Here there be cookies.

Here there be cookies. (Blogger uses cookies, folks, but I am sure they are gluten free.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Partly sleuthy with a chance of showers later on...


Update: Sorry about the spacing on this post. The html looks fine, but it may have the sniffles.

I have tons to do over the next several days and think I will just post short reports here and there.






Products
My friend, Sherry, recently took her granddaughter, Grace, to Starbucks and was pleasantly surprised to discover gluten free cookies there! Grace said, "mmmmmm" while eating them! And I believe a baby's opinion is to be trusted!

Gluten Freeville did a review for reusable toaster bags today! Somebody is gonna make a lot of money.

Go Picnic has some handy dandy gluten free food packs, but according to Nancy from Gluten Freeville, they take forever to ship. She recommends we get them from Costco or in a store so we have them when we need them.

These Crunch Dried Snacks from Sensible Foods are getting rave reviews and are also available at Costco. I gotta get to Costco!

DeBoles has recently announced a recall on Kid's Only! Gluten Free Tubettini. It isn't good when products slip by like this, but I appreciate DeBoles' willingness to be honest with the public.

On another front with DeBoles. I have had little success with their rice, quinoa and amaranth spaghetti-style pasta. I have tried it twice and had the same results both times. The pasta breaks up into tiny pieces while cooking. I don't know if I am cooking it too long (I have followed their directions) or if it is just the nature of this stuff. It is impossible to strain it with a colander because the pieces are too small and I haven't picked up a new sieve to use gluten free yet. Besides, I think it would make a terrible mess in a sieve. If you have had better success, please let me know how. I really like those grains and would love to use this product!










Ope! P.S.
Chelsea Clinton is serving gluten free cake at her wedding tomorrow. Perhaps we should attend!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dinner Bell

Folks, I've been saving some recipes up for you and I can't wait any longer to get them posted! I don't have time for this tonight, but here I am. I have a whole lot of sleuths to share as well, but I probably won't get to those until at least later this week. It is Vacation Bible School at our church and I get to play with preschoolers for four days! I am pretty excited. They keep me young. Okay, here you go. I am still working on the mayo recipe. The first batch isn't quite what I am looking for and I am still using it up. When I get this thing right, I will post the whole story. :)

To the food...

Honey Maple Chicken Breasts
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
Chicken breasts, raw
(or turkey legs if you prefer)
Yams, cubed
(that's cut into cubes, not taken to the third power)
Pecans
Olive oil
Honey
Pure maple syrup
Garlic powder, Salt

Place the chicken breasts into the the bottom of a casserole dish large enough to fit how ever many you are making. Scatter your yams and then pecans over the top. Use enough to feed your crowd. Drizzle olive oil, then honey, then maple syrup over all. The amount on these...I used maybe 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey and perhaps that much maple syrup. This is an Aunt Lorena method sort of dish (click label for more information). Season with garlic powder and salt to taste. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 1 hour. Serve with a fresh green salad. Yummy!


This next dish is super easy, light, and tastes wonderful. It has a lot of wiggle room. You could add all kinds of other ingredients, but we liked the simplicity of it. Hmmm...I don't know what to call it...how about

Cabbage Mushroom Chicken Bowl
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
2 Chicken breasts, raw, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped (don't be stingy with the cabbage)
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced, or chopped, or whatever you like
Grapeseed oil
Red cooking wine
Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
Garlic Powder, Cumin, Salt & pepper

Heat about 1/8 cup grapeseed oil in a skillet on medium heat (I used a 12 inch skillet and the lid was floating on the cabbage because there was too much food for it to be able to close, so you might want a bigger one). Add chicken and stir fry it for just a few minutes. Add mushrooms, onions and cabbage. Once you get all that stuffed into the pan, drizzle with red cooking wine and pour in about a cup of the chicken broth (I was thinking that it would be nice to add more of the broth because this would make a lovely soup as well). Season with the garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cabbage is weepy (like a celiac eating Udi's bread). Put it in a pretty bowl and eat it with crackers. I had mine with Mary's Gone Crackers. Delicious!

Possible other ingredients: sesame oil instead of grapeseed (or in addition to), sesame seeds, peanuts, any typical Asian food ingredients (bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, baby corn, & etc.), cauliflower, carrots, celery...
















Remember I said I wanted to try that Watermelon Sorbet recipe? Well, I did. It doesn't look like Rachel Ray's, but that is because I skipped this step, "Transfer the pieces to a food processor in batches and pulse until smooth," and went straight to the eating part. Verdict: It was very refreshing, but I am not sure I would use the lime zest again. It was odd to me. However, my husband loved it as is.









Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Weep Test, by the Sobbing Sleuth

I have decided that the sure test as to whether a gluten free bread is good or not is the Weep Test. If you take that first bite and tears come to your eyes(or you out and out bawl) it is absolute proof you have found that rare, but real bread, so elusive in the gluten free world.

I am about 2/3 of the way through my first loaf ofUdi's Whole Grain bread. I really drug my feet on this product, because it contains egg whites and eggs are my enemy.











However, someone recently told me that when a person can't eat eggs it is often because of the yolks. So I decided to give this stuff a try.












When I opened the bread and the aroma wended its way to my nostrils, it sent a thrill down my spine. It smelled so good. I took out the heel. I have never been particularly fond of bread heels, but it was a small piece and thought it would be the safest place to start. When I took that first bite, it was as if my taste buds had a direct link to my tear ducts which automatically triggered a downpour. I could not even believe I was eating gluten free bread without toasting it, and it tasted real! The texture is soft and light and the taste is just how it should be. I ate that heel without anything on it and I like to eat this bread that way. I have my chicken salad on my plate with the bread strategically placed near by for convenience. Eating this stuff is a luxury.

Three and a half years without real bread is a long time. Thanks for bringing normal back into my life, Udi's.

Today on facebook, Udi's posted a survey. I was happy to answer their questions.











Sunday, July 18, 2010

Link Omission Remedied

FYI: I was looking for the link for the article on gluten free labeling and was surprised to find there was none. I have gone back to the Sleuth Report where it should have been and remedied that situation.

Also, I tried my first round of No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding homemade mayonnaise. The taste is almost there, but the texture needs work. I got impatient for it to thicken and kept adding thickeners. I ended up with something with a consistency similar to a thick cake batter. I will be posting an actual recipe with actual measurements when I get it right. Aunt Lorena was a wonderful cook, but this recipe is too important for approximations. I take my mayonnaise very seriously. Check back on this. I will post a picture of the first batch as soon as I can. Busy day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sleuth: The Blog Post

Recipe!!!
First, and I am drooling over this one, a friend recently mentioned he had made a watermelon sorbet and I asked him for the recipe fully expecting it to have something in it that would cause pain. But it doesn't! And it comes from Rachel Ray! I haven't looked at her website for a long time, but I think I better plan to spend some time there. My first plan, however, is to make this No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding Watermelon Sorbet for Saturday when we are having some friends over for the day! Croquet and Sorbet...has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? To which I say, in honor of Ms. Ray, how awesome is that?

Products and pain
I have decided that I am not going to eat any products that have a processed on the same equipment as wheat or gluten warning on the label. I have had pain with several products that do, Lays, for example. I just read that they are using great care to avoid cross contamination and I believe a lot of people do just fine with them. I don't. There is also a puffy veggie/rice snack chip at Costco that I am confident I was being glutened by (I am going to have to write down the product name next time I am in there. When I do, I will post an update). They say gluten free on them, but they also have the processed on the same equipment as warning on their label. I recently called Terra Chips and though they have many products without gluten ingredients, they are also processed on the same equipment as gluten-containing products. At this point, the only snack chips I am eating are assorted flavors of Food Should Taste Good, an organic, gluten free, GMO free tortilla chip from Freddy's and Garden of Eatin' Blue Chips.

Products with possibilities
I discovered tonight that Newman's Own has tightened up their labeling policy since I last looked. On their website it used to say something like, to the best of the knowledge certain products didn't have gluten, based on some gluten free guidelines. I remember thinking it was not a very comforting statement. But when I was planning the menu for Saturday evening, I wanted to make a salad similar to the one from Olive Garden. My sister figured out how to make it at home years ago, but that was before gluten death entered my life. I knew I would need a good Italian dressing, so I decided to check out Newman's Own again and I am so happy with what I found. Look at their statement:

. If one or more of the major common allergens recognized by FDA are contained in a Newman's Own product they will be listed in the ingredient statement regardless of the level and whether or not directly added to the product or contained in another ingredient.

. The composition of each ingredient will be reviewed for the presence of the major common food allergens recognized by FDA.

Pretty nice...and even nicer is the number of dressings that are No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding! The possibilities in my kitchen just expanded in a major way!!!

In the works...
I have a couple of items I am working on. One is a homemade dressing that is No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding to serve as an alternative to mayo and hopefully Ranch Dressing when I throw in some additional ingredients. I want to try it for a chicken salad for Saturday, so I should have the results before long.

The second is a possible homemade alternative to whipped cream that is also No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding. If this one works out, trust me, you will be hearing from me. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Skillet Fajitas

One of the dishes I made at church camp this spring was A Year of Slow Cooking's Super Easy Fajitas. I made the gluten-free seasoning mix from scratch from a recipe I found somewhere online, but I can't seem to find it so I will include it below. I took my crock pot along to camp and plugged it in before going to bed (we played Mafia that night, so it was quite late) and it was way ready come lunch time the next day. Though I loved the flavors, the vegetables were just in there too long and the peppers ended up slimy. I decided to try again at home this week and this time I just cooked the meat in the crock pot and then put the dish together as follows.

Skillet Fajitas
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
1 - 1 1/2 lbs Fajita meat
1/2 cup Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons of Not My Fajita Seasoning Recipe (Or use more. You can always add more when you get to the skill.et)

Precook your seasoned Fajita meat and chicken broth in the crock pot on high for four hours.

Skilletizing the dish
1-2 green bell peppers
1 sweet red pepper
1 large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can gluten free black beans, undrained (pinto or red would work also)
1 cup rice of choice (I used that yummy Basmati)
3 cups Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Chop all vegetables and sauté in a large skillet for just a few minutes to start to soften them. Remove the meat from the crockpot and chop it up into about 1 to 2" pieces. Add chopped meat, beans, rice and chicken broth to skillet and add more seasonings if you want. Bring liquid to a boil, cover, turn heat down to low and cook for 1/2 hour.

Serve with your favorite salsa (mine is Chachies medium), your favorite tortilla chips (I used Blue Chips from Garden of Eatin'), and avocado and tomato slices (and sour cream if you can eat that stuff, but it isn't needed and I am not calling it a part of this recipe).

Even the leftovers are delish!

.....................................................
Not My Fajita Seasoning Recipe
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding*
1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin ground
1/2 teaspoon Oregano dried, crushed
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Red pepper ground or pinch of cayenne to taste
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper ground
1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon Onion powder

Use as needed in recipes calling for fajita seasoning.

*Make sure all of your seasonings are gluten free

Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.

In May I posted a recipe for Honey-Mustard Turkey Legs and yesterday I made them again, but I cooked them all day in the crock pot instead of baking them in the oven. I used 6 turkey legs, 1 cup of Basmati rice, salt to taste and the rest was the same as before except I didn't use the seasonings. This is such a nice recipe folks. Easy and the turkey is falling-off-the-bone delicious. I am really amazed at how well the turkey and honey-mustard flavors combine. This time, I bothered to plate some and take a picture. I served it with a fresh green salad (excellent addition), but in the photo the turkey is only sporting a garnish.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pete's Grilled Chicken & Pete's Amazo Pasta Salad

I am posting a couple of wonder recipes that were served to us by old friends when we visited them while on vacation one year. It was before the dreaded gluten death came. The first recipe is still safe for me, but though the second one easily adapts to be gluten free, because of my dreaded dairy problems I can't have it anymore. :(

About the last ingredient in the second recipe...Pete had carefully washed the beautiful orange Nasturtiums that he used to garnish the salad, but apparently one little inhabitant survived the deluge and right as we were starting our meal, the little guy decided to go exploring. I was grateful that he did, as I wanted to try those edible flowers and would have probably eaten him. So you know, Nasturtiums have an interesting black pepper-like flavor.

Pete’s Chicken
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
6 chicken breasts
2 - 3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup or so of chopped fresh basil
(2 tablespoons dried works, but fresh is way better. Use more if you want to.)
1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt, maybe a bit less
1/4 tsp pepper (or crushed red pepper - or both - or neither)
Juice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients and marinate for 45 minutes to a few hours. If you want to add a little liquid, use a bit of white wine or water. Grill

They served it with an awesome pasta salad and a green salad. The pasta salad has cheese, so I can't eat it anymore, but for those of you who can, here is the gluten free version. This stuff will rock your taste buds!

Pete's Amazing [now De-glutened] Pasta Salad
No Gluten, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
Gluten free pasta of choice
1 cup pesto
Chopped green onions
Sun dried tomatoes
Kalamata olives - or some other exotic kind; even regular black olives, but not the pimento stuffed cocktail kind
Feta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Pepper to tastes
Nasturtiums to garnish (optional)
Earwig (optional)

Pre-cook pasta according to package directions, put into large serving bowl. Add all of the other ingredients and toss to combine. You won't believe the flavor. It is flat out incredible.

Pete also noted that you can use these same ingredients in another way: he says, "You can also make a pizza with all these as toppings, but the flavor of the pesto kinda bakes out of it. It's still pretty good. Add artichoke hearts, chicken chunks, asparagus, fresh basil leaves, zucchini or whatever else you want. Bake 10 minutes, then put mozzarella cheese on top, then finish baking."

There that cheese is, rearing its delicious head again. I really miss cheese.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sizzling Sleuth

It is hot. I am not necessarily complaining; I am most certainly pleased that summer has finally arrived, but I will say that higher temperatures and hot flashes are not the most pleasant combination. Anyway, I decided it was time to sit at my computer and type up another Sleuth Report. I have been wandering the web and have found some nice things to share.

Recipe Alert
Chocolate Zucchini is a blog that is not gluten free, but there is a recipe on there for Raw Cashew Cheese that is and I really want to try it. The problem: I can't figure out where to get raw cashews that are gluten free and won't require robbing Fort Knox to afford. If you know of someplace, please let me know.

Products for the inside
MimicCreme - The key ingredient is cashews, which also star in the Alkemie Dairy-Free Ice Cream I long to try. The closest store for the MimicCreme is way too many hours away to be practical. I need to get a retailer in my town to carry it and I have just the store in mind. The ice cream is an unlikely candidate for my area at this point. They just haven't expanded that much.
Crunchfuls is a new (to me) breakfast cereal that sounds good. I need to make a wish list to take into my favorite health food store.

Products for the outside
In an effort to avoid getting gluten, I am very careful what types of products I use on my hair and skin. I was told by people in the local support group that the only hair products available that are gluten free that are Dove and Suave. Neither of those does much for my wild and crazy, hypothyroid, naturally curly, frizzy and fuzzy hair, so I combed the shelves at the local markets, looking for something better. I found a line called Organix and contacted the company. I received the following response:

Dear Becky:

Thank you so much for contacting us! I have checked with our chemist at the manufacturing plant and she assures me that our entire Organix line is gluten-free. Have a great day!

Sincerely,

Customer Service Department
Vogue International

I have used their Coconut Milk line, Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner, Nourishing Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum, and the Nourishing Coconut Milk Styling Cream and most recently I am using their Grapefruit Mango Butter Shampoo and Conditioner. I love how they smell. The shampoo and conditioner have done wonders for my hair, they leave it very soft and much healthier. The Anti-Breakage Serum is a must. I didn't use it yesterday and my hair was really fuzzy and flighty. The serum is oil based, but light and nice. Just be careful not to use too much or it will leave your hair looking greasy. I have done this more times than I can count and it is frustrating. It takes a couple of hours for my hair to dry (I can't blow dry these tresses), so if I overdo it on the first go-round I am stuck with the Dapper Dan look (I just washed my hair and I can't do a thing with it).

Another product that I have used is their styling cream. This is a tricky product to use as well, but hey! my life is tricky since the invasion of the gluten snatchers. The container suggests you put it on your palm and rub it until it warms up and becomes malleable, but that doesn't work well at all. I put a very small amount of the cream in the palm of my hand, run the tap in my bathroom until the water is hot, add a very small amount of it to the cream and use a finger to blend them together. The water melts the cream and becomes murky. Finally, I run the water through my hair where I want it to add a little extra body and style normally. It isn't perfection.

I still need a hairspray that works, but I have not found any gluten free hairspray that will hold up. I have used Dove Extra Hold Hairspray , but honestly, it should be ashamed of itself. It does not hold and hairspray shouldn't be a part of it's name. I have stopped using it much at all, as I am spraying chemicals on my head to little effect. It serves more as a security blanket than an actual help. In my mind I know that I need hairspray, and this is what is in my cupboard, so I put it on and pretend that things are okay now.

I use Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion on my skin and I really like that stuff. In my post, Other things we must watch out for, you will find the lowdown on Burt's Bees gluten frees and the response they gave me to my inquiry.

Other bloggers
The Gluten Free Lab has an article on a product for people who also can't have corn. My friend Jennifer will be happy about this, and honestly, I would love to take a bite of that doughnut!

Umbrella'd This place is more like an online magazine than a blog, but it reads like a blog and the Gluten Free Living tab, which is where the link will take you, is the place for us!

That is going to do it for today. Happy exploring!

Chixican Dinner

I was too hot to sleep, so I decided to post what we had for dinner. In my quest for flavor, variety, and ease of preparation in my "free" world, I combined four ingredients I had on hand and came up with another tasty meal. I realize my photos aren't Living Without quality, but usually when it is ready, I am too. I am hungry and do well if I remember to take a picture, let alone get the food to pose for me. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one, I know we did.

Chixican Dinner
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
3 uncooked chicken breasts (these may be cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 16 oz. can Rosarita refried beans (I used fat free)
1/2 of a 24 oz. container Chachies Mango Peach Salsa (links: gluten free, info about salsa, respectively)
About 1 cup of crunched up gluten-free tortilla chips
Salt to taste

Spread refried beans in the bottom of a casserole dish (mine is about 9"x9"x2"). Place chicken breasts on top of beans (or spread pieces evenly across). Scatter the chips, and then spread the salsa, evenly across the chicken and beans. You can either salt the dish some now, or wait until you serve it and allow people to salt their own.

Cover and bake at 350°F for 1 hour. I served this with shredded coleslaw and avocado slices. Those that could added a dollop of sour cream, but those that couldn't (me) didn't miss it a bit.