Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes

I love scalloped potatoes.  We had them tonight for Christmas Eve dinner along with some ham, green beans, and creamed spinach.  I wouldn't exactly call scalloped potatoes a healthy dish, but they sure are good.  This recipe is adapted from this recipe found online.

1 medium onion, chopped
5 tablespoons butter
5-6 russet potatoes peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons rice flour 
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste 
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1) In a medium pan saute 2 tablespoons of butter and onions until soft.
2) In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and blend in rice flour. 
3) Whisk in the milk.  Season with salt and pepper
4) Cook sauce on medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally with the whisk.
5) Reduce heat and stir in onions and 1 cup of cheese.
6) Place a third of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased casserole dish.
7) Pour a third of the cheese sauce over the potatoes, making sure they are all covered.
8) Repeat twice: layer of potatoes, layer of cheese sauce, layer of potatoes, layer of cheese sauce.
9) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
10) Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Here's another picture for you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

We made these treats in my high school Family and Consumer Science class (Home Ec.).  You should probably also know that in 7th grade Tech Ed (Wood Tech) Emily Warman and I built a tiny wooden bridge that held more weight than Travis Hulbert's.  No big deal.

Back to these treats.  I'm pretty sure these weren't on our curriculum, but Keri Hart brought them in one day and our teacher said we could make them.  I saved the original recipe and used it to make these today.  They aren't technically buckeyes because the entire ball is covered in chocolate, but you get the point.

This recipes makes about 40.  It's very easy to half if you don't want so many.

1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups peanut butter
3 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispies
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate (depending on your preference)

1) In a large bowl combine the butter, confectioner's sugar, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies.  It's easiest to use your hands for this.

2) Form into tight one inch balls.

3)  Melt chocolate using a double broiler or in the microwave.  Using a fork or spoon, coat the peanut butter balls in chocolate and place on wax paper.  Refrigerate to harden.

That's it.  No baking required.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Ginger Exchange

I took an impromptu trip to Boston last weekend to hang out with some friends from college on Saturday and meet the newest addition to my extended family on Sunday.  It was a great 24 hours because babies are adorable and nothing beats hanging out with old friends in your sweatpants for 5 hours talking about nothing.

Saturday night, after finally managing to put some real clothes on, my friends and I ventured out for sushi.  I had already resigned to eating mine without soy sauce, but when we got to The Ginger Exchange I discovered that not only do they have gluten free soy sauce, but they have an entire gluten free section of their menu.  As always, I was very excited.  So excited that I just had to get the gluten free pad thai instead of sushi.  We also split some gluten free fresh rolls to start.  My friends still got sushi and it looked great.

From my friend at Total Noms.
For those gluten eating and drinking folks, they also have $9 PBR beer towers:

With lots of gluten free options for me, and good sushi, dumplings, and never ending beer for my friends, The Ginger Exchange turned out to be a great place to go.  It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by restaurants you know nothing about.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Cookies - Gluten Free!

I'm pretty excited about these cookies.  I only like frosted sugar cookies once a year and that's during the holidays.  Well folks, here they are.  Gluten free.  And I'll be damned if they aren't just as good as regular frosted sugar cookies.

I came across this recipe on Gluten Is My Bitch.  I think this lady is hilarious.  She came across this recipe from Good Housekeeping.  Wherever it's from, you need these in your life.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups GF flour (I used 2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour and 1 cup brown rice flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Frosting and sprinkles for decorating

1. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, flatten each piece into a disk, and wrap them in plastic wrap.  Put the disks into the freezer for 30 minutes to harden up a bit.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove dough from the freezer.  On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough to 1/8 inch think.  Using 3-4 inch cookie cutters, cut as many cookies as possible. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Use the excess dough to roll out for more cookies.

4.  Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool before decorating.

5.  Decorate to your heart's content.

I didn't have any cookie cutters on hand so I used the rim of a glass.  It worked just fine.  I was also lacking decorating materials so I used Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting and some nonpareils.  Easy.

These might be my favorite cookies this holiday season.  What are yours?

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

These cookies are intense.  In a peanut butter and chocolate goodness kind of way.  This was my first time making this kind of cookie and it was incredibly easy.  I based it off this recipe on  Oh, and it's naturally gluten free.  #winning

1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
15-20 Hershey Kisses

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl beat together the sugars, peanut butter, and egg.
3. Roll into one inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss into the center of each warm cookie.  Allow to cool before eating.

The Hershey's people, and my friend over at Total Noms, add a lot more stuff into their version of this cookie.  I'd like to try those as well.  Has anyone tried both versions that could enlighten me on which route to take next time?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Greensquare Tavern

Greensquare Tavern was recommended to me by a fellow Celiac.  While they don't have a dedicated gluten free menu, my friend assured me they have plenty of gluten free options.  I finally got around to trying it last night and was quite happy.

When I asked the waitress about their gluten free selections she informed me that everything on the menu is already gluten free or could be made gluten free except the pastas and bread (i.e. hamburger buns).  This was nice to hear.  My brother and I both ordered the steak.  It came with home made french fries and roasted vegetables.  I hadn't had a steak in a long time and it really hit the spot.

The waitress also informed me that the corn bread muffins were gluten free.  This was very exciting until the bread man came around and all the bread was in the same basket.  As a Celiac, I was horrified.  As a fat kid at heart, I still ate the corn bread.  Don't tell the gluten free police.  This is obviously a giant no no for anyone that is extremely sensitive.  I am moderately sensitive and didn't have a reaction, so yay to that.  Someone a bit more vocal would have mentioned to the staff that it is unacceptable.  I opted for silence and a prayer not to get sick.  It worked.

Despite this snafu, I really enjoyed Greensquare Tavern.  Our waitress was nice, the host came over to check in, and the chef even came out at the end to ask how everything was.  Ok ok, this would have been a good time to mention that you can't keep gluten free corn bread in with the regular bread, but I've eaten at plenty of places with gluten free menus and assurances of my safety and still gotten sick, so you really never know.

Has anyone else been here?  How was your experience?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gluten Free Eclairs

This just in: Risotteria now has gluten free eclairs.  And holy crap are they good.

I went to France for a week in high school with my French class.  I ate an eclair (or two) every single day.  Ah the good old days.

Not that you needed one, but these eclairs are yet another reason to head on over to Risotteria.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bob's Red Mill

Bob's Red Mill is my favorite overall company for GF products.  Bob has all types of flour, gluten free oats, and baking mixes galore.  His products are available all over the place making them not only good, but very convenient.  And he looks so nice, how could you not love Bob?

You may have noticed that I use Bob's All Purpose GF Flour Mix for most of my baking.  It has done pretty well by me thus far, but I think I'm just about ready to branch into trying my own flour mixes.  For Christmas this year I have asked my mom to get me all the gluten free flours I'm too cheap to buy myself - which is basically all of them except rice flour.  I finally want to try baking with almond, coconut, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, etc. flours.  Bob has them all.  I'm very excited.

Bob also has gluten free oats for my winter breakfasts.  In case you don't know, oats in of themselves are considered safe for people with celiac to eat, but because they are usually grown on the same fields as wheat in alternating seasons, they are deemed too cross contaminated to eat.  Bob gets his from fields really far away from wheat.

And now for the mixes.  Sometimes you want homemade products but don't know exactly how to make them.  Bob makes it easy with his gluten free pancake, biscuit, bread, corn bread, brownie, cookie, cake, and pizza dough mixes.  I've tried several of them and they are all really good.

So head on over to Whole Foods or your local health food store and stock up on Bob's.  Then let me know which your favorite is.

Pirate's Booty

I love Pirate's Booty.  I loved it pre-gluten free and I love it now.  It's kind of like hippie Smart Food, but damn it's good.  And fun.  As a kid I thought the name Pirate's Booty was hilarious.  Delicious, fun, and gluten free?  What's not to like?

Almond Nut Thins

These are my favorite gluten free crackers at the moment.  I even brought a box home to Vermont over Thanksgiving so I had something to eat with all the cheese at my house.  Blue Diamond, the almond people, have several other flavors of gluten free crackers as well.

What are your favorite gluten free crackers?

Chex Cereal

Corn Chex was one of the few "approved" cereals in my house growing up.  Deprived from the sugary goodness of most breakfast cereals, we spent our mornings eating Cheerio's, Kix, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, and Rice or Corn Chex. Once every few months my brother and I were allowed to pick a sugary cereal and a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Rice Krispies Treats Cereal was devoured within hours.  Honestly though, I liked all those "healthy" cereals and was probably better off for it.

Fortunately for my now gluten free self, Chex has five gluten free varieties: Rice, Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon.  I haven't tried the Chocolate or Cinnamon, but the others are good.  Sometimes I buy myself the Honey Nut Chex and feel slightly rebellious against my sugar free cereal upbringing.  I know, I know, I'm pretty wild in my old age.

One of the great things about Chex is that it's available in most grocery stores so you don't have to go out of your way for cereal.  What's your favorite cereal?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gluten Free Baking Classes!

Now, in addition to offering baked goods, I'm offering baking classes!  Join me to learn the basics of baking gluten free.  I'll teach you how to make your favorite treats or a few of the basics (chocolate chip cookies anyone?).  Classes are offered for individuals or small groups, so whether you want to master banana muffins on your own or with your friends, I'm your girl.  You'll get to take home the recipes you've learned along with your finished baked goods.

Give the gift of baking.  Know an aspiring baker or someone that needs a little help in the kitchen?  A baking class is a great gift idea!

While I bake gluten free for myself, I'm more than happy to teach you how to bake with regular white or wheat flour.

For more information on baking classes, please email me at

Friday, November 25, 2011

Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach is a holiday staple around my house.  My mom makes it every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes Easter.  I've been helping her with it for years, but it's one of those dishes she doesn't have a recipe for.  This year we noted what we used so I could share it with you.  We used to make it with wheat four, but when I had to go gluten free we switched to rice flour.  It tastes the same.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours.

4 packages frozen chopped spinach
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons rice flour
1 1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sugar

1) Cook the spinach according to the directions on the package.  Drain well.
2) Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until soft.
3) Add the flour to the onion mixture, whisk until smooth.
4) Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.  Add the salt and pepper.
5) Keep stirring and allow to thicken slightly, about three minutes.
6) Stir in the cooked spinach and sugar. Heat throughout and serve.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Puree

My mom has made Sweet Potato Puree for the last two Thanksgivings.  They are easy to make, not too sweet, and are a good side dish.  The recipe is right off  You can find it here.  I'm using their picture too because I forgot to take one of my own.

We used 6 large sweet potatoes and 2% milk instead of whole milk.  If I was making it on my own I'd probably use skim milk because that's what I have in my apartment.  I'd also probably use a little less butter, just because 6 tablespoons seems like a lot.  Otherwise, this is a great recipe that I'm sure will be making appearances at many of our Thanksgivings to come.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smart Grain Sage Stuffing

I picked up this stuffing at G-Free NYC.  I made it for our pre-Thanksgiving day feast tonight and I was very happy with it, especially since the gluten free stuffing I tried last year pretty much sucked.

To make the stuffing I started by sauteing up some onion, mushrooms, and celery.  Then, in a large pot, I melted half a stick of butter into a quarter cup of gluten free chicken broth.  To that I added the sauteed vegetables and package of sage stuffing.  I combined it all and then we cooked it right in the turkey.  It started to crumble a little as I was taking it out of the bird, but it held up pretty well.  I'll be bringing left overs of it to our real Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow so I don't have to miss out on Thanksgiving day stuffing.

I can't seem to find a website for this company, but I'd recommend it for any gluten free holiday.

Mashed Cauliflower

I saw this recipe for Mashed Cauliflower on Elana's Pantry.  I love mashed potatoes, but sometimes they can be a bit heavy.  For the pre-Thanksgiving meal we had tonight, I wanted to try something a bit lighter.  This recipe is a nice substitute.  It has a great flavor, is really easy to make, is much healthier than mashed potatoes, and is still a good vehicle to hold gravy.

1 large head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Steam the cauliflower until very tender
2. Put the cauliflower, butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mash (or puree)
3. Top with some more butter and parsley if you'd like

That's it.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow we are off to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving.  My mom wanted to have turkey left over at our house, so we did a pre-Thanksgiving dinner tonight.  The best part of tonight's dinner?  The entire meal was gluten free!

Tonight we had:
Gluten Free Gravy*
Gluten Free Stuffing
Mashed Cauliflower
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Tomorrow we are making and bringing:
Creamed Spinach
Sweet Potato Puree
Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Everything we bring tomorrow will be gluten free as well.  I'll bring left over stuffing and gravy to have with my meal tomorrow.  I'll also bring some gluten free crackers for the appetizers.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I'm very happy that my family is being so accommodating to my needs.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

*I'm not posting a recipe for the gravy because my mom makes it and I honestly don't know how.  I do know she made it gluten free by using rice flour instead of wheat flour to thicken it.

Kinnikinnick Graham Style Cracker Crumbs

I've made my pumpkin pie several more times since that first unfortunate incident without the eggs.  Each time it has turned out great, but quite frankly the process of crushing the the grahams is a bit tedious and I always quit before they are as small as I really want them.

Last week I stumbled upon already crushed grahams at G-Free NYC!  I just made my Thanksgiving pie using these crumbs and it was so easy.  I highly recommend this product for your gluten free graham cracker pie crusts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breakfast in the Airport

This morning when my alarm went off at 6 am for my 9 am flight to Vermont for Thanksgiving, I had no breakfast in my house.  I figured I would find something at the airport, although airports are notoriously bad for their gluten free, or healthy, options. Until recently. Some organic health kick has become mainstream and airports have jumped on board. This morning, right across from my gate, stood CIBO Express Gourmet Market. It was full of lots of organic things. I skimmed the cereal selection with no real hope of finding anything gluten free. And then it jumped out at me - Gorilla Munch cereal! I love Gorilla Munch. Ok ok, it's made for kids, but it's gluten free and delicious. It kind of tastes like Kix, one of my childhood favorites. I've bought Gorilla Munch a few times in the last year.

I got the cereal, soy milk to put in it, some strawberries to put on top, and an ice tea. What a great gluten free breakfast, especially for an airport. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until I was checking out and they charged me $16.32.  I may have gotten a good breakfast, but the airport got me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough by French Meadow Bakery

I love cookies.  In fact, I kind of have a problem with cookies.  As in, I eat too many of them.  As a result of said problem, I'm not allowed to have cookies in my home.  I try to only make or buy them for special occasions or when I have people around to share them with.  Otherwise, I will, without a doubt, eat them all.

Despite my problem, I love baking.  I've toyed with the idea of opening a bakery for awhile so I can bake for other people.  I have also thought of making gluten free cookie dough so people can bake up fresh cookies whenever they want.

One day I came across French Meadow Bakery online and saw that they have Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
I immediately sent my parents this email: "These people stole my idea!  Are you guys sure you don't want to support me for the rest of my life so I can just bake and hang out?"  It turns out they don't.

I, of course, still wanted to try these cookies.  I was getting together with some friends on Friday and decided it was the perfect time to try them.

Short story short, they were great.  My man friend and I tried a raw one before baking the rest and it tasted just like regular cookie dough.  The baked cookies were just as good.  Even though making your own cookies is easy and fun, I was excited to have hot out of the oven gluten free chocolate chip cookies without any of the work.  So excited that I accidentally ate most of them even though I got them to share with everyone.  Which is exactly why I never bought them on my own.  You should, though, because they are really good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Harrison's Restaurant - Hilton Garden Inn State College

I'm in State College for a few days for more business meetings.  I'm watching the whole Penn State scandal unfold on TV as it unfolds outside my window.  Because my meeting isn't until this evening, I was going to drive to Philipsburg to have lunch at the 1921 Restaurant in the Philips Hotel.  I found this place on the Gluten Free Travel Site as well.  Alas, due to the rain and my general laziness, I decided to just stay in my hotel all day.

It turns out that the restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn where I'm staying also has gluten free options on their menu.  I was unnaturally excited when I noticed this.  I was having a hard time deciding between the Quinoa Risotto, the Mesclun Greens with Rosemary Chicken Salad, and the Modern Waldorf Salad, but the waiter suggested the chicken salad and I was sold.  I was tempted to get a soup to go with it, but decided against it.  They have at least two gluten free soups each day.  At dinner they also have a few gluten free dishes and gluten free pasta.  Having gluten free options is so nice for gluten free guests at the hotel.  I would stay here again just knowing that I could eat safely and well.

I'd also try the Philips Hotel if I was in the area again.  Any one know of other hotels with gluten free eating options?  Not just in PA, but anywhere?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bella Frutteto

Normal people book their hotels near where they need to be.  I book mine near restaurants I want to try (within reason).  I flew into Pittsburgh two weekends ago and I needed to be in Butler the next afternoon for a meeting.  I booked my hotel somewhere between the Pittsburgh Airport and Butler so I could eat at Bella Frutteto, which I found on the Gluten Free Travel Site.

I went to Bella Frutteto on a Saturday night by myself.  I was feeling very brave.  And hungry.  When I finally found Bella Frutteto it reminded me a lot of my parent's restaurant Sarducci's.  It was busy so I decided to eat at the bar and pretended to watch the football game.  The reason I wanted to try Bella Fruttto was because they have a huge gluten free menu.  After much deliberation I ordered the Sausage and Chicken Pasta with a side Spinach Salad.  They were both really good.  I started with the salad which had granny smith apples, gorgonzola, and walnuts.  The pasta had chicken, sausage, mozzarella, and a tomato cream sauce over gluten free pasta.  It was amazing.  I'm craving it again now as I write this post.  If I ever have the opportunity to go back I'd love to try the Harvest Chicken Salad or Balsamic Chicken.

If you ever find yourself within an hour radius of Wexford, PA, I highly suggest you stop by this place.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Legal Sea Foods - Philadelphia Airport

Flying from Philly to Pittsburgh last week for work I found myself with a few hours to kill in the Philadelphia airport.  I decided to treat myself to lunch at Legal Sea Foods because I knew they had a gluten free menu.  It's pretty rare to find gluten free food in an airport, so this was a nice treat.

What wasn't a nice treat was seeing the calories listed for each item.  I know they legally have to do this, but wow is it a downer.  I was only going to get a salad because I didn't want to pay $30 for lunch in an airport, but having to decide between the calories of my meal and the price of my meal was rather unfortunate.  I ended up getting a cesar salad with grilled shrimp.  It was very good and even had gluten free croutons on it.  It also added an extra 1,000+ calories to my day.  (Salads, by definition, should not be a thousand calories!) Like when I ate at Legal Sea Foods in Boston, I was served warm gluten free roles and the manager brought over my meal and informed me that they took my food allergy very seriously.  A nice touch I think.

Then I was off to Pittsburgh.  I made sure to utilize the hotel gym when I got there so I could eat dinner without exploding.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


*I have learned that Relish is now closed.* - March 2013

I found Relish on the Gluten Free Travel Site and made a point of going when I was in Allentown, PA.  They have so many gluten free options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that I was sad I only had the time to go once.

For such a casual place, the menu is pretty impressive.  For breakfast they have pancakes, french toast, waffles, omelets, and eggs benedict.  For lunch they have numerous salads and sandwiches.  At dinner they add on some appetizers and entrees.

I was bound and determined to get the mac and cheese, and seeing as it was only a side dish, I got the Thai Cobb Salad to go along with it.  The salad had mango, coconut, peanuts, snow peas, and carrots on a bed of lettuce.  It was different and fun.  The macaroni and cheese, unfortunately, wasn't as good as I was hoping for.  It consisted of globby gluten free pasta with some cheese on it.  I was expecting more of a bechamel cheese sauce, but I guess I was just hoping for my mom's mac and cheese and that's not really fair.  For dessert I got some amazing cheesecake to go from Moondance Desserts.

Despite not loving the mac and cheese, there are so many other things at Relish I want to try: blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict, asian pear salad, fresh grilled chicken wrap, southern pulled pork sandwich, pizza, mini potato pancakes, crab cakes, mozzarella sticks, tropical tilapia, pork chops, gluten free ravioli, and pretty much everything else.  I can't wait until my next meeting in the Allentown area.  I'll definitely be stopping by Relish again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Olive Garden

The second food stop on my Pennsylvania gluten free eating tour business trip was the Olive Garden in Lancaster.  I used to like the Olive Garden ok pre-gluten free.  I was a bit spoiled growing up seeing as my parents own an Italian restaurant and all, but you can't go too wrong with pasta.  Unless, of course, it's gluten free pasta.

The Olive Garden has a gluten free menu, but while their regular menu boasts several different choices, the gluten free menu only has a few: two salads, two pasta dishes that are basically the same, salmon, steak, chicken, or a combo of steak and chicken if you are feeling really wild.

I got the pasta because I wanted to try their gluten free pasta.  It was extremely disappointing.  It seemed as though they made a batch of gluten free pasta that morning and kept it all day long just waiting for someone to order it.  That someone was me, and I was not happy.  Not only was it old, but the portion was small and the pasta fell apart.

While my experience wasn't very good, I'd give the Olive Garden another shot.  Next time I'll try a more metropolitan location where they are more likely to serve more than one gluten free person a week.

Has anyone else attempted gluten free at Olive Garden?  Success or failure?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deliso Pizza

My first gluten free stop on my Pennsylvania work adventure was Deliso Pizza in Gettysburg.  My man friend agreed to come on this road trip with me, but unbeknownst to us, it was fall weekend at Gettysburg College and all the hotels in town were booked.  After much searching I finally found a room at the Motel 6.  We checked in on a Saturday afternoon and I had to run off to my work meeting.  I left him in a room that felt dirty, damp, and smelled like pool.  The reason for the pool smell was that the indoor pool and hot tub were right on the other side of our room's window.  It was weird, but I had to run.

After my meeting, where the hostess graciously made a full gluten free lunch for me, I picked up my man friend and we went to see the sights of Gettysburg.  We went on a tour of the Shriver House and checked out the National Cemetery where we saw where Lincoln made his Gettysburg Address.

After all this cultural history it was time for some dinner.  We drove a mile or so outside of town to Deliso Pizza.  It is a very casual pizza place where families were eating pizza and police offers were having some subs.  My man friend and I decided to get some food to go.  They had gluten free baked ziti and I was sold immediately.  We decided to get a six pack of Woodchuck hard cider and really make a party out of that old Motel 6.  I was very happy with my baked ziti.  It's just the kind of thing I used to order from takeout before my gluten free days.  I missed it in my life.  Matched with the Woodchuck Cider and Boardwalk Empire on the lap top, it was a very successful evening.  We even went in the hot tub and prayed not to catch the clap.

If you ever find yourself in Gettysburg, PA, I recommend you stop by Deliso for some gluten free baked ziti, or pizza if that's your thing.

On the Road

I have to travel to Pennsylvania a lot for my new job.  Not Philly or Pittsburgh so much as small town America, PA.  In the last month I've been to Main Line, Gettysburg, Altoona, Lancaster, Allentown, Blue Mountain area, and Butler - in that order.  I have a few other stops to make in the next few weeks as well - including Lewistown, Williamsport, the Poconos, and Bucks County.  I've been traveling by planes, trains, automobiles, and buses.  I also took an Amish buggy tour in Lancaster.

Eating on the road can be hard.  Especially gluten free.  Sure its ok to eat some (gluten free) french fries every once in awhile, but really more than once a trip is gross.  I knew I'd be on the road for days at a time, so in preparation I spent several hours researching different places to eat around the state.  I knew which towns I needed to visit so I looked for restaurants near those areas using the Gluten Free Travel Site.  This site is so helpful.  There are thousands of reviews for places all over the globe.  I've done a few reviews myself and I encourage you to add one if you know of somewhere that hasn't already been reviewed.  Without the help of other gluten free folks posting, I'd be eating a whole lot more french fries than I wanted to on these trips.

I was able to compile a list of over 30 restaurants with gluten free menus throughout Pennsylvania using this site.  There were many more listed, but not in the areas I was traveling.   So far I've been to:

Deliso Pizza in Gettysburg
Olive Garden  - a chain, but in Lancaster
Relish in Allentown
Legal Seafoods - another chain, this time I went in the Philly Airport
Bella Frutteto - outside Pittsburgh

Anyone have any restaurant suggestions in Pennsylvania?  Tips for eating on the road?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Moondance Heavenly Desserts

Um, I just had one of these mini cheesecakes from Moondance Heavenly Desserts and had to let you know about it immediately.  Because it was, indeed, heavenly.  The cheesecake part was creamy and delicious.  The pecan shortbread crust was great.  And I'm glad it was personal sized so I didn't eat 16 servings of it.  If all their other products are as good as this one, they have a really good thing going for them.  I highly suggest this little piece of cheesecake heaven.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vermont Gluten Free Brownies

I'm home in Vermont for a few days and loving it.  It's such a change from my daily life in the big city.  While home I generally sit around and do nothing in my pajamas.  My big activities today included two walks and a trip to the Co-Op.  I then proceeded to bake a pumpkin pie and make dinner with my brother.

The Co-Op has a fairly large gluten free selection.  It's where I get the Kinnikinnick graham crackers for the pumpkin pies.  Today I picked up a vermont gluten free brownie.  It looked like this:

And it was delicious.  Way better than I was expecting.  I love the co-op, but I've tried a few different freshly baked gluten free products from there with not much success.  Often they are too dry, too crumbly, and the taste is not worth the calories.  Not the case with this brownie.  It was moist, stayed together, and worth every bite.

I like the idea of this company because it's a mother daughter team from my hometown of Barre.  It makes me think that maybe one day I can start a little gluten free bakery of my own somewhere.  In the mean time, I'm glad these ladies are around making gluten free treats to share with my fellow Vermonters.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Hard Boil an Egg

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac my mom promptly ordered me three gluten free cookbooks off Amazon.  They were in my hands and filled with post it notes within a few days.  In Jacqueline Mallorca's The Wheat-Free Cook there is a page in which all she has is a brief description of how to hard boil eggs.  I remember looking at that page and realizing that, at age 25, I had no idea how to hard boil an egg.  I'm so glad I know how to now, and I wanted to make sure you know how to too.

In Jacqueline's own words, here's all you have to do:

Perfectly Cooked Hard-Boiled Eggs
Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let stand for 12 minutes.  The yolks as well as the whites will be firm all the way through, and just right.

That's it.  When the eggs are done I drain the hot water, run some cold water over them, drain that, and then put them right in the fridge.  Cooking up a few on Sunday night makes for a very easy weekday breakfast.  I grab two on my way out the door and eat them at my desk with salt and pepper.  They keep for 3-5 days.

What's everyone else eating for breakfast?  You are eating breakfast, aren't you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I've been to Rubirosa twice now.  It's a cute little Italian place in SoHo.  Dark and cozy, it's a good spot for a fall or winter evening dinner.  The hostesses are a bit sassy, but if you ignore them then it's a pleasant place.

Their gluten free menu isn't on the website, but they do have a separate menu.  There are several appetizers, entrees, homemade pastas, and pizzas.  I've tried the meatball and mozzarella stick appetizers.  The meatballs were good and you really can't go wrong with fried cheese.  I'd also like to try the rice balls.

When I went last night I had the sausage ragu penne for my entree.  It was really good.  The other time I went I had the chicken parmesan.  The portion was quite large and it was definitely enough for two meals.  Next time I go, and there will be a next time, maybe I'll try the pizza.

This place is great because it's good Italian food for gluten and gluten free eaters alike.

Anyone else been here?  How's the pizza?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crustless Quiche

What is the difference between a quiche and a frittata?  Honestly, I had to Google that and I'm still not sure I know the answer.  Especially when the quiche is crust-less.  But what I got from Google is that quiches have a bunch of milk in them and frittatas don't.  Either way, they are both good.

Worried about the gluteny crust on a quiche?  Don't be, you can just make it without a crust!  I found this recipe in The Gluten-Free Bible and tried it out last night.  I'll definitely be making this, and variations of it, again in the future.

2 cups sliced asparagus (1/2 inch pieces)
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rice flour
4 eggs
1 cup cubed ham
2 tablespoons dried basil (fresh if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350.  Combine asparagus, bell pepper, onion, and 2 tablespoons water in a microwavable bowl.  Cover with waxed paper, microwave on high for 2 minutes, drain the excess water.

2) Whisk the milk and rice flour in a large bowl.  Add in the eggs.  Stir in the vegetables, ham, basil, salt and pepper.  Pour into a 9 inch pie pan.

3)  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheese over the quiche and bake for another 5 minutes - or until the center is set and the cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The good thing about quiches and/or frittatas is that you can pretty much put whatever you want in there.  Veggies, meat, cheese.  Next time I might try broccoli.

Anyone know the difference between a quiche and a frittata?  Suggestions for favorite ingredients?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola

Sunday morning I woke up to a recipe for pumpkin granola posted on my facebook page from an old college roommate.  Sunday afternoon I made this granola by Lisa at With Style and Grace.  Right after the granola I made the pumpkin spice muffins.  It was a day of pumpkin.

I love granola.  An endless supply of "low fat" cafeteria granola greatly aided in making me fat in college.  Due to the fact that it is actually not as good for you as you'd like to think, and that gluten free granola is absurdly expensive, I tend to steer clear of it except every once in a while.  But I couldn't pass up the chance to make it on my own.  I could control the amount of fat that went into it and it would be much cheaper than buying it.  Win win.

And without further ado, here's the how:

4 cups gluten free oats (if you aren't gluten free make this recipe using regular oats)
1 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup (as a Vermonter, I beg you to use the real stuff)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries

1) Pre-heat oven to 325.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.  In another bowl combine the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add this mixture to the oat mixture until everything is coated.

3) Spread the granola mixture onto the baking sheets.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, then stir to ensure it bakes evenly.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and let cool before mixing in the cranberries.  Store in an airtight container.

I was pretty amazed at how easy this was to make.  Lisa bakes hers in two batches and suggests you either do the same or use two sheets.  I must admit I only own one baking sheet and was too lazy pressed for time to do two batches.  It was probably a mistake because the granola didn't turn out quite as crunchy as I like, but it was still good, don't worry.  Not only was it good, but now I have a ton of it!

Speaking of having a ton of it, you might notice there is no oil in this recipe.  That's good for not making you fat.  It has a pumpkin taste, but not overbearingly pumpkin.  Who knew making granola could be so easy?  Thanks Margaret!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Photo compliments of my roommate.
I came across this recipe on Quick Feet, Good Eats recently and have been dreaming about it ever since.  Apparently I really like cream cheese in my baked goods.  I made these yesterday with a few adjustments to the original recipe and they were pretty great.  Here's how I made them:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar

3 cups GF flour (I used 2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose and 1 cup brown rice)
1.5 tsp cinnamon
4.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons GF flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

1) In a medium bowl beat the softened cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth.  Put mixture in the freezer while you prepare the muffins.

2) Pre-heat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. 

3) In a larger bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, and oil.  Stir the flour mixture into the liquid mixture.  Set aside.

4) To make the topping combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until it's crumbly.

5) Grease 24 muffin tins.  Fill each tin 1/3 of the way with the pumpkin mixture.  Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin tin, then cover with more of the pumpkin mixture.  Sprinkle some of the topping mixture over each muffin.

6) Bake for 20-25 minutes.

That's it.  They are especially good straight out of the oven when the cream cheese is still gooey.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pala Pizza

I keep a list of gluten free restaurants in my phone.  It's a mixture of places I've tried and places I've been wanting to try.  It has the restaurant name, type of food, and location.  With this list I can satisfy any food craving or find a place to eat within a 20 minute radius of whichever Manhattan neighborhood I am in.  It has come in helpful time and time again.  It it much longer than the list of restaurants I have reviewed here, but I'm working on adding them all to this site.

Pala Pizza has been on my list since I first went gluten free over a year ago.  I'm not sure why I'd never been until yesterday, but I finally made it there.  The menu has appetizers, salads, pastas, and pizzas.  Just about everything can be gluten free.  Not only do they have gluten free pasta and pizza, but they have three varieties of gluten free pasta - which is very exciting for us gluten free folks.  They also have a large vegan menu if that suits your fancy.

I had the risotto ball appetizer and gluten free spaghetti with meatballs for my entre.  I liked the risotto balls.  They were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and served with a marinara dipping sauce.  The spaghetti and meatballs were fine, which was kind of disappointing because I was hoping it would be great.  The spaghetti itself was good, but the sauce had a really strong taste that I couldn't identify.  The portion was also a bit small in my opinion.

I left a little disappointed.  The guy next to me had ordered a gluten free pizza that looked pretty good, so I did the fat kid thing and went back today to try the pizza.  I didn't want to review the place as "meh" without having tried their specialty.  I ordered the zucchini pizza with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.  It was good.  It was served on this pizza board, which clearly marked it as gluten free:

They go out of their way to ask if anyone at the table has any food allergies and make you feel comfortable that your food will be safe.  This is a plus for the very gluten sensitive folks. 

Even with going back to try the pizza, I wasn't overly excited by this place.  It is good, not great.  Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for them, there are many places in NYC that serve good gluten free pizza.  That being said, it is a good restaurant to keep on my list in case I find myself in the Lower East Side needing a place to eat.  I'd like to try more of their pastas, and I'm kind of wishing I had some of those risotto balls to eat right now.  It's also close to Babycakes, which is a plus for dessert (although I like Tu-Lu's better).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

With my lack of recipes you might think I don't cook that often.  Well, that's kind of true.  It's especially true in the summer when I mostly eat fresh fruit with cottage cheese or plain yogurt.  Also, living in a city with so many food options, I find myself eating out a fair amount.  But as the season starts to turn to fall, I start to turn to soup.

My mom makes this delicious butternut squash soup.  We ate it while I was home last weekend and then I made it this week.  Easy, healthy, and lasts for days.  It's easy because we use pre-cut squash.  If you have the time and energy to do it yourself, I am very impressed.  The amount of the veggies isn't so important, so don't worry if you don't have it exact.

2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash
2 medium russet potatoes
1 package mini carrots (1 pound I think)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups gluten free vegetable broth
2 cups cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 425.  Chop the potatoes and onion into large pieces (similar in size to the butternut squash).
2) Put all vegetables and vegetable broth in a large baking dish.  Cover and bake for one hour.
3) Transfer the roasted vegetables and broth into a large pot and blend with an immersion blender.  Or blend in a regular blender before transferring to the pot.
4) Stir in the cheese and shake in a bunch of salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with some parsley.

Serve with warm bread.

Pumpkin Pie and Kinnikinnick Graham Crackers

*Update: Kinnikinnick now makes already crushed grahams for pie crusts.  So much easier!*

Oops, I burned the crust.
Last weekend I baked a pie.  A pumpkin pie.  With a gluten free graham cracker crust.  I should probably tell you that I’ve only made a handful of pies in my life, mostly apple pies with my mom doing the majority of the work and using a Pillsbury pre-made crust.  I also made a raspberry pie once trying to woo my high school boyfriend.  I don’t remember if it was any good or not.

I spent the long weekend at home in Vermont visiting my parents and aunt.  It was a perfect fall weekend with foliage near peak and temperatures in the mid 70s.  I had already baked two loaves of (gluten filled) banana bread for my folks when my dad started talking about pumpkin pie.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse to try Kinnikinnick's gluten free graham crackers for months now.  I promptly volunteered to make a pumpkin pie.

Let’s talk about these grahams first.  I hadn’t had a graham cracker in at least a year, but I thought these were pretty darn good.  So good that several of them didn’t make it into the pie.  Oops?  I’ll be using these grahams in future baking and also anxiously awaiting your invitation to a campfire next summer so we can make s'mores.
And now about the pie.  I looked up graham cracker pie crust recipes and came up with the one below.  It was really good, but for some reason the edges burned a little while the pie was baking.  This is what it looked like pre-pie filling:

I used this basic recipe for the pie part.  But let me admit something: I forgot to add the eggs.  I didn’t even know there were eggs in pumpkin pie.  There are.  So while the pie was good without them, I would add them next time.  Also, the idea of condensed milk has always creeped me out, but I decided to go for it anyway.  I have no idea what condensed milk is, but it worked.

Ingredients for the Crust:
1.5 cups gluten free grahams
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Ingredients for the Pie:
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1)    Pre-heat oven to 375.  Using a rolling pin, crush 1.5 cups worth of graham crackers (approximately 2/3 the package of Kinnikinnick grahams).  In a small bowl combine the crushed grahams, melted butter, and brown sugar.  Press into a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake at 375 for 7 minutes.  Take crust out and turn the oven up to 425.

2)    In a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, and cinnamon*.  Pour into the pie crust.

3)    Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the middle is set.  When the pie is done, turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven to prevent cracking.

*If you like ginger, cloves, or nutmeg, use them.  You can also use a pre-spiced pumpkin mixture, but if you do, omit or decrease the amount of cinnamon.  I used pure pumpkin instead of a mixture because I was afraid it would be too sweet for my liking in combination with the sweetened condensed milk.

Even with my snafu of forgetting the eggs, I was pretty happy with my first pumpkin pie and gluten free graham cracker crust.  I will definitely make this pie again.

Anyone else ever forget a key ingredient?  Theories on why the edges of my crust burned a little?  Should I not have baked it first?  Invitations for a s'more date using these gluten free grahams?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween and Gluten Free Candy

As Halloween approaches I thought it would be appropriate to let you know that tons of candies are gluten free, including most of the good ones.  This is really handy year round, but especially relevant around Halloween.

Halloween brings back the following fond memories of my childhood:
1) Arguing with my parents about not wanting to put a winter coat over my super cool costume

2) Driving from area to area because we lived in the middle of nowhere and trick-or-treating wasn't possible on foot

3) Trying to find an almond joy for my mom and junior mints for my dad (their favorite candies, but not really the most popular Halloween giveaways, so this was always a bit of a struggle)

4) My brother and I dumping our pillow cases of candy on the floor after, sorting out our candy, and then trading (more snickers for me, more milk duds for him)

5) My brother being mean, taking candy that wasn't his, and me crying and/or whining

6) Getting a stomach ache from way too much candy

Ahh the good old days.  Don't worry, I still make a point of eating a lot of candy on and around Halloween.  I've found that adult Halloween parties are heavy on the booze and light on the candy.  I think adults have their priorities all wrong.

And now for the real point.  There are plenty of candies that are gluten free - at Halloween and all year round.  Halloween doesn't have to be yet another time for gluten free children (and candy addicted adults like me) to feel left out.  There is enough safe candy for everyone!

Gluten Free Candy:
3 Musketeers
Almond Joy
Baby Ruth
Candy Corn
Hershey's Kisses, Milk Chocolate, Almond, Dark Chocolate, and Mr. Good Bars
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Jolly Ranchers
Jr. Mints
M&Ms (all kinds but pretzel)
Milk Duds
Milky Way Midnight or Simply Caramel (NOT regular)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Reese's Pieces
Sour Patch Kids
Swedish Fish
Tootsie Pops and Tootsie Rolls
York Peppermint Patties

Obviously Not Gluten Free Candy:
Butterfinger Crisp
Crunch Bars
Hershey's Cookies and Cream
Kit Kat
Reese's Sticks

Surprisingly Not Gluten Free Candy:
100 Grand
Lindt Truffles
Milky Way original

This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather some of the most popular candies.  For an extensive list, I suggest you check out this list I found.  This lady has really done her research.  So has this lady.  Happy candy eating :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keste Pizza

Keste Pizza has gluten free pizza options on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Today is Tuesday and I went to try it with two lovely ladies from my old job.  The menu is really just pizza and wine.  Oh, and some salads.  There are only three gluten free pizza options: marinara, margherita, and a meat choice.  Why stray from the classics, I guess?  Lisa and I split a caprese salad and a margherita pizza.  There was wine all around.  I liked the pizza a lot, but Lisa (a gluten eater) confirmed that it was actually good (I'm starting to lose touch with what is "good" and what is "good for gluten free").  This pizza was good.

Ok ok, I wasn't thrilled with the $18 price tag of the pizza.  But this is New York City, and this is also gluten free, so I guess I'll have to suck it up.  The only other thing to note is that Keste is literally right across the street from Risotteria.  Seeing as I don't travel to the West Village very often, if I was standing in the middle of the street with Risotteria on one side and Keste on the other, I might tend to pick Risotteria.  This is really just because of their amazing bread sticks and the fact that I am generally more likely to order risotto than pizza.  This being said, if you are big into pizza, I would definitely give Keste a try.  It's worth it.  This is me and our gluten free pizza:

Compliments of Lisa Y.

And now that I feel sufficiently dorky for sharing a picture of myself...good night.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Legal Sea Foods

I've been trying to write this post for the last week and a half, but these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.  I've finally rejoined society and it's time to let you know that Legal Sea Foods has a great gluten free menu.  The truth is, I'm still too exhausted to really tell you about it, but with so many gluten free options and locations all along the east coast, I wanted to make sure you at least know about it.

When I went to Lea Sea Foods a few weeks ago in Boston I was impressed with their large gluten free menu.  I was even more impressed when they brought me two warm gluten free rolls.  I was further impressed when the kitchen manager personally brought out my gluten free lobster and side dishes.  You can tell they take their gluten free menu seriously, which I really appreciate.

Lea Sea Foods is a bit pricy, but fresh quality sea food often is.  They have locations in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virgina, and Washington DC.

I also went to Legal Sea Foods in the Philly Airport.  Read about it here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bistango Restaurant

I've been to Bistango a few times now.  In fact, it was one of the very first restaurants I tried after going gluten free.  They are very aware of food allergies and ask upon seating if anyone in your party has any food allergies.  While the menu isn't huge, they specialize in Italian food and have plenty of dishes to choose from.  Just about everything on the menu can be modified to be gluten free, including the pasta dishes.

I went last night and when I told them I had a gluten allergy they promptly brought me some toasted gluten free bread with my own garlic and olive oil.  My man friend's fresh gluten filled bread looked much better, but that's ok.  On Monday nights they have a slightly different menu that is a little bit cheaper.  I like this because while their food is good, it is a little bit above my average night out's price range.  I got the Baked Lasagna with Short Rib Bolognese.  To make it gluten free they modified it by serving the same ingredients over gluten free penne.  It was really good.  My man friend had the Grilled Salmon and enjoyed his as well.  They also have fresh gluten free pasta which I think would be interesting to try.

Overall, Bistango is a pretty good choice for gluten free Italian food in the city.  They do charge $2 more for gluten free penne, but a lot of places do that.  I also just noticed they have gluten free pancakes during brunch, so I will definitely be back to try them at some point.