Friday, January 29, 2010

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Corn Chex Treats

This is one of those times when I'm looking through my blog archives thinking, haven't I written about those yet? Lo and behold, I haven't. Peanut Butter Corn Chex Treats (such a creative name) are my husband's favorites and every time I make them he and Sam pretty much eat the whole batch by themelves. I love that they are a mix of healthy and unhealthy, salt and sweet, because that's pretty much how I roll these days. They are simple and easy (I had the 13 year old make them last night) and fun to make with kids. The original recipe calls for Corn Flakes, but since those are not gluten free, I substitute the now-gluten free Corn Chex. There are some gluten free corn flake brands out there, and if there's one you like, feel free to substitute those in.
Peanut Butter Corn Chex Treats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 box Corn Chex cereal (4 cups)
Put brown sugar, syrup, and peanut butter into a large pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add cereal. Mix thoroughly. Drop by scoopful onto foil. (Never use waxed paper on this recipe. You will never get the treats off!)Let set for 5-10 minutes to cool.
Simple, easy, delicious, and gluten free. Aahhhh, those are the best recipes of all.
Happy eating!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gluten Free Scrumptious Chicken, Crock Pot Style

There is this crock pot cookbook out there that I just love. In fact, I have two of them, I love it so much. It's called The Fix It and Forget It Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker. It's pretty popular, so chances are you have one, too. It has all kinds of great crock pot recipes and one of my favorites is called Scrumptious Chicken. You are supposed to make it with Cream of Chicken soup and Onion Soup mix and Sour Cream, all of which need to be chosen carefully if you are eating gluten free. But this dish is so great it's worth the extra minute it takes to choose your ingredients.

First, I put four packets of Lipton Creamy Chicken Cup-A-Soup, which I also cleverly used here, in a microwaveable bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of water. After whisking it together, I microwave it for two minutes and 15 seconds until it's nice and thick. Voila! Two cans' worth of cream of chicken soup. To that I add one packet of Western Family Onion Soup mix or Lipton Onion Soup Mix, which by my readings of the package is gluten free. Then I add 1 cup of gluten free Sour Cream. Most Meadow Gold, Cream of Weber, Harmon's brands are gluten free. Just give the package a quick scan to make sure. Then mix those ingredients together well and set aside.

Then I take 4-6 boneless chicken breasts and sear them on both sides in a pan on high heat just to seal in the juices. I place the chicken in my Pam-sprayed Old Reliable crock pot and pour the sauce mixture over. Cook on low for 4-6 hours and serve with rice and a vegetable. I happen to make white rice for dinner. I know Jillian Michaels is probably rolling her eyes at that, but I'm lucky to get the kids I have to eat the white rice as it is, so sorry. But it would probably work just as well with brown rice if that's your choice, or if you have dietary issues with the white kind. I spoon the sauce over the rice and it is by far the best part of the meal. Give it a try next time you are going to be home late to start dinner, or double the recipe if you're having people over. It truly is Scrumptious Chicken.
Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Old Spaghetti Factory: Now Serving Gluten Free Dinners

The birthday love just keeps on comin'. Since last week we were recovering from our little stint in the hospital and two of my kids were gone on a trip, we decided to spend Monday night at The Old Spaghetti Factory with my parents for a belated birthday dinner for me, complete with gluten full cake for everyone else from the best bakery in the world which I sorely miss, Dick's Bakery in Bountiful:
But I got spumoni, so it was not a total loss. I chose The Old Spaghetti Factory because I know they serve gluten free pasta, and just about anyone with kids will tell you if the restaurant serves any kind of noodles, you're good to go for picky eaters.
So the dinners came and I ordered the gluten free pasta with marinara sauce and Italian sausage. The sausage was divine, the sauce was tangy and tomato-ey, and the pasta was...DeBoles. Not my favorite brand by far. I love Tinkyada soooooo much that it is difficult for me to even stomach other brands now. The meal wasn't bad, and the pasta wasn't too terrible, it just wasn't my favorite pasta. I noticed that it was printed on their menus that they proudly serve DeBoles, which makes me think that probably all The Old Spaghetti Factories around the U.S. use it. Which is a shame. Where were the Tinkyada reps when all this went down? Get in there and fight for this account! The gluten free eaters of the world are begging you...pitch your product to The Old Spaghetti Factory! Not that I'm a marketing genius or anything, I'm just saying...
Anyway, this is a great dinner option for all of us who live near an Old Spaghetti Factory. They have a full gluten free menu ready to go, you just have to ask for it when you order. Maybe they will get wind of all of us who want Tinkyada pasta and switch over. Now THAT would be a birthday present to remember!
Happy eating out!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gluten Free Lemonade: A No-Brainer

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I've never made lemonade from scratch before. The only lemonade I've ever made either has a picture of a talking pitcher or says "Country Time" on it. And to be honest, I've never liked either one very much. So, I owe it to my son for watching "Max and Ruby" and deciding he was up for teaching me how to make yummy lemonade that takes about three minutes and tastes great. When I was a kid, my dad would always be in charge of the punch for our large family gatherings. He would stir, taste, add, taste, and look like a witch stirring her cauldron every single time. The right balance of sour and sweet was very important to him. One of the ingredients I remember he always used was lemon juice, and to this day, I never make Kool-Aid without adding a few tablespoons to it. It really does make it taste better.

First of all, let me begin by saying I truly love my Pampered Chef Quick Stir pitcher. There. Brazen plug for favorite product? Check. It especially comes in handy when making this lemonade, as it helps to squish the lemons and juice them and also acts as a natural strainer for the lemon pieces and most of the seeds, if some happen to make it into your lemonade. This is not a completely scientific process, and, to be quite honest, everyone likes their drinks a little differently, so this may not suit your taste. But for a non-lemonade lover to make this three times in one week and drink most of it, I think that says something.

Quick Lemonade

1. Fill a pitcher half full with cold, cold water.

2. Add 2/3 cup of sugar

3. Add 1/3 + 2T bottled lemon juice

4. Slice 1 lemon and remove as many seeds as you can. Add to the pitcher.

5. Stir (or plunge, if you have the quick stir pitcher) and try to mash the lemons a little to get the pulp out and release the oils from the lemon's zest for extra flavor.

6. Drink with ice cubes, if desired.

As I said, not too scientific, and you fully have the freedom to add more or less sugar, depending on how tart you like your lemonade. If you are a super tart person I would slice two lemons and add 1/2 cup of lemon juice. But play around with it. You may find a new favorite!

Sam and I actually had a great time together coming up with this little recipe, even though I was skeptical and had a "mercy drink" of our first concoction, it ended up being refreshing and yummy at the same time. These are the best parts of goofing off in the kitchen! You go in to appease your kid and end up loving what you make.

And if you are hosting a party for a crowd, this is an economical option: lemons are only about 50 cents each, sugar and water are usually available in every home, and it's easy to double or triple the recipe if needed. And if you run out? Head to the kitchen and make another quick batch. Your guests won't even know you've gone missing. We are so drinking this at Wyatt's baptism in July this year...

Happy eating!

(Post script: I forgot to mention...take the lemons out when you are going to put it into the fridge after you've gotten it the way you like it. The lemons will continue to leach out their lemony flavor and by tomorrow your lemonade will taste like pure lemon peel. So leave them in for the party, but once you are ready to store it for later, take the lemon slices out and throw them away. MA)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning to Cook Gluten Free from an actual Professional...It's a Good Thing

This week I took a gluten free cooking class at the Viking Cooking School in South Salt Lake. I thought I would go in there and there'd be one or two other people and someone who showed us how to substitute rice flour for wheat flour and we'd be done. Wow. Was I ever wrong.

First of all, let me begin by saying you are going to have to put up with photos that I took on my phone, because I completely forgot my camera that day. However, you'll get the gist and also see that chubby people like me STILL look chubby when their pictures are taken with a phone. And when they stand next to slender chefs. Moving on...second of all, it was a dream come true to walk into that fully functioning kitchen and play around with all the great equipment. There were 13 Boos Blocks alone in that room! Five ovens! Pans that were so heavy we really should have tag teamed them when we drained our pasta! Super sharp knives! They even had little glass bowls that you measured a teaspoon of baking powder into before you added it to your bowl! And best of all, they had this little piece of machinery:
This is TJ. He got us all our supplies, watched the ovens, whipped cream, and whisked away all the dirty dishes for us. I really wanted to take him home with me. Only because he's such a hard worker, of course, for all you folks with naughty brains out there.

Our instructor's name was Trish. For anyone out there who wants to learn how to cook and bake gluten free, Trish is your girl. She's a fabulous instructor who really knows her stuff. She is a fellow celiac and is basically a food whisperer. She taught us how to make five (5!) different gluten free dishes: a crusty bread, a chocolate tart, a tomato tart, macaroni and cheese, and banana walnut muffins. By the time I was done tasting everything I was so full I could have popped. It was a good thing. To get any of these great recipes, call the Viking Cooking School and ask them when Trish's next class is and then sign up for it that minute. You will never regret it.

Here's some of the things I learned in the heavenly Viking kitchen:

1. Gluten free flours have a slower rate of absorption than regular flours, which is why sometimes they look like great doughs and turn out completely dry and cracked. To compensate for that you not only need more liquid but you need to let the dough mix or be worked longer, and then you can add more moisture if needed.

2. It's easier to mix a tart dough with your hands rather than a pastry cutter. Trust me on this, get in there and mash it up. Nothing works better.

3. Some people bake bread in pans. Other people put a huge mound of dough onto a hot baking stone in an oven and bake it just like that. And it makes divine bread.
4. The more oily your hands are when working with sticky, gloppy, gluten free flour, the better. Make sure to rub it into the crevices and cracks. You'll be glad you did.

5. A gluten free dough should be totally sticky and gloppy because it is slowly absorbing all that moisture as it bakes. So if you can't get it off your hands or spatula, that means your dough is a good one.

6. It's easier to scoop muffin batter using a large ice cream scoop with one of those little things that flicks it out on the underside of the scoop. No lie, I totally had to go and buy one after the class. I'll never drip batter with the underside of a measuring cup again.
7. Some people can get 4 slices out of a tomato, some can get 20. I'm not going to say which one I was. Not the 20.

I learned other things that don't really matter, too, but that were super fun to learn about anyway. Like, for example, there's a guy named Joe Sargentakis who will taste just about anything while you are making it. And his last name is really fun to say, over and over again. And I learned that Jennifer was not only the mother of a young girl who just found out she has celiac's disease and that she knows my neighbor, but that she is a magnet for hot, boiling, splashing water. Maybe we'd better not talk about that part. I also learned that there are people who not only don't eat wheat, but they also eat Living or Raw Foods, and are totally healthy and happy doing it. Joline runs a very affordable class for people who are interested in how to eat Raw Foods, and she actually has a class coming up on February 3. Check out her website, http://www.healthylivingwithjoline.com/ or call 801-8085966 if you are interested. But the most important thing I learned is that it's always a good thing to learn more about what you eat and how you prepare it, and that it's even more fun when you do it with 12 other people. And one day I hope I win a contest where Viking comes and guts my kitchen and replaces it with one of theirs. I'm just saying.
Happy eating!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Planning to Eat Gluten Free



So often on this blog I have given this advice: Cook as much of your own food as you can, and you'll feel better. I totally agree with my own advice (of course), but I have to admit that sometimes I have a hard time following my own advice. So many nights I am faced with the 5:00 dinner prep hour and still have yet to decide what to eat or if I even have ingredients to make what sounds good to me. What usually ends up happening is that we either eat breakfast food or fast food, and although those are fine once in a while, it can get really old really fast.

The best thing I can do to eat better and be better prepared for the dinnertime rush is perhaps the simplest: make a list. If I take a few minutes before I go to the grocery store on Saturdays and jot down a quick weekly menu, I can make a more prepared grocery list and be sure to have the ingredients for those dinners I have planned for. I also feel a lot better having a plan for meals because I have a habit of letting the day get away from me and I can look at my meal for the day in the morning and sort of give myself a deadline as to when I need to start cooking dinner. I like to plan based on who is going to be home for dinner and what we have going on that night. Sometimes we need to be done eating by 7, sometimes we don't get home until 7, so I usually plan my slow cookers and quick dinners around that.

I also believe in trying to only go to the grocery store once a week. Sometimes I'll have to run back during the week for something, but I really try not to. For one, I don't have time during the week to shop, for another, I'm really trying to trim my expenses this year since I'm saving up for a grand kitchen remodel that may never happen. Nonetheless, shopping smarter is definitely on the horizon for me in 2010. What are your favorite dinnertime time savers?

Happy planning!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

This is proof that husbands can and do listen to their wives' hints about birthday gifts: the coveted Boos Block is now in my posession! I think it looks nice with my Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix cupcake and Betty Crocker Cream Cheese frosting, don't you think? Hey, at least I added coconut to make it look a little more special...that's what happens when you bake your own birthday cake every year.


Are you wondering what to give your celiac friend for their birthday this year? My friend Amy gave me the all-time classic: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries. You just can't go wrong with that!


Happy eating and happy birthday to everyone throughout the year from Off the Wheaten Path!

Gluten Free Wraps: I feel like I'm living in the now!

I am pretty sure I haven't written about these wraps yet. I've known about them for a while, but haven't really gotten to love them until recently. You see, I had to break the code (Robert Langdon style) of how to make these gluten free wraps work for me, and I'm proud to say I have successfully conquered the lunch wrap scenario.

First of all, these wraps are made with two of my favorite gluten free grains: Millet and Teff. What that means is that they have a soft, smooth texture and have a little more elasticity than some of the other wraps I've used.

Secondly, they come in both ivory teff and dark teff versions, which is great for those of us who are visual types. I like the ivory teff because I always want to feel like I'm eating one of those trendy flatbreads everyone's crazy about, but the dark ones remind me of the whole wheat tortillas and wraps I've seen out there, too.

Lastly, the secret trick to making these just about the best gluten free wraps out there is this: Warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then immediately add a spread to the wrap to keep it moist and tender. The taste works well with any and all lunchmeat, and since I've eaten one almost every day for the last two weeks, I can attest to that. Here are some of the combinations I've been able to put together with these wraps: (Caution: nothing that follows will be of a surprise to anyone who has ever eaten a sandwich.)

Spread hummus on wrap and top with salami and havarti cheese
Spread mayonnaise on wrap and top with roasted turkey, lettuce, and tomato
Spread deli mustard on wrap and top with low sodium ham, baby swiss, and spinach leaves
Spread garlic hummus on wrap and top with horseradish roast beef and wisconsin cheddar
Spread a mixture of tamari sauce, ginger salad dressing and Miracle Whip on a wrap and fill with veggies like cucumber, carrots, lettuce, and bean sprouts for an asian flavor

As you can see, I just went to my deli counter and tried a whole bunch of different meats and cheeses. I even added veggies to some of those wraps, which I must say is an extra stretch of healthiness at lunchtime for me. You probably have some more super gourmet ways you love to eat wraps, and I would love to hear about them. Anyone out there love Reubens? I don't even know what is in a Reuben but I've always wanted to try it. How about a tuna version? Relish or not? Let me know what your favorite way to top a wrap is in the comments section. I found these at my Draper Harmon's store. Can't find these in your local store? You can order them from glutenfree.com and pay a little bit of shipping, they'll come right to your door. There's only six in a package, so order a few and keep them in your refrigerator for maximum shelf life.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gluten Free Brownies with Millet Flour


When I wrote this post about all of my favorite Christmas presents, I forgot to mention this one: A gift from my fabulous and generous mother that counts for Christmas, birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, Fourth of July, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween for the whole year. The Nutrimill. What I love about this grain mill is that you can adjust the coarseness of your flour, which makes creative types like me feel like they have control over the final product. That and it's the same mill JoLayna has, and she always picks the best stuff. I haven't used it as much as I wanted to yet, so I got it out the other day and thought I'd try to make up a little something. I decided to grind some millet, which has the most vitamins of any grain, and is a food complete with amino acids and everything. First I put in 1/2 cup of millet grain, and ground it on the finest setting. I ended up with just over 3/4 cup of freshly ground millet flour. Then I went on ahead and made some brownies a la Margo, which means they have a little special extra ingredient.

Gluten Free Brownies

1 stick butter
1/3 cup Hershey baking cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups gluten free flour (try millet, amaranth, or teff for kicks)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line 12 muffin tins with paper liners. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the cocoa. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

The white chocolate chips just give the brownies a little extra oomph and crunch inside. They also make it EXTRA chocolatey, which, let's face it, is the reason the brownie was invented. The Bronski's also have a great Brownie recipe in their book, Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking. Check it out if you get the chance.

Happy eating!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tree Street Grains Gluten Free Pancake Mix

Some of you may be wondering where I have been the last few days. Not that I want to bore you with my life's details, but I have been with my daughter after she was hospitalized with complications from the RSV virus. Nothing life threatening or even life changing, just life. But I am glad she is home now and very glad to be back in my own bed with clean clothes and a hot shower. Not to mention the gluten free food available at every turn in my home, which was sadly unavailable at the hospital cafeteria. It made me remember how frustrating it can be to try to eat as a celiac person sometimes. I was very grateful my husband brought me some Zone Perfect Fudge Graham bars to tide me over when every entree was either crusted with flour or a slice of Papa John's pizza. Here she is, cute and healthy as can be, in front of the world's dirtiest refrigerator. However, just because last week was spent not writing about food doesn't mean I don't have anything great to report to you. By a lucky accident, I have stumbled across a new gluten free pancake mix that is not only safe for celiac's but healthy as well. Saturday as I was making my weekly shopping trip to my local Harmon's store, I saw a cute man handing out samples of his whole-grain pancakes. "Hmm," I thought to myself. "I remember what it was like to be able to just sample any food I saw being handed out in the store." Sadly, those days are long gone. But happily, out of the corner of my eye I noticed that there were bags of mix that said "Gluten Free" on them. I, being me, raced over and grabbed a bag. The cute man happened to be David Cobia, the owner and originator of Tree Street Grains, a local Utah company that creates both gluten free and regular pancake mixes.

David told me about all nine of the grains he uses in his gluten free mix, including corn, millet, rice, sorghum, teff, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, and flax. He mills them a little coarsely so the pancakes turn out having a great whole grain texture and crunch. I made some of these yesterday and they were so delicious I wanted to tell y'all about them as soon as possible. David also showed me the aluminum bag he sells the mix in, which keeps the flax as fresh as possible for as long as possible. You can store it in the refrigerator for even longer shelf life. Here's the kicker: he told me he will even make up special batches for people who want certain ingredients removed, like salt or one of the grains if they are allergic to them. How's that for going the extra mile? For those of you who are lucky enough to live in Utah, Tree Street Grains Gluten Free Pancake Mix is available at all Harmon's stores. If you live outside of utah or just like to shop online, you can order some by emailing David directly at treestreetgrains@gmail.com. Support a local Utah business and buy some today! Even if you live in New Hampshire!
Happy eating!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gluten Free Snacking: Boomi Bars


Snacking on the go when you can't eat wheat can require next to a Herculean effort sometimes. I am always looking for new ways to feel like I can stop at 7-11 and grab something and go. Although I can't stop at 7-11 for this little beauty, I can throw one in my purse when I know I have a busy day and not worry about starving to death.
These Boomi Bars seem to fit the bill: under 200 calories, chock full of natural ingredients, and tasty to boot.
The cute people from Boomi Bars sent me an Apricot Cashew flavored bar to try. I love how it has both crisped rice and puffed amaranth in it to give it a little bit of oomph, and the meatiness of the cashews gives it a hearty feel. I lvoe a toothsome bar of dried goodness! I'm a sucker for dried Apricots, and this bar has over one full serving of fruit packed into itself. Apparently they come in 13 flavors, like fruit and nut, cranberry apple, perfect pumpkin, pineapple ginger, and walnut date, so I'm going to have to try some more.
Check out Boomi Bars next time you are in your local health food store check them out or order some right online here.
Happy eating!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken Parmigiana

One thing you have to remember when working with me is: I tend to do things that are really similar to the real thing and call it good. If you haven't learned that yet, let me begin with primer number one: Fake Chicken Parmigiana.

It's not that it's not really chicken or not really parmesan cheese, it' just that I have five children and a picky husband and I can't eat wheat. So I put together a quick version of one of my favorite dinners and called it that so people would know about what it tastes like. Actually, I think the only difference is that mine is not baked. However, enough backstory and ON TO THE RECIPE.

First, I made a batch of Crusty Chicken and set it aside. While I was making the Crusty Chicken I boiled some gluten free noodles for me and some regular noodles for everyone else. When the noodles were done I drained them and plated them. I topped them with a Crusty Chicken Cutlet, then I poured some Prego sauce that I had warmed in the microwave (so gourmet!) and then shaved some parmigiano reggiano over the top and let it melt. That's it. So easy to put together, and on the table within 30 minutes. Mmmm. So good in the dead of winter.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gluten Free Pasta Mama

There is a restaurant in West Hollywood, CA, called Hugo's that makes this fabulous dish for breakfast called the Pasta Mama. At least that's what I heard on an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network the other day. Although I've never eaten there, I love the Pasta Mama. It's this super easy breakfast of leftover spaghetti noodles, scrambled eggs, and parmesan cheese that anyone can make and is so filling and yummy that you will want to eat it every day, I promise. I decided to make this dish one night when my husband was out late with the fellas and for some reason I was completely starving at 9 p.m. so...out came the pots and pans and the gluten free Pasta Mama.
The difference between this dish and the regular version is that you cannot use leftover gluten free noodles, because they do not reheat well. I have never had success with warming up gluten free noodles, so I always cook small batches every time I want noodles. And I always ALWAYS use Tinkyada gluten free noodles. Trust me, they are the best.
So, here's how to make a Gluten Free Pasta Mama:
1. Cook a small portion of gluten free Tinkyada Spaghetti noodles according to package directions.
2. Whisk two eggs in a small bowl.
3. When noodles are done, drain and rinse under cold water.
4. Heat a medium frypan to medium heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.
5. Add noodles and eggs to frypan when oil is hot. Stir to coat noodles with eggs and cook for 1-2 minutes until eggs are done.
6. Add 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and 1 T fresh parsley and stir into noodles. Immediately dish up the noodles into a bowl or large plate.
7. Eat and get full.
Happy eating!



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can You Tell What Time It Is?


A picture is worth a thousand words...

You know what time of year it is just by seeing my breakfast, don't you?


My inconsequential tip of the day: When I hard boil eggs I draw cute little smiley faces on them with marker to distinguish them from their raw counterparts. I figure if I'm forced to eat them then I may as well be happy when I peel them.


Happy dieting!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Food Attitude

This holiday season I took a much needed break from blogging and thought long and hard about what I wanted to do this year with my food goals. My mind went from one spectrum to the other, simple to gourmet, complicated to microwaveable. I even contemplated posting about dinners in 3 minutes or less, but really, who wants to write about drive-thru food? Anyway, the conclusion I came to was this: food comes, and food goes, and you just have to be along for the ride.

When I struggled through those first eight weeks of learning a new diet and a new way of eating, I was pretty stressed out. I obsessed over every ingredient, becoming a gluten ascetic and denying myself any questionable ingredient without doing any kind of research on it. I cooked the same five things over and over. And when I found a new ingredient, I welcomed it into my OCD world by eating it ad nauseum simply because I was so thrilled to find a safe food. I lived a long time like this, thinking I was the queen of gluten free because I was the queen of denial. "Never again will I eat french toast!" I muttered. "Chewing gum is bad for me!" I cried. "I must find special vitamins!" I bellowed. But living that way is not fun and it is definitely not realistic.

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way telling people to go ahead and eat a little gluten. No sir. If that's the one thing I learned from my years of restricted thinking, it's that you HAVE to be vigilant with your ingredients. However, my attitude towards food is completely different now than it was seven and a half years ago. Now, instead of pining away for a recipe that I can't eat anymore, I jump into the kitchen and experiment, not afraid of bad results. And there have been plenty of bad results, believe me. I have also had plenty of successes. And life is good. I have learned that you have to try the bad to find the good and never give up on finding that substitute for a long lost ingredient you used to love and crave. And sometimes, I have found things I like better than the original, believe it or not.

I'm still trying to make the perfect meat loaf, and I really struggle with homemade rolls, but I'll get there. It's one step at a time, one day at a time, and don't worry about the rest. Reaching and learning and growing and questioning are the only way to really feel confident and comfortable with this food life we have to lead. And the only way I'm going to get there is to be in that kitchen, playing mad scientist and willing myself to be brave with flours from new grains, new spice combinations and different recipes to try. The more I do it, the easier it gets. So my challenge to you this year? Cook more. Try more. Be willing to fail in your kitchen. And don't forget to leave a comment for everyone else so we can learn from each other's successes and failures. Because really, you can't have one without the other, can you?

Happy eating!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Santa Loves Me


This is the post in which I brag about all the wonderful gluten free things that Santa brought me, and shamelessly tell you all about the products I love and think you should buy, too.

First of all, through my handsome and cute husband, Santa brought me a fabulous new set of knives. You know it's time to get new knives when you only have one steak knife in your block and the only knife that cuts worth a darn is the bread knife. I had my heart set on Wusthofs, but now that I've used my Henckels I've become a fan of them, too. If you don't have good knives out there, break down and at least buy one good all purpose knife to cut your veggies, fruits, and huge Hershey kisses with. You will never regret the money you spent on a good knife. I can slice an orange like I'm slicing a banana. Dicing potatoes? A cinch. Even the scissors are deadly sharp. Good knives? Ask Santa for some.







Then, through my good friend, Mo, Santa and the elves replenished me with a huge supply of Trader Joe's Gluten Free Loaded Fruit and Nut granola, which you may remember from this post. The day the box came I didn't even wait to unpack the whole thing. I ripped open a bag and poured myself a bowl and ate it there, amongst the packaging and UPS slips. If you eat gluten free and have yet to try this, go to Trader Joe's and buy two bags, one for you and one to mail to me. This stuff came in handy when we went on our trip to St. George this week. While the family was eating cinnamon rolls and french toast and other such gluten-filled goodies, I was content in the corner with my bowl of granola. And it's only 270 calories per serving, another bonus for most of us this time of year.





My husband also bought me a new Calphalon frying pan. I shudder to think how much Teflon I've eaten in the last year from the nasty cheapo versions I've been cooking on. When you can see metal on the bottom of your pans, it's time to upgrade, people. This pan has hardly been in the cupboard since I got it on Christmas Day. It is heavy and has a handle that won't get hot while you're cooking. And let's talk about the non-stickiness of it. So dreamy. A side note: If you got Calphalon for Christmas, too, remember to always hand wash them, never put them in the dishwasher, and never use a metal utensil in them.

The other thing Santa brought me was from myself. I totally splurged and bought the Cuisinart 11 cup chrome food processor at Costco two days before Christmas. At $149.99, it was the best deal I could find. Not counting the $35 enrollment fee, mind you. Let's just let that part slide. I have been borrowing my friend's food processor, and let me tell you it stresses me out to borrow other people's expensive small appliances. Not that she was using it, mind you, it's just a little bit like having 800 library books at your house knowing one day they are due and you'd better not break their bindings or spill orange juice on the pages. So now I'm looking forward to making all kinds of food preparation easier on myself.






Lastly, Santa brought me a bunch of happy kids, one patient and loving husband, and a lot of loving kindness from the people I love. Here's to you and hoping Santa loves you,too.
 
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