photo GFLiving09asized_zps4083d77c.jpg photo GFRecipes09asized_zps901e3c49.jpg photo GFrestaurants09asized_zpscd953b2f.jpg photo GFproducts09asized_zpse1dc5749.jpg

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Years!!

I'll be back Jan 3rd!!

Enjoy :)


Friday, December 21, 2012

Last day of the world...


So the world isn't ending today?

Time to celebrate :)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Caesar Salad

This is what I did with the rest of the chicken I bought at Trader Joes.  I saw this on Pinterest and thought I would try it out - you know I'm not a huge fan of chicken but I'm fairly impressed with how this turned out!

For the dressing - I used poultry seasoning from world market (any seasoning will do - whatever you're feeling!), plain greek yogurt (or sour cream or mayo), and garlic.

Mix all your dressing ingredients together in a bowl.  In a glass pan I drizzled olive oil and salt/pepper.

Then I laid the chicken pieces in - using tongs I flipped the pieces around to coat them in the oil and seasoning.  

Rub the dressing on top of the chicken to coat it - just the top.  Let the chicken sit like this on the counter or in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to marinate.

Right before you put it in the oven, top with parmesan cheese and a little parsley (for color).

Bake in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes.

Let the chicken rest / cool.  Once you can handle it - slice up a couple pieces and place on top a caesar salad.  

Or you could enjoy this over rice, or along side some roasted veggies, or on a plate of pasta.  Really the possibilities are endless with this simple dish!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This is really the most amazing soup I've ever made!  At Trader Joes, I bought: a package of chicken breast strips (I think) - I actually used half the package in this dish and half in a different one, two different packages of rice (black wild rice and basmati rice mix), mirapoix, and diced onions (I HATE chopping onions - I'm more than willing to pay for chopped onions!!).  Oh and I didn't buy cream or chicken stock because I had some at home, but you will need it.

In a big soup pot, begin to brown a couple of the chicken strips in olive oil.  Once they have a little color - take them out and set them aside on a plate.  

Add to the oil the mirapoix and the package of chopped onions.  If you want to do this the hard way - I would use 2 or 3 stalks of chopped celery, 2 chopped carrots, and 1 very large onion or 2 smaller ones. Cook them until they start to soften and begin to smell delicious.  Salt & pepper to taste.  I also used a poultry seasoning mix I found in among all my spices.  Add in garlic just before you add in the rice.

Surprisingly, a while back I found gluten free chicken stock at walmart of all places and I had it on hand - you can also find it at Hyvee and Trader Joes.  Just make sure you double check - it's an odd item that always has gluten unless specified GLUTEN FREE.  To your veggies - add in roughly 2 cups of rice.  I used a blend of the wild rice and the basmati rice mix.  I used slightly less than 2 cups.  

Let the rice enjoy the veggies for awhile before you add in your liquids.  Maybe 5 minutes.  Add in your chicken stock (about 2 cups if you have a box like mine) and 2 more cups of water.  If you have more chicken stock use more or use more water - whatever you have.  Just remember the chicken stock will be more salty.  

Add in a couple bay leaves and put the chicken back into the soup.  Cover the stock pot for 30 minutes to simmer.  Watch the pot to see if you need more liquid.  If your rice is soaking up everything - just keep adding water until you have a nice consistency. 

After at least 30-40 minutes of cooking, take the chicken out again.

Shred the chicken with a fork and add back to the soup.

Meanwhile, add a pint of cream (or half & half or milk - whatever you have) to a small sauce pan.  Bring the cream just to a simmer - don't boil it.  Add in a couple tablespoons of corn starch.  Whisk the mixture together until it's smooth. 

Add the cream mixture to the soup.  Stir it all together and let it simmer for another 20 minutes.  


This seems time intensive but it goes fast and this soup is worth it!  

**Update (01.29.13) This soup actually freezes well.  It took a bit of stirring to get everything to come back together but it worked just fine!  Yummy lunch today :)

Enjoy :)


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wilderness Ridge

Honestly, I hadn't been to Wilderness Ridge in years until recently.  We (my family plus my fake brother and his fiancé) went to celebrate a late birthday and the holidays of course.  

I was running super late and showed up quite flustered.  However, driving up the entrance - I was quickly re-energized and immediately in the holiday spirit.  When I lived in Lincoln, I was very near Wilderness Ridge and their Christmas light display was always my absolute favorite - I had forgotten how very much I loved their lights.  Christmas lights are probably at the top of my "favorite" things list... very top.  I love Christmas lights tasteful and tacky - the more the better.  Wilderness Ridge does them exceptionally well.  Each evergreen tree lining the quarter mile driveway is fully decked in lights - a red tree, a blue tree, a green tree.  Very much on the tasteful side of extravagance.  When living in Lincoln, I would intentionally commute down Yankee Hill during the holidays just to brighten my day.  

Well the grounds of Wilderness Ridge are breath-taking, the interior of the lodge leaves a lot to be desired.  Maybe they should ask santa for a new interior decorator.  And a couple new waitstaff members.  

Service was not spectacular, however (speaking only for myself) my meal was absolutely delicious - and I don't even like salmon!  I do feel their menu was quite limited - I stared at it for a very long time (and not even in an indecisive mood) and had difficulty choosing a dish that I thought I might enjoy.  The salmon was really my only option.

I would not typically order salmon - but they didn't have any white fish on their menu.  It was served with the most delicious mascapone polenta and balsamic asparagus.  They seemed to be able to easily handle gluten free needs however, I'm not sure our waiter had any idea what I was talking about - I took the risk.  My Manhattan (pictured in the background - empty glass) was beautifully created and presented.

I have absurdly high standards when it comes to creme brûlée.  While this was delicious, it was average in the grand scheme of things.  The custard itself had beautiful texture and was on point - however it lacked true and pure vanilla flavor.  The bruleed top was all wrong - like they didn't even try.  

Overall, it was a wonderful evening with family and holiday spirit.  

Give it a go!

Enjoy :)


The Lodge at Wilderness Ridge on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fried Rice

I've been working on this recipe for awhile through trial and error.  Now, I've never actually eaten fried rice so that may be my initial down fall.  This is what I imagine it should be like and I'm pretty happy with the results.  It's really a combination of a few different ideas.

This is an assortment of ingredients I had in my fridge that I though would work well in this recipe.  The main thing you will need is gluten free soy sauce - the is the base of the sauce.  Plus I think minced ginger is nice for any asian recipe.  I also used minced garlic, chile oil, some spice szechuan sauce I found, pineapple juice, and siracha of course.  

Cook up some rice according to the package directions.  I made a double batch.

While the rice is cooking - saute 1 package of diced onions (from trader joes), one package of mirepoix (pictured here), once it's all cooked through - toss in some frozen peas.  Then you want to make your sauce using all of the above ingredients - start with about a 1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce and 1/2 a can of pineapple juice - then add a teaspoon or so of minced ginger and another of minced garlic.  Add as much spicy sauce as you want.  Then add in some cashews or peanuts for texture.  

In a separate pan - scramble two or three eggs and cook thoroughly.  It just works better to do this completely separate.  I tried doing this in with the veggies the first time and it made a huge mess.  

Once the rice is done to your liking - add the sauce/veggie mixture.  Then fold in the scrambled eggs.  If the mixture seems dry - add in equal parts pineapple juice and soy sauce until it seems right.  Then add more siracha until it is as spicy as you wish!

I hope you enjoy!

If this is nothing like fried rice, I apologize :)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Should we all go gluten free?

I'm sharing this article I came across from the NYtimes in 2011.  I am highly against everyone being gluten free and I'm sick/tired of gluten free being the current fad diet, but I thought I would share anyways.


November 25, 2011

Should We All Go Gluten-Free?

The singer was a no-show. The Gluten Free Expo in Sandy, Utah — one of the nation’s largest events dedicated to foods untainted by wheat — was going to have to start without the national anthem. But Debbie Deaver, the expo’s founder, didn’t have time to worry about that. The song, to be honest, was the least of her problems.
Deaver had slept four hours in the last three days. The 34-year-old woman — who has celiac disease and therefore must avoid eating gluten, a key protein in wheat — was running on prayer and Diet Dr Pepper. She needed sleep, and syrup.
A day earlier, a shipment of maple syrup failed to arrive, forcing her to scramble to find a topping suitable for the expo’s enormous gluten-free pancake breakfast. A last-minute donation of 35 cases of marionberry syrup would have to do. And then there was the issue of actual attendees. With the sky spitting rain outside and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees on a dark October morning, Deaver was becoming convinced that no one was coming to her expo in suburban Salt Lake City. “I’m getting nervous,” she admitted as she scanned the empty concourse of the sprawling, glass-walled South Towne Exposition Center just 30 minutes before the show started. “People aren’t showing up.”
But seemingly all at once, they did. When Deaver opened the front doors at 9 a.m., she was stunned by the huge crowd waiting to get inside. At the sight of these people — her people — Deaver stopped cold in her Puma sneakers and began to cry.
“I’m just so excited about those gluten-free pancakes,” she announced to the crowd. “Is everybody ready to eat some pancakes?”
Four hundred people surged into the expo hall in the first 10 minutes, 1,200 in the first hour and nearly 6,000 by the end of the single-day event. They came from as far away as Arizona and Nebraska, like pilgrims to a sort of gluten-free Mecca. Once inside, many were soon listening to one man: Dom Alcocer, a 33-year-old marketing manager, who stood on a chair in an expo booth, barking at the attendees and throwing gluten-free granola bars into the crowd.
“Ohhhhh! Dropped pass!” Alcocer shouted to one person. And then, to another: “Nice catch!”
The crest on Alcocer’s golf shirt said Gluten Freely, as did the sign above the booth promoting a Web site of the same name. But Alcocer wasn’t here representing some Internet start-up. He was from General Mills, the Minnesota-based food-manufacturing giant, which perhaps more than any other mainstream corporation has begun focusing on gluten-free consumers. In the last three years, General Mills — best known for Cheerios, Betty Crocker and that wheat-filled Pillsbury Doughboy — has put gluten-free labels on more than 300 products already made without gluten, reformulated the recipes of five Chex cereals, introduced gluten-free dessert and pancake mixes and, most recently, asked Alcocer to make America’s go-to Web site for the gluten-free life.
“So General Mills funds you?” Annika Lovell, the mother of a 6-year-old with celiac disease, asked. “You’re part of them?”
“Yes,” Alcocer replied. “We are from Minneapolis. We are General Mills. And we are Gluten Freely — here to bring everything together in a one-stop shop for you guys.”
“That’s awesome,” Lovell replied. “I’m so excited.”
Alcocer was excited, too, as usual. The Cornell University graduate was once a captain in the Air Force, where he worked on decoys to confuse enemy missiles and became a Global Positioning System expert who negotiated international treaties on behalf of American interests — heady, scientific stuff. But this job, he said, is just as important as his former military duties. He’s in charge of selling products to a large and once-unknown consumer population: gluten-free America.
“We’ve got food everywhere,” Alcocer said from atop his chair at the expo. “It’s coming out of everywhere. You can’t slow it down. We won’t slow it down.” He paused and smiled. “It’s like I’m selling cars up here,” he chuckled. “How do I get you into a Nature Valley bar today?”
Food companies are always trying to take advantage of the latest dietary trend or health craze. (Low carb, anyone?) But the story of how we got to a place where celiac disease is suddenly mainstream, prevalence rates are rising, perfectly healthy people are opting to eat gluten-free and General Mills is coveting these customers is an especially unlikely business narrative.
I should know. It’s a story I’ve been following for years, ever since I was told I had celiac disease in 1999. I was 26 and until that point healthy. But then I started shedding weight like a sailor lost at sea, and became increasingly gaunt and anemic. So pale, so tired. My doctors told me to prepare for the worst. Cancer, probably. But a biopsy of my small intestine found no tumors in my gut, just withered and destroyed villi. I had celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder. And though it was serious — the disease, when undiagnosed, has been associated with an increased risk of death — I would live. My villi, the tiny, fingerlike protrusions in the small intestine that help the body absorb nutrients, would recover as long as I stayed off gluten, found in wheat, and similar proteins in barley, rye and malt.
But I wouldn’t eat — not really. Gluten-free packaged foods — in which wheat has been replaced by alternative ingredients like rice, sorghum and tapioca flours, among others — were almost impossible to find in the 1990s. Most of what did exist was dreadful: think cardboard. It was also hard to find people who understood the disease itself. Doctors believed it wasn’t much of a problem in this country.
“Nobody really was ready to accept the 1 percent prevalence of celiac disease,” says Dr. Stefano Guandalini, founder and medical director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, who came to the U.S. from Italy in 1996 and found very little awareness of celiac disease. Even experts ignored it, Guandalini says, noting that a prominent medical textbook published as recently as 1999 questioned how widespread it was. “The chapter on celiac disease,” Guandalini says, “quotes a prevalence of 1 in 10,000 in the U.S. and adds that this is mostly a European condition — and the prevalence is decreasing. This is the formal, official teaching in ’99.”
But Guandalini didn’t buy it. And neither did Dr. Alessio Fasano, another Italian who was practicing at the University of Maryland. The genes were here, Fasano recalls thinking, courtesy of our European ancestors, and so was the gluten, a natural component of wheat that provides the elastic qualities that make for delicious baked goods. But the protein is also difficult to digest. And even a healthy intestine does not completely break gluten down. For those with celiac disease, the undigested gluten essentially causes the body’s immune system to lash out at itself, leading to malabsorption, bloating and diarrhea — the classic gastrointestinal symptoms — but also, at times, joint pain, skin rashes and other problems. In Italy, Fasano routinely saw celiac disease. Surely it was in the U.S. too. Hence, in 1996 Fasano published a paper, asking, in the title, a simple question: “Where Have All the American Celiacs Gone?
The same year that he published the paper, he founded the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. He started small; Fasano had only one patient the first year. In a 1998 paper, however, he reported that he had randomly screened 2,000 blood samples for the antibodies that typically indicate a diagnosis of celiac disease and discovered that 1 in 250 tested positive.
Still, doubts lingered. So Fasano set out to do a more comprehensive study — or, as he called it, “the most insane, large epidemiological study” on celiac disease in the U.S. to date. More than 13,000 subjects in 32 states were screened for the antibodies. Those who tested positive underwent further blood tests and, when possible, a small-bowel biopsy to confirm the presence of celiac disease. The results, published in 2003, were stunning: 1 in every 133 people had celiac disease. And among those related to celiac patients, the rates were as high as 1 in 22. People were listening now — and everything about gluten-free living was about to change. “Believe it or not,” he says, “the history of celiac disease as a public health problem in the United States started in 2003.”
As awareness of the disease became more widespread, Fasano expected celiac diagnoses to increase. That, in fact, is what has happened. Since 2009, Quest Diagnostics, a leading testing company, has seen requests for celiac blood tests jump 25 percent. But Fasano didn’t anticipate other developments. He now estimates that 18 million Americans have some degree of gluten sensitivity. And experts have been surprised, in general, by the rising prevalence of celiac disease overall. “It’s not just that we’re better at finding it,” says Dr. Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “It truly has become more common.”
Comparing blood samples from the 1950s to the 1990s, Murray found that young people today are nearly five times as likely to have celiac disease, for reasons he and others researchers cannot explain. And it’s on the rise not only in the U.S. but also in other places where the disease was once considered rare, like Mexico and India. “We don’t know where it’s going to end,” Murray says. “Celiac disease has public health consequences.” And therefore, it has a market.
Gluten-free products aren’t just selling these days; they appear to be recession-proof. According to a recent Nielsen report on consumer trends, the volume of gluten-free products sold in the past year is up 37 percent. Spins, a market-research-and-consulting firm for the natural-products industry, says the gluten-free market is a $6.3 billion industry and growing, up 33 percent since 2009. Niche companies like Amy’s Kitchen, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Bob’s Red Mill and Udi’s Gluten Free Foods are reporting incredible growth.
Major corporations have also been moving into the marketplace: Anheuser-Busch introduced Redbridge, a gluten-free beer, in 2006, and Kellogg rolled out gluten-free Rice Krispies this year. Other companies have begun adding labels that indicate when their products are gluten-free — that is, when they contain fewer than 20 parts per million gluten (the proposed federal standard). Both Frito-Lay and Post Foods have begun such labeling in the past year. It’s the golden age of gluten-free.
Celiacs aren’t the only ones who are grateful. Athletes, in particular, have taken to the diet. Some claim to have more energy when they cut out gluten, a belief that intrigues some experts and riles others. Guandalini dismisses the idea as “totally bogus.” Yet no one can argue with the success of the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic. Within months of revealing this year that he had a gluten allergy and had altered his diet accordingly, Djokovic posted a remarkable 64-2 record. By September, sportswriters barely let a moment pass without asking about, as one called it, his “off-court eating habits.” After his victory at the U.S. Open final, a reporter wanted to know what he ate for dinner the night before, for breakfast that morning and what he planned to eat that night. “I’ll give you a simple answer,” Djokovic said with a smile. “Last night I didn’t have any gluten, and tonight I will have a bunch of gluten.”
The reporters burst out laughing. Some even clapped. It was funny. But celiacs everywhere winced. Djokovic’s answer didn’t just trivialize the seriousness of their disease. The answer made it official: gluten-free was a full-blown fad. And while that meant more products on the shelves, it also signaled the possibility that this moment might not last.
Back at General Mills in Minnesota, however, Dom Alcocer insists that gluten-free is here to stay. What he sees, he told me, is a growing number of Americans who have no choice but to be gluten-free. Earlier this year, ConAgra Mills, a leading flour supplier, published a report characterizing gluten-free specialty products as a $486 million industry. That’s much smaller than the $6.3 billion figure from Spins, but it doesn’t include mass-market items like Chex cereals. What’s more, David Sheluga, the director of consumer insights at ConAgra Mills, found something significant about who’s buying gluten-free specialty products and why. More than 80 percent of the market, he estimated, is being driven by core consumers — people on the diet for medical reasons. In other words, Sheluga says, even if some occasional customers give up on gluten-free products, it will have little impact on sales. “That core,” Sheluga says, “is not going away.” These are the customers General Mills set out to reach four years ago when a few employees began floating a radical thought: What would happen if they made Rice Chex gluten-free?
General Mills has for generations boasted about the quality of its wheat flour (“Makes the Bread of Life”) and other wheat-laden products. “We love gluten,” Jodi Benson, a longtime General Mills employee, told me when I visited the company’s headquarters outside Minneapolis last month. “We are,” she added, “the very best of gluten.”
Still, a senior food scientist named Dean Creighton was willing to try to take the gluten out of Rice Chex when the idea was first raised in late 2007. In nearly two decades at the company, Creighton had never tried to remove gluten from a product. But he had tinkered with cereal recipes. “That’s my job,” he explained. And he was pretty sure that he could make Rice Chex gluten-free. He just needed to solve the problem of “brown notes.”
Chex is at its best when it has what experts call brown notes: a toasted flavor and brownish hue. And what contributed to the sweet brown notes was malt syrup, a glutenous ingredient that would end up being replaced by molasses. Just like that, Chex would have a new audience: millions of customers who previously didn’t bother to go down the cereal aisle. “That’s a huge opportunity,” Liz Mascolo, the Chex marketing manager, told me.
As Rice Chex was being reformulated — it arrived on shelves in 2008 — the Betty Crocker team was experimenting with gluten-free mixes for cookies, brownies and cakes. “We were sticking our necks out, because we’re General Mills, and we’re used to doing things mass — big — appealing to everyone,” says Dena Larson, a marketing manager in the baking division at the time. “And we knew that we were inherently going against that.” There were other problems. The early cake recipes fell flat, literally. “Think of yellow cake,” Benson says, “in a brownie height.”
But a thousand batches later, General Mills got it right. Four different mixes, with large gluten-free labels, went on sale just as the cereal division was planning four more gluten-free Chex products: Honey Nut, Corn, Chocolate and Cinnamon. Gluten-free Bisquick pancake and baking mix was in the works, too. Then General Mills asked Dom Alcocer to rebrand the Web presence behind its gluten-free business strategy. Alcocer, in his four and a half years at General Mills, had previously marketed soup and cookies — he liked his gluten. But once tapped for the job, he lived gluten-free for 40 days and began building
General Mills reached out to the nation’s top experts on the topic — Fasano­ and Guandalini — and asked them for medical advice and scientific guidance. The science, Alcocer said, needed to be front and center. Competitors needed to be acknowledged, too; Alcocer believed customers should be able to buy their products on the Web site. And finally, Alcocer and others at General Mills have pushed for greater transparency: detailed ingredient lists showing which products were gluten-free.
It’s the sort of thing that worries corporations. When a company labels a product gluten-free, then it absolutely has to be, or the consequences can get ugly. “We call that the R-word — recall,” says Brenda Jacob, General Mills’ manager of product labeling and regulatory compliance. “We don’t want to go there.” But in the end, Jacob listened. General Mills published a list of gluten-free products two years ago and continues to add to it today under the stewardship of Alcocer, who believes the company, not the customer, should bear the “mantle of anxiety.”
General Mills won’t disclose sales figures of its gluten-free products. But in statements to investors, the company has indicated that the strategy is working. Retail sales for Chex cereals, in the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year alone, are up 29 percent. Meanwhile, Alcocer has been on the gluten-free-expo circuit, visiting half a dozen in recent months. He’s not just a guy handing out samples, his colleague Alison Miller says. “He’s a great face,” she says, “of General Mills.”
“Hey, everybody! Come on up and grab as many as you like. We’ve got Nature Valley bars. We’ve got Larabars. All flavors.”
Alcocer was down off the chair now. But he was still working the crowd at the Gluten Free Expo in Utah, doing what he would later describe as “the circus-barking thing.” It’s an act. But not entirely. “We want to be what the brand is,” Alcocer told me. “It’s energetic, it’s positive, it’s happy — it’s just living.”
Toward the end of the day, he was embracing people. “Let’s hug this out,” he told one weepy woman, overjoyed by the products before her. Then Alcocer began to break down the booth, making sure to give away every last item, all the way down to the container of gluten-free chocolate frosting on the table for decoration.
The purpose of attending the expos is to connect with customers. But Alcocer has found a way to do the same thing back in Minnesota too. He often convenes a meeting of what he calls the Gluten-Free Advisory Board — an official title for a very unofficial group of General Mills employees and on-site contractors who have celiac disease, have children with the disease or are gluten-free for other reasons. During the week of my visit to General Mills, eight women attended Alcocer’s meeting. Lunch was served and questions were asked. Alcocer was interested in the holidays. What did they miss? What did they need? How could Gluten Freely make their lives easier?
The women talked about how hard it was to go to holiday parties and find nothing to eat for their children. They discussed the need for better pie crusts. Then one of them, Mary Podvin, raised a subject that resonated with everyone at the table: Casseroles. There was something, Podvin said, about gluten-free Progresso cream of mushroom soup that simply didn’t work in the casseroles she loved to make. “It needs to be — ”
“Gelatinous!” answered Dena Larson, from across the table.
“Glue,” Podvin said with a nod. A gelatinous glue was exactly what cream of mushroom soup typically brought to a good casserole — and that’s what they wanted now from their gluten-free recipes.
“Is that even possible, though?” Carol Bagnoli, whose 3-year-old son eats gluten-free, asked.
“Anything,” Alcocer replied, “is possible.”
The women at the table laughed. The notion that anything is possible isn’t one that gluten-free folks hear very often. But Alcocer wasn’t joking. It was, he told me after the lunch, “a holy-moly moment.” He had no idea that casserole was a problem for his customers. There were, after all, recipes for casseroles on the Gluten Freely Web site. “But if it doesn’t turn out,” he said now, “it’s no good to anybody. So we’re going to go down to the kitchen, and we’re going to say: ‘We need help. These people need help.’ How can we get that can to become that can?” In other words, how could they get a can of gluten-free Progresso soup to act like the can of condensed soup called for in the recipes that his customers loved? “There’s got to be a way,” Alcocer said, “to take this great product and make it work.”
And it was this exchange, perhaps more than any other, that signified, to me, how much the cultural fault lines have shifted. For generations, major corporations have ignored people with food allergies. The goal was feeding the masses.
Now that is changing. Gluten-free foods — none of which taste like cardboard — fill my kitchen cabinets and those of millions of other Americans. A niche market is going mainstream. Long before General Mills unveiled its first official gluten-free product, consumers had made their needs known in phone call after phone call to Minnesota. The global trend data were there, laid out before the marketers, and so was the science — until, finally, it was clear: These customers needed to eat, too, and there was money to be made in feeding them. “It’s millions of people,” Alcocer told me, “with nowhere to turn, but us.”
Keith O'Brien is a freelance writer and the author of a forthcoming book on high-school basketball.
Editor: Dean Robinson

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scratch Waffles

It's so much easier to make waffles from scratch than from a mix.  And knowing me, I usually am more likely to have the ingredients on hand than have waffle mix!

These happen to be chocolate chip, but you can really mix in anything to give your waffles a little extra flavor - peanut butter, wild blueberries, oatmeal, or pumpkin were a few other options I was considering!  

Basic Waffles:
1 3/4 cups Domata Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1 3/4 cups milk (you can use nut or soy milk)
1/3 cooking oil (or melted butter)

**If you want to make this more complicated, you can separate the eggs and beat the egg whites, then fold them into the batter to make it more fluffy.  I'm usually in a hurry (starving!) and just add the eggs in whole.  It doesn't make a huge difference. 

Heat up your waffle iron and use accordingly.  

Top with anything really!  Peanut butter is a favorite of mine, cream cheese, greek yogurt, or berry sauce.  Get creative.  

I make waffles because I suck at making pancakes.  It's really my only flaw :)



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chipotle + Halloween Celebration

How can you resist $2 burrito bowls at Chipotle??

Amelia Earhart, a farmer, and a runner.  

Chipotle isn't ALWAYS the safest choice for me, but they are really good about changing their gloves and being conscious of gluten free and cross contamination.  I've only gotten sick once from eating at Chipotle and honestly I can't exactly blame it on them.  I love eating there and I really love eating there for $2!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Butterfly Bakery

My mom brought me these strawberry macarons recently from Butterfly Bakery in Lincoln.  They do not specialize in gluten free offerings and I believe these are the only gluten free treat they currently have on their menu.  After my exhaustive search of the best macaron this past fall, these probably wouldn't make the top ten, but the strawberry flavor was very authentic.  And I did enjoy the packaging! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Finally Friday!

This book arrived in the mail from a couple days ago and I'm excited to finally have some free time this weekend between a very busy schedule to dive into it!  

I've always loved Julia Child - I can remember watching her cooking show on Saturday mornings on channel 12 with my grandmother and have since read numerous books about her life.  But the one book I was missing was the most important one - her most famous.  I'm very excited to read through her french recipes and see if I can manage any of them gluten free!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fancy Banana Bread

I have never before enjoyed banana bread.  And by never enjoyed, I mean I hated it.  Most banana breads are tiny little loaves of disgusting, dry, gritty, excuses for quick breads, so I wasn't really too sorry to see them go when I had a legit reason not eat them.  

However, a while back I saw an article in a Rachel Ray magazine which laid out the methodology for making quick breads - anything from banana bread to zucchini bread with a variety of different mix-ins.  Maybe it was the diagram or the clean layout, or the basic scientific explanation that made me want to try the recipe.  I figured I could easily manage the recipe gluten free because quick breads are easier to adapt gluten free because unlike yeast breads, they do not rely as much on the gluten protein structure for their shape, texture, and height (rising).

I figured adding chocolate chips could only make the banana bread better, of course!

***Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream (daisy brand or Hyvee)
1 1/2 cups Domata Flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
2 eggs 
3 mashed bananas
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Oven at 350 degrees (if using a glass loaf pan, oven should be at 325**).  Grease the pan.  

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl.  Cream wet ingredients in another bowl.  Then mix all together, do not over mix!  Add chocolate chips last.  Put in loaf pan.  Then into the preheated oven.  Bake for 60 minutes.  It's done when a knife comes out of center clean.  Cool in pan for a few minutes then turn out on to a rack.  

**I learned this the hard way, that's why my loaf is so dark :)
***This is not the exact Rachel Ray recipe, I added unnecessary ingredients because when you're baking gluten free it's necessary to add additional fat sometimes to overcome the dryness from the lack of gluten hence the sour cream.  Adaptation of regular recipes is always a struggle and it takes quite a bit of trial and error.  This cardamon is just a personal preference - it's my favorite spice and I put it in just about everything. 



Thursday, November 22, 2012


I try to always be thankful, but on thanksgiving we are especially vocal about things.  

I am thankful for my parents.  They are everything to me!  Above all they are my mentors and my guiding examples.  I love them and will always be grateful to them for the life they have given me. 

I am thankful for all my friends (near by and very far away).

I am thankful and deeply grateful that I have found a job that I love.  

Pets make people happy and I have the best ever.  I am thankful for Kevin.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Remember, Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, food and football.  Indulgence is definitely allowed :)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The French Bulldog

I went to the French Bulldog in Dundee with V recently for lunch.  It's a new restaurant that features traditional french charcuterie.

This was the meat plate we tried.  Each meat was distinctly flavored and was absolutely delicious.

For lunch, I ordered the roasted vegetable salad with pesto dressing.  It sounded average but I was surprised by the depth of flavor and really enjoyed the complex flavor profile.  I would be very tempted to order this salad again.  

I give this restaurant a very high recommendation on their menu.  My only criticism is the noise of the restaurant, but sometimes that just can't be helped!


The French Bulldog on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oops... Sand Brownies

This may look like a delicious pan of gluten free brownies.... but looks can be deceiving.  Gluten free baking is far from easy.  I cannot in good faith provide you with the recipe for these brownies until I have it perfect.  When I pulled these from the oven, I was excited, they looked pretty good, as shown above.  But when I cut into them, they crumbled like sand!!  I'll admit I ate most of the pan because they still tasted wonderful but all things considered they were a failure.  Gluten free baking is always trial and error :)