Sunday, May 16, 2010
I love all the products and people mentioned on this blog, though, so I want them to live on.
Until I can figure out a way to make both these blogs one entity (and roll all these reviews into one site) THIS site will stay live, and it will host the reviews. I'll refer back often, I promise.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I've met a lot of great people in the gluten-free world since I became gluten-free (and a blogger) three years ago.
One of my favorites, Marilyn Santulli, the genius behind America Gra-Frutti, is having a birthday today, so I wanted to use this space today to celebrate her, and celebrate her commitment to the gluten-free world.
I'm happy to recommend Marilyn's products to consumers and to food establishments. Her cheesecakes are on the featured menu at Figo Pasta along with their gluten-free pasta menu. Her almond and coconut drops are sold in Tampa at Abby's -- she's from Tampa, so that is a coup. And Mom's Organic Market in the Rockville and Bowie, Maryland area can't keep her products in stock.
And in Atlanta? Return to Eden and Whole Foods!
Yep, Marilyn Santulli is a pretty special woman to the gluten-free world, and I'm proud to call her my friend. She makes every occasion complete!
Much love, and happy birthday, Marilyn!
P.S. Marilyn has a beautiful and talented artist daughter named Meredith Dahle. I wanted to give her a shoutout here because she's about to graduate from college, and then head to Alaska! Meredith, as well as Marilyn's sweet husband Paul, are all part of the American Gra-frutti team. You might see Meredith out at a sampling some day soon.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
We made a great choice, and I would heartily recommend the gluten-free menu at either South City Kitchen location. For one, it has "regular" food that can be presented and prepared gluten free. And second, it's a delightful place to have dinner! This is the kind of place I'd like to take a bunch of gluten-free friends for a celebration, or a Gurlz night on the town!
After one of the best martinis I've ever tasted (seriously) we started with appetizers -- I had luscious mussels, and Heather had barbequed shrimp. The mussels had a smokey bacon flavor, with lots of lemons. They were perfectly cooked. And Heather's shrimp were the BBQ Shrimp I remember from Louisiana -- piquant, spicy. So you see the mussels below, before they disappeared....
I wish I had a picture of our beautiful salads -- I ate mine so fast I didn't get to take a photo. I had Cane Syrup Roasted Beet Salad with shaved beets, fennel-pear slaw, Valbreso feta cheese, cider-cane syrup, and truffle oil and Heather had a Caesar Salad.
I had Sautéed Shrimp & Scallops creamy stone-ground grits, with roasted pepper coulis. It was lick the plate delicious! I had a side of Brussels spouts (never do I pass up beets or Brussels sprouts)...
I do, of course, have suggestions for Fifth Group. These all are filed under "give me a gluten-free menu, and I'll ask for more" suggestions, but they're important, I think. First, I think several of the delicious dishes I had BEGGED for a toasty bread. And thanks to some frozen, artisan breads out there, you could easily add them to your freezer and make them quickly, on demand. Small space. (Email me for suggestions.)
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Now, here's all you have to do to win this Spark!
Simply put your name and your email in a comment below, and tell me your favorite recipe using Yoplait Greek Yogurt. I will use the randomizer to pick one lucky winner on Tuesday, April 6 at 9 p.m. est. I will email you for your mailing information (so if you leave out that email, you won't get to win...). And Yoplait will send you TWO free coupons and a Goddess Pack!
Please remember that Yoplait is made by a company that labels gluten -- and it is a yogurt that many gluten-free people feel comfortable eating. Please read labels if you are gluten free!
Much love, and good luck!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
But in truth, Much ado about nothing.
I know several of my GF blogger buddies have been about excited about this, so Randy and I went to P.F. Chang's in Tampa at Westshore Plaza to try the beef entrees. I did this with trepedation, mind you. I've been glutened severely at P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei on my last three occasions (I know, why go back?) But I wanted Mongolian Beef. I miss it.
Randy had the Sichuan Spicy Beef. We weren't sure 1. that is was beef; 2. that it had been seasoned at all; and 3. that the cook had a clue. It was like chewing a paper towel roll.
Mongolian beef? Tough and stringy. Only three pieces were soft and crunchy. The sauce was over salted.
SO we complained to our sorry excuse for a server (another story) and finally flagged down the manager. No one cared. They took one entree off the check (as they should have).
Our sorry excuse for a server offered me a fortune cookie at the end with the words, "I don't know what gluten free means, so I don't know if you can eat this."
I hear more and more from GF diners who say their experiences at P.F. Chang's is very spotty -- sometimes GF, sometimes not, riddled with error when the crowd is large. I have a solution for that. The one I should have imposed last week.
I won't go back. Ever. Again.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
At a Twitter party a month or so ago, I won some Norlander's Original Gluten-Free Teriyaki and Mesquite sauces. These new gluten-free sauces are gaining a national reputation -- especially the Teriyaki Sauce, which is a huge step above the usually available gf teriyaki brand.
I had a wonderful discussion on the phone with Michael Norlander, who owns the company with his wife Tina. They're really a wonderful couple, and I think their product is pretty special in our gluten-free world. They've sent their regular products (the beef jerky) into outer space on the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. They've got a regular line, too.
Here's their story, from their website:
Tina and Michael Norlander continue the family tradition of providing quality products that enhance just about any food. Michael’s father originally developed the family’s first Teriyaki marinade recipe in the 1960's. Friends and neighbors always enjoyed the food the Norlander’s prepared using their special marinade. By modifying and reducing it into a concentrate, Michael made the family's teriyaki recipe his own. Michael later developed the Norlander’s Original Mesquite Sauce & Marinade Concentrate. The Mesquite Sauce provides a western Mesquite smoke flavor and has been a winner from the start.
They have developed their regular and gluten-free Teriyaki and Mesquite gourmet sauces and marinades to bring a new taste and experience to their customers. Either flavor can be used as a sauce or marinade on beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, wild game, pastas, vegetables, beans and rice. Their sauces can also be poured straight from the bottle onto foods like hamburgers, ribs, and steak. They welcome you to try their products and hope you enjoy them as much as they do.
But this line is special. It is made just for us!
With grilling season coming in strong now as Spring is Springing, I wanted to share with you a couple of ways I used these sauces successfully.
One of my favorite recipes ever (and, might I say, perfect for the Easter/Palm Sunday dinner table) is
Freakin' Awesome Tropical Chicken
(Recipe from Jen, adapted by Ging)
8 lbs. cut up chicken (or 4 pounds boneless, skinless breasts)
*Ging note: If I were doing this in the oven for a potluck again, I would use boneless, skinless thighs. They will hold better. I also think this would be FA with boneless pork chops!
1 Cup Norlander's GF Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 cup prepared mustard (I used French's and Dijon, mixed)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple with juice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger (I used ginger juice)
-these were my additions-
2 T. Chinese Chili Sauce (optional)
Six cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Combine all ingredients except chicken. Marinate chicken in mixture (ziplock bag/fridge) for at least 4-6 hours. (I did mine overnight with no ill effects).
Outside directions: Drain the marinated chicken into a bowl through a colander, reserving marinade, and grill on your favorite grill til done. A nice addition -- sliced fresh pineapple, grilled on the side.
Rainy-day Indoor Preparation: Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken and about half the marinade (try to keep the pineapple and garlic part) in roaster-type pan – the chicken should nearly be covered with the marinade, but not quite). Bake until done -- it took me about 75 minutes in a convection oven.)
For both: BOIL to a hard boil and slightly reduce the remaining sauce with garlic and pineapple. Use it as a sauce.
Wonderful with grilled or roasted fresh asparagus and fluffy white or brown rice.
Super Easy Mesquite Ribeye
Honestly, folks, I did this beautiful saucy steak in a toaster oven! Season one side with the spices and herbs of your choice -- I use salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, and some Tony Chachere's seasoning.
Put the steak under the broil and cook for 9 minutes. Brush Norlander's GF Mesquite Sauce on both sides and turn and cook the second side for about 5 minutes for medium.
Let sit for 10 minutes and then devour. It tastes like it was cooked out on a mesquite fired grill!
I really can't wait to try these recipes on the Norlander's site. I don't know anyone who makes a GF garlic chip, but I think Mary's Gone Crackers Onion Crackers are a great addition, broken up just a little bit,
And we're going to have the dip the weekend while watching the college basketball finals.
And then, when I get the Big Green Egg back in Georgia, well, this is sure to be a staple in our grilling sauce repetoire! (Don't know if we'll use the BGE this week on Spring Break, but it might come home with me. Who knows?)
There is one thing about Norlander's GF sauce that might be a drawback for you -- I think in the effort of full disclosure I should mention that both use a GF Soy Sauce that contains corn syrup. Michael and I talked about that, actually. And while I feel it's important we all know the ingredients, it clearly didn't stop me from using it in moderation.
And using it again soon, I shall. I wish Michael and Tina and the cool ship from Norlander's Original all the best.
Much love, and let's get grilling!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Oh the places I could go with the Purely.... analogy....
I have to add Purely Elizabeth to the list of the most innovative gluten-free products out there. They are simply -- Purely -- amazing. They're wheat, gluten, dairy and sugar free, with a healthy mix that includes great flours and nutritious #gf seeds.
It's taken me far too long to get this post up, and for that I apologize. I hate that I've kept from spreading the good word about this incredibly delicious product. But you can order then for a great flat-rate shipping fee. And I know you'll enjoy them!
This is not what I'd call a mainstream gluten-free product mix though. That's a good thing, in this case, because it's incredibly high in fiber and low in sugar additives. So for someone with Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance and Diabetes, this is an awesome product to use.
Of the three mixes provided me by Purely Elizabeth, the two I found most different and intriguing were the Pancake Mix and the Ultimate Cacao Muffin Mix.
Here's the info on the Ultimate Carob Muffins:
And here's the back of the bag.
I include this to show one thing several people have mentioned about this product: it requires you to add a lot of ingredients yourself -- not just an egg and water, for instance. But that's OK. These aren't your average muffins -- they're really an artisanal muffin, of the highest quality. And you can adapt the additives to make it more special (for instance, I wish I'd added carob chips and used Chocolate Unsweetened Almond Milk in them...and a little more agave. But I ran out of agave as I was making these).
They're wonderful. I have to go easy on them because of all the seeds (because of my gastroparesis). But they're lovely.
Ingredients: Millet Flour, Corn Flour, Almond Flour, Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Flax Seed, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Chia Seed, Aluminum Free Baking Powder, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt
But I found that the most important thing about this muffin mix. I can add agave nectar (if you're keeping score, this is my third pro-agave post in a month). It has no refined sugar.
A key test was the one-hour post snack blood sugar reading. There was NO impact on my blood sugar. I love it. I froze the rest and have been parceling them out over time for breakfast. They hold up well out of the freezer (I don't even reheat them when thawed sometimes) but they're best warm and yummy.
I also loved the pancakes I made from the Ultimate Pancake Mix. Like the other mix, I used Almond Milk, Olive Oil, and a free-range egg. But I also used Trader Joe's Maple Agave Syrup in them. Delish. Then I slathered them up and put on more syrup. I made two pancake sandwiches with the leftovers (with butter in the middle) and when I heated them the next morning, they were still light as could be.
Here are the ingredients: Millet Flour, Non-GMO Corn Flour, Organic Coconut Flour, Teff Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Flax Seed, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Chia Seed, Baking Soda, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am sad that I probably won't get to consume these delicious pancakes again, though -- I had an allergic reaction to them, one I didn't expect. They have Teff in them, and I have a weird sensitivity to Teff (and Quinoa, and Buckwheat). So the muffins, which don't contain these, are fine -- but these caused me problems.
But, if you want to make beautiful light, delicious pancakes for a special day, you should try these. They are some of the best pancakes I've EVER tasted -- gluten free or not -- and I think your family will love them.
Thank you, Elizabeth, and much love -- purely and truly!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Oh I had the opportunity to sample Coconut Bliss and loved it! Would enjoy the chance to take that taste further.
Ice Cream Forum said...
Ooh mememe! I have to give a reason... does anyone really need a reason to want ice cream? Ok, the reason is because it's yummy! :)
I used the Random Number generator for the 11 comments. Number 2 was from my friend Kiley at Coconut Bliss, so I took that one out, and then I generated a random list.
The ones picked in order were 9 and then 8.
So let me know how to mail you folks these wonderful Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss coupons!
Much love, Ging
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Bliss. I love that word, bliss. It makes me feel peaceful. Serene. Blissful.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Welcome to the March 1, 2010 edition of the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival. It's my pleasure to host this here on "Ging Recommends!" Many thanks to all!
Adam presents Gluten Free Playdough Recipe | Natural Parenting Tips posted at Natural Parenting Tips.
Shirley Braden presents Perfect Pound Cake posted at gfe--gluten free easily, saying, "Even if you are gluten free and dairy free, you can still enjoy the wonderful pound cake that you so fondly remember."
Support & Advice
Shirley Braden presents Flourless Oatmeal Cookies posted at gfe--gluten free easily, saying, "A great, easy flourless recipe is offered as well as information on which gluten free oats are safe to eat."
Tamara Duker presents Gluten-free Guide to Chinese Food posted at What I'm Eating Now, saying, "Chinese food can be one of the trickiest cuisines to navigate for the gluten-free crowd. That's why I prepared this guide to help make it a little easier for my fellow celiacs to satisfy their cravings safely!"
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our
blog carnival index page.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I have a new staple in my refrigerator: I am really a huge fan of Gluten Free Sandwich Petals by Raquelita's Tortillas in Denver.
It's true that I received my sample of these wonderful little breads a while back now, but I've been trying them in so many incarnations! Really, they're the most versatile wraps out there!
Here's why I like Gluten Free Sandwich Petals by Raquelita's Tortillas in Denver so darn much!
• They're made of a healthy grain mix of 10 GF flours. Now, admittedly, I have issues with some of the grains in this product, but so far, I've seen no reactions. Here's the flour mix/ingredients/ of the Petals:
Glu10Free™ Gluten-Free Proprietary blend of milled and whole grains (Corn, Flax, Sesame, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Sorghum, Millet, Quinoa, Teff, and Amaranth), Water, Organic Agave nectar, Raisin Juice, Molasses, Proprietary blend of Pharmaceutical Grade (Short Chain Fructooligosaccharides and HiDHA Omega 3 Micro-encapsulated Tuna Oil), Tapioca Starch, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan gum, Fumaric acid, Sodium Propionate and Sorbic Acid. Then we add our appropriate flavors of either: Chimayo Red Chile (Chimayo and Chipotle pepper, garlic, green bell peppers), natural flavor, salt, chile powder, spice extracts, or Spinach Garlic Pesto (spinach, garlic, basil, parsley), salt, canola oil, spice extractives, natural flavors, artificial color.
•Cost: $25 for a whole package of three flavors, but Mondays is BOGO day!
You need: One Agave Grain Sandwich Petal, 1 banana cut in half, peanut
butter, honey. I heated the Sandwich Petal for 10 seconds in microwave
(makes them more pliable and easier to work with), then when cool spread
peanut butter (to your liking) on each tortilla. Drizzle honey (I now would use 100 percent Agave Nectar) over that and lay 1/2 banana on one edge of tortilla. Wrap and "seal" with the peanut
butter. (Another version - Bailie's Daddy likes these- is to use raisins instead of
•Now, I saw this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Casserole a while back, and it was really a hot item in January. I think it is perfect for the Chimayo Red Chile petals. Simply replace the corn tortillas with 1/2 a petal -- and this amps up the taste like you would NOT believe.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
From Shirley Braden at Gluten Free Easily
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chili powder (I’ve substituted taco seasoning before when I was out of chili powder)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. cilantro, chopped (optional—I add when I have it on hand)
3 cups chicken cooked, boned, shredded
1 tbsp lime juice
1 jar salsa (16 oz) (whatever hotness you prefer—mild worked well for us)
5 Chamayo Red Chile Sandwich Petals
8 oz shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar, or a Mexican blend—your preference; read labels to ensure gluten-free status)
Sour cream, jalapenos, and cilantro for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large, deep skillet with little bit of oil; heat over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add one cup of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cilantro (if used). Cook 5 minutes.
Dump shredded chicken over tomato mixture in skillet. Spoon lime juice over chicken. Stir chicken and lime juice into tomato mixture. Heat a few minutes, if necessary. (If chicken is still warm from cooking, you will not need to heat more.)
Spread one half of the jar of salsa in an ungreased 9″ x 13” baking dish; top with 5 tortillas (break into pieces as needed to mostly cover salsa).
Top with chicken mixture; sprinkle with half of the cheese.
Top with remaining tortillas. Spread with remaining salsa; sprinkle w/remaining cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted and casserole is hot, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Adapted from Valerie and Woman’s World
•Spinach Garlic Pesto Petals? How about my Italian Stuffed Lasagna recipe? Just substitute five to six Sandwich Petals cut into long strips to use instead of noodles. Yummy!
I'd like to thank the fine people at Sandwich Petals for sending me the three-pack sample to try. You have a real winner here! I wish you more success, and I can't wait to meet you when I'm in Denver next August. They're a company with a heart, to be sure. I love that!
You can find them, once again, at sandwichpetals.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @GFpetals.
Much love, (p.s. xoxo to GF Dee who connected me with them)!
Sunday, January 31, 2010
"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you'll get what you need."
I feel that way about gluten-free soup. Prepared soup. Canned soup. Packaged soup. You know. CONVENIENCE soup.
I miss it. I'm sorry. There. I said it.
Now, I love a good vat of homemade soup like the next person, and yes, I can make it with the best of them. I make an awesome minestrone soup, and my taco soup is mighty fine. You should try my cauliflower and leek soup, too. And I have this tomatoey veggie beef soup that puts Rachel Ray's stoups to shame.
But seriously. I have used canned soups all my life. And being GF, we have been limited.
While I was sick in January, though, I refocused my attention and discovered to GREAT lines with great soups for the GF. And honestly both lines got me through last month's illnesses.
I present them both to you in alphabetical order. With all my love.
Amy's Kitchen Organic Soup
Out of the blue last month, I got an email from Debby Fortune who represents Amy's Kitchen, asking me if I'd tried their products. I of course had -- the pizza is a staple in my Kroger (I got it there...hehehe) and I love their Cheese Enchiladas and Tamales.
But the kind representative from Amy's Kitchen offered to send me a sample of their soups, and I realized that in almost three years of gluten freedom, I'd not tried them! In fact, I didn't even think of Amy's when I thought of soup.**
Well, I do now. I received a package with three cans -- Spanish Rice and Bean, Vegetable, and Tomato Bisque. And now I have a new favorite soup in a can. OK, a bunch of new favorites. Because they make a lot. And usually (now that they're on my radar) they're usually about $2 a can in my Kroger. And there are LOTS of GF Flavors.
Let me wax nostalgic about one of them, though. Tomato Bisque. See, I was always a Campbell's soup girl, and tomato was always my fave. Do when I had to give it up, I began a search for a good one. Why I didn't try this, I don't know, because it is AWESOME! When I'm sick, I want tomato soup and cheese straws. I now have that -- with the Tomato Bisque and Grainless Baker Cheese Straws. YUM. Yes!
(And Amy's got a great shoutout this week from Michael Pollan on the Oprah show. I'm just glad I was a fan before Oprah.)
My first encounter with the Kettle Cuisine Brand of frozen soup was at the Gluten Free Vendor Fair. I tasted a couple of soups and got three $1 off coupons, and I looked forward to a time when I could purchase this product.
I gotta say, I really LOVE the people at Kettle Cuisine -- their local rep (by Twitter Friend @gfsoupmom) and their national reps @Kettlecuisine are awesome.
When I got to Tampa for Christmas, I had the chance to purchase three soups at my favorite HFS. And I brought them home just in time for my sickness.
OMG. OMG. OMG. What a phenomenal soup! I enjoyed beef chili and chicken noodle (and even got sent a coupon for a future bowl when I"m well). The third, their Organic Carrot-Coriander, which I used for something else.
Can I just tell you how much I love this soup? It tastes like my Daddy's -- I have never had to make chicken noodle soup because his is so good. This. Is. A. Dream. Come. True. With a coupon, it sold for about $2 for one container. I think it's wonderful. I have a free coupon and two $1 off coupons. I'm stocking up this weekend when I got to Atlanta!
I know it's sold at Whole Foods and Return to Eden, and in Tampa at Abbey's Health Food Store.
Both soups will be kitchen staples for me. Both companies have excellent web sites with nutrition information.
Both have rocked my world. I hope they'll rock your world, too.
Much love, and I tip my hat to you all! If I had a hat....
**Disclosure: Amy's Soup for Sampling were provided by the company. Kettle Cuisine Soup mentioned here was purchased by me.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I was so, so happy last week to acquire the Grocery Guide iPhone App from Triumph Dining! I have spoken to both Ross and Kay at Triumph, and I know they're proud it's out and working. And me? I'm so glad I have an iPhone (genuine endorsement, btw. I bought my phone in May).
I took it to WalMart on Friday and checked products on the spot. I especially enjoyed using it while looking at condiments like BBQ sauce and salad dressing. I also used it for cheese for someone on the Delphi Forum.
It's easy and simple to use. It's pretty darn near perfect.
The only issue I have is one that will change with time -- there are some brands not on there yet. But thankfully, most of the brands at major chains are there for our use. It's very complete, and it will only get larger and better. I find it a bit easier to use than some of the other apps I rock -- but having them all on my phone really is wonderful.
Do you have APP ENVY? (can't help you if you need the phone).
Do you want to try the iPhone App? Here'a a sweet contest from the Triumph Dining Newsletter.
Win Triumph Dining’s New iPhone App
To celebrate the launch of our new gluten free grocery guide iPhone App, we’re giving away 10 free copies to our blog readers. To enter the contest, just add a comment on our blog. (Of course, you’ll need to be an iPhone user to actually use the app…) We’ll choose winners next Friday and announce them right here, so enter soon and stay tuned!
The new App is the iPhone version of our popular gluten free grocery guide. Like the print edition, it lists over 30,000 gluten free foods, making it the largest gluten free product listing available anywhere. We worked with one of the best iPhone developers in the business to build a very fast, powerful App that’s really easy to use.
To learn more, visit the grocery guide app page at Apple’s App Store (the link will open up the iTunes Store on your computer).
Much love, and Thank you Triumph Dining.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When I first became gluten free, I was lost in the wilderness. I'd been gluten free for two months when I got the guts to ask questions on the Delphi Celiac Forum (and hey, got shot down a few times but went back anyway).
One of the first resources I heard about on Delphi was The Triumph Dining Cards. Soon, I became acquainted with the fine folks at Triumph Dining, and have written a number of reviews of their fine products.
Now we have this wonderful shopping guide. And I give it two thumbs up.
Just look at this page from this wonderful book.
The book is sold for $19.95. It's worth it. In fact, I gave my copy (provided from Triumph Dining for my review) to a gluten-free student at my university who is on her own for the first time. She's not only GF, she's DF/EF/YF and CF.
Much love, especially to Triumph Dining.
P.S. I'm anxiously awaiting the new iPhone App from Triumph Dining...
Sunday, January 10, 2010
When I'm sick (as I have been for the past 9 days) nothing comforts me like a crispy cheese cracker -- what we call a Cheese Straw down here in Georgia and Florida. I know that's silly, but it's a habit my Mama started, and I find hard to break.
For those of you not of southern descent, a cheese straw is a crispy cheese cracker, made with butter and cheese, that is usually served at tea socials and weddings. Sometimes they're squiggly and delicate. Sometimes they're crisp and crunchy (like my Mama's recipe, which I prefer). Most of all they're redolent of sharp cheddar cheese...crispy, tangy, YUMMY!
Anytime I was sick as an adult, my Mama would make a batch for me. And I'd pretty much live off them for however long my sickness endured. I had a bag in my freezer when my Mama died, and like Jeffrey and his Snickerdoodles, I parceled them out over a year or so.
Once I went gluten free, I found it hard to find something that replicated a cheese straw. But back in November, at our Middle Georgia GIG Thanksgiving, my friend Jennifer Harris (JGF) brought a pack of The Grainless Baker Cheddar Cheese Crackers for the table. She mentioned they weren't very "crackery," but I liked them at first bite. I snagged the leftovers, and after more sampling, realized this is really the closest thing to a cheese straw I've found since going GF. Randy loved them, too.
And now, I'm addicted. I have to pace myself, really. They have flours I'm good with in them, they don't cause me gastric distress, and most of all, they have no added sugar. They also have protein, so a couple of crackers work for me as a quick breakfast. But I must restrain myself!
Who am I kidding. Since Thanksgiving, I've bought about 10 packages of these babies.
The only place I've found these great crackers is at Return to Eden in Atlanta, where I tend to buy them out every time I pass by. Last Friday, one of my students made a cracker run for me on her way home to Milledgeville. So as you can see, I'm good for a couple of....days? weeks?
But I digress.
At $3.99 a box, these are a great price and are really good for all uses. I haven't crumbled them into tomato soup yet...but that's not far away, I assure you.
Ingredients: Cheddar cheese, rice flour, potato starch, eggs, butter, Xanthan gum, salt and pepper. (The only thing I think it needs is a dash of cayenne -- but I can remedy that myself in the box!)
Try them. You'll love them!
Much love, and crunch crunch!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I love cornbread. It is the first gluten-free recipe I converted, and I make it a lot just because I love cornbread. I can eat cornbread and butter and nothing else for dinner and be a happy, happy girl.
And now, I love Pamela's Products Corn Bread and Muffin Mix. I got a sample from the company over the holidays, and it is now going to have a permanent spot in my pantry.
There's a story, of course.
Now, I'm pretty picky about cornbread. If you like your cornbread with sugar in it -- Yankee Cornbread -- then I suggest you skip the next two paragraphs. I believe that taste is personal, and I don't want to offend...***
(See, I was raised in the south, and southern cornbread has two things going for it -- it is NOT SWEET and it has a crust. A thick crunchy crust. If you're a cook worth anything, you have a DCP -- a dedicated (and gluten-free in my case) iron skillet that you use only for cornbread. And for nothing else. Ever. You like your cornbread made with buttermilk, and you also like it white (though I DO like yellow since that is all I can get gluten-free most of the time. It was kinda funny -- my first husband wouldn't marry me til I could make cornbread like his mother. But that is another story...And they were also not sweet cornbread people. In fact, everyone I know likes southern cornbread the way I most always make it.
My mother wasn't a purist. She used Martha White White Cornbread Mix. And I always did too. I can replicate it, but it does take time and measurement, and so it became a pain...
***SKIP TO HERE: There is an exception to my cornbread rule -- some casseroles from my childhood, like my corned beef casserole and corn casserole, and the like, require Jiffy mix. Honestly, once in a while, I found myself wanting a Jiffy corn muffin. But it was never real and I'd never serve it with chili or on New Year's Day.
Once I went gluten-free, there was no mix available that didn't pretty much taste only like Jiffy. So it was OK when I made my casseroles, but I did miss the Martha White-style mix.
Until now. The versatility of the Pamela's mix is on the package -- you can add sugar, or leave it out. You can add buttermilk. It was mightly crusty in a regular pan, so I know it would be awesome in the DCP.
In other words. Easy, good, versatile, and GLUTEN FREE! Like the Baking Mix (which I use for EVERYTHING now) this will be a staple.
It can even be made with almond milk! Makes it even nuttier. I'm pretty sure you could make it vegan and CF/DF if you wanted to do so..
Kudos, Pamela's Products. Thanks for this. I can't wait to try to other samples and report back.
Oh, and check out Pamela's Favorite Newsletter, which came out today. Marion, who is mentioned, is from around here!
Much love, and pass the cornbread!
P.S. Here's the nutritional information and ingredients for your information:
INGREDIENTS: Organic Degermed Corn Meal; Brown Rice Flour; White Rice Flour; Tapioca Starch; Sweet Rice Flour; Potato Starch; Organic Degermed Corn Flour; Grainless & Aluminum Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch); Sea Salt; Xanthan Gum.