February 18, 2011


Kitchen Tip: Clean as You Go

Kitchen Tip

This week’s kitchen tip comes to us courtesy of Ellen of Gluten Free Diva.  Her tip is to clean as you go.  Ellen says,
“My mother always taught me that if you clean up as you move through your cooking prep, it will make for a much lighter load of cleaning when you're finished cooking. Works like a charm every time!”
I have found this tip to be true for myself, but I don’t always do it.  I think the key is giving yourself more time.   When you are in a real hurry, you don’t take time to clean as you go.  This tip is especially helpful when you a cooking a really large meal, but it’s nice to have less clean up in the end any time you cook or bake .

blue question mark
Do you usually clean as you go or leave it all to the end?


February 17, 2011


February’s Clean Kitchen Update

Clean Kitchen
February’s challenge is to clean your range or cook top and oven.  I got a start on mine last weekend.
First, I wiped out the oven and started the clean cycle.  I used a two hour cycle because it wasn’t very dirty.  After it finished and cooled, I wiped again to remove the ash that is left from the cleaning.

While the oven was cleaning, I worked on a couple of other things. My smooth cook top is cleaned regularly in order to avoid build up, so that wasn’t on my to do list.  I started with the controls which are on the back of the stove.  I removed the knob and washed them thoroughly, then washed the whole surface behind them.  Simple Green proved to be useful for the job. 

stove - dirty knobs
stove - clean knobs
I also removed the drawer that is under the oven and emptied it’s contents.  There wasn’t much that needed to be removed as far as what I keep in there, but the drawer itself did need a good cleaning.  Then there was the matter of the floor under the oven.  I started sweeping up the dirt when I remembered to take a picture for you.

stove - dirt under
Still to be done:
I cleaned the area under the stove, but I’m still hoping my husband will help me pull the stove out this weekend.  I do not have spill guards between my counter and stove, and I’m sure there is some cleaning that needs to be done there.

Also, I want to work on cleaning the oven window.  I’ve always hated the way oven windows get dirty and have found them difficult to clean.  Many times, the offending dirt is inside two pieces of glass and can’t be accesses without taking the door apart.  I finally gave up some time ago on have a perfectly clean window, but this one can be improved with a little work.

stove - dirty door
blue question mark
Have you made any cleaning progress this month?


February 15, 2011


Gluten-Free Wednesday 2/16/11

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Hi everyone!  I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day.  Thanks for visiting my blog and checking out Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Giveaways: This week (because I love you so much) I have two great giveaways:  Rudi's Gluten-Free Bread (ends Wednesday night) and Handy Gluten-Free Crab Cakes.  Both are great products.

Monthly Challenge:  February’s challenge is to make a loaf of gluten-free yeast bread.  I have been behind on this challenge, but I did make a loaf of bread yesterday.  It was okay, but I need to keep working on it.

Last Week’s Highlights:  I was pleased that we had several bread recipes submitted last week.  Be sure to take a look if you missed them.
Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread – Wheatless Foodie
Udi's White Bread Copycat Recipe – Extraordinary Life
Amsuka's Teff Bread – Amsuka’s Gluten-Freedom
Sophie's Light Brown Teff Bread – Sophie’s Foodie Files
My Submission:  This week’s recipe is a sweet treat that is sure to please.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  Don't forget to leave a link back, and thanks for participating!



Handy Crab Cakes – Review & Giveaway

When I was contacted by Handy to review their gluten-free crab cakes, I was thrilled.  I hadn’t eaten a crab cake in many years because I never made them myself, and those I could purchase in stores or at restaurants were not gluten free.  Originally, these crab cakes were not dairy free, but the company listened to consumers and now they are!  Not only that, they are certified gluten free by the GFCO, which gave me confidence that they were safe to consume.

I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed eating these crab cakes.  They contain large chunks of crab meat, have nice flavor, and hold together well.

crab cakesThe crab cakes are shipped frozen, and the price listed on their site includes FedEx 2nd day air shipping.  They can also be found locally in some locations, which greatly reduces the cost.  The biggest drawback to these crab cakes is their cost.  Even with shipping, $69.99 for a box of 6 is out of most people’s price range.  If I’m going to spend that much money for a special treat, I would rather go to a restaurant and have some one else do the cooking.

My son who works at a university concession stand informed me that they charge $9.75 for a single crab cake on a bun, and the crab cake is smaller and not as good as these Handy crab cakes.  That does put it in perspective a little bit, but you are paying for the convenience and cooking in that situation.

Shirley of gluten free easily also reviewed these crab cakes.  She received a response from Kevin Voisin or Handy International regarding the pricing.  I would like to quote it here:

“Crab Cake Pricing

There is no doubt that the least expensive way and best way to enjoy our crab cakes is to buy them locally from a grocery store near you. Far from competition, we see local retailers as essential partners in supplying the gluten-free community with the great food products they want and need. You can find a list of retailers who carry the product near you by visiting http://www.glutenfreecrabcake.com/pages/buy-locally .

The shipping involved in getting the product direct to a consumer’s door certainly adds to the pricing, but we thought it was important to give the entire gluten-free community access to this product right away – even those located far from our retail outlets. We included shipping in the price of every package so there were no hidden costs to you.”
Another thing that surprised me about these cakes is that although the company is located in Salisbury, Maryland, they do not use Maryland crabs as I naturally assumed they would.  The crab cakes are a product of Thailand.  This issue was also addressed in the response Shirley received.

“Ingredients from Thailand

These cakes are made in Thailand where fresh blue crab meat is available year round which gives us the best flavor and also sufficient supply. Fresh blue crab meat is not available in the U.S. year round and the supply is limited.

We subject ourselves to independent testing by Silliker, a top inspection firm used by Whole foods and Costco. Handy’s plants have received Silliker’s gold certificate – an achievement only the top 10% of inspected companies achieve. Handy is also a founding member of the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council, a groundbreaking group focused on creating a more sustainable seafood offering, and works diligently to provide the most consistent high quality products the crab community has to offer.”
I am impressed with the communication this company has provided.  Kevin Voisin even responded to several comments in Shirley’s post.  The crab cakes they originally sent me were not dairy free, and they were quick to send me a package of the reformulated version.  They have been terrific to work with.

In conclusion, I thought the crab cakes were delicious, and I would happily eat them again, if the price was right.

The Giveaway
One winner will receive a Gluten-Free Taster package containing 6 gluten-free Handy Crab Cakes.  You must have a shipping address (no PO Box) within the continental US or Hawaii. 

To enter, you must leave a comment on this post.  If you receive this post by email, you need to click over to my blog and leave a comment.  Leave a separate comment for each entry.  Please include an email address in your first comment.  Up to four entries per person:
The giveaway will end on Saturday, February 19th at 11:00 pm eastern time.  After the winner is contacted, I will announce the winner on my Facebook page.

Disclaimer:  I was provided with crab cakes free of charge.  The opinions in this post are my own.

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February 14, 2011


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

image Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is not a big event at our house this year.  My teenage boys are not particularly into getting valentines from mom and dad anymore, and my husband and I have had enough Valentine’s together that we don’t feel the need to spend money in order to say “I love you.”  We express our love to each other all the time.  I know, it’s not romantic, but this year we’re not giving cards or flowers, or other gifts.  We’ll spend time together, have a nice salmon dinner, and enjoy a homemade treat.  I plan on making raw brownies.  Something like this or this.

I do love my readers, but I don’t tell you that every day.  I apologize for not having a great chocolaty treat recipe for you or even a round up of recipes.  I do have a Rudi’s bread giveaway going on and there will be another giveaway posted tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

These cookies contain chocolate chips.  Maybe that makes them Valentine’s Day worthy.  If not, they are great for every other day of the year.  They are thick cookies, but not necessarily chewy.  They still have a crunch to them.  I personally love oats in my chocolate chip cookies.  I love the flavor and texture as well as the added nutrition.

So here’s my sort of Valentine’s recipe for all my dearly loved blog readers!

chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Preheat oven to 375°
In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.  In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the sugars, butter, and shortening until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in the gluten-free oats and chocolate chips.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for a minute on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

View Printable Recipe

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February 13, 2011


Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread Review & Giveaway

By now you have probably heard of, if not tried Rudi’s gluten-free bread.  They offer three varieties—original, multigrain, and cinnamon raisin.  Rudi’s is one of the few companies who have taken gluten-free bread to the next level.  While the bread may not be as soft as a gluten-filled bread, it is much better than gluten-free breads of the past.  My son has used the multigrain bread at times for taking sandwiches to school.  The bread holds up, it’s not too dry, and it is reasonably soft.

Rudi's multigrain bread
I haven’t tested how long this bread lasts when kept out a room temperature.  I buy it frozen and keep it in the freezer.  At night one of us removes two pieces and puts them in a baggie so they are thawed and ready for sandwich making in the morning.  This has worked well for us.

The cinnamon raisin bread is a nice treat if you miss that.  I also keep it in the freezer and simply break off one piece at a time as needed.  It’s good plain or toasted, and I enjoy a slice with my morning eggs.

Rudi's cinnamon raisin bread
For information on the safety of Rudi’s gluten-free bread, visit their How We Make It - Our Gluten-Free Certification page.  Here is a quote:
"As an added step to making sure we’re baking products that are safe and do not contain gluten, Rudi’s Gluten-Free breads are certified gluten-free and carry the recognizable Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) GF Symbol. "
You will also find a $1 off coupon on that page and other pages of their site.

The Giveaway
One winner will receive five (5) “Free Product” coupons which I just realized expire on February 28, 2011.  Rudi’s provided these coupons, but I will be mailing them out.  Please only enter if you will be able to use the coupons by the end of the month.  You can search for where to buy Rudi’s here.  I believe their products are only sold in the Continental US so I am limiting the giveaway to those residents. 

To enter, you must leave a comment on this post.  If you receive this post by email, you need to click over to my blog and leave a comment.  Leave a separate comment for each entry.  Please include an email address in your first comment.  Up to four entries per person:
The giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 16th at 11:00 pm eastern time.  After the winner is contacted, I will announce the winner on my Facebook page.

Disclaimer:  Rudi’s provided me with a free loaf of bread and free product coupons.  The opinions in this post are my own.

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February 12, 2011


Surfing Saturday 2/12/11

I hope you are all staying healthy and warm.  Have a great weekend my dear readers!

Human & Mouse Studies Sharpen Focus on Cause of Celiac Disease
The Gluten-Free Diet and Prebiotics
Gluten-Free Takes Center Stage at Pizza Expo

Cooking/Recipes (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
How to Make Butter in Under 5 Minutes
jaimescookbook.com (I like the portabella pizza but couldn't’ link to it specifically)
A Hungry Man's Quiche (remember to use a gluten free crust, or go crustless)

How to Tell if an Egg is Rotten
10 Foods that Detox the Body
17 Tips to Make Your Life Easier

Facebook Offers Users the Encryption They Deserve
7 Best Netbook Applications

Animal/Nature Photos
Puppy and Duckling
Winter Sunset
Owl in Tree
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Beautiful Birds


February 11, 2011


A Big Gluten Mistake

I ate gluten.  For the first time in over ten years I actually ate gluten.  Not just a crumb or a bit of cross contamination.  I ate it.  But it was an accident.  It was an accident that was completely my own fault and could have (should have) been avoided.  I hope you will enjoy my little story, and hopefully learn from it.

Last week, my oldest son brought home a cold.  It didn’t hit me like a normal cold because my sinuses didn’t feel congested.  I was tired, though.  Very tired, and my head was definitely not right.  It must have settled in my ears a bit because I felt slightly dizzy at times. 

image Image via office.microsoft.com

Thursday I didn’t leave the house, but by Friday I was feeling pretty good, I thought.  I needed to go to the health food store for a few things, and I took along some coupons I had for free coconut milk products.  I was sent the coupons so I could sample the products for review.  Now normally, I only review gluten-free products which usually come from gluten-free companies.  In this case, the products were dairy free, but not necessarily gluten-free.  Most of them are naturally gluten free like coconut milk or coconut yogurt, so I had in my mind that all their products were gluten free.  That was my mistake.

After getting some milk, kefir, and yogurt, I headed over to the frozen dessert section and saw some boxes of ice cream sandwiches.  They were calling to me, and I picked out two boxes.  It never occurred to me that they were not gluten free.  I never looked at the ingredients.  I bought them without though to gluten.

I went home and ate a dairy free banana split ice cream sandwich.  Granted, they are mini sandwiches and pretty small, but still.  It was an ice cream sandwich.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  At least I had that pleasure.  As I was chewing and swallowing the last bite, I thought to myself, “They did a really good job on the wafer part.  I wonder what flours they used.  It tastes just like the gluten-filled ice cream sandwiches I remember.”  Then the light bulb went on.  It was too late.  I had eaten the whole thing.  There was nothing left to spit out of my mouth.  The deed was done.  I started saying, “Oh no.  Oh no. Oh no….”

image Image via office.microsoft.com

I pulled the box out of the freezer, but I already knew what I would see.  Wheat flour.  It was right there, plain as day.  How could I be so stupid!?!  I thought about throwing up, but it’s not something my body does.  I’ve thrown up twice in my life and the last time I was 14.  I went through three pregnancies wishing I could throw up, but I never do.  I knew I couldn’t make myself do it, and I didn’t have any ipecac. 

I called my husband who reminded me to take enzymes.  I keep some around to take with me when I eat out.  It seems they do help reduce symptoms.  The ones I had are these gluten peptide enzymes.  I took four plus two other general enzymes.  Then I waited.  I chatted online with Shirley of gfe.  It helped just to tell someone who would really understand.  She minded me that I would need to detox.  Good advice.

I ate the ice cream sandwich in the afternoon.  I was not hungry for dinner that evening and it was some time after dinner that I began to feel bad.  I had a lot of burping and felt like I could vomit, but never did.  Then I had lots of gas, and finally diarrhea.  I’m sorry to be blunt like that, but it’s just reality with celiac disease. 

I do think the enzymes helped.  There were a few symptoms I did not have.  Usually, one of the first reactions I have is to suddenly become very sleepy.  I was tired for days, but I never had that extreme and sudden sleepiness.  Also, with “bigger” reactions in the past I have had intense abdominal pain.  It’s a pain that I have only had with gluten and is different from any pain I get with other digestive upsets.  I was really happy not to have that.  The thing that worried my husband the most was a mental reaction.  I have shared before about how gluten can affect me mentally.  While I was out of it, as you will see in a minute, I didn't have any major mental issues to deal with.  I'm very thankful for that.

image  Image via office.microsoft.com

The next day, Saturday, I was in my pajamas all day.  I can’t remember the last time I did that.  I slept for a large part of the day, and lounged around for the rest.  I ate little because I simply wasn’t hungry.  Green tea and oranges were what interested me and I figured they were good options. By dinner time I decided I was ready to eat a little.  There were lots of leftovers and everyone was fending for themselves, buy my husband and I sat down to eat together.  I had warmed up a small plate with a little leftover curried roast and carrots.  I had one small slice of beef and a small amount of rice with the vegetable mixture on it.  Here’s where I realized how out of it I really was.

I was about to start eating when I noticed my right thigh felt quite warm.  It was unusual, and I couldn’t imagine why it would feel that way.  It didn’t go away so I put my hand there and felt something very strange.  I grabbed a hold of it and took a look.  It was my beef!  It was on my lap!  How it got there, I have no idea.  I told my husband, “This is pathetic.  I’m a mess.”  I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny at the time.
It took several days for me to feel mostly back to normal, and now that I’m there I’m ready to talk about it.  When I was sick, I had not interest in sharing the story, but I think it’s a good reminder of how diligent we need to be.  I’m usually so careful, but in this case, a little illness was enough to bring down my guard. 

The next time I’m at the store and not feeling up to par or just mentally distracted in some way, I will remember this accident.  I will read yet another label.  I will force myself to be diligent, because it is worth it.

blue question mark
Have you ever made a really stupid mistake like mine?

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February 8, 2011


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 2/9/11

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Hi everyone!  If you are looking for some gluten-free eating ideas, you’ve come to the right place.  Just browse the links below, and add your own if you’re a blogger.  If you get this post by email, remember to click over to the site later in the day or sometime tomorrow to see what great ideas have been gathered here.

Giveaway: This week I have a Kinnikinnick doughnut giveaway going on.  If you like doughnuts, be sure to enter.  Also, be on the look out for more great giveaways coming soon.

Monthly Challenge:  February’s challenge is to make a loaf of gluten-free yeast bread.  I know, it can be challenging, but I bet you can do it.  I’ll be highlighting bread recipes starting next week.

Last Week’s Highlights:  There weren’t any biscuit recipes last week, so I thought  I would highlight a recipes from people who are new to the carnival.
Quiche Ramekins – The Hobson Homestead
Low Carb Pizza – Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Sunday  Morning Breakfast Casserole – The Well Fed Homestead
Fried Chicken – Cozy Home Scenes
Easy Baked Pork Chops and Apples – Wellness Mama
My Submission:  This week’s recipe is a slow cooker meal.

Curried Roast and Carrots
curried roast and carrots
The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  Don't forget to leave a link back, and thanks for participating!

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