The Intolerant Family Cookbook, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Family Friendly Food. Review and Give-Away.

ITFamily cookbook cover

I get fun things in the mail, often unexpected. One day I received this cookbook, and a lovely letter from one of the authors, Ellen Fitzsimmons. Could I review the book and offer a give-away on the blog?

Sure I could. Ellen and her daughter Molly Lepeska have written an excellent, tasty, healthy cookbook. Ellen is dairy and gluten intolerant, Molly is a type 1 diabetic.

Ellen is also a home economist, with over 30 years of experience in adult education with the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Molly works in health communication and is a mom, to twin toddlers and a new baby. Her family currently lives in the Netherlands. The whole extended family loves good food and good cooking.

My 7 Favorite Things about The Intolerant Family Cookbook

1. Flavor, flavor, flavor. These are tasty recipes.

2. Whole, unprocessed ingredients. 

3. Variety of cuisines.

4. Simple to follow recipes from soup to nuts. Also snacks, salads, veggies, entrees, starches, and desserts. You can cook and eat all day.

5. ITF Tips (Intolerant Family Tips), these are handy sidebars, a total of nineteen. Examples include, “Know your Milk Substitutes” and my personal favorite “Meet the Tomatillo”. 

6. Whole-grain gluten-free flour blend for baked goods.

7. Nutritional analysis for each recipe.

Some Recipes to Tempt You

“Faster than Take-Out” recipes

Chicken and Broccoli, flavored with fresh ginger, garlic, jalapeno, onion, and a bit of brown sugar.

Sweet-Spicy Glazed Salmon seasoned with brown sugar, mustard, rice vinegar, and fish sauce.

Beef Wrapped in Lettuce, a great appetizer, loaded with veggies and spices. An alternative recipe using ground turkey is included.

Super Fast Mediterranean Fish, topped with tomato, green beans, fresh lemon, and black olives.

Ethnic Variety

German-Easy Kraut and Pork Chops.

Mexican-Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, and Green Tomatillo Chili. Both recipes use tomatillos, everyone should try tomatillos. I love tomatillos. Fresh and light green, they taste a bit like lime. Once you try them you will use them frequently. Mexican will never be the same.

Indian-Carrot Curry Soup. With coconut milk, peanut butter, curry powder, ginger, garlic, onions. And garnished with chopped peanuts.

Italian-Antipasto. A beautiful serving tray of steamed asparagus, fresh or roasted tomatoes, artichoke bottoms, hearts of palm, yellow pepper strips, black and green olives. Drizzled with home-made herb and olive oil dressing. Add GF/DF pepperoni, hard cooked egg slices, or oil packed white tuna if you want a heartier tray.

Midwestern-When It Has to Be Fried Fish. This makes me smile, we are in Wisconsin after all. Friday night fish fries are a tradition here. This recipe uses white fish, cornmeal seasoned with black pepper, paprika, and cayenne. The fish is dipped in rice milk, then the cornmeal mix, then fried with a golden crust. It is a lovely tradition.

Or Chunky Red Chili, made with beef, tomatoes, peppers, onion, and lots of chili powder. A cold weather Midwestern mainstay.

copa 058

fresh tomatillos in the Cuernavaca, Mexico Mercado photo by lsimon

New to You Ingredients

Perhaps you thought, tomatillos, fish sauce, fresh ginger, rice vinegar-“I don’t know about those”. I encourage to to become acquainted, you will soon be fast friends.

These ingredients add zest to life and cooking. They are easy to obtain and stock in your kitchen. The Intolerant Family Cookbook is happy to make the introduction.

Do you wonder if your family will like these? They will. I think it is a crime to limit kids choices to nuggets and fries. There is so much wonderful food to be enjoyed. The secret is to start early. The Intolerant Family Cookbook shows you how.

Nutritional Analysis

Each recipe includes calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.

Knowing carbs and fiber is crucial to tightly manage glucose and insulin for folks with type 1 diabetes. Ellen and Molly use limited amounts of sugar, no sugar-free products. Better to use the real thing, than a substitute. Some sugar-free products cause GI distress, and who needs that?


Intolerant Family Cookbook is there, with useful info and updates. You can become a fan.

Gluten-Free Cooking Expo

You can meet Ellen Fitzsimmons at the Gluten-Free Cooking Expo Vendors Fair April 17-18 in Lisle, Il. You will find her kind and thoughtful, she doesn’t seem intolerant at all.

Enter to Win an Intolerant Family Cookbook

Simply leave a comment below by April 21, 2010 and a working email. You do not need to publish the email in the comment. It will be recorded in the comment form and I will be able to access it. But please enter it carefully. Too many times, I need to choose another winner because of emails that are undeliverable.

Updated 4-22-2010

Congratulations to our winner Alissa, chosen by random number generator. She was the first to comment, sometimes it pays to be first.

The Un-Constipated Gourmet Book Review and Giveaway

Warning: this punny book is seriously funny.

Warning: this book is not 100% gluten free, but there are plenty of gluten-free recipes.

The whole title is The Un-Constipated Gourmet: Secrets to a Moveable Feast; 125 Recipes for the Regularity Challenged. Author Danielle Svetcov writes a lighthearted cookbook full of fiber, taste, and creativity. How many cookbooks have you laughing out loud? Come on, that is one funny title!

Key foods

The Un-Constipated Gourmet includes no less than 55 foods and fluids that will keep constipation away.  A variety of beans, nuts, veggies, seeds, and fruits are featured. A few gluten free grains are included too, millet and rice bran.

Recipes using wheat, barley, and bulgur are glutinous and off limits for those on a gluten-free diet. Recipes using oats are OK for most gluten-freers if you use only certified gluten-free oats. (For even more info on oats click here, scroll down to the Nourish column).

You might not think of some of the key foods as constipation preventers. Chocolate for one. But I am not going to argue with an expert, err personal experience. And I grab any excuse I can to eat more chocolate.

Plagues of the gut

Disregard this section, it is not written for gluten intolerant folks. Some of the foods listed here are plagues of the gluten free-gut. For example, white flour biscuits.

Some folks will get constipated from these foods. But some will get very ill, requiring prolonged time in the bathroom or bed.

And some of the foods listed are safe and saviors in the gluten-free diet, potatoes for example.

The Go-Meter

Each recipe has a Go-Meter icon, a starred roll of toilet paper with a number, telling you the relative constipation prevention strength of the recipe. The scale is from 1 (poor) to 10 (powerful). No recipe in the book scores below a 5.


I encourage you to read this book just for the fun of it. But at it’s heart, it is a creative and flavorful cookbook. Using real food.

Start your day with Corn Cakes. Made with masa, whole kernel corn, eggs, cream, and green onions.  7 on the Go-Meter scale. Optional topping ideas include: smoked salmon, dill and crème fraiche. I could wake up for that.

Or Dried Fig, Apricot, and Cherry Compote over Yogurt. Go-Meter 10! Another winner.

Try a Nut Shake. Almonds or cashews, dates, apple juice, bananas, and milk or yogurt. Go-Meter 7.

After breakfast, the recipes continue through snacks-dips-spreads, soups, salads, sides, entrees, to desserts. There is plenty to keep you going. *wink*

Svetcov has done her research

Wordy quotes from historical books with windy titles add to the fun. Titles like: Mediations on Transcendental Gastronomy, 1825.

And this one is a doozy: The White House Cook Book, A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home Containing Cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner-Giving, Table Etiquette, Care of the Sick, Health Suggestions, Facts Worth Knowing, etc. 1905. That ought to cover it, don’t you think?

Full disclosure

I checked this out of the library to see if I liked it. I luved it. So I asked the publisher to provide a free giveaway book, they obliged.

Giveaway instructions

It is so easy.

1. Leave a comment below by February 21, 2010.

2. Carefully enter your email. More than once a giveaway winner has had a nonfunctioning email, and I have had to choose a second winner. That isn’t fun for you or for me. Please make sure I can contact you.

3. A winner will be announced February 22, 2010. I’ll update this post with the name of the winner.

Update 2-23-2010 Patty was the lucky winner, and the book is on it’s way to her now.

Hearty Beef and UnBarley Soup and Oat Groat Giveaway

Beef Un-Barley Soup

Beef and Oat Groat Soup photo by vsimon

Hum? Doesn’t barely have gluten? Yes, you are right.

But certified gluten free oat groats don’t. Please let me introduce you. Oat groats make a fantastic gluten free stand-in for glutinous barely. 

Cream Hill Estates grows and produces certified gluten free oats. They are not cross contaminated with glutinous grains during growing, milling, package, or transport. Cream Hill Estates is offering a package of their certified gluten free oat groats to one random winner who comments below. 

Oat whole grain nutrition.

Oat groats are truly whole grains. And no doubt about it, they are tasty, filling and nutritious. Two new pilot studies from Scandinavia show oats increase vitamin B1, magnesium, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants in the gluten-free diet.

Oats are a rich source of a unique fiber called beta-glucan. It lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. It also enhances the immune response to bacterial infections. Beta-glucan helps stabilize blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. And, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows a low glycemic diet, including oats, resulted in greater weight loss than a conventionally balanced diet.

Are oats right for me?

Only you will be able to decide. Please visit my Nourish column in the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness newsletter for more info. Scroll down a bit for the Oh Boy, Oats! article.

Hearty, and super simple in a slow cooker.

You can dump everything raw into the slow cooker. But you’ll get better brown color and flavor if you brown the beef in a separate pan first. This extra step isn’t difficult and immediately fills the house with beefy aroma.

Round steak is a flavorful, inexpensive cut of meat. And tough if cooked quick. Cooking low and slow magically makes it tooth tender.

Oat groats take a long time to cook too. Perfect for a slow cooker. They ooze body into the soup broth. And also add tender, not too chewy, not mushy texture to the chunks. I think even fans of beef barely soup wouldn’t recognize these are oats, not barely.

Of course, the onions are optional if you don’t tolerant them.

Beef and UnBarley Soup

serves 6-8 metric measures
1 ½ pound beef round steak .7 kg
1 cup oat groats 100 gm
1 cup diced onion 130 gm
1 cup diced celery 130 gm
1 cup diced carrot 130 gm
8 cups gluten free beef broth
(or 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Beef base)
2 liters

Cube beef into small pieces. Brown in a large sauté pan.

Put browned beef and everything else into a 12 cup crock-pot.

Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.

Enjoy your day, and your dinner. 🙂

Extras freeze well, so make a lot and save some for next month.

How to enter to win Cream Hill Certified Gluten Free Oat Groats.

1. Visit Cream Hill Estates recipe page and decide which recipe you would like to try first.

2. Tell us which recipe you chose in the comments below by February 10, 2010.

A winner will be selected by random number generator and notified by email February 11, 2010.

Full disclosure- Cream Hill Estates provided me with free oat products for recipe development. And I am happy to share simply, healthy dishes made with oats.

Update 2-11-10. The winner of the certified gluten free ot groats is Debora.