Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alexia Sweet Potato Julienne Fries

I recently bought two bags of fries at the store, just to have on hand to help fix quick meals.

We liked the Sweet Potato Fries. They actually did get crispy which is very hard to do. When I have tried to make them myself, they have never done that. When I have the time, I think I just prefer to bake my own sweet potato chunks. We all like them that way too, and no added ingredients!

We also tried the Salt and Pepper Crinkle Fries. I liked these but my husband only likes skinny fries and my kids thought the pepper was too spicy!

It was handy to have these around, to complete some simple meals without gluten, dairy or soy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix

I was very excited to see on another blog that Trader Joes has a gluten free brownie mix now. Last time I was there I picked up one. The 1 pound bag was $2.99 and I was so excited that that was so much less than what I have paid for any other gluten free baking mix. Then I realized it was actually a good bit smaller in size.

I paid around $6.50 for the Namaste Brownie Mix (at Fred Meyer) I made last week but it is actually a 2 pound bag. So twice as much mix for just a little more than twice the price.

And I liked the Namaste one better. My test is not very good because I accidently overcooked the Trader Joes batch. They are definitely very similar (the ingredients lists are almost identical) and both are fine. Both better than the others I have tried.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Email Response from Baja Fresh

Back in the fall, I sent an email to Baja Fresh asking about eating there gluten and dairy free. I forgot to post the response they sent.

This is a portion of the response:
The following Baja Fresh menu items contain dairy products: Sour Cream; Jack, Cheddar and Cotija Cheese; Ranch Dressing, Breaded Fish, Flour Tortillas, and Chipotle Lime Seasoning in our Chile Lime Chicken Salad.

The following items contain gluten: Flour Tortillas, Tostada Shells. Flautas, Tortilla Soup, Breaded Fish, and Raspberry Iced Tea.

Please note, the above information is based on standard product formulations and is current as of August 15, 2005. Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, or product assembly at the restaurant level.

We use only one fryer in each restaurant to fry both gluten and non-gluten items; Chips, Taquitos, Flautas, Tostada Shells, Breaded Fish.

There is some interesting information there. I found the date on the information humorous (more than 2 years old!) and the fact that the ingredients may vary at the restaurant level difficult.

I am beginning to see that to eat out it is also necessary to speak with a manager at the actual restaurant you will be dining at. Hopefully, they would know what you are eating!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix

My husband made pancakes for me the other morning, when I could not come up with anything to eat. (Wasn't that sweet! I am still struggling with GF breakfast.) I have never been very good at making pancakes so he is the pancake maker in our family. A few months ago, he made pancakes using Bob's Red Mill GF Pancake Mix and we thought they were good.

This time he used Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix which I spotted for the first time on my last trip to Trader Joes. These did not turn out good at all. The look and texture reminded me of the shiny rice tortillas they sell there, just not as thin. They were best fresh off the griddle but only 1/2 of us really ate them then and I don't think the leftovers will get eaten.

We are going to switch back to Bob's Mix for this one. I am surprised, I usually LOVE Trader Joe's products!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Soy-free Mayonnaise

I posted previously about our brand of mayonnaise (Best Foods) and how it is gluten free - see earlier post. At the time, I was eating soy so it was ok that it is made from soybean oil.

However, when I gave up soy, I switched to Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise which I bought at PCC Natural Market. When I tasted it at first, I wasn't sure about it, but I have since decided that I like it. (And it does say Gluten Free on the label)

That jar is almost out so now I am looking for something else. Since I was at Fred Meyer, I decided to look at the mayo they had to see if they had one that would work. I got very excited when I spotted the Best Foods Canola Cholesterol Free Mayo that is of course made from canola oil instead of soybean oil. It was the same price as the regular Best Foods mayo as well. Fortunately, I took a minute to carefully look through the ingredients, and about halfway down it says Flavors(Soy). Oh well!

I just realized that I should have looked in the natural foods section while I was there to see if they had another option, instead of planning another trip to PCC.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Namaste Brownie Mix - Gluten-free brownies!

Continuing my quest for a good brownie mix, I purchased a Namaste brownie mix at Fred Meyer for over $6. The 2 pound mix does make a 9x13 pan full and the brownies were a good thickness.

Texture and flavor were better than Bob's Red Mill. Only negative was a little chalky residue in my mouth, which bothered me at first but doesn't really now. I also like their allergen free facility.

Update- I like these even more now. I cut the 9x13 pan of brownies into about 32 pieces and froze them. I just pull one out here and there. I really like this brownie mix. I have one more brand waiting in my pantry to try - Trader Joes.

Bob's Ingredients:Evaporated Cane Juice, Ghirardelli® cocoa, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, corn flour, sea salt,baking powder, xanthan gum.

Namaste Ingredients:Organic evaporated cane juice, sweet brown rice flour, Dutch cocoa, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, salt, and xanthan gum.

Interesting to review the ingredients - they use a completely different mix of flour. In looking at the Trader Joe's Gluten-free brownie package, they use the same basic ingredients as Namaste.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trader Joes Flavored Rice Boxes

When I first went gluten-free, I went by myself to Trader Joes one evening and spent what seemed like hours wandering up and down the eisles, buying basically anything I could find that did not contain gluten and dairy.

One thing I bought were two boxes of flavored rice (sorta like rice a roni) We don't usually eat those but I felt like I needed to just have food, any food on hand that I could eat. (I was so hungry those first couple days.)

Anyway, we had two different flavors, one of which was Spanish Rice. We were not crazy about the Spanish rice but we liked it a bit better than the other one which is escaping me right now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Storebought Granola - Bakery on Main

I purchased some granola this week. I got the Apple Raisin Walnut flavor of Bakery on Main Granola. I guess I liked the granola I made myself a little better. But this is pretty good, especially to add some variety.

I know I tried another gluten-free storebought granola a few weeks ago. I'd like to compare as I believe the Trader Joes one was a good bit cheaper than this one, and I liked it about the same.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dining Out Gluten-Free - Chipotle?

I haven't been to a restaurant now for about a month. I received a coupon in the mail for a free burrito at Chipotle. Check out their menu online . From looking at their online allergen statement , it looks like a pretty good place to get something gluten-free. The only gluten containing item is the flour tortillas so the hard-shell tacos, the burrito bowls, chips and salsa and salads should all be ok.

And dairy is only in the obvious - sour cream and cheese.

The only hitch is they use soybean oil in almost everything. Now many allergy doctors tell you soybean oil is ok, so I guess it depends on your particular case. I am not supposed to have any soy, including the oil, right now. Oh Well!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Even more Butter/Margarine Problems

I posted about butter and margarine a while back At the time, I was unable to find something both my son and I could eat, so he was eating butter and I was eating Earth Balance.

It has gotten even more complicated now that I cannot eat soy either. So Earth Balance is out for me. So now I have absolutely no butter / margarine item I can eat. I sure wish I could find something. It is hard to eat a baked potato or grits without it.

Any ideas? Does such a thing even exist?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Trader Joes Mango Fruit Floes (Popsicles)

These popsicles are really good. They even have chunks of mango in them which is a nice touch. (You can pretend you are eating fruit instead of dessert!) Not really, as they are very sweet.

My only complaint is they are too big. I don't need such a big popsicle for a sweet treat. I wish they were have the size they are.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kinnikinnick Bread Crumbs and Meatloaf

Since going gluten, dairy and soy free I have been craving meat more than usual. I was eating meat about 1-2 times per week and now I am having it at least twice that. I need to sit down and make a plan because I don't want to end up eating it every day again.

So today I made meatloaf for dinner. I used my mom's classic basic meatloaf recipe and just substituted the Kinnikinnick Bread Crumbs in for the typical bread crumbs. I thought it turned out great.

I'll have to check the price on these in order to decide whether to keep buying them. Since I am not "doing" (buying or making) gluten-free bread, I can't just make my own. Maybe one day I will be there.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Costco Rotisserie Chicken is Gluten Free!

I go to Costco once every 6-8 weeks. I have a set list of things that I stock from there when we get low. Not the frozen foods or the snacks, but things like paper products and oatmeal.

This time my husband went for me and was observant enough to notice that the rotisserie chicken (yummy) is labled GF. He picked one up to supplement a very simple dinner. It appears to be soy and dairy free as well, how wonderful.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Alison's White Chili and Quick White Beans

I made a few recipes this week that I found at another gluten-free blog - Penny Thoughts.

The Quick White Beans were a great quick lunch for me one day when I needed something fast and easy that I already had all the ingredients for lying around. I used basil as the fresh herb because that is what I had.

The White Chili is really good too - it has lots of flavor even though I went easy on the jalapeno so it would not be too spicy for the kids. I did make a few minor changes based on what I had on hand and I also sneaked in the leaves from a small bunch of chard, finely chopped up in the food processor. I figured with all the cilantro it would just blend right in. Turned out great!

I'll add these to my recipe notebook!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pamela's Ginger Cookies

Tried a new cookie today. Sure is tough to find an already made one without soy, dairy and gluten. Thought this one was pretty good.
The Chocolate Chip cookies by Pamela that I wrote about previously are out now because even though they do not contain gluten or dairy, they do contain soy.
I really need to try my hand at gluten-free baking as I have never been a big fan of ready-made items anyway. I'll have to work on getting my nerve back up

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crispy Potato Cubes

I made this recipe and substituted brown rice flour for wheat flour. I wasn't that crazy about the flavor. Since I liked the brown rice flour fine in the breading for yesterday's chicken, I think that it may have been the mix of spices. I think I will try something a little different next time.

Just to mix things up a bit, I also used this to bread some carrots and roasted them alongside the potatoes. I thought they turned out pretty good and it was nice to have something a bit different.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kinnikinnick Bread Crumbs and Breaded Baked Chicken

I used another item from my Kinnikinnick order this week. I used the bread crumbs (mixed with some brown rice flour and spices) as a breading for baked chicken.

They worked great and it turned out really good. My son kept saying how yummy the "outside" of the chicken was. I tasted a few plain out of the package and wasn't that exciting but the package does recomment toasting them before eating. Seems like a good idea.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Banana Quinoa Muffins

I tried my hand at a little gluten-free baking this week. I have a box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes and noticed a recpe on the back for Banana Quinoa Muffins that had simple ingredients. It uses quinoa flour and quinoa flakes and no oil or margarine/butter making it dairy-free and soy-free as well.

The texture turned out really nice even though I was worried as they did not seem to rise up much. The flavor was a little strong on the quinoa I think. Not enough honey and banana flavor to mask it I guess. My kids did not like them and I have never seen a muffin they would not eat. I was pretty surprised I did not think they were that bad. I may put a little honey on the last few to finish them off though!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

Yes, it's another goodie post.

I went digging in my oldest recipe box for this golden oldie Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe I got from my aunt in 1987. The only 3 ingredients are peanut butter, sugar and egg. Gluten, dairy and soy free! (Make sure your peanut butter doesn't contain soy. Some do. I used natural.) And easy too.

I'm sure you've seen this recipe before, it is pretty common. And with simple ingredients I could whip it out to address a nagging sweet tooth.

I think they were pretty good. A little crumbly and not a ton of depth in the flavor but it hit the spot. It was definitely better than some allergen free sweets I have purchased and a heck of a lot cheaper.

Update - these are better the next day. Not as crumbly. I like them a bit chewy - if you do too then be sure not to overbake!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rice Milk Quandries

I like having some sort of milk-substitute around. I don't use much of it but like to have a little something to put on my cereal or granola or to use in place of milk in recipes.

I went to the store today and spent about 15 minutes in the non-dairy milk section looking for something that was also marked gluten-free. Whew! I almost gave up but finally found Pacific brand rice drink that was labeled GF. They had two other brands (at Fred Meyer) but neither was specifically labeled as gluten-free so I did not want to make a mistake.

I guess I could call and find out if they actually are, although I know I have seen Rice Dream labeled as gluten-free before so I wonder what has changed.

I glanced at the other non-dairy milks (besides rice drink) but did not see any other kind that was dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free either.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Morning Snack - Peabutter and Crackers

Tried a couple of new products - and it was successful! I ordered these online from the Gluten Free Mall. If we continue to get these I'll have to shop around a bit as it came out pricey especially with the shipping fees.

Schar Table Crackers - these are big square crackers that resemble a Ritz cracker. You wouldn't know they are gluten-free. They taste good and have good texture. They are very fragile though and several were broken when they arrive, despite extra packing material around them

Peabutter - This is the only peanut butter substitute I have seen that my son could eat. He is allergic to nuts and seeds and soy. My kids and I tried this with crackers. It is really good. We all three liked it. My oldest used to eat soy butter and I hated that. This has much better flavor. It unfortunate that it is not all natural but I guess the peas need a little boost. Next I'll have to try and see if the kids like it on a sandwich. It will be nice to have a sandwich spread option for picnics this summer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More on Brown Rice Pasta

Well we had pasta again tonight. I only had one box of the quinoa pasta that I mentioned last week, so I had to use some of the brown rice pasta that I already had in my pantry.

This happened to be Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Spirals. This was much better than the brown rice pasta I complained about last time. I love Trader Joe's and I especially love their prices but maybe I'll stick to Tinkyada for a while. I thought the texture was much better. Let's see if I can do that consistently.

I had heard Tinkyada was the best but I thought that I liked the TJ as well. I have a few more bags of the TJ in my pantry so maybe I will figure out how to make the texture better.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Peach Smoothie but not with Ricera Yogurt

The kids and I had Peach Smoothies for snack this afternoon. Well, I guess I can call it a smoothie. I am not sure what it has to have in it to constitute a smoothie but it certainly looks like one.

This one contains a little leftover pineapple juice, lots of peaches I tray froze last summer (partially thawed) and a little rice milk and water (as needed to keep the blender flowing.)

What it did not contain was Ricera Yogurt (non-dairy yogurt made from brown rice.) I opened it up and took a taste fortunately before I dumped it in my blender. It tasted and smelled terrible. Not sure if it was somehow spoiled or just bad. This was the first time I had ever bought it. I won't be buying that again.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Salads

In spite of our less than stellar summer weather, I am moving forward on my summer salad plan. I made several salads over the last week so that they would be available for picnics and other outings.

Here is what I have made:

1. Roasted Potato and Tomato Salad (from Moosewood Daily Special)

2. Southwestern Corn Slaw

3. Black Bean and Corn Salad

4. Quinoa and Black Bean Salad (Not pictured)

Salad seems like a great item to investigate if you are gluten-free - there are lots of salads out there that don't even need to be adjusted, you just need to double-check all your ingredients.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Homemade Granola - Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Soy-Free

I had better luck finding Gluten-free oats yesterday at PCC so I made some granola. I am no expert so I just made my old recipe with a couple tweaks to remove the offending foods. Next time I want to try using applesauce and decreasing the oil - some people have blogged that this works for them.

Here is what I made, based on what I had on hand.

Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

6 c rolled oats (certified Gluten-Free)
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c flaxmeal
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
2 c chopped pecans
2/3 c honey
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 T rice milk
1 1/2 t vanilla

1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients
2. Combine wet ingredients in small bowl. Add to oat mixture and mix thoroughly.
3. Turn into two large shallow greased baking pans or cookie sheets. Heat in 300 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir twice during heating.
4. Let cool for 15 minutes after removing from the oven and then stir again. Store in tightly sealed container.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kale Chips for Snack

We had a bunch of Kale from our CSA so I made some Kale Chips one afternoon. I would not say they taste just like potato chips but they were pretty good. Made it easier to eat a fair quantity of Kale. I though the texture was nice and I am sure you can play around with the seasoning if they are too bitter.

I will make these again as it is a good idea for a healthy snack food.