Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Everything Slow Cooker Cookbook Giveaway is... #76 Brittany T

She answered the question what is your favorite recipe to make in a slow cooker with: GF Taco Soup

Congratulations Brittany and I would love the recipe for your taco soup!!!

If you didn't win feel free to purchase your own copy on Amazon or at your local Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blogger Dinner at Bella Monica

If dinner lasts three hours it means two things, one the company is super fun and second the food is fantastic.  That is exactly what happend at Bella Monica Saturday night when I had the pleasure of having dinner with Jenni from Spoon Full at a Time.  We have been blog friends for about a year now so it was great to actually sit down and have a Gluten Free meal together!  I suggested we meet at Bella Monica because I have had such great experiences there.  Real food made by people who care about Gluten Free!

Once we were seated I let the waitress know we were both Gluten Free.  She quickly returned with Gluten Free menus and the salmon colored plates to put beside us to let all the staff know we were Gluten Free!!  Jenni ordered the Parmasen Chicken and I went with my favorite the Cheese Ravioli.  Both dishes came with a salad and the house vinaigrette.   I also ordered extra GF focaccia bread to be served with our meals.  Whenever a Celiac can get fresh bread we jump on it!  I tried a bite of Jenni's chicken and I almost questioned whether it was GF because it was so good!  The ravioli was amazing and the Nana's Gravy or house red sauce never disappoints.  I used the focaccia bread to wipe my dish clean!

Cheese Ravioli

For dessert Jenni got the Tiramsu and I went for the Creme Brulee - again my favorite!  Both dishes were great but the Creme Brulee is still the winner.   The last two times I've had the dish it did not have the hard sugar coating on top and this time it did!  There is something fun about breaking through that sugar layer to get to the tasty custard.  

Our dessert was taken to the next level when Marlow from Gluten Hates Me joined us!  She was eating with another group and came to chat with us when they were done.  We chatted for an hour talking about blogging, GF food, GF products, GF restaurants, our stories and so much more.  The best part about blogging is the community.  I had never sat down with either of these ladies before but it felt like we were old friends just because we know each other through our blogs!
Me, Jenni, and Marlow

While we were chatting Trevor, one of the owners, came to talk to us.  He is so much fun to talk to and does so much for the Gluten Free Community!  Have you tried their frozen pizza?  Look in your freezer section at your local grocery store.   

Trevor even packed Jenni and I a goodie bag to take home of their Eggplant Rollitini.  I ate it for lunch Sunday!  Wow!  It is thinly sliced eggplant filled with cheese, breaded, and baked with the gravy and covered in cheese.  It is actually an appetizer on the menu.  I will get this next time!
They even have Gluten Free stickers for left overs!!

Eggplant Rolltini

I love having a restaurant that I know will be safe for me to eat at.  I love having GOOD GF options that go beyond a salad.  I love having appetizers, entrees and dessert OPTIONS!  I love having fresh GF bread.  And I love GF blog friends!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mommy Daughter Date and Color Me Rad

Friday afternoon I got the unique opportunity (all thanks to my amazing hubby) to take the Toddler on a mommy/daughter date!!  With three kids it is hard to find time to spend with each of them so this was a real treat!

We started our adventure at Zen Cat Bakery in Greensboro.  They are a Gluten Free / Vegan Bakery.  They were having a cupcake event.  Normally they are not open for retail sales so this was a special treat.  You can find their goods in a number of local coffee shops in Greensboro and Durham.   After trying a few samples the Toddler decided to go with the brownie and I got the pumpkin cupcake.  We took our goodies home to eat after dinner.  The brownie was good and made the toddler happy.  The cupcake was good but the icing was too strong for my taste.  It had a strong clove taste to it, so I just ate the yummy cake part.  

Then we headed over to Chipotle for dinner!  Always so good and so much food!  I got my usual burrito bowl with chips.  Since it was a special night I splurged and got guacamole   Holy Cow - so good!  I neglected my burrito bowl to eat the chips and guacamole.  

Saturday was the Color Me Rad 5k race in Raleigh.  I was on a team with three other mom's from church.  It was so much fun!  I haven't intentionally been that dirty since I was a teenager!  
Here is us before. 
Yes we are wearing Wonder Woman socks with capes!  I'm on the left. 
 And here is us after!  

If you have the opportunity run this race!  And don't be intimidated there were way more people walking it than running.

Post race we all went to zPizza in downtown for some pizza to reward us for working so hard and getting so messy!  I got the ZBQ pizza on gluten free crust without corn.  SOOO good!  I ate it all but one piece!

My awesome weekend was highlighted by dinner with some Gluten Free blog Friends.  But that deserves it's own blog post - so more on that later!
Extra points if you can name the two bloggers!

Weekly Menu October 29th

Monday - Pork Loin in Slow Cooker, rice

Tuesday - Beef Non-Stew

Wednesday - Halloween!! Eat at friends before Trick or Treating!

Thursday - Parmesan Pork Chops mac-n-cheese, broccoli

Friday - Baked chicken green beans, tater tots

Saturday - Leftovers

Don't forget to enter the Everything Gluten Free Slow Cooker Cookbook Giveaway!!  Winner will be picked Halloween night!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Everything Gluten Free Slow Cooker Cookbook Review and Giveaway

Carrie Forbes from GingerLemonGirl just published her first cookbook , The Everything Gluten Free Slow Cooker Cookbook, and it just came out this month! So proud of her for working so hard and the book rocks!  I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at it before it came out and have my own copy in hand now!

As a busy wife and mom the slow cooker is a life saver.  I can throw everything into the slow cooker during the few quiet moments during the day (nap time) and forget about it until dinner time.  There are a number of staple slow cooker recipes that I use in our weekly menus.  So I was super excited to start incorporating Carrie's recipes into our family.

The book is more than a cookbook because Carrie spends a lot of time up front talking about being Gluten Free and slow cooker basis (read this part it has great tips).   So the cookbook is also a great education tool.

The cookbook is divided into sections that include breakfast, appetizers, side dishes, soups, casseroles, poultry  beef, holiday recipes, kid-friendly meals, five ingredients or fewer (my fav), breads, desserts and beverages.  Who knew there were so many options for the slow cooker!

The first recipe I tried was the Barbecue Chicken and Beans in the five ingredients or fewer section found on page 245.  To be honest I made it without the beans because I knew the kiddos wouldn't eat them.  The dish was a hit!  Very simple and very flavorful.  We barely had any leftovers.   

I have turned down page corners on a number of pages in the book for future recipe attempts!  I will let you know as I try more of the recipes. 

Now to the Giveaway!  I bought an extra copy for one lucky blog reader!!!

**Spoonful at a Time is also doing a giveaway for the book so go here to enter her giveaway and increase your chances!**

To enter leave a comment staying what your favorite slow cooker meal is!  Leave a second comment if you follow on twitter or facebook!  I will randomly pick the lucky winner on Halloween night!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekly Menu October 22

Monday - Store bought Rotisserie Chicken (I was sick so I had Hubby grab one on his way home)

Tuesday - Chicken Casserole using left over chicken from Monday

Wednesday - Mexican Chili - slow cooker

Thursday - Chicken Fried Rice

Friday - Chicken Parmesan

Saturday - Me -Dinner at Bella Monica! Family (Gluten Eaters) - Hamberger Helper

It will be a heavy chicken week but I'm trying to use what I have in the house and not have to hit the grocery store.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eating Gluten Free at Hillsborough BBQ

Over the weekend we took a short drive to Hillsborough, NC to visit Hillsborough BBQ.  I had heard they could accomodate Gluten Free customers.  We waited almost 40 minutes for a table which was a long time when trying to entertain three kiddos!  The restaurant is pretty small and can't seat more than 50 people, so go early!

When we sat down I asked our waitress for a Gluten Free menu and she returned with a list of safe items.  

After looking over the options and asking a few questions I decided to go with the brisket plate with corn puddin and the sweet potato salad for my sides.   The brisket had a nice smokey flavor but was a little dry.  The waitress said none of their sauces where considered Gluten Free because they could have been cross contaiminated.  The corn puddin was awesome!  Really nice flavor and texture.  The sweet potato salad is a cold salad with sweet potatoes and onions in a vinigar based dressing.  It was good but I think it being cold threw me off.  We did have a small incident when my first plate came out topped with 2 pieces of Texas Toast.  But the waitress realized that wasn't going to work and didn't even put it on the table.  A couple minutes later a new plate was brought out toast free!

My hubby had the BBQ plate with corn puddin and white slaw.  He said it was very good and the house made sauce was amazing!   The kids had green beans, mac-n-cheese, fries and hush puppies.  I know I win a price for a healthy dinner, but they ate it.  

Overall it was a good experience but it didn't wow me.  It is always nice to find a Gluten Free menu and a restaurant that uses fresh ingredients.  If we go back I will bring some BBQ sauce with me.

Hillsborough BBQ Company on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I love fall!  For so many reasons it is my favorite season - the leaves, the weather, and the food!  Today we had a family fall event at some friends house.   Like I do before any food event at a friend's house I offered to bring a Gluten Free dish for the table.  I decided to bring a dessert since it was going to be a hot dog meal.  After searching Pinterest (LOVE IT) I found these two Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and Pumpkin Sandwich Cookie recipes.  To make mine I blended the two recipes a bit.  It created a moist pumpkin cake like cookie with a cinnamon cream cheese filling.  SO GOOD!!

The Pumpkin Whoopie Pies were a hit and no one could tell they were Gluten Free!  There was only one left in the tray when it was time to go.  I even had a few people ask for the recipe.  So here is how I made them:

What You Need:
2 cups GF flour - I used Bloomfields
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick butter - softened
3/4 cup can pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp GF vanilla

4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp butter - softened
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp GF vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

How to Make It:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put dry ingredients (first 6 listed) in a bowl and set aside.  In a mixer combine brown sugar and butter.  Cream together at medium speed.  Then add in pumpkin, milk, egg and GF Vanilla.  Once this is combined slowly add in dry ingredients.   Place small balls of dough on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  With a greased spoon press down on dough balls so the finished cookies will be flatter.  Cook for 11 minutes.  Let cool completely.

To make filling- combine all ingredients but the powdered sugar together at medium speed.  Slowly add in powdered sugar.  

Once cookies are cool spread filling onto one cookie and make a sandwich using a second cookie - bottom to bottom.  This recipe made 14 whoopie pies.  

These are so good!  I will be making these often this season.  Invite us over for dinner and I'll bring them :)

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Homemaker.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Gluten Free Week

I have to admit that this was not an organized week for me.  I had a menu plan but didn't follow it.  Sometimes life happens and it all goes crazy.  Here are some highlights from the past week.

I made this amazing mug cake but added 1 tbsp of Nutella.  This was a brilliant upgrade!  Just a touch of chocolately goodness! 

I had a lunch date with my sister and four of our five kids at PF Changs.  I had the GF Singapore Street Noodles.  So tasty!

For lunch this week I made ground beef and cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas.  Nice and filling lunch. 

As far as alcohol goes if i'm going to drink I lean toward wine. Which is GF or I would have serious issues!  However Hard Cidar is fun and naturally Gluten Free.  My hubby brought this home this week.  It even says Naturally Gluten Free on the box!

We had friends over for dinner Friday so I made One Dish Wonder and Chocolate Chess Pie for dessert.   I love making GF desserts for Gluten eaters and they can't tell the difference!

Hopefully this week will be a little calmer.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Race Day

I have always had a love hate relationship with running.  It has always been a part of my life due to sports.  But I haven't always enjoyed running.  I started running as an adult in March 2008.  I have found that 5K races are a good distance for me.  The training doesn't take too long so I'm not gone from the family too much.  I had to stop running during both pregnancies but was able to get back out there a few months after they were born.  I have been running for a few months and even did a 2 mile race in July.  Jack, our male Golden, is my running partner.  He helps me train and keeps me company on night runs.

My goal was to run a 5K before the twins where 1 year old and today was race day!

I didn't beat my PR for a race but I finished and I ran it.  It was also a goal checked off since the twins are 11 months tomorrow!

My next race is on Oct. 27th!

On a food note: my pre-race meal was 2 scrambled eggs with cheese.  Post race I ate a banana and drank 2 bottles of water.  Most races have food tables at the finish line.  As a Gluten Free person I head for the fruit and stay away from the donuts and biscuits.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gluten Free Fast Food

No that isn't an oxymoron - you can find Gluten Free Fast Food.  As a Gluten Free person eating out is ALWAYS a risk.  Cross contamination is everywhere and many people are poorly educated about what it means to be Gluten Free.  But - there are places that you can eat at that are considered fast food that provide good Gluten Free options.

Yes, eating at home is healthier and safer but it isn't always an option.  Life happens outside the home so I have created a list of staples that I know I can eat Gluten Free at that do not cause me issues.  I'm sure there are more good Gluten Free fast food joints (and would LOVE to hear what they are) but these are the restaurants within a 30 minute drive of my house.  

List of my go to Gluten Free Fast Food restaurants.


What I order: 8 piece GRILLED nugget meal, with fries, a drink and Polynesian sauce

The Gluten Free menu can be found here.  
Pluses: Um GLUTEN FREE Fries!!  Good dipping options.  Super family friendly!
Minuses: Honestly this isn't that filling for me.  I usually have to order large fries to feel full.  


What I order: Chicken bowl and white rice, black beans, sour cream, lettuce, mild salsa, and cheese.  We share a bag of chips and salsa. *Ask them to change their gloves before they prepare your meal.* 

The Gluten Free menu can be found here.  
Pluses: The chips are so good and it is a ton of food.  Family friendly.
Minuses: The mild salsa can be a little too hot for me.  Chips are high in calories. 

Five Guys

What I order: Little cheeseburger with no bun, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo.  Fries!
They normally change gloves when they see *no bun on the ticket but it doesn't hurt to remind them.  
The menu can be found here.  
Pluses: Gluten Free Fries!  The regular size fry is enough for two people so you can share.
Minuses: Open containers of peanuts so if you have a nut allergy be aware!  Eating a burger with a knife and fork isn't a ton of fun. 

Noodle and Company

What I order: RICE NOODLES pad tai or Tuscan Linguine toppings on rice noodles.

The Gluten Free menu can be found here.  
Pluses: It is a tasty meal.  Has lots of options.
Minuses: Not very filling.  Cross contamination can be an issue but I've never had a problem. 


What I order: Side caesar salad with ranch dressing and baked potato with margarin and sour cream.
The Gluten Free menu can be found here.  
Pluses: Very family friendly.  Frosties are Gluten Free.
Minuses: Fries are cooked in a shared fryer.  


What I order: Chicken rice bowl with black beans, tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream. 
The Gluten Free menu can be found here.  
Pluses: Family friendly.  The meats and most toppings are Gluten Free.
Minuses: Tortilla chips are not Gluten Free.  I normally bring my own if I know we are going there.

When all else fails I use this app to help me decide what to eat.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Veggie Risotto

I'm always looking for new Gluten Free products to try.  And I usually try to "take them to the next level" by adding things to them.  During a recent trip to our local co-op I grabbed a box of Gluten Free Risotto from Lundberg.  It looked easy to make and sounded fun.  To me Risotto is such a fancy food (I've only eaten it at fancy dinners) so to be able to make it at home was intriguing.
After making this yummy dish once I found the same products at Whole Foods and they had a coupon! I have made this dish twice this week for lunch and loved it.  Each box makes enough for 2.5 meals.  The half a meal is the portion the twins eat. 

What you Need:
1 box of Risotto
1 cup of chopped veggies
2.5 cups of water
1 tbsp EVOO

How to Make It:
Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir in rice and coat with heated oil for about 2 minutes. 
 Then add veggies, water and seasoning mix from the box.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.  

Make sure to stir it because I did have a few issues with it sticking to the bottom.  You may need to add another 1/4 cup of water.  Serve hot!

This is a very tasty and filling dish.  You could add whatever veggies you have.  I used green pepper, onion, squash, and zucchini.  The veggies come out nice and soft.  If you want crisp veggies wait to add them to the liquid until there is only 10 minutes left. 

You could add in some cooked chicken if you wanted to add some protein.  

The babies and I have really enjoyed this meal.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Oct. 1

Can you believe it is October already?!  I have no idea where this year has gone.  It seems like a blur.  One great benefit about blogging is you can go back and read old posts to remember where you've been.  

For dinner this week we will be enjoying...

Monday- Chick-fil-A - the fries and grilled nuggets are safe!!
Tuesday - One Dish Wonder
Wednesday - Crock Pot Honey Chicken  - use GF soy sauce
Thursday - Parmesan Pork Chops
Friday - Scalloped Potato and Hamburger
Saturday - Leftovers

Sides - veggies, mac-n-cheese, rice
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