Monday, October 31, 2011

Turning over a new (tea) leaf

At work we got one of these fancy schmancy new coffee makers

As of late I've been kicking the coffee and reaching for the tea but look at's sleek, and fancy and glows a pretty blue color so ... I was tempted

"I wonder if I should try out this fancy schmancy new coffee maker?"
" you think it's safe?" -- the wise words of a savior (a.k.a Joshington, a co-worker).

Hrmmmm good question. I really haven't been drinking coffee (and enjoying it) much lately anyway so perhaps I'll have some tea instead.

I opted for some super tasty Celestial Seasonings Black Cherry Berry which, by the way, is very clearly labeled gluten free.
Super tasty and turns out...a VERY smart choice.

While there are some K-Cups that are safe...
Question  Do any of your K-Cup® portion packs contain gluten?
All of the coffees offered in K-Cup® portion packs are gluten and gluten byproduct-free. The Café Escapes French Vanilla Café-au-Lait K-Cup® portion pack contains small amounts of wheat. The Timothy’s Lemon Blueberry Tea K-Cup® portion pack contains malted oats.

For additional nutritional information on a particular K-Cup® portion pack, we suggest you contact the Roaster directly.

I totally would've gone for a nom-licious flavor...and I'm so glad I didn't!

Goblins, Ghouls and Gluten Free nummies!

Trick or treat
smell my feet
gimme something SAFE to eat

Sorry I didn't put it out earlier...but while you're checking your wee one's bags of candy for safe's a go to list!

There are actually A LOT of GF choices in the candy aisle and there's a COMPREHENSIVE LIST here. But I'm sticking with short and simple...and my personal (and my kids') faves :)

PLEASE NOTE: If it's NOT's NOT safe. For example...I LOVE me some Butterfinger and can eat regular ones ...but I cannot eat:

  • Butterfinger Crisp Bar
  • Butterfinger Giant Bar
  • Butterfinger Snackerz
  • Butterfinger Medallions
  • Butterfinger Jingles
  • Butterfinger Hearts
  • Butterfinger Pumpkins

  • According to Nestle, the following candies are gluten-free:
    • Baby Ruth
    • Bit-O-Honey
    • Butterfinger Bar (original flavor only, NOT giant bar)
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Goobers
    • Nips (including both regular and sugar-free)
    • Oh Henry!
    • Raisinets (including Cherry, Cranberry and Dark Chocolate flavors)
    • Sno-Caps
    • Wonka Pixy Stix
    • Laffy Taffy (including Laffy Taffy Rope and Fruitarts Chews)
    • Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip

    According to Mars Chocolate, the following candies are gluten-free:
    • M&M's (all EXCEPT for pretzel-flavored M&M's
    • 3 Musketeers Bars (all flavors)
    • Milky Way Midnight Bar
    • Milky Way Caramel Bar
    • Dove Chocolate products (all flavors)
    • Snickers Bars (all flavors)
    • Munch Nut Bar

    As of October 2011, the following (short) list of Hershey's products are gluten-free:
    • Hershey's Plain Milk Chocolate Kisses
    • Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar, only in the 1.55 oz. size
    • Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar, only in the 1.45 oz. size

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    super snack!

    I don't write as much as I should :(
    I should preface that by saying...August through November is NUTS in our, work, cheer, lacrosse, theater, volunteer commitments and then comes mid November...ahhh :)

    Honestly, I have pics galore, recipes to share and reviews of some fantastic restaurants in the Central Florida area but haven't had a second to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard as it were).

    But TODAY I had a fantastic snack and just had to while I still have a few minutes left it's EASY.

    Joyva Sesame Tahini (gluten free!)
    Your favorite Raw, Local Honey (mix in to taste)
    Celery sticks

    mmmmmm so good!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Labor Day laziness = mmmm bbq

    Ahhh... gotta love a day off from work with not much more to do than watch an Undercover Boss marathon. A few weeks ago, the hub and I scored a great deal on pork shoulder and bought TWO.

    Monday was the perfect day for a "picnic" so we placed the pig in an oven bag, set it in a tin roasting pan and let our new grill work its magic for a few hours outside. When it was almost done we shucked some fresh sweet corn, soaked it in cold water then put it on the grill with the pork. Topped off with a dollop of potato salad and we had the perfect Labor Day meal that took no time at all...well none of our time, the grill did all the work.

    Leftovers from this pork are gonna be a dream.
    I shredded what was left after dinner (which was quite a good bit) and poured in a bottle of Pat's Ho-made BBQ sauce.

    I LOVE Pat's not only is it Gluten free, it tastes AMAZING and costs less than $2.00 a bottle at our local grocer.

    If you can't find it locally, you can order it on line...and it's worth it :)

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Hanker for a hunka....CURRY

    I've been on a curry kick lately.
    Years ago I couldn't even take the smell of it, now...I can't get enough.
    I don't quite trust restaurant curry yet...only because no chef in town can guarantee me it's safe (GF) so we've been tinkering with recipes at home. Some have flopped, some have tasted great but nothing to write home here about...yet. So here's a quickie to tide you over.

    Curry Chicken Salad
    SO super easy and SO yum!
    I start with a can of Valley Fresh Canned Chicken
    add Hain's Safflower Mayo to taste
    Shake on your favorite curry powder (be sure to check the label) I like mine hot :)
    add a dash of salt

    Add ice cold red grapes and slices of granny smith or gold delicious apples to give it an extra punch, celery slices are nice for crunch too.

    The secret is in letting it sit (refrigerated of course)
    I make it in the morning and pack it in my lunch and it's JUST right by then.

    So, voila or छिपी
    quick, nom nom nommy Curry!

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Back To School

    It's not just lunchboxes you need to keep gluten free...

    Just in time to stock your backpacks and lockers with goodies a list of GF school supplies.

    I have to worry about school supplies???

    Well, you may not have to, but turns out I do.
    I had an episode last week that we tracked back to Expo Dry erase markers and today my hand is flaring because I decided to write a note on my self so I wouldn't forget...
    now I won't forget to write on a piece of paper instead of my skin.
    Turns out some pen companies use gluten in their ink to keep it from drying if you lose the cap. Pretty novel idea...I hate dried out pens. Lesson learned...I shouldn't be writing on myself anyway, momma taught me better than that :)

    Gluten-free School Supplies

    Colorations/Discount School Supplies 1-800-627-2829
    The following products are gluten-free:
    COLORATIONS WASHABLE MARKERS  CLASSIC TIP 98200 (200), 98256 (256), LWM (8), LWMSET (16)

    Center Enterprises / Ink Pads
    They can't guarantee they are gluten-free. Ingredients are gluten-free, but won't make guarantee.

    All Softsoaps are gluten-free.

    Crayola/Binney and Smith-
    All products are gluten-free except for Crayola Dough.
    gluten-free products include: Silly Putty, ColorWonder Fingerpaints, Paints, Crayons, Pencils, Markers, Modeling Clay, Glue, Glitter Glue, and Chalk.

    Curad bandaids will no longer say their bandaids are gluten-free because suppliers can change.

    Elmer's Glue
    All products except Elmer's finger paints are gluten-free. These include Tempera paints, watercolors, glues, glue sticks, crayon sticks, squeeze and brush paints, and glitter paints.

    Huggies Wipes
    They say there is a possibly of trace amounts of gluten and will not say they are gluten-free.

    Johnson and Johnson
    Bandaid Brand Bandaids are gluten-free (includes clear, family variety pack, kid character bandaids, flexible, and fabric bandaids).

    Kleenex tissues with lotion and Kleenex anti-viral are gluten-free.

    Lakeshore Ink Pads
    6 inch round ink pads are gluten-free. They make three other Lakeshore ink pads that they do not know the status of but are checking on.

    Lucky Plus Bingo Markers
    Arrow International
    Bingo markers are gluten-free. They state that all their markers are gluten-free.

    Palmer Paint
    All paints (including face paint) are gluten-free.

    Pampers Wipes
    Baby Wipes and Kan-doo wipes are gluten-free.

    Purell instant hand sanitizer is gluten-free (includes with aloe, original, 2 in 1, and Purell wipes).

    Prang Paints/ Dixon Ticonderoga Company
    All paints, glues, markers, modeling clay, chalk, and crayons are gluten-free.
    They state that they do not produce anything containing gluten.

    Re: e-mail
    Puffs with lotion are gluten-free.

    All products are gluten-free except Roseart fun dough and modeling clay.
    (Their stickers are gluten-free!)

    Ross Products- (owned by Elmer's)
    Columbus, Ohio
    All products (glue, glue sticks, etc.) except Ross fingerpaints are gluten-free.

    Sanford/Mr.Sketch Markers
    Mr. Sketch Scented, Water color markers are gluten-free.

    3M Corporation
    Scotch Magic Tape is gluten-free.
    Nexcare Bandaids do not contain any ingredients with gluten, but they don't test for gluten so they won't claim that they are gluten-free.

    Vi-Jon Company
    Germ-X hand sanitizer is gluten-free.

    Envelopes and stamps that you lick may have gluten in the adhesive.

    Peel and Stick Stickers may have gluten in the adhesive.

    Personal Care Items: Be aware that some hand lotions, soaps, cosmetics, lip sticks, chapsticks, etc. may contain gluten.

    Products not confirmed yet:

    Avery Dennison
    Carter's Stamp Pad
    They are checking.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Paradise Lost

    Please note...this is in NO way a post bashing Margaritaville, their food, service or care in providing me a safe GF dinner.

    No, if anyone is to blame it is me...for not checking my condiments :(

    Yesterday I had the most amazing burger and fries. Today I'm so itchy I do believe I've rubbed my face clear down to the stratum granulosum layer of my epidermis and so exhausted it feels as though my musculoskeletal system has disintegrated and I have no strength with which to move my mass which feels more massive than ever. I CAN brain is telling me that it FEELS like I can't.

    I should've known better.
    Check your condiments.
    I swear I've checked Heinz 57 sauce before and found it safe but I could be imagining things because I'm not thinking very clearly...see note above...

    I knew something was up this morning when I pooped.
    Yes folks, this is my blog; poop is one of the symptoms that led me on the search for the cure to what ails me so when the poop ain't right, I know something is wrong.

    Yesterday's intake was perfect and I was fanatical about where we ate out and what we ate and the staff at the restaurant was meticulous in their preparation and what could it be?

    On a hunch I jumped on the Heinz site and took a gander at their Gluten Free list.
    NOTE...I'm in no way bashing Heinz either...they have a LIST right there on their site and there's a ton of products I've since added to my shopping list but...
    Guess what...Heinz 57 sauce isn't on their GF list.

    So today, because I didn't check
    I'm uncomfortable to the point of scratching my eyes out
    I've lost 2 hours of work
    and all I wanna do is sleep...

    I'm also just a tad bit miffed.
    Can't help it...gluten turns off my filter...
    I don't wanna read every label
    I don't wanna research every possible derivative of dextrose and sorbitol (which, by the way, is in lots of toothpaste so it's a good idea to research your favorite brand)
    I don't wanna eat plain, condiment free food...

    but then again, maybe I do
    not because I will feel better
    but because it will taste fries last night were fandangtastic on their own...and the burger...OMG so good
    I didn't need to crack open the bottle.

    I need to remember Louis the Lifeguard's words of wisdom...

    I Can Has Cheezburger?

    Yes, Virginia, you CAN have a cheeseburger...a Cheeseburger in Paradise no less!

    Now that you're all singing, let me tell you about our night.
    Last night we found ourselves with a few hours to kill at Universal's City Walk since our oldest headed to Teen Night at the Groove and we were the taxi.
    I work at Universal Orlando and know they've taken great strides over the past couple of years to provide safe, tasty choices for Celiacs and GF'ers so as soon as I learned we were headed to the Walk, I Googled "gluten free City Walk Orlando" and found this GREAT menu at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville.

    I know, I keep forgetting to take a picture BEFORE I take a bite :(
    OF COURSE I had a Cheeseburger in Paradise ...but skip the Heinz 57, it's not Gluten Free...(a fact I should've checked before I went).
    The burger was delicious and so were the fries. Note, it was also HUGE, my hub and I could've shared this and been more than satisfied. This was an extra special treat since we typically eat a more paleolithic diet (it's naturally gluten free). The GF bun on the burger was soft and flavorful and the fries were crispy! My meal was even brought out separately from the rest of the table's to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

    And then...there was dessert...
    We share desserts around the table. Again, the staff was knowledgeable bringing separate sets of silverware for each dessert to avoid cross contamination. The GF offering is a Chocolate Hurricaine, a warm, fudgy brownie with macadmia nut chunks, creamy vanilla ice cream and a mountain of fresh whipped cream drizzled with hot fudge sauce. Drooling yet?
    This was DEFINITELY big enough to share with the table and we still barely put a dent in it.

    My son hit it right on the head when he said "this should be your birthday dinner spot!"
    Yes indeed.
    The atmosphere was fun
    The food was fantastic
    The staff was knowledgeable
    The prices were reasonable for the food we got
    and the company was good!


    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    What'd you eat in Key West

    Last month was glorious! We spent an entire week soaking up the sun in Key West. We did a few other things as well ...parasailing, ghost hunting, lobster tickling...but mostly we enjoyed one another's company, vegged by the pool and relaxed. THAT'S Vacation :)

    Going on vacation can be scary for a gf'er...I mean what the heck do you eat and who do you trust?!?!
    Well for starters...I did a lot of internet research before the trip. Our accommodations also included a full kitchen so we stocked up our first morning there and made it our goal to eat out one meal a day...that helped the pocket book too! We had breakfast and dinner at home and took advantage of early bird specials for lunch :)

    Our first stop was the Blackfin Bistro on Duval where I opted for the Lobster salad.

    We had a "watersports" day which included a grilled lunch. The staff was very knowledgeable and accommodating and I had plenty of veggies and grilled options to choose from...

    We cooked for ourselves quite a bit on this trip
    Not only was it cheaper...we splurged on GREAT food ...steaks, ribs, fish...because had we eaten these tihngs out, would've cost MUCH more than our grocery bill.

    The hub and I snuck away on the 4th for breakfast at Two Friends. That's what I call independence...breakfast with the man-o-my-heart sans teenagers :)
    Again...the staff was very knowledgeable and accommodating. I had a seafood omlette sans the hollandaise sauce with fresh fruit...impeccable flavors and we knew it was fresh!

    A place we wanted to get to but only managed to drive by is Help Yourself Foods. Super ummy raw, vegan and GF fare. Unfortunately, they're on a funky cross street location with parking in one direction and just a tad too far away from where we were staying to walk...definitely accesible by bicycle so check them out and let me know how the lasagna is!!!

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    What'd You Eat?

    Keeping in mind my intention when I started this blog, I'm starting a series called "What'd You Eat?"
    I'll be the first to admit that typing out a product review for every thing I eat is a bit daunting ...and may be a bit daunting to you the reader as well... I mean that's A LOT of reading. There are days I just want to know WHAT I can eat...give me the skinny, a bulleted list...just something to give me an idea.
    So here goes...

    In no specific order I'll have a post per week listing several things that were on my menu the week before. Some may be repeats, some may be newbies that become a product review, but it's a good jumping off point ... a place where you can say "ooh I saw that on sale at the store this week" and get ideas for YOUR grocery list.

    In return? comment and leave me some ideas too...Lord knows I get tired of the same old same old too!
    Listed items in blue are links to the actual product website (or a link back to one of my product reviews)


    Nutty Rice with Yoplait Banana Creme yogurt
    Udi's Plain Bagel
    Peter Pan Reduced Fat Peanut Butter
    Egg Beaters Egg Whites
    Van's Gluten Free Waffles
    Colby jack cheese
    Mozarella Cheese sticks
    Progresso Soups
    Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Grapes and mmmm Nectarines!
    Amy's Frozen Meals  (I personally love the Mexican and Indian flavors!)
    Chicken on the grill
    Corn on the Cob
    Sauteed Asparagus
    Steamed Broccoli
    Tinkyada Spaghetti
    Pork roast (rubbed in fresh parsley, rosemary, olive oil and lemon juice)
    BLT's on Udi's
    Curried Chicken and peppers

    hrmm...just looking over my list I see that I count on "gluten free" products for breakfast (which needs to be quick) and lunch which is usually at work. I bring dinner leftovers several times a week which is a treat but it's nice to have some quick options in the freezer.

    So, What'd YOU eat this week?

    Be a Kid Again!

    The hub and I were kid free on of the blessings of teenaged children, they have plans.
    A day with no kids you say? Well of course you had some elegant, the-kids-would-never-eat-it dinner? Nope, we had Chicken Nuggets!
    We both agreed they taste much better when the kids don't know you're eating them (grin)

    I must preface all of this by letting you know that "nuggets and tots" nights were an institution in our house until just recently. Typically a Thursday night because 1) mom was in school and they were easy to make and 2) mom was in school and didn't have to worry about being glutened.

    What a gip! Mom likes nuggets too so it should come as no surprise that when our grocer mentioned she just stocked a new GF item that just happened to be Chicken Nuggets...yup, it's what's for dinner!

    I love Applegate Farms products! Not only do they have a great variety of allergen friendly products, they are committed to whole you don't have to feel badly about imbibing in a's REAL :)

    We paired these with Ore-Ida Mini Tots and had a great kid-friendly, gluten-free meal...sans kids.

    These nuggets may seem a bit pricey, $4.79 for a box of 20, but remember...they are allergen friendly, made with antibiotic and hormone free chicken!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Old Spanish Sugar Mill

    This Sunday, in honor of Father's day AND my birthday...the fam is headed out to a local adventure. The hubs said he'd like to go canoeing or snorkeling for the day.

    I've heard great things about DeLeon Springs State Park...especially the "make your own pancakes" at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill.
    Not only do they have famous pancakes, the park is absolutely gorgeous from the trails to the springs and the canoe runs so it promises to be a great day.

    I called them last week to see what gluten free offerings they have...not fair for my fam to miss out on great pancakes just because I can't eat them...and to my surprise...THEY OFFER GLUTEN FREE PANCAKE BATTER!

    We're going tomorrow...
    I'll update you after the weekend!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    What you's What's for Dinner

    We had a pretty good menu planned out for the week...the hub and I shopped on Sunday after taking stock of what we had to work with. Wednesday is a busy night in our house; after running kids to and from lacrosse practice, we're not home sometimes until 8:00 so we needed something quick. The plan?
    Fried Catfish with a little added kick to the GF breading recipe that we taste tested in our Country Fried Steak. We thought we had some catfish filets...but the catfish thought otherwise.

    What you have becomes what you have for dinner!
    We had already planned on Chicken Nuggets and Tots for the kids. Did you know...Ore-Ida tots are gluten free along with many of their other products!
    We had a crab platter with steak on Sunday and had some crab left over so...we made fried crab nuggets.
    Now we always have different GF flours on hand, buy one type once a month and after a while you will too.

    Better than fish & chips!
    1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
    1 Cup Corn Starch
    1 Tbsp Baking Soda

    2 eggs and 1 egg white
    1/2 cup milk
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl
    Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl.

    Coat crab (fish, chicken, get the idea) in the milk/egg mixture then toss in flour mixture to coat.
    Fry in hot oil over medium high heat until golden brown.
    *Crab is definitely better fried a bit on the crispy side
    We added curry powder and cayenne pepper for a little kick, salted the crab after it came out of the oil and squeezed fresh lemon over the top


    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    It Really IS a Gluten Free Jungle out there

    Navigating the Gluten Free food aisles is tough enough already...check out this article from the Washington Post about labeling regulations in the U.S.  April 28th article in the Washington Post

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Sometimes the BEST things are Naturally Gluten Free

    If you've read my Product Review tab, you've read my opinion that the increase of Gluten intolerance,sensitivities and Celiac are directly related to the exponential rise in dependence on processed food.

    Sounds about right...
    And if you've clicked through the offerings on my website,
    you're probably wondering where the non-processed food reviews are hiding.
    I apologize
    Please forgive me
    How could you deny those puppy dog eyes...

    I'm guilty of firing off a quick post when I find something quick and easy
    get it...quick = quick
    But this isn't my every day

    After visiting Linda's Gluten Free Wednesday, I called to mind all the things I eat every day...that everyone else in my house eats every day too, and I'm the only one with an intolerance
    Because there's tons of great food out there that is just naturally Gluten Free.
    Now mind you, there are some simple changes that may need to be made to your staples and spices (like the soy sauce in this recipe), but for the most part you should be able to create your meals without a single package or container that screams "GLUTEN FREE" somewhere on the label.

    So my promise to my readers?
    I'll tell you more about what I eat day to day, not just the neat things I stumble upon once in a while.
    Day to day...yeah...that's more like REAL Gluten Free Living!

    So here's what we had for dinner Wednesday night
    Sweet Crusted White Shark with Asparagus

    We've never had shark before and it was on sale at the fish counter so I decided to give it a try.
    The texture is really nice and would hold up perfectly in a grilled kabob. The flavor is much like a scallop or crab/lobster. Semi sweet, not too fishy.
    I was concerned that the glaze might be too sweet but it was just perfect.
    The asparagus was a bit "mushy" for my taste...but I get out-voted when it comes to asparagus cooking times in my house :)

    2 TBSP butter
    2 TBSP brown sugar
    2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
    2 tsp fresh green onions, chopped
    1 tsp soy sauce (be sure to choose a Gluten Free brand)
    1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1 LB Fish

    Mix all the ingredients except the fish in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
    Baste the fish with the glaze and place under the broiler turning every 4 to 5 minutes until fish is completely cooked (cooking times will depend on the fish you use)

    Things we learned about shark
    1. YUM we love it!
    2. Shark steaks are typically very thick, we will filet them into thinner steaks next time
    3. Folks who do not care for fish will LOVE this fish

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Childhood Memory Cookies?

    My co-workers are DA BOMB...even though I'm the only GF'er in the bunch at every company function or meeting they make sure there is something nummy that I can eat, they email me or text me when they see a new GF product at the grocery store and was a co-worker who turned me on to the most perfect pizza. I'm blessed to work with such awesome peeps and (I'll admit) kinda proud of the education they've gotten just because they know me! Shoot, this very blog was created because a friend of a friend wanted to pick my GF brain!
    This week's meeting was a special treat! I guess I gushed over previously mentioned pizza so...WOO we had GF pizza, the whole lot of us. There were fresh veggies and other gnoshings to choose from and everyone was careful to point out what I could and could not sample from (can you feel the love?)

    One work buddy brought Glutino Lemon Wafers , I had only ever tried the chocolate version, but given my aforementioned love of Yoplait's lemon parfait I couldn't wait to try one.

    Childhood memory #1

    A communion wafer
    I'll admit, my first bite wasn't all that but because I give EVERYTHING a chance...
    My second bite wasn't too bad, the lemony-ness kicked in.
    Overall it was a nice, refreshing flavor, not too sweet -- not too tart.
    In my head, I still preferred the chocolate ones.

    I tried some again the next day

    Childhood Memory #2
    Trix cereal straight outta da box
    Day two trial brought back fond childhood memories (not that Catholic school was a BAD memory, but who wants a cookie that tastes like a communion wafer?) It's been forever since I've eaten cereal. I don't really miss it, and I don't think much of it has any nutritive value, but day two cookie trial reminded me of Trix cereal...dry, munching by the handful while watching Saturday Morning Cartoons.

    So go grab yourself a box of these cookies and enjoy!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    WOO a GREAT Gluten Free Deal!

    Rhapsodic Bakery  in downtown Orlando has a living social coupon today!
    Check it out! $20.00 worth of purchasing power for only $10.00.
    Click here now to get your deal!!!

    Clicking the link for their website is joy enough! Such gorgeous delectables pictured there. Kate, the owner and webmistress does a beautiful job virtually...and in the kitchen! We purchased a GF cake for my mother's birthday last year and it was hands down delicious!

    My favorite part about Rhapsodic? I can stop in at any time and pick up a Gluten Free favorite is the chocolate cupcake with a kick of hot spice :)

    Don't miss out on this deal! It expires April 28, 2011

    OH...and you don't have to be a GF'er to enjoy...Rhapsodic is all handmade, all vegan and organic. Guilt free goodies :)

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    No, No, No, No...say YES to this Yogurt!

    I shopped at a different grocery location this week to combine my errands and save on gas and stumbled across a 10 for $10 deal on Voskos Greek Yogurt. I'm a sucker for a good Greek Yogurt, especially one that is 0% fat so I bought one of each flavor: Wild Strawberry, Blueberry, Honey, Exotic Fig and Vanilla Bean.
    All of them have
    • NO rBST
    • NO rBGH
    • NO GMO
    • and of course NO Gluten!
    Their webiste touts their facilities are certified Kosher and certified Organic and I certify this yogurt is TASTY
    You've gotta like yogurt though.
    If you're not a yogurt fan, and prefer something more "dessert" like you'll find love in all the Yoplait Parfaits... my personal fave is the lemon! They are a great after dinner treat frozen too!

    Hop on over to the Voskos website for more info and great recipes! My hub and I have plans for the moussaka!

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Banana Pudding Pie a.k.a Easter Numminess!

    Last Friday after a positively perfect pizza pie, the hub and I headed over to Whole Foods in search of a GF B to BYOB. I wound up with Green's Endeavor. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll buy it again. It was rather sweet for a dark beer...and before I knew I was intolerant, I was quite the beer connoisseur so the sweetness really killed it for me.

    While we were there I took a gander at the dessert offerings. Dessert was my task for Easter dinner with the fam and I admit...I was looking for a quick "bring it instead of bake it" option when I spotted Gluten Free ready made pie crust!

    Two crusts come in a package for $6.99...if the taste was right, this would become a staple of my baking and I found myself excitedly thinking over different fillings as I gingerly placed the score in my beloved Feed 100 Bag from my Cage Free kindred spirits.

    So today was the day...being Easter and all.
    I decided on a Banana Pudding Pie, the crust could take the place of the nilla wafers.

    I baked the crust for 30 minutes prior to filling. The directions called for pie weights so I improvised and used sunflower seeds which did the trick quite nicely. Bouns... when the pre-baking was over, I had a nice breakfast treat...warm, toasted sunflower seeds are nummy! I read that dried beans or rice also work nicely as a replacement for fancy schmancy pie weights but don't plan to use the beans afterwards, save them for the next time you need pie weights! OH and be sure to put a piece of parchment or wax paper between your weights and your crust!

    Before the final 30 minute baking
    Golden nummy deliciousness after baking!
    ingredients ready for action!
    This recipe is an alteration of a version I found here.

    1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
    dash salt
    2 1/2 cup low fat milk
    1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand is GF)
    2 large egg yolks
    2 tsp. Spice Islands vanilla extract (GF and no added corn syrup)
    3 cups sliced ripe bananas
    4 large egg whites
    1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
    Pre made Gluten free crust

    Bake crust for 30 min at 325.

    Place flour and salt in medium sauce pan
    Add milks and egg yolks, stir well with whisk.
    Cook over medium heat 13 - 15 minutes or until thick. (This is 5 to 8 minutes longer than called for in the original recipe)
    Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
    Layer bananas and pudding mixture in crust ending with a pudding layer.

    Beat egg whites at high speed with electric mixer until foamy.
    Gradually add Stevia 1 TBSP at a time until stiff peaks form.
    Pour over pie mixture sealing all edges.
    Bake at 325 for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

    * This actually makes enough filling for 2 pies or, like we did, one pie and one baked banana pudding

    **Next time, I will add the bananas to the final few minutes the pudding is simmering so they are a bit more "mushy" in the pie. This is my hub's personal preference...and since banana pudding is his all time favorite, his preference wins :)

    Dessert got rave reviews at dinner.
    The crust is buttery and flaky tasting and has no GF aftertaste. I already have plans to quiche the one waiting for me in the freezer!

    For more great dessert ideas...check out Gluten Free Homemaker's Wednesday Carnival in search of dessert bar recipes!! YUM

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Happiness as Expressed in Pizza

    Friday night the hubs and I found ourselves sans offspring and headed to the Mellow Mushroom in Winter Park, Florida. We've ALWAYS loved MM pizza...but alas I haven't had it in years. A couple of weeks ago a co-worker of mine mentioned they have a Gluten Free Crust and bingo...we had our date night location!

    Now we've tried several different GF crusts along the way because sometimes, Pizza-Outta-Da-Box is just what ya want. We've had Pizza Fusion, Naked Pizza, Uno's and I even had GF from Austin Pizza with the BFF. They were all good but
    NOTHING tops the GF pizza we had at MM. Even the hubs said he'd default to it over a regular crust pizza and peeps, that just doesn't happen.

    Not only do the folks at MM know their stuff, they know their GF stuff too. Our server made sure to tell us right away that the GF crusts take longer, not only because they take a little longer to bake, but because they take care to make sure there is no cross contamination in the kitchen...uber awesome!
    It was quite alright, it was date night AND we had some scrumptious stuffed portobello mushrooms while we waited.

    So here's the skinny on MM GF pizza
    Here are the important points to remember...
    1. Mellow Mushroom is using a frozen pizza crust product from Still Riding Pizza.  The crusts are made in a dedicated GF facility and shipped to each MM location frozen.
    2. MM is bringing in nearly 50 GFCO certified Gluten Free toppings/ingredients for it's GF pizza.  All these ingredients are kept in a separate preparation area away from the main prep line for wheat pizzas.
    3. MM has developed an extensive preparation procedure that will be used by "certified Gluten Free pizza makers" to deliver safe pizzas to those who cannot tolerate Gluten. 
    4. MM only uses corn meal in their restaurants when preparing wheat pizza, thus no atmospheric gluten.
    5. MM keeps all GF toppings, supplies and crusts in a dedicated area.  All GF pizzas will be prepared in this dedicated location.  They use separate utensils as well.
    6. MM uses dedicated GF screens to cook the GF pizzas in a shared oven (wheat pizzas are placed directly on the oven stone itself) to avoid cross-contamination while baking.
    Philosopher's Pie
    Okay enough of the facts
    The TASTE was amazing
    It really was buttery and fluffy and crusty and yummm all at the same time

    We'll be back!
    and again
    and again!
    The Pie is great, the atmosphere was fantastic, the kitchen was concerned and the service was stupendous!

    Oh...and leftovers make good breakfast :)

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    "Mom's" Tuna Casserole

    This was fan-dang-tastic
    I've made it before with tinkyada pasta shells but this week was a "cook what you have in the cabinet" week  so I used up the Lundberg wild rice from the scallop recipe last week.

    This is sorta kinda my mom's recipe. I don't think it exists anywhere in writing so it's how I remember my mom putting it together as I watched from atop the butcher block when I was a kid. I've made it a bit "healthier" by using fat free/lowfat ingredients without compromising taste. My fam ATE IT UP

    1 cup uncooked wild rice
    1 8oz package sliced mushrooms (we always go portabello)
    1 can Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup or Amy's Organic Cream of Mushroom soup (both are gluten free)
    1 package frozen peas
    1 8oz package fat free shredded cheese
    2 4.5 oz cans solid white tuna
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Cook the rice according to package instructions **if using Lundberg, the cook time is 55 minutes so start the rice early**
    Add all ingredients to rice in a large mixing bowl and stir until mixed well. Remember, this soup is NOT condensed so you do not need to add any milk or water.
    Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
    I sprinkled a smidge of shredded monterey jack cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

    Mom used to add buttered bread crumbs to the top of this which made a fantastic "crust" but probably added a gajillion calories and I really didn't miss them in this final version!

    Super duper tasty!
    Replace the peas with broccoli and the tuna with chicken for a nice variation!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Curried Sea Scallops

    If you've ever watched Hell's Kitchen you understand the apprehension I had in tackling scallops! They can be RAW or Rubbery...either way you wind up being called a donkey!
    Yes, that is what I heard in my head last night as I unwrapped the scallops I had planned for dinner... this could be very good, or this could be very bad...

    About a year or so ago I developed a craving for curry. I had never cared for it before, actually detested the smell and the taste but now I can't seem to get enough of it...that craving pushed my past my scallop fears!
    The important part to this recipe is following the cooking instructions for the scallops. 2 minutes on each side then 3 minutes in the sauce. Too little time...RAW! Too much time...RUBBERY!
    Don't be a donkey!
    Take your time...2 minutes per side can FEEL like forever, but it's worth your patience :)

    This is just before the final phase, don't try cooking the scallops all at one time! They need their room.
     This dish is just right for those wanting to try out curry before commiting to it. For those of you, like me, who have a CRAVING for it, keep your shaker on the side and add some to your plate! It's a nice fresh tasting meal another great spring/summer dinner. We paired ours with Lundberg Wild Rice and some fresh spinach simmered in 1/4 cup of fat free chicken broth (Progesso is GF) until wilted. (p.s. all Lundberg rice products are Gluten Free so mix it up a little and try some new flavors!)

    TIME ALERT (yes other than the scallops)
    If you're going to take my suggestion and go for the Wild Rice, it takes 50 - 55 minutes to start it early!

    2/3 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup fat free half and half
    1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice (I wedged my lemons, used the juice from 3 wedges then made lemonade with the rest!)
    3/4 tsp curry powder (more to taste)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper (don't let me fool you...I NEVER measure salt or pepper...just grind it in there!)
    1 1/4 lbs scallps
    4 tsp gluten free flour. I used Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Fava Flour
    1 spray of cooking spray
    2 tsp olive oil, divided
    2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
    2 Tbsp fresh scallions thinly sliced

    Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl; stir well and set aside

    Pat scallops dry to remove excess water
    Lightly coat scallops with flour (next time, I'll add some curry powder to this step)
    Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, add 1 tsp of oil
    Place over medium-high heat
    Once pan is hot, add half of scallops; cook 2 minutes on each side.
    Remove scallops and set aside, repeat with other half of scallops and remaining oil.

    Return all scallops to pan and add broth mixture
    Bring to a boil, cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes.
    Ta Da!
    Sprinkle with parsley and scallions and serve!

    Serves 4 generous portions

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    New Season, New Pasta, GREAT Recipe!

    Warmer weather is definitely here down South, we hit 90 degrees much for spring!
    This week I intentionally planned meals that were didn't require a lot of effort in the kitchen!
    Yesterday it was BLT sammies on that great UDI Bread I've mentioned before.

    Tonight...Lemon Pasta with Asparagus!

    My local grocer had a new brand of GF pasta on sale so I grabbed a bag a few weeks ago and this recipe was the perfect opportunity to try it.
    The Heartland Gluten Free Penne was super tasty and like their website claims, "your family will never be able to tell it's gluten free!" The directions call for boiling it 11 to 13 minutes but I think it could've gone 14 with no problems as 13 left it a bit more on the firmer side of al dente.

    This recipe is a fantastic spring/summer dinner and I imagine would be delish chilled (I'll have to imagine because there are NO leftovers!)

    The recipe serves 6
    (the picture is an "after I'd already had a few bites... you know how bad I am at remembering to take pics! servings are definitely generous size)

    1 package of GF pasta
    2/3 Tbsp Butter
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/2 c gf chicken broth (we use progresso)
    1 large egg
    1/3 c grated parmesean cheese
    3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
    2 1/2 tsp lemon zest (one lemon is the perfect amount for zest and juice)
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley (we used parsley and cilantro...a-mmmmmmmm-azing fresh taste!)

    Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside in colander
    Add butter and olive oil to the pasta pot, melt
    Add broth and heat through 1 minute

    Remove pot from the heat
    Return pasta to the pan, add egg and cheese and toss to coat
    Add lemon juice and zest, toss to coat
    Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dress with parsley/cilantro

    I also sauteed 1 lb of fresh asparagus on low heat in 2 tsp of olive oil and 1/4 c of water and added it to the pasta in the final step. This would also be wondeful paired with a nice white fish or with some chicken breast added to the pasta.

    I'll definitely be making it again ...the fam LOVED it!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    mmmm Lasagna!

    Yes, it's been a long time since I've had lasagna.
    About 3 years as a matter of fact...I could never find lasagna noodles and although I tried other pasta type turned into baked pasta which just isnt the same as good ol' garfield would be proud lasagna.
    Well this week when I wasn't really looking...I found THESE of course, by Tinkyada

    Delish! We followed the recipe on the back which incorporated all sorts of yumminess like zucchini, roasted peppers and mushrooms, lightened up the fat content with skim ricotta and fat free shredded cheese...then added some smoked mozzarella and artichoke sausage (mmm) and the hub said... "no more of that boxed lasagna s^*t...coz that's what they've eaten since I've been gluten free.

    The noodles are fantastic. Just the right consistency, hold their shape and texture and taste phenomenal and the sausages are great too...we'll try them on the grill next time.

    Once again, I have no picture of the finished product because we consumed it too quickly...definitely worth making and easy 13 year old simply followed the package directions and dinner was ready when we got home from work!

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Dangerously Good Cookie!

    Warning: These cookies are SO good in order to save my waistline they will NOT be a regular staple in my house.

    Yes...these cookies are amazing...and the manufacturer knows it!
    Banner ad from Pamela's Products

    But shouldn't we all have an amazing cookie every once in a while?
    By the looks of the offerings on their website, those onces may happen more often!

    These mini chocolate chip morsels went too great with a big ol' glass of skim milk.
    They have a crunchy texture and just the right amound of chocolate chip per cookie.
    I'll definitely buy them again when I have a hanker for a cookie!
    Next time, I may try the package suggestion of  making mini ice-cream sandwiches with them

    Risotto Ramsey Would Love

    Do you watch Hell's Kitchen? If you do you've probably noticed that Risotto is always on the menu. Last season's offering was an interesting bright green color that made my family wonder how good it could be but it got rave reviews even if it did look radioactive!

    While perusing my favorite shelf stickers at the grocery store I came across Lundberg Risotto Florentine with Spinach & Mushrooms and decided to give it a go! It's very reasonably priced at $3.50 a box and went wonderfully with the chicken scaloppi and asparagus I made for dinner last night. My daughter called it "restaurant worthy!"

    She is right! The risotto cooked up perfectly and was not sticky or mushy at all. We garnished with parmesean cheese and rosemary (as per the box suggestion). Following package instructions was a snap and this side dish cooked up in 20 minutes.

    I steamed the asparagus with a bit of lemon zest and tossed the chicken in cornstarch with a bit of seasoning prior to cooking in just a bit of oil for 8 minutes on each side. I served the chicken atop the risotto with some capers spinkled on top.

    Oh how I wish I had snapped a picture ... it was restaurant worthy :)

    NatureCrops Quinoa Nutrition Bars

    A friend of mine turned me on to NatureCrops and the company sent me 3 of their Quinoa Nutrition Bars.

    Now if you've never tried should! Even if you aren't Gluten Free Quinoa is an awesome addition to any diet and adds great variety to dishes typically served with rice, potatoes or pasta. It's a grain, but it's also very high in protein and the amino acid lysine. I love Quinoa because it takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it with. I've eaten it as a breakfast cereal with bananas and cinnamon, or as a burrito stuffing with jabaneros and black beans!

    I was very excited to get these bars...someone wanted my opinion...and my kids thought I was pretty important too (but that didn't make them clean their rooms any quicker!)

    I was pleasantly surprised by their texture. I thought they would be hard and crunchy but they are chewy. They are sweetened with organic brown rice syrup and organic honey and come in 3 flavors: Quinoa, Almond & Sesame seeds, Quinoa & Strawberry, and Quinoa & Prunes.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't at all crazy about their taste...they were too bland for me.  As I said, Quinoa takes on the flavor of what it's prepared with and there's just not enough of the other flavors to make this bar tasty :(

    I do have high hopes for the company though!
    NatureCrops bars are produced in facilities that guarantee they are gluten-free, vegetarian, Halal and Kosher. They also take their social responsibility seriously  by paying fiar prices for organic quinoa and buying from local cooperatives in the Andes mountains that support the farmers.

    These don't make my list of tasty take-a-long treats,  but I will be keeping my eye on NatureCrops for future offerings! You can too check them out