August 31, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 9/1/10

I can’t believe it’s September, but I’m glad it is.  Fall is my favorite season, and I’m anxiously awaiting cooler weather.  I hope to get September’s challenge up for you soon, so keep an eye out for it.  I’ll also be posting the August review of Gluten-Free Wednesdays links as soon as I get it put together.

I’m pretty sure I got everyone’s posts stumbled last week.  I hope you saw at least a little traffic boost from it.  I’ll try it again this week.

The pesto challenge is officially over, but of course you can link a pesto recipe any time.  Here are a couple from last week.  One of them was added late, so you might have missed it.  Be sure to check them out.
Frugal Pesto from An Oregon Cottage
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto from We Are Of The Day
My submission this week:

Brown Rice Salad

brown rice salad

Thanks for participating.  Please remember to leave a link back here in your post. Please read the guidelines if this is your first time participating (or if you didn’t read them before).

1. Lorraine - Zucchini Patties made with brown rice
2. Lynns Recipe Adventures (choc. chip cookies)
3. Chickiepea's Blog: Eating for Autoimmune Health (Make Your Own: Flavor Extracts)
4. Sophie ( triple coconut & almond butter soft cookies with dark chocolate chips
5. Aubree Cherie (Honey BBQ'd Tofu)
6. Heather @CeliacFamily (Wild Rice Salad)
7. Lisa @ Extraordinary Life (Philly Cheese Steak Soup)
8. Shirley @ gfe (Zesty Marinated Pork Chops)
9. Chaya - zucchini mufflettes
10. Mikki - Crockpot GF Apricot Ginger Chicken
11. Comfy Cook - The House of Tomatoes
12. Pat @ GFFoodMyHubbyLikes (Parsley Sauce)
13. Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free (Review of Pamela's Single Serving Brownies
14. Easy To Be Gluten Free - Zucchini Gratin
15. Deanna @ The Mommy Bowl (Katz Bakery Review & Giveaway)
16. Brian (GF Crack Pie)
17. Alea (Easy GF Sandwich Thins)
18. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats (Semi-Traditional Panzanella)
19. Jason@JLHealth (GF Braised Lamb Shoulder
20. Alison @ Under the Big Oak Tree (Baked Veggie Fritters)
21. Jessi@ SweetandSaltyLife{CHocolate Ganache}
22. Jenn Cuisine (Pasta for Remembering Summer)

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August 30, 2010


Brown Rice Salad

Two of my three boys are fair skinned with reddish hair.  They sunburn easily which is one of the reasons summer is not my favorite season.  We haven’t had a pool membership for a number of years, but we did when they were little.  The problem was that even with 30 or 50 spf sunscreen, my oldest would burn anytime before 4 pm.  As a result 4:00 – 6:00 was our usual pool time.  On Sundays, we often went as a family and ate dinner there—a cold dinner that I could pack in the cooler.

This salad was one of my stand-by recipes for such occasions.  It still reminds my boys of those days.  While it works as a cold meal, we prefer it warm so I suggest trying it that way first.

brown rice salad

Gluten-Free Brown Rice Salad

If serving this warm, cook the rice and heat the chicken or ham.  Combine the rice, chicken or ham, green onions and almonds.  You could use the pot you cooked your rice in.  In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and salad dressing.  Pour over the rice mixture and stir to coat.  Serve

If serving this cold, use leftover chicken or ham and do not heat it.  Follow the directions above and chill before serving.

View Printable Recipe

This recipe is linked to the following food carnivals which are not gluten-free, but are still a good resource.


August 28, 2010


Links Linda Likes


If you are spending some time browsing the web this weekend, here are links to some pages I recently found.  This list is not limited to food.  They are simply things that interested me.  I really like animals and pictures of them, particularly dogs and birds.  If you take time to look at any of these links, let me know which ones you like.

These food pages are not necessarily gluten free, but those that aren’t can pretty easily be adapted to be gluten free.
Hasselback Potatoes
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Homemade Chocolate Bar
Making naked eggs (something kids might like to do)

Dogs & Birds:  These are all photos
Huge dog
Kissing birds
Baby woodpeckers
Dog in car (funny!)
Owl landing

Life Lists
Surprising Things You Can Get for Free
Best Time to Buy Things


August 27, 2010


Herb Mincer: Tools of the Trade

Oxo Good Grips Herb Mincer

- verb (used with object)
1. to cut or chop into very small pieces

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Tools of the Trade post.  With many people bringing in lots of basil from their gardens, I thought I would talk about the herb mincer.  I have the Oxo Good Grips Herb Mincer  pictured here, but there are many others to choose from. 

I wouldn’t say that an herb mincer is an essential kitchen item.  I got by for many years using a knife or scissors.  However, if you use a lot of fresh leafy herbs like basil or parsley, a mincer is definitely a handy tool to have.

Image via Wikipedia

The reason we mince herbs before cooking is to help release their flavors and distribute them in the food we are preparing.  Cutting the herb accomplishes this, but crushing it also releases flavor.  When I use my herb mincer I get more crushing than I do with scissors. 

The white edge you see at the top of the mincer above is used for scraping the pieces of herb together in a pile on your cutting board.  I scrape them together, then roll over them which results in some cutting and some crushing.

The thing I don’t like about this type of mincer is that some of the herb pieces get stuck on the blades and are difficult to get off.  The mincer comes apart and can be washed in the dishwasher, where it comes clean, but when I’m mincing an herb, I want all the pieces to go in the food! 

I’m curious.  What do you use to mince herbs?

For more helpful tips check out Works for Me Wednesday.
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August 24, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 8/25/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

It’s that time of year.  School has started for us.  My oldest son is in college, but living at home. I home school my two youngest boys who are in 9th and 11th grades.  Thankfully, they are pretty independent, and several of their courses are co-op classes which meet once a week through our support group. 

I have to admit, though, that sometimes when life is busy, I want to give up blogging.  Sometimes it becomes something I have to do rather than something I want to do.  Then I receive a comment or better yet, an email, from a reader who takes a minute to say thanks.  It makes my day and keeps me going. 

Another thing that keeps me going is this blog carnival.  I look forward to your comments and your links.  Last week I started using my StumbleUpon toolbar more, and I tried to stumble all of your links (I may have missed a couple, and I’m sorry if I did.)  I appreciate everyone’s participation, and I hope to bring a little more traffic your way through StumbleUpon. 

Last week we had lots of great links including several pesto recipes.  If you haven’t tried this month’s create a pesto challenge, you still have time.
Parsley Walnut Pesto from Chaya’s Comfy Cook Blog
Vegan Arugula Pesto Melange from The Mommy Bowl
Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto from Beyond Rice and Tofu
My submission is week is another zucchini recipe:

Zucchini Scramble

zucchini scramble in dish
If you haven't entered the cookbook giveaway I have going on, you have until Wednesday night to enter. 

If this is your first time participating, please read the guidelines.  Remember to leave a link back here, and I hope you take time to visit some of the other links.

1. Heather @CeliacFamily (GF Animal Cookies Review)
2. Kim@Cook It Allergy Free (Cinnamon Raisin "Bran" Muffins-GF/DF)
3. Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free (Review of Schär Gluten-Free Products)
4. Jenn Cuisine (Gazpacho Blanco)
5. Aubree Cherie (Sugar Free Peanut Butter 'Rice Krispy Treats')
6. Chaya - Vegetarian Moussaka with Feta
7. Chaya - Cherry Baby Bundts
8. Lisa's Gluten Free - Baked Pork Chop Dinner
9. Teriyaki Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa (The Local Cook)
10. Shirley @ gfe (Slow Cooker Potato-Zucchini Soup)
11. Jason@JLHealth (GF 5* Penne Genovese)
12. Fresh Flavors of Summer
13. Lisa @ Extraordinary Life (Sweet and Sour Chicken)
14. Easy To Be Gluten Free - Peach Cream Pie with Toasted Almond Crust
15. Brenna Kater, Oceanskater (Chocolate Beet Cake)
16. Mikki - GF Spaghetti Carbonara
17. Marianne - Cornmeal
18. Alea -Book Review: Cooking for Isaiah
19. Jessi@Sweet and Salty Life {Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies}}
20. .ambre. @ We Are Of The Day (Kid Tested Tomato Basil Pesto)
21. Lauren @ Celiac Teen (Plum Quinoa Cake)
22. Brian (Carne Asada Fajitas)
23. Jamie @ An Oregon Cottage (Frugal Pesto)
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August 23, 2010


Zucchini Scramble

Two out of three zucchini plants are still in my garden, but they are no longer producing.  I had a little bit of powdery mildew which I was able to control, but the real problem was squash vine borer.  Those little buggers can kill a plant quickly.  My remaining plants are hanging on, and I keep hoping I’ll find a nice size zucchini on them again.  All I’ve harvested over the past couple of weeks has been a couple of tiny zucchini that would not get any bigger.

I am still getting some zucchini from my CSA box, though, and since it’s one of our favorite vegetables, I’m always interested in zucchini recipes.  This modified recipe came from that cookbook I found at the library this summer.

zucchini scramble in dish

Gluten-Free Zucchini Scramble
Chop the onion.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then slice it.  I prefer to not slice mine too thin so they don’t get overdone.  Add the flour to the zucchini slices and toss to coat.  I think you could omit the flour, but I decided to use it since the original recipe called for it.

zucchini scramble-floured zucchini

Heat the oil in a large skillet and stir-fry the zucchini, onion, and garlic with the basil or dill until the onion and zucchini are tender.

In a separate skillet, brown the ground beef and drain.  Or, you could cook the beef first, remove it from the skillet and then cook the veggies.  Combine the beef and vegetables in one skillet.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Beat the eggs with the water (or milk) and pour over the mixture in the skillet.  Heat and stir until the egg is set.

View Printable Recipe

I served it in this lovely antique dish. 

yellow antique dish

For more fabulous (mostly gluten-free) recipes, check out Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.  For more gluten-free ideas visit Lisa's new carnival Gluten-Free & Healthy.

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August 22, 2010


McDonald’s Fries Part 2

Last week I accidentally deleted 50 blog comments (don’t ask)  including the comments on the McDonald’s French fries post.  I do still have those comments in my email so I thought I would compile them in a new post along with comments I received on Facebook and one by email.

It’s interesting to see the contrast in opinions and experiences.  I think it is important for each person to make their own decision based on good information.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there.  It is also important to check with individual restaurants on their practices such as using a shared fryer. 

 Blog Comments:

Thanks for this! I've been wondering about it for a while. It's rare that I eat fast food, but as you said, it's unavoidable sometimes. So thanks!  --GF Miel

How do you typically feel after eating McDonald's fries? The other day I heard Burger King's fries are o.k., so I quickly went to BK after a year of not eatingfries. I did not feel too great the next day. :( Thanks for sharing your McDonald's experience   --Becca

So very well said! Great post!  --Amy Leger

I generally have problems after eating McDonalds - but I've always assumed it was from the fat, not the possible gluten. I guess I just always assumed FF's were gluten-free, thanks for this article!   --Jen

This has been such a big debate over the gf boards. Each person has to decide what is best for them. I prefer to eat hot foods, I don't feel like I have eaten if I don't eat something hot. I used to go to MD's and get a chicken casear salad with fries. Then I read on's post that the chicken breast have wheat on them. I was DEVASTATED. It is easy for me and affordable, especially since I have 6 children to feed. As long as there is no cross-contamination, due to the staff or my kids, the fries have been fine for me.  Chick-fil-a's chicken breast salad is gf and so are the fries. It is more expensive, but the ONLY option for me when I am on the go and on a budget.
 --Happiness is where it is

McDonald's is HORRIBLE if you can't have gluten. Every single thing there--other than ice cream--contains wheat. Fries, grilled chicken, the fruit and nut salad, bbq sauce...EVERYTHING. I cannot eat there.   --April

Linda, I have eaten McDonald's French fries before without problems and I am super sensitive. I've also eaten their burgers occasionally with no bun, but on a few occasions I've gotten sick immediately. I suspect that if the fries were the culprit, it was because of cross contamination OR the fries being cooked in the same oil as breaded fish. McDonald's says they use a dedicated fryer, but I have read of folks working at McDonald's saying this is not always the case, so I suppose it can depend on the location, the day, etc. Not good. More than likely when I've gotten sick, I suspect the burger was the culprit. Once I actually saw them take my burger off a bun and put it in the box to serve it to me. Clearly, one doesn't always get to see one's food being prepared. Even if that doesn't happen, there's the chance of cross contamination on the grill, spatula, etc. Despite that, sometimes when on the road, it's the only game in town and I've done it with super emphasis on being allergic. Sometimes you will see "allergy" come up on the screen, but most times not.
Gluten-Free Living is an excellent publication. I love their well-researched articles!

Super awesome post. Great information. My daughter and I know pretty much right away if we digested gluten. We never had issues with McDonaldsFries. We have also ordered Hamburgers with no bun. We have also seen employees just take the bun off of an already made burger in the back and give it to you. Some locations have a whole separate station to put the buns on, others just bring the bun to the grill which would be bad. Most times we just get salad and fries. Its the fries we are really after anyway :-).

Thanks to everyone for their kind words about Gluten-Free Living. In each issue we try to bring you the best information about all kinds of gluten-free topics. We have written about McDonald's fries several times and agree with the points Linda makes.  --Amy Ratner

The fries at McDonalds are NOT gluten-free. They finally started using fries that aren't dusted with wheat, but they are not using dedicated friers, at least where I live. You have to check with each individual McDonalds to see if they are using dedicated friers, otherwise you'll get cross-contamination from the chicken mcnuggets and other things.   Burger King, however, does have gluten-free fries. They now use dedicated friers and I have yet to get sick from eating their fries. If you get a craving forfries while on the road, I would suggest going to Burger King.  --Sara

I drove from Calgary, Alberta to San Francisco to Vegas, to New Orleans, to Myrtle Beach, to Washington DC and back to Ontario. Over 8000 miles in 20 odd days.   Guess what breakast was most days?  McD's Hashbrowns. Lunch, often Fries. We had fantastic dinners along the way but breakfast needed to be quick.  I didn't have a single problem with eating there. I'm sure you can imagine what that trip would have been like had I gotten sick.  I knew they initially contained gluten but that there was none present in the final product and that was good enough for me.  --Kathleen

To be honest, gluten-free or not, I wouldn't eat McDonald's fries (or anything for that matter!)! My friend has had a box of fries and a plain burger in his basement for the last 80 days, and they haven't changed. Haven't moulded. Haven't smelled. Haven't had bugs. Haven't had anything happen to them...which to me is a little startling, considering they're supposed to be edible! Did you know that there's an anti-foaming agent in the fries? As well as a chemical that helps them retain their golden colour...permanently? Gluten-free or not, I don't think I'd want them not-rotting in my belly! But that's just my 2 cents worth! --Alison

Facebook Comments:

I've gotten sick a few times after eating a small fries at McDonalds - no idea if it's gluten or not that caused it - so I pretty much just avoid it altogether now. I have the same problem with Chipotle, which is SO disappointing. I love Chipotle, but I more often than not find myself sick after ordering a burrito bowl there (which is supposed to be GF).  

Sometimes it is the only option when I am out. It is by far, the healthiest option, but when you need to eat hot food to feel like you ate something, there is nothing else besides Chick-fil-a that is fast and affordable. I don't like BK's fries, even before I was gf.

We eat very little "fried" or oily food and when we do, we get sick too. So it may just be that. Even greasy pizza, GF, will still make us sick.  --Robbin

I stopped eating them. Not sure if they were making me sick or if it was something else. I know a lot of Celiacs eat the fries. I guess many McDonalds use fryers that are dedicated to just the fries, some do not. If they don't, then you...  --Jessica

I called several fast food places to see what was safe a year ago when we went on this diet. I was told tha tmcdonald's dips their fries in wheat before freezing them and shipping them to the restuarant. Burger King does not, but most fast food places don't have dedicated friers for the fries anyway so cross contamination's an issue. arby's fries are safe when they have a dedicated frier (but only 50% of the arby's taht i've stopped at had one).  --Valerie

I do eat McD's fries with no problem and as far as Arby's their homestyle fries and potatoe cakes are safe but stay away from the curly fries. Something in the seasoning, plus there are some Arby's that fry all the fries together in the same oil so that would cause cross contamination. I always check before ordering fries any where I go!!

McDonald's fries have wheat flour on them. You didn't know that? I didn't even read the article yet but wanted to comment. My daughter got really sick after eating them, so I checked the ingredients at the McDonald's website and they are coated with wheat flour. Who would've thought? I was shocked...I had just assumed that fries would be gluten free. Burger King's are fine.  --April

McD's fries are *not* GF.. we have better luck other places  --Laurie

I eat Chick-fil-a french fries and do not get sick. That is the only place I eat them; other places fries make me sick.  --Pameal

We eat Chick-fil-a fries w/out any problems, and we are a sensitive bunch. I divvy up my chicken from a salad, and add a fruit cup for a complete meal, LOL. My oldest tried McD's fries a while back, and thought they were horrible. They are coated with a waxy substance that he couldn't get out of his mouth. He has no desire to eat there again!

I like Bojangles fries 'cause they have some peel left on them, so therefore more filling and nutritious (maybe?). but no idea if GF....  --Mary Beth

I don't really trust fast food fries you never know what they fry in the fryers together unless you work there! ----Jonna

i thought BK coated their fries with flour?  --Lynn

I am new to being gluten free and checked all fast food restaurants websites to see what was safe or not. Arby's, Wendy's and Mcdonald's all list their fries as containing wheat and unsafe for a gluten/wheat allergy as all their grilled chicken. Burger King however actually has a list of gluten free foods on their website and fries are listed as a safe food as well as the grilled chicken in their tendergrill salad.  --Laura

Generally they are not cooked in the same oil, which is why gluten free folks have eaten their fries for year. You should always check with the individual restaurant just to be sure.  --The Gluten-Free Homemaker (Linda)

I think it can depend on the country or state as to how safe each store is. However for us we have boycotted McDonalds. Here is why:

When out and needing a quick meal. We try Subway and get a chicken salad or we go to a cafe and get a hot potato and get them to put salad on them. I always go to a place where they make it in front of me.  --Jacqui

An Email Comment:

Thank you for your site, I appreciate each email update from you. I have a comment about fries.  I understand that most fast food & other restaurants have one central filtration unit to filter oil from all of their deep fryers, including those used for wheat coated products like chicken nuggets, breaded fish and onion rings. Due to this, even freshly made potato fries cooked in their own fryer would be cross-contaminated from the oil. Most restaurants would be very unlikely to have a separate filtration unit due to the cost. Everyone has to make their own choices of course, but from what I read any cross-contamination is harmful for celiacs & the goal is 100% compliance with gluten-free. The gluten-free diet is a big expense in time and money, and I am sorry to see people compromise all that over occasional trays of fries when there might be safe options. Thank you. --Shirley


August 19, 2010


Gluten-Free Cookbook Review & Giveaway

100 Best GF Recipes One of my favorite gluten-free cookbook authors is Carol Fenster.  I own several of her cookbooks and a few of my very favorite recipes come from those books, or were adapted from one of her recipes.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to review her newest cookbook,100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes.

The Book

With the exception of five new ones, the recipes in this book are taken from her book 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes.  The cookbook title says it all.  These are 100 of her best recipes and it is put into a compact affordable book with 30 beautiful color photos.  It’s a very nicely done color cookbook with the ingredients listed in red.  It also features icons next to recipes that are vegetarian, kids favorites, and quick to make.

Another feature I really like in a cookbook is variations on a recipe.  Many recipes in this book have a highlighted box at the end with a variation of the recipe.  The front of this cookbook has useful gluten-free information, Carol’s sorghum flour blend, and a description of gluten-free flours.  A couple of special features are a list of gluten-free, dairy-free brands for specific ingredients, and a list of menus that combine some of the recipes in the book to make a themed meal such as Elegant Dinner Party, Southwestern, or Weekend Brunch.

My Experience

Carol's soft pretzels Before doing this review I made a couple of the recipes that I hadn’t made before.  The first was soft pretzels.  They are something I miss at times, especially when I’m walking past an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel shop.  I have to admit, that I was disappointed in the result as a pretzel.  I did, however, think they make a good bread stick.  They just didn’t taste like pretzels to me. I even tried brushing butter on top. 

chive flatbreadThe second recipe I tried was Fresh Chive Flatbread with Dipping Oil.  I goofed a little by adding all of the olive oil to the dough, rather than saving 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling on top.  The dough ended up very thin and wet, and the bread was definitely flat and rather heavy.  Next time I will use the right amount of olive oil and hold back a little of the liquid.  It tasted good though, especially with fresh rosemary in the bread and chives on top.  I served it with the dipping oil as a side at dinner and everyone liked it.

The Giveaway!

I am offering one copy of 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes to one winner.  You must be a US or Canadian resident to enter.  There are several ways to enter, but you must leave a separate comment for each entry.  Also, be sure I have a way to contact you.  The giveaway will end next Wednesday, August 25th at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.  Here’s how to enter:
There are five possible ways to enter, and you must leave a separate comment for each.  If you receive this post via email, please do not send me an email.  You must click over to the blog and leave a comment.

Disclaimer:  I was sent a free copy of 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes, but the opinions in this post are my own.

This giveaway is now closed.

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August 17, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 8/18/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Welcome to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, the blog carnival that’s all about gluten-free eating.  I hope you will share a recipe, review, or other eating idea for those people on a gluten-free diet. 

In case you haven’t heard, this month’s “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free” carnival is taking place at Gluten-Free Frenzy with a Barbecue Bash theme.  You have until the 29th to submit your recipe and photo.

Last week there were several people who participated in this month’s pesto challenge.  The challenge goes on for the month of August and posts can be linked up any week at Gluten-Free Wednesdays. 
Pistachio Pesto Crusted Chicken @ Cook It Allergy Free
Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto @ Brenna Kater, the Ocean Skater
Parsley Pesto @ Gluten-Free Food that Even My Husband Likes

My submission this week is:
Grilled Pizza
pizza grilled slice 
If this is your first time participating, please read the guidelines.  I don’t like to, but I will delete links that do not link back here.  Linking back is common blog etiquette.  I appreciate everyone who participates and I look forward to reading your posts each week.

1. Lynns Recipe Adventures (gluten free cookie)
2. Heather @CeliacFamily (GF Mexican Pizza)
3. Shirley @ gfe (Lemon-Lime Coconut Basil Ice)
4. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free (The Allergy Free Lunch Box)
5. Subbed Almonds for Oatmeal Bread
6. Parsley and Walnut Pesto
7. Oranger Ginger Stir-Fry over Spaghetti Squash Noodles
8. Jenn Cuisine (Summer Salad App)
9. Aubree Cherie (Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms w/Quinoa)
10. Deanna @ The Mommy Bowl (Vegan Arugula Pesto Melange)
11. Jason@JLHealth (GF Dutch Oven Pineapple U/D Cake)
12. Easy To Be Gluten Free - Southwest Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry
13. Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free (Stuffed Italian Chicken)
14. Lisa @ Extraordinary Life (The Lunch Box Experiment - Part 2)
15. Homemade Potato Chips and Fries
16. Flip Cookbook - Rosy Cherry Cake
17. Jessi@Sweet and Salty Life {Chocolate chip Gingersnaps}
18. Gina @ Gluten-free Gourmand (Buckwheat Waffles)
19. Jillian @ Funny (allergen-free) Girl - What to bring to a baby shower
20. Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free (Gluten-Free [Chocolate] Banana Muffins)
21. ~Carla~ GF Pumpkin Bread
22. Renee @ Beyond Rice and Tofu (Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto)
23. GF Food That Even My Husband Likes (Salmon Croquettes)
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August 16, 2010


Grilled Pizza

pizza grilled slice I have three teenage boys and they like pizza.  Honestly, it’s one of my favorite foods too. It was one of the first things I worked at converting to gluten free, and it’s a gluten-free food that we all love.  The rest of my family is able to eat gluten so of course they have pizza at a party or restaurant once in a while.  They like wheat pizza, but they also like my gluten-free pizza.  The pizzas are different, but most of the time my family likes my gluten-free pizza as much as and sometimes more than a regular pizza (it depends on the pizza).

My pizza recipe was one of the first things I posted on this blog.  It makes a fairly thick large rectangular crust and a round crust.  I then modified it slightly and posted a single crust recipe that is a little easier. (I just added some new photos to that post.) I like using both recipes, and while both make a somewhat thick crust, they can be made into a thin crust by simply using the same amount of dough to make a larger pizza.  For example, you might use the single crust recipe in a rectangular cookie sheet rather than a round pizza pan.  The crust will be a little thinner, but the pizza will be larger.

When the weather is cool, I make gluten-free pizza most Friday evenings.  When the weather gets hot, though, I refuse to do it.  I won’t heat up the kitchen and much of the house just for pizza.  A friend of mine makes her regular wheat pizza on the grill, so this summer I decided to try it with gluten-free pizza.

I followed my recipe as usual except anytime it was supposed to go in the oven, I put it on my gas grill.  My grill has a thermometer so I kept the controls adjusted to keep the temperature at about 400 degrees.  The pizza dough went on rectangular cookie sheets and I just baked one at a time.  First, I precooked the crust:

pizza crust on grill Then I added everything and finished baking:

pizza grilledAs you can see, the crust did not brown well, but it was still cooked through and tasted good.  It’s not my preferred way to make pizza, but it gets the job done, and makes my family happy.

Have you ever grilled pizza?


August 15, 2010


Are McDonald’s Fries Gluten-Free?

 Not long ago when our electricity was out due to a storm, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I ate at McDonald’s.  In the comments, the question of McDonald’s French fries came up and I thought I would address it here.

First, let me say that I do not regularly eat fast food and I’m not suggesting that anyone should.  However, I have found at times, especially when traveling, that fast food is something I can depend on when I just need to eat.  Usually I take food with me, but sometimes that doesn’t work out, and I don’t believe that an occasional McDonald’s burger (with no bun) and fries will kill me.

This post is for those who do eat at McDonald’s or would like to.  If you think fast food is evil and should never be consumed, please skip this post.  It is not written for you.

The Fries Contain Gluten
From reading the list of ingredients in any of McDonald’s food, one would assume that their French fries are not gluten free. The gluten culprit is natural beef flavor in the oil that is used to par fry the fries before they are shipped to the restaurants.
vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]
It clearly states that they contain wheat.  However, it’s not as straight forward as it seems.

The Fries Don’t Contain Gluten
The company that supplies the oil has had it tested at a leading independent food testing lab.  McDonald’s has also had their finished French fries tested at the same lab.  No gluten was detected using a test that is sensitive to 3 parts per million.  (The proposed definition of gluten free is 20 parts per million.) The reason the tests are negative despite wheat being an ingredient is that the beef flavor is so highly processed that no detectable gluten remains.  

Are the Fries Safe to Eat?
McDonald’s does not state that their fries are gluten-free.  It is up to you, the consumer, to take the above information and determine for yourself whether they are safe for you to eat.  By the way, the above information is also true for their hash browns.

I would like to take a moment to recommend Gluten-Free Living Magazine.  I found Gluten-Free Living soon after I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost 10 years ago and it has been an invaluable resource for me.  I respect their writers and the research they do on topics such as this and other questionable foods or ingredients.  It is not a recipe magazine, though you will find a recipe or two in most issues.  What they excel at is providing you with good solid information on gluten-free living. 


August 12, 2010


Using Leftovers

Leftovers have really gotten a bad rap over the years, but using leftovers is a great way to save money and it can make your life easier by providing food for a second or third meal.  So how can you use leftovers in a way that you and your family will enjoy them?

image 1.  Lunch:  For those on a gluten-free diet, lunch can be a challenge.  If you make a gluten-free dinner, why not save some for lunch the next day.  My husband is not gluten-free, but he likes to take leftovers for lunch because he’s not fond of sandwiches.  At work he has access to a microwave which he uses to reheat the food.  I bought these oval CorningWare dishes with plastic lids  to use for his lunches.  The oblong shape allows me to place different parts of the meal in an appetizing way.  For example, he can have meat, potatoes, and a vegetable side by side and not piled on top of each other.

2.  Repurpose:  Use your leftovers in a different way than you used them the first night.  This is easy to do with meals that have separate parts.  The first night, eat them separate (i.e. chicken, rice, veggies) then another night use them in a different way such as fried rice, soup, or a casserole.  Intentionally cooking more than you need the first night so that you can use it for a different meal is also a great idea.

3.  Freeze:  If you don’t like having for lunch the same thing you had for dinner the evening before, you can freeze lunch size portions for another day when you will be in the mood for it.  You can also freeze leftover food to be repurposed later.  Many people keep small amounts of leftovers in the freezer until they have enough to make a great soup.

A Chinese buffet restaurant in the U.S.4.  Buffet:  My kids actually enjoy leftover night.  When I have leftovers from two or three meals, and for some reason they haven’t gotten used up for lunches, I have a leftover night.  I heat up all the food and put it out buffet style for the kids to pick and choose what they want.  I only require that they do have some vegetables.  They love being able to choose what they want and to combine the foods in a different way than they were originally combined.      Image via Wikipedia—not one of our buffets!

How do you use leftovers?

For more money saving ideas visit some Frugal Friday links.


August 11, 2010


Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

I’ve just never bothered with making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  One of the things I really like about spaghetti is that it can be a quick and easy meal when using sauce from a jar.  The other reason I never made it is that so many recipes use canned tomatoes.  To me, that’s not completely from scratch and if I’m going to open cans of tomatoes, I might as well just open a jar of sauce.

MP900400601 I’m actually not very fond of tomatoes.  I like them cooked just fine, but I don’t like them raw.  I don’t like the taste, smell or feel of them.  I even dislike tomato plants.  I have grown a few tomato plants over the years for the sake of my family and this year I decided to try a grape tomato plant.  That one plant has produced an abundance of tomatoes over the past few weeks and I have learned that I don’t mind eating them raw (the smaller the better, though).

So when I started receiving lots of large tomatoes from my CSA box I knew I would have to do something with them.  The grape tomatoes were all we needed for regular eating.  That led me to deciding to try spaghetti sauce from scratch.  I really thought it would be too much work, especially boiling the tomatoes and peeling them, but I was wrong.  Sure, it takes longer than opening a jar, but it wasn’t bad at all, and I made of lot of it.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce on pasta
Start with the tomatoes.  They need to be peeled.  I was tempted not to peel them, but then I thought of times when I use canned tomatoes and a bit of peel gets in there.  It’s tough and unpleasant.  Peel the tomatoes.  It’s easy to do.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  I use my electric tea pot to get water hot quickly.  The pot does not have to be big enough to hold all the tomatoes.  I did four at a time. Also have a bowl of ice water ready to put the boiled tomatoes into.  Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and set your timer for 1 minute.  That’s all it takes and slightly less time is better than more.  As soon as the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge them in the ice water.  Add the next batch of tomatoes to the pot and set your timer again until all the tomatoes have been boiled.

Doing this step doesn’t take long and it makes removing the skins so easy.  They slide right off the tomato, and sometimes just fall off.  The tomato in this picture was half peeled before I removed any skin.

spaghetti sauce - peeled tomato Once the tomatoes are peeled, slice them in half and use your finger to remove the seeds.  You might need to slice them again the same direction to remove more seeds.  The tomato half on the left side of this picture has been seeded.

spaghetti sauce - seeded tomato Now chop the tomatoes.  The size is up to you.  Place them in a colander while you work on the rest of the sauce.  Put a bowl underneath if you want to save the tomato juice.  Draining the tomatoes will help keep the sauce from being too watery.  I actually skipped this step and wished I hadn’t.  I had to later thicken the sauce by reduction.

Brown the ground beef or sausage.  When it is halfway done, add the onions and garlic to soften them up some.  They cook slowly in the crock pot and I like my onions well done.  Drain.

Add everything except the wine to your slow cooker and stir to mix.  The herbs can be adjusted to taste.

spaghetti sauce - uncooked in crockCover it and cook on high 3 – 3 1/2 hours or low 6 – 6 1/2 hours.   Stir in the wine, turn the cooker to high if you had it on low,  and cook another 30 minutes.  Remove the lid during this time if the sauce is too thin.

spaghetti sauce - cooked in crockThis makes a large batch of sauce so you can freeze the extra or plan to use it for more than one meal.

View Printable Recipe

This post is linked to the following food carnivals.  The links you will find there are not necessarily gluten-free, but many are naturally gluten-free or can easily be adapted.

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August 10, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 8-11-10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Welcome back to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!  I hope your August is going well.  If you haven’t made a pesto yet this month, consider trying something new and creative (or old and traditional) as part of this month’s create a pesto challenge.  Link up your pesto ideas here any week this month.

Earlier this week I posted July’s carnival review which is full of great links.  Last week we had several delicious looking dessert recipes.  Be sure to take a look if you missed them:
My submission this week is a pesto recipe you might want to try:

Broccoli Pesto


Thanks for adding your links.  I hope you take some time to visit the other links and leave a comment.  If this is your first time participating, please read the guidelines.

1. Katrina @ Gluten Free Gidget- Homemade Granola Bars
2. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free (Pistachio Pesto Crusted Chicken)
3. Aubree Cherie (No Bake Sweet Potato Pie)
4. Shirley @ gfe (7 Things on Food & Drink)
5. Deanna @ The Mommy Bowl (GF Vegan Maple Oat Nut Cookies)
6. Bistecchi dei Poveri
7. Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream
8. Lisa @ Extraordinary Life (Super Secret Spaghetti Sauce)
9. Jason@JLHealthTulsa (GF Dutch Oven Brownies)
10. Heather @Celiac Family (Greek Pasta Salad)
11. Easy To Be Gluten Free - Eggplant Casserole
12. Rogene @ Special Food Groups (Summer Salads)
13. Jillian @ Funny (allergen-free) Girl - Gluten-free Chia Biscotti
14. Brenna Kater, Oceanskater (Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto)
15. Pat @ GF Food My Husband Likes (Parsley Pesto)
16. Tia @ Glugle Gluten-Free (Gluten-Free Food to Make Your Tummy Feel Better)
17. Super Simple GFCF Chocolate Pudding
18. Flip Cookbook - Bombay Scramble
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August 9, 2010


Broccoli Pesto

broccoli pesto in bowl
My monthly challenge is back, and for August the challenge is to create a pesto.  This pesto is one that my family has enjoyed for several years.  Unfortunately, I put too much garlic in this particular time and had their mouths burning!  If you like broccoli, I think you’ll enjoy this.  Just go easy on the garlic.

If you do find the garlic is too strong, try cooking the pesto a bit.  I used the leftovers in a variety of ways and we found the garlic was fine after I heated the pesto in a skillet for a few minutes.

Broccoli is one of our favorite vegetables, so I’m not sure what someone who doesn’t like broccoli will think.  If they don’t like the texture, putting it in pesto will change it.  If they don’t like the taste, pesto changes that some too, but not completely.  Give it a try and see what they say.  If it works, it’s another great way to get them to eat their veggies!

This recipe includes nuts and cheese as is traditional with pesto.  However, you can leave one or the other out.  I think the pesto would really suffer if you leave out both, but omitting either the nuts or the cheese works.

Also, the broccoli makes a pretty thick pesto.  I ended up adding more oil to the pesto shown above.  You could also cut back on the broccoli.  Either way, it’s good.

Broccoli Pesto

Wash, cut, and steam the broccoli until it is tender but not overcooked.  Place the broccoli, garlic, cheese, salt & pepper in the bowl of your food processor using the regular chopping blade.  Process until the broccoli is finely chopped.  Keep the processor running and slowly add the olive oil through the tube until combined.  Serve with pasta.

View Printable Recipe

This post is linked to the following food carnivals.  The links you will find there are not necessarily gluten-free, but many are naturally gluten-free or can easily be adapted.


August 8, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays July Review

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Here is July’s round up of links by category.  There are loads of great recipes here.  I hope you find it useful.  Thank you to everyone who participated!

Main Dish
The Flounder Doesn't Swim @ Sweet & Savory
Tempura Soft Shell Crab @JLHealthTulsa
Antipasto Salad @ Easy To Be Gluten Free
Poached King Salmon @JLHealthTulsa
Mushroom Herb Chicken @ Sweet & Savory
Country French Omelet @ Sweet & Savory
Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole @ Easy To Be Gluten Free
Fillet of Sole Almondine @JLHealthTulsa
Pork Tenderloin w/Balsamic Reduction & Peach Avocado Salsa @ Cook It Allergy Free
Croques Monsieurs @ Jenn Cuisine
Sausage, Egg & Pepper Sandwich @JLHealthTulsa
Twofer Pasta @ Comfy Cook
Vegetable Lovers' Fried Rice @ Sweet & Savory
Chicken Stir Fry @ GF Food That Even My Husband Likes

Vegetables & Side Dishes
Summer Turkey Salad @Celiacs in the House
Oven Roasted Tomato Soup @ Gluten Free Gidget
How to Cook Daylilies @ Living Free
Stick with the Letter P
@ Comfy Cook
Italian Roasted Red Peppers @ Easy To Be Gluten Free
French Onion Tart - Gluten and Dairy Free @ Living Free
Slow Cooked Fresh Beans @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Chicken Cobb Salad @ Lisa's Gluten-Free
Herby Corn & Potato Cakes @ Celiacs in the House
Creamy Garlic and Herb Cauliflower @ Easy To Be Gluten Free

Honey Cake @ Gluten Free Flavor Full
Blueberry Honey Pie w/ Honey Whipped Cream @ gfe
Easy Individual Berry Crumbles
@ Cook It Allergy Free
Dark Chocolate blondies @ Funny (allergen-free) Girl
Dairy-Free Fruit Sundaes
@ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom
Almond Olive Oil Cake @ Z's Cup of Tea
Home made ice cream
@ Extraordinary Life
Honey Vanilla Pound Cake @ Comfy Cook
GF DF Carrot Oatmeal Cookie @ Gluten Free Flavor Full
Somemores - Semisweet & GF @ GF Food That Even My Husband Likes
GF DF Ice Cream Cake @ The Mommy Bowl
Creme Brulee Ice Cream @ gfe
Summer Cloud Ice Cream @ Our Treasured Home

Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins @ Glugle Gluten-Free
Strawberry Banana Chocolate QuickBread @ Jenn Cuisine
Blueberry pancakes @ Lynns Recipe Adventures
Flaxseed, Quinoa, and Almond flour Bread @glutenfreegreenie
Review of 3 E-Books & Banana Choc Chip Muffin Recipe @ gfe
Nutty Blender Waffles (GFCF) @ The GFCF Pantry
Pumpkin Spice Muffins @ 1/2 Dozen Daily
Quinoa Banana Muffins @ The Daily Dietribe
GFDF Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins @ Gluten Free Flavor Full

Seasoned Sweet and Spicy Salsa: Very Cherry! @ Living Free
Gluten Free Substitutions, Part I @ Jenn Cuisine
Coconut/Palm Sugar Review & More
Tips to overcome Gluten Free Baking Mishaps @ Cook It Allergy Free
Gf Panko Bread Crumbs Recipes and Review @ @Celiacs in the House
All About GF Substitutions @ Jenn Cuisine
Sugar Free Mulberry and Strawberry Jam @ Living Free
My Gluten-Free Birthday Trip to Napa @ Glugle Gluten-Free .


August 5, 2010


Bakery on Main Granola Review & Giveaway

I like taking snacks with me when I go out for a couple of hours or more.  I often take a small container of mixed nuts, but it’s always nice to change it up.  Bakery on Main recently sent me each of their gluten-free products to review.  I’m so glad they did.  I love this stuff!

First is the question of whether their products are safe to consume.  Here is the response I received from their representative:
“We take every precaution possible to be sure our products are safe for people with Celiac disease.  Bakery On Main’s manufacturing plant is certified for gluten free production by the Gluten Free Certification Organization which means they visit our plant and audit us to be sure our products are gluten free.  Please refer to their web site at for their procedure and standards.”
You can learn more from their “About Us” page.  In addition, their products contain no trans fats, refined sugar, or dairy.  Many contain nuts, but not all of them.  Bakery on Main makes three types of granola products with variety within each type.

1.  Granola Bars
The thing I like about granola bars is that they are great for taking along with me when I go out.  Since they are individually wrapped, I can throw one in my purse and have a healthy tasty snack when I need it.

These bars are chewy, not the dry hard type.  They are not overly chewy, though, which is one thing I never liked about granola.  I liked all three varieties, but just so you know the peanut butter is not a strong flavor.

2.  Granola
Apple Raisin WalnutRainforest Granola
Overall, this was my favorite type of product.  It is a little different than most traditional granola, but that’s why I like it.  So many granolas take so much chewing that my jaw begins to hurt.  This granola contains small pieces, is fruity and crunchy.  All the flavors are great, but I particularly like Rainforest which contains bananas, Brazil nuts and coconut.

apple raisin walnut granola

This granola is great by itself for breakfast, or a snack, but is also a perfect yogurt or ice cream topping.

(This picture shows the Apple Raisin Walnut  granola.)

3.  Fiber Power Granola

This is chunkier granola and includes certified gluten-oats.  The great thing about this is, of course, the fiber it contains—9 grams per serving.  For that reason it makes a terrific breakfast choice. 

If you are looking for ways to get extra fiber in your diet, here’s a great way to do it. 

triple berry fiber power granola

(This picture shows the Triple Berry Fiber Power Granola.)

Disclaimer:  I was sent free products to sample, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

The Giveaway!
Bakery on Main is offering a reusable tote bag which will contain one of each full sized product, a total of ten, to one winner.
To enter:
The giveaway will end Tuesday, August 10th at midnight eastern time.  The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email.  If I do not get a response within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.  The winner will then be announced on my Facebook page.

This giveaway is now closed.

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