30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 3- I am Gluten Free

30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 3- I am Gluten Free Welcome to Day 3.  Today’s guest blogger is Ellen Allard from I am Gluten Free.

Ellen started her blog in January 2006, shortly after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Six months earlier, her hairdresser noticed two unusually large bald patches on her scalp. After appointments with three different dermatologists (the first two said it was nerves!), she was tested for and diagnosed with Alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes your hair to fall out. Six months later, a blood test confirmed Celiac Disease. It was at that point that she began connecting the dots, realizing that she had lived with stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, mood swings, and intense non-stop hunger for her entire life, all because of undiagnosed Celiac Disease. In addition to being dairy free (one year after going gluten free), Ellen has embraced gluten free cooking and baking with unbridled enthusiasm and is dedicated to sharing her love of all things food with others. In addition to being a fulltime musician with her husband (www.peterandellen.com), she writes about gluten free living for numerous publications and she teaches gluten free cooking and baking classes. One of her most favorite activities is developing new and delicious gluten free and dairy free recipes (and sometimes egg free) that always have people asking for more!

Ellen’s recipe:  Buffalo Tofu with Dairy Free Ranch Dressing plus Roasted New Potatoes

Ellen’s tip:  always leave the house with a snack. Some ideas: crackers and peanut butter, sliced apples (sprinkled with lemon juice to keep them from browning) and cheese chunks,  and celery sticks filled with cream cheese.

It seems to be that every person on the planet has a right to eat healthy food made from wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Foods that nourish us, not foods that cause us to be unhealthy. Not to mention how important it is for us to take the time to prepare food that will sustain us both in body and in spirit. That’s what Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is all about. And to join forces with Jamie, a bunch of us bloggers, myself included, are participating in Diane’s 30 Days To A Food Revolution. We hope to demonstrate via our blog posts, how easy it is to prepare healthy, delicious, nutritious food. By doing so, we will be giving our blog readers a new way to approach what ends up on our plates and ultimately in our bodies and the bodies of those we feed. We will be gently taking people by the virtual hand and encouraging them to resist the urge to order take-out or throw a frozen pizza in the oven and instead show them how to prepare food from scratch. Is it more time consuming? Um, sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes, yes, yes!

30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 3- I am Gluten Free

Ok, I’m ready to get to the food. My choice for this event is Buffalo Tofu with Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing.

Back in the days pre-GF, when we would eat out at restaurants that had Buffalo Chicken Wings on the menu, you could take it to the bank – for sure, I’d order them. I’m not much for eating chicken these days, and even if they were certified gluten free, chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t be ordering them. Though I used to love how crisp the outside of the wings were, today I know better. I probably did then too, but I ignored it. But the truth is, when you order them in a restaurant, they’re usually deep-fried and laden with oil not to mention that the sauce probably had tons of butter in it and the whole thing probably had at least a katrillion calories, and not the good kind either!

Back in the pre-GF days, I could’ve recreated that gotta-have-Buffalo-Chicken-Wing orgy by buying them frozen. Tyson makes ’em. They’re called Any’tizers® Buffalo Style Hot Wings® and come frozen in a bag. But if you click over to the link I’ve included and look at the table, you’ll see why they’re a terrible choice, at least from a nutrition standpoint. Not to mention that they’re probably coated with some sort of breading.

And I could make them gluten free from this recipe:  Gluten Free Hooters Buffalo Wings . But heck, they’re still a TON of calories, and again, not the good kind. I’m just not willing to waste my calories on deep-fried foods (unless they’re french fries!).

There are lots of other options for pre-made gluten free chicken wings but the whole purpose of this post is to get you to start thinking about making your own food from scratch and cutting out the middle man/woman.

As for me, I’ve been missing those wings and decided I needed to find a way to recreate the experience. I wanted that sauce to drip down my fingers. I wanted to practically lick the plate. But I needed to find a gluten free and dairy free way to do it that didn’t include chicken. A seemingly tall task, I know. I started thinking about what I loved so much about the wings. I realized that it wasn’t just the crispness of the wings, but it was also the flavor of the sauce that they were drenched in. I liked it so much that I probably would’ve bathed in it given the chance. I had to figure out a way to create that wow-over-the-top taste that had me swooning.

After a little online searching, I found a recipe from Chow Vegan’s blog that would prove to give me exactly the taste I was looking for. I used Chow Vegan’s recipe as a starting place and then made a number of modifications that suited my tastebuds to a tee.

Buffalo Tofu With Dairy Free Ranch Dressing

1 lb. extra-firm tofu

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp smoked paprika (can use regular paprika instead)

2 tbsp Earth Balance butter

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Slice the tofu in rectangular slabs about 1/2″ thick. Slice each slab into smaller sticks of tofu. Place on a metal baking sheet with sides. Brush 1 tbsp olive oil over the tofu sticks. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1/8 tsp smoked paprika. With a pair of tongs, gently turn the tofu over and brush on the remaining olive oil, sea salt, and smoked paprika.

Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently but firmly use a spatula to loosen the tofu sticks and turn them over to roast for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the Earth Balance in a saute pan that will be large enough to hold all of the tofu sticks after they’ve roasted in the oven. When melted, add the hot pepper sauce and stir to combine. Add the roasted tofu sticks and toss to thoroughly coat the sticks with the sauce. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks, and ranch dressing.

30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 3- I am Gluten Free

Ranch Dressing

1/4 cup soy milk

1/4 cup Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove minced garlic

1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined. Chill until ready to use.

Round out your dinner by adding a fresh green salad with balsamic vinagrette dressing and roasted new potatoes and you’ll have a delicious and healthy meal that you made from scratch. Time it took to make: approximately 1 hour including prep time and the time it took to roast the tofu and potatoes.

Roasted New Potatoes

1 lb. small new potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

Scrub and quarter the potatoes. Toss with olive oil and kosher salt. Spread in roasting pan and roast in 450 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes.

Find more from Ellen on her blog post, 30 Days to a Food Revolution- Gluten Free Style.

Don’t forget:

In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing.  The more you do, the more chances you have to win!

  1. Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like.  Each comment is an entry.
  2. Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
  3. Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
  4. Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you  #30days2 #foodrevolution

When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.

21 Responses to 30 Days to a Food Revolution Day 3- I am Gluten Free

  1. Aubree Cherie April 28, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Mmm, yum! I don't cook with tofu that often, but this looks like an amazing meal alternative!

    I have noticed that no matter what is supposedly NOT in the chicken that's sold in freezer aisles or at chain restaurants, I still feel sick afterwards. So I try not to eat out very much and I avoid all pre-cooked meat like the plaque. It gets hard finding the time and money to buy only fresh (and free range) meat, so this tofu recipe is an awesome replacement!

    ~Aubree Cherie

  2. Janette April 28, 2010 at 5:16 am #

    Yum! Looks good! I'm not a meat eater and haven't been for over 20 years but I'm always looking for something to entice the whole family – hubby and one son are meat eaters, another son is vegetarian. And of course GF is the icing on the cake. I'll give it a try! Thanks!

  3. mama April 28, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    so true about leaving the house with a snack. especially if you have children. I've also learned having a gf child in school to make sure his teacher has safe snacks for him in case another child brings birthday treats for the class.

  4. gfe--gluten free eas April 28, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Yet another mouth-watering post here for our 30 Days to a Food Revolution! While I don't eat soy, these photos sure make me want to! 😉 Might have to make a chicken wing version, but a healthy one like you have done, Ellen. 🙂 Love the simple potato recipe you've shared, too.

    Good tip, too, on carrying snacks. I always have nuts and apples in the car with me. People don't get excited when I tell them that, but really they are healthy, real food snacks that I enjoy and have saved me many times. Who needs a protein bar anyway? 😉

    Finally, thanks so much for sharing your story, Ellen. Alopecia is one symptom that I mention in my talks. If your doctor tested you for celiac because of alopecia, that's terrific. Because I have yet to hear of anyone I've encountered who was told about the celiac connection by their doctors. So many dots need to be connected that are not. Ideally, when a patient is diagnosed with alopecia, they should be quizzed on other symptoms. So glad you found your answers and health finally!


  5. Sarah P April 28, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Had never heard of Alopecia before… but need to mention it to my friend whose son's hair is falling out in patches. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Cocoa April 28, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I'm drooling! I'm allergic to chicken so I pretty much put it out of my mind. I'm not very comfortable cooking tofu, but I'm going to try now!

  7. Alta April 28, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    This sounds great! I finally have figured out how to cook tofu at home without screwing it up , and so now I'm excited to try something like this!

  8. Meg April 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    Just found your wonderful blog and am SOO excited to see all that you do, and all these wonderful recipes!

    30 Days to a Food Revolution is such a great idea!


  9. Jennifer April 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Oh yes… this is going on my Meatless Monday menu for next week!

  10. Ellen Allard April 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    So glad you all stopped by and commented. Thank you!

    Aubree – you're right, this tofu recipe is a great meat replacement. And when you bake it, the tofu really ends up having a chewy sort of meat like texture. And the sauce is kickin'!!!

    Janette – I bet your meat-loving family will love this. Let me know how it turns out!

    mama – yes, VERY important to always be prepared. When I leave the house, even if I have plans to return at a certain time, sometimes those plans change. Best to be safe and prepared.

    Shirley – I bet your salivary glands reacted to the dairy free ranch dressing dripping off the tofu. Though you can't eat soy, make the dressing and substitute a different kind of milk. I swear, it's good enough to lick off your fingers! I had to laugh when you said that people don't get your bringing apples in the car. Why the heck not? How much more "real" food can you get??!!! I totally agree – much better than protein bars. And connecting the dots is the metaphor I like to use – once I began doing that, the pieces began to fall into place. That's when I took back my health!

    Sarah P – yes, do mention it. I can't say for sure whether there is always a connection, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. The good news is that my hair has begun growing back.

    Cocoa & Alta – I totally relate to your not being comfortable cooking tofu. I was in your shoes, but after experimenting (lots), I have a bunch of favorite ways to eat it. And now, I never tire of it. Don't be afraid to try different preparations – you're sure to find one you'll like. In the beginning, I squeezed the water out of the tofu, because I didn't like how spongey it was. But I don't even do that all the time anymore. Either way, tofu has become a staple in my house.

    Jennifer – good luck! This is a perfect Meatless Monday recipe. You'll love it, I'm sure!


  11. Shada April 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    I make a ranch that is vegan, but this one is sooo much easier! Can't wait to try the Buffalo Tofu :~)

  12. Stephanie April 29, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    YUM!!! I used to LOVE the tofu wings at Tortilla Sam's, but haven't been able to quite replicate them. This looks like the perfect recipe–thank you!!!

  13. Marissa April 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Ellen, Thank you for sharing your story and your tips and recipes! I have been gluten-free for just over three months now and am looking forward to trying more great GF recipes! Also, in regard to your story – I find the alopecia/celiac link to be fascinating! My mother has been battling with digestive distress for a number of years and has somewhat gotten it under control, though she still struggles a bit with hair falling out. She's kept it under control by doing topical treatments of jojoba and rosemary, but when her diet gets wonky, her hair does too. Thank you for sharing this! I will be passing it along!

  14. Cathy April 29, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    This looks great! I love buffalo wings and this seems like a healthy alternative. Thanks@

  15. Ellen Allard April 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Shada – let me know when you try it! It's so good that I found myself, days after I made it (and had leftovers), standing in front of the frig, dipping leftover cold potatoes in it. The dressing is just killah!!!

    Stephanie – oh yeah uh huh, I'll bet you anything that this recipe replicates the wings at TS's. Give it a try and keep me posted.

    Marissa – Thank you for sharing – if you could email me your mom's protocol for the jojoba and rosemary, I would GREATLY appreciate it. My hair has grown back about 75% but I'm game to try anything to keep coaxing it to continue growing back. And thank you for your tip!

    Cathy – Yup, definitely a healthy alternative. And that's what this Food Revolution is all about – yummy and healthy meals. Thanks for visiting!

  16. Renee April 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Yum-o! This sounds delicious! We love tofu at our house, despite my blog's name… This one is getting bookmarked!

  17. Marissa May 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Ellen,

    I thought I would share the hair protocol and recipe here in case anyone else reading was interested. 🙂

    1 ounce jojoba oil (great for skin and hair)

    30 drops of Rosemary essential oil (stimulates and cleans hair follicles as well as stimulating mental clarity)

    Using a toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush, scrub the mixture into your scalp in circular motion. (you most likely won't use all of the mixture so just save the remainder for later use)

    Leave this on for 4+ hours. Rinse and lightly wash with shampoo, often don't need conditioner due to moisturizing effect of jojoba oil.

    To truly reap benefit from this protocol, it is best to continue this daily treatment for two weeks. You should begin to notice new growth (peach fuzz) at this stage.

    You can then drop back to every other day treatments for 1-2 weeks, and then progressively down to once a week, to bi-weekly.

    My mother continues to do treatments at least bi-weekly as she is still dealing with cradle cap (partial cause of hair loss…). She stresses that it is important to be diligent, especially in the beginning.

    I hope this helps!

    Blessings, Marissa

  18. Kelli May 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Who doesn't love potatoes?


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