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Friday, August 31, 2012

I ♥ Friday

So much exciting stuff going on this weekend!  This morning started off with a YP Leadership Breakfast, lunch date a noon today, my friend Alison's birthday, rainbows all weekend, Bus Stop tomorrow, shopping with my Mom, more rainbows, plans for dinner and my favorite macaroons.  I'm planning a full day of baking and gluten free experimenting on Sunday and I'm excited for the Labor Day holiday on Monday!  Oh and of course Husker Season has officially begun :) 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Runza Pie

Prepare yourself for the best recipe EVER.  I really really miss eating Runzas... especially at Husker games!  No matter what - the person I'm sitting by always gets one and I have to sit there smelling that deliciousness and hating that person furiously.  But this recipe is a wonderful solution and it's EASY easy to make (at home, not Husker games).

Runza Pie:

In a skillet - saute one diced onion.  Add in one package (1lb) hamburger.  Once browned, season with salt, pepper (that's the runza flavor), and some cumin.  Add in 3/4 a package of shredded cabbage.  Cook it down just a bit until it's all nice and happy.  *I like to dice a little jalapeno into mine.

For the "pie" part: In a large glass measuring cup (this is just easier that getting a bunch of stuff dirty): 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup gluten free bisquick, and 2 eggs.  Whisk together with a fork.  

In a casserole dish.  Combine the hamburger cabbage mixture with the bisquick milk mixture.  Top with shredded cheese and bake in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes or until it looks fantastic!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cash Mob + CandyWrappers

A couple weeks ago, I participated in a Cash Mob at my favorite local candy store.  First of all: a Cash Mob is an organized event to rally around a local business, develop marketing buzz for them, and of course patronize their store.  

I'm part of an organization called OLIBA: Omaha Local Independent Business Alliance and they were behind the Cash Mob.  We chose CandyWrappers for the event!  (my absolutely most favorite candy store EVER!).  

CandyWrappers is owned by Jim & Susan Hitzemann and they use the best ingredients and family recipes for all their candies.  I go specifically for the peanut clusters - the chocolate is perfectly sweet and the peanuts are salty.  I can't get enough of them :) 

I've also recently fallen in love with their popcorns.  The have specialty flavors like white cheddar jalapeno (freakin amazing!) and the chicago mix which has yellow cheddar, regular white popcorn, and carmel popcorn all mixed together - I love this combination!  

Because everything is made in house and Jim & Susan know all their ingredients, I feel safe eating their candy and enjoying their popcorns.  

CandyWrappers is located at 123rd & Center in Omaha.

You MUST stop in there! :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mother of all Indian food

Mother India - 35th & Leavenworth, Omaha.  Mixed Veg Curry.

Indian food has been my very favorite since.....May of 2007.  Yes, I can say that definitively.  Indian is also incredibly safe to eat gluten free.  

Please don't be scared of Indian food.  It's sooooooooo incredibly amazing.  If you've never had any experience with this ethnic cuisine, take someone with you who eats it regularly to explain the menu a bit, if you order something you absolutely hate - you may never go back and you will be missing out on some incredible INCREDIBLE good gluten free eats.

Try it, it's lovely.



Mother India on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Proper Blessing...

I don't feel like I've been properly blessed in years... When I go through the communion line, I secretly slip the communion wafer into my pocket or drop it into the basket where the little wine cups go.  I can only imagine what the ushers are thinking!

The holy tradition of consuming the body and blood of Christ through bread and wine leaves us Celiac's in the dark.  Even those tiny little wafers could cause problems.  

GOOD News - this is a clipping I saw in Rachel Ray magazine.  Reproduced here:

Maybe you could have a little chat with your church ladies and ask them to order a box or two!


Friday, August 24, 2012

I ♥ Friday

Sometimes you need a little friendship, great food, and a stiff drink to end a bad day!

*A Toronto cocktail - whiskey, bitters, and vermouth (delicious!)

*Eggplant Terrine 

*Pork Belly on a bed of pureed carrots topped with a bean salad

All appetizers designed and plated gluten free compliments of the amazing staff at the Boiler Room.

V and I finishing the evening with a little champagne - which will make any day better!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

*I know this is a terrible pic - my food photography skills really come & go :)

The first time I made this recipe, it was absolutely heaven!!  The second time, it didn't turn out so great. BUT, that's gluten free baking!  You just have to go with it :)

Oven at 325.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
1 1/2 C Butter (softened, room temp) - that's 3 sticks
1 (8oz) package Cream Cheese - room temp
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla (good vanilla)
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour (domata)

I like this recipe because 1) you don't get a whole bunch of measuring cups dirty! and 2) its only one bowl!  That's the mark of a great and easy go to dessert :)

Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar using a mixer.  Add in one egg at a time.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Then the flour a half cup or so at a time.  *The dough will be super thick.

Put in a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake for an hour - then check on it.  It could go as long as an hour and 20ish minutes. The second a knife comes out clean it's done.

You could also bake this in a bundt cake pan.  That was my original intention but apparently I lost my mother's - she's not incredibly happy about this incidence :)



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Domata Flour

Domata flour is the BEST gluten free flour I have ever found.  It works perfect is most every recipe I've tried - cup for cup. 

You can find it at Hyvee - bottom shelf in the Health Market. 

The only time it didn't work was when I tried making cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, but the power was also out - so there were a number of contributing factors to that gluten free debacle. :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Toast - Fallbrook

I was very impressed with Toast in Fallbrook on a night out recently!  I made the trip to Lincoln to catch up with an old friend and she suggested we try this place.  

The atmosphere was wonderful, beautiful outdoor patio, (it was finally cool enough to enjoy outside), the waitstaff was lovely, the menu was great - lots of easily adaptable options, the drinks pretty good, overall I would easily go back!!

I went with an appetizer of nachos, which I realize is definitely in my comfort zone.  These were really fantastic - the corn chips were not your standard out of the bag chips, and these were baked perfectly :)

Kristine ordered a martini that was less than impressive but I don't think that would prevent her from returning!  She enjoyed her artichoke dip and was wanting more!  (I'm assuming it was delicious) 

Toast has easily made it on my list of gluten free places in Lincoln :)



Toast on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 20, 2012

The French way to eat mussels...

*Mussels with Chorizo something (I can't remember) - but DELICIOUS.

On a recent trip to La Buvette with a dear friend, I was informed (by her) that I was eating my mussels wrong.  I will share this with you so you also know how to eat mussels correctly also.  :)

To preface: I usually only eat mussels at Blue Orchid, where I have chopsticks (which makes everything easier). 

Here's how the conversation went:

V: You are eating those like an American.
J: Am I doing it wrong? Should I not use a fork?
V: Yes, you should eat them like the French, always.
J: Ok, explain it to me. 

She scoots my bowl over to her side of the table, takes an empty shell in one hand. 

V: See, this one helps get the mussels out. (she uses the empty mussel shell like a pair of tongs - or chopsticks).  Dip Dip in the sauce.

Then eats the mussel out of the shell.

V: You understand?
J: Yes, that makes perfect sense.  I feel Parisian now. 
V: Well, you look better eating them.

(Then I start giggling uncontrollably.)  


Friday, August 17, 2012

I ♥ Friday

Thank you J.K Rowling for making our lives complete... This one's for you Lily :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Super Stuffed Peppers:

Clean and prepare 4 peppers.  Put them in your baking dish and into the oven at 375 so they can begin to soften.  This just gives them a head start.

(While the peppers are in the oven)  In a large sauce pan - saute 1 large onion (diced up).  Add in some garlic, maybe a teaspoon.  Then 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes. Cover, turn off the heat, let it sit for at least 15 minutes.  Fluff mixture.

Pour the quinoa into a large mixing bowl.  Add one can black beans (drained/rinsed), 1-2 diced jalapenos (or more if you want), black pepper, chili powder and cumin to taste, and 2-3 heaping table spoons hot salsa (whatever brand you like).

Take the softened peppers out of the oven.  They might have juice inside them now, drain it out.  Into the bottom of your dish, add one regular size enchilada sauce (I like the hot one) and a couple more heaping tablespoons of salsa.  Mix it together.  Place the peppers back in the dish.  Scoop the quinoa filling into the peppers.  Top with grated cheese.  Into the oven for 30 minutes.

To serve, pour the sauce over the peppers.  I put each pepper into a tupperware container and eat one for lunch - they also freeze super well!!



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Greatest Invention least in food

I'll give Betty Crocker some credit... they nailed it with this one.  Bisquick's gluten free mix is absolutely flawless when it comes to baking.  

You can purchase this almost anywhere they sell Bisquick (but not Trader Joe's).  And you can sub it in for anything that uses normal Bisquick....Pancakes, waffles, biscuits, quiche, pretty much anything you can think's wonderful! 

Here is the link to the website where they have a bazillion recipes :)

I always try to keep a box on hand!  


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blue Orchid - Lincoln

Regular might be an understatement... It's getting better now that I live in Omaha...

Blue Orchid is my absolute favorite restaurant on this entire earth.  And yes I am saying that without trying all the earth has to offer in restaurants.  My mind cannot be changed.  The best thing about Blue Orchid is most of the menu can be adapted to gluten free needs!  It's difficult for me to express in words how much I love this restaurant, the food, the waitstaff, the atmosphere, EVERYTHING.  I've been eating there for years and I've tried almost everything on the menu, but now of course I have my absolute favorites.  Above is my ultimate appetizer - and my basis for judging ALL other mussels. 

The mussels are happily steamed in a lemon grass and basil reduction and served with a spicy side sauce that is insanely great.  I'm not exactly sure what's all in there - but it's full of goodness.

If you don't like mussels - you will like these.  You just need to try them.  Soooo good!

On the menu this is listed as Orchid Chicken - I however do not eat chicken so I substitute beef into my dish.  So above is Orchid Beef, thai hot, and gluten free.  I will warn you - thai hot is not for the faint at heart, I have a steel stomach and can eat fire without it phasing me.  Occasionally the thai peppers get the best of me, I think the seasons affect their heat!  I think I love this dish so much because of the delicate balance of sweet and heat - the pineapple briefly cools your mouth with sweetness while the pepper burn all the way down.  I also love the wonderful texture and nuttiness that the roasted cashews provide!  Goodness - I'm craving this right now!!

Food blogging on an empty stomach is never a good idea :(

Please please try Blue Orchid if you haven't already and when you go - I want to come with :) !!



Blue Orchid Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gluten Free Candy list

This is very important.  This is the link to the official gluten free candy list!  Yay!!  I can't live without candy - so happy I don't have a chocolate allergy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I ♥ Friday

My dear friend Jill and I enjoying DQ on a benefit night for TEAM in Training!  *peanut buster parfait.

You can still eat Dairy Queen so I ♥ Friday!!! Within reason of course and you have to use your brain.  MOST ice cream is safe - vanilla, chocolate, the basics.  Ok so DQ Soft Serve is safe - that's stage one.  Then think about what mix-ins would be safe - hot fudge, peanuts, m&ms, butterfingers, fruit, you get the idea.  Absolutely no to cheesecake bits, brownies, cookie dough etc.  Now you need to think about what machines are being used to make your dessert and whether you can ask if it can be cleaned - for example, if the guy in front of you ordered a cookie dough blizzard and you order a gluten free m&m one, yours will get contaminated if they don't clean off the machine.  

So... Most items made with soft serve and topped with stuff are the safest.  Blizzards are risky unless you can convince the high school kid at the counter to clean off the machine.  But it's worth it!  My personal favorite is the peanut buster parfait.... but it's hard to resist a blizzard occasionally. 

Enjoy that ice cream... 


Thursday, August 9, 2012

California Spaghetti

I understand California Spaghetti might sound a bit strange and you're probably wondering what it even is - well, I will explain, and it has a very special place in my heart!  

In 2007, I studied abroad in India (I know - where I am going with this?), and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  The food and the culture seeped into my soul and will always be part of who I am today.  I will probably talk about India often, as I LOVE Indian food and have many experiences that relate to being gluten free and discovering my Celiac's Disease but that's another post.  

When a group of us would enter a restaurant, we would be welcomed with warm hospitality, waitstaff hurrying out to see the crowd of Americans in their restaurant, and we were swarmed with questions of our travels.  It was always an experience dining - surprisingly most restaurant owners wanted to impress us with the "American" offerings on their menus!  Of course we were in India to experience real Indian culture but it was hilarious to see how they interpreted "american."  

Almost every restaurant had "California Spaghetti" - and they were damn proud of it.  It was really too funny to accurately express in writing, it's something you just have to experience it for yourself.  

I really enjoy making California Spaghetti only because 1) it really is delicious in it's own quirky way and 2) it absolutely takes me back to India and makes me giggle just a bit inside :) 

It's super easy to make.  It's just regular spaghetti with corn in it.  It's a hilarious combination of all american stereotypes - midwestern corn, the a-typical use of "california" as an american standard, and the fact that pasta has greatly become americanized.  

So...1 onion chopped, ground hamburger, and a little garlic - until browned.  Add in your favorite spaghetti sauce.  Let simmer for awhile.  Add in half a bag of frozen corn (use fresh if you have it).  Add to cooked gluten free spaghetti.  *the night I made this I only had fettucini - but it worked fine (this is the pasta brand HyVee carries).  

It's absurd and delicious all at once.  The sweetness of the corn actually does compliment the acidity of the tomato sauce - just try it.  You will love it!



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

a little bit of bliss...

This is pretty self-explanatory.  BEST. CUPCAKES. EVER.

Bliss Bakery - Old Market - 11th & Jones

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Buttercreme Frosting.  



Bliss Old Market Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I love Jason and his deli

I love love LOVE Jason's Deli.  They have a huge array of gluten free sandwich options among other wonderful gluten free menu choices.  Sandwiches, enormous loaded baked potatoes, soups, and salads - this is an incredible lunch place I visit way too often.  I'll venture to say I'm quite the regular.  They know me.  

Of course, I got the tuna sandwich!  But I also deeply love their loaded baked potatoes - for me that's more of a fall/winter choice.  The use Udi's bread - the same bread I buy for myself at home, but they special order a larger size.  The staff is knowledgeable about gluten free handling and always change their gloves to avoid cross contamination. 

I really wish there was one in Lincoln - but this is worth the drive to Omaha!!

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon


Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Afternoon Club

Friday Afternoon Club.  Enough said.  Old Market, Havana Garage, Pendleton - What more could you want?  We've initiated FAC at 4pm on Fridays at work - art gallery visits and a couple drinks to end the week.  Absolutely lovely. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can have your cake and eat it too.... but this is about cookies today!  Many recipes can be easily adapted if you understand baking science and understand how different gluten-free flours react.  This takes time and is a serious baking challenge.  I gave up mixing different gluten free flours i.e.: potato, tapioca, brown rice, white rice... the list goes on.  They are unpredictable and cause problems usually.  So I'm going to make this easy for you - go buy Domata flour, available at most Hyvee's.  It's ridiculously expensive - but totally worth it.  You can use it cup for cup in almost any recipe.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 cups Domata flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 to 1 cup gluten free oatmeal*
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.  Add in all the dry ingredients.  Add the oatmeal last (*if you're sensitive to oats just leave out the oatmeal and increase the flour to 2 1/4 cups).  Add in the chocolate chips - I like to do 1 cup semi sweet and 1 cup milk chocolate.  

Scoop on to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  These don't spread out much so you can put them pretty close together.  Bake for 10ish minutes at 375 degrees.  In my oven 10 minutes is absolutely perfect so just watch them around the 10 minute mark. 

Let them cool if you can.... I really have no idea how many this recipe makes - I usually eat quite a bit of the dough (sampling for flavor!) and a couple baked ones right when they come out of the oven.  



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

PRObiotics = Kefir

I don't know a lot about probiotics, but they are very very good for your digestive system.  I love kefir, you can buy it in a variety of flavors at HyVee or Trader Joes.  It is much more beneficial to drink kefir and ingest probiotics in this form than to buy the pills.  Kefir guarantees live strains of probiotics which is the goal - the pills do not.  There are many varieties of strains and kefir provides the most.  

I usually just buy a bottle and drink a glass a day until the bottle is gone.  Maybe it works, maybe it's in my head but my tummy always feels healthier after and my system seems more regular.  

I've heard rumors than you can buy cultured kefir that is water based ie: milk free and safe for those who have lactose issues.  I've never had any luck finding it but again I only shop at Hyvee and Trader Joes.  It might be best located at a more specialty health food store - but I trust it does exist.  

I'm a big kefir advocate and I love the taste of it - just try it!