Sunday, January 25, 2009

Uno Chicago Grill Gluten Free Pizza (and a big SCREW YOU to Uncle Bear's)

Yesterday we decided to try some of the gluten free options we had heard of at restaurants around town. Our two options were Uncle Bear's Bar & Grill or Uno Chicago Grill. I had heard from Michelle (over at Gluten Free Gluttony)that Uncle Bear's had gluten free hamburger buns so that was my first choice, since I had not heard of ANYWHERE else offering such a thing. So we hopped in the car and drove 30 minutes away to Uncle Bear's.

I have got to say, I have NEVER been more disappointed in a restaurant. I will probably never go back here. We asked them if they had a gluten free menu, and our server said no. She then told us that they were completely out of gluten free buns and crust (for pizza) that day. I was thinking, ok no biggie, I guess we should have called. She took our drink order and walked away. I browsed the menu looking for something that maybe I could eat. She came back, set down the drinks and we asked her what on the menu was gluten free. She said, "Nothing." We're like, "Nothing??" I asked her if any of their salad dressings were gluten free, she said no, not that she's aware of. So I asked if they had any corn tortillas for the fajitas, and she said no, only flour. She maintained that NOTHING was gluten free. Not a single thing. We told her that we'd have to go somewhere else. There's no way in hell I was going to risk eating something there if the server is straight up telling me that there is nothing they can offer me. Oh, but it doesn't end there.

SHE CHARGED US FOR THE DRINKS. 5 flipping dollars we had to pay for the drinks that had been set on our table, untouched by us. Not to mention, I asked for a Dr. Pepper, Brandon asked for an Ice Tea, and she brought out two Dr. Peppers. It was unbelievable. I felt the staff there was completely clueless as to what gluten actually is; they were unaccomodating, and very difficult to work with. You'd think when they started offering gluten free buns and pizza, they'd at least educate their staff to help customers who come in requesting it or AT LEAST put together a freaking gluten free menu! Sheesh.

So we moved on to our second option: Uno Chicago Grill. I have heard such great things from the blogging world about the new gluten free pizza offered at this restaurant. Just to be certain that we didn't run into the same problem, we called ahead and checked to be sure they had the pizza, which they did. The experience that we had at Uno was night and day to Uncle Bear's. They had a gluten free menu with lots of choices (NOTE: Their ranch dressing is NOT gluten free so don't get that as a dipper). The thin crust gluten free pizza is even on the "regular" menu! Nobody puts gluten free babies in the corner!
When the pizza arrived at our table, my mouth was watering. It looks and smelled SO good. It is a thin crust pizza, which we always loved to order pre-gluten free and I haven't had one since going gluten free. (My beloved Picazzo's doesn't have gluten free thin crust.) I think I devoured two slices before Brandon even tried his first slice. It was delightful. It tasted like pizza that you would have delivered to your house. Brandon said he liked it a little better than Picazzo's and I'd have to agree...slightly. Picazzo's is more of a fancy-schmancy gourmet pizza, this is just down and dirty, lounging around and watching movies pizza that I used to love so much.
I was two and a half slices in when Brandon starting pondering out loud about their kitchen practices. When our waiter came over he asked them how they handle cooking gluten free food in the kitchen -- separate cooking spaces, utensils, etc. The waiter told us that the cooks went through a several day training period teaching them about the importance of cross-contamination and how to avoid it. They have separate everything dedicated specifically to gluten free. The waiters also went through training, but obviously not as much as the cooks since they don't handle the making of the food directly. I can't tell you how good it was to hear all this, especially after the ordeal we just had at Uncle Bear's. So I continued to gorge myself on pizza, confident in this establishment.

And, I admit, I ate an astounding FOUR slices. That's practically unheard of for me.


I'd say, all in all, it went over pretty well. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Do You...Twitter?

I signed up for Twitter today because I though it'd be a fun little doo-dad to add to my blog. Looky to the right column...there it is! Now you can know what I am doing all the time! How cool!

I'd love to get more people involved, mainly so I have some fun stuff to read during the day! So what are you waiting for?? Sign up for Twitter right now and start following me, just for good measure. ;-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've gone insane, but brought recipes, so that makes it okay, right?

I have come back from the edge of death! After Friday, I started feeling a LOT better. Those first two days were rough. Looking back, I honestly don't remember much of them except the big parts, LOL! I went through my sent text messages today to delete them, and I didn't remember sending most of them. Good thing I didn't say anything too off the wall. Whew, dodged a bullet there. :)

My wonderful fiance took really good care of me. Friday he went to the store to get me stuff to eat, and surprised me with beautiful flowers and a really funny get well card! I love him. :)


Then he made me AMAZING macaroni and cheese with hot dogs that I will probably be begging for for every meal for every day for probably 3 weeks, because, you know, that's just how I roll. I had previously bought the Tinkyada rice pasta shells, so at the store he picked up velveeta and made me gluten free velveeta shells and cheese. YUM! Then he chopped up a hot dog (Hebrew National all beef dogs are the BEST) really, really tiny and threw them in there. The cheese was sooo creamy (add a little milk). Oh. My. Gosh. I almost died. Mac 'n cheese and hot dogs is my one true love. Very easy to chew too.

Besides that, I have subsisted on primarily yogurt and pudding for 5 days running. I tried some cottage cheese, but have since decided that that was not a smart decision for obvious reasons.

While I was laying around on the couch fighting the good fight, I watched more chick shows than can be considered healthy. I'm talking the Style channel and WE (Women's Entertainment) ALL DAY LONG. I've seen the same episode of Rich Bride, Poor Bride (the one with the Victorian theme...yeah, YOU KNOW WHAT'S UP) 4 times. Seriously, how the hell did they end up under budget by $49?? Unfortunately, I also saw a silly amount of Clean House. They take these people with cluttered houses and redesign them and make them beautiful. Somehow (maybe it it was the pain killers, maybe it was looking at my friend Kortnei's beautiful house on her blog and silently wondering where my chick gene ended up) but I ended up making decisions that should only be made when you know that you will absolutely NEVER follow through with them. I know what you're thinking, what the hell is this broad saying? I have decided...probably against my better judgement...and without fully allowing myself to return to my non-menstrual (sorry, TMI, but girls, you know), non-medicated, non-self depricating (I'm going to be a terrible wife, I can't decorate a house!)...I have made the decision...

To PAINT our master bedroom.

WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING??

I know I am crazy, I know I have just about lost my mind. I got the great idea to paint our last house and I HATED every minute of it. In fact, I'm pretty sure it took us more than 6 months to finish it, and we barely finished it before we had to move out. When we moved into our new house, I told myself and pretty much everyone who asked, that I am not painting for at least 10 years, or until I forgot how bad it SUCKED the last time. And yet, here I am. Someone should really take away my ability to make decisions. And Brandon, God love him, as much as he despises painting, he pretty much let me do what makes me happy. So this weekend we have picked colors. And tonight we painted one wall with a primer. I am excited, but it's still early.

Now, as promised, here are the recipes I made from Food Network Magazine (LOVE IT!) that turned out great. The shrimp will be great for all your Superbowl parties!

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos
From Food Network Magazine

3 whole ancho chiles (which, apparently, are just dried pasilla chiles)
3 whole pasilla chiles
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce (CHECK YOUR CAN. I picked up one with wheat starch first and had to swap it out)
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons EVOO (shout out to Rachael Ray)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably mexican
3 1/4 cups (gluten free) chicken broth
4 lbs boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick (use a small one)
corn tortillas
Assorted taco toppings

1. Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Stem and seed the chiles; peel the garlic. Transfer to a blender.

2. Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

3. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours.

4. Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Chipotle Barbeque Sauce
From Food Network Magazine

20 strips of bacon
20 medium-large shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 1 lb)
1/2 cup barbeque sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo sauce (Don't forget to check that can)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper

1. Soak 5 to 8 bamboo skewers in water for about 20 minutes to keep them from burnin on the grill or under the broiler.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until halfway done, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool on paper towels. Wrap a peice of bacon around the middle of each shrimp; skewer with bamboo through the point where the bacon ends meet to keep it from unraveling. Thread 3 to 5 shrimp on each bamboo skewer.

3. Puree the barbeque sauce, oil. lemon juice, mustard, chipotles, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender. Set aside a little more than half of the sauce for dipping.

4. Preheat a grill, grill pan, or broiler. Grill or broil shrimp for 5 minutes, basting with the sauce once they begin to turn pink. Flip, baste again, and grill or broil until just cooked through, about 4 more minutes. Serve with extra sauce.

I loved the barbeque sauce from this recipe. It would be fantastic with other things. And, like I said, that would be something great (and easy) to do for Superbowl. Oh please, don't act like you don't look forward to all that junk food, I mean, the big game! Yeah...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not dead...yet

My body's putting up a heck of a fight. Here is me in all my glory yesterday leaving the dentist:


I actually felt worse that I look there, if you can believe it. Yesterday I was in the most terrible pain. It was horrible. Being semi-conscious through the procedure was also traumatizing. I was fully aware of what was going on during the first tooth's removal (I couldn't feel it though, obviously) and that's just messed up. Knowing that someone is clamped on your tooth with a pair of plyer-looking things at are yanking back and forth is awful. I was making noises and starting kicking my feet, so I think they gassed me more. Because I think I fell asleep and/or was completely out of it for the remaining three. I don't remember them. Once the numbness wore off, Oh my goodness, the pain was unbearable. I started crying because it hurt so bad and the medication wasn't doing anything to dull it. Every tooth in my mouth hurt and I had terrible pain through my entire jaw. Towards the end of the night, the pain was FINALLY diministing and I fell asleep. I drooled a sexy bloody drool all over my pillow. Awesome.
Day 2 is supposed to be better, right? Let me just answer that with a big fat NO. The pain is significantly better, just some left over soreness in my jaw. But, as of 11:30 this morning, I have thrown up twice. The first time was a goody, got it all over myself and all over the bathroom too! Yay! Brandon isn't home so I got to clean everything up myself as my hands were shaking and I had vomit on my face and clothes. I figured that my tummy may be upset from taking my medication on an empty stomach. So I ate some yogurt. Shortly there after, yep that's right, strawberry flavored vomiting ensued. Now the plan is to not eat or drink anything for a bit to avoid any more throwing up. I'm scared that I am going to dislodge the blood clots.
Well I am going to try to nap now, the meds make me sleepy. Hope everyone is having a better day than me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dooms Day is approaching...

So tomorrow is the big day. The day that I am 4 teeth lighter. I'm nervous! Everyone keeps telling me their horror stories! The past two nights I have had nightmares about it. I am excited to FINALLY have it over with, though.

I have recently subscribed to the new Food Network Magazine, and got my first issue last Friday. I would like to go on record and say, I LOVE THIS MAGAZINE. Obviously, I can't make everything in there, but I find several recipes that are either naturally gluten free or are very easily adaptable. Plus, they give you great little cooking tips. This past weekend we had Brandon's brother Chris and his girlfriend Misty over to celebrate her recent birthday. I thought it was a perfect excuse to try a few recipes from my newest magazine. I made bacon wrapped shrimp with chipotle barbeque sauce for an appetizer. Then made shredded pork tacos as the main course. It all turned out really good! And I got to spend the day in the kitchen, which always makes me happy! I'll post the recipes for these dishes this weekend when I'm hopped up on pain pills. (Lol) I am a bad employee who is typing this from her desk at work. Way to stick it to The Man, Steph!

Brandon, my mom, and I all went to the Arizona Bridal Show this past weekend, and I'm surprised we lived to tell the tale. It is CRAZY! I hadn't eaten all day too, so I'm shocked that I didn't end up burning the Phoenix Convention Center to the ground during a low-blood-sugar-induced temper tantrum. And, may I say, that those commercials are deceptive. "Plan your wedding all in one weekend!" B. S. And no, I'm not talking about the initials of my gorgeous groom. The commercials should say, "Come to the Arizona Bridal show to get inundated with flyers, stampeded by crazy bridezillas and their entourages, and get bum rushed by people hawking self tanners, lingerie, magic diet supplements, and gym memberships. Walk out grouchy, hungry, and more confused then EVER!" That would be more accurate advertising. You don't "plan" anything there. You get a lot of people yelling at you trying to sell their products/services as you walk though the NEVER ENDING aisles of vendors. You can barely hear anything, and stop in the aisle at your own risk. So my goal of booking all the rental stuff was not acheived. But I do have pamphlets from about 30 companies to go through! Yay!

Ok, so my bitterness at the bridal show is a little exaggerated. True, I was starving and they were serving samples of delicious smelling, gluten FULL food. Not cool. But I did book my photographer, which I think was a flipping miracle. She happened to have contracts with her and I said, Let's book this shit so I never have to make this decision ever again. And that we did.

I made a Wedding To Do list to get myself organized. This was not a smart move for my mentally unstable state. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO. Who would have thought that MAYBE we should think about the honeymoon early in case we need passports?!?! Ugh. And why can't I just magically know everyone's address by heart?

And to top off my weekend, I got sick from my gluten free haven, Picazzo's Pizza. I have never, ever gotten sick there. I think it was because I ordered their Special Slice of the Day, instead of sharing a whole pizza with Brandon. So maybe something happened during the cooking of my single slice. Who knows. But my tummy is defeated.

Well, it's back to work for this slacker. 4 DAY WEEKEND!! WOOHOO! Who cares if I'm in terrible pain?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well, I survived.



I survived my dentist appointment today. I do NOT like dentist visits, as evident in my avoidance of them for 5 years (I know, I am such a bad grown up). I went to one dentist about 6 months ago which was a HORRIBLE experience; I walked out of there feeling awful (they told me I had the beginning stages of gum disease and I was horrified) and ripped off. I couldn't help but feel like they just desperately wanted money out of my pocket and my insurance's, so they were just making stuff up. They wanted me to come back to get some super-whizz-bang fillings that would cost me (after insurance) over $500. And they wanted Brandon to come back to get preventative sealings to the tune of $700. Neither of us ever went back. So, imagine my surprise when appointment today at a new office was rather pleasant! By the way, I do NOT have gum disease. I knew those people were wrong. Oh, and those super intense fillings? Not necessary. I have two small cavities that need ordinary fillings...$113 bucks at this new office. That other office in Maricopa was a freaking SCAM, I tell you. Needless to say, I am very pleased with this new office. To get all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted and be drugged up while they do it is going to cost me less than $200. I was expecting WAAAAY worse. I am very excited! I have an appointment for next Thursday the 15th! Very soon!

Oh, and I am bulb-burned. My whole posterior region of my body is burnt. Not terrible, but I guess I'm going to have to back down the time in the tanning bed. I'm an amateur tanner, what can I say.

So does anyone have good ideas of what to eat while I have to avoid solid foods?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In an effort to be more interesting...

A little post about my personal life..Ignore if you still think I am terribly boring. Lol. :)

I have crossed over to the dark side. Almost literally. As to not be ghostly pasty white on my wedding day, I have ventured into the realm of tanning.

I am admittedly really low maintenance. I get my hair highlighted once a year, typically for my birthday. I get my hair cut not much more often than that either. I don't even style my hair if it isn't a really special occasion. I don't get my nails done, I wear minimal makeup, and I buy clothes for myself next to never. It might sound like I "neglect" myself, but I just don't really feel the need to do all that.

However, trying on my beautiful wedding dress, I realized that my skin has not seen sun since I was probably a sophmore in high school. Even in the Arizona heat, I wear long pants the majority of the time and don't feel comfortable in spaghetti strap tops. So that leaves my legs and shoulders (and everything in between, lol) really, really pale. Not hot.

So today I signed up for a membership at a tanning salon by my work. This is so out of the ordinary for me that I was paranoid in the bed the whole time! Lol. I was thinking, "What are you DOING?! Do you WANT skin cancer and premature aging?!" Oh and my friend/coworker told me that whatever I do, do NOT open my eyes in the bed, while the bulbs are on. WTF, how are you supposed to climb in and close the damn coffin-like door?? So I'm working on my base tan for the wedding, and that's about as far as I'm gonna go. I'm not interested in being crazy bronzed or orange (EEK!). My slightly vain side has to admit that I am kinda excited to have a little bit of color to me, though. :)

In other slightly related wedding news, I have made an appointment with a dentist for tomorrow to talk to them about getting my wisdom teeth pulled. I know what you are thinking, this girl has lost her damn mind! But no. I had braces in high school for two years and afterwards I had the beautiful straight teeth I had desperately wanted growing up (I had terrible crowding in my mouth..I had to get 4 teeth pulled to start). And then my wisdom teeth grow in and mess everything up! It's not nearly bad as it was to begin with (not even close!) but one of my front teeth is pushing forward a little bit and it really irks me in photos. I went throught 2 YEARS of HELL to not be self conscious smiling in pictures, and now here I am. So tomorrow, I am going to the DREADED dentist (did I mention I have a dentist phobia too? Oh man..). Needless to say, I am really nervous! I'll need lots of gluten free ideas for what to eat when you've had 4 teeth RIPPED OUT OF YOUR FACE.

Oh, and to top it all off, I've been craving pizza like nobody's biz.

Friday, January 2, 2009

How Long?

How long does it take your glutening symptoms to go away? I'm on day 3 now, and am fighting terrible nausea whenever I'm not eating, and whenever I DO eat something, I feel like dying after. I just want to lie in bed and wait for this all to pass. I am absolutely MISERABLE.

Whatever you do, NEVER go to Chili's! Gluten free menu, my rear end.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Heelys!

Brandon got a pair of Heelys from my parents for Christmas this year. He's been wanting some for probably over a year now. I thought for sure he was going to hurt himself learning how to use them, but of course, he's a natural. We went to the mall today and he had so much fun zipping around on them, that he insisted I get some too! I thought for sure with my clumsy nature that I would hurt myself. But alas, I have gotten the hang of them without falling once! Here's a video of each of us practicing at the neighborhood basketball court.



He's a LOT better than me!