Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun family omelets!

My friend sent this to me yesterday - I had forgotten all about it. My family made these several times a couple of years ago and really liked it. You can either use left overs or have an omelet bar when you have a sleep over. The nice thing - you can EASILY make it gluten free!

Of course the eggs are more poached instead of "traditional omelets" but still fun. This would also work while camping if you could get the water hot enough.


This works great ! Best feature is that no one has to wait for their special omelet ! Have guests write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.

- Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the quart size Ziploc bag (not more than 2) shake to combine them.

- Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc.

- Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake.

- Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

- Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.

- Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.

- Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake; everyone gets involved in the process and a great conversation piece.

Imagine having these ready the night before, and putting the bag in boiling water while you get ready, and in 13 minutes, you have a nice omelet for a quick breakfast!!!"

There are several "recipes" online as well as video demonstrations on youtube and the like.



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm making waffles!

I picked up some Gluten Free Pantry brown rice pancake and waffle mix a while ago.  I made pancakes one day and they were sort of gritty - Sam liked them but Grace - you know the reason we got gluten free pancake mix in the first place - did not.  We had been trapped in the house for a couple of days so I decided to try again - this time making waffles thinking the crispy texture would marry better w/the gritty texture.  

I mixed it up, made a waffle and tasted it.  It had a "raw rice" taste to it - not appealing.  I added 1/4th cup sugar and tried again - success!  They were really good.  So good in fact that both kids ate two!  Of course the syrup helped as well but the taste and texture were on target.  You could add a little more or less sugar to your taste - the sugar adds to the tenderness as well as masking the "raw" taste.  

I can recommend the Gluten-Free Pantry brown rice pancake & waffle mix when used for waffles.  For pancakes - not so much.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Out of school - fun baking!

We had an ice day today so I decided to let the kids have some fun. I looked in the freezer and found left over Cherrybrook Kitchens Sugar Cookie Dough that I had mixed up right before Christmas, rolled into a log and froze in butcher paper. Slice and bake! What could be easier?

The cookies by themselves are a bit grainy - but top them with a can of gluten free icing and sprinkles or chocolate chips and you have a winner.

The kids decorated them (actually over decorated them :) and had a blast. I left enough dough to make about 4 more cookies - for a "cookie emergency" - aka birthday cupcakes at school or other party.

Find a cookie recipe that works for you and make extra to freeze for slice and bake. In 10 minutes we had fresh, hot cookies and a fun activity.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Info from Heinz

Right after getting the Celiac diagnosis I contacted Heinz regarding gluten free products - I was especially interested in the Delimex Taquitos since Grace has always loved those. I was really glad to hear they are gluten free!

Here is the prompt response I got.

"November 24, 2008

Dear Sandra,

Thank you for your interest in Heinz Products. We certainly understand how difficult it can be to find foods that meet the requirements of a restricted diet.

As you requested, the following is a listing of all of our products that do NOT have gluten containing ingredients. If the product you asked about is not on this list, then it may contain gluten containing ingredients. Also, please note that recipes can change without notice. Therefore, we recommend you always check the ingredient statement on the label.

Heinz BBQ Sauces (Original, Chicken & Rib, Garlic, Honey Garlic Only)
Heinz Chili Sauce
Heinz Cocktail Sauce
Heinz Horseradish Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Heinz One-Carb Ketchup
Heinz No-Sodium Added Ketchup
Heinz Hot and Spicy Ketchup Kick'rs
Heinz Mustard (All Varieties)
Heinz Pickles (All Varieties)
Heinz Peppers (All Varieties)
Heinz Relish (All Varieties)
Heinz Sloppy Joe Sauce
Heinz Tartar Sauce
Heinz Traditional Steak Sauce
Heinz Vegetarian Beans
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar
Heinz Garlic Wine Vinegar

Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauces (Original #7, Honey Smokehouse, Hickory Brown Sugar, Spicy BBQ Only)
Jack Daniel's EZ Marinader -- Teriyaki Variety
Jack Daniel's EZ Marinader -- Garlic & Herb Variety
Jack Daniel's Steak Sauce (Both Varieties)
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Lea & Perrins Traditional Steak Sauce
TGI Fridays Salsa (All Varieties)

Classico Red Sauces (All Varieties)
Classico Alfredo Sauces (All Varieties)
Classico Pesto Sauces (All Varieties)
Classico Bruschetta (All Varieties)

1769600012 Taquitos, 36 ct. Delimex Chicken
1769600018 Tamales, 12 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600019 Tamales, 12 ct. Delimex Chicken & Cheese
1769600024 Tamales, 6 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600028 Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600029 Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex Chicken
1769600048 Taquitos, 36 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600095 Taquitos, 12 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600096 Taquitos, 12 ct. Delimex Chicken
1769600155 Tamales, 15 ct. Costco Beef
1769600159 Tamales, 20 ct. Delimex Beef, Costco
1769600180 Taquitos, 60 ct. Delimex Beef
1769600186 Taquitos, 60 ct. Sam's Club Beef
1769600214 Taquitos, 25 ct. Delimex 3-Cheese
1769600565 Tamales, 20 ct. Beef, Sam's Club
1769600684 Taquitos, 66 ct. Costco Beef
1769600685 Taquitos, 66 ct. Costco Chicken

13120XXXXX- ALL VARIETIES of Ore-Ida® Tater Tots®
1312001879 Ore-Ida® ABC Tater Tots®
1312000080 Ore-Ida Golden Patties® (9 ct.)
1312000258 Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (32 oz.)
1312000278 Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (5 lb.)
1312000286 Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (32 oz.)
1312000291 Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (5 lb.)
1312000296 Ore-Ida® Pixie Crinkles (26 oz.)
1312000377 Ore-Ida® Cottage Fries (32 oz.)
1312000392 Ore-Ida® Southern Style Hash Browns (32 oz.)
1312000428 Ore-Ida® Country Style Steak Fries (28 oz.)
1312000455 Ore-Ida® Zesty Twirls (28 oz.)

1312000469 Ore-Ida® Potatoes O'Brien (28 oz.)
1312000647 Ore-Ida® French Fries (8 lb.)
1312000654 Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)
1312000784 Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Cut Russets®
1312000785 Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes®
1312000786 Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Three Cheese Potatoes®
1312000787 Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Garlic Seasoned Potatoes®
1312000483 Ore-Ida® Golden Twirls® (28 oz.)
1312000484 Ore-Ida® Zesties® (2 lb.)
1312000800 Ore-Ida® Steak Fries® (28 oz.)
1312000801 Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (5 lb)
1312000828 Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (28 oz.)
1312000829 Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (40 oz.)
1312000833 Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (30 oz.)
1312000854 Ore-Ida® Hash Browns (5 lb.)
1312000862 Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)
1312001012 Ore-Ida® Potato Wedges with Skins (24 oz.)
1312001036 Ore-Ida® Crispers® (20 oz.)
1312001176 Ore-Ida® Waffle Fries® (22 oz.)
1312001190 Ore-Ida® Steak Fries® (3.75 lb.)
1312001260 Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Crinkle Cut (26 oz.)
1312001280 Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Seasoned Crinkle Cut® (26 oz.)
1312001417 Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries (26 oz.)
1312001461 Ore-Ida® Country Fries (30 oz.)
1312001492 Ore-Ida® Fast Food Fries (4 lb.)
1312008564 Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)
1312008572 Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.) CLUB

2580002011 Smart Ones Broccoli & Cheddar Potatoes
2580002247 Smart Ones Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata
2580002254 Smart Ones Fiesta Chicken
2580002360 Smart Ones Santa Fe Rice & Beans
2580002904 Smart Ones Creamy Tuscan Chicken
2580002907 Smart Ones Grilled Chicken in Garlic Herb Sauce
2580002915 Smart Ones Home-Style Chicken
2580002918 Smart Ones Chicken Santa Fe

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us. If you need further information, feel free to call us at this toll-free number (1-800-255-5750). Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM, Eastern Time.

Heinz Consumer Resource Center

When contacting us, please refer to the following reference number: 002927498A


P.S. - For your convenience, here's a recipe for a barbecue sauce without gluten-containing ingredients:

Heinz Ketchup Basic Barbecue Sauce

½ cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In saucepan, combine all ingredients.
Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Brush ribs or chicken with sauce during last 10 minutes of grilling or broiling.

Makes about ¾ cup of sauce."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby got back

It has been two months since Grace's diagnosis and she has gained 3 pounds!! For me that is a weekend - for her it is a REALLY big deal. She hasn't gained 3 lbs in the past two years. What it tells me is she is now absorbing nutrients and healing.

It is interesting that it has all gone to her backside. It is amazing what three pounds will do. The last time she gained any weight she shot up a couple of inches over the summer. I look forward to seeing how her body changes with proper nutrition and "gluten free."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pei Wei - another Good Thing.

We went to "town" tonight and found ourselves at dinner time - many places to choose from but which would be gluten free? We went to Rosa's Tortilla Factory thinking the Mexican would be good - they fry their chips and taco shells w/the flour tortillas so we decided to pass. We went to Fresco's - which has a gluten free menu - however since we didn't give 48 hours notice Grace couldn't have the chips - which is what she would want - plus there was a long wait. We then saw Pei Wei - I remembered they had a gluten free menu.

We went in and I asked for a manager. After asking about their gluten free menu he immediatly pulled out a card with some choices - it looked like this : He said they take care to prevent cross contamination and it states "gluten" free in the kitchen.

I was unsure if Grace would like any of the choices but decided to get her the Sweet and Sour Chicken. I asked if we could get it as a kids meal and they said yes ($3.75 instead of about $7 - still more than she could eat.) I decided to get the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken so Grace could try that as well. They made it "mild" and it was really good - fresh and light.

Grace liked both but liked the orange better. She ate every bite of chicken! This from a kid who doesn't eat much meat.

Needless to say we will be going to Pei Wei more often. Thank you Pei Wei!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gluten and Ricos Nacho Cheese Cups

I just got the following email back from the lovely lady at Ricos about the Ricos Nacho Cheese Cups (like pudding cups - but w/nacho cheese sauce).

"We just received the gluten test. The smallest laboratory test that can be tested for gluten is 5ppm which is parts per million. No gluten was detected for this.

Just so you know the proposed FDA guideline for gluten free is as follows:
* An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food or
* 20 ppm or more gluten

So this cheese is considered gluten free.

We appreciate your business and if you have any other questions please contact me."

As with anything not specifically gluten free you will just need to make a decision deciding on sensitivity. It does add another choice for many.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Allergies, allergies - let me count the ways...

My little family is full of allergies and ailments - we are simply a mess.

Grace has Celiac and is allergic to nickle - that is right - she can't wear blue jeans, cheap jewelry or belts. Not only do I need to read the ingredients on her food but I also have to inspect her clothing.

Sam is allergic to dairy - he breaks out into a horrible eczema rash from head to toe. He is allergic to shellfish and blows up like on the movie "Hitch." He is convinced he is also allergic to chihuahuas because he had blown up lips after playing at two houses w/these dogs. I am sure it wasn't the pounds of Halloween candy or other junk he ate both times.

I have seasonal allergies - just your basic ones. Every few years I pull a "Hitch" myself and my lips blow up - have not a clue what causes it. I also have fatonmythighs and lardbutt - both serious.

Troy on the other hand - other than a Buda belly has no allergies, perfectly straight teeth and a generally good disposition given all of our complaints.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now a shout out to Central Market

We had to find basketball shoes for Grace today (who is scrappy on the basketball court!! GO GRACE!) so we went to town - town being Southlake. I grew up in Southlake and my parents still live there - it has changed so much since I grew up in the sleepy little town w/out a stop light. But I digress....

I love Central Market. I learned to love it while visiting friends in Austin (where I first experienced it) and San Antonio (where I really fell in love.) I was ecstatic when Central Market came to Ft Worth - I emailed them several times to get updates on when the grand opening would be. Sam was 3 weeks old when the grand opening happened and it was his first outing! Imagine my excitement when I learned one was coming just up the street from my parents house! Needless to say it is rare that we "go to town" without stopping in for "home made" flour tortillas, German Blue Cheese, fresh whole grain English muffins and Bacon and Spinach dip. Oh - by the way none of that is gluten free and none of it (other than the tortillas) Grace would eat.

When Grace was diagnosed one of the first places I went to Central Market. I was in the cracker aisle and asked a "Foodie" if they had any gluten free crackers - turns out they have designated aisle space for gluten free items - very cool! I about cried - at this point I new I could "do this" Celiac thing. Everything in one area is gluten free - pasta, cookies, cereal, cake mix etc.

I wish I had gotten the guys name - he was so very helpful. I had said "I hear these cookies are good." His response? "Lets try them!" He opened up the package and we stood there eating cookies - and they WERE good! I put a couple of boxes in my cart. Another Foodie came by and was talking with me - I asked if she had ever tried any of the crackers - she hadn't but said "Let me open this one for you." Come to find out Central Market will let you try anything before you buy it - she said don't ever be afraid to ask so I haven't been. Turns out the crackers were gritty - so we tried the cheese crackers and they were really great. Now whenever I go with Grace I have her sample something new - tonight she tried chocolate breakfasts bars (she didn't like them) and gingerbread cookie bars - she LOVED them.

I also found out that if we purchased something and took it home and we didn't like it - even if we ate half the box - to bring it back and get our money back - it is another service they provide.

Kudos to Central Market for your commitment to customer service and for providing an easy way for those with gluten issues to have many goodies in one place instead of having to wander all over the store looking for specific gluten free items.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A nod to the Evil Empire

We live in a small community of around 5000 that is 40 miles from the closest Tom Thumb or Central Market - even further for a Whole Foods. How would we survive Celiac w/only a Walmart???

When we received the diagnosis for Grace I called a dear friend whose daughter also had Celiac. She said we all would survive. She gave GREAT tips and suggestions - the best being look at the ingredient list for Walmart brand foods - Great Value. Turns out that Walmart specifically states "Gluten Free" on their nutrition labels when the product is in fact gluten free!!! Hurray! I can't tell you how easy it has been to just turn the product over, look on the back and see that gluten free label. That said - many of the items are traditionally gluten free (like cheese) - however since we all have been surprised by hidden gluten it is so lovely for it to be stated so plain.

Even though I have issues with Walmart - I appreciate the courtesy to those who are gluten free.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ricos Nacho Cheese sauce - a good thing.

I remember years ago my church used to work at the Ft Worth Convention Center in the concession stands. People would volunteer and the money went to the church. I got to go with my Mom to things like the circus, horse shows etc. Something else I remember fondly - gooey, vivid yellow cheese poured over crisp tortilla chips - ball park nachos! Creamy goodness at its best.

Sam's Club came to town and I got a card. Imagine my surprise when I saw they had VATS of nacho cheese sauce you could purchase for your very own nachos at home!! I never got it however because - honestly - who needs a vat of nacho cheese sauce?

Years later I was asked to get a vat of nacho cheese sauce for a meeting - I gladly trotted to Sam's and got it and put it into my crock pot - HOPING for left overs - I wasn't disappointed.

One day I was walking through Walmart and saw not only did they have the vats they had soup can sizes of Rico's Nacho Cheese!!! I was in heaven. That said - I decided to only use it for recreational or social use - not for personal use. About once a year I took it to casual parties - no one was disappointed.

Since I have a picky eater I was excited to see they had little individual cups of Rico Cheese sauce - perfect for school lunches! I never purchased it however for some reason. After Grace was diagnosed I checked the small cans - it appeared to be gluten free!! Yippee!!! I then checked the little individual cups and I was so disappointed - it had Maltodextron and MSG - Dadgumit!

I got on the Ricos web site and it said "I am happy to tell you that Ricos cheese and popcorn are gluten free." What??? I immediately shot off a friendly email to Ricos and quickly received a personal response. It stated that Celiac questions were becoming one of their number one questions and she knew that the #10 cans and 12 oz cans of Ricos cheese is gluten free however the individual cups have not been tested. She is sending off a request to the lab to have them properly tested and will get back to me. What??? Really??? They took my request that seriously?? I couldn't believe the customer service!! Not only did she send me this email she sent a follow up email stating the cheese was sent to the lab, the tests take about 6 days and she will contact me when they came back. Honestly I have to say I have so much respect for this company right now based on customer service alone.

With this info in hand I purchased one of the 12 oz cans and am putting into small containers for Grace to take to school with chips - she loves it.

I will update this whenever I hear back from Kara at Ricos. Yes - I know there is no natural cheese this color and honestly I am some what of a cheese snob - however I consider this to be a completely different food all together. You may think it is is junk food - and it may be - but to me it is a little florescent glob of heaven atop a corn chip - Grace agrees.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Celiac and the picky eater

Sigh. The entree of choice for Grace is cereal and milk, cheese sticks and chips and cheese. Sigh. She did eat baked chicken last night after much prompting and will eat veggies when required but she is SUCH the picky eater. Sigh. Thankfully she likes fruit.

We have no one to "blame" but ourselves. Grace was our "failure to thrive" baby who hit the charts once during a growth spurt (5th%) but other than that she has always been below the charts. She never was a baby who had to eat and even as a school age child she doesn't often ask for food - more like a "happy to starve" child. We got to the point that if she would eat it we didn't care "what" she ate as long as she ate "something." This weekend was the first time she hit 50 lbs - she has been 48 lbs for 2 years - she is 9 years old.

Her food choices before Celiac were very limited but they did include sandwiches, noodles, chicken nuggets and flour tortillas with cheese and her drug of choice - Lunchables. She does not like gluten free bread (I don't either), noodles (but Sam does) and only liked chicken fingers from Chilis or Whataburger.

We are working through this - encouraging her to try new things and she is somewhat willing - but it is a struggle. I wish mealtimes were not this hard.

When I was growing up you were not allowed to be picky - eating what you were served w/o complaint. We didn't not want our children to grow up with food issues - they did anyway. THIS is when Celiac is hard.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!  I pray this new year brings much health to everyone