Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oogie's popcorn- gourmet and gluten free

I've been enjoying this scrumptious treat for a while and just realized I'd never blogged about it.  Oogie's popcorn is incredibly tasty and gluten free.  You should be able to get it at a variety of local stores or from their website.  The flavors are complex and adult, not your normal movie popcorn!  Check out this glowing review for more details.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark Chocolate Squares are Gluten Free

After heedlessly popping one of these scrumptious candies - bad me for not checking first - I decided to look it up.  Like most of Ghiradelli's products, the Peppermint Bark Chocolate Squares turned out to be gluten free.  Of course, always check the ingredients yourself, but it looks OK to me!  
If you come across some, you're lucky because it looks like in general they're sold out for the year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rough Creek Lodge - A great GF option

After perusing Rough Creek Lodge's website, I determined it would be safe to go there and throw myself on the mercy of the chef.  I was right!  There was nothing I wanted that was GF on the menu.  So I told the server what I wanted - No gluten and either chicken or beef and she said "No problem."  Can you imagine!  

The chef reconfigured a dish featuring mahi mahi (I'm a weirdo and I don't like fish) and recreated it with grilled chicken.  It was delicious.  They also found a GF appetizer for me - Potato onion soup. They seemed to take the Gluten-Free restriction very seriously and I felt perfectly safe eating their food.  I didn't even feel a twinge in my stomach!

For great, safe food, it's worth the drive to Glen Rose.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Gluten-Free Potato Latke Recipe

The recipe my family traditionally uses calls for a small amount of flour, but this one, which I found on is delicious and doesn't use any flour at all.  Do not skip the step of getting the water out of the grated potato.  I did this time and was sorry.  It was still tasty, but not as phenomenal as the last time I made them.  Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hints for surviving holiday parties

This is a collection of hints I've read in a variety of sources and ideas I've come up with myself.
  • Never show up to a party - even a dinner party hungry.  Eat something small, but filling before you go.  Then, you're just supplementing from the party food.  I've had horrible experiences when I show up and everything has been contaminated - dips with cracker crumbs, etc.
  • At a potluck, plan on only being able to eat your dish and consider it a happy bonus if you can eat some of the others.  Also, make sure you take what you want from your dish before adding it to the table.  Once, I put a lovely pumpkin risotto down only to see a man dip a cracker in it two seconds later.  If possible, get another friend attending the same potluck to also bring a dish the two of you can eat.
  • Keep emergency food in the car - a couple of bars or something more substantial.  Unexpected traffic delays, long trips to the mall, etc. can leave you stranded in unfriendly GF territory.
  • When attending a party, always bring something you can eat that other people won't notice is GF.  Either a naturally GF dish or a GF one that tastes really good - verify this by having non-GF friends who are painfully honest do a taste test.  This way you get to share your food and not feel weird by only eating "different" food.
  • If you're headed to a casual party where beer is the beverage of choice, bring a bottle of wine or a pitcher of fun mixed drinks to share.  That way, you're not left out.  Hard cider is also a good alternative.  It looks a lot like beer and other people might like it too for a change.
  • Don't panic.  You're really, really, not going to starve to death.  One of my worst food party moments was arriving starving at a house where they were serving pizza and birthday cake.  I simply slipped out the back, went to a nearby store and bought a couple of apples and some peanut butter.  
  • Remember, if all else fails, most gas stations carry the simple necessities for a GF meal.  Fruit, milk,  peanuts and cracker jacks.  OK, it's not perfect, but it will get you through the day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gluten-free gingerbread house completed!

Normally my posts are fairly brief.  So, for people wanting to make their own GF Gingerbread house here are the highlights.  People interested in my saga can read the bottom part.

  • Here is the gingerbread recipe I used.
  • Here is the book where I got my design.
  • My royal icing recipe, rolled fondant recipe and pre-made gum paste were either Wilton products or recipes.
  • The shingles are made from slivered almonds and held in place by royal icing.
  • I used M&Ms as my cobblestone walkway.
  • I built the fence and anything else pink or purple out of fondant and royal icing.
  • The shrubs and tree toppers came from a store-bought pack of holiday marshmallows.
  • I used GF ice cream cones as a base for the Christmas trees.
  • The snowman is made out of gum paste, but could easily have been made from fondant. His hat is a Rollo and royal icing.
The main thing is be creative and use what you have on hand.

The gingerbread saga:

Oh, I thought, this will be fun, I'll make a gingerbread house.  I'd worked with gingerbread in my pre-gluten days.  How hard could it be?  My astute boyfriend, Cliff, pointed out that I'd had trouble with the structural integrity of rolled-out GF cookies in the past.  What would keep the gingerbread house from crumbling.  "Ha!" I scoffed "I've learned from the sugar cookies in the past.  This will be a walk in the park."

Wrong.  The first night, I worked on the dough, I realized my dream of a gingerbread picket fence was dying.  The dough was tricky to roll out and even trickier to get onto the pan.  I was rolling it out onto wax paper.  Parchment paper might have worked better, but I was out of it.  After I'd roll it out and cut out the pattern, I'd place the cookie pan over the wax paper with the gingerbread on it, slide my hand under it and flip all of it so the gingerbread landed more or less in the pan.  Smaller sections could be moved without this procedure, but once I cut out windows, the big sections were very fragile.

I gave up for the night after making a front of the house that looked more like a dilapidated version of the Alamo than a gingerbread house.  I went at it again the next night and came up with some better results.  I then cut gingerbread men from the remaining dough.  It might have been smart to make a couple of duplicate sides, roofs, etc. in case of later accidents.  But I didn't.

Realizing that my fence was not going to happen out of gingerbread, I thought of alternative materials.  It's possible to find GF pretzel sticks, but they are kind of crumbly, too.  So, I decided to make it out of fondant.  I made up a bunch of the stuff with Cliff's help, rolled it out and followed the fence-making instructions in the book.  Fondant is sort of like clay and needs time to air dry.  I made a few extra pieces in case of breakage and set it aside to dry overnight.  It takes fondant about 1-2 weeks to fully dry.  I also made the shutters and decorations for the gate and arbor.  The book suggested using gum for the shutters, but whenever I can, I like to make the food myself so I know what's in it.  Also, I cut the candy canes to size.

The next day, I started with the assembly.  I made a double batch of royal icing.  Over a week ago, a friend cut a piece of plywood to size for me and Cliff drilled holes for the candy canes to go in.  Also, I found a $5 string of lights at home depot and glued them onto the board so the house can light up. 

As per directions from the book, I piped royal icing onto the board and got ready to set up the first three walls.  I thought I had it, but somehow the two sides fell onto the board and broke into a few sections.  Trying not to panic, I got out my royal icing and went for it again.  I was able to repair the sections and salvage the house.  I got the three sides up and added the back.  I looked a the roof and realized one section had split completely in half.  I royal icinged it back together.

I added the roof and miraculously it held.  I finished the rest of it off according to the book - adding shingles made of slivered almonds row by row and making a snowman from gum paste.  The book called for a black jellybean for the top hat, but I couldn't find any GF ones so I went with a Rollo.

Two more batches of royal icing later, I'd put the snow on the ground and managed to erect the fondant fence.  It is very fragile, but looks the part.  Exhausted, last night at 10 PM one of my friends absolved me of making gum paste cobblestones and I cheated and went with M&Ms.

This morning, I plugged it in and miracle of miracles, it lit up.  It's not perfect, but as Cliff and I keep saying - that just means you can eat it and try again next year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Apex brand supplements mainly gluten free

I workout at 24-hour fitness and a trainer recommended I take some supplements to help with my workouts.  Naturally suspicious of hidden gluten, I contacted the company that makes their supplements, Apex.  Turns out most of their bars have gluten, but all but one of their supplements are safe.  Their Max Creatine pills have gluten in them.  Here is the reply  I got from my email.

Since the cookies, bars and powders may contain the following;
cocoa, oat fiber, wheat, konjac flour, cocoa butter, wheat flour, barley malt, and Gluten is associated with these ingredients, the cookies, bars and powders may not be well tolerated by those with Celiac Sprue or Gluten Intolerance.

Maltodextrin may also be another ingredient not well suited for those who have Celiac Sprue or Gluten Intolerance as well.

Those who have Celiac Sprue or Gluten Intolerance should have a list of foods and/or ingredients that they should not consume.

The only pills that contain Gluten is the Max Creatine....

We hope that this information has been helpful.

Yours in health,

Technical Support Specialist

Apex Fitness


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Sunflower Shoppe is blooming in Colleyville

The Healthy Approach market at Glade and 121 in Colleyville has been remodeled and is now a Sunflower Shoppe.  The shelves in the gluten-free section are full to bursting with favorites like the Ktoos - the most oreo-like GF cookie I've found - and a huge variety of hard-to-find GF cooking ingredients.  I couldn't stop myself from buying GF ice cream cones, granola bars and ricecrispie treats.  If you haven't been by in a while, check it out!

5100 Hwy 121 Suite A
Colleyville, Texas 76034
(817) 399-9100

Making Gluten-Free Gingerbread

I promised I'd have a full report on this by Monday morning, but I was delayed in my gingerbread experiment.  You can see my previous post on this and get the recipe here.

Having been party to some spectacular gluten-free culinary disasters in the past - chocolate chip cookies that dissolved into puddles of goo when I tried to cook them, cream puffs that failed to puff and baked onto the cookie sheet, again in a puddle of goo - I would not say this was a complete fiasco.

I did succeed in getting most of the pieces shaped and baked for my gingerbread house.  However, it took 2 and 1/2 hours and I didn't even finish rolling out all of the dough.  In my previous glutinous life, I have worked with gingerbread dough, which can be challenging.  Tonight, however, I had to use all of my cunning.  

I expect that much of my trouble could be attributed to the fact that I started baking at 11 PM and that it's very dry in Texas.  But, the dough was quite crumbly.  I was able to roll it out and the suggestion in the directions that  you roll it onto wax paper and then use that to flip it onto the pan was invaluable.  I would not suggest an overambitious house design and that you do cutouts for windows, doors, etc. sparingly.

I think this recipe is definitely usable, but bring your patience and make sure time is on your side.  Allow at least twice as long as you think this will take. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wow holiday guests with creme brulee

I've mentioned before that I feel passionate about keeping my home as gluten free as possible.  However, we all must admit that some gluten-free cakes, cookies, etc. aren't always as palatable as one might hope.  One sure way to wow your guests and keep yourself free from anxiety that glutinous crumbs are contaminating your kitchen is to cook fabulous desserts that are naturally gluten free.  

My friends seem split on weather or not jello is an appropriate dessert, but I intend to get better comments on creme brulee.  A friend of mine just sent be a delightful little book packed full of gluten-free dessert recipes from  It's called Elegantly easy Creme Brulee & Other Custard Desserts by Debbie Puente.  The recipes are inspired from the classic french creme brulee to the inclusion of the mexican cajeta and a variety of fruits including mangos and pineapple.  One amazing recipe shows a creme brulee served in an ice bowl with edible flowers frozen inside of it. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Preparing for making the GF Gingerbread house

This book, Gingerbread for All Seasons by Teresa Layman, which is not Gluten-Free specific, still has lots of great ideas.  I'm using it to plan my Gluten-Free gingerbread house which I will start on this weekend!  You can get it on Amazon or click here.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thank goodness for popcorn

I was bemoaning my lack of satifying, low-calorie, gluten-free snack options when my mother said, "Just be happy you can have popcorn."  Which is true.  Nearly every day around 4 PM I have an Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop mini bag.  They're 100 calories and seem to be gluten free. Here's some more information on them on the Orville Redenbacher website.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gluten-Free Food Scare

Here's a little more information on the food that was marked gluten free, but wasn't. Scary stuff.  This is from Gluten-Free Living. 

The recent Chicago Tribune stories about gluten in products labeled "gluten free" probably left you wondering how safe the food in your pantry really is.

It was unnerving to read in one story that Wellshire Farms chicken bites, and chicken and beef corn dogs that were labeled "gluten free" were independently tested and found to contain anywhere from 200 to 2,200 parts per million of gluten.

Click here to read the whole article.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tazo Tea not always gluten free

A reader commented recently that not all of Tazo's teas are gluten free.  Which would mean that you need to watch out, even at Starbucks.  Previously, I'd written that most of the Starbucks beverages are safe. I found this note on a website called Club Celiac.

All of our teas are gluten-free except for the following:
Green Ginger filterbags
Tazo Honeybush filterbags
Lemon Ginger juiced tea
Tea Lemonade juiced tea

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gluten contamination alert

This has been making the rounds, but I wanted to make sure everyone sees it!

December 1, 2008
John Soules Foods, Inc., is recalling “Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Strips With Rib Meat, Italian Style, Gluten Free” and “Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Strips With Rib Meat, Rotisserie Style, Gluten Free” due to undeclared wheat.

The product was distributed through retail establishments in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma,Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

The products are in 24-oz. bags with “use by” dates of Dec 27, 08 or Jan 2, 09 and the establishment number P-2128 inside the USDA mark of inspection. The Italian Style product has UPC 034695 123973. The Rotisserie Style product has UPC 034695 123980.

Consumers with questions may call (903) 245-3208.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gluten-Free Gingerbread house

I'm not sure what compels me to try these things, but this year I want to attempt a gluten-free gingerbread house. I came across some simple sounding directions complete with recipe at in their GF food section. I'd love to hear about it if any of you guys have ever tried this.  Are there any GF pitfalls to watch out for?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chébé - Slightly unusual. Unusually good.

My mom generously hosted Thanksgiving this year, but the rest of my family eat gluten.  So, if I wanted special dishes, it was best to make them myself to take some of the baking load off my mom.  I packed a packet of Chébé's Basic Bread mix and whipped up some dinner rolls with it when I arrived for the holiday.
I've used their pizza crust and roll mix several times and I happen to like it. Some people claim that it doesn't taste like traditional wheat bread and that it's chewy, both of which are true. However, don't let that discourage you.  The company's slogan is "Slightly unusual. Unusually good." and it's true.  Plus, it was quick, easy and tasty. Those are three qualities not generally found together when describing Gluten-Free bread.