Monday, June 30, 2008

Angel Food Cake DISASTER


So I was really craving some strawberry shortcake this weekend. I had previously bought the angel food cake mix by Gluten Free Pantry. I was very excited to try it as I have had their Decadent Chocolate Cake and Coffee Cake, and both were amazing. This was not the case with the angel food cake. I was very disappointed in this mix. The directions were easy enough; just add water and vanilla to the mix and beat with an electric mixer. I used my wisk attachment, like it directed, however, it easily took me twice as long as the box said it would. It says to beat for 10 minutes or until it reaches soft peak status. I had to beat this for at least 20 minutes to get it to be this consistency. So, with my tired arm, I put this in the oven to bake for 35 minutes. When I pulled it out, it looked great! Nicely golden brown and fluffy. When we removed it from the pan, we realized it did not smell as good as it looked. It had a really odd smell to it that did not make you want to dig in. The cake is very dense and sponge-like. The taste is not much better than the smell. We figured we'd drown it in fresh strawberries and whip cream. Even this could not save this cake, it went straight into our trash can. :-( I do not recommend this product, but DO try their chocolate cake and coffee cake! Those are downright delightful.
My next dessert escapade: GF oatmeal cream pies (with GF oats!) this weekend!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sausage and Green Bean Soup

I got the recipe for this soup off of the Whole Foods website. I made this the other night and it turned out fantastic. We've been eating it as leftovers the past couple of days. It's really easy to make and doesn't take long to cook at all. The recipe calls for organic items, obviously you don't have to do that if you don't want to.

Sausage and Green Bean Soup

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 (12 ounce) package Kielbasa pork sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices (I recommend cutting these again to make half circles, so it's more managable when eating)
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen organic cut green beans
4 cups gluten free chicken stock (I accidentally bought chicken broth and it turned out fine)
2 bay leaves
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a large soup pot. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste before serving.

When I was shopping for the ingredients for this soup, I couldn't find things in the exact measurements it called for (For example, I had to buy 2 10 ounce bags of green beans, the sausage was 16 ounces, not 12, they only had large potatoes, etc) so I bought a extra little thing of chicken broth to adjust the liquid accordingly. Also, cooked chicken sausage could be used in this recipe in place of the pork sausage, if you'd like. This soup reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden that I miss so much, just with green beans instead of that green stuff they put in their soup. It's a great substitute, so I am not even sad about not being able to eat their Zuppa Toscana anymore! Hooray for gluten free!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Glutened.

I think I have been glutened. :-(

Anyone following a gluten free diet (or just a wheat free diet if you do a lot of research) knows the controversy and uncertainty surrounding oats. Oats are extremely easily contaminated by wheat in the fields they grow in and also in the trucks that transport them (and I'm sure by other means). This is why most avoid oats. I have previously been able to eat oats no problem, so I do. However, I haven't had them in a long while. I have thought long and hard about replacing my Quaker Oats with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats, but never took the plunge to pay $5.99 for the latter. Last night I had a craving for oatmeal cookies, so I made some (with gluten free flour). 4 dozen to be exact. I ate two last night, and three today. It's hit me like a ton of bricks. My head feels like there is intense pressure building up until it has nowhere to go but to blow out of my ears. My head feels heavy and I just want to lay my head of my desk to nap. My vision is like I'm walking through a tunnel. I am dizzy, easily distracted, and forgetful. My arms feel like they aren't even connected to my body and have a mind of their own. My tummy has those familiar rumblings that seem to quietly tell you, "You f'ed up, man." I'm sure I'll start seeing the beginnings of the tell-tale rash soon.

I felt fabulous yesterday. Just say no to Quaker Oats. I guess the time to overpay for gluten free oats is now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chipotle Lime Chicken

This recipe was a huge hit! I found it at the Sprouts website. I was the perfect mix of smoky Chipotle and tangy lime. You won't be disappointed by this one!

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 c olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chipotle Tabasco
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons honey

Preheat grill to medium-hot.

Combine lime juice, oil, tabasco, and salt in a small bowl. Place chicken in a large ziploc bag. Measure out 1/3 cup (I just estimated) marinade and add to chicken. Allow chicken to marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes. To make glaze, stir honey into remaining marinade until dissolved. Grill chicken and brush with glaze. Grill until glaze is lightly browned.

This is one of our new favorite dishes!

Black Bean and Corn Dip

This is an amazing recipe that I got from B's mom. It's rediculously quick and easy to make and can be used as a dip or topping. We usually eat it with tortilla chips, but you can put it in taco salad, top your carne asada tacos, or as a side with Chipotle-Lime chicken (recipe coming soon). Don't hesitate in trying this recipe. Make it tonight. You won't regret it!

1 can Bush's Best Black Beans, rinsed
1 can White Shoepeg Corn, drained (not the regular yellow corn! This is important)
3/4 teaspoon Cumin
Approx 1 tablespoon chopped cilatro (I'm not a big cilantro fan, so add more if you fancy it)
Green onion, sliced small (I usually use 1 of the "sticks" (?) and cut just the green part)
Juice of 1 lime (I happen to like a lot of lime, so I do 2 small limes)

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Eat it and write me to thank me for changing your life. :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hidden Valley Ranch - Gluten Free!

So I have slowly been going through items I use frequently (or places I like to eat) and emailing them to find out if their products are definitely gluten free. I was really undecided on Hidden Valley Ranch (which I use for EVERYTHING....seriously) because a google search on the topic turned up inconsistent results. Some people said yes it's fine, others said it used to be but now it is not. I'm trying to eliminate the possiblity of any hidden gluten (as I've had some accidental glutenings...ugh) so I decided to email them and ask them. Here is their response, straight from my email box to you...


Thank you for contacting us about HV Full Cal Bottled Salad Dressing - Original Ranch. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers. Our HV Salad Dressing - Original Ranch is gluten free.
The FDA requires that we list the following allergens on our ingredient labels:
1. Egg
2. Soybean (excluding high refined oil)
3. Dairy
4. Peanut
5. Wheat (barley, rye, oats, or any source of gluten)
6. Fish
7. Crustacean
8. Tree Nut
For the most accurate source of information, please check the back of the ingredient panel for every purchase as ingredients may change.
Again, thank you for contacting us.
Sincerely,
James Micheals
Consumer Response Representative
Consumer Services



Hooray for small victories!! Now I don't have to throw out half of my recipes! Lol. By the way, I have an amazing recipe from the Hidden Valley website for chicken that is absolutely to die for and can easily made gluten free! I'll post it soon.

Speaking of emailing restaurants, it's best to avoid Red Robin if you are wheat/gluten free. Based on the gluten free menu they emailed me (I can forward it on if anyone would like to see it), there are very few items available and they pretty much state that even if you request things to be prepared a certain way (like no seasoning on your fries or burger) they can't guarantee it won't be contaminated. I'm not gonna risk it even though those bottomless steak fries are quite possibly the best fries on Earth. I'll stick to my Ore-Ida crinkle fries and Hidden Valley ranch, thankyouverymuch.

Monday, June 16, 2008

One of the happiest moments of my life!!


I know that eating at a place called Wildflower Bread Company may be a bit ironical for someone on a gluten free diet, but their Potato Cream Cheese soup is heaven on earth to my taste buds. The Boy and I wanted to eat there over the weekend, so we took to their website to find out if I could enjoy this soup that I loved oh-so-much. I was really worried because I found out this week that the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden is not gluten free. I mourned the loss of that soup a great deal. Surely I could not be so unfortunate to lose both of my favorite potato soups in the same week?? Thankfully they had the ingredient listing on the website...

Ingredients:Water, potato, whole milk, cream cheese (pasteurized cultured milk and cream, salt, stabilizers [xanthan, carob bean and/or guar gums]), onion, chicken base (chicken meat including chicken juices, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, potato flour, flavorings, autolyzed yeast extract, carrot powder and turmeric), modified corn starch, diced ham (cured with: water, potassium lactate, dextrose, salt, corn syrup, modified food starch, sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, natural smoke flavor, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite), celery, salt, spices.Allergens: Milk, Soy

Break out the noise makers and confetti!! This soup is A-okay!! We went there on Saturday and I enjoyed my soup more than I ever have before because I knew that I had almost lost it, but now we could be together forever. You can also buy a large quantity (I don't know the exact amount) of the soup in a to-go container for $9.99 so you can enjoy it more than once!!
*Author's note: I did not take the above picture. There was no such sandwhich on my plate. I found this by image searching Wildflower Bread Company on MSN.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6 months down, the rest of my life to go! :-)

Yesterday was my 6 month anniversary of being gluten free. I know that doesn't seem long, but it is a really big accomplishment for me and I wanted to celebrate it! Unfortunately, yesterday was a really busy day, and The Boy and I didn't get home until really late. But I did not let that keep me from baking my gluten-free chocolate celebration cake! I didn't have time to make a fancy dinner (I ate cereal and he had ramen) and we were eating cake at 11:30 at night, but I am not complaining! The Boy surprised me by bringing home a Congratulations balloon, two bottles of my favorite wine (that we didn't even crack into), and a card with the greatest note ever written inside. He helped me bake my Gluten Free Pantry Decadent Chocolate Cake, and it turned out fantastic. So I have officially passed my first major milestone in my gluten free life, and I am feeling more energized about remaining gluten free than ever. I think I might make an "official" fancy dinner this weekend and break out the wine for a true celebration. Hmm..pot roast anyone?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Leftover chicken from Chicken Parmigiana

Last night, The Boy made a really amazing salad with the leftover chicken from the night before. I'm jotting this down because I'd really like to make this again, maybe this time with enough for the both of us. :-)

2 small pieces of leftover chicken parmigiana (see recipe below for how we made this)
Leafy green lettuce
Fresh spinach
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice (lemon juice in the bottle works fine, but we both thought fresh would be better)
Fresh shredded parmesan cheese

So cut the chicken up into pieces and toss it in with your lettuce and spinach. Drizzle olive oil over (not too much!) and lemon juice. Sprinkle cheese over salad, and devour. It's really good. Eating the chicken this way really brings out the flavor of the seasonings. It was kinda lost in the tomato sauce in the other dish. This salad packs so much flavor that you don't even miss the salad dressing!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

B's (Gluten Free!) Chicken Parm and Pasta


The Boy came up with the idea of making a gluten free chicken parmagiana for dinner tonight. It turned out so amazing that I thought I'd shared the recipe.

B's (Gluten Free!) Chicken Parm and Pasta

2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 box Debole's rice pasta (we used ziti noodles, angelhair would also be good)
1 jar Newman's Own Roasted Garlic tomato sauce
1 packet italian dressing seasoning mix
Gluten free all purpose baking flour (Whole Foods brand 365 is awesome), enough to coat chicken
Fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Pound the chicken out thin. Combine egg and milk on one plate, and flour and seasoning on another. Coat chicken in egg mixture and then cover in flour mixture. Heat skillet and extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover whole bottom of skillet) over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet and allow to cook for several minutes on each side, or until browned.

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Warm up pasta sauce on stove top. To serve, pour sauce over chicken and pasta. Top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention

So Panda Express is not celiac/wheat free friendly. On their website they state: "We do not offer gluten-free entrées or side dishes." Basically everything there contains wheat. Hooray.

But, on the bright side, there is somewhere to go that is celiac friendly! I went to P.F. Chang's because I have heard they have a gluten free menu. I was surprised when I saw the menu because there was actually a lot to choose from (looking at the gluten free menu for Pei Wei on their website leaves much to be desired). So The Boy and I asked the waiter what the difference between the gluten free entree is, and the one off the regular menu (I wanted some of what he ordered, which I had also noticed was on the gluten free menu). I was honestly impressed by what I heard! They said if it is not ordered from the gluten free menu, there is a possiblity of it being contaminated by the beef marinating in soy sauce, and they also don't put it in their dedicated gluten free oil. To say the least, I was very impressed!! Finally a place that understands cross contamination. Most places offer that disclaimer: Due to shared cooking spaces and common frying oil, blah blah blah. So basically they say, consume at your own risk or cook it yourself because we're not going to try too hard for you. But P.F. Chang's understands that if my Spicy Chicken bumps into some soy sauce marinated beef or takes an oil bath with leftover soy sauce bits floating around, that I can't eat it without getting sick! Also, that oh-so-yummy crunchy covering on the Spicy Chicken (much like the orange chicken at Panda Express) is made from potato starch! Yay! They also bring you wheat free soy sauce and supposedly have a gluten free dessert, although I don't know what it is because I didn't get any. The server did bring us some fortune cookies as our "chinese dessert" and I had a good chuckle.

So there you go, enjoy some gluten free food cooked in dedicated frying oil for once at P.F. Chang's!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Good Product Alert



Glutino Gluten Free Crackers. I bought these at the Fry's store across the street from my work for a (slightly steep) $4.99. I'd heard good things about the Glutino brand (although I did NOT like their frozen alfredo) so I decided to break from my gluten free rice crackers (Back to Nature White Cheddar rice crackers are AMAZING) and give them a try. I am happy to report that these crackers are really good and are a very nice alternative to rice crackers! I find that rice crackers have a very nutty taste (depending on the brand) and I'm not too fond of nuts. Some also taste a lot like sesame (another flavor I am not wild about) so I try to drown out the flavor with whatever topping I am using. These Glutino crackers, I think, have a slight graham cracker flavor and are more similar to "regular" crackers such as the oh-so-yummy Ritz and Club crackers. These could also be successfully substituded for Saltines to calm a sensitive or nauseous tummy since they are a little easier to get down your throat when eaten alone. Overall, big thumbs up on this product and I would recommended these to anyone wheat/gluten free!

Migraine

Migraines suck. I haven't had one in years and unfortunately, last night I got one and it's carried over into today. I am trying to tough it out here at work, but it's getting increasingly harder to do with my vision getting funky and my hands going numb. That might have been why my stomach was so upset yesterday, too. Today I can hardly keep down my yogurt and excedrine. I'm not sure what triggered all this, maybe I was somehow glutened? I have read that it is a good idea to cut your diet down to only fresh foods like fruits, veggies, and organic meats (Ugh, $$$), nothing processed, to get your stomach back in order, so maybe I'll give that a try.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

New To This

Ok, so I just set this thing up and to be honest, I haven't the slightest clue how blogspot works. I started this to sort of personally track my progress in my gluten free lifestyle. I officially went gluten free on December 10th, 2007 and am finally taking my health seriously! I have read so many celiac disease post boards and blogs, and am truly inspired by the people who turn this sucky gluten-free lemon into lemonade. I am excited to have a place to jot down my thoughts, my successes, my grievances, recipes, and helpful hints!