Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo is coming, the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo is coming!!

The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo is coming to Dallas!  Well - actually The Plano Convention Center on October 26th and 27th.

I have been chosen as an "Official Expo Blogger" and am so excited!  Honestly I would blog about it anyway but it was nice to be recognized.  

Gracie and I went together last year and LOVED IT!  There was so much to see, do and TASTE!

Lets start the Top 5 Countdown for the Gluten Free Expo:

1.  FOOD!  And lots of it.  Everything there Gracie could taste - and she did!

Gracie doesn't eat a lot of things and what she does is pretty much the same things (quesadillas, cereal, pizza dip. peanut butter sandwiches on Udi's bread and fried rice.)  At the Expo she tried EVERYTHING and it really opened here eyes to new ideas.  It was great to see her trying different things and finding things she loved.  Pizza - LOTS of pizza!  Chicken nuggets, cakes, cookies, muffins, smoothies, pasta, cereal - you name it it was there to try.

I love that there is a good mix of established  as well as new Gluten Free businesses - I love that the gluten free product industry is growing and getting better and better every day.  I love that we are no longer forced to choose between nasty, dry, cardboard GF foods and delicious, moist and "taste like normal" foods.  I love that that is a place we can find things we might not otherwise find them.  I love the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo!  I also love that Gracie is so excited.

We hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The 2013 Gluten Free Expo in Dallas is set!

The Gluten and Allergy Free Expo has been scheduled in Dallas for October 26th and 27th!  It is such a great time for those who must be gluten free because EVERYTHING there is GF!  Samples, information, coupons and a lot of things we never knew about PLUS door prizes.  It is so eye opening and proves that GF need not be boring.

It is $20 for adults for one day and $5 for children. Worth every penny!  

There are other Expos in other cities across America. If you can't come to Dallas go to the Expo someplace else!  You won't be disappointed. 

Udi's did it again! "Flour" Tortillas!!

Troy and I are tortilla connoisseurs and our family eats them several times a week. Filled with eggs for breakfast, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and sandwich wraps. Our favorite is by far the Flour Tortillas from Central Market. They are made inhouse and they are wonderful. Gracie eats corn tortillas and really likes them but she has missed flour tortillas.

While shopping at our local "Health food store" (shout out to Herbs &More!) I found gluten free "flour" tortillas!!  Or Udi's Plain Tortillas as they call them. They were $4 for 8 tortillas and I decided to try them.

At lunch I told Gracie I would make her a quesadilla because she loves quesadillas.  I handed it to her
 and she took a bite then immediately spit it out. "MOM!!  These are FLOUR tortillas!"  "Yes they are ." MOM! I am Gracie!!  I can't have flour tortillas!!"  "Now you can!"  Poor dear thought I had lost my mind.

She loved them!  They were soft and had a slight chew to them. They toasted really nicely and didn't taste GF. There was no grittiness or dryness like many GF products have. Even though they are more expensive they will be on our must have on hand list.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Gluten and Allergy Free Expo was FANTASTIC!

Gracie and I really thoroughly enjoyed the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo yesterday in Dallas!   We met   a friend who is also gluten free and we ate ourselves silly with all of the great foods!

I am not gluten free so I know what gluten-y goodness taste like.  I always try Gracie's foods to see if it meets my test of "Good for gluten free" or "Good - just good! regardless of it's gluten status."

When we walked into the main meeting room I exclaimed "This is exciting!" and it was!  We arrived first to a snack table followed by another snack table then we rounded the corner and they were serving PIZZA!  Good pizza at that from Against the Grain Gourmet.   It was "Good - just good!" They also had bagels which also passed my test!

We tried several pizzas (really - is there such a thing as a bad pizza?) lots of bread (some better than others), cakes (it is all about texture), pasta (the one we tried was not a hit - one bite told us that.)  We finished up with Creme Brûlée - oh my word!

Gracie's favorite samples were the Against the Grain Gourmet pizza, the Allergy Free Foods Chicken Breast Nuggets and Local Oven breads!  Her favorite "moment" was meeting THE Pamela from Pamela's Products!  Gracie is a big fan of her cookies (especially the chocolate ones) and they will have some new products coming out soon!  She was really sweet.

Gracie got talking to a man about his smoothies and he frightened her by saying if she has Celiac she should stay away from dairy and sugar because they will make her sick.  She then thought about it and decided not to believe him because she would have to give up cookies and milk!   She sure does love her cookies and milk!

Pamela and Gracie
Gracie's Favorite Chicken

All in all we had a great time!  Gracie loved being able to try EVERYTHING without worry and talk to people who actually knew what gluten free means.  I loved watching her actually eat without worry. She tried everything there!  We loved it and can't wait until next year!

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Gluten and Allergy Free Expo is in Dallas again!

The Gluten and Allergy Free Expo is in Dallas again this weekend! It is a great place to learn about products that are out there and to try new things.

Troy took Gracie last year (I was still "in the bed" w/my broken leg.) She was amazed with all of the choices and he was amazed at how much she ate! Not only that - she won door prizes! Who doesn't love a door prize?

We learned about places in Dallas that we never knew about before, we tried products we wouldn't have easily come across and Gracie didn't have to hear "Lets not risk it."

See you there!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Twisted Root - Gluten free!

We love The Twisted Root Burger Company! Good burgers, good sides and homemade root beer! We have been to two of their locations - Downtown Dallas and Roanoke. It has also been featured on Food Networks "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." So very good.

We were meeting my Sister and her husband for lunch and we grabbed Taco Bell Nachos for Gracie since I didn't think they had anything on the menu she could eat. When we arrived we were happily surprised to see they are now carrying hamburger buns from Local Oven! We have had several items from Local Oven and they make awesome products!

Since Gracie didn't eat burgers when she wasn't gluten free AND since she is now 12.5 and can handle things herself she walked up and asked if she could get a gluten free grilled cheese. YES! They could make her one. She explained her issues with cross contamination and they assured her they cleaned the griddle, wore fresh gloves and took care not to cross contaminate.

When the man delivered our food he made a point to say the sweet potato chips were gluten free so if she wanted to try those they were safe. Sadly their fries are not. The grilled cheese was wonderful- even to my tastebuds that are used to gluten goodness! Soft, chewy in a good way and delightfully cheesy. She LOVED it! I loved that they offer the option and seem to take care in protecting their GF clients.

Did I mention they also have cotton candy they make on site?? And that that is gluten free as well??? Drool....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Easy, portable Peanut Butter!

While going through my posts I saw this "draft" that I never posted. Even though school is out it is still good info. Happy Summer!

One of the problems we have with Gracie is making sure she has enough protein each day. This is especially difficult at lunch time. She doesn't like lunch meat or the texture of cheese that has sat in a lunch box (with - or without ice packs.)

Gracie has been having the Jif To Go peanut butter cups at least 3-4 times a week - easy, portable and she will eat it! She has it either with apple slices, gluten free crackers or Fritos.

We recently discovered Nutella and Gracie likes it on Udi's bread as a sandwich. It is a messy treat but again - it has good protein AND is just all around yummy!

Today I was at the WalMart picking up the Jif and came across Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams - "Peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate." They have it in jars like peanut butter but they also have 1.15 oz peanut butter pouches. Just tear off a corner and squeeze on bread, crackers, fruit or whatever you can find! Gracie said it tasted like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. They were only .68 cents per packet.

They also have different flavors (not at our store - but you can get it online.) "Bees Knees" is honey flavored peanut butter and "Smooth Operator" is their regular peanut butter flavor.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zucchini, zucchini, what to do with the zucchini??

Our friend Donna gifted us with SEVERAL lovely zucchini squash. Who doesn't love fresh veggies from the garden?? But the question was what to do with it?

We love to grill it outside. So yummy - smokey and good. We slice it into long wedges (quarter it length way into "fingers.") toss in olive or veggie oil, season with your favorite blend and throw on the grill. Perfect next to all grilled meat and I use the left overs the next day chopped up in a quick crustless quiche!

I have also done the wedges in the toaster oven tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Wedging is the perfect way to use the squash that is bigger and has the tough seeds inside. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds out then cut it into wedges and sprinkle with cheese.

My favorite way however is SO simple - only three ingredients and SO very good! Gracie ate a LOT of these - "Squash Chips!" I came across similar recipes however they tend to put bread crumbs on top - I didn't want bread crumbs - gluten free or otherwise - so I decided to just try it and it worked like a charm.

Slice the squash thinly into rounds either with a "slicer" (I have a couple from Pampered Chef that I love) or you can use a knife - just be careful to slice them evenly otherwise they will cook unevenly. Toss with olive or veggie oil. Spray or oil a cookie sheet. Since I use my sheets for both gluten and gluten free cooking I always use foil for my GF recipes.

I then place grated parmesan cheese onto a small dish and dip one side of the squash in the cheese, pressing down. You want to make sure the top is completely covered but not clumpy. If there is too much cheese (is there really such a thing??) tap some off and place on the cookie sheet with out them touching (they can be near each other but not touching.) I found a medium size squash makes about two cookie sheets full - honestly not NEAR enough!

Bake at 350 and check after 20 minutes. The time will depend on how thick the squash is and how crispy you want it. Since I started slicing with my knife and finished with my slicer I had some that were pretty dark and others that were softer - all were good! I liked them right in the middle - toasted on tip but with a little moisture still inside.

Serve them next to your entree either alone or with a little Ranch Dressing for dipping - both ways are REALLY good!

Moo Goo Gia Pan - SO very yummy!

I have since branched out however for YEARS I only ordered Moo Goo Gia Pan at Asian restaurants. It is simple - chicken and veggies in a mild sauce. I would doctor it with spicy mustard and soy sauce - and lOVE it!

I ordered my Moo Goo one night and Gracie asked if it was gluten free - it wasn't so I couldn't share but what I could do is find a recipe. I came across a great recipe for Moo Goo Gia Pan on "Red Cook, Adventures from a Chinese Home Kitchen." It is really a great recipe! Easy and adaptable. I use whatever mushrooms I have on hand and skip the oyster sauce and of course use gluten free soy sauce. I also throw every veggie I have in the fridge in! Sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, onion - whatever is handy.

The velveting of the chicken makes ALL of the difference! It makes the chicken SO tender and moist. I serve this over white rice and this is one of the few meals Gracie will have two bowls full - this is a good thing!

Try this and tell me what you think.

Setting up the velveting sauce.

The sliced chicken resting in the velveting sauce.

The veggies I almost ALWAYS have on hand!

Everything in the wok. Looks SO good.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gluten Free Creamy Mushroom Soup - Oh the possibilities!
Progresso has Gluten Free soups! I didn't know that. The one I am most excited about is the Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup. Not only is it gluten free but it is labeled as so!

Oh the possibilities! King Ranch Chicken, Shepard Pie, Chicken Spegetti (with GF noodles)... I haven't made those homey casseroles in a while because Gracie couldn't have them - honestly I don't even know that she would like them - but these are potluck staples and what a treat to serve these at a potluck and EVERYONE can eat it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rachael Ray's Chocolate Cups with Whipped Cream!

Rachael Ray has always been known for her easy, easy recipes. These Chocolate Cups with Whipped Cream are no exception. They are RICH! sweet and yummy AND by surprisingly gluten free!

They are a perfect "fancy dessert" for special friends. They are so rich a little goes a long way. Try it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We tried Pumpkin Cake Tonight and it was a success! After a while...

Thursday night I made pumpkin cakes for gifts - full of gluten! Gracie said "I wish I could have some" but I was a step ahead. I previously had made a - only cake mix and canned pumpkin. It was really good and really simple so I decided to try it with Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mix. I modified it a bit by adding cinnimon and two eggs. The batter was REALLY thick but I recall the original recipe being that way as well.

I baked it for 25 minutes as the instructions on the cake mix said. I put a pick in it and it came out clean - Yea!! The cake was still in the shape it was when we put it in - it was pretty dense but looked nice. We let it cool then Gracie iced it with the most FANTASTIC Cream Cheese Icing I have every had! It is like crack! Semi sweet - sort of like cheesecake.

We cut it open with such anticipation!! We had such hope. It was raw in the center...

Gracie suggested we just scrape off the icing and stick it back in the oven and I figured we had nothing to lose. First for 15 minutes, then 10, then some more... All in all it was about an additional 45 minutes of cooking. When it was firm to the touch in the center and was browned on the edges I took it out to cool again.

While it was still warm we cut a piece - then we smeared the yummy icing back on top of the cake and ate it - and love it! It is a dense cake with a texture sort of like a homemade whole wheat bread. It also wasn't very sweet - but that was ok because we had that yummy icing (did I tell you I love that stuff??) It made a really good desert and we ALL enjoyed it even though it wasn't "normal" cake - it was still really good cake!

Next time I might add some other spices and maybe a little water but there WILL be a next time! It was super easy and very tasty. I will just be sure to bake it longer.

So - to recap the recipe:
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1 can of 100% pumpkin
2 Eggs
1 tsp cinnamon

Spread in an 8x8 greased pan. Bake for "about" an hour. Top with yummy icing :)