Friday, March 30, 2012

Gluten and Dairy free week 2 {plus cheesecake brownie recipe}

Another successful week (well, last week only consisted of a few days) of being gluten and dairy free! I did have a few accidental slip ups, like when we went out for sushi at Blue C Sushi. The difference between soy sauce and tamari had slipped my mind, and I was thinking soy sauce was wheat free, and tamari was not. So there I was, happily gobbling up sushi smothered in (what I am now assuming was) non-gf soy sauce. Also, at that same meal, I got so excited when I saw a gluten free cupcake coming my way down the conveyor belt, that I snatched it up and relished its moist, sweet, fluffy goodness before remembering that I am also avoiding dairy, which was most likely present as butter in my now-consumed cupcake. But oh well, it's a learning curve and besides that, I did pretty well! Oh, except for the horrible detox symptoms.

Since I am no stranger to cleanses, dairy free and even gluten free diets and food products, I thought my body would handle this elimination diet like a champ without any complaints. I don't remember having any detox symptoms when I abruptly went vegan about four or five years ago, and I remember feeling amazing while on the master cleanse, and during my time as a raw foodist. But this time around, I was in for a shocker. For the first five days, while my body felt great, my emotions were in turmoil. I was on edge, easily upset and agitated, tired, having mood swings, crying spells, and had restless legs and insomnia for a few hours a night. I felt groggy, foggy, and just plain out of it. I was starting to get worried until, on a hunch, I looked up 'detox symptoms when eliminating gluten.' And there it was; ALL of the above were symptoms of a gluten detox. I read something about how gluten does something to the serotonin receptors in your brain, resulting in the mood swings and depression during those early days of elimination. It did make me feel better, knowing that I wasn't just going crazy!

Now that I am past the detox stage, I feel much better. It hasn't been too difficult, not even when meeting up with friends or going out to eat. When I know I'm going somewhere that won't have anything I can eat, I just eat beforehand. And when we need to eat while out and about, we think about the many gluten and dairy free options out there, like sushi!

What I've been eating: I've been eating much of the same as I mentioned in my last post. Here's a few new things:

-On our day off together, Spencer made me a delicious egg scramble with rosemary ham and spinach with a side of rice bread smothered in vegan butter.
-Yesterday I tried out this Mochi that our pediatrician recommended for a yummy breakfast. I got the chocolate flavored mochi, cut a few small squares, toasted it in the oven according to the directions on the package, and then cut them open and filled them with peanut butter and sliced banana. I served them with more banana and Trader Joe's organic vanilla soy yogurt.
I'd previously only had the soft, sweet, squishy mochi that is either wrapped around japanese ice cream or served as a topping at frozen yogurt shops. This mochi is less sweet, heartier in texture, and made with whole grain brown rice. When it toasts, it puffs up, like a mini rice pudding muffin! I enjoyed it.

-For lunch, I am sometimes at work. There, I usually go to the Issaquah PCC (no, I don't often eat lunch from Trader Joe's, I like to get out for a bit!) and scan the hot bar or deli for gluten and dairy free items. This week they had delicious peanut sauce and mango curry tofu dishes! I got them with quinoa and roasted veggies. Another day, I got their Turkish garbanzo salad, and their yam and kale salad.
-One day this week, I met up with my friend, Sharon, for her birthday at Remedy Teas. She and her friend ordered the tea service. Since it came with too many things that I couldn't have, I ordered my own tea and snack. Luckily, they had a super delicious gf, df chocolate zucchini muffin! I ate it with a pot of 'creme brulee' oolong tea (doesn't actually have cream in the tea itself) with honey and soy creamer. It was my first time at Remedy Teas and I loved their selection of all organic teas in many wonderful, enticing flavors, as well as their selection of gluten and/or dairy free items.

-This week I had Lucy's chocolate chip cookies and Enjoy Life soft baked chocolate chip cookies. I know these are dessert items, but I ate them during snack times! The Lucy cookies were good, but on the dry, crispy side. If I were a fan of crispy cookies, I would like these, but I am more of an under-cooked-gooey-doughy-cookie kinda girl. The Enjoy Life cookies are perfect for that; they are like soft, sweet bites of cookie dough...but cooked!

-I mentioned my dinner at Blue C sushi. We just made sure to stay away from tempura rolls and any rolls with cream cheese or a cream sauce. Next time I will ask if they have tamari instead of soy sauce!
-Rice pasta with marinara sauce with rice bread covered in vegan butter, salt, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
-Spencer made homemade meatballs with marinara sauce and garlic rice bread!
-I made Dreena Burton's Mac-Oh Geez! I added 2 tbsp nutritional yeast to the sauce, because I love the cheesy flavor. I used brown rice rotelle pasta and used Ener-G gluten free bread crumbs to keep it gluten free. After making it, I feel like I should have added more olive oil and salt to the breadcrumb topping, as it was a little too dry and I kept adding salt while I was eating it. I've made this recipe (non-gf) a couple times before, and have always loved it!
-Last night Spencer made beef fajitas with corn tortillas!

-PCC started carrying Jodee's gluten free, vegan pies. I tried the Butterscotch Caramel. It was so rich and decadent! I could only handle a few bites at a time. There was a strong coconut flavor, since it contained quite a bit coconut meat/butter to get a nice creamy texture, but it tasted great with the butterscotch flavor. When searching for a link to the brand, I realize they have a shop in Greenlake! I'll have to check it out sometime!

-Last night I made Cheesecake Swirl Brownies! I made this recipe from Smitten Kitchen last month and loved it. When I found out about this elimination diet, these brownies were one of the first things I mourned. But, after a bit of confidence-building in the kitchen of late, I decided I could de-gluten-ize and un-dairy-fy it (uh, YES those are real terms!) I wasn't quite ready to make my own gluten free flour blend, so I purchased a pre-made one at PCC. I settled on Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend. It claims it can be substituted for regular wheat flour 1:1 in almost any recipe. It worked perfectly! The flour was silky and fine, no gritty texture! Of course, this recipe only calls for 2/3 cups flour, so I'll have to test it out more with cookies and other desserts before I can be certain of its awesomeness, but so far, I'm impressed. For the cheesecake portion, I just swapped out Tofutti non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese.

The end product was perfection. It was very similar to the flavor and texture of the regular version; firm on the outside, fudgy in the middle, just like I like my brownies to be! The cream cheese flavor was subtler, but the swirl effect was easier to produce this time around, since the tofutti was a little thinner than dairy cream cheese! I don't think anyone could guess these were gf/df! Spencer loved them also. And now, because I know you are salivating for it, the recipe...
Gluten and Dariy free Cheesecake Marbled Brownies (contains eggs):
Adapted from

Brownie batter
1/2 cup vegan margarine (like Earth Balance)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2/3 cup gluten free flour blend (like Namaste Foods perfect flour blend)

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces non-dairy cream cheese (like Tofutti non-hydrogenated)
1/3 cup organic evaporated cane juice
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, or round pie pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a saucepan, double boiler, or just a metal mixing bowl over simmering water over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally until melted. Remove from heat (and pour into mixing bowl, if not already using it to melt) and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Whisk in gluten free flour until just combined. Pour into baking pan.

Cheesecake batter: whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Pour over brownie batter. Take a knife or spatula, and start swirling, bringing some of the brownie batter into the cheesecake batter until it starts to marbleize. Go slow, so as not to over-do it! Once you get the look you want, sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla non-dairy ice cream, or at room temperature. Enjoy!


  1. P.S. these brownies keep wonderfully when stored in the fridge!

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