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!