Monday, February 28, 2011

Gluten Free Pei Wei Love!


A confession: I'm addicted to the Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls at Pei Wei. I have them on my cell phone's phone book and I call them on my way to pick up my daughter from preschool and voila! Lunch for the lunch hater any time. This is a regular occurrence and apparently they save your order by phone number and they know what you ordered the last time you called in. I always make sure to order them gluten free (which just means they give you the gluten free dipping sauce because the wraps themselves are gluten free) and they've gotten it right every single time. Convenient for them but semi creepy if you ask me that they know what I'm going to order. Anyway, I always forget to look in the bag when I get take out at Pei Wei. I can't eat the fortune cookies and there's no reason to get the soy sauce packets out either. Well, as luck would have it, I just dumped out the whole bag the other day to get a napkin and out popped these packets of gluten free tamari sauce from San-J. What? When did they start to make these? And how great is it that Pei Wei cares enough to order them and remember to put them in my gluten free lunch bag? Good times and good customer service, if you ask me.

Happy eating!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Chocolate Chip Cookie Trick


I love making Brian's Toll House Cookie Recipe with my Grandpa's Kitchen flour when I'm in the mood for a cookie. The other day I was talking to my friend Anna who can just make up a recipe from thin air and a can of beans about them and telling her she needed to buy a scoop to make cookies with so they all turn out the same size and it is way faster. She went "pfft" and said to roll the dough into little balls between your hands because it makes a little crust on the outside and the cookies are soft and tender on the inside when you bake them that way. Of course I poo-poohed the idea when we were on the phone (I am, after all, an expert baker.) but secretly I was intrigued, so I tried it. Guess what? She's right. And I hate it when she's right. So try this method next time you're making chocolate chip gluten free cookies. It works. Grumble.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An I Love New York Birthday Party...How to Accomodate a Gluten Free Guest

My daughter turned 12 a couple of weeks ago, and we had an I Love New York party for her. I normally don't post a lot about my non-cooking adventures, but I wanted to share about this party we did because we had a little girl come who has celiac disease, and I wanted to make sure she could come and enjoy herself without feeling uncomfortable about the food. Lucky for her it was me throwing the party and I already have a pantry stocked with gluten free goodies. But anyone can make these small changes to a party menu for a gluten free guest.

First of all, I have to brag about our party plan. What can you do at an I Love New York party if you're 12? We ate dinner first: spaghetti eaten with chopsticks, to salute two dominant cultures of the city...Italian and Asian. I made some Tinkyada noodles for our gluten free girl and the sauce was gluten free. I also made a simple green salad (all the girls ate this, and I was surprised! Usually salad is frowned upon in this age bracket.) and garlic french bread, which our guest didn't eat but didn't seem too upset about. Root Beer and Sprite rounded out the menu. So far so good. We had mini-New York Cheesecakes for dessert in these giant muffin liners. I used this recipe for the filling and crushed up graham crackers and melted butter and pressed a spoonful in the bottom for a little mini cheesecake, then refrigerated them for about 4 hours. I just left the crust out for my gluten free girl and marked her first initial on the liners so no one would mistakenly take them. I could have easily used some Smoreables from Kinnikinnick for a crust, but I was all out so I just left it plain.

For the birthday cake, we wanted cupcakes, so my awesomely tech-savvy friend JoLayna made me some cupcake toppers with New York-themed icons on them. I kept it cheap and just used a Betty Crocker mix from the store and tinted the vanilla canned frosting Statue of Liberty green.I used this recipe to make some chocolate cupcakes that were gluten free and put them in a different colored liner so they would be easy to keep separate. They were also huge because I had to use my jumbo muffin tins, but I didn't mind that and neither did our friend! I frosted and decorated them the same so that they weren't that noticeably different from everyone else's. I know it's kind of a pain to make an extra batch of cupcakes for one kid, but if you're good friends with their mom and you want to be generous you could send some of them home with them. Or give them to a gluten free co-worker or neighbor. These actually taste great so you might just eat them yourself!

I also had big red apples out for decorations or snacks on all the tables. (Get it? The Big Apple?) We used black, red, and white with a little bit of Statue of Liberty green. I made tissue paper pom poms a la Martha and hung them from the lights in the dining room and the kitchen.These pictures are all pre-party so the serving plates were empty, but during the party I filled them with garlic bread and cheesecakes. The girls played all sorts of games, like splitting into teams and dressing each other like the Statue of Liberty using toilet paper, making up a dance to Sinatra's New York, New York, and designing a dress for Fashion Week with paper and markers. The prizes for the winners were candy bars. Then we watched "You've Got Mail" and had hot chocolate and popcorn, both of which are naturally gluten free. It was basically all about eating, but that's what kids like to do together at this age. We had a great time and I don't think anyone had a bad night, especially our friend with a food allergy. I sent each girl home with a gift bag filled with a big red apple, Hershey kisses, a "New" York peppermint patty, a bouquet of sharpened pencils, and a light blue box from Tiffany's (not really but it looked like it) with a ring inside...a ring pop, but still a ring.

For more birthday ideas like these, check out The TomKat Studio's blog at her new website. She is the master and my photos don't even compare to theirs, but you get the idea. It's easy to make a party fun and even allergy free with just a little bit of forethought.

Happy eating and party on!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What Can You Do With Udi's?

I have been talking for a while about how much I love Udi's Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread. I've used it for sandwiches, crumb topping on casseroles, breakfast, and heavenly lunch breaks. Last time I checked, I've bought more Udi's than most people in Utah. (Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but I'm in the top 10 for sure.) I'm so excited to let you all know that Udi's contacted me a few weeks ago about being a community ambassador for them. I really love their products and I'm happy to be working with such a great gluten free company. What this means is that if there are gluten free events going on in our area, there's a chance I'll be there to help promote Udi's products in our community. They sent me a whole box of their gluten free foods to try and I have to admit, I was expecting two loaves of bread, but it turns out there's a whole slew of good stuff from Udi's. For example, did you know Udi's has a whole line of gluten free granolas? Cranberry, Vanilla, Banana Nut (Original), and Au Natural flavors are available. They also make delicious breakfast muffins. Check out the blueberry one with streusel topping at the top of the post. Pizza crusts? Is it true? I can't wait to try these on family pizza night. Bagels! Hello...I already had lunch with one of the whole grain beauties the other day: Tomato, Canadian Bacon, and Gruyere Cheese melted under the broiler. Mmm, mmm, good. With all of these products I've noticed the same thing: delicious gluten free foods in or out of the freezer. And they taste so much like the gluten versions it's amazing. Seriously, bakery fresh taste and gluten free, anytime you need it. Check out Udi's website and find out where you can buy their products and see what's available.

Don't worry, I'm still reviewing and buying new gluten free products all the time. You can count on me to find new, accessible, and delicious gluten free foods from everywhere possible, including Udi's but not excluding others.

What's your favorite Udi's product? Do you have a recipe you use it with? Leave me a comment and let me know...maybe I'll make it and feature it on the blog!

Happy eating!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gluten Free Cereal...What's Your Favorite?


Dear Glutino,

Please send me one case of your Gluten Free Frosted Corn Flakes. That is all.

Margo

P.S. I don't normally love the gluten free cereals that are out there. Some of them are alright, but this one is my favorite one that isn't a mainstream brand. What's your favorite gluten free cereal made by a gluten free only manufacturer? Leave a comment and let us know! Happy eating!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Flirty Apron Winner!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my dear readers! I hope today you have a little bit of something sweet, a little bit of love, and a little bit of kindness come your way!

And, drum roll please....the winner of the Flirty Aprons giveaway is...

Angelina with the sassy red hair!

Congratulations! Email me your address and which apron you'd like to receive from Flirty Aprons and I'll get that sent right out to you! I noticed they just added some new designs over the weekend, so if you didn't win, head over and check them out. At under $30, it could be your Valentine's gift to yourself!

Happy cooking and happy eating!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Valentine's Giveaway...Flirty Aprons!

Aprons could save the world. I'm serious. Do you know how many laundry disasters have been averted by aprons? I am forever putting holes in my t-shirts from where my jeans rub against the counter when I do dishes or cook. *That shows how short I really am!* But when I wear my apron my shirts are blissfully hole-less. I have a really cute everyday apron I wear all the time:

Those are my cute teenager types that live here. It's hard to see in this picture but I ordered it from this little danish internet site because I couldn't live without that fabric. But aprons can be a great fashion statement as well. (Have you noticed the blog header? That illustrated apron is to die for!)

Usually when I cook on TV or teach a class there's one thing you can be sure of: I will be wearing some sort of sassy apron that goes somewhat with the seasons. Understand that when I say seasonal I don't mean a screen-printed Rudolph or pumpkins and vines on them. Nooooo. I mean cute fabric with contrasting ties in colors that either remind me of a holiday or fabric that I can't turn away from. Here are a few examples: Me with the Harmon's guys, Bob and Randy, at Thanksgiving at Good Things Utah Me at the KJZZ studio in March (photo credit by Billy DeMong--gold medalist!) Yet another fun time in the summer at Good Things Utah (apron from The Pleated Poppy)

Lucky for you, this weekend you'll have a chance to win your very own sassy apron that you will look terrific in while you're cooking up a gluten free storm in your kitchen! Our friends at Flirty Aprons of CSN Stores are giving away one apron to a lucky Off the Wheaten Path reader. All you have to do is tell me which apron you like and why. Click here to see the full line of aprons. You have until Monday, February 14 at noon MST to enter. Winners will be announced shortly after 12. Enter now, you don't want to miss out on these cute aprons! Here are some of my favorite ones. I love a classic vintage cherry pattern. This is sophisticated but cute at the same time. Red and white for Valentine's! Who doesn't love a cute cupcake pattern? I am a sucker for brown and blue together. I love the mix of fabrics here. Get over to Flirty Aprons and leave me a comment today! And while you're at it, if you're bored and need something fun to look at for your kids, check out these swing sets from CSN Stores at swingsetsandmore.com.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy apron shopping!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crazy for Chocolate: A Review

image from marthastewart.com
Since we are crazy for chocolate this week, I thought it might be fun to revisit some of the fun chocolate recipes we've done at Off the Wheaten Path in the last couple of years. Here's some of my favorites:

Brownies with Millet Flour
Chocolate Cake with German Chocolate Frosting

Whoopie Pies
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Chocolate Covered Pretzels


I'm also really wanting to learn how to make a simple chocolate recipe with a fancy name: ganache. It's just chocolate and cream melted together and poured over a cake, but I'm still intimidated. Head on over to Martha Stewart's website where they have a great tutorial on how to make ganache. image from marthastewart.com

Don't forget tonight at 7 p.m. I'll be teaching all about gluten free chocolate recipes at Macey's in Sandy, 7800 South and 1300 East!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crazy for Chocolate: Quick Chocolate Fudge

Sometimes you just need chocolate in its purest most unadulterated form. Sometimes people just really need a piece of fudge to get on with the day. I used to always make the recipe on the back of the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme jar, but when I married my husband, his mom, a certified chocoholic, had this great easy fudge recipe that I liked a lot better. The current debate is: nuts or no nuts? I happen to love walnuts in the fudge. It makes it taste more substantial to me. Some people like almonds, pecans, or even pistachios in their fudge. It's up to you. Plain or with nuts, this fudge tastes great. And it's naturally gluten free! No special ingredients necessary.Quick Chocolate Fudge

1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate for this recipe)
2 t vanilla
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup nuts

Line an 8x8x2 pan with Saran Wrap. (This comes in handy later.) In a heavy pan, stir the Karo syrup and milk together. Add chocolate chips and cook over medium low heat until chips are melted. Stir constantly so chocolate doesn't seize. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat well with a wooden spoon. Fold in nuts. Turn into the lined pan and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. When set, remove from pan and wrap in Saran Wrap and store in refrigerator. Cut into squares when ready to serve.This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy chocolate. I love the creamy texture of this fudge and the meaty walnut flavor. Depending on my mood, it lasts for about a week in the fridge. Enjoy some chocolate with someone you love this week!

Happy eating!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Macey's Februrary Gluten Free Cooking Class

Coming up this Thursday, February 10, I will be at the Sandy Macey's on 7800 South and 1300 East again for another Gluten Free Cooking Class in the Little Theater. Classes are free and this time I will be going over some of my favorite gluten free chocolate recipes! Come if you can and say hi to me! We will be making and eating some great treats. Call the store at 801-255-4888 to sign up.

Happy eating!

Crazy for Chocolate: Renee's Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Since next week Valentine's Day will be upon us, I thought it would be fun to share some fun chocolate recipes to get us all in the mood. I'm pretty much in the mood for chocolate once every month, but everyone's in the mood for chocolate on February 14th!

I know some excellent people, I'm here to say, and most of them will share the gluten free recipes they've come up with for the good of mankind. They know I'm going to write about them after I test them, so they only give me the good stuff. Much like my friend, Renee, who is just good stuff inside. For example, her son-in-law has celiac disease and she cooks all kinds of special things just for him when he comes to visit with her daughter. That is above and beyond if you ask me. One of the things she came up with was a simple and delicious variation of chocolate cupcakes. It makes the most divinely moist and delicious cupcakes that are the perfect foil to an easy cream cheese frosting. Here's the recipe:

Renee's Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker gluten free chocolate cake mix

1 small box Great Value brand (Walmart brand) instant chocolate pudding mix (all pudding mixes are not gluten free – we have checked these out so if you are using another brand, please check first!)

2/3 cup half and half

½ cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are combined. Mix on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Fill cupcake holders with approximately 3 Tablespoons of batter (little more than half full) and bake per box instructions (around 22 minutes). Do not over bake or they will be dry. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 6 ounce package of softened cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until incorporated. Scrape bowl and mix until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well.

Happy eating!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Boo...I Hate Failing in the Kitchen!

Needless to say I am not amused by the Steelers performance yesterday. Everything fell apart like the flourless chocolate cake I tried to bake yesterday. Somehow it wasn't baked even after 10 minutes longer than the suggested cooking time. I hate wasting ingredients! If there's one thing eating gluten free has taught me, it's that ingredients are precious and you never want to waste them, because sometimes it's a half an hour in the car to get back to the special store to buy more. But I did laugh pretty hard at the Eminem Brisk ad, so the day wasn't a total loss. Anyone out there know why my cake didn't work? I beat the egg whites, I melted the chocolate, maybe I made a mistake and that was why it failed.

I also made this fruit dip yesterday, which everyone says is SOOO good, and I kind of thought, meh. It's the one where you just beat together one softened stick of cream cheese and one jar of marshmallow fluff. It needed more Ooomph in the flavor department but I didn't know what. I am officially calling for help: has anyone made this dip and discovered the magic ingredient that makes it taste super great? Ginger? Lemon? Vanilla? What is it?

There's always next year!
Happy eating!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gluten Free Lemon Wafer Bars


I have no idea what to really call these, but once you read through the recipe, you'll get why I called them that. My friend Shannon cooks for her gluten free husband all the time and makes a chocolate version of these that I'll tell you about in a minute. She told me the super easy recipe and of course the wheels started turning in my head of how I could make these into a lemon confection worthy of Super Bowl partying. Because my world revolves around lemon. Here's how I did it:

Gluten Free Lemon Wafer Bars

1 stick of butter
1 package Glutino Lemon Wafer cookies
2 cups coconut
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a microwaveable bowl and cook until melted, about 1 minute. Place wafer cookies in a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, cover with cookie crumbs and spread evenly. Add coconut over top, then white chocolate chips. Drizzle condensed milk over the top. Grate zest directly onto the top of the milk, trying to cover most of the cookies. Drizzle lemon juice over the top of the milk. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.

I died a slow lemon death when I tasted these. Chewy, tangy and creamy all in one bite. Want to make these in the chocolate version? Use Glutino Chocolate wafers covered in chocolate and semisweet or milk chocolate chips and omit the lemon zest and juice. It's like a chocolate bomb went off in your mouth. Try these for your Super Bowl snacking. They're the perfect gluten free bite sized sweet treat!

Happy eating! Go Steelers!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gluten Free Super Bowl Ro-Tel-A-Mole and Divine Dipping

I happen to be the world's biggest avocado fan. I always eat it when it's available. You know when you order something like an omelet and it's like a garnish? I always embarrass myself and order extra. I just love their buttery flavor and I completely ignore the fact that there's tons of fat in them. I always tell myself it's good fat, right? Anyway, I have a standard guacamole recipe I usually make, and I also usually don't mess with a good thing. But in the interest of the Super Bowl and the inevitable dipping that will be going on, I thought I'd try something a little different and see how I liked it. I don't like to use the flavor packets unless they're something from the Dippy Chick which I know is gluten free. For those of you who don't know, this is Ro-Tel:Canned tomatoes and chiles that are spicy and delicious. I buy mild but they have hot as well, if you like it extra spicy. You could also use a spoonful of this Green Mountain Gringo salsathat I found at Whole Foods today while I was buying these El Milagro Corn Chipswhich are known around these parts as, "the best chips, mom." They are the extra thin, salty corn chips like they serve at restaurants. Mmm. Good stuff, Maynard. So good, in fact, that I bought two bags of these: one for the children and one for me. Just kidding. But seriously. I did.

Super Bowl Ro-Tel-A-Mole
1 avocado, pitted and mashed
1 large spoonful of Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all together and eat with corn chips.

And here's what I'll be doing with the rest of the can of Ro-Tel: Adding it to a block of Velveeta and melting it together to make Famous queso dip! Seriously, Ro-Tel plus Velveeta. That's it. I read the label tonight and it says it just has milk and none of the other ingredients look like wheat ones to me. I checked their website and sure enough, gluten free and good to go. For some reason I have been operating under the assumption that Velveeta had wheat in it. I swear it used to when I first started reading labels 8 years ago. Does anyone remember that or know for sure that they've changed ingredients? Leave me a comment about it so I don't go crazy! But I love finding out I can eat foods I once thought I couldn't eat!

Happy eating!
 
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