Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My good friend Megan has been thinking about going gluten-free for awhile and has recently decided that she's ready to give it a try. Her symptoms sound similar to many individuals who are gluten-intolerant: stomach troubles, and overall "blah" feeling and tiredness (chime in here Megan if you want to add anything). She inspired me to write up a brief email with my tips on going gluten-free, so here they are:
This is not a complete list, but it’ll be a good start. I will add to it as ideas pop into my head….
First off, a definition: Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Where it can be hidden: soy sauce (most soy sauce is made with wheat but you can buy San Jay soy sauce that is gluten free and low sodium), in sauces (some are thickened with wheat flour), potato chips (read all labels, some flavors have gluten in them), even corn chips (made sure they’re made with 100% corn), deli meat (Boar’s Head is 100% GF I think, and Jennie O’s is too)
At the grocery store:
If you want to keep it really simple, eat whole foods, or in other words, nothing that is prepared, canned, jarred, etc. Only eating fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs and meat (you’re basically shopping on the “outside” aisles of the grocery store) means you will be free from any type of gluten. However, that gets boring quickly. So below you’ll find some foods at the regular grocery store that are gluten free…
Corn tortillas are your friend. I buy a huge pack of them (check the ingredients to make sure they are 100% corn) and use them for tons of things: “buns” for burgers, I’ll make pb and j roll ups out of them, quesadillas work well too. I throw them on my George Foreman-like grill for about 30 seconds and it makes them very pliable. Rice Chex are awesome (try the Cinnamon flavor) they are tasty for breakfast or as a dessert. Blue Diamond Nut Thins or Mary’s Gone Crackers I’ve found in regular grocery stores and both and tasty with hummus or cheese for snacks. Kettle Brand Potato Chips are delicious and most are gluten free. Rice is a good staple to have in the house and there are tons of varieties out there: brown rice and wild rice are the healthiest. KIND brand and LARA bars are at regular grocery stores and are good if you need portable GF food. Some of the varieties are better than others (Apricot Macadamia Nut KIND bars are really good)
At Trader Joes: They carry English Muffins that are quite good (but need to be heated) and lots of prepared food that happens to be good. Their one-hundred calorie brown rice bars (they taste like rice krispie treats) are really good and are a great portable food. They also have cocoa almonds that are awesome and gluten free. They have some frozen food that’s GF as well (like Taquitos) that are tasty, but the main thing to remember there is that they label everything really well and they will list allergens on each ingredient. In fact, when you get there if you ask an employee for their “gluten free list” they should be able to print you one (or there’s even one on their website I think)
In the next few paragraphs I reference many places near Boston, so if you don't live in the area it might not be terribly helpful.
At Health Food Store: It’s really easy to spend a lot of money at Health Food stores. The Good Health store has an awesome selection of gluten-free foods. I’d start with some pasta: Tinkyada brand is really good. Then, if you want to get into baking at all, pick up a “gluten-free flour mix.” There are tons out there and I’m not sure what GH is carrying right now, but Pamela’s and Bob’s Red Mill usually produces good baked goods. If you want to stay away from the cooking and baking, there are a lot of prepared foods in the freezer section (meals, soups, cookie dough for cookies, etc). They can get expensive fast, so beware. “Schar” brand bread is the best store-bought bread I’ve had so far and I’ve only seen it at Roche Bros actually. It’s best toasted. The Good Health store also has great packaged cookies, crackers and bars that are gluten-free. Let’s take a trip there together when I’m home.
While dining out: if you’re eating at a restaurant that doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, it’s sometimes best to tell the server that you have a wheat allergy so that they take it seriously. But a lot of servers now are knowledgeable about the whole gluten-free thing, so that’s good. You’re not shy, so you won’t have a problem asking servers what ingredients are used in food, so it’s best to do that if the menu isn’t clear. Ethic food is a good place to start if you’re GF: Thai, Indian, Japanese… all are not totally GF, but the noodles in Pad Thai for instance are made with rice (and genuine pad thai isn’t made with soy sauce), Indian food (except for naan) is mostly GF and Japanese (sushi) is a good option too – just make sure not to order rolls that have tempura or sauces on them. Some restaurants off the top of my head that have gluten free menus include: Legal Seafoods, Outback Steakhouse, Not Your Average Joes, Alice’s Mandarin Taste (really good Chinese food in Sharon, MA), PF Changs, Burton’s Grill near Fenway (they also carry Redbridge beer), Flatbread Pizza in Bedford has gluten-free pizza, Uno’s has GF pizza, Woodman’s of Essex (a fried clam place in Essex that has chicken fingers and horribly bad-for-you, but tasty food that are GF)…
This is a link to my “food review” section on my blog where I write about restaurants and food products, it might be helpful: http://thegoodeatah.blogspot.com/search/label/food%20review
Have any more tips? Comment away!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I had more time when I had a full-time job; it's funny how I thought going back to school would give me more time. So, I've resorted to the instant-message-like format of Twitter to keep me informed and in touch recently.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Henry thinks so too.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I've got graduate school. And I've got work. And I've got a dog. I also have a husband, but he's deployed right now. I'm lucky that I have my sister, brother-in-law and niece next door. So when I feel that urge to make for others -- they get fed. First up: Elana's Pantry zucchini muffins, only these are made with chocolate chips.
Then a kale salad that I whipped up.
Sweet potato and zucchini pancakes that I pan fried.
And stuffed peppers, in honor of my beloved Grandma.
And my niece eating the kale salad right out of the serving bowl. I see another "good eatah!"
Balsamic-Pomegranate Kale Salad (gluten-free, dairy-free)
4 cups of loosely chopped fresh kale
1 carrot's worth of peels
1/2 cup cranberries
1 small bell pepper, julienned
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
salt and pepper to taste
(FYI -- these are "eyeball" measurements -- taste while your making for best results)
Add all of the vegetables together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss the dressing with the veggies and massage the dressing in to the kale if you don't mind getting your hands dirty.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
It's pouring here and has been since yesterday morning. So in order to cheer myself up (oh, and I use my HappyLite too!) I will share a photo taken recently on a nice day... one of the last one's of the year I'm afraid. That's my niece and of course, Henry. He almost looks angelic. Though, I'm pretty sure shortly after the photo was taken he decided to chase a squirrel up a tree and bark his head off.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
3) And in the number three spot is Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Milk
Almond Breeze seems to be the easiest dairy free beverage to find, whereas the top two I have only been able to find at health food and specialty stores. Almond Breeze was my go-to beverage for years and is great in coffee and tea (though be sure to shake it well first or else it looks like it curdles -- but doesn't -- it's still very drinkable). I have also had it in cereal, though it's not quite as "creamy" as the So Delicious product. The taste is good and slightly nutty like you'd expect. It's high in protein too, which makes it a great post-workout drink.My next Top Three post will be on a related topic: Gluten-free, Dairy-Free Cereals.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
It's labeled Nuevo Latino Cuisine and the gucamole appetizer is amazing.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Soooo. I don't have a dishwasher in my new place. That, and the fact that I'm still unpacking bit by bit has stifled my cooking for the past few weeks, but I'm back: on a schedule and finding my routine.
I'm a graduate student now. Instead of working forty hours a week I am now taking classes for fourteen hours a week, working as a graduate assistant for another ten and then working part-time for at least another five. I haven't decided which I prefer. So far, with my hours and hours of class work included, my free time is looking sparse.
But that won't stop me from cooking. It's therapeutic for me: mixing and tasting and measuring. Your mind must be in it and not thinking about the hundred other things that could be occupying your mind (like another pending deployment for the A-man). So on Saturday I decided I was going to use three peaches I had from the Farmer's Market, plus a pork tenderloin and use up that half-bottle of balsamic vinegar I toted from Boston. And after some research and recipes, this is what I came up with:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pickled Peaches and Maple Balsamic Reduction
Maple Balsamic Reduction:
1 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons earth balance (or butter)
Put balsamic vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium-low and let simmer for twenty minutes. Add the maple syrup and earth balance and whisk. Take off heat and let cool and thicken slightly, then it's ready to use.
The pickled peaches recipe that I used was taken from the Whole Foods website, which can be found here. The only substitution that I made was using agave instead of sugar.
1 pork tenderloin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Coat the pork in olive oil, then coat with the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Then, grill over medium heat on a grill about twelve minutes, turning four times.
I served this dish with pureed sweet potatoes (the balsamic reduction goes really well with this) and kale chips. And, Henry really liked the pork.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Food wise I had a great avocado salad with spiced shrimp on top. Sally had a burger with a gluten free bun and Jenny had a delicious looking chicken dish. But most important, I had great gluten-free company: miss you girls!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Along with our fantastic in-room chef-prepared dinner, we had quite a few great dining experiences on the island of Maui. My favorite was the dinner we had at Mama's Fish House. The hotel concierge booked us the reservation and let the restaurant know we had a gluten intolerance in the party so they knew ahead of time. The place is like a well oiled machine, with a staff that doesn't make you feel like just another customer. These people are true professionals. As you can see, our view during dinner was amazing:
And the food was just as good. The server checked with the chef and let me know which dishes were gluten-free. Even the drinks were gorgeous:
The A-man and I started with a delicious lobster guacamole served with sweet potato chips. It was so. darn. good.
And my main dish was a white fish prepared with deliciously seasoned vegetables and perfectly cooked white rice:
It was hard to top that dinner, but the Feast at Lele came very, very close. In fact, if you're gluten free and want to attend a luau (though it's technically a Polynesian dinner show) while in Maui -- this is a must. The Feast at Lele has four acts, each representing a different culture and four courses of food doing the same. It takes place in a gorgeous setting on the water. And not only did the server know exactly which dishes were okay for me to eat, but I didn't feel deprived in the least when there were dishes that had gluten in them: I either received double of the dishes I could eat, or an entirely new plate of food. It was a beautiful evening with dramatic and wonderful entertainment and a food experience that I will never forget. (how often is it that you actually feel special, and not in a bad way when dining out?)
While I could write an entirely separate post on how much fun we had at the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, I'll spare you my obsession over how badly I want a goat of my own and will just say it's a blast. You can go on a tour, sample goat cheese (for those of you saying huh? I thought you were dairy free too? I eat goat products every now and then since they are much lower in casein than cow's milk), feed goats, and check out their giant pot bellied pig. I definitely recommend spending a few hours there.
Also somewhat food related was our horseback riding trip at Ironwood Ranch. This place is run by true animals lovers and our riding experience was a great one. The ride took place through an old pineapple farm. At the end of the ride you're welcome to pick fruit off of the trees on the property which we enjoyed and then we were able to hang out with the dogs at the ranch and spoke with a woman who works there and runs a catahoula/pit-bull rescue group. My heart went out to her and the dogs, since we're pretty sure Henry has some catahoula in him. If you love animals, a visit here is a must.
I can't forget the great experience we had one night at Flatbread Pizza. I have mentioned Flatbread before because there's one in Massachusetts, but there's also one in Maui! And they carry gluten-free pizza! However, they do charge quite a bit for it because it is imported, but our waitress was very upfront about that. And, she was just plain awesome: friendly, but not forced and truly knowledgeable about the restaurant and its ingredients. Oh Flatbread, how I love thee. (sorry no pictures from here, but it's in the cool town of Paia which has lots of neat shops, including a great health food store called Mana Foods with loads of gluten-free products)
Non-food related experiences I would recommend would be surf lessons with Goofy Foot surf school (our instructor was amazing), wind surfing (though I can't say I'd recommend the school we went with), riding down Haleakala Mountain on a bike and watching the sunrise, and taking a boat to Lanai to snorkel and visit the Four Seasons Hotel there.
Congratulations if you made it this far on this marathon-long post! I hope it enables those in the gluten free community to travel to this beautiful island.
And, if you're interested, below you will find a quick video of some very playful wild dolphins showing off for our boat in the waters off of the island of Lanai:
Sunday, July 26, 2009
So far this summer has been much busier than I thought it would be. I left my job right before I got married and thought I would be twiddling my thumbs most of the time before I start graduate school, but I've been traveling quite a bit, entertaining friends, and surprisingly, keeping pretty busy (and I've managed to get sick for about a week and a half as well). That's not to say I couldn't squeeze in more blog posts; I've certainly been cooking a lot and I have quite a few reviews to post, but I know once I settle into my new life as a graduate student come mid-August I will be more frequent in my posting. So I wanted to take this time to share with you all a neat pan the A-man and I received.
Getting married has meant my kitchen supply has grown immensely. I've received some pretty awesome tools, including this one: an ebelskever:
It's basically a pan that you can use to make filled pancakes. And on a lazy Sunday morning served with a side of bacon, it's pretty awesome. We filled ours with with a strawberry-rhubarb compote (strawberries and rhubarb cooked with a bit of agave) and a vanilla pudding (take 3 cups of almond milk, 1/2 cup agave, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of corn starch, whisk together and bring to a boil. let simmer for five minutes stirring constantly until thick, take off heat and then add one teaspoon vanilla extract).
The recipe we used for the pancakes is one adapted from the recipe that came with the pan. We made it gluten free and dairy free of course. It makes a lot, and the process of making these takes some patience, but it's a lot of fun if you enjoy these types of things.
Filled Pancakes (gluten-free, dairy-free)
2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used 1 cup superfine brown rice flour, 1 cup montina flour blend -- my new favorite)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs agave, or sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread melted, plus more for pan
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the agave, egg yolks, milk and melted "butter." Add the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined. Then, using an electric mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (about two minutes) and fold into the batter.
In the pan, put small pats of butter in each well, add 1 tablespoon of batter, then 1 teaspoon of your filling, and cover with one more tablespoon of batter. Wait a minute or so and turn with chopsticks or wooden skewers.
A great video on the ebelskever technique can be found here.
Enjoy with maple syrup. They're even good cold the next day as I just discovered. And of course Henry's a big fan.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It's got a great soundtrack and even some video in it: enjoy!
A total recap of the wedding will be done within a few weeks once I receive all the photos from the day.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Married life has been great: it's hard to believe that this is the longest amount of time that the A-man and I have had together consecutively. I know I'm being spoiled because another deployment and separation is looming come September.
But let's focus on the positive: we had an amazing honeymoon in Maui. We stayed at one of the Westin resorts in Kaanapali and as a wedding gift my sister and brother-in-law hired a Westin chef to come into our suite and cook us dinner one evening!!! How darn cool is that? I'll give a little recap of the dinner:
While the chef was prepping the food, we lounged on our patio:
Then our highly talented and very friendly chef worked some magic:
First course was a tuna sashimi dish that was amazing and so fresh. Those are crispy fried potatoes on top. Mine was made sans soy sauce.
Next up were two perfectly cooked scallops and a great salad (lettuce wrapped in a thin piece of cucumber: very pretty):
The main course was a piece of white fish that was delicious with a side of lightly sauteed veggies:
And lastly we had the best. dessert. ever. Now I'm a big chocolate person, so that's where I usually go with dessert, but this was amazing: a pineapple sorbet with lavender served in a almond bowl (made with sliced almonds and corn syrup). It was gooooood:
Inspired by our dessert I recently made my own version of pineapple sorbet that I will share soon on the blog.
A big thank you to my dear sis and bro in law for arranging this great evening. It was easily one of the highlights of our honeymoon -- and gluten-free and dairy-free of course.
I have a few more posts from Maui that I want to write about : dinner at Mama's Fish House, The Feast at LeLe and a trip to a goat farm. So on that note, I'll leave you with a photo of the awesome goats we got to hang out with in Maui:
If you look closely the middle goat is biting the ear of the goat on her right. Silly goats.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
P.S. Does my photographer not rock??? The photo above is of our wedding cake from Celia Cakes -- gluten-free of course.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm a big fan of nut butter of any sort, so when I saw that Kath of Kath Eats Real Food was sampling some vanilla almond butter that a company had sent her, I knew it was something I had to try and make. And I did, and it was okay. So I tried again, and this time: score!
It's good on rice cakes, apples, in cereal, or by itself. I may even try roasting the almonds slightly and adding a bit of agave as well.
Vanilla Almond Butter (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 (+/-) tablespoons mild tasting oil (I used light olive oil)
Place all ingredients into a Vitamix, blender or food processor and process until smooth.
*To make an almond butter crunchy I will usually reserve a bit of the whole almond and add it in at the end until lightly chopped.