Spring in Seattle is beautiful. Seattle may be known for its evergreen trees but the beautiful blooms of spring – azaleas, rhododendron, cherry trees, dog woods, these are a heavenly site.
I love it when the gray fleece blanket of cloud cover that is our constant throughout the long winter lifts to reveal once again the glory of the sun - aahh the temperature has raised a few degrees from the winter norm of in the 40s to the spring kiss of 60 degrees, the sun has moved closer so that when it poops through the clouds you can feel its warmth on your skin, the moss starts to dry up, the wood pecker returns to send out its mating call from the metal liner of my chimney, and everything blooms!! I know the rain will be back, but there is a promise of something new and brighter.
It makes me stop for a moment and gaze out my family room window.
This may be a sad metaphor for celiac disease, but it is similar to our recovery. After living in the grayness of feeling tired, the brain not quite functioning right, the stomach aches, we awoke to a new beginning. As we started to heal the sun started to shine in our lives again – new energy abounds, new discoveries are made.
Seeing our new "spring" we stopped to gaze at our lives for a moment and be thankful for our new beginning.
Okay, so much for the reflective moment – another thing that the new warmth brings me is a desire for a good salad. After spending our winter drinking hot chocolate and cozying up to comfort foods, I am ready to shed the fleece and have a light hearty healthy salad. The salads will be even better in a few months when we can pick the lettuce from our garden, but I can’t wait that long.
I remember when we first went gluten free there was a lot of talk about salad dressings and whether or not they contaminated gluten. One of the main concerns was with vinegar. We now know that balsamic, cider and wine vinegars are all safe. The distillation process removes the gluten from the vinegar. The only exception to this would be Malt or a Barley Malt vinegar.
Another concern with salad dressings is that they may contain gluten as a thickener, although I honestly have not checked into this myself.
Initially being overwhelmed by all of the changes required by our new diet, I went with our philosophy of it is easier, and the end result will taste better, if I just make it from scratch. That is especially true with salad dressings.
With a few simple ingredients on hand, you can whip up a salad dressing in five minutes. And the taste . . . even a very simple homemade dressing is leaps and bounds better than dressing out of the bottle. Really, if you have not tried it, you will be shocked. Often times after we have company over to our house for dinner, the one recipe they request when they leave is for the salad dressing!
Our favorite dressings change with the season - in summer when you can get fresh spinach and strawberries you will love the Strawberry Spinach Salad. Since I cannot have dairy, I have come up with a simple dairy free replacement for Ranch dressing. The Gluten Free Teens favorite dressing is the following Honey Mustard Dressing. She adapted it from Red Robins dressing. It is not necessarily low fat, but it taste great with chicken nuggets and is perfect on a Cobb Salad.
Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
1 – 2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
2 ounces of your favorite shredded cheese (leave off for casein free)
2 tablespoons of chopped olives
Add altogether and toss with the following dressing before serving.
Honey Mustard Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
3 T sugar
3 T honey
1 ½ T regular mustard
1 ½ T Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 ½ T white vinegar
1 ½ T olive oil
Mix together with a wire whip or fork. Store in the refrigerator.
Gluten Free Bottled Salad Dressings:
Okay, you had to know I would not leave you hanging. The Gluten Free in San Diego Group has put together an extensive list of GF salad dressings. Remember, you should always double check yourself, but this list should get you started.
Here is the link to the Gluten Free in San Diego Page - Gluten Free Salad Dressings *** I tried five times to get this link to work and it keep coming back with an error message. But if you click the link, then on the left of the web page there will be a search box. Type in "salad dressings." The page with the list of salad dressings was the second search result for me. Sorry for the extra steps.