Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is fantastic. It's moist and very chocolaty. I didn't even frost it, so good! I am going to have a hard time not eating the rest of the pan! I might try one more piece tonight with ice cream and hot fudge, I bet it will be amazing!!

I was given this cake mix to try by Hy-Vee West Kimberly! I would buy this mix! I will definitely be using it again. I made a round 9" cake. My gluten eating son thought it was very tasty as well!

Gluten Free Sensations Brown Rice Cereal

I have had this a while and hadn't really had a chance to try it. I was given this to try from Hy-Vee several weeks ago. I rarely make hot cereal in the morning and when I do its usually the stuff from Bob's Red Mill. I made it with milk instead of water. I did not like it. I didn't like the flavor even after adding sugar/brown sugar and syrup. I wasn't crazy about the texture but the flavor was the biggest turn off for me. I will probably try it again making it with water. I plan to cut down the water as well because it was too much like soup for my liking. I followed the instructions on the box. I was disappointed. If anyone has tried it an has some suggestions I am open to trying anything!!

I will give it a try again because I did like the two other products I have tried by this company, but suggestions are welcomed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Excellent Customer Service Week

I am beginning to think I missed the memo for Excellent Customer Service Week. I received an email today from Nestle responding to a question I asked several days ago about chocolate chips and which ones were safe for us to eat.  I was shocked, not only did I get an answer, but I got a link to "all" their gluten free products, three different recipe links and a link to a $1 off coupon on any of the Nestle baking products. THANK YOU NESTLE :)

Here is the links to the list of all their gf products  Nestle and Crustless Pumpkin Pie 

~Happy Baking~

Monday, October 25, 2010

Domata Living Flour's The Very Best Batter Bread

Let me get this out of my system now...OMG OMG OMG - I just ate a piece of  bread and it tasted glutenous!! It was warm with melted margarine - heaven...heaven I say!! Okay, I think I'm done...so good!

I was given the Domata Living Flour to try by Hy-Vee (West Kimberly) to test the product to see how I felt it performed. Well let me tell you - it is fantastic. I was a little skeptical when the package claims it can be exchanged "cup for cup" in regular recipes.
I tried to make a loaf of bread in my bread machine last night and it was a complete failure! The loaf was literally white and two inches tall and HARD. Even my dog wouldn't eat it (always a bad sign).

I emailed Domata Living flour today to see if I could get some guidance. I got not one email, but several emails asking me questions and giving me guidance. They weren't automated or sent from some random person, they were sent from the CEO of the Company!! I was shocked. She offered to call me and help me figure out the problem, unfortunately I was at work, but I have never experienced the awesome level of customer service I received from Iris at Domata Living Flour. Even if I didn't like their product (but I do) I would patronize them for the fantastic service.


I made a new loaf of bread tonight from their site. She told me none of the recipes started out GF on their site. She suggested I try the  Batter Bread recipe on their site. I was skeptical, but said well I have to do a review on this flour anyway I might as well give the bread a shot.



I love it!! I actually took pics of it, not because of the blog, but because its the first loaf of bread I have ever made from scratch!!! No mix! Yea -- that's how I roll...er loaf?

I got the 4lb Bag of Domata All Purpose Flour at "my Hy-Vee". It sells for $12.59 for a 4lb bag, which seemed really high to me, however it already has xathan gum added to it, so you don't have to buy it separate. At this price I'd normally cringe, but if I can have fabulous baked goods that tastes "real" I will pay it! So worth it!!

Thank you to Hy-Vee for allowing me the chance to try the product and a huge Thank you to Iris at Domata Living flour for all your guidance and help.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hodgson Mills Yellow Cake Mix (GF)

Tonight my friend's husband made me Gooey Butter Cookies using the Hodgson Mills Yellow Cake Mix instead of a gluten filled cake mix. I had never tried this brand of cake mix. I have previous used Hodgson Mills soy flour and had no issues with using it since it was always in a flour blend.

I have to say I was slightly disappointed. The cookies were good, but the gluten free "aftertaste" was there. So annoying to get a yummy cookie rolled in powdered sugar and yet still able to taste that it is not like the other yummy cookies that are filled with gluten. I just was just hoping it would taste normal. I have definitely had better yellow cake mixes that are gluten free and will continue to buy those, but we learned the hard way that this one isn't a keeper.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Let's Eat Gluten Free Cookbook

I got this cookbook at the QC Celiac Dinner on Tuesday night. I am in love with it so far!! I tried yet another recipe on my family tonight. We had the hash brown pizza crust - it was TASTY!

The recipe was submitted by Betty Bast of Waverly, IA.

I let the hash browns thaw on their own for a while. Then you mix together: 2 cups of raw shredded hash browns, 1 rounded TBS of minced onion, 1/8tsp salt, 1 T melted butter, 3/4 C mozzarella cheese and 1 egg, beaten. That's it.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and spread out on well greased medium sized pizza pan. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Take out and cover with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings, heat until cheese is done.

We added turkey pepperoni and Italian pork sausage and the remaining 1 1/4 c of cheese  and I cooked it at 400 for another 7 minutes. It was awesome. The crust wasn't as crispy as a true pizza crust, but the flavor was great. I am going to try it on my pizza stone next time instead of a pan - but there will be a next time!!

While I am having good luck so far with this cookbook, I did run into a recipe I didn't like. I tried to make an English Muffin in a coffee mug in the microwave - it was NASTY. I will not be attempting that again! It was a waste of expensive ingredients!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pepperoni Bread - WOW!!

I got a new GLUTEN FREE cookbook at the Celiac Dinner the other night, Becky got it the State Celiac Conference a couple weeks ago. The book sells for $15. I combed through the entire book two times at work. I marked all kinds of things to try. Pepperoni Bread was a recipe that stood out - not pizza, but a bread roll type of thing.

The recipe uses at Chebe Pizza crust mix. This was my first time using this mix. I had to add a little bit more milk than it called for maybe 1/2 tsp more so that it was a dough and not crumbly. The recipe is from the "Let's Eat Gluten free" cookbook that was published by the New Hampton & Waverly Celiac Support Groups.

Thank you Bonnie Knapp, I don't know you but this submission to the cookbook is awesome!! My son and I finished the entire thing. He is a gluten eater and loved the pepperoni bread.

Here is the recipe:


Pepperoni Bread

1 Chebe Pizza Crust mix                     2 T. Oil
2 Eggs                                                4 T. Milk

Mix above according to the pkg directions. Knead dough and roll to 9x13 size.

1 egg
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt

Whisk above three ingredients together and brush over rolled out dough, reserving a small amount.

Pepperoni
4oz Cheddar Cheese

Lay Pepperoni over the top to cover and sprinkle 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese. Roll up lengthwise tightly and seal ends. Brush with remaining egg mixture and lay seam side down on the cookie sheet. Bake the bread at 375 for 25 minutes. Slice and eat while warm.

I ate mine with a side of warm pizza sauce. So tasty! Highly recommend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comment Cards

I have just ordered "comment" cards to leave at restaurants after I have eaten there to assist them with improving their service/menus for Gluten Free Patrons. This idea came from a friend who is not required to be gluten free, but likes the blog and the idea that with education more people can benefit from having the options. Thank You Emily for the fantastic idea, I am sure it will help many people in the future!!
 
I cannot wait to get the cards and start using them. I have been trying to come up with a way to let the restaurants know who I am and that I blog on my eating experiences, hopefully this will help!!
 
 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WAHOO

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog I am over 600 visits. I appreciate everyone taking time to read my blog, I hope it provides you with helpful information. I enjoy trying new things and love that I can share it with others.  So thank you again for keeping up with my blog!

O'Melia's Supper Club 10/19/10

Tonight was the QC Celiac Group's dinner at O'Melia's Supper Club in Rock Island, IL - it was fantastic! They made a huge effort to make it gluten free for all of us by making sure all the kitchen appliances and areas were sanitized so that our foods weren't cross contaminated, it was appreciated by all of us!!

They gave us a full meal for a reasonable price. The service was good. The food was tasty and to be with other people who suffer from foods like I do is priceless!! The meal they prepared is something I haven't had in a long time - true fried foods, not just french fries - but real fried food. They prepared fried chicken, fried cat fish, french fries, mashed potatoes, Italian wedding style soup and finished off the entire meal with Chocolate Mousse. Everything was tasty. The fried foods were great. The soup was amazing with pasta, meatballs and veggies. The dessert was so good that as I sit here watching Biggest Loser with my belly hanging over my pants a bit, I want another serving of that Mousse, so rich and smooth!

The Chef said they are working on getting a separate fryer and keeping it away from the other fryers so they can offer the fried gluten free foods on the menu permanently, they are not quite there yet. They do offer other items on their menu that are gluten free and are very accommodating to gluten free dining. If you have the chance to call ahead that gives them even more time to prepare for a gluten free guest. 

I will definitely be back to O'Melia's! It is located in Rock Island at 2900 Blackhawk Rd.  A big Thanks to the Staff at O'Melia's as well as Becky Wentworth, the leader of the QC Celiac Group #79 for organizing and making this delicious meal a success!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill 10-16-10

Uncle Buck's Fishbowl & Grill is located inside the Bass Pro Shop store in Altoona, IA (Just east of Des Moines, IA). We were shopping and decided to just grab dinner at the restaurant because you can bowl while you eat which is a big attraction for my 5 year old son. We were bummed to find out all the lanes were taken, but the hostess was happy to sit us close to a TV that had the Hawkeye Game on (Go Hawks) to appease us. I asked the hostess if they had a gluten free menu and she said yes we do, your server will be able to handle that for you. I looked at my hubby and gave him my shocked grin that happens every time I am pleasantly surprised by gluten free options.

The waitress shows up and I ask for the gluten free menu and she looks at me dumbfounded and says we don't have that. She grabs the regular menu to try to "help". I appreciate the offer to "help" but since you have NO CLUE please do not try to help, I can navigate a gluten menu just fine without assistance at this point...I will have a cheeseburger no bun. UGH! I was frustrated and my hubby felt bad, I ended up getting sick from the fries which were breaded in something -seriously people they are FRIES, there is no need to mess with them by breading them before frying...just fry them (preferably in a clean non contaminated fryer).

You'd think I would be used to the disappointment by now since its almost a daily occurrence, but I was still bummed and side lined by a belly ache while my family enjoyed the pool at the hotel.  We will probably go back sometime when we are staying in town again, only because the atmosphere is great and my son loved the place. I think next time I will just stick with a salad to prevent any issues.  The prices were normal for bar food.

Bennigan's 10-17-10

We ate at Bennigan's today after cheering on my brother-in-law at the Des Moines IMT Marathon. We were seated promptly and I asked our server if they had a gluten free menu, I was told No. So I looked at the menu and nothing really appealed to me since I am tired of getting a bun less cheeseburger at every restaurant I go to that doesn't offer a gluten free menu. I opted for Cheeseburger Potato chips. They offer a large portion of homemade potato chips topped with ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and cheese sauce. The waitress was more than happy to put in my order with shredded cheese instead of cheese sauce. She also came back later and asked if it was OK if they put Ketchup and Mustard on it. This got her kudos from my hubby for at least double checking. It was tasty. I didn't get full blown sick, but had a "bloaty" feeling for two and a half hours on a long car ride home. I would still order it again because it was good, but would probably only do it closer to home so I didn't have to feel yucky on the way home.

I will admit I was disappointed they have not jumped on the gf bandwagon. A lot of Chain restaurants are at least attempting to create something for those of us with food allergies to have a guide. I hate going off the "gluten" menu and hoping for the best.

Better than Bouillon soup bases

These products are awesome! I have used the Chicken and Beef base since I couldn't use the regular bouillon I used previously in my cooking. I have used almost a entire jar of each flavor. I use the chicken base any time I need to use chicken broth I just add water. The jar provides excellent instructions.

 I love using the beef base in with roast. I dissolve it in water and then put the roast in the crock pot along with minced onion, salt and pepper. Let the roast cook for 8-10 hours and its PERFECT! We just had it the other night it was the best roast ever (my first time using the base for this purpose). My husband could not get over how tasty the roast was and moist. So tonight for dinner I made "shit on a shingle" or chipped beef gravy with left over roast; I again used the better than bouillon as my "broth" since our milk was a little "iffy". Mixed it in and made it like gravy with melted butter, cornstarch, salt/pepper and roast beef pieces. I served mine over Schar pasta, my family ate theirs over toast...it was fantastic!


The bases can be found in the Hy-Vee Health Markets for about $5 a jar, it has to be kept refrigerated and is worth every cent.

Superior Touch is the company that makes them - check out their website for all the flavors they offer for the bases.

Popcorn, Indiana

Let me just start by saying, mmmmmmmmmmmm! This popcorn is GOOD! We got the Original Movie Theater Popcorn, and it tastes like the real thing. It's salty and hard to stop eating after the first handful. I find I even shovel it in by the handful just like at the movie, as if eating a kernel at a time just isn't the way it should be eaten. It can be found in the Health Market at "my" Hy-Vee (W Kimberly) and at a few other stores in the "chip" isle. It comes in a potato chip style bag. It's worth every penny. Even my gluten eating family enjoys it. So pick some up for your next dinner movie night.  They have a variety of choices check out their website here (The pic of the bag is from their site).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kabobs

We enjoyed the warm evening today by grilling some Kabobs for dinner. They are completely gluten free, they are a lot of work, but they are soooo good!! My brother-in-law gave us the recipe for the marinade, its easy and we always have everything on hand.

We put the marinade into gallon plastic bags and then put the meat in those bags to sit for about 15 minutes while the grill heats up. We use chicken and shrimp. Don't put the shrimp in the bag yet, there is lemon juice in the marinade and it starts to cook the shrimp. We add onions and bell peppers to the kabobs along with half cooked bacon (it finishes cooking on the grill).

We use the wood skewers (make sure you soak them in water). The most time consuming part of the kabobs is the assembly process. It takes us about 15 minutes to make several with two of us working together on it.

Check out the recipe here: kabobs - we use chicken & shrimp both

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch!!

I love Chocolate Chip cookies. I love the dough. I love the chocolate chips. I love everything about a chocolate chip cookie...except the gluten. When I was a kid my Aunt Deanna used to make fabulous cookie bars from scratch, they were one of the first foods I looked for at cookouts or family reunions. So good!

 I was putzing around on the Internet the other day and came across a recipe from Alton Brown, a Food Network Chef, that had created a gluten free cookie recipe. He uses a scale to measure things...there are estimates on the recipe. I used the estimates because I am lazy on a time crunch most of the time.

It is an easy recipe to follow. I did not have a kitchen aid mixer so I used my hand mixer, it worked fine. I did not refrigerate the dough. I spread it out in a jelly roll pan and made cookie bars. I had to cook them 19 minutes instead of 14 like cookie recipe calls. My house smelled so good, I couldn't wait to try them. I was able to hold off about 4 minutes after they came out of the oven. My mouth was watering just waiting to try these cookie bars.

My hubby happened to be home as I juggled hot cookie bar in my mouth and tried to tell him they were good. He asked for a bite...I gave him a tiny one :) I asked what he thought he said they were good up until they burnt his taste buds off.  They were very very crumbly but they were still PIPING hot.

I let them cool for about 20 more minutes and tried another one, they had firmed up significantly, but not hard. They were so good. They have a gritty after thought to them, I don't know how to put it into words other than to say gritty. They are fantastic. My son and three gluten eating friends stopped by and took some home, they all loved them. They are so easy I will definitely make them again. They taste very close to my aunts, so close I am sure she would approve. I don't need the extra pounds these cookie bars are sure to add, but its so worth it to find an awesome gluten free cookie.

So...now that I have rambled on and on about these bars here is the recipe:  Chocolate Chip Heaven

QC Celiac's Dinner at O'Melia's Supper Club

I was given this information by Becky, the leader of the QC Celiac Group. I cannot wait to attend this dinner! I will be there and am looking forward to a safe eating night out with fried foods!!  If you want to join us on this night out - the cost is below and you must contact Becky (her info is at the bottom of this post) no later than October 14th. Hope to see everyone there.

QC Celiac Group Dinner
O’Melia’s Supper Club
2900 Blackhawk Rd., Rock Island
Tuesday, October 19th
6:00pm

Starting off with soup:

Italian Wedding Soup
featuring little gf meatballs and quinoa pasta

Follow by your choice of:

Fish & Chips
 GF Tempura battered Fried Catfish and homemade steak fries
 fried in a clean fryer.

Or

Chicken & Chips
GF Tempura battered Fried chicken and homemade steak fries
 fried in a clean fryer.


A sweet ending:

Chocolate Mousse
A rich chocolate mousse with strawberries and raspberries.


Coffee, iced tea, lemonade & water included. Pop or alcohol extra

Price for the dinner is $17.95 per person                                                                                      (does not include tax & gratuity)
Reservations required by October 14th.  Please contact Becky ASAP to make your reservation.   You will pay for your meal the night of the dinner. 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Name____________________ Phone#________________
 #attending_____                                   email____________________________
Please mark your choice of one entrĂ©e   
 
Fried Fish & Chips________   Fried Chicken & Chips_____
Becky Wentworth- email: wentworth1964@mediacombb.net 
phone: 563-391-2968 or mail: 6130 N. Hancock Ave, Davenport, IA 52806

Mary's Gone Crackers - Sticks & Twigs

I was given the "curry" flavored Sticks & Twigs to try from Mary's Gone Crackers today at Hy-Vee. They leave a funky taste in my mouth. I do not like them. I like pretzels, they taste NOTHING like a pretzel. I don't know if another flavor would have been better, but these are awful. I don't think even a curry fan would really care for these. I like some of the crackers by the company, but they too have an aftertaste that you can't get past, even with dip. I definitely would not buy these again. I will try to take them to work, maybe someone will like them, but I'm not optimistic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

TGI Friday's 10-7-10

I tried TGI Friday's today with a girlfriend. She isn't required to eat gluten free. We were seated and I asked if they had a gluten free menu, they did (I was surprised). The waitress brought it over. It says allergen guide on the front and it offers an easy to follow picture guide as to what is in their foods. The back of the page had about 5 selections that are gluten free. They are all high priced. My lunch I ordered the Shrimp Scampi and Salmon it was $15.  I had to order it without the lemon pepper sauce and add salt/pepper, which I read directly from the gf menu to the waitress (the instructions are printed on it) and she still needed a bit of explanation. I was concerned so I asked that she make sure they added "allergy" alert to my ticket. I don't know if they actually did or not. I couldn't tell if it had lemon pepper sauce on it or not. It was tasty, but there was some sort of "sauce" on it. I did get sick about 20 minutes later, so my thoughts are the instructions were not followed. Their loaded mashed potatoes are safe and YUMMY! Will I go back, probably not, I have had much better food elsewhere at much lower prices.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gluten Free Cafe Soup - Veggie Noodle

I tried the Gluten Free Cafe soup today for lunch at work. It is the veggie/noodle version of the soup. I was expecting a chicken noodle taste, even though I knew it had no chicken in it. I did add my own grilled chicken tenders to the soup. I was a little concerned when I opened the can and saw the broth had a reddish brown tint to it. I am not a cooked tomato fan and saw there was tomatoes in the soup. There were also green beans, carrots, celery along with rice noodles. The flavor was tomatoey (if that's a word) but not so over bearing that I was put off by the taste.
 
I didn't think it was too bad, but I'm not sure that I would buy it regularly since I wasn't crazy about it. I cannot gush over it that it was the best soup ever, but it filled me up and the consistency was good.  I cooked it in the microwave for 2 minutes. There are about 2 cups of soup in the can at 90 cal per cup, so its low calorie wise for a lunch by itself.
 
If you are looking for an easy to make lunch at work, this is as easy as it can get.
 
 

Tweet it to the World

Some people are not familiar with Twitter. It's a website that allows you to stalk follow your favorite people or companies. I use this site to follow all kinds of gluten free people and companies that offer gluten free products. Updates are limited to 140 character so the updates are short and sweet.

I have won free products from Bob's Red Mill just for tweeting about a product of their I like or disliked. You can ask questions and re-tweet other people's posts to get the most readers out of it.  There are also celebrities, news, and regular everyday people who use twitter everyday. And its FREE!

I use twitter to let the world know (or at least my followers) when the blog is updated and to keep up with new products coming out by companies like Bob's Red Mill, Kinnikinnick and Ians. I also follow other bloggers who are gluten free bloggers, they tend to post links to recipes and contests for free gf products on their blogs. To find the companies use the search feature and they usually come up right away.

Twitter is very easy to use. If you want to follow me I am @dispatchergurl on Twitter. Happy Tweeting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh Martha...

I am not a fan of Martha Stewart. I find her magazines to be kind of stuffy and I never really found anything that I needed to make that was "creative" and decorative for a dinner table. If people don't like my plates and forks with my uber fancy mardi gras paper napkins, well then don't eat with us.  I do not have vases of fresh flowers at my house, I cannot promise my dog wouldn't knock it off the table and eat the petals, so I don't bother.
 
Today my friend/coworker, Patti came over to visit me in the "dungeon" and brought with her a piece of chocolate cake. The cake was moist and dark chocolate brown with white creamy frosting. She told me she wasn't sure if she liked it, but since she ate 1/2 the pan, she must like it. I had to agree with her. It is good. I cannot explain why it is good, but I could not stop eating it. It is the hardest cake to describe. It's not too sweet or too chocolaty, it's just good.  I think it would have been even better refrigerated. I was quite surprised to see on the copy she recieved from her friend that it was from Martha Stewart's website.
 
I will definitely be making it myself sometime, if you are wanting a good from scratch cake, give it a try. Find the recipe here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall is in the air...

Nothing says it's officially Fall til our first fire pit fire at my house. Tonight we did just that, it wasn't so cold that we required blankets but definitely needed a sweatshirt and pants to keep warm by the fire. A fire at my house isn't completely without S'mores, which as you know for me presents a problem.

 Instead of pouting drooling while my husband and son stuff themselves full, I decided to try the S'moreable graham crackers by Kinnikinnick for my cracker portion of my smores.



I cannot lie, I love Hershey's chocolate bars, but I hate how it never fully melts in my s'mores, when it hit me what is better than chocolate bars...nothing.  Nutella, great chocolate taste, but almost healthy in a spreadable form. Ohhhh yea, Nutella.


Add a couple burnt toasted marshmallows and it was perfect! The graham crackers aren't as crispy as a regular graham cracker and OK, I will admit it, I even like the S'moreables a little stale/chewy (Gross I know).


This is the closest I can come to a real s'more and its pretty dang good, if you have been without gluten for a while and miss the campfire goodies, try it, you won't be disappointed. I haven't tried to make a pie crust yet with the crackers, but I plan to for a Thanksgiving pie (the recipe is on the box). I will post when I do and how it turns out.

Think Thin Bars

A friend from work, Patti, recommended I try the Think Thin protein bars. I tried the Chocolate Covered Strawberry one last night. I used it as my dessert at a wedding since I couldn't eat cake. I was a little taken aback by the texture, its not as chewy as a normal protein bar, but its chewy. It has an aftertaste, but the after taste is very similar to a true chocolate covered strawberry. It's 200 calories and 15g of protein per bar.

Try it, you might like it. They have a few different options, so check out their website.