Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cheese Muffins and Eating Gluten Free at Work

Being gluten free in the workplace is no big deal, but there have been a few things I never anticipated. The reality of being on a severely restricted diet for the rest of my life has made me think in ways I never did about how social eating is.

Business meetings, in particular, typically revolve around food. This means that when I get invited to have lunch as, say, part of an interview day, there might be a restaurant already booked that has nothing there that I can eat! A sit-down restaurant will probably have something that can be made to be gluten free, but it is absolutely necessary to have a detailed discussion with the waiter about everything, which in turn means that the conversation will at least temporarily revolve around something like surprising avenues for gluten cross-contamination. It is a complex issue that most people know just enough about to know what I am talking about and be curious to hear more. Plus, I feel like I have to explain why I am drilling the waiter on whether he has access to the ingredient label for the garlic powder in the chef's seasoning. I suppose this could be a plus if I am trying to show how detail-oriented I am, right? Eh...this is why even though I am not a coffee drinker, I prefer to meet at a coffee place.

Less uncomfortable but sometimes also a challenge is packing my lunch. There is a hidden benefit to this because homemade food is almost inevitably going to be cheaper and healthier than any other option I have, but I run out of ideas fast! Plus, some mornings I get in a rush and want to grab breakfast on my way out the door. This recipe is good for both problems.

There are a lot of lunch ideas out there that revolve around sandwich bread or microwaving things. I am not convinced by anything I have read thus far that microwaving actually damages food in a significant way, but it is a possibility, and at any rate microwaved food tastes funny. Gluten free sandwich bread exists, but I am used to doing without bread and regular bread baking is a hassle to me right now. Some things I do pack are p√Ęte and crackers, leftovers like macaroni and cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and smoothies with coconut milk, egg yolks, yogurt or kefir, and a little fruit. I am always up for more ideas!

Cheese and Egg Muffins
Generously adapted from this recipe from Cheeseslave (the original recipe is also delicious!)
4 large eggs
3 T. coconut flour
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 lb. cheddar cheese

Whisk eggs together, then add coconut flour, sour cream, paprika, and baking powder and whisk until there are no lumps and it is completely blended.

Finely grate the cheese. Stir it in. Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin papers, or if you have silicone muffin cups, just put them on a baking sheet. Fill cups about 2/3 of the way; I love my 3 T. large scoop for muffins, which yields 10 muffins per batch for these. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until the centers are no longer runny. These freeze well and I find that four make a decent lunch.

Does anybody have suggestions for packable, nourishing, no-heat lunches? What other muffins do you like that could make a meal unto themselves?

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