Friday, October 14, 2011

Liz Lovely Cookies

Good Gluten free cookies are hard to find. When I first went gluten free I just happen to stumble upon these Liz Lovely Gluten Free cookies as I was looking for gluten free treats. I found them to be the best cookies I've found so far. Usually Gluten free cookies are hard and I'm not really a fan of those. Liz Lovely cookies are soft and made from all natural ingredients. My favorite flavors are the chocolate chip, which is so soft it's almost like cookie dough, the Snickerdoodle, my absolute favorite is so soft it's almost like cake and Chocolate Fudge which is like a brownie. To make them even better and probably the reason I fell so much in love with them is the story behind the cookies and the company that makes them. My dad always said the best restaurants have a story on their menu. Well these guys have a story on their cookie. The cookies are made by a "ma and pa" company that was formed when they lost their real jobs. Liz started baking vegan cookies for friends and family and the company grew from there. Such an inspirational story and really delicious cookies. You can check out their website at www.lizlovely.com where you can either order cookies directly or look up where to find the cookies in a store near you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A year later, a look back and a look ahead.

So it's been a year since I went Gluten Free. I've learned a lot and I'm still learning and still making stupid mistakes.
1. I've learned that I'm always going to be gluten free and I have all my life to taste and find new and great tasting food choices and I don't need to stuff myself every time I find something or cry when I don't.
2. I've learned I should take it as a gift that I have to eat healthy while everyone else gorges on pizza, cake, cookies, etc. and all I get is a piece of fruit or a carrot. And I definitely don't need to go home and eat every Gluten free goodies I have in my house to make up for it.
3. Even when I'm frustrated I should not feel sorry for myself and fill those feelings with food I can eat.
4. Always read labels!!!
5. Always ask questions and Never be afraid to ask them and tell the server exactly what you want and need.
6. Always state you have a food allergy so that the server knows how important it is to give you what you asked for.
7. If you don't know what is being served it before you go and pack your own snacks.
8. Try to research the restaurant before you go.
9. If you are going to a friend's house ask what they are serving and if you can bring something that you can eat and share with others.

If the next year I hope to focus more on eating healthy foods and staying away from the gluten free goodies (cookies, cakes, etc.). I hope to stop eating my emotions and gain control of myself. I hope to learn more about healthy eating and cooking and making those gluten free goodies a little healthier. I hope to explore and have fun with my food.

Monday, September 26, 2011

pizzookie

BJ's Restaurant and Brew house is know for it's signature dessert, the Pizzookie. Large cookie in a pizza pan cooked in the pizza oven. Also known as heaven. Since going gluten free it has been very hard for me to go to BJ's and not be able to have the pizzookie. In fact in June I went with my parents and the waitress asked if there was anything else we wanted and I jokingly answered "a gluten free Pizzookie." The waitress said that a lot of people had been asking for that, but they did not have one yet. Well I have good news. BJ's now has a Gluten Free Pizzookie and it is Fabulous. You can tell by the texture and color that it's gluten free but it really does taste like a chocolate chip cookie. It was so good. My boyfriend who is not gluten free shared it with me and I think he ate more of it than I did.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another Broken Egg Cafe Broken Review

My parents are in town so I wanted to meet them for a nice breakfast. Being a Celiac, I chose the place carefully. I looked up breakfast menus of local places I knew including a new place called, Another Broken Egg Cafe. I looked up and reviewed the menu, which had a lot of choices and boasted fresh food. I thought my family and I could all find something there to eat. I was very wrong. We were seated at the table and I began to tell our server I had an allergy to gluten and ask the usual questions about the items I was considering. He told me he knew of the allergy, another server had it and when everyone was tasting the menu in training that server could only eat the fruit plate. Immediate red flags went off in my head, but the server said he was ask the chef. When he came back he basically confirmed that the potatoes I was considering were not gluten free and not fresh at all. So I decided a the fruit place and a piece of chicken, thinking they could just take a fresh piece of chicken and grill it for me right? Wrong all the chicken is premarinated in a sauce that is not gluten free. So I had a fruit plate as my parents at their full meals. Then I had to make extra time to go home and eat lunch. I will not be returning to Another Broken Egg Cafe and just wanted to put a warning out there to others with food allergies.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with roasted Vegetables and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
2-3 large Zucchini
2 cups small tomatoes (small bite size tomatoes like cherry or grape tomatoes work well)
Spices such as Garlic, Italian spice mix, or other preferred spice mix
1lb bag of Gluten Free Rotini pasta
1 to 2 cups Fat Free or Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (may add more or less dressing to taste)
Optional: Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Spray baking pan with olive oil or other gluten free cooking spray to keep vegetables from sticking. Cut Zucchini length wise in quarters, then slice into smaller bite size pieces. Put Zucchini on baking pan along with tomatoes. Sprinkle with spices such as Garlic, oregano, Italian spice mix, or other spices as desired to taste. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until vegetables begin to brown.

While Vegetables are baking cook pasta. If desired add salt to flavor pasta water. When pasta is done, drain pasta water and rinse pasta with cold water. (Tip: You can use some of the pasta water in the pasta salad to add moisture without having to add extra salad dressing or calories.) Put pasta into large bowl, add roasted vegetables and dressing. Add more or less dressing as needed to taste. If desired also add more spices and top off with Parmesan cheese. Chill salad until you are ready to eat. The more time salad is allowed to sit in the fridge the more flavor is infused into the pasta and vegetables. For more flavor pasta can be prepared one day before and allowed to sit in the fridge over night. For added protein you can mix in pre-cooked chicken if desired.

Note: Always remember to check the ingredients of all items you are adding to the pasta salad (such as spice mixes, Parmesan cheese, dressing, etc.) to make sure they are gluten free.

http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/2011/06/create-a-gluten-free-salad-challenge/

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gluten Free Spaghetti Wrapped Chicken

I watch way too many cooking shows, as a Weight Watcher first and then as a Celiac, I have found that I really have to get creative with my food. So I got this idea from watching Dinner Impossible on the Food Network. Chef Robert Irvine took spaghetti, wrapped it around chicken and baked it in the oven. So I took the idea and did my own thing with it. The result was pretty good.
I preheated the oven to about 450 and sprayed a pan with some non-stick spray. I took raw pieces of chicken put some fat free Italian dressing as a marinade/sticking agent, then sprinkled one side with some Parmesan cheese. I cooked GF spaghetti then rinsed it in cold water after it was cooked. Just a precaution, if you cook more spaghetti then you need, separate out only the spaghetti you need for wrapping the chicken and put it in a different bowl, you'll be touching the raw meat and the spaghetti so you only want to touch the spaghetti you are going to use. Take the spaghetti a little at a time and wrap it around the raw meat, then cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. The put some Marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese on top then you have yourself a gluten free meal of spaghetti and chicken Parmesan.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boston Market

I had a very good experience at Boston Market in Toluca Lake on Riverside. It was one of those nights were I was tired, hungry and not exactly thinking clearly. I ordered the rotisserie chicken thinking it would be fine and then the potatoes and corn I also thought would be safe, but I forgot to say "No cornbread,. I'm allergic." They dished up my sides and I was able to just take the cornbread off the tray without contamination. Then they cut up my chicken on the same board they cut everything else and I thought, "that's probably not a good thing but I'll risk it." As he was putting the chicken on the tray, he dropped a piece and I looked around to see where he dropped it. He saw me looking and said not to worry it landed right back with the chicken and I said, "I just wanted to make sure it didn't fall in any gravy, I'm allergic to gluten." He said oh, "You're allergic to gluten? Let me get a new cutting board and knife and cut you a new piece, this was cut on the same board as the brisket." I was shocked, I said, "Thank you so much. that's awesome." I did have to ask him to put the new chicken on a new plate, but I was shocked by his knowledge and willingness to help, especially since I was not being as diligent and vigilant as I should have been. I asked him how he knew what to do and told him many chain restaurants are not like that, people are not trained and give you attitude when you make special requests. He said he work for a general manager in Pasadena who had a daughter who was gluten free and he trained everyone how to serve someone with a gluten allergy. I thought that was awesome and I wish more people would be trained that well and be so willing to act on that training.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Something to think about

So in watching the news clips of Japan they were showing a clip of one of the survivor camps or shelters for all the people that lost their homes. In the clip they happened to show them handing out sandwiches to the survivors. My first thought was, "OH CRAP, what am I going to do if LA gets hit by an earthquake? I can't eat a sandwich" I guess that's kind of selfish thinking, but really I probably should be preparing an emergency kit with food for me. My boyfriend and I have had discussions about this since we saw the clip together and his opinion is that if I'm in that type of situation and have to go to a shelter, then I just have to eat what's given to me and suffer the consequences. Then my thought was, "Are you crazy? Not only is there going to be little food, but there probably won't be any toilets or decent place to go the bathroom, I'm better off just not eating than getting sick." Really does anyone really want to be stuck with diarrhea on top of being stuck in a huge disaster with little food, no showers, no clean clothes and no bathroom? Things to think about. I really do need to pack myself an emergency kit at least for the car. The minute the ground starts shaking I'm hopping in the car and heading straight back to Connecticut if I can get out.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pizza

Yeah, I like pizza like anyone else, but I have never been a big fanatic. I'd have a piece occasionally usually at a party when it was offered although were I work it tends to be offered a lot,  but since I went on Weight Watchers I never really craved pizza except on rare occasions. The one pizza that I did crave (mainly before Weight Watchers when I could do pretty good damage to a medium pizza by myself) was Pizza Hut Meat lovers pan pizza. So when I was diagnosed with Celiac, pizza wasn't one of the foods I cried over not being able to eat. Yeah I would miss it a little but it wasn't a big deal. It did make me a little sad that I would not be able to have the Meat lover's Pizza at Pizza Hut but I would get over it, no big deal. Well the other night we (my boyfriend and I) discovered the best GF Pizza at fresh Brothers Pizza. We ordered the Miller Pizza Special off their GF menu. It was the equivalent of Pizza Hut Meat Lovers Pizza with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ground beef and ham and OMG was it good. Fresh Brothers says that they talk to their suppliers and all of them verify that each ingredient is gluten free, however even though they are careful in making their food they cannot guarantee there is no cross contamination. But as the nutritionist said anytime you eat out you are taking a chance and risking cross contamination.  Anyway the pizza was excellent and did not make me sick after that I will not miss pizza with gluten at all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Playing with food

I like to refer to my cooking as playing with food. Sometimes I'm not sure I would call what I cooking. I have a habit of not really following recipes but using them  more as a guide (sometimes very loosely). But I do like to look for new cook books and new recipes that inspire me. Today I discovered a new cookbook, The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free by Anne Byrn. I had never heard of the book till the other day when I found out there was a book signing and the author was going to talk about cooking gluten free. I had some time so I went to check it out. I was pretty impressed with the author, Anne Byrn and was inspired by what she had to say. All her other books are recipes containing gluten. Her readers had been asking her for a gluten free version for awhile. When she saw that Betty Crocker had a GF cake mix that was more or less pretty much accessible to all, she decided it was time to do a GF book. She said she had tried to make GF cakes from scratch and found just as I have that there are too many flours that cost way too much money involved in making a GF cake. She thought that starting with a GF mix was easier and more or less more cost effective (I paid 4.99 for the box today ugg) although the GF box mixes also only produced one layer cakes which she remedied in her book.
I thought the book and the whole concept behind the book was great. Maybe I watch too many cooking shows and have become too big a cooking snob, but I always thought using a box mix was cheating. Now that I have to cook gluten free, until I get rich and can afford to buy all those expensive flours and learn how to use them I'm pretty much stuck with using a box mix. But not knowing enough about GF baking and what to use when because every flour has different consistency and does a different thing, it's easier to use a box mix. I really like this book because it has a large variety of cakes, cookies, brownies and bars all using a box mix making it easier for someone who is just starting to bake GF.
Right now I am attempting to make GF snicker doodles from the book. Of course I didn't follow the directions and didn't use real butter or eggs (that Weight watcher in me never dies always trying to cut the fat) so the first batch came out like a giant pancake. So I added rice flour to the second batch and it was a little better and then I added a little more rice flour to the third batch and that might be too much. Oh well cooking to me is like trial and error and sometimes I just feel like I'm playing with my food and trying to see what works.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GF Mac and Cheese for one

Ok so it's been a busy and tough week and it's only Wednesday. So I had to make myself some comfort food and I think I did pretty good if I say so myself. So I will share my recipe. I do have to give credit where credit is due though. The recipe was definitely inspired by a gluten full mac and cheese recipe from Hungry Girl.

GF Mac and Cheese for one

1 mini baby bell cheddar cheese
1 wedge Laughing cow light Swiss cheese
1/2 cup dry small quinoa and corn shells (or other GF pasta)
1 TBSP Brummel and Brown spread

Salt pasta water to taste and cook pasta to aldente. Drain pasta and save some pasta water for sauce. Leave a small about of water in the pan. Return to low burner. Add all cheese and butter, pasta.and about 3 to 4 table spoons pasta water. Mix together until cheese is melted. Add pasta water as needed to get sauce to desired thickness. If sauce is too thin let the water boil let stand a few minutes, watching and stirring as needed.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby Blue's BBQ

So we discovered a new place to eat tonight. It's a BBQ place so I was a little weary. We looked at the menu before, even watched a video clip from Diners Drive Ins and Dives. Watching the video made me even more nervous seeing that they cooked their pulled pork in beer and figuring that they probably cooked a lot of other stuff in beer too. We debated calling first, but didn't know what kind of reaction we would get over the phone so we decided to just go. We got there and there was a wait for a table. While we were waiting we talked to the hostess telling her about my allergy and asking what went in to the sauces and if there was anything I could eat. She said, "wait a minute" and then came back with a spread sheet of the menu listing all the items and what allergy ingredient they contained. I was immediately able to tell what I could order and what I should stay away from. We then talked to a server who said she had a gluten allergy and she was really sensitive to most of the meat due to cross contamination and that she mainly just ordered sides. I asked her if she was Celiac and she said yes, then I immediately though, "ut OH." I ordered the chicken which I thought would have the least cross contamination since it was smoked and maybe next time it would be safer to order it without BBQ sauce, but it was good and so far so good I am not sick. I was very surprised to find a little "Dive" BBQ joint that had an allergy list. I'm glad they did and I hope more restaurants do the same. It also shows that I shouldn't be afraid ask about the restaurants food and disclose my allergy right when I walk in the door. It definitely helped this time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Games

The games I play as a try to deal with this disease/allergy. The first is, "That must be gluten free." When you find a food that you're not sure is gluten free so you play the game for example this weekend I played, "Fudge is gluten free right? It's just sugar and chocolate it must be gluten free." Wrong I lose. Yeah and you know it's not the first time I've played that game and you know I usual lose, so you would like I would have learned my less by now, but of course know. In time I guess.
Tonight I play the game of "What made me sick?" I've been eating healthy, mainly making my own food, so it's been gluten free. Tonight I went out and tonight I am sicker than I've been in a while. I just had a burger with cheese and bacon and no bun with vegetable soup that I was assured had no gluten. Plus could I be this sick after just eating? Uggg what did I do? I wish I knew so I could never do it again.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Week New Goal

So this week my goal is to eat veggies and fruit with every meal and work on making sure I get my full daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Tonight I went to a talk about going on a cleanse or detox. It was interesting to hear about how our body needs to be cleansed and we need to give our body a break because of all the toxins we ingest, but I still don't think a detox is for me. It does make me think more about what I am eating and what I need to eat. So this week I'm eating as much fruits and veggies as I can force myself to eat and I'm going to look at the food I'm eating and try to eat food with less addatives.

For dinner tonight I made a pork chop marinated with fat free italian dressing and then coated with cornmeal mix with garlic and herbs and cooked in a pan with olive oil.
For my veggies I roasted butternut squash and carrots then sauteed them in a pan with margerine, maple syrup and a little GF soy sauce. It was a little too sweet for me, it might work better with honey.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dinner Last night

For dinner....
Boneless chicken breast coated with dry Italian dressing mix (look at ingredients to make sure it's GF before using)
Brown rice stir fry with frozen mix veggies and GF soy sauce.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Balsmic Pasta and Roasted Vegtables

Balsamic Pasta and Oven Roasted Vegetables

1 cup Gluten free spaghetti (quinoa and corn has best consistency)
2 table spoons fat free/gluten free Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 large Zucchini
1 cup small tomatoes
Optional: herbs such as garlic, Italian herbs, etc

Set oven to 425. Spray baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut up zucchini into bit size pieces. Put tomatoes and zucchini in baking pan, sprinkle with herbs to taste and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until browned.
Cook pasta as directed. Sprinkle Salt in the pasta water to flavor pasta and water. When pasta is done drain and save water to add to sauce if needed.
For cold pasta salad rinse pasta with cold water and put in bowl.  Add roasted Vegetables, Balsamic Vinaigrette and mix. Add more dressing or left over pasta water if pasta is not saucy enough.
To make hot pasta dish there is no need to rinse. Spray pan with not stick cooking spray. Heat on medium; add pasta, roasted vegetables, balsamic vinaigrette and mix. If pasta is not saucy enough more dressing or left over pasta water can be added. Precooked chicken can also be added to or served with pasta.
If you like add Parmesan cheese to finish

If you like this recipe please go to http://www.everydayhealth.com/forums/new-year-new-you-challenge/topic/gluten-free-balsamic-pasta-with-oven-roasted-vegtables to make a comment.

Learning and teaching

One of the hardest parts of eating Gluten Free for me is eating with other people. Eating out can be handled, I can always order salad where ever I go, but eating at someone else's house or a party where I have no control and no forewarning of what is being served is another story. I walked in the door to lunch with family and they said today we are having Chinese, panic set in. Immediately the first thoughts in my head was, "Great, I can't eat Chinese, everything has soy sauce in some for or other, guess I'll just have white rice and maybe a salad with fresh lettuce from next door." But that's me I hate for people to have to make special exceptions for me, so I'm willing to go without rather than say, I can't eat anything. I explained that Chinese food generally is not gluten free because everything has soy sauce and soy sauce has gluten. They suggested I pick something and order it plan with no sauce and I did. Even though it was very bland it was better than just eating white rice and it was something I hadn't thought of. A lesson learned. But I feel like I still have some teaching to do seeing that people still don't seem to be aware of what has gluten and what doesn't and what I can eat and what I can't.