A Main Street in Chester.  You can also follow them on Facebook .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Join us for a Lunch and Learn!

The Healthy Truth
Food, Nutrition & Medical Research
Have you ever wondered how much you read and hear about nutrition and research is fact or fiction?
Join nationally known author blogger sisters, Claudia Pillow PhD and Analise Roberts as they discuss how to eat to support your health and well being.  Their talk will be followed by a cooking demo!

(Lunch provided by La Piastra)

September 15,2012
11 AM - 2 PM
Indian River Complex
201 Killingworth Turnpike
Clinton, CT
Cost: $15 Members
$20 General Public
Register by September 12, 2012
or call

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Our members have been getting around to local ice cream spots now carrying gluten-free cones, thanks to Goldbaums, the New Jersey company who donated gluten-free cones for this project, and the dedicated work of Sybil Nassau, who distributed the cones to area ice cream shops. Here are a few snaps we've captured along the way.

A happy two-year old eating raspberry sorbet on a gluten-free cone, with mom, at Brooklyn's in Centerbrook.

Annette Redfield of Old Saybrook enjoying ice cream in a gluten-free cone at James Pharmacy (which has gone through 4 boxes of GF cones this summer).

Jackson Raisbeck having a dairy-free treat on a gluten-free cone, with a friend, at Ashley's in Madison. All gluten-free cones here and at the following locations have been donated by the Gluten Intolerance Group of ShorelineEast and the manufacturer Goldbaums: Scoop to Nuts in Clinton, Old Tyme Ice Cream in Westbrook, James Pharmacy and Paperback Cafe in Old Saybrook, Brooklyn's in Centerbrook, Hallmark and Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe in Old Lyme and Michael's Dairy in New London.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Dining...Lots of News for Gluten-Free Diners

Here's the latest!

In Clinton, a new ice cream place has just opened.  Scoop to Nuts, on Route 1 next to Walgreens, has and will continue to carry gluten-free cones (and will soon have a dairy-free option). They are also now serving hot lobster rolls (gluten-free roll available) served with cole slaw and chips for $15.95, as well has hot dogs and hamburgers. The ice cream is "home-made" and delicious, with plenty of outdoor seating. 

Also in Clinton, Lobster Landing, long known for their hot lobster rolls, has added gluten-free rolls to their menu, at no extra charge.  They also recently expanded their seating capacity quite a bit.

Also, in Clinton, just down the road, is Aqua Restaurant.  Aqua's revamped menu now carries 2 stars (**) to indicate which items are gluen-free, and there are many choices under both appetizers and entrees. While sandwiches are not gluten-free, you can still enjoy a burger sans bun, with a side of their excellent fries. Rocky (the owner) has brought in a dedicated fryer for gluten-free fries. You can check out their menu online, as well as make reservations. Prices are reasonable. If you want to sit out on the porch, request seating in advance. The view is gorgeous and well worth it.  We'll feature a full review in the next newsletter.

Alforno in Old Saybrook has been very successful with their gluten-free pizzas, and recently has added many gluten-free entrees as well. They also prepare gluten-free pasta by request.  You can check their website and subscribe to their weekly newsletter for descriptions of their specials. 

Finally, where can you get ice cream with gluten-free cones this summer?  Here's the list:

Ashley's in Guilford and Madison
Bill's Seafood in Westbrook (they also have a non-dairy sorbet)
Scoop to Nuts in Clinton
Old Tyme Ice Cream in Westbrook
James Pharmacy in Old Saybrook
Paperback Cafe in Old Saybrook
Sweet Luna's in Old Saybrook
Brooklyn's in Centerbrook
Old Lyme Ice Cream Shop
Hallmarks in Old Lyme
Michael's Dairy at Mitchell College in New London

If you don't see the cones or the poster, just ask. 

GIGSE will supply cones to the above places all summer, as long as our supplies last. (Regretfully, Dairy Queen and Cold Stone Creamery, as corporate entities, did not allow the cones.)

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blueberries Are In Season!

Looking for tasty gluten free recipes? Have just finished reading Sarah Fragoso's book, Everyday Paleo and it is loaded with a multitude of easy practical nutritious dishes geared towards the whole family.  Made a variation of her Berry Good Cobbler using blueberries this 4th of July (the original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of almond flour).  It was very simple to make and my friends loved it! The best compliment I received was when I was told their 8 year daughter was ecstatic there was one left over serving going into their refrigerator, so she could have more the next day. 

This is would be a great recipe to make with kids! 
Give it a try!

1.   In a pie dish place 3 cups of blueberries (washed) and drizzle with 2 TBSP of honey.

2.   Topping: in a bowl combine 1 cup of almond flour, 1/2 cup flax meal and 2 TBSP of cinnamon, then with a fork mix in 2 TBSP of coconut oil (other options are shortening or butter) and 1 egg (vegan option: make a flax egg or use another egg substitute).  

3.  Top the blueberries with the topping. 
*If the topping is sticky due to the egg don't worry, just break it up with your fingers and distribute as evenly as you can over the fruit.  

Bake @ 350 F for 30 minutes.  Serves 6

Serve hot with your choice of milk or other milk substitute poured over top. 
I used the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond/Coconut milk blend. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gluten Free at the Ballpark

I could hardly believe my eyes when recently at a ballgame at Tropicana Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, my daughter spotted a gluten-free food stand.  I had practically walked right by it.

I met a nice guy named Mike at the stand who has been gluten-free for 17 years.  He said he was a big Tampa Bay Rays fan (we're Yankees fans) so at the game a lot, and also a GF! regular.

It seems everyone at Trop Stadium can now enjoy their favorite traditional ballpark fast-grabs like hot dogs, pretzels and beer - all without the gluten ingredients that so many can't tolerate.

A sign of the future? I certainly found it encouraging to find a mainstream venue of such large scale catering to sports fans with special dietary needs.

Kirsten Carbone / Communications Consultant / OnTrend Consulting

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wish there were more gluten free choices available at your local restaurants?

A friend of Hannah Bissell's is part of a group that is considering starting a business which would provide gluten free baked goods along the shoreline and they want to know what is important to you.

If you wish to give them your input, go to the link below.
The survey is 10 questions long and took me less than 3 minutes to complete.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clinton's 2nd Annual Bike and Pedestrian Fest

This Saturday, May 5th, from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m., the town of Clinton will hold its 2nd Annual Bike and Pedestrian Fest. This family-friendly event is designed to promote an active lifestyle and will include events like a dog-friendly walk to Town Beach, a bike parade and a Main Street treasure hunt and raffle.  There will also be bike safety inspections, with helmet fittings. 

All events are free and open to the public.

Nut Flour Baking with Priscilla Martel - Part Two

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Almond Flour
In part one of my blog post about baking with nut flours, I highlighted Chef Priscilla Martel's fabulous Earthquake cookie recipe. Here, in part two, Priscilla offers a decadent Lemon Chiffon Cake.

A chiffon is based on the principle of beating egg whites to a light, fluffy consistency. Priscilla recommends starting with a clean bowl and working quickly once the egg whites have been whipped; they will deflate if left standing. Then, gently fold egg whites into the batter in thirds to incorporate them without losing air. The recipe also works well with juiced oranges and orange zest, if that’s your preference. Bon Apetit!

Lemon Chiffon Cake (Gluten Free)

Yield: 1 Tube Cake, 10 in.

2 1/3 cups (6 ounces) American Almond ™ Blanched Almond Flour
½ cup potato starch
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
½ cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
8 whites egg whites


¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
  1. Stir together the blanched Almond Flour, potato starch, ¾ cup of the sugar and the baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the oil, yolks, juice, zest and vanilla. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.
  3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Slowly beat in the remaining sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  4. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
  5. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325°F until a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 1 hour.
  6. Immediately invert the pan over the neck of a wine bottle. Allow the cake to hang upside down until completely cool, and then remove from the pan.
  7. Stir the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Monday, April 16, 2012

1 Minute Microwave Flax Muffin    

Miss that morning muffin?  

Here is a recipe that has been circulating about the Internet and was featured on the Dr. Oz show.
It's super easy, not to mention delicious and nutritious. 
This one is a winner!

1 TBSP Coconut Oil (Melted)
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed (also called Flax Meal)
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 TBSP of your choice (Agave Nectar, Honey or Maple Syrup)
(Sweetener can be exchanged with 2 packets of Stevia)

*optional - add chopped nuts, fruit, etc... 

You are only limited by your imagination. I saw a jalapeno cheddar version on line!
My favorite version so far uses chopped almonds with a 1/4 cup fresh blueberries.

The Procedure:

-Melt coconut oil in 2 cup capacity microwave safe mug. 
-Add all of the other ingredients listed into the mug of melted coconut oil and mix.
-Next add any optional nuts, fruit that you wish.
-Microwave for 1 minute on high. (May need an extra 15 to 30 seconds if you have added fruit.)
-Let sit for a minute then turn it out onto a plate. You may need to run a knife around it first, but usually is will just pop out with a tap of two. 

Top with butter or whatever you like while it is still hot and enjoy!   

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nut Flour Baking with Priscilla Martel - Part One

If you enjoy baking, you’re in for a treat! I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with notable chef Priscilla Martel to talk about gluten-free baking. Chef Martel has enjoyed a long, circuitous career in the culinary world and is therefore accomplished in many facets of it. She owned two restaurants for many years before serving as Executive Chef of the Norwich Inn and Spa for a time. She also ran the American Almond Company for four years before taking her current position as the company’s Culinary Director.

Priscilla, who has authored award-winning cookbooks, has also penned countless articles for the Chicago Tribune, Connecticut Magazine, Cook’s Magazine, Food Arts, Food & Wine, France Amérique, New York Magazine, the New York Times, “W”, and Yankee Magazine. But it is in her capacity as Culinary Director of the American Almond Company that the chef has developed a series of gluten-free recipes that focus on nut flours instead of those that are grain-based.

Nut flours stand up very well to gluten-free baking and offer an inspiring option to grain-based flour mixes currently on the market, which tend toward a slightly bitter flavor, in my opinion. Obviously, there are considerations for those with nut allergies, but for those without, nut flours are certainly one of the more adaptable and nutritious choices for gluten-free baking.

For the blog, Priscilla offers two standout recipes: Lemon Chiffon Cake and Chocolate Earthquake Cookies. The latter is adopted from the gluten version which appears on the Oui, Chef blog. Earthquake Cookies get their name from the dramatic fissures that open up on the cookie’s surface during the baking process, as well as the enticingly dense chocolate flavor that I’m told might “make the earth shake.” (Wink, wink.)

Even though Priscilla is trained in the art and science of baking, she feels both of these recipes are easily tackled by the home cook with great results. However, she offered pointers on technique for better success.

For the cookies, Priscilla recommends whipping the sugar and eggs to the “ribbon stage” (when the batter folds into itself in ribbon-like swirls). She also notes a particularly goopy batter that would benefit from use of an ice cream scoop (or cookie scoop, as they are now sometimes referred to), both for better consistency in size and easier transfer onto the cookie sheet.

Earthquake Cookies (Yield: 2 dozen)

For the Dough:

1 cup Blanched Almond Flour (available at King Arthur Flour website)
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup rice flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
12 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate (68% or higher) such as Scharffenberger or Green and Black
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder dissolved in 1 Tablespoon hot water
3 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar

For the Coating:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325 ℉. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Stir together the almond flour, potato starch, rice flour and baking powder and set aside.
3. Melt the chocolates and butter over a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly then stir in the dissolved espresso or coffee powder.
4. Whip together the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip until light and expanded in volume, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the melted chocolate to the whipped eggs. Whisk in the dry ingredients.
6. Chill the batter until firm.
7. For the Coating: pour the granulated and confectioner’s sugar into two separate bowls. Portion the chilled batter into rounds. Roll each ball of dough until it is uniform and smooth. Roll each ball of dough first into the granulated sugar then in the confectioner’s sugar. Coat each piece generously. Position the dough spaced 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
8. Bake the cookies until there are deep cracks in the surface, and they are firm to the touch but still moist in the center, about 15 minutes. (Do not overbake them.) Let the cookies cool until they are just cool enough to eat. Or let them cool completely before storing. They will keep at room temperature for about 1 week, several weeks if frozen.

Next month, check back for Part Two, when I post Chef Martel’s Lemon Chiffon Cake recipe and her tips for success.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gluten Free Shop Til You Drop on April 14th!

We are going on a field trip!!!!

Every time Dee’s One Smart Cookie, Whole Foods or La Piastra is mentioned, someone will say either, “That’s too far.” or “Where is it?” Well, come on a road trip with us and find out for yourself! Glastonbury is less than an hour from the shore and an easy ride, especially when you’re with friends. Most of us don’t think twice about going to West Farms Mall to shop for clothes or a special gift but when it comes to food shopping we usually head for whatever grocery store is closer, easier or habitual.  It’s spring, so let’s do something different and no, you don’t have to shop or even drop!

The beauty of this event is you are under no obligation to buy anything unless you want to. Bring a friend and enjoy the scenery as we will show you how to get to these oft-mentioned stores and have lunch at Plan B Burgers (they have salads and plenty more). If you want to just meet us for lunch, please feel free to sign up for that part. To view the menu online, go to Plan B's website.

Itinerary for Saturday, April 14
9:45am: meet at Stop & Shop parking lot on Elm Street, Old Saybrook
10 am: depart from Stop & Shop parking lot on Elm Street, Old Saybrook
10:20am: depart from Park & Ride off of Exit 6 on Route 9, Chester
11-11:45 am: Dee’s One Smart Cookie on Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury
12 noon: Plan B Burgers on Hebron Avenue (Lunch)
1:15 pm: Whole Foods at the Fox Run Mall, on Welles Street (Tour the store and shop. Be prepared because there are more gluten-free items available than at other stores.)
 2:30 pm: La Piastra on Shunpike Road, Cromwell (Gluten-free take out dinners are available at reasonable prices. Owner, Lauren De Lisa, is offering discounts to members.)
3:15 pm: return to Stop & Shop parking lot

Your friends are welcome to join us. The cost of trip is $5 for members and $7 for non-members. If fewer than 20 people sign up, we will carpool. Otherwise, transportation will be by M & J school bus. We will have coolers available to hold frozen foods. Please RSVP no later than Thurs. April 12, A check sent in advance to GIG ShorelineEast, P.O. Box 957, Westbrook, CT 06498 will secure your place. We apologize to our Jewish members for inadvertently scheduling this on the last day of Passover.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pan-Seared Salmon Recipe

One of our members, Mark Raisbeck, runs a blog for parents of children with special needs. Mark is also a chef and he's posted a recipe for crispy salmon filets that I'm told are of restaurant-quality. The recipe is easy and calls for a surprising ingredient. It can also be used with other proteins, like chicken. Let us know if you try it.

Also, take a look at Mark's picks for great gluten-free pasta.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

As a physical therapist I have seen firsthand the impact that gluten sensitivity and/or intolerance (be it Celiac or Non-Celiac) can have on the human body.  Gluten can negatively impact not just the gut, but many other parts of the body including the nervous system, joints, muscles and skin.  It can be very difficult for someone’s body to heal and repair, if they are consuming something that is keeping them in a perpetual state of inflammation.  (I will go into this in greater detail in the upcoming news letter.)

“Going Gluten Free is too hard!”  - is generally the first thing I hear from someone who has just learned they need to go gluten free, not that removing gluten from their diet wouldn’t be helpful. Since I went gluten free last spring I understand.

Here are some helpful tricks I found helpful when making the transition.
1.                  Focus on what you can have.and realize there is a lot you can have!
2.                  Take 10 minutes on the weekend to write out a quick menu for the upcoming week.
3.                  Prepare extra food on the weekend to have on hand during the week (eg. baked chicken breast, baked potatoes and rice)
4.                  Stock your pantry, swapping out wheat bread, bagels, bread crumbs, pancake mix and pasta with gluten free versions. 
5.                  Keep some extra bread, bagels and waffles in the freezer. 
6.                  Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand.  My kids love baby carrots and apples.
7.                  If you are cooking a meal, put aside an extra serving and have it the next day for lunch.
8.                  During busy weeks, make 1-2-3- Chili:
            -1 pound of ground meat browned,
            -1 jar of your favorite salsa, and
            -1 can of your favorite beans (2 kinds of beans if you don’t do meat). 
If you want to jazz it up, add cumin and cayenne pepper to your liking.  
I will make double batches during the school year to manage those meals on the fly, doing corn taco’s one night with lettuce, tomato and cheese, and then the next chili over rice or potatoes with a side salad. 
9.                  Use your smart phone!  There are lots of great gluten free sites that you can access as well as apps for recipes and finding a place to eat while you are on the go.
10.              Don’t be afraid of the kitchen…………start cooking!
Joining the support group and subscribing to on line blogs for me were a big help. I was able to get practical advice, restaurant tips, and information about gluten free products as well as learning different cooking techniques from those who had already been through the process.