Gluten Intolerant? Beware Dandelion Coffee.

coffeeGluten Intolerant? Beware Dandelion Coffee. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but my dad believed dandelions were an absolute scourge. I grew up bewaring them. Like all kids, I wanted to grab a stem topped with a fluffy seed ball and blow. If I did, I’d better do it in someone else’s lawn or there would be hell to pay.

Dandelion coffee sounds as appealing as those fluffy seed balls. It’s herbal. It has no caffeine. It’s popular where all the cool people live. Some would even say it has liver cleansing properties. Roasted dandelion root tastes a bit like coffee and when brewed with chicory has a pleasant sweetness rather than an acidic or bitter aftertaste. What’s not to like?
ball
Sometimes there’s everything to like, but for those of us with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, sometimes there are just too many goodies included. Dandelion coffee is often brewed with barley and rye in addition to chicory root and sugar beets. If you order a dandelion latte in a restaurant, it’s worth checking the ingredients before beginning to sip. If you buy a packaged blend, be sure to read the label.

If you can’t find the perfect blend, you can make your own dandelion coffee. Dandelion roots are best harvested in late fall, winter, or early spring and will produce a more coffee-like flavor when cleaned, chopped, dried, roasted and ground. If you don’t want to dig your own when you’re maintaining the lawn, you can also order the roots from sites like this: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/dandelion-root-roasted/profile. You can add anything you want to your brew. Some popular ingredients are chicory root, cinnamon sticks, and cacao nibs.

While there’s no caffeine in dandelion coffee, the large dose of vitamin B it provides has been reported to perk you up much like a shot of espresso. While I haven’t experienced this, I once accidentally drank too much passion tea in one day and had to take a 5 hour nap. I wasn’t thinking of it as herbal medicine. I just drank it because it tasted refreshing in the summer served over ice. When I started feeling really tired and grumpy and weird, I discovered passionflower had once been approved as an OTC sedative and sleep aid in the US. Hmmm, who knew?

Anyway, I’m willing to believe that dandelion coffee may perk you up when you least expect it. I know those dandelions. They’re sneaky. One day they look like a pretty yellow flower, the next a dangerous ball of seeds that will ruin your father’s yard.
bloom
Eat the greens, pickle the buds, fry the blooms, make some wine if you dare. Just keep in mind when it comes to the coffee, sometimes it’s best to beware.

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/herbal-coffee/profile

https://www.eatweeds.co.uk/dandelion-root-coffee-recipe

http://www.almanac.com/content/dandelion-recipes-wonderful-edible-weed

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-871-passionflower.aspx?activeingredientid=871

10 Great Gluten-Free Gifts for the Food Lovers in Your Life

giftsAs more and more people embrace a gluten-free lifestyle, you may find yourself searching to find great gluten-free gifts for the food lovers in your life. There’s no need to focus on foods with a gluten-free label. Many foods are naturally gluten-free as well as delicious. If you’re looking for ideas, start with our top 10 favorites:
penzey's
1. Spices from Penzey’s
Long before I was gluten-free and it was possible to order online, I began giving Penzey’s gift packs as customer gifts. I love using the spices, so why wouldn’t I want to share! Packaged in a variety of combinations, the spices come in glass jars with black lids arranged in a perfectly tailored box for as little as $14.79. Individual spices and gift cards are also available. https://www.penzeys.com/

2. Harry & David Pears
Harry & David managed to squeak through some tough financial times and we’re so grateful! It doesn’t get any better than a perfectly ripe Royal Riviera® Pear. I let the juice run down my chin every time I bite into one. I just can’t help it! http://www.harryanddavid.com/
stripp
3. Olive Oils and Vinegars from Strippaggio
You haven’t had balsamic vinegar until you’ve tried the Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar from Strippaggio. And then there’s the dark chocolate balsamic, blueberry balsamic, espresso balsamic, and many more – all delicious! And we can’t forget the Extra Virgin Olive Oils flavored with basil, lemon, jalapeño, and citrus. Give a sample pack of either 4 oils or 4 vinegars for about $25. https://strippaggioevoo.com/
zocalo
4. Zocalo Andean Heritage Flours
The natural boxes are cute, cute, cute and the flours are totally fun to play with. My favorites are the sweet potato and mesquite flours. The products are free of soy, gluten, dairy, and genetically engineered ingredients. They’re less than $10 and available from a variety of outlets including Amazon http://www.amazon.com/ and igourmet http://www.igourmet.com

cocoa
5. Scharffenberger Cacao Nibs & Cocoa Powder
I use the Cacao Nibs in my cheesecake crust. They add just the right touch of chocolate. The unsweetened cocoa powder flavors my favorite chocolate cake! You can also order a variety of gift sets. A tin of sweetened cocoa, a cute mug, and a candy cane would be perfect for the hot chocolate lover. http://www.scharffenberger.com/

6. Gourmet Gluten-Free Pasta from Pappardelle’s
The selection has changed since the last time I ordered, but there are several interesting options – Basil Garlic Penne, Garlic Chive Rooster Combs, Porcini Mushroom Large Trumpets, and Plain Mafaldine. Of course I’m most intrigued by the Dark Pasta Shavings that are not available this season. That’s okay. I can wait. There’s also a new 3 pack gift box for $40 and electronic gift cards to make things easy. http://www.pappardellespasta.com/products/dried-pasta/gluten-free-pasta

7. Snacks from Nuts.com
We order them for ourselves, why not for our friends! Nuts.com has a gluten-free menu link so it’s easy to choose the perfect snack of nuts, dried fruit, popcorn, candy, or veggie chips.There’s also a variety of coffees, teas, and sugar-free items, not to mention recipes and a gluten-free flour guide. https://nuts.com/

8. Taro Flavored Frozen Yogurt from Red Mango
I have no idea why a root vegetable makes for tasty frozen yogurt, but this flavor is the BEST!!! In fact, when they’re out of it no other flavor seems to suffice. Red mango yogurt retains the tangy taste of yogurt rather than the sweet taste of ice cream. For me, this is a real plus. Gift cards are available. http://www.redmangousa.com/

9. Bacon of the Month Club
We’ve ordered this for friends and they raved for years; problem is, they didn’t share a single piece of bacon with us. How crazy is that? Now there’s a specialized GF version so you don’t have to worry about the rubs and seasonings. http://www.baconfreak.com/bacon-is-meat-candy-bacon-club-gluten-free.html

10. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Blue Bell had a brief stumble this year. We’re glad to see they’ve resolved the problems and begun shipping again. We’ve been known to spend $125 in shipping cost just to get 4 gallons of Blue Bell to James in California. He loves it that much! http://bluebell.com/

As we push full speed ahead into holiday shopping craziness, I hope this list will help you save some time when you shop for the gluten-free amongst you.

Happy Shopping!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”