Showing posts from 2012

Traveling for the Holidays - gluten free style

Like a 10+ hour car ride is not enough to dread - when you mix in food allergies, things get a bit harder. My family likes to try and shorten the trip as much as possible and therefore, any stops made are quick in-and-out gas / bathroom breaks. So what does one pack to eat in the car that can travel well?

I have done a lot of investigating in this area - I have a portable fridge and a portable microwave. While the fridge is used almost always, the microwave rarely is. This time, I didn't want to pack the basic pb and j sandwiches. I did pack some salads and of course some oatmeal with my FAVORITE Christmas present, pistachio butter.

We made a quick gas stop and I ran in doors to grab a cup of hot water.  I simply mixed that with some gluten free rolled out, honey, cinnamon, toasted coconut pieces, and some pistachio butter. Filling, easy, and delicious.

I want to take this time to wish everyone a safe and happy new year! If you are out and about traveling tonight - be do so safel…

Trevi 5, Gluten Free in Hershey, PA

I find it hard to travel away from the city and still find a meal that I enjoy - and enjoy it not because it is loaded with what I refer to as America's top addictive ingredients (butter, oil, and salt) - but because when I bite into it I can taste the love and passion that was used to create this masterpiece.

For me, eating is not a matter of necessity, but rather an enjoyable, premeditated event that occurs three, or more, times a day. Which is why it pisses me off even more when I go out to eat, usually paying a ridiculous fee, and yet I don't enjoy the meal. It aggravates me to all ends. I know, it's a little odd, but it is who I am and food is a very important part of my life. It's disappointing to me to take a bite in such a lovely plated dish and to my disgust, the only real flavor that my tongue is experiencing is that of butter, oil, salt, and in general - cheap inexpensive ingredients 

A good family friend (Maria) of ours is a chef in the Hershey area and I …

Happy Holidays

No matter what you choose to celebrate this holiday season, I hope you spend this time with those you love. Happy Holidays

How do you deal with all the Gluten during the Holiday Season?

Here are just some of the ingredients from my grandma's secret biscotti cookies. That's right, a whole 5lb bag of all purpose flour goes into these delicious, well-loved cookies. Well, as least I remember them to be delicious and the family seems to enjoy them. 
I don't want to be left out of the family traditions on the count of my gluten free allergy. I mean, it sucks to miss out on a number of life's pleasures, but more so during the holiday season when all I want to do is spend as much time with my family and loved ones as possible. Every year, I say, what the hey and go all in, and I ALWAYS regret it later on in the day when I realize that just the inhalation and close counters with gluten have caused me to feel like CRAP! 
This year I decided I wanted to enjoy the family traditions and NOT get sick. 
I came equipped. I have the essential apron. Added some hospital gloves to keep my hands clean and what I figure to be the most important part of this get-up.... th…

New Gluten Free Product - Cocomama Quinoa Cereal

Has any one seen these products from Cocomama - better yet, has anyone tried these yet? They are a bit on the pricing side - if I remember correctly, it was something like $4.00 a pop - OUCH!!! 

Happy Holidays... Muddy Buddy Popcorn

Holidays, can be hard if you focus on all the things you CAN'T have. That's why I enjoy making things for those I love and for their loved ones. My sister, bless her heart, is an elementary school teacher. It's her last week of school before the new year.

Having some time off from work, I decided to help out as much as I could at home. I have done the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I still wanted to do more - the obvious answer? Why baking of course. What better way to spread Christmas Cheer than baking?

This year,  I decided to make some Muddy Buddy Popcorn for my sister and her fellow teachers.

My parents have a popcorn maker so I simply made a double (well, maybe triple) batch of popcorn. Then added some melted chocolate and peanut butter (could use another butter to make peanut free). Add a dash or two of vanilla then mix with the popcorn. The last step is to add some powdered sugar and let dry before packing. YUM!

Gluten Free Bread - FAILURE

I truly hate most gluten free breads. Gluten free breads tend to be very dense, dry in consistency, and have a rather strong taste. In the past I have been known to make a pretty decent gluten free bread, but my current living conditions don't really allow for a lot of baking these days.

Something about the holidays has me eager to try yet again to create an alright gluten free option. I'm addicted to spreading as much nut butter on a slice of bread that I possibly can and then drenching it in a mountain of honey - YUM!

Well, my most recent attempt, was, well, let's just say, not so good.

Following Ingredients: Coconut flourCoconut flakesOatmealFlaxseedBananas ZucchiniHoneyVanilla GingerNutmegAlmond FlourMesquite FlourOrange Juice Results:  Dry and a very strong taste of YUCK!  Oh well - I tried and will continue to do so until I find a recipe that works.

Eden- A Vegan Cafe, Scranton,PA - GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS

Way back when I was an undergraduate - I lived in the Scranton / Wilkes Barre, PA area. I was newly diagnosed with the gluten allergy and had little to no luck finding any local restaurants that offered gluten free options. I quickly grew tired of the steamed chicken and veggie selections - I was lucky to once and awhile find a place that offered gluten free pasta - but even on those rare occasions, the pasta was either under-cooked and crunchy or overcooked to the point it was mush.

I do try and return back to this area often to visit family and friends - so you can only imagine the surprised look on my face when I stumbled upon Eden - A Vegan Cafe. Two points for Eden 1. For a large gluten free selection and 2. for dairy free - YAY! Honestly, Eden has a large gluten free menu ranging from Hummus and gluten free bread triangles, salads, rice dishes (with gluten free soy sauce), and sandwiches. If you don't see it on the gluten free menu, just ask. They are more than happy to acco…

A Trip To Wegmans & My Gluten Free Discoveries

Because I am Italian, I have to start with the pasta.

Wegmens now carries RPs Gluten Free Pasta. I have to say, I have been reading a lot of good reviews on RP - but had not yet seen it sold anywhere.

At first glance, this is the freshest and and closest to the real things (looks wise anyhow) than I have seen to date. However, this package carries a whopping 600 - 700 calories, and God knows I would eat the whole thing in one serving! 
Perhaps in the future I will splurge and make a nice gluten free pasta dish....

Another popular topic these days, Chestnuts.

Le Pain des fleurs has a great selection of gluten free crispbreads - these don't actually taste like dirt!!! Woo Hoo!!

These will make a great accompaniment to the Holiday trays.

Helen's Kitchen offers a decent variety of low calorie, low fat, and some have low sodium - gluten free meals.

I did have a hard time trying to find a meal that did not contain either corn or soy....

I hadn't seen Wildbrine's product in Wegm…

Brussel Sprouts that Everyone will Love

Cut the brussel sprouts in half and toss them with a bit of olive oil, maple syrup, and bacon pieces. Then simply roast in the oven at about 245 - 325 until bacon is crispy. Rotate and check on the brussel sprouts periodically to prevent burning.

Seriously, this recipe turned even my mother into a brussel sprouts lover.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is over and a number of people are asking, what did you make for Thanksgiving dinner?

This is a tough one because Thanksgiving is a time with my dad's large and 100% Italian Family. So I pack everything but there is not a whole lot of fridge space available for me to bring perishable items. So instead, I thought outside the box and packed items that would fair in the outside (unusually warm this year) air.

So this year I made a rather nontraditional, yet scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. It's a portabella fajita salad. Basically, the recipe is as follows.... -Bed of lettuce  -Roasted garlic, onions, and peppers -Steamed and marinated (coconut aminos) portabella -Lemon Juice -Tomatoes -Raw zucchini sliced and marinated (coconut aminos and lime juice)  -A couple of peas -Cilantro -Chili Powder -Raw bar-b-q sauce (Sun-dried tomatoes, dates, tomatoes, garlic, onion, lime juice)  -And a side of avocado

Back to La Mattina's Italian Restaurant - Gluten free Heaven

While Mia and I were still enrolled in college, she attended Shippensburg and her boyfriend attended Gettysburg College. While the drive from one to another really is not that bad, it does begin to wear when you do it often - so splitting the drive in half was an appealing option for both parties.

With both families being Italian, they did a quick Google search to see if they couldn't find a decent Italian restaurant some where in the middle. Mia, having the driving sense that I do - just kind of stopped at the first Italian restaurant she saw and proceeded to call her boyfriend and inform him of where she was. Since then, La Mattina's has been a family favorite.    From the outside, you would never suspect the amazing cuisine this place has to offer, or that they offer a wide variety of gluten free options.  Funny enough, the little sister was a bit homesick and looking for some family company, so we decided to visit her for dinner. At no point in time, had we confirmed a rest…

Gluten Free Pad Thai

After spending the day making an early Thanksgiving dinner for the family, I decided I wanted to make something for myself. After my visit to Banana Leaf, I have been craving some Pad Thai. 
Here is my version with a twist. Kelp NoodlesWegman's Curry StockGinger, minced Garlic, mincedOnion, choppedRed pepperMushroomsScallian, choppedSalt and PepperTumericRed PepperSunflower butterCilantroLime Juice This was so flavor and creamy! LOVE LOVE LOVE

This was also my first experience with kelp noodles and I have to say, WIN WIN WIN!

Why I love my family

There are a number of reasons why I love my family

During the crazy work day, my sister and I take the time to exchange a number of e-mails to one another. These e-mails act as a great distraction to a stressful work-day. Not to mention, they usually involve us planning some crazy good time. :DMy twin, she lives in what I refer to as "lala-land". Actually, to be frank, I believe my mother has coined this phrase. It's not meant to be a bad thing, but rather, it means she overlooks some of societies harsh-realities and lives in her own world. If your having a crappy day, just pick up the phone and talk to Mia. She will tell you stories of how her little children (she's a teacher) have unicorns that fly and parent's that own entire countries. Cory, the youngest, she is at the age where she is investigating all that life has to offer. It's a great reminder for me, to take a moment and breathe. I am the creator of my future. If I am not satisfied with where life is…

Little Baby's Ice Cream - Vegan and Gluten Free

It's a little late in the season to go seeking out ice cream, but let's be honest - I have wanted to tryLittle Baby's Ice Creamfor a very long time! So when the opportunity not only presented itself, but someone else was offering to pay – I jumped on board! Here we are the Saturday before Halloween, and before crazy SANDY and Fran and I are making a Baby Jesus costume for Josh to wear at the TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb Show – which by the way was an amazing time! Plenty of true fans enjoying great music!
By the time I reached Fran, she was just about in tears. Frustrated that Josh left his Halloween costume to the last-minute and yet trying so hard to make it look nice and as realistic as it possibly could. I swept in to save the day, or so I like to tell myself. I went the simple route. Take two banana boxes and stack them on top of one another for height. Yes, we have two readily available banana boxes lying around – courtesy of Dad. Then wrap those boxes in a natural col…

Supper Philly - Gluten free brunch in Philadelphia

Growing up, as my memory would serve me, as kids we would wake up each and every Sunday to my daddy making the most amazing breakfast. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for both kids and adults! Dad would make his famous banana pancakes, sausage,  bacon, toast and jam - although nothing was like grandma Hulse's toast. The Hulses' lived on a dairy farm and their butter was as fresh as you could get - and freshness really does affect the taste of butter!! Slab a dollop of fresh butter on your perfectly golden brown toast and there is no need for jam/jelly on that baby! Ah - the subject of food, how quickly it can get me off topic!

Back on track here, daddy's breakfasts - at some point in time, I think it was a holiday (I want to say Thanksgiving, but it was probably more like Christmas or Easter) we discovered Taylor Pork Roll and that quickly became a favorite in our house! Anyone who doesn't like Pork Roll is no friend of ours (wink wink) But n…

Banana Leaf, Philadelphia PA

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me... LALALALALA :D

I love birthdays. Well, really, I love any reason to celebrate. Life is too crazy not to stop and celebrate the small things. I have to say, I don't know that I have had this nice of a birthday in, well, forever. Not sure that I can top this one next year...

The day started normal-ish - I mean, I went to work and did my daily career woman duties, but I had plenty of nice happy birthday songs, cards, wishes, etc throughout the day. Once the work day was over, we headed into the city for the Hendrick's Voyages into the Unusual FREE event.

Honestly, this ranks as my most favorite Philadelphia event thus far! A. you can't beat a free event. B. they served you full size all you can drink amazing cocktails C. they had an adorable band D. the atmosphere / decor was on par and E. great company!

 The only negative is that I wasn't successful in getting very many nice pictures :(

After a night of ple…

Betsy's Gluten Free Bakery, Camp Hill, PA

Birthday season - brings plenty of baked goods. This year, a good friend of mine delivered and she delivered PLENTY of options. She stopped at the new gluten free bakery in Camp Hill, PA

 She got a mix of everything - which was all fall-themed (pumpkin, apple, etc). I did a lot of sniffy and poking and prodding before picking what I wanted to dig into. I get nervous with gluten free baked goods because I have not had many great experiences.

I choose to try the apple muffin (not in picture :D). I tossed it into the microwave for 30 seconds and boom - it was pretty good. Nice and moist.

The pumpkin whoopie however was my favorite. Not only was this moist but it was bursting with flavor! I can't wait to check out Betsy's Bakery myself.

Buddakan, Gluten Free in Philadelphia

Here it is ladies and gentleman – finally my Buddakhan experience. I refer to this one as a BIG one because it has been on the list for some time! It may have even been one of the first entries added to this gluten free adventure list.

Lucky me – I was venturing to Buddakhan for an early birthday dinner.
First impression – the décor reminded both myself and Fran (the older sister) of a warehouse that they tried to make modern / cozy. It was cute – the tables are arranged for a family-style meal – which I like.  I got to sit right under the Big Buddha! The staff was extremely professional and clearly takes pride in their positions. The gluten free menu is on a smaller scale, yet just big enough.  I should have stuck with the safe zone and gone with a salad – but it is birthday week after all so I jumped off the cliff and ordered both the Lobster Fried Rice and then I told the waitress to bring out her entrée of choice. The fried rice came to the table in the family style, or the shar…

Pattypan Squash

My first go at Pattypan Squash! 
LOVE LOVE LOVE! These little babies are bursting with flavor. I simply did a quick steam - tossed with a bit of garlic and olive oil and HEAVEN!

I don't need to know anything else about these little nuggets of heaven - like where they originated from or what the proper way to prepare them is - legit these squash are amazing!

Fall Comfort

Everyone defines comfort in their own terms - me? It has to be one of those cool days - you know, the ones you need snuggle up on a couch all day, maybe light a candle or two. Man, I really wish I had a fireplace.

My real comfort is cooking for those that I love. Fortunately  this fall I have been blessed to with plenty of opportunities to do just that.

All of the below recipes could have easily been made gluten free IF I was to have used gluten free pastas - the remaining ingredients = already gluten free approved.

Tortellini Soup:
- Chicken Broth
- Mushrooms
- Kale
- Salt and Pepper
- Minced Garlic
- Tortellini 

Lasagna Skillet:
- Saute onions and garlic
- Brown sausage and ground meat (we used chicken sausage and ground turkey)
- Mix in a couple blended tomatoes  milk, and broken lasagna noodles.
- Cover and let simmer
- Add the ricotta cheese and any other cheese you want.
- Place it in the broiler until cheese has completely melted.

These may have not been gluten free and safe for me to eat, but …