Monday, February 28, 2011

Gluten Free Puffins Cereal Review

In my pre-Gluten Free life I have had Puffins cereal.  The little pillows were tasty and had a nice crunch.

While shopping at Whole Foods over the weekend I spotted Gluten Free Honey Rice Puffins.

Nutritional Information

INGREDIENTS: WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE FLOUR, DEHYDRATED CANE JUICE, FRUCTAN (NUTRAFLORA® NATURAL DIETARY FIBER), EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC OIL (CANOLA AND/OR SUNFLOWER), HONEY, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, NATURAL VITAMIN E (MIXED TOCOPHEROLS TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS).
MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES MILK, SOY, HAZELNUTS, ALMONDS, COCONUT AND WHEAT. VERIFIED TO CONTAIN LESS THAN 20 PPM GLUTEN. *AMOUNT IN CEREAL.


The cereal has the signature Puffins crunch however it had a strong almond taste not a honey taste.  From the ingredients list above I'm guessing the "Natural Flavor" might be almond extract of some sort.  I'm not too fond of almond flavoring so I'm not a big fan.  However if someone likes almond flavoring you will enjoy this cereal.

On a side note: I greatly appreciate that they actually verify the level of Gluten in their product.  

Photo Source: Amazon

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gluten Free Cake Balls

Cake Balls are getting super popular lately.  Local bakeries have signs advertising them and they are showing up at parties.   Our little girl's 2nd birthday party was today so I thought I would give it a try.  I'm making regular cupcakes for the guests but wanted something sweet for me to eat that was Gluten Free.


What you need:
- Gluten Free cake mix 
      I used 2 boxes of GF Betty Crocker White.  One box is only half of a normal cake mix.
- 1 to 2 jars of Gluten Free icing 
      I used whipped so I had to use 1.5 jars
- Melting chocolate
      I went through 4-5 boxes of the Baker's chocolate boxes




Step 1 - Make cake as directed on box.  Let cool at least 30 minutes.
Step 2 - Crumble cake.  You can use your hands or a mixer.



Step 3 - Combine cake crumbs and icing.  I used a spatula and my hands.  Put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.


Step 4 - Form balls.  I used a dough scooper to get a consistent size.


Step 5 - Freeze for at least 2 hours, I waited overnight


Step 6 - Melt chocolate 
Step 7 - Coat balls in chocolate and decorate! (This is the hardest part)  



Left are just plain cake, right have the mini chocolate chips

TIPS:
If the cake balls start to fall apart while you are coating them put them back in the freezer for a few minutes.

I used the Toll House Mini chips in about half the balls to add variety.  Both tasted amazing!  The ones with the chocolate chips had a nice crunch.

These could easily be turned into Cake Pops by inserting lollipop sticks into the balls at the end of Step 4.

Instead of making cake specifically for this you can also take left over cake from a party and turn them into cake balls.  No need to waste those yummy leftovers!

The combinations for these are endless!  Here are some blogs that gave me inspiration.
The Wheat Free Family
Gluten Free Girl
Gluten Free Diva
Delightfully Gluten Free 
Alisa Cooks


This blog post is linked to The Gluten-Free Homemaker, What's Cooking Wednesday, Raising Homemakers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gluten Free at a Mongolian Grill

Wednesday I meet Nick and the toddler for lunch.   The toddler loves rice and chicken so we decided to go to the local Mongolian Grill Restaurant.  It is one of those restaurants where you get a bowl, put in the veggies, meat and sauce and the cooks make the meal in front of you on a large round grill.   Once the meat and veggies are ready you have the choice of white or fried rice.  This was my first visit as a Gluten Free eater.

When we arrived I asked our waiter to find out if any of the sauces were Gluten Free.  He said he had an uncle with Celiac so he knew what I needed.  He returned a couple minutes later with what I feared would be the answer - all the sauces have Gluten.  

Un-detered I headed for the buffet to fill my bowl.   The first thing I did was scanned for Gluten items so I knew what to avoid.  I had a veggie bowl with: broccoli, carrots, zucchini, pineapple, onion and potatoes.  My meat bowl had chicken and two eggs.  I walked by the sauce section.  When the cook was about to make my meal I got his attention and asked him to use clean utensils because I had food allergies.  He nicely accommodated my request.   When it was time to pick a rice I said "white" even though everything in me was screaming for the fried rice!


I know this looks like a big mess of food but I have to stay it was super tasty!  I did add some salt for more flavor.  I love a big pile of meat, veggies and rice!  Besides what the toddler ate I cleaned my plate.

Next time we visit this restaurant I will be prepared with my own GF Soy Sauce.  I need to find the single serving packets of GF Soy Sauce to take with me to Asian restaurants.  I know they have them because Pei Wei gives them out.

I was concerned about cross-contamination on the buffet and the grill but I didn't have any Gluten reactions.   So I think I'm safe!  Survived another Gluten Free restaurant experience!

Anyone know where I can find the single serving packets of GF Soy Sauce?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gluten Free Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal

While oats on their own are Gluten Free when they get processed most times they end up on the "Don't eat" list.  I have always enjoyed a good warm bowl of oatmeal.  It is a filling breakfast that will last me a good 3 hours before I have to eat something.  During a trip to the grocery store Sunday I found Gluten Free Instant Oatmeal by Glutenfreeda.   Super excited!

They have four different varieties but I went with the Maple Raisin with Flax.  Some people get fancy with Oatmeal toppings.  I'm a brown sugar kind of girl.  A small pile of brown sugar and I'm good to go.

I found the Oatmeal to be very tasty and it had a good consistency.  The raisins added a nice chewy element for variety.

This ones a keeper!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Pie Recipe

While searching for something to make for dinner I came across the Betty Crocker "Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie".   I had all the ingredients so it was a perfect fit.


1lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1medium onion, chopped (I used half an onion)
1/2teaspoon salt
1/8teaspoon pepper
1cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
1cup milk
3eggs
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in salt and pepper. Spread in pie plate; sprinkle with cheese.
  2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk and eggs until blended. Pour into pie plate.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Hot out of the oven!
I only used half an onion and still felt it was a little too much.  The hubby loves onion so he thought it was perfect.  It just comes down to personal preference.  The texture was good and the taste was great.  I think next time I will add some garlic and maybe green peppers to spice it up.


It was so good that the hubby and I even got up for seconds!  This one is a keeper.

The Gluten Free Bisquick is good for a lot more than pancakes and chicken.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gluten Free Bakery

Today I experienced my first Gluten Free Bakery - Lindy's Goodies Bakery!  I had heard about this place from another local blogger.  Since it is about 45 minutes away I haven't had time to go until today.

I took the toddler to help sample the products.   Here she is enjoying a GF Chocolate Chip cookie.
Our little Diva!
I have been on the search for Gluten Free cupcakes since January.  Prior to going Gluten Free I would drive all over searching for the best cupcakes.  I finally found a bakery that made amazing cupcakes but now that I'm Gluten Free - no more!   So I was hoping that Lindy's would be able to fill the cupcake void for me.  I was excited to hear that they do make GF cupcakes but was very bummed to hear they had sold out before we got there.  Apparently someone was having a party and bought them all.  Hopefully they will have some the next time I go.

The bakery staff was very helpful.  The lady at the register answered my questions about different products and gave recommendations.  Since the bakery only makes GF products it was nice to be able to walk in and know I could order anything off the menu!  When we left the lady baking even gave me directions to a local park for the toddler to run off her energy from the cookie.

We purchased Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Deadly Fudge Brownie and a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin.  The Brownie was super tasty!  I even got a corner piece which was perfect because I love the crust of brownies.  The cookies were good as well.  The muffin I'm saving for breakfast tomorrow. 

Cupcakes or not I'm still excited to have found a Gluten Free bakery.  I think I may go in every now and then just so I can feel the sensation of being able to pick anything from the menu!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gluten Free Cooking Class

I found out about a Gluten Free Cooking Class being held at Southern Seasons.  I was in the neighborhood of Southern Seasons this week and signed up for the class!  Here is the information if anyone is interested in joining me!


26 Saturday • 1 PM $35 gluten-free Breana lai Breana is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in London and is a registered dietitian at UNC in Chapel Hill. She understands the challenges of a gluten-free diet and her creative ideas and unique insights offer delicious results. Take a fresh look at cooking as she prepares this gourmet, gluten-free meal.
Menu: Parmesan Crisps with Edamame Hummus; Beef and Potato Stew with Cocoa; Maple Frosted Pumpkin Fingers

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gluten Free Product Review Shabtai Gourmet

As a newbie to the Gluten Free world I still struggle to find good products to eat.  One area I have struggled to find good food is dessert!  Luckily chocolate is Gluten Free otherwise I would have lost it by now.

In my search for good Gluten Free desserts I discovered Shabtai Gourmet.  I received an email from them asking if I would try some of their Gluten Free products - umm YES!!

Shabtai makes their items in a dedicated Gluten Free facility.   All of their products are Gluten Free, Casein Free,  Lactose Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free.   Some products are also Egg free.   Shipping is a steal at $5.95 anywhere in the US.   

When the package arrived yesterday I was so excited to see what was sent.
The package included: Raspberry Roll, Swiss Chocolate Roll, Florentine Lace Cookies and Bon Bons.  All of the items where tightly sealed and fresh.

We started with the Bon Bons. They are a tasty chocolate cookie topped with creme filling and covered in chocolate.  SO GOOD!  This was my hubby's favorite.

Next we tried the Florentine Lace Cookies.  They are two toffee and nut cookies with chocolate in the middle.  Very Tasty!  I really liked the crunchy texture of the cookie.
The toddler liked these the best.  This is her asking for "MORE!"

Trying to pace ourselves we waited to try the other two products until tonight.


The Raspberry Roll was first.  This was a pound cake rolled with raspberry filling and coated in coconut.  The cake tasted like cake - awesome.  The raspberry filling was good and the coconut coating added a nice touch.  I'm not a big fruity dessert person, but this was good.

We ended our Gluten Free dessert extravaganza with the Swiss Chocolate Roll.  AMAZING!  This was my favorite.  If you've ever had a Little Debbie's Ho Ho imagine a larger version!  The chocolate cake with creme filling covered in chocolate was so good.  This is an item you could take to a dinner party and no one would guess it was Gluten Free.

Overall I was very impressed with the desserts.  When I read that Shabtai was Gluten Free, Casein Free,  Lactose Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free I was a little worried they might not have a lot of flavor - I was wrong.  All four products were tasty, had good flavor and Gluten Free!

NOTE - The products were given to me to try and review.  The opinions and comments are mine.

Gluten Free Expo in Charlotte, NC

When I found out about this event I knew I had to go!   It is so close and will have lots of Gluten Free vendors eager to share their tasty products.


Here are the basic details:



APRIL 30TH 


BLAKE HOTEL 
555 S. McDowell St. 
In Uptown Charlotte 

9:30 AM - 3:30 PM



To find out more go here


Tickets are only $5.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door!


I sent my check this week - see you there!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers Casserole

I have made this yummy dinner before I was Gluten Free and only had to make some minor changes to make it Gluten Free!  I am such a one dish cooker.  If I can put a meat, vegetable, and starch in a dish and cook it I'm a happy girl.  This recipe fits the bill.  You can of course add a side salad to add some variety.

I enjoy the taste of Stuffed Peppers but eating them can be tricky so when I found this casserole I was super excited.  I use this Kraft recipe as a base to work off of.


What you need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 jar (24 oz) GF red pasta sauce
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
How to Make it:
Hot out of the oven!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown beef with chopped onion and chopped pepper.  Drain fat.  Add rice, half of the cheese and sauce to the skillet.  Stir and cook until cheese starts to melt.  Put mixture into a casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.  Cook for 30 minutes.  

This is also a toddler approved meal.  Cali did however eat around the green peppers but the rice and meat were a hit!.

Gluten Free Bisquick Baked Chicken

For dinner I wanted to make a good chicken dish that the whole family would eat.  I decided to try the Gluten Free Bisquick Baked Chicken Recipe.

1tablespoon butter or margarine
1cup Bisquick® Gluten Free mix
1teaspoon seasoned salt
1teaspoon paprika
1/2teaspoon garlic powder
1/4teaspoon pepper
2eggs, beaten
1cut-up whole chicken (3 lb)
Print these coupons...
About Concordance™


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Melt butter in 13x9-inch baking dish in oven.
  2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Place eggs in shallow dish. Dip chicken into eggs, then coat with Bisquick mixture; repeat dipping in eggs and Bisquick mixture. Place skin side down in heated dish.
  3. Bake 35 minutes. Turn chicken; bake about 15 minutes longer or until juice is clear when thickest part is cut to bone (165°F).
Just out of the oven
I did vary from the recipe a little because I used 2 boneless chicken breasts.  I also used an egg / milk wash instead of just 1 egg.  I just eye balled the spices (I'm not big on measuring).  Make sure you double coat the chicken, it makes a difference!

I was very pleased with the chicken!  I was planning on having to dip the chicken in ranch dressing to add flavor but the breading really was tasty enough on its own.

Protein and 2 veggies - my dietitian would be proud!
I had some red potatoes on hand that I baked with the chicken.  It took 40 minutes and everything was ready.  

The toddler and the hubby loved it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big News - New URL!!

We purchased our own URL for I'm a Celiac!

www.ImaCeliac.com

You can email me at pam(@)imaceliac.com

Gluten Free Restaurant Review Panera

I had a lunch meeting at Panera this week.  I did my normal internet and blog search for ideas on what I could eat that would be safe.  I decided to go with the Fuji Apple Salad without the gorgonzola cheese.   It came with super yummy apple chips.


I ate the whole bowl and ate the baked Lay's for afternoon snacks.

There are some soups that are GT but none are available on Monday.

It was a very enjoyable lunch!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gluten Free Breakfast and Product Reviews

For a yummy Gluten Free breakfast add granola to yogurt!  

I was pumped to learn that Yoplait is Gluten Free!  I enjoy eating yogurt but sometimes it needs a little something extra.  I actually found Udi's Gluten Free Granola at our Wal-mart and it was $2.00 cheaper than at Whole Foods.

This combo makes a great breakfast or a snack.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gluten Free Restaurant Review Jason's Deli

After a trip to see the circus yesterday we needed a good place to eat that could handle kids.  Three under the age of five to be exact!  I had heard the Jason's Deli was offering Gluten Free bread and I knew the kids would love the ice cream.

When I go to the register to order I asked for the Gluten Free menu.  The nice guy behind the register handed me a 1 page menu.  It listed salads, their baked potato and a make your own sandwich option that had all the GF items.  He also said I could have any regular sandwich with GF bread.  I ordered the Deli Club Sandwich with GF bread and baked chips in a bag.  The guy taking my ordered asked if I was allergic to wheat - I said yes (it was easier than trying to explain what Gluten means).  He said that he would ask the person making the sandwich to put on clean gloves!  I was impressed.
The sandwich came out great!  When I took a bite I was blown away by how good it was!  It tasted just how a Club sandwich should taste.  After eating I asked the manager what type of GF bread they used because it was so good.... it was Udi's of course!

Nick had a Chicken Panini and Cali enjoyed the kids mac-n-cheese and some of my ham.  

The meal was perfectly ended with a cup of Vanilla soft serve - also Gluten Free!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gluten Free Restaurant Review McDonald's

With a toddler fast food is part of life.  Trying to sit down at a nice restaurant can take too long and fast food restaurants offer more for kids.  Examples: a toy comes with their meal, many stores have play areas, and you don't have to pay $6.00 for a meal they won't eat.   No we don't eat fast food every week but it does happen.

For lunch today we ventured to McDonald's.  This was my first Gluten Free visit.  After doing some digging online I confirmed that the fries are safe!  


It is with great sadness that I update this post.  
McDonald's fries are NOT GLUTEN FREE!  
Even though they are cooked in separate friers they are seasoned with WHEAT.  This is from their website...

Fries:
Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK.
*(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).


What I ordered: 
Angus Deluxe Cheeseburger - no bun
Fries  Not Gluten Free - Don't order!
Bottle Water

They were a little confused by the whole no bun thing but in the end they got it right.  They put my sandwich in a salad bowl and I ate it with a fork and knife!

I'm not sure I would trust McDonald's to pull this off in the drive thru so I think I will have to go in to make sure I get the right thing.

Gluten Free dining at McDonald's - a Success!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gluten Free Super Bowl

To me the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to eat junk food and watch awesome commercials.  I have never paid too much attention to the actual football game - just the commercials.

This year my eating was based around some awesome GF chili we made!

What you need:
1 Packet of GF Chili Mix
1 Green bell pepper
1 onion
2 lbs ground beef
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
8 oz water

How to Make it:
Brown beef with chopped onions and pepper, drain fat.  Add seasoning packet, tomatoes, tomato sauce and 8 oz water.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes.  I cooked mine for over 2 hours on low.  Ten minutes before serving add the beans.

The Chili can be put over GF pasta, GF mac-n-cheese, corn chips or in a bowl with cheese and sour cream.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

We are on Facebook!

In an attempt to broaden our reach I created an I'm a Celiac fan page on Facebook.   Click here to "Like" it or click on the Facebook widget on the right.
Thanks!

Gluten Free Shopping Earth Fare

We live about 30 minutes from any good grocery store that stocks Gluten Free food items.  We have a Wal-Mart three minutes away but they do not even carry Gluten Free Bisquick.   This past week I read a blog saying Earth Fare carries a lot of good GF products so after work Wednesday evening we headed out.

When we got there I asked for a guide of Gluten Free products.  After talking to two employees still no guide.  Halfway through the store an employee brought us the guide which was helpful.

The biggest find was a large GF frozen food section.  They had pizza, breakfast foods and frozen dinners.

Our Haul:

  • Van's French Toast Sitcks - They are super good!  The box is almost empty!
  • Against the Grain Pizza - Read my review here.
  • Gluten Free English Muffins
  • Rice pasta
  • Rice crackers
  • Mac-n-Cheese
  • Pretzels

Earth Fare has been added to our list of good grocery stores!

Gluten Free Product Review: Against the Grain Pizza

I am still on the hunt for the best Gluten Free pizza available.   I have tried GF pizza at two different restaurants Brixx and Mellow Mushroom.   Both were good options but I'm still on the hunt... 

So when we went to a new grocery store that I read had good GF products and found this in the frozen section- Against the Grain Pizza!  It was a little pricey but we decided to go for it. 


They had two flavors: Three Cheese and Pesto

I decided to go with the cheese and then added some cheddar cheese, ham and pineapple.

The finished result was a very good pizza.  The dough was sweet and reminded me of a french pastry dough.  But it still tasted like pizza!  I didn't eat it all so I froze about a 1/4 of it.  My plan is to take it the next time we go over to friends house for pizza.

Squares or triangles?
Here is a question for you -
When you cut your pizza do you go with regular triangle slices or squares?

I'm a square girl myself.  I feel I get more crust that way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Month Anniversary!

Today is my one month anniversary of 
being Gluten Free!!!!  

Lessons Learned:

  1. Get Gluten Free snacks and keep them with you.  If you are out and hungry you can't just "grab something".  
  2. Gluten Free eating is expensive and takes effort.
  3. Eating out at restaurants can be done with a little planning
  4. Buy different GF products to find which ones you like before you buy a lot of one thing
  5. Rice pasta tastes better than corn pasta
  6. GF Cereal is a good meal any time of the day and it has become my default meal.
  7. Now that my system has been without Gluten whenever I eat any (this has happened 3 times unintentionally) my system freaks out.  Within 30 minutes of having Gluten my stomach will start cramping and I will feel bad until it is out of my system.



Why It's Been Worth It:

  1. I feel a TON better!  My tummy has been super happy with no d-word.
  2. I have more energy and I don't feel tired like I used to
  3. I've lot 10 lbs!!!  I didn't come into this looking to loose weight but it has been a nice side effect


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gluten Free Pasta Bake

Sunday night I wanted to make a meal we could eat off of for a few days.  The result - Pasta Bake!  It is super easy and tasted great.  I have made this many times but this was my first attempt at making it Gluten Free.

What you need
1 lb GF pasta
1 jar GF red pasta sauce
1/2 jar GF white pasta sauce
1 lb ground beef
1/4 chopped onion
1 cup cheese
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown beef with onions and drain fat.  Mix pasta sauces with beef and onions - let simmer 10 minutes while you cook the pasta.  Rinse the pasta with cold water and mix the sour cream into the pasta.  Layer the pasta in a casserole dish, cover with meat/sauce mixture and cheese.  Cook for 25 minutes until cheese is bubbling.

This is an easy meal to make and reheats well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gluten Free Product Review: Betty Crocker Cookies

I was craving some cookies so I decided to try the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie Mix.    All you need to add is egg and vegetable oil.  The instructions say the dough will be crumbly.  This is an understatement!  I had to add 1 tbsp of water to make the dough wet enough stick together.


The cookies came out great!  They tasted wonderful and looked like regular cookies.  I had a couple with a glass of milk and was in heaven!  If you need a GF cookie fix - these will hit the spot!

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