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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Testing out the oats

Well, today is a big day in my world. I ate oats for the first time since April.

It's Jim's birthday today, and he wanted meatloaf and cheesy potatoes for his birthday dinner. He tried to take it back after he asked for it because he realized that those are pretty much off the menu for me, but I wouldn't let him. It is his birthday, after all. The cheesy potatoes are out: they have wheat in the sauce, so I made mashed potatoes for Annie and me (she HATES the cheesy potatoes). But I don't make meatloaf with bread crumbs, I make it with oats. Always have. That's the family recipe.

I decided then and there that today I would take the plunge and eat the meatloaf. I had checked the Quaker Oats website right away when I was diagnosed with celiac to see if they considered their product gluten free. They were careful to point out that they only work with oats and that their plain old-fashioned oats are run on a gf line, but that each person should decide whether oats were a smart choice for their diet.

So far, so good! It seems that I will be able to eat the Quaker Oats after all. Only time will tell, I suppose, but I can usually feel the beginning ill effects of eating gluten within 15 minutes, and right now, I feel fine. I am very happy about this! I love meatloaf, so this is a very very good thing.

In case you're curious (and you can eat oats), here is my recipe. But, be warned. As my husband put it so delicately last month: "Mikki doesn't use recipes. She cooks like a grandma!"

Mikki's family's meatloaf recipe:
This can be doubled or trebled depending on the size of your family, of course. I usually use 2 lbs of meat.

1 lb hamburger (85-90% lean has the best flavor)
a handful of oats
one egg
a liberal dose of ketchup (perhaps 1/4 cup?)
a splash of milk (perhaps 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup?)
a heavy sprinkling of dried chopped onion - or a small, finely diced sauteed onion

Other occasional add-ins: (not all at once, though!)
If you use these, reduce the amount of ketchup or add a few more oats to keep the moisture level well-balanced. You want the resulting loaf to be moldable, but not mushy, not crumbly.
Worchestershire sauce
A1 sauce

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Tip: I've started using a potato masher to mix my meatloaf. It's quite handy. I used to just wash my hands and use those, but the fun has worn off of that method. (I am getting pretty old, you know.)
2. Bake low and slow. Schools of thought vary on this, but usually somewhere around 300 for an hour is good. Don't go above 350 or below 250, though. Higher heat=crumblier; lower heat=more solid


No, really, that's it.
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