Monday, November 19, 2012

Ham for the Holidays


There are plenty of blogs and websites out there with lists of which traditional holiday foods are safely gluten free, but there is one item that may be found on the lists which is not. For the past several years, Costco has carried Kirkland brand spiral hams which were labeled gluten free. This year I said I would take ham to our church Thanksgiving Potfaith, but when I went to Costco to buy it, I found there were no Kirkland hams. There was a guy from the meat department stocking shelves, so I asked him about it. He told me that Farmland had always produced those hams, they were now being packaged with the Farmland label, and they are now boneless. I asked him if they are still gluten free (didn’t have my glasses on, figured he would know), and he said the representative he spoke to assured him they are. So I bought my ham.

Fast forward to Saturday evening when I was looking at the ham, determining my plan of attack for the next morning. I was looking it over and realized that it did not say gluten free anywhere on the label. I thought that was odd since it had on the Kirkland label, so I went to Farmland’s website and gave it the usual gluten-free shake down. My discovery both disappointed and pleased. In the FAQ’s, under Ingredients, I found the following answer to the question, “Do Farmland products contain gluten?”

Spice formulations from our suppliers and secondary suppliers can change from time to time and still be correct under USDA labeling requirements. Because of this, along with the possibility of cross-contamination from the secondary suppliers to our own main ingredients, we cannot absolutely guarantee that our products will be gluten-free.

This shocked me because I was planning on eating that ham at church the next day and now I would have to come up with another type of meat to eat in a hurry (I knew I should have said turkey instead of ham! I made some chicken. It turned out delicious, and I will be having turkey on Thursday).

This pleased me because it indicated that Farmland finally figured out the serious and difficult nature of avoiding cross-contamination and came clean with the public about it. I don’t know when this happened, but I have to think that they made the decision to stop the Kirkland label for this reason. I could pursue this to find out for sure, but I don’t believe I will.



Kirkland's spiral hams are made by Farmland. They now have the Farmland label, not Kirkland. They are NOT considered gluten free (though the guy in the meat dept. at Costco told me today he was told they are).
"Do Farmland products contain gluten?
Spice formulations from our suppliers and secondary suppliers can change from time to time and still be correct under USDA labeling requirements. Because of this, along with the possibility of cross-contamination from the secondary suppliers to our own main ingredients, we cannot absolutely guarantee that any of our products will be gluten-free."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes…FINALLY!!!

DSCF4038I have been trying to come up with a dairy free mashed potatoes recipe for a long time without success. I have friends who make theirs with chicken broth, but it didn’t satisfy what I was wanting. Also, I am just not crazy about the dairy-free margarines out there (trust me, I have tried to like that stuff). I recently decided to try Sour Supreme by Tofutti for Mexican recipes and though I do not like the taste of it alone, it adds the wanted creaminess and has no influence on the flavor of the dish. It is a great addition, and I even added a little to my potatoes!

After I figured out how to dress up my Kinnikinnick hot dog bun to simulate a Buddy’s breath moment, I was thinking I might use the same ingredients in mashed potatoes. It took me a while to get to it, but the results were quite satisfactory. Color me very, very happy.

I used them a couple of days ago on my version of a Chicken Pot Pie.

I used the Aunt Lorena method, so the amounts are iffy, but this sort of cooking isn’t rocket science, and it should come together just fine. Adjust ingredients to taste.

Chicken Pot Shepherd’s Pie with Mashed Potato Freedom
2 chicken breasts, chopped*
1 medium onion, chopped
Olive oil
1 quart Pacific Organic Free Range Cooking Broth (room temperature or cold)*
1/4 cup Argo or Kingsford cornstarch
Vegies: corn, green beans, carrots, peas* ** (You could use any vegies you wanted—fresh, frozen, or canned. Just use lots!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut up your potatoes and get them cooking while you make the filling. See Mashed Potato Freedom below for details.

Precook chicken pieces using a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet with the burner on medium. A bit before they are done, throw in the onions and stir fry with the chicken pieces, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the vegetables (if they are fresh, you could put them in with the onions and stir fry them together). Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and adding a little bit of chicken broth at a time, stir until smooth. Once you have added enough of the liquid to make it pourable, put that mixture into the pan and mix it into the chicken and vegetables. Slowly add the rest of your chicken broth, stirring each new addition in until smooth. Simmer until you are ready to assemble the pie.

Mashed Potato Freedom
3 pounds of potatoes, peeled, cut into pieces, and boiled in water until fork tender
Olive oil
Tofutti Sour Supreme (If you don’t want soy, I have made these potatoes without it, and they were good. I may or may not use it next time.)
Garlic powder

Drain and mash the potatoes. Add about a teaspoon of olive oil (Be brave! Don’t measure it!), a heaping tablespoon of Sour Supreme, and your spices to taste. I probably used about 1/3 teaspoon of the paprika, and maybe 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the parsley, about 1/3 teaspoon of the garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. When I season, I just shake it on till I think it looks like the right amount. You should do that too. Then using your potato masher, blend everything well.

Spoon that simmering chicken filling into a casserole dish. Choose a size that is big enough so there is about a half an inch head space above the filling. More is okay, but not less. Spoon your potatoes carefully on top to cover the filling, Shepherd’s Pie style. At this point, you could garnish the top with a little more paprika and parsley to make it pretty.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or so to heat through.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You can use more than a quart of the chicken broth, more vegies, and more chicken, depending on the size of pie you need.

**I used all frozen vegetables because I was making a large amount to serve at my home and to give to friends who just had a baby. Only mine had Mashed Potato Freedom. Everyone else got spuds loaded with more dairy than you can measure with the human eye. This recipe is for an entire pie with Mashed Potato Freedom. I am drooling…

“Hey! You got peanut butter in my chocolate!”


Hey! You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Cake!
1 Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk
3/4 cup chunky Adam’s Peanut Butter (because…We don’t eat no stinking butter!)

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Raw almonds

In a large bowl, using a mixer, blend the eggs into the cake mix. Add the peanut butter and blend well. Mix in the liquids until smooth-ish. Put into your choice of pan (see Betty Crocker box for suggestions). Scatter as many chocolate chips and almonds across the top as you are in the mood for. Bake as per package instructions.

Even The Gluteneater enjoyed this recipe. It turned out very light and quite tasty. I served it with a very light drizzle of pure maple syrup and some of the same coconut milk that I put in the cake. The Glutendairyeater had real milk instead. His loss.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seeing Pizza through Amber-Colored Glasses?

Gluten Free Betsy noted in a post earlier today that has organized a Ditch NFCA's Amber Designation campaign. I suggest that you go to her blog and read what she has to say. I am in complete agreement with her on this. I signed the petition myself today, and there was a place to give a reason for doing so. I wrote this:

I believe the Amber designation is confusing, and thus dangerous, and should not be used. It is going to give some people a false sense of security, assuming that because there is an NFCA seal given, it means it is safe—especially those who are new to being gluten free.

The petition can be found at This is just one more step in the process of full disclosure on products: something the gluten-free community—and anyone else who has food allergies/intolerance—is desperate for.

Update @ 8:00 pm: Great news! The NFCA listened! Go here to read for yourself:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Domino's Pizza...delivers? Delivers gluten, that is!

Updated May 12, 2012:
Totally changing this post. From what I understand, the only thing gluten free about these pizzas is the crust before it is handled by the Domino's workers. The pizzas are assembled in the same place that the rest of their pizzas are assembled. The National Foundation of Celiac Awareness has given them an Amber designation. What this means is Domino's Pizza has agreed to train their help up front to tell anyone buying the "gluten free pizza" that it is not gluten free. The training is up front, not in the back with the making of the pizzas. So the bottom line is if you don't mind eating gluten, go ahead and eat the new Domino's gluten free pizza.

Watch the video below if you want, but you really need to go listen to the podcast from Blog Talk Radio, linked below, where Jules Shepard from Jules Gluten Free interviewed Alice Baste, a spokesperson for the NFCA, concerning their reasons for the Amber designation.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Arsenic in your brown rice!

Go to Yahoo, read the article, and weep.

Update: I have been thinking about this post and wanted to include a follow-up. The article speaks specifically of brown rice syrup, not brown rice having high arsenic content. I am sure it is because of the concentrated nature of the syrup. Here are a couple of pertinent paragraphs. The brown rice syrup is a big concern for those of us who try to use healthier processed gluten-free foods.

"According to the study, which was published Thursday in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives," the researchers also found high arsenic levels in some organic foods sweetened with brown rice syrup, including cereal bars, energy bars, and gel energy "shots" that athletes slurp down after working out. 

"'The baby formula findings are concerning,' Jackson said. The risk of arsenic poisoning from eating a cereal bar or and energy shot once in a while are low, he pointed out, but for babies and for people who are on gluten-free diets, arsenic poisoning should be a concern."

Monday, February 6, 2012


Well, the bird is fresh out of the Twitter oven (posted one hour two hours ago from right now; it took me an hour to write this post). The announcement has been made. Kinnikinnick has finally put their breads in bags, slapped their logo on ‘em, and made them available for purchase! When I say “finally,” of course I am kidding. The four sample packs that I won last month are not even gone yet. The box said to freeze them, and I did; though, I was a little concerned about how they would hold up after the freeze. Well, concerns be hanged, I needn’t have had any. When I am ready to have a bit of bread, I just pull out what I want, thaw it in the nucrowave, add my heart’s desire, and plate it. That is when the magic starts.

Take the other night. I had made this delicious Avocado Chicken Salad (I used lemon because I didn’t have lime, dried cilantro because I didn’t have fresh, and Follow Your Heart’s Grapeseed Vegenaise [my Miracle Whip Man didn’t have a clue]). Next, I thawed a Kinnikinnick Hamburger Bun to enjoy it on, and the first thing I noticed was its texture. I mean, I had just thawed it in the microwave after it had been in the freezer a few weeks, yet it was soft and springy. It reminded me of the dinner rolls my mother-in-law used to make, and trust me, my mother-in-law was a professional baker.

Professional, in that she baked amazing, gluteny goodness every week of her life for sixty-five years (with time off for the likes of birthing each of her six children or being in the hospital for surgery, that sort of thing), and she was good at it. She would bake several of something out of the following list every single Saturday (and maybe throw in others through the week). She made breads, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls (some with powdered sugar icing—some with nuts and incredible, caramelized goo), doughnuts, cookies (peanut butter, soft ginger bread, oatmeal and raisin, chocolate chip), pies (she canned her own fruit for those), cakes, fruit bars (you can’t possibly have any idea how amazingly wonderful her fruit bars were), fruit cakes (I don’t have to tell you when she baked those do I?) and that’s just off the top of my head (well, with a little help from her son, my Miracle Whip Man). She even used to do that sort of thing when she worked in the lunch room of his school when he was growing up. MMWM said they would have chili and cinnamon rolls every Thursday during the school year. (Is it mean of me to inflict this gluten-deprived man sitting at his desk across the room from me with these memories? Actually, he says they are good memories, and he is enduring this for you. Appreciate him.)

So when I say that this bun reminded me of my mother-in-law’s dinner rolls, I am saying a mouthful. Soft, springy, light, and delicious was that Kinnikinnick dinner roll hamburger bun. I slathered on a bit more vege-mayo and then glopped on a goodly amount of the Avocado Chicken Salad and, well, Bob’s your uncle. I had a sandwich that would make my sweet mother-in-law happy, and that is no stretch.

I don’t eat hotdogs, but I took one of those hotdog buns and cut it open, laid the two pieces on my only gluten-free bar pan (Pampered Chef, the baby bar pan), spooned on a bit of olive oil on the soft white interior of both halves, sprinkled it generously with garlic powder, and then some paprika and dried parsley flakes, and put it under the broiler until it toasted. I had it with soup, and it was surprisingly good. Next time I’ll use fresh garlic in the oil, so it is garlicky-er.  This may seem like an odd combination, but back before gluten and milk and eggs were my enemies, I used to go to a little Italian Restaurant in Pocatello called Buddy’s (which MMWM and I are thinking has been in business close to fifty years!) and get me some serious Buddy’s breath (as soon as you walk into any place in that town, people can tell you have eaten at Buddy’s for at least three days after—no joke). This involved eating their famous salad and garlic bread with cheese.

Friends of mine were recently in that town and ate at that restaurant (at the urging of myself and another long-time fan of the place) and taunted me with a cellphone photo.  I cropped and divided and pasted here; I am sure they won’t mind). I literally thought I would faint when I saw it. That food is a part of my history. Even after who-knows-how-many years, I am confident that Buddy’s garlic still runs through my veins. The salad calls to me with its icy, siren’s song…

Buddy's BreathGarlic Bread with Cheese

…Where was I? Oh yes. My point is that even though my French bread hotdog bun with olive oil and sprinklings wasn’t dripping with melty, gooey cheese, and even though I can’t have blue cheese dressing anymore in my life, Kinnikinnick gave me a Buddy’s moment of my own. And I intend to have that again.

The multigrain bread and the white bread are both wonderful as well, and it is nice to have bigger pieces. Really. Soft sandwiches that taste like sandwiches! The next thing I would like for them to invent is a rye-less rye bread! (When you do that, Kinnikinnick…you have my address.)

So Delicious has a couple of new products…

…and I know I will be trying them. They are certified vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher, and certified gluten free; that is a hefty, impressive list of credentials. Thanks for thinking of us, So Delicious.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sleuth got to be kidding me!

1 1 Christmas time

Happy January, 2012! Does anyone else remember back in the last century wondering how the names of those Y2K years were even going to be pronounced, let alone lived in? I did, but it didn’t take long to settle into saying those 01-09’s. And now we are in the second decade! Clearly, I am finding this well into the new century thing to be hard to swallow, but then, I am a twentieth century baby (my sister, my dad, and me…in my kangaroo pajamas).

Speaking of hard to swallow…

Label frauds hurt our bods
(I can’t believe I just said that.)
I haven’t tried gluten free beer. I used to like beer years ago, but I have found too many gluten free products just don’t live up to the glutenish original, and I have a hard time thinking barley-free beer would be worth it; however, not everyone feels that way. I have heard of many who really enjoy having a gluten-free beer with their gluten-free pizza, for example, but beware, beware, and beware again. Is anyone else weary of label liars reports that NOT ALL GLUTEN FREE BEERS ARE GLUTEN FREE.

Living Without published an article that asks, Is There Gluten in Your Meds? I don’t think this is a matter of lying; however, it does point to the desperate need for accurate, detailed labels with laws to enforce their use.

Label friends
I contacted Wilton® Industries a while back to see if they have any gluten free products. This was their response…

    • Thank you for your interest in our products.  To insure that we are providing accurate information for our products, please have a list of item numbers for the product you are seeking gluten free information for.  You can reach us at 800-794-5866 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am until 4:30 pm cst.  We will be happy to provide you with the information you are requesting.  Look to hear from you soon.

This is better than a faulty label, but in a perfect world, there would be honest labels. (In a perfect world we wouldn’t need them, we would be able to eat gluten. It isn’t perfect though. It is fallen, and we are sinners. That is why Jesus had to die.)

Kinnikinnick® has a promotion going right now called Toss Your Toaster. They are giving away sample packs of four new products. They are doing 20 weekly draws! You can enter on facebook or Twitter, and you can find more information at the link below. The fun part about this contest is that I already won! Someone else who did and has already received her sample pack posted a photo of what she got. It looks like two loaves of bread, and packages of hotdog and hamburger buns. The reviews coming in on Twitter (possibly facebook too, but I haven’t noticed them) are very positive. I am pretty excited to get mine! I won through my facebook entry rather than on Twitter. I know because when entering there you give your email address. If you win through Twitter they just Tweet that you won. I got an email. :) You can enter once a day on Twitter, not sure on facebook. Go. Enter. Hopefully you will win too! I don’t know for sure when this ends, but they are still going at this point, so don’t procrastinate!

Their website:

Simply Gluten Free is throwing a contest too! This one is for $60 worth of pickled products (gluten-free, of course!), so you should go enter that one as well. You can enter right there and on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Their website:
The links for Facebook and Twitter are on that page. Clicking on them is kind of like getting fast food. The work is already done for you.

I don’t know how long these will be available, so again, don’t let moss grow under your fingers, get clicking!

One dollar off of any one Udi’s® product:

One dollar off of any one 4.25 oz bag Blue Diamond® Nut Chips

Recipe FAIL, starring Condensed Milk

DSCF3453I know what you are thinking, and you are right (if you are old as me, you may have to go back and re-read that, this time with Magnum’s voice in your head). That is not a picture of condensed milk; it is clearly four types of Jell-O, mixed, set, and painstakingly chopped into tiny cubes.

“Mr. Schell, doesn’t that look delicious?”

It certainly did. And then came the recipe (if you are as old as me, you might go back and re-read that, this time with the voice of either of the Baldwin sisters from the Waltons in your head).

Last year I found this beautiful recipe for Glass Block Holiday Jell-O at Our Best Bites and thought I would want to make it sometime using the dairy-free, sweetened, condensed milk that I used in my fudge so successfully last year.

Well. Don’t try this recipe at home. It failed miserably! It didn’t set up; it was waaay too sweet, and it looked terrible. See what I mean? We threw it out. You know it was bad if I was willing to waste all of the ingredients that went into that dish. It was a pitiful thing indeed.