My favorite salad (right now)

After deciding to steer clear of gluten I switched from eating sandwiches at lunch to eating salads.  Lots and lots of salads.  Many of them have been boring and not worth mentioning.  My absolute favorite salad right now is from Jason’s Deli and it is called the Nutty Mixed Up Salad off their gluten free menu.  I visited the Ashford Dunwoody location and they fill it with lots of goodies like grilled chicken, grapes, apples, walnuts, feta cheese, cranberries, raisins and pumpkins seeds.  I always get it with Jason’s homemade ranch dressing.  It is delicious!

If you haven’t eaten there lately check out some of the other items on Jason’s Gluten Free Menu! 

What is your favorite salad right now?

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End of Summer Ice Cream

The end of summer is fast approaching and that means the beginning of my favorite season is just around the corner.  I thought I’d celebrate this summer season with an ice cream dessert that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Here is my recipe for Carmelized Bananas A La Mode:

Ingredients:

1c granulated sugar

2-3 T of heavy cream

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp of ground cardamom

2 ripened bananas sliced

1/4 c crushed honey roasted peanuts

vanilla ice cream

sea salt

Put all of the sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  You can stir this as often as you like and it shouldn’t crystalize.  Continue to stir and heat until the sugar liquifies and turns caramel brown in color.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add your cream and spices.  Add your sliced bananas and add them to your sauce until heated through.  Pour the sauce over some scooped vanilla ice cream and garnish with the crushed honey roasted peanuts.  Finish with a small sprinkling of sea salt.  We enjoyed this dessert on a balmy evening on our deck and it was divine!

I’m in love with a spice…Cardamom Banana Muffins!

Cardamom!  Where have you been all my life?  Until about a year ago I had no experience with this amazing spice used frequently in Indian cooking.  One whiff of it’s powerful floral aroma and I was hooked!  If you have never tried this spice before I highly encourage you to do so…..you won’t be disappointed.  Be careful with cardamom though….a little goes a long way.  Here’s my recipe for gluten-free banana cardamom muffins to get you started:

1 3/4 c gluten free all purpose flour mix

1 c brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/3 c melted butter or margarine

1/2 c buttermilk

1 jar banana baby food (weird ingredient, I know…..but try it)

1 large egg

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

2 large bananas mashed

Preheat oven to 375F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.  In a medium bowl, whisk butter, buttermilk, baby food, mashed bananas, egg and vanilla.  Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until no streaks remain.  Using an ice cream scoop divide batter evenly into muffin cups filling about 3/4 full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow muffins to cool before serving.

Trust me your house will be filled with a warm, delicious aroma every time!

What is your favorite spice?

I miss bread…

I miss regular gluten laden bread.  I miss the smell, texture and taste of it.  I admit it…..I was a lover of carbs.  Muffins, biscuits, rolls, sandwiches were huge staples in my former gluten filled life.  It was such a shock when I first tasted gluten-free bread.  This is not the moist, chewy, soft bread I was used to.  I tried the tapioca bread and the rice bread, but they tasted so dry and the slices tended to leave my stomach longing for something more.

Finally I discovered Udi’s bread and bagels! 

This has been the best bread by far that I have come across.  This bread is carried by Whole Foods, Publix and Kroger.  You will usually find in the health/organic section or with the frozen breads.  So now I can enjoy a grilled cheese or a bagel slathered in cream cheese and strawberry jam!  I have tried a couple of their muffins, but I find the ones I can make at home are more moist. 

Tell me your favorite gluten-free bread? 

 

Gluten free Cruising!

We had a wonderful trip cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas this summer and I wanted to report back on my gluten free dining experience while crusing the high seas!
 
Main Dining Room – you order for the next evenings meal the day before and the dining room will tailor your meal to be gluten free. They will leave some things off your dish if they can’t make it gluten free, but we enjoyed many sauces and desserts gluten free. Some of the items that were fantastic were roasted peach soup, pumpkin soup, roasted duck, roasted turkey, prime rib, fisherman’s plate, cherries jubilee, flourless chocolate cake, escargot and leg of lamb. I was disappointed with the gluten free attempt at a crab cake….skip that cause it tastes like a heavy biscuit with no crab meat flavor.
 
Windjammer – I pretty much picked items myself that I thought would be “safe” and did well. Some of the better selections I tried were vegetables, cold cuts and cheeses, mashed potatoes, carved meats, salads and fruits. For dessert I could almost always find a gluten free option….mango panacotta, cherries and vanilla custard, chocolate mousse, etc.
 
Chops – We notified them ahead of time that I was gluten free, but unfortunately they do not tailor the meal to be gluten free. They just advised me what I could order. I was told I couldn’t get the ahi tuna appetizer because there were breadcrumbs on the tuna so instead I ordered shrimp coctail, 7 oz filet with roasted potatoes with prosciutto and parmesan, crimini mushrooms and leeks and creme brulee. This was by far the best meal we enjoyed on the ship.
 
Rita’s Cantina – this was somewhat disappointing. I ordered chips and salsa with queso dip (which was the orange melted cheese kind….yuck!), watermelon and mint soup (very spicy) and some ground beef enchiladas which didn’t have much flavor. I got the flan for dessert, but the caramel was a little burnt for my taste.
 
Wipeout Cafe – I got a burger with no bun and a chili taco…..the food here was just okay.
 
Sorrentos – I was very excited to try the gluten free pizza here, but was told on Wednesday that they were out of the crust and I would have to come back after the bakery made more. I went back the next day and tried a personal pizza, but if you are used to Bob’s Red Mill crust you will be disappointed. The crust has a gritty texture to it so it is just okay.
 
Park Cafe – great salads and sliced roast beef (no bun) the first day. We went back to try the roast beef a second time and it wasn’t seasoned the same way. They have limited breakfast options here (yogurt, fruit, grits and oatmeal).
 
Solarium Bistro – gluten free breakfast consisted of yogurt, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, fruit.
 
Johnny Rockets – gluten free breakfast potatoes with red peppers, ham and onions, scrambled eggs and sausage links. The food here was a little greasy for my taste.

I never got sick to my stomach the whole trip so I think they have plenty of gluten free options!  This cruising experience was amazing….our cabin was a Central Park View overlooking this:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oh, how I miss sailing on that glorious ocean (SIGH)!!

I’m still a kid!

Even though I’m all grown up I still enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast several days a week….sue me!  There is nothing like those crunchy spoonfuls swimming in milk to start my day, but what cereals are good and gluten free?

One of my favs is Chex.  There are several varieties that are gluten-free and readily available in stores.  I love the Cinnamon variety especially.

And I’m also very excited that Rice Krispies are now gluten-free.  Wait?  Weren’t these made out of rice?  Yes, they are, but the original contained barley malt flavoring and that contains gluten.  Now Kelloggs has created this classic cereal minus the gluten and I can’t wait to try them!

My cereal bowl is getting excited about       some serious snap, crackle and pop!

Chocolate Please!

The other day I was dying for a chocolate pie so I decided to make one gluten-free style of course.  I started by pulsing some gluten-free Arrowroot cookies in a food processor to make the crust.  Mix your crushed cookies with 1/2 cup of melted butter or margarine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press your crust mixture into individual ramekins and bake in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes or until your crust starts to turn golden brown around the edges. 

While your crusts are cooling beat 4 egg yolks in a bowl and set aside.  Next, make some chocolate pudding by heating 1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder, 3/4 c sugar, 2 2/3 c skim milk and 2T of cornstarch in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Heat this mixture until is has thickened and become bubbly.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and add 1C of the chocolate mixture to your 4 egg yolks to temper them.  Add all of the egg mixture back to the pan and bring it back to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour pudding into a bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that is touching the surface of the pudding so you won’t get the dreaded pudding skin. 

Chill for 1-2 hours and then fill ramekin with some of your pudding mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Top with some fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings to satisfy your chocolate

   cravings!

Time for lunch!

Even though I haven’t been diagnosed with celiac or a gluten allergy yet I try my best to live gluten free since celiac is in my family history.  Since going gluten free about a year ago my body has felt much better for the most part except for occassional lymphocyctic coilitis flare ups, but that is another story.  I really try to steer clear of gluten which can be very difficult since things like makeup, lotions, creams, shampoos, etc.  can contain gluten.  It is so important to read product labels when living gluten free. 
 
I’m not one of those people that brings their lunch to work.  I usually eat at my desk most days so I like to take 20 minutes to get out of the office and grab a bite to eat.  Some days the stomach wants what the stomach wants……and today that was a burger!  I know, I know we should all be trying to eat healthier, but sometimes you just have to indulge. 
Luckily Hardees makes a low-carb thickburger which is wrapped in lettuce so no gluten laden bun….yippee! 
 
 
I know it looks like a hot mess and it is, but diving into that juicy burger covered in cheese, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard is worth using 10 napkins to clean yourself up.  I coupled this burger with a side salad and some ice water.  I gotta say the burger really hit the spot. 
 
So if you craving a burger or a dog…try wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf and enjoy!

Hardee's on Urbanspoon

Coupons!

 

Lets face it, living gluten free is expensive.  It seems like every product that doesn’t contain gluten is about twice the price of the gluten laden counterparts.  I decided to contact some of the gluten free companies to inquire about coupons that they may offer and guess what?  Many of these companies are happy to provide customers with several coupons in the hopes of gaining a loyal customer.  Good for Life and Pamela’s are just a couple of examples.  Taking the time to send a friendly email can mean cash savings for you!

 

Welcome!

Okay, so I am one of those people who is obsessed with the Food Network.  Watching Master Chef or The Next Food Network Star is must see t.v. in my world.  Sometimes my husband gets tired of watching all these shows about food because it makes him very hungry, but I can’t help it!  It is a sickness and I don’t think I can be cured….and who wants to? 

I work full-time so I only get to cook for the family on the weekends.  During the week my hubby runs the kitchen.  If I had my druthers I would be cooking every day.  It relaxes me.  It lets me envision and create something that will hopefully be delicious!  Since my dream of opening my own gluten free cupcake shop will probably not come to fruition in this lifetime I’ll have to be satisified with sharing my gluten free experiences with the cyber world.