Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Grilling it up with Natalie, the Gluten-Free Mommy!

Welcome to the 1st installment of the newest feature on Ginger Lemon Girl...

Every month I will surprise one of you gluten-free bloggers out there with an invitation to get "gluten-free grilled" by yours truly! If you agree to get grilled, you will get a smoking hot email with a grueling list of questions to share all about your gluten-free life, blog, cooking skills, etc..! I'll also ask you share some fun stuff about yourself!

So without further ado...

January 2008

Photo courtesy of Natalie's hubby!

Natalie, The Gluten Free Mommy

Natalie, Thanks for taking the time to be grilled today!
Why don't we start the interview:

Ginger Lemon Girl: How long have you been on a gluten-free diet?

Natalie: Exactly three years this month!

What inspired you to begin blogging about your diet?

Karina . It wasn't until I found her blog that I really got the hang of the diet. Once I was thriving on the diet, I was having a great difficulty keeping track of my new recipes, so I also decided to blog! I gain a lot of support by blogging.

What would you describe your "cooking style" as?
I love cooking family friendly recipes. If my husband and/or my kids won't eat what I am cooking, I won't make it. Food should be eaten!

What was the first gluten-free baked good you ever made? How did it turn out?
I was very intimidated by flour mixes at first, especially ones containing xanthan gum. My mom and I made Bette Hagman's gluten-free, casein-free "Impossible German Pie" (from this book) and it turned out great! The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of rice flour and no xanthan gum, so it was the first one I made!

Did you have a hard time adjusting to using gluten-free flours and baking ingredients at the beginning of your diet?
At the beginning of my diet, I tried to eat only naturally gluten-free food. I found that I really missed baked goods. Once I started experimenting with flours, I was excited at how well things turned out, but it was really tough at first!

If you could pick 3 of your best recipes listed on your site to recommend for people to make, what would be they be? And why do you like them?

Lighter than Air Chocolate Cake
No Frills Chocolate Cake
Shortcake Dressed Up for Fall

What advice would you give for people who are just beginning a gluten-free diet?

Two things.

1) Don't try to eat just naturally gluten-free foods. It makes the adjustment harder.
2) Become a better cook. Then everything will be better than before going gluten-free!

I think your site especially appeals to moms who have to adhere to a gluten-free, casein-free, and maybe even egg free diet for their children. Do you create many recipes based on these needs? What are some of the top questions you receive from these moms and dads?
I did not start out my "Gluten free mommy" blog with the attention to cater to gluten-free, casein-free, and egg-free diets. In my ignorance, I didn't realize that roughly 50% of those that are gluten-free are also casein-free. One of my goals in the New Year is to to identify those recipes that are naturally casein-free and egg-free. I will continue to add notes as I learn about these diets. I get lots of emails from people who have altered my recipes and I will try and add their notes to my posts to help those with casein-free and egg-free restrictions. I have really gotten an idea of my audience now (mostly through emails with readers), so hopefully I will be able to cater my posts to them a little better!

Do you have any special talents or abilities you want to want to share with our readers?

Special talents... if you want silly, I guess my ability to wiggle my ears fits the bill then.

What kinds of qualities do you think makes a successful food blog?
Good food photography and easy-to-follow, well organized recipe instructions.

What kind of camera do you use for your excellent photography? Have you learned any good tips or tricks for food photography since you began blogging that you would like to share?
I just got a Canon Digital Rebel Xti for Christmas! I try and use natural light as much as possible. My recommendation would be for everyone to read the manual to their camera. Subscribing to might not be a bad idea either. I have a long way to go myself, but it is exciting to have a new hobby.

What is your favorite gluten-free dessert recipe?
Creme Brulee or my Lighter than Air Chocolate Cake

What are some of Jude's favorite foods that you have created?
Jude loves my gluten free quick breads, especially my banana bread with chocolate chips.

Is your husband going to be sharing any more of his cooking creations with us this year? He made some killer grilled cheese sandwiches!!

He will definitely be making a guest appearance on the blog this year! He has some ideas in the works. He does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff for my blog. He is very supportive.

What is your favorite thing about food blogging?
Sharing recipes/experiences with other gluten-free cooks- readers and bloggers alike!

What are some of your favorite cookbooks (gluten-free or other)?

Quick Recipes, Crazy for Casseroles, and the Mayo Clinic Cookbook

Who was most influential in your life in how you learned to cook and bake? Can you tell us of a memory or experience with that person that you still remember today?

My mother is the most influential person in my baking. She was an army wife and can throw amazing parties. I remember helping her in the kitchen at a very young age and that hasn't stopped! I still love to bake with her whenever I am in town, but it is all gluten-free now.

In November, during our afternoon of baking, you felt as if you may also have a corn allergy in addition to a gluten-intolerance. Have you stopped using corn in your diet? What other dietary changes have you made since going gluten-free?

I have greatly reduced the amount of corn in my diet but I seem to be doing ok right now. I don't want to eliminate corn before having a round of allergy tests.

In ways other than the obvious ingredients, how do you think your cooking abilities have changed since you began a gluten-free diet? For example, have you learned to enjoy different kinds of cuisines or styles of cooking (that you didn't like before going GF)?

I have become a better cook, which has made me desire to cook different cuisines. I am not sure that going gluten-free did that alone. My mom and my grandfather made sure to introduce me to a variety of amazing food at a young age, so I learned to love food early. I suppose I probably desire cooking Thai food more now that I am gluten free.

Natalie, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! You have no idea how much I learned (and still am learning) from you as I adapted to a gluten-free diet. Your basic gluten-free flour mixture is still the mixture that I usually rely on and I can't thank you enough for that! (1 part brown rice, 1 part tapioca, 1 part sorghum) What words of wisdom would you like to leave with our readers for a brand new gluten-free year?

Try and be more organized. I curse the diet the most when I am disorganized and don't have something in mind for dinner (or something to feed my hungry toddler).


Thanks again to Natalie, Gluten Free Mommy for her willingness to be my first Grill participant!! Make sure to visit her site for incredible down to earth recipes, great photos, and lots of fun!

Check back this weekend for a delicious sugar-free dessert!

For more information about the Monthly Gluten Free Grill, click here.

Pin It!