So, please share ideas, websites or cookbooks to help me.
Since March we have had to go gluten free, dairy free, cane sugar free, and tomato free. Except for the tomato and the inconvenience of the cane sugar (try finding a restaurant that doesn't use cane sugar,) I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this diet. It is so much healthier than what we were eating before. (We are vegetarians and I made most of our food from scratch, this is just so much healthier.) AND because I am so actively looking for recipes, we are eating so much good food (my pants are getting tight from all the good food.)
For lunches I pack a cooler with rice cakes, almond butter, jelly, (and for my son who is not df cream cheese.) Sometimes we take gf crackers with us. We also take cheese sticks for my son, lara bars for everyone, bananas, a baggie of cashews, and whatever other fruit we have. (Plus some knives and spoons to put the rice cakes together.) Do not make rice cake sandwiches, they break. Make them open face. I also take homemade almond bread. It is really, really good. http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-bread-20/ After I make it, I slice it, put it in a ziplock bag, and freeze.
I freeze pesto in ice cube trays then put it in ziplock bags (they're BPA free.) Also a red pepper/basil sauce. I also freeze leftover pasta (we use tinkyada brand. It's expensive, but SOOO good. Only cook 8 or 9 minutes, not by package directions.) I put it on a wax paper covered cookie sheet, let it freeze, then put in ziplock. When I need something fast, I put pasta in a bowl, lightly coat with water, and microwave. Then I microwave sauces.
I also freeze brown rice (same method though it doesn't need a water coating for microwave.) Add some veggies, tamari, and sesame oil, maybe a scrambled egg, and you've got fried rice.
I also make my own mung bean tortillas http://spiceandmore.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/an-exciting-discovery/ I freeze them with wax paper between each wrap then we can make cheese crisps pretty fast. (Daiya cheese for my daughter.) But making the tortillas in the first place takes a bit of time. You could also take these as a wrap for lunches and fill with your favorite sandwich toppings. They fold, unlike store bought gf tortillas.
The biggest task for me was figuring out veggie broth. My favorite had soy sauce (tamari is gf, why don't they just make it with tamari?) All the others have MSG. So, I make my own broth and freeze it in ice cube trays then ziplock bags.
We eat a lot of fruit for snacks. To make them "fun" you can use your freezer. Frozen grapes, sliced bananas or popsicles--pureed fruit with a bit of juice in a dixie cup. Put a piece of aluminum foil over it, cut a slit, and put in a popsicle stick (so the stick stands straight up.) I keep lara bars in my purse for emergency food supply so I don't offer them unless they're requested.
As far as recipes are concerned, there are so many on the web. Just google gluten free and an ingredient/dish you're interested in. I just googled "gluten free broccoli recipe" and got 4.6 million responses. Also go to amazon and put in gluten free cookbook. I also added the word vegetarian or vegan. I've gotten some good books from there.
Right now I am looking for a good crepe recipe. I normally love the stuff from www.elanaspantry.com and her books, but I didn't like her crepe or the one in http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Coconut-Flour-Gluten-Free-Alternative/dp/0941599639/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313476746&sr=1-2 So I am searching for other alternatives. I'm thinking quinoa flour.
You can order a lot of items off amazon subscribe and save at a much cheaper price than getting them in the store and they are delivered for free. Since we can't do cane sugar, chex cereal is out for us (I emailed them to find out if maybe they use beet sugar, but they can't guarantee it.)
These are the cereals we buy. Check the subscribe and save option:
This is really good pizza crust. Sadly it has cane sugar so we can't use it. It's a subscribe and save item:
I absolutely suggest staying away from most processed gluten free foods. They taste awful, usually have little fiber, and are expensive. It's a bit of work to make your own foods, but for me it is so rewarding. When we first went gf I emptied out our freezer and cupboards. 2 ice chests and several bags of food I gave to friends. My freezers were empty. Now they are overflowing with healthy food--homemade broth, pureed veggies from broth (for extra flavor,) frozen grapes, frozen almond bread, homemade tortillas, frozen mango for our morning smoothie (those I buy at trader joe's.)
My son's vocabulary includes words like Coconut flour, almond flour, mung bean noodles, tinkyada. I mentioned how weird it is to see a 5 year old with those words in his vocabulary. My husband said, "six months ago those words weren't in MY vocabulary."
I've got to get to bed, but please feel free to pm me if you have any questions. (I try and check here regularly, but you never know.)
I'm very happy with Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is a really well-done cookbook. She does have a recipe for pizza crust, bread, pasta dough, tortillas, pancakes, etc., so it isn't just sweet baking recipes, but that is the focus. The only downside is that she uses a GF all-purpose flour for all of her recipes. So, you buy the few flours that most of the recipes call for and then mix it in a big batch. It's very helpful when you're using this cookbook, but if you use any gluten-free blogs (http://glutenfreegirl.com/ is a favorite of mine) or other cookbooks, you will also want each of those flours separate.
This may be old news for you. However, if you have an Asian grocery store near you, you're in luck. Most will sell sweet rice flour, white rice flour (not brown), tapioca starch, potato starch, and some other things you may want. In my experience, they are all really, really cheap in comparison to anywhere else. I have been to international markets and haven't had much luck (odd, really), but you could check one of those if you have one nearby. Also, Amazon does have decent discounts on Bob's Red Mill flours from time to time. I've used their brown rice flour and though some people complain about the texture in baking, I've never had an issue.
Some flours, like almond flour, coconut flour, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, etc. are made from whole foods, they're just ground up. Other foods like white rice flour, cornstarch, etc. are processed foods. Then there's the starches--tapioca flour/starch, arrowroot, etc. that don't have much nutrition to speak of (that I know of.)
A lot of gf foods are made with a lot of processed flours. Watch for the ingredients and see if you're eating real food or processed food.
Tapioca flour nutritional info http://www.livestrong.com/article/277140-nutritional-value-of-tapioca-flour/
Tapioca pears (they didn't have flour) http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5733/2 completeness score 4
Arrowroot nutritional info http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5677/2 (see completeness score of 7)
Quinoa nutritional info http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5705/2 completeness score 45
Almonds nutritional info http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3086/2 completeness score 39
Mung beans http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4348/2 completeness score 60
When we went GF we did a lot of dinners that were meat, rice or potato and 1 or 2 veggies because I already knew how to make all that. Getting more vegetarian options in was a challenge in the beginning so I got The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein and Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook by Leslie Cerier and have gotten a lot of useful ideas out of them. I'd recommend both of those books.
I like 'Your won't believe its gluten free" or something like that, by roben ryberg. It has a lot of single flour recipies, so it is nice if you are avoiding something in particular. For example, there is a bread recipe that has a corn version, a rice version, and a potato version, and a multigrain version, as do many of the recipes. That book doesn't use the most fiber-ful flours, but it does use affordable flours and starches, and makes some pretty good GF versions of things! SOME of the recipes I've had success making them 'multigrain' by subbing part of a more fiberful flour (like sourgum or almond) but don't play around with that until you master the basics.
I like crockpot365 blog, and her books...it does have a new name so you'll have to google it.