Three Ways To Make Dulce de Leche (or Caramel), Gluten Free and Lactose Free Options

How’s everyone enjoying the weekend so far? It’s pouring rain here in South Florida. With this humidity, baking is slightly more challenging (I was planning to make macarons again, but so not recommended). Therefore, with a little bit of research and based on all of your wonderful comments and questions, I have an interesting new post for you:

How To Make Dulce de Leche: 3 Ways 

How to make dulce de leche

I’ve used the wonderful gooey and sweet Dulce de Leche in three of my latest and most popular recipes: Caramel Cake Rolls, Vanilla and Caramel Cupcakes and Coconut and Dulce de Leche Alfajores. However, I know dulce de leche might be hard to come by depending on where you are. Here are three great solutions to bring in all the amazing taste to your kitchen.

Vanilla and Caramel Gluten Free CupcakesDulce de Leche and Coconut Alfajores Gluten FreeDulce de Leche Cake Rolls!

Healthiest: Paleo Dulce de Leche

This recipe is inspired by Living Healthy With Chocolate, from a Brazilian Paleo enthusiast who lives in Hawaii (tough life, I know). This dulce de leche is lacotse free.


2 tablespoons of water

1/3 cup raw coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vamilla extract

pinch of salt

In a sauce pan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring and watching constantly. Then, add the vanilla extract, the coconut milk, and the salt. Make sure the heat is in medium. Cook for estimated ten minutes. The “dulce de leche” is ready when it starts to thicken and darkens. Remove from heat right away. Don’t burn it!

Around 275 calories for the whole recipe- around 1/2 cup or 35 calories per tablespoon!

Homemade Salted Dulce de Leche

Recipe by Nicole Costa and Rebecca Clanton.


1 2/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

In a small sauce pan, heat the sugar, the 1/3 cup water and the corn syrup. Bring to simmer on medium. Watch closely until the color changes to amber. Then, add the butter, and stir with a wooden spoon. Once incorporated, remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream, make sure it’s well blended. Add the coarse salt, and then, cool completely.

Makes 1 cup – estimated 16 servings at 150 calories per tablespoon.

Traditional: From Condensed Milk


1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Kosher salt

Empty the can of condensed milk into an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle Kosher salt and cover tightly with foil. Place this in  a larger roasting pan or casserole pan filled with water (up to 3/4 of the pan filled…creating a water bath). Bake at 425 degrees for 60-90 minutes. Check every 30 minutes and add more water to the water bath as needed. Dulce de leche is ready when it looks and feels like caramel. Remove from oven and carefully stir. Let it cool down completely.

Around 65 calories per tablespoon.


Gluten Free New York: Not So Skinny Yet Delicious

I spent last week in New York City. The bright lights of the fastest and most energetic city in the world misled me once again.

There I was, in the middle of Times Square, fighting tourists, commuters and disgruntled students, going up and down the stairs of many subway lines. What were the chances that with all these exercise I could gain an ounce? The answer was simple – high.

Though I lived in this city of dreams (and nightmares) for almost 5 years, this was my first trip going back bearing the gluten-free stamp. To be honest, I had no expectations. In Miami, gluten is confused for potatoes, and you are never too sure whether or not you are eating the right thing.

In New York, the waiters have been trained by gods. They guide you immediately through their menu, recommend suggestions to their chef, and accommodate all kinds of other crazies, such as garlic, and onion intolerances…and, why not, skim cappuccinos. Needles to say, I was in love. And for seven days straight I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. My typically healthy lean chicken breast with a side of tomatoes (safe, easy), was soon replaced by macaroons, gluten-free pasta in Alfredo sauce, and much more.

So yes, I gained 4 pounds. But I think I’m ok with it. Back to Miami, with breaded croquetes and other non-friendly delicacies, the pounds will come off as fast as they came in.

In the meantime, these were some of my favorite gluten-free stops. Note: I’m gluten intolerant, not celiac, so I have a little bit more “freedom.” Always be careful and ask the right questions for yourself when ordering at restaurants that are new to you.

Best Dinner: Red Farm


Self-labeled innovative and inspired Chinese cuisine, this cozy yet impressive 1,200 square feet culinary heaven is located on 529 Hudson Street, in the heart of the West Village. Dim Sum is quite the challenge in non-gluten free groups, but our waiter kept the dishes coming pointing out which ones I could eat and which ones I couldn’t. He even replaced all soy sauces for gluten-free ones, to my delight, and surprise. Recommended: Pac Man dumplings, yuzu wasabi shrimp, sculptural chicken salad and much more. Don’t miss out on a trip to their restroom – their toilet is over $4,000, but you have to find out for yourself.

Read more about Red Farm here.

Best Awesomeness with Coffee: Bouchon Bakery


I was in a hurry around Columbus Circle, and stepped into this bakery almost by chance. Little did I know they were the talk of the town, and even with a very sought-after recipe book (I bought it!). Bouchon Bakery specializes in macaroons, mini merengue treats with all sorts of amazing fillings. They are made with almond flour, making them a great on-the go treat. I couldn’t resist their chocolate-dipped larger macaroons (pictured above) – I had two the first day, and then came back for more every other day after that. The challenge? Trying to replicate the macaroons at home!

Read more about Bouchon Bakery recipe book here (

Best for Silly Drinks and Light Eats: Gramercy Park Hotel

Located on 2 Lexington Avenue, just a few steps from the park, the hotel offers what I call “fancy casual” ambiance and a hot (hot!) bartender named Patrick preparing all kinds of shot concoctions and my new favorite cocktail: The Greyhound (grapefruit juice + Grey Goose). Dinner was well spent at Mailaino, known for their fresh and seasonal ingredients, a roast suckling pig, authentic pastas and more. I love when menues cite *gluten free available* and this just the case. Don’t forget: flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

Read more about Mailaino here.

Why one chocolate chip cookie is never enough…

Why one chocolate chip cookie is never enough…

Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with light brown sugar. Inspired by Bouchon Bakery cookbook.

The FODMAP Diet for IBS; Gluten Free, too

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to FermentableOligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.

In short, FODMAP foods carry a lot of the blame on why you get and feel sick!

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Asparagus, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Raddicio lettuce, Spring Onion (white part), Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
  • Lactose: Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Longon, Lychee, Nectarines, Pears , Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, Sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and Isomalt (953).

The easy solve, then, (and remember, every individual is completely unique and you should always consult your doctor or a registered dietitian) is to just avoid them. Eat this, not that, kind of approach.

And, great additional resources to continue reading:

Today’s Dietitian

$1 off Udi’s Products

Great way to try one of my favorite gluten-free products! UDI’s!

Click on this link to be directed.

Hide and Seek: 5 Foods that Will Make You Sick

I used to go to sushi restaurants and pad myself on the shoulder for ordering non-tempura, non-fried items. And then, a few hours later, I would be curling on my couch, holding my poor stomach in my hands…in pain. But I only ate rice and fish, I used to tell my upset tummy. The growling spoke for itself, and after a week, I would do it all over again.

Fortunately, after much research and many cups of mint tea with a celiac expert and friend, I realized that gluten was not only in bread and cookies- soy sauce, salad dressings and even curry powder had it too. So if a food label doesn’t specifically call out GF, chances are, it carries GF.

Where do you think gluten is hidden? The following five foods were incredible surprises for me. And you?


You can read about more food where you will surprisingly find gluten at Fitsugar.

Taste-The-Health Gluten-Free Bread. This Ain’t Your Mama’s Gut Bomb Bread.

What a great pictures! Looks delicious.

Bee Baby Blog


I straight up took this recipe from My New Roots.  Sara’s recipes are pretty amazing, and this bread is no exception.  I have made it a few times now and when I follow her exact instructions it turns out the best. There are certain things you can change of course.  The type of seeds, nuts, and choice of sweetener, but the proportions really should stay the same.  She calls this The Life Changing Loaf Of bread.  My life has been changed by ice cream, but not bread.

HOLD THE PHONE.  I wrote that last paragraph before sampling the bread I made this morning.  I don’t know if it’s the pumpkin seeds, or the fact that I couldn’t wait for the bread to cool, but something has changed…my life?  I don’t know, but warm and crispy out of the oven with melted grass-fed butter and sea salt.  Holy Moses…

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Gluten Is My Bitch Button is Back & It’s a GIVEAWAY

Gluten is my Bitch

gluten is my bitch buttonsYep. I got more of these bad boys. My publisher and I thought it was especially necessary since oh, about a zillion of you fine people FREAKED OUT at the Celiac Disease Foundation conference this weekend and demanded more “F*ck Flour” buttons. I believe I heard a chant near the Glutino booth at one point.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many I’m getting but they are on their way. So here’s what you do to get your own.

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Gluten intolerance exists, and it’s not coeliac disease


gluten-wheatFor years we’ve been talking about the existence of a gluten intolerance that is not celiac disease. For years we’ve also been claiming that many biopsies with type 1 or 2 Marsh diagnosis, defined on slides as being compatible with celiac disease, are not really indicators of celiac disease but of an entity that can be modulated and cured.

Scientific reports refer to a 10% prevalence among the average population, that is a presence that is 10 times greater than that of celiac disease sufferers (around 1% of the population): very widespread and frequent…

It is my personal experience that in many cases these people are able to recover food tolerance and return to a more unrestricted diet, in the same manner as for food intolerances, without transforming a laboratory diagnosis into a life drama.

At least two recent scientific works, which we’ll discuss in greater detail during the coming…

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Gluten Free Diet for Weight Loss: Why A Third of Americans Bit into It

A recent study found one third of Americans are now trying to keep this protein out of their diet. Dr. Sanjay Gupta declares: “Gluten-free”is the health mantra of the moment. Trend, fad or mantra, most of the hopefuls are following into the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities who, in the eyes of our layman eyes, continue to be the icons of beauty, youth and success.

Miranda Kerr, Jessica Alba, Rachel Weisz, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham, and Selma Blair, amongst others, are well-known gluten-free “enthusiasts.”

I’ve been on a diet since I can remember. As a kid, I was always weighing more than my (much smaller) friends, and once I hit college, the well-known “freshman 15” really turned out to be “freshman 50+” for me. But I was healthy. And now, looking back, eating a whole pizza for dinner seems like a far off dream, versus an artery-clogging and calorie-heart-attack nightmare.

I’m not celiac, but I do have a gluten allergy. And had to walk a long path before arriving to this life-changing eye-opener. Doctors prescribed counseling for stress, told me to go the gym, and even gave me anti-anxiety medication. In the meantime, I couldn’t get on a plane without going to the restroom 5 times at the terminal, and I didn’t understand why. (Did I mention I was addicted to Starbuck’s banana and chocolate chip coffee cake? Thats why!)

Eating gluten-free, avoiding preservatives and things I can’t pronounce, and spending more time thinking about what I put in my mouth has been the best and most incredible “medication.” It also forced me to spend countless hours baking and cooking, which I just figured out I really love to do. I don’t eat anything that has a label, so if I want a cupcake, I have to bake it myself!

And this is how I lost almost 15 pounds. Remember, I’m not celiac. I’m just eating better and managing my gluten allergy. My body looks trimmer and I can finally see my Pilates sessions paying off. Many people that haven’t seen me in a while immediately notice and want to know “the secret.” I tell them. And that’s how Gwyneth and all her fabulous friends promptly get into the conversation.

gf fadPost Atkins and the South Beach diet crazes, eating “gluten-free” for many dieters might be a welcoming option. There is a plethora of cookies and crackers and snack goodies abound. Every day, I discovered a new one at the supermarket, and established brands such as Udi’s and Glutino Foods seem to be exploding in the social arena, with thousands and thousands of followers.

The reaction to this gluten-free “fad” in the celiac community has been very divided. On the one hand, many are enthusiasts – raising awareness for gluten sensitivity is a win-win. On the other, many are getting upset – celiac disease is a REAL illness that affects nearly 1 in 20 Americans, and leads to very serious, long-term, health problems such as destroying the lining of the intestine and damaging the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Dr. Joseph Murray, MD, a specialist in celiac disease at the Mayo Clinic, brings forward the most important takeaway in this argument, as a response to one of their studies that revealed that 1.6 million Americans have cut gluten completely from their diets. “It’s a little ironic,” said Dr. Murray, “that you have 1.6 million people on a gluten-free diet without a diagnosis of celiac disease, and we’ve got about the same number of people who have celiac disease, don’t know it, and aren’t on the diet they need to be on.”

I’m partial to the first group – awareness is always a great thing. Maybe in a few more months I won’t have to fight with a restaurant manager when I ask to replace the French fries with rice, or go through lengthy explanations at a business meeting when I don’t touch the donuts.

And as for Gwyneth and the rest, more power to them. Trying to eat healthier and taking care of yourself are evergreen mantras everyone should adopt.

Check out more celebrities follow a gluten-free diet here.

Check out handy celiacs and non-celiacs celebs and athletes here.

Even Bill and Chelsea Clinton are gluten free proponents.