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.