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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 :)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chicken Biryani - Mother India

I know I post often about Mother India.  But I love it, I just can't help it.  However I have made an internal promise to myself to try something new every time I go there now.  My latest find is the Chicken Biryani.  This is a warm your soul dish that is perfect for a crisp chilly day!  It's a spicy onion curry with the rice cooked with the sauce and a choice of chicken, vegetables, or lamb.  I would highly recommend this dish and it will be very hard for me not to just order this again :)


Mother India on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ropa Vieja

From my dear friend Robin...

Ropa Vieja

About 3 lb. brisket, brown well with one sliced onion in olive oil. (leave fat on the brisket)

Throw in crockpot with:
2 cans tomato sauce
5 cloves crushed garlic
2 bay leaves
2 chopped green peppers
1 c dry red wine
1 T cumin

Cook on low until the meat can be shredded.

I usually cook it the day before, stick it in the fridge, and then skim the fat off the top, take the fat off the meat and shred the meat and put it back in the sauce.  Sometimes I make black beans to go with it too. And, of course, rice. :-)

I hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jones Bros - Self Destruction

Jones Bro Cupcakes in Aksarben Village makes delicious macarons.  HOWEVER, they do not take care to ensure they are not cross-contaminated.  See photograph above.  It's a little hard to see, but there are crumbs EVERYWHERE.

The red arrow is pointing to a "cookies & creme" macaron.  Which 1) why do they have a cookie flavored cookie?  That's just ridiculous.  2) This cookie is dusted in cookies crumbs.... oreo cookie crumbs.  3) They keep this cookie in the middle of all the other non-gluten macarons.  4) their staff are not educated about cross-contamination, gluten free, or what oreos are made from.  

This upsets me greatly.  Jones Bros makes some of the absolutely best macarons, and I would know this because I've been all over the country searching for them! Their lemon, orange, blueberry and vanilla macarons stand as the best I've encountered so far.  But I do not feel safe eating the since they are covered in cookie crumbs!!  Also they don't seem to have the orange or lemon flavors anymore which is very disheartening.  

Jones Bros - hear me out!  Discontinue the cookies & creme macaron immediately.  It is not necessary and it is not safe for the other macarons.  

Thank you!!  

-a very loyal macaron aficionado 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wheatfields - I actually tried something different...

I found this slightly hilarious... every coffee cup at Wheatfields was a campaign ad for Jean Stothert.  So I'm using this post today in honor of the election!  GO VOTE.

I tried Wheatfield's gluten free cinnamon rolls - I usually have a carmel roll.  These were ok - I do not particularly like their frosting, but I do not like most while frostings, I'm a frosting snob.  

Steel cut oats are typically gluten free, but it's really up to each person and what they feel comfortable with.


Wheatfields on Urbanspoon

GO VOTE.  (I still drive all the way home to Milford - 75 miles, you can make time to vote too)

Monday, November 5, 2012

You just have to own it.

You have Celiac's.  You are gluten free.  You just have to own it. 

I spent the weekend with a bunch of high school kids at Camp Kitaki for the Nebraska Key Leader Camp.  I met a very interesting young man named Jordan, he has the opposite pretty much of celiacs - he's allergic to everything else besides wheat (Eosinophilic Esophagitis).  

Our Key Leader weekend was focused on being true to yourself, caring for others, and leadership to your community.  Jordan embraces these values of integrity, growth, respect, community, and excellence in the most positive way.  

He faces an incredible challenge daily with food allergies and with being different in a very obvious way but he faces that challenge, he owns it.  In just the very short time I've known Jordan, he has inspired me - he's confident (more than I ever was in high school), he's ridiculously funny in a natural and charming way, he's caring of others, and even at his young age and the hand he's been dealt in the health department - he's determined to make a difference in this world.  I can say he's certainly on my hero list.

Everyone could use a little Jordan in their lives... Remember just be confident.

Meet Jordan Sager.


Friday, November 2, 2012

I ♥ Fridays

I do love Fridays.  However Friday is not the end of my week, it's really my Thursday which totally throws things off for me.  I work Tuesday through Saturday.  Which is fine.  I still love Fridays. 

I'm taking this Friday AND Saturday off.  I have Key Leader, something I look forward to each fall.  It's a leadership camp for high school kids sponsored by Kiwanis - I've been helping with this event for the past five or six years.  So I'm off to Camp Kitaki!! 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend :)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Curry

Slice it in half - the long ways.  It takes a big knife.

Salt & pepper.  drizzle with olive oil (both inside & outside).

In the oven at 400 degrees for an hour or so.

Carefully remove the seeds only - discard.  Then scoop out the squash!  Set aside in a bowl.

Saute onions.  Brown hamburger and sausage - I used spicy italian (because I had it).  Season with a little chili powder and lots of garam marsala (from the indian spice store!).

Add in spaghetti sauce, a little brown sugar, and a good helping of cream cheese.  Let simmer to deliciousness.

I made rice to mix into the spaghetti squash just to stretch it a bit.  I also added a fair amount of cheese - this is not a health food blog. 

Pour the meat sauce on top, add a bit more cheese, and bake at 350 until brown and bubbly.