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Saturday, January 30, 2010



Have you tried these?

Oh. My. Goodness.

These are good. They taste like real, regular cookies. These are the first non-mix Pamela's product that we have tried and they are seriously good. Crispy, crunchy, full of yummy flavor. They didn't have the odd taste that so many gluten-free products have.

Yum.

I tried to convince my kids that they were awful so I could have them all but that didn't work. Darn it. They weren't fooled at all.

They also have chocolate chip ones but I haven't tried those yet. But if they are anything like these, they are also really good.


Per FTC regulations: I have no connection to Pamela's, I have never received anything from them, I bought these cookies at full price from the store.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chic-fil-A

Last night I was gonna cook but we had 2 doctor appointments that day and a 4-H meeting and I procrastinated.

So we got out of 4-H at 7:30 and I had a splitting headache and . . . and . . . and Chic-fil-A was on the way home.

Although they don't really advertise it, Chic-Fil-A is a great place to get safe food. Their fries and hashbrowns are gluten-free and fried in dedicated friers - not the ones the chicken are fried in. They have the chargrill chicken that is gluten-free and is good on the salads - I LOVE the chicken and fruit salad. They also do the kids meals with the chargrill (although it isn't on the menu, you have to ask).

So the kids and I went in to place our order, they were not really crowded and by the time we had figured out our order, we were the only ones ordering. So I ask for the kids meals with chargrill and she asks "Do you want the sandwich, nuggets or tenders?"

I tell her the kids can't have bread so she asks if they want strips, nuggets or patty. With no breading. I was completely shocked because we have eaten there several times and I had no idea there were several options for the gluten-free kids meals. I thought it was just the one large patty. So they got grilled chicken nuggets.

I got the chargrilled chicken and fruit salad - which comes gluten-free no special ordering for it.

I ordered hubby one of the chargrilled sandwiches (he needs to be gf but he won't admit it yet) and she asked if we wanted the bread off of that too so it would be gf.

While we waited for our order she conversed with my 6 year old while he told her all the things he was planning on inventing (a jet pack, a gun that helps you fly etc).

When we got home, we enjoyed our meal while I told Hubby how amazingly helpful she was.

I noticed that instead of the usual crouton pack and sunflower seed pack - both of which have wheat - she put in a granola pack that had no wheat. Now the oats weren't gf so I still couldn't eat it but I was still very impressed - I didn't say gluten-free or wheat-free and really probably the only ones that know the difference are the ones that have to know the difference.

In fact, I think I am going to call the owner/manager of the Chic-Fil-A and let them know how impressed I am.

By the way, as dictated by FTC laws, I have to tell you that I paid for our meal, I didn't get anything free except ketchup packets and straws and napkins. I am not being given anything for posting this review.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today I felt like cooking

To be honest, cooking is not my favorite thing to do but there have been a couple of things I wanted to try and so I did them today.

For lunch we had acorn squash and polenta lasagna.

Oh yes, we did.

It was something I have wanted to try ever since Katrina at GlutenFree Gidget posted about it. I even mentioned it to Hubby but he looked at me like I had grown another head. He is not that adventurous with food.

But I was excited because I love, love, love winter squash, Katrina used butternut which is my favorite but I had an acorn squash wanting to be used. Since we are diary-free as well as gluten-free I couldn't figure out what to so for cheese because lasagna isn't lasagna without cheese. Right?

The cheese was not missed because there was a yummy faux ricotta layer.

And the noodles were not missed because polenta was used instead. A

nd the kids requested I make it again, and maybe even make it for dinner. And my kid who hates onions, corn meal (corn in any form), and spinach, didn't notice the onions, corn meal or spinach. My daughter would like the spinach layer to be increased because she thought that part was really good.

This is a definite do again, although I will be increasing it to make a 9X13 pan so that we have leftovers and may just use homemade polenta.

Then for supper we had something completely different. Have you ever heard of Pupusas? I hadn't although around here we mostly have Tex-Mex sort of things like tamales, enchiladas, that sort of thing. Pupusa comes from El Salvador and is somewhat like a thick corn tortilla stuffed with meat or beans or cheese.

I found this recipe through a round about way. Book of Yum hosts an Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger event where you pick a gluten-free blogger, try one of there recipes and then blog about it. Well Book of Yum spotlighted one of the adopters here and told about what Heather had posted about. So I went over to Heather's Blog Celiac Family and read about her making the papusas and thought that I had to try them. So I got the recipes from Diane's blogThe W.H.O.L.E. Gang where she posted the pupusa recipe here and the accompanying Spicy Slaw here.

To be honest, the recipe called for cooking pork and I just didn't want to do that.

This Texas girl used brisket. And not just any brisket, but a pre-made frozen brisket bought from Sams. But my kids loved them. They really loved them. They didn't turn out very pretty, we will have to practise at it more but they were definately tasty.

They were less impressed with the spicy slaw (yes Mom, I made cabbage slaw and even ate some without gagging). They ended up sprinkling it with sugar for a sweet and sour slaw that was actually really good. To be honest, I liked it a bit better with the sugar too but I liked it without as well.

Really the slaw was a bit stretch for me because the one food I have always refused to eat is cole slaw. I don't really like ham, bacon, sausage, raisins and mustard but I will eat them. I don't like to look at cole slaw or smell cole slaw or even think about it. My kids picked up from me that slaw is disgusting so I am impressed that they ate it at all.

Anyway I will be making this meal again, and next time I may even try a more traditional filling. Or I may just keep eating it with brisket.

All in all, it was a good day in the kitchen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Buckwheat Groats

I tried some buckwheat gross groats yesterday and I must be missing something. I don't know what the problem is but they were awful, nasty, burnt smelling (and no I didn't burn them).

I tried with sugar but then it was like burnt, bland cookies.

I thought about dried fruit but that didn't help either.

Maybe they have to be mixed with something to be good but I don't see how they could improve the taste of anything.

It was kind of cool though watching them in the pot of water, sort of like those sponges encased in a gel capsule - Grow A Dinosaur sort of thing. I don't want to eat those either.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I now know the difference

You know that loaf of bread that I made on Thursday that was so repulsively nasty? The one that was so incredibly ugly? The one that I fed to the dogs and hubby asked why I was poisoning them?

I figured out what went wrong.

You know how some recipes almost scream at you to use potato starch not potato flour?

Well, this one didn't.

Yep, I used the wrong one.

Which explains why it tasted so bad because apparently potato flour has a stronger flavor.

I am just glad that I wasn't able to make another loaf immediately - because I was out of potato flour otherwise I don't know when I would have figured it out. or if I ever would have. Since I have been taking notes on how much the flours weigh (to make life simpler), I know what I did.

Luckily the 3 flour mix called for either corn starch or potato starch and I used corn starch otherwise the 3 flour mix would be messed up too.

So I am going to make another loaf.

This time I am going to use the right flours.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby its cold outside

It is so cold that I can't write a coherent post so you get bullet points.

  • First I need to let you know about a give-away I have going. Chantel Hobbs has written a fabulous weight-loss book called One-Day Way, while it is not gluten-free it could be by ignoring the meal plans. Click here to see more information about it.
  • Do I hafta go and get a new toaster?If no one is toasting wheat bread anymore then shouldn't it loose all the gluten before we get that sensitive?
  • I dreamed about bread again. That is just pitiful.
  • The other day I went to the health food store to pick up some nutritious yeast - which they didn't have. So I picked up the brewers yeast to ask the guy working there if they tasted similar. (I don't know why I bother because he never knows the answer to my questions.) So I was walking around looking because I wanted some other items and and older lady came up and asked what I was planning on doing with the brewers yeast. Well we got to talking, we found out that I know her daughter because she goes to church with me. Then she said she had a nearly full can of it at home and she hates it, she would he happy to give me half the can if I followed her home. She also lent me a Jewish cookbook which is such a blessing. I had been wanting to look through one but the chances of finding one here in my small East Texas town are pretty remote.

    I ended up finding the nutritious yeast at another store and it does seem to taste closer to cheese but I am going to play some more with the brewers yeast. I found this list of things to do with it but I haven't really tried any of them out.
  • The reason I wanted nutritious yeast is to make some gluten-free dairy-free macaroni and cheese. Junior has been patiently asking when we could have mac&cheese because I promised him that we would still be able to have it.

    I vaguely remembered seeing something about it - a recipe or mention of frozen dinner or something. If all else failed I could make up a gluten-free dairy-free bechamel and grate up some vegan cheese (although the price makes me wince).

    So then I found this recipe which for some reason just sounded good.

    It isn't the blue box but it is pretty good and really quick to go together. I used sunflower nut butter instead of almond but I am going to try it sometime with the almond nut butter.
  • I posted here on my other blog about how I had given up on my drug of choice - wheat/gluten. I am not craving wheat all the time now, barely give it a thought (except in my dreams apparently). But I still hadn't found a bread recipe I liked.

    So I made a loaf of bread yesterday and it was awful. I baked my first loaf of bread at 13 (Mom was out of town and Dad had no idea how involved it would be). So I have been baking bread for years. I have never baked a loaf that was so ugly and tasted so bad. I don't even think it could have been saved in a bread pudding. I threw it away. I have never thrown away a loaf of homemade bread because I can always figure out some way to use it.

    So I tried again today and I may have just found our basic recipe.[insert happy dance] It was actually good. The kids liked it and Hubby liked it. It is from Bette Hagman's book (I forget which one and am too lazy to go look right now).

    It earned me 2 high fives from Junior.
  • I am glad the bread turned out because the homemade pasta sure didn't. I have a pasta machine that I got 2 years ago so I could make pasta but never did so it is gluten-free.

    I tried Bette Hagman's bean pasta recipe but I must have done something wrong because it just didn't want to work right.

    So I let the kids play with it and the pasta machine.
  • Luckily the other part of dinner did turn out well. While watching Little House on the Prairie, we saw an episode where Almonzo says his favorite dish is cinnamon chicken. And we all looked at each other and said "huh? I have never heard of cinnamon chicken."

    A few weeks later I was reading some blogs and The Good Eatah said she saw a recipe that Cat Cora had put in a magazine for cinnamon chicken and tried it and loved it.

    So we tried it and loved it. The kids wanted seconds and thirds on the chicken. Hubby said he could make a meal out of the onion sauce and bread. Junior gave me another high five. Everyone said that we should make it again.

    Which totally made up for the pasta turned play-doh.

And that is the end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cabbage and Lentil Soup with curry powder

Yesterday was another day of dreaded errands and by the time I had finally gotten home, I had a headache. A doozy.

So I wanted to throw something together with minimal effort that would taste good. So I thought of lentil soup.

I love lentils, they are such a small bean that they don't need any soaking and cook in about 30 minutes. I also had a head of cabbage that needed to be used and cabbage does well in soup.

I first chopped up an onion and threw it in the old stockpot with 5 slices of turkey bacon, I then got involved in something else and let the onions get a bit burned too caramelized. But with my throbbing head, I just poured some red wine vinegar over it and then lots of water (at least 8 cups but I used the sprayer on my sink so this is a guess).

Then I added the lentils - about 1 cup or maybe 1/2 cups - but be careful to look them over and pick out any rocks (oops) and rinse them first (I did do that).

I then chopped up a cabbage and added that. I also added a spoonful of curry, I didn't want it to be hot but I wanted to taste (for the first time) the flavor of the curry. I then went and sat down to wait for my migraine medicine to kick in for the cabbage and lentils to cook.

After about 25 minutes, I went and tasted the broth and added salt. Tasted it again and added more salt. Tasted it again and added more salt. I prefer to do small additions frequently rather than run the risk of over salting. Since the broth was very thin, I put some cornstarch in a cup with cold water, stirred well and added it to the soup. I let that cook in a few more minutes and then served it up.

The curry flavor was there but it wasn't very strong - it wasn't spicy hot or anything like that, it seemed (to me) to have cinnamon notes. The kids loved it and Hubby even liked it (he has said that he doesn't like curry but I don't think he has had it very much).

I will definitely be doing this again, especially on cold nights because nothing is better than a soup on a cold night.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Giveaway and some questions

Gluten Free Gidget is doing a great giveaway on her blog for Xagave a brand that combines the nectar of two types of agave plant for a richer smoother flavor.

I just love agave, I just don't use it as much as I should. Sugar is a bit of a habit.

Anyway, so if you are interested, check out this contest.

Now for some questions:

Did you find that your palate changed as you went gluten-free? I used to hate avocados - those green bombs of mushiness. As in like 2 months ago, I thought they were gross. Now, . . . well, let's just say I could seriously over eat these things. And I tried guacamole on top of gluten-free frito pie instead of sour cream and cheese and found I prefer it that way.

How do you keep the gluten-free flours from overtaking your kitchen? I was putting them in canisters (and the ones we use a lot are still in canisters) but seriously?!? They are taking over the pantry. And the fridge. And the freezer. I thought about hanging up a chart on the inside of the pantry door detailing each flour, what it is in and where it is located so Hubby can cook when he wants. Even I have to pull out half of them before I find the right one and I know what kind of container to look for. Maybe large canning jars would work. I don't know. I would appreciate any tips.

I have lots more questions but I will stop for now. I don't want to overwhelm.

Traveling on a special diet and I Won!

I was lucky enough to win this giveaway done by Babyfro at Living Without Wheat. I am so excited about this. Now I just have to figure out some gluten & dairy free casseroles.

We went to visit my Grandmother and parents over the holidays and it was the first time we have traveled while trying to completely stick to our diets.

Oh boy.

In some ways it was so very hard but in others it was actually easier.

In my family, we bake. Cookies, cakes, pies, candies are everywhere. It is a dieter's nightmare but almost all of it was loaded with gluten and dairy and was off limits (we did have some gf-df brownies that were good but that is pretty much it as far as the sweets went).

For me, there wasn't any of this "should I / shouldn't I" wishy-washy-ness. There wasn't any (or at least very little) "just one tiny piece won't hurt." I am feeling better than I have in months, I was not about to blow it on a piece of cake.

Even the kids seemed to do really well with it. Junior would ask if it had flour in it when he was offered a piece of something. That is really impressive for a 6 year old.

On the other hand, I didn't know what to bring with us. I also have a very, very small list of substitutions I can cook (like hoe cakes instead of pancakes) and I hated to try something new when there wasn't something to fall back on if it didn't work. If it was just me, it wouldn't have been such a big deal but I don't want the kids to feel more deprived than they already are.

I did learn what would make it easier. If there is a meal plan in place (something my Dad would really prefer to have) then I can plan accordingly - if we are having hamburgers than I need to bring buns or the stuff to make buns. We were able to get a bread mix from the local health food store that made a fairly decent loaf (Bob's Red Mill). I think I let it rise too long, but it was still pretty tasty.

We did eat out a couple of times which was rather nerve-wracking. We ate at a Italian place where I ordered 2 main dishes to share with my two kids - and asked that both have the pasta left off because we need to eat wheat free. I had never before realized how filling the pasta part of the meal was before that, I was still somewhat hungry. But then I saw a piece of spaghetti noodle on the plate. Like maybe they had started to load the plate with the pasta, then realized they shouldn't and took most of it off. My stomach did seem to be a bit more irritable after that but it wasn't bad.

It was just a reminder that the ones most concerned with my health and my children's health will be us, not the waitress or cook.

But now, I am just looking forward to getting back into the kitchen and learning.