Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's Pizza Time!!


Well, well.  I have made pizza from scratch for the very first time and I wanted to share my results with you.  Last night I had two of my closest friends over for dinner.  We originally were going to go out and go bar hopping, but the weather kept us in at a mere 14 degree's.  The bar scene is just not worth it when you have to wear 7-8 layers just to keep warm.  And I still have my Xmas tree up, so I called it a Post- Xmas gathering and made a 4-course meal.  My meal included a 2-Cheese Pizza, Roasted Baby Potatoes, Roasted Zucchini, Chopped Salad and Baked Chicken (and dessert).  All Gluten-Free.  It was fun!

Earlier in the day I had gone to the market with the idea of a Margarita Pizza with fresh basil, fresh Mozzarella, Grated Parmesan Cheese and a yummy Marinara Sauce.  I picked up the rest of the ingredients I would need and I went home to get to work.  I was excited!  When I got home I knew I had a GF Pizza Mix from Risotteria  (a fantastic restaurants in NYC's West Village) in my cupboard.

The good thing about mixes is that you can keep them for up to a year.  Many months ago I had gone to Risotteria  in the West Village for dinner, and bought their Pizza dough baking mix.  I never used it.  Not that I didn't want to, but I never had a reason to make an enormous pizza.  So when I was designing my menu for last night I was excited that I still had it.  I was also a little nervous.  I have never made a pizza before.  I prefer baking over cooking, for me it's just easier-but I also grew up on baking so that could be why.

The recipe was easy.  All I had to do was add in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 2 tsp. of Olive Oil and 2 tsp. of Cider Vinegar.  Not too hard to follow, but being that I don't know what pizza dough would look like after being mixed with an electric mixer, I felt that I was missing something.  So I continued to mix it until it formed a dough and was pulling away from the bowl's edges as the back of the package said.  It then said to brush on some extra olive oil (I used extra virgin light) on top of the ball and put a damp cloth on it, in a warm spot.  So I turned on my heater and placed the bowl on top.  It said warm-I took it literally.  The back of the package said that the dough should double the size, and to wait for it to rise.  I sat there staring at a ball of pizza dough in my bedroom on the heater.  It was like watching capsules in water turn into foam animals.  But the problem was, I was not noticing any change.

So I called up Risotteria and spoke to the waitress.  She was really nice and repeated my questions to the chef.  My questions were as follows:  "I am not noticing it rising".  "How big should it look and how much time should I have to wait"?  She came back to me after only a few minutes of being on hold and said about 25 minutes and that it would not rise like regular pizza dough.  In fact it would not grow twice the size at all (clearly their packaging might be a bit confusing).  So I was glad I called.  I waited an hour just to be safe, and took it back to the kitchen and put white rice flour on my surface and rolled out the dough.

I have to say this was cool.  I was completely experimenting in my kitchen with no experience in making pizza.  It could have turned out horrible, but I was willing to give this a try.  The dough texture was different then cookie dough texture.  It was almost like it had elasticity and would pull and retract, where as cookie dough, you pull but it does not retract.  It was squishy and heavy.  It was different then any dough I have ever dealt with.  So I rolled out half of the dough and this is what it looked like:

This pizza I rolled out thin.  But then I started feeling creative and took the remaining dough, rolled it out and used a Heart shaped cookie cutter and made individual pizza's in the shapes of hearts!  I personally thought I didn't roll the dough thin enough, but my friends loved them.

So I had both the super thin pizza and the thicker heart shaped individual pizza's.

I followed the remaining directions on the back of the package.  It said to bake the pizza's with nothing on them at 350 degree's till crunchy.  For the thin pizza I baked it for 15 minutes, and for the hearts about 20 minutes.  After that I was ready to decorate the pizza, and then cook for a bit longer.  First I dusted the pizza's with a bit of light olive oil with a cooking brush.  Then I added the Marinara Sauce, the fresh Basil, the fresh Mozarella and then the Parmesan Cheese on top.  These babies were ready to go into the oven!

After an additional 15 minutes of baking, my pizza's were ready.  I had to try one as it got out of the oven, and I surprised myself.  They were so good.  Of course, I would need small improvements, since this was my first time, but again my friends told me I was a hard critic on myself.  They both loved these pizza's, so much that no one ate my chicken!  And my friends, well.  They are not gluten-free, so I know it was good if they liked it!! : )

Last minute I added freshly sliced baby tomato's for that extra tomato zing.  YUM!!

I strongly recommend this pizza mix.  It's the same as what Risotteria serves in their own restaurant!  It's a full-proof mix that everyone will enjoy!  Risotteria also has other baking mixes you can purchase like chocolate cake, carrot cake, breadsticks and more! Check out their website by clicking HERE.

xoxo Julie

Glutino Gluten-Free Products-My Favorite!

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One of my favorite GF brands is Glutino.  They seem to have some of the greatest products that include GF Pizza, GF frozen dinners, GF breakfast bars, GF cookies, GF wafer cookies, GF pretzels and more.  These pretzels taste so good that my co-workers and younger brother and friends all dig in as if they were regular pretzels.  My brother says you can't taste the difference and my co-workers say they like the consistency and texture better then regular pretzels.  It's a win win!  According to many websites, Glutino Pretzels are the #1 GF pretzel.  Glutino Pretzels come in two sizes: the standard snack size, and the family size which is what you see above.  The one above goes for about $6.99-$7.99 per package.  Yes it is a bit pricey, but so worth it!  Not only are they gluten-free, but also wheat-free, casein-free and egg-free!  Glutino Pretzels come in twists as above, sticks and sesame twists (instead of salt they use sesame).

Glutino also owns another brand called Gluten-Free Pantry.  You can assume if it's either of these two brands, the taste is going to be exceptional!  

Another one of my fav products from Glutino are their frozen bagels that come in plain, poppy, sesame and cinnamon raisin.  Now I haven't had a bagel in a long time, but I'm Jewish, and it's in our nature to always have good bagels on hand (lol)!! So I know a good bagel Gluten-free or not when I taste one.  In my opinion these bagels get a 10 out of a 10!  These bagels are great toasted and are microwaveable. 

Glutino products can be found across North America.  Retail stores such as: Whole Foods, Wild Oats, hannaford Supermarkets, Bashas, Stop and Shop Markets, Trader Joe's, Wegmans, Westerly Natural Markets and more.

Online stores that carry Glutino are as follows:

The online websites I have listed above are currently having "bulk" deals and sales.

To shop on Glutino and Gluten-Free Pantry's website online click HERE

Other Glutino and Gluten-Free Pantry's Products are as follows:  (if there is an asterisk next to it, I have tried it).

Corn Bread
Flax Seed Bread
Cinnamon and Raisin Bread
Fiber Bread
Bagels (the selection I mentioned above: Poppy, Sesame, Plain and Cinnamon Raisin) *Fantastic
English Muffins
Whole grain brown rice bread with prebiotics homestyle
Whole grain brown rice bread with prebiotics
Cheese Bread
Raisin Bread
Cinnamon French Toast
Chocolate Cake Mix
Pancake Mix
Muffin Mix
Chocolate Wafers * Fantastic
Vanilla Wafers * Fantastic
Lemon Wafers *Fantastic
Strawberry Wafers
Dark Chocolate Candy Bars *Fantastic-but takes more like a bar then a candy bar
Milk Chocolate Candy Bars  *Fantastic-but takes more like a bar then a candy bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars  *Fantastic-but takes more like a bar then a candy bar
Original Crackers  *Very good, but a little dry
Cheddar Crackers
Multi-Grain Crackers
Vegetable Crackers
Apple Breakfast bars
Blueberry Breakfast Bars *I don't love these.  They taste like Nutrigrain bars.
Cranberry Breakfast Bars  *I don't love these.  They taste like Nutrigrain bars.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Organic Bars *Amazing
Chocolate Banana Organic Bars *Amazing
Wildberry Organic Bars *Amazing
Sesame Breadsticks
Pizza Flavor Breadsticks
Strawberry Breakfast Bars
Cherry Breakfast Bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies *Amazing
Vanilla Creme Cookies *Love
Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies *Love
Honey Nut Cereal
Apple and Cinnamon Cereal *Very good
Bread Crumbs


Macaroni n Cheese *Fantastic
Duo Cheese Pizza *Fantastic
Spinach and Feta Pizza *Fantastic
Penne Alfredo *Fantastic
Pomodoro Chicken
Chicken Ranchero
Pad Thai w/ Chicken *Fantastic
Chicken Penne Alfredo
Spinach Soy Cheese Pizza w/ Brown Rice Crust *Fantastic
3 Cheese Pizza w/ Brown Rice Crust *Fantastic
BBQ Chicken Pizza

Gluten Free Pantry products:

Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix
Yankee Cornbread Mix
Old Fashioned Cake and Cookie Mix
Muffin and Scone Mix
Chocolate Chip and Cookie Mix
Beth's All Purpose GF Baking Flour
Perfect Pie Crust mix
Decadent Chocolate Mix
Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix
French Bread and Pizza Mix
Brown Rice Pancake Mix
Olive Oil and Garlic Croutons *Fantastic

As you can see, just from these two brands, there is so much to choose from!  So there you have it.  Just because you are gluten-free does not mean you have to suffer.

xoxo Julie

Saturday, January 30, 2010

GF Chinese-Lili's 57

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Lili's 57 is a Gluten-Free chinese restaurant located in the heart of New York City (57th and 7th ave), it's sister restaurant Lili and Loo is located on the Upper East Side of New York City near Bloomingdale's on Lexington Avenue between 61st and 62nd Street.  This is just a quick review to this restaurant.  Their GF selections are fantastic!  My friend Felicia, who is not even gluten-free originally found this spot about a year ago, and I am so thankful.  I haven't found another GF chinese restaurant since then, but no worries, because Lili's fufills all of my needs GF.  They have everything from GF chicken lettuce wraps to GF boneless spareribs to GF sushi to GF pad thai, chicken/beef and seafood dishes gallore.

What's great about Lili's 57 is they will deliver all over NYC for just a $5 service fee.  How great?! Here is a pic of what I ordered from there a few weeks ago.  Both of these restaurants are listed in my GF NYC Restaurants Post.

Lili's 57 Gluten-Free Menu
Lili and Loo's Gluten-Free Menu
Lili and Loo's Special Sushi Rolls

Above picture shows GF Chicken Lettuce wraps and GF boneless Pork Spareribs

I strongly recommend this restaurant!

xoxo Julie

GF Baked Chicken with Crumbs

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Happy Saturday my fellow readers!  Blogging to you from the bitterly freezing New York City, the weather channel just informed me that it is a mere 14 degree's!  Yikes!! So I’m indoors for most of the day, which as luck has it gives me more time to blog.  I love cooking and baking, but sometimes even I get lazy.  We all work, we all have other things on our schedules besides baking and cooking.  So much goes on in our busy lives that I find it hard to accomplish everything I need to do.  And then I have to come home and have a healthy dinner.  Sometimes I'm too lazy, or too tired or just need to relax and not think about the kitchen.  I used to order in take-out all the time-GF of course, but even that gets pricey and cross-contamination somehow leaks through.  So what I like to do is prepare my chicken ahead of time.  It's a great trick my mom taught me a long time ago, which is to buy thin fillets of chicken, dip them in olive oil or egg and bread them with GF crumbs.  Then put it on rows of tin foil sandwiched with wax paper and freeze.  That way all I have to do when I get home is pop it in the oven at 365 degree's and bake it for 40 minutes or so.  Then I can make a veggie and the hard work is nowhere to be found.  It's great!

I recently did a post on GF breadcrumbs, well my two favorite breadcrumbs: Aleia's and Gillian's so now, here is what you do:

Rinse chicken fillets in the sink and place on cutting board
Have a separate bowl for olive oil.  I find that if you use spices in your olive oil batter, it makes it tastier.  I like to mix light virgin olive oil or vegetable oil with rosemary infused olive oil and mix with a fork.
Have another separate plate and pour enough crumbs onto plate
Dip raw chicken pieces in olive oil and then transfer chicken pieces to breadcrumb plate and lightly bread
Once breaded you can either bake immediately on 365 degrees for 40 minutes or until cooked on a foiled baking sheet with gf cooking spray or

Take a sheet of tin foil and put three pieces of breaded chicken on it
then sandwich the wax paper on top of the chicken pieces
And lay more chicken pieces on that sheet and continue until you have no more chicken pieces.
Top bundle with foil, and fold edges and put in the freezer.

The above picture is the foil and wax paper prep. to be frozen

The above picture is the chicken baked.  This piece was made with Gillian's Crumbs

Depending on how much chicken you pre-prepare, you could have enough chicken for a few weeks!  Please note that you will need 1 container of gf breadcrumbs per 12-14 pieces of chicken.

Enjoy!! xoxo Julie

Two Cheese Omelet with basil

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Adjust stove setting to medium
Spray GF cooking spray to frying pan
When sufficiently heated, add 2-3 egg whites to frying pan.  Let eggs fill entire pan forming a circle, like a flat pancake.
Sprinkle egg white batter with a dash of Black Pepper and Garlic Powder (just a pinch)!
Immediately add shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves
Cook well 
When ready flip omelet over onto its other side
Add fresh mozzarella cheese slices.  Make sure the slices are thin so it can easily melt
By the time you are done note that the Parmesan cheese will be browned 
Fold one side of omelet onto it's other side as pictured above
Continue flipping to each side till cooked
Serve immediately

Note that the Parmesan cheese will appear crunchy and brown, while the mozzarella cheese oozes out.  A perfect breakfast combination!!

*If you add more egg whites, do not add too much garlic powder.  A lot goes a LONG way!

Enjoy with a cupful of blackberries or strawberries

xoxo Julie

Copyright© 2009-2010 Julie Rosenthal.  All recipes cannot be copied without owner's permission.  All Rights Reserved.

How To-Pastry Bags and Pastry Tips DEMONSTRATION

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This is a continuation of my lesson in my cupcakes post.  Decorating cupcakes can be difficult if you are not used to the tools.  Piping fudge icing into the center of a cupcake (without ruining it) can be even more of a trial if you haven't had baking experience.

Guess what.  It's not that hard, and It's fun once you get the hang of it.  I am going to show you what tools you need, how to fill a pastry bag with icing, what size pastry tips you should use and how to pipe fudge into the middle.  Once you learn this, your friends will think you bought these cupcakes from a gourmet shop!

Have you ever walked into a bakery or a cakery and seen the most beautiful cakes your heart could even imagine?  Have you ever watched the Food Network Channel and wondered how you can do that technique?  Or seen amazing wedding cakes and wondered?  Well now you don't have to wonder, now you can join in the fun.  I won't say this is so easy, that it feels effortless.  By golly no.  It takes work.  But it is and becomes after a while an easier task then originally thought.

Now my links below are from Wilton.  Wilton and I go way back.  When I was a child I dreamed of becoming a pastry chef or a cake specialist.  I took classes and classes at only the mere age of 11, and possibly younger learning how to use pastry bags, make cakes, decorate cakes and chocolate.  I loved it.  Every year for Chanukah I would ask for a Wilton baking book or tools to play with while cooking.  In my latter years when in college I kinda forgot about my passion.  Being diagnosed Celiac brought me back.  And I am here to share my tips with you.

First.  There are many types of tips.  For those of you who don't know a pastry tip is the cone shaped metal or plastic piece that sits atop of the pastry bag.  Aside from the baking tip and bag there is a plastic piece called a coupler.  This piece attaches both the bag and the tip to make one piece.  Bakers use these to decorate cakes and cupcakes.  Each tip has a shape at the point.  It can be a shell shape, a circular shape, a half arched shape, a star shape and many more shapes.  There are hundreds of shaped tips.  Each time you use a different one you will pipe a different shape.  This is how bakers make flowers or curls or decorative motifs or even just ice the cupcake surfaces in a special way.  Below are pictures of what the three components to a pastry bag are: 
As you can see from the above pic is the pastry bag and 3 different size couplers
As you can see from the above pic is the pastry bag with the coupler in it, the screw top and 2 different small size tips.  The long and skinny tip is the tip I used to pipe the fudge icing in the center of the cake.
This is a different view of the same picture as above.  The pastry bag, the coupler and the tips.  **Note-all tips will fit on the same size pastry bag, you just have to match the small coupler with the small tip, the medium coupler with the medium tip and the large coupler with the large tip and so on.  The pastry bag originally comes in the shape of a triangle.  At the bottom point of the pastry bag you will take a scissors and cut on the diagonal a piece off, leaving a slanted hole at the bottom of the bag.  This is where the coupler will go.  If you cut too small of a whole, don't worry.  That's the beauty of it, just cut a bigger hole and you are set.

Below are Wilton links that will teach you how to do different components of cupcake decorating:

Decorating 101 this link will show you how to ensemble a pastry bag, tip and coupler.  It will show you how to add icing to the bag and give you general tips and a "cheat sheet" like format.

Swirl cupcake using the Star Decorating Tip-This link shows you how to use the star tip and make a more decorative cupcake rather then a flat one.  Ever see those beautiful cupcakes at a Crumb's bakery?  Well now you will have the insider tip.

Icing cupcakes with a Spatula-If you don't have or don't want to bother with the tips, the pastry bag and the rest because you don't have time or choose not to, here is another way to have a fabulous cupcake and all you need is a spatula.

How to color icing-This link shows you how to color your white icing.

Covering cupcakes with Rolled Fondant-This link shows you how to use Fondant Icing which is a harder consistency that you many see on gourmet cakes, wedding cakes and often cupcakes.

Add color or flavor to rolled fondant-This link shows you how to add color to fondant.

Icing filled centers-This link shows you how to get that icing in the middle of the cupcake without ruining that beautiful masterpiece you just made in the oven.

Jam Filled Centers-This link shows you the same as above just with a Jam filling.  Yum!

These Wilton pages are descriptive and detailed with pictures.  It is easy to understand and provides not only descriptions but visuals as well.  I heart Wilton, and after you are done with your fantastic cupcakes, so will you!

There are many sizes of tips.  There is the small size, the medium size, the large size and the xlarge size.  Any other sizes after that, I am not familiar with.  Depending on how large or thick you want your decorations to come out decides what size tip you will use.  Within each tip size, is an array of tip shapes.  Below pictures are various sizes in tips:

The picture to the below shows you three different tips in the medium category.  The tips are the same size.  The white piece is called a coupler.  The metal tip is sandwiched between the couper bottom and the coupler screw top.  The coupler bottom is first put into the pastry bag and peaks out.  Then you take the tip of your desire and put it on top followed by the screw top coupler.
Voilia.  A pastry bag complete.  After this you are ready to add in the icing.

Here is another view below of different size pastry tips.  What's great about loose tips is that you can go to the baking store and pick out which tips you want, instead of buying them in a bulk package.  **Remember, if you are buying tips, do not forget to buy the coupler piece.  This piece is sold separately.

The picture below shows another view of the large pastry tips.  Each pastry tip has a number written on it, and that is how you find out which tip you need. For example, you are following a recipe and the recipe for decorating calls for Tip #11.  You would go to the store and ask for the # on the tip.

The picture below shows medium size coupler with medium size tips.  When decorating a cupcake top I would suggest using a medium or large tip, that way you cover more of the cupcake with a wider decorating tip, this allows more freedom and less mistakes.

Now that you have seen what the tips and the coupler's look like here is a view of what the tip and coupler put together looks like:

And below are pictures of what the pastry bag as a "whole" looks like:

Now you are ready to fill the pastry bag with the icing you would want to use for the cupcakes.  Gently put the pastry bag into a tall glass and fold the bag over the glass, so it looks like a open cup.  Then with a utensil, spoon the icing mixture into the cup:

Once mixture is in the bag, peel up the bag out of the cup and twist at the top pushing the icing towards the front of the bag like the below picture:

Now you are ready to decorate or pipe:

 This is a picture of the icing being piped into the center of the cupcake.  But depending on which tip you use you can also decorate the top of a cake or a cupcake.

Good luck and enjoy!!

xoxo Julie

Friday, January 29, 2010

GF Bread Crumbs

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So I am excited and would like to share my news as well as a product review.  For the longest time I have been using Aleia's GF Bread Crumbs that I buy at Whole Foods.  I have also included her link on my site.  Since I have found her breadcrumbs I have refused to use any others varieties fearing they would not be as good.  

Aleia's brand's motto is "A world without Gluten".  If you see her brand-stock up!! Not all Whole Foods carries her product and it is hit or miss.  Her gf breadcrumbs are very fine and use ingredients like white rice flour, corn starch, tapioca flour, brown sugar, potato flour, brown rice flour, eggs, salt, canola oil, nonfat dry milk, garlic powder, yeast, whey, guar gum and herbs.

Aleia's GF breadcrumbs are all natural, gluten-free and wheat-free and made in a gluten-free facility.

Aleia's GF breadcrumbs come in two fantastic flavors:


Aleia's GF also carries a line of cookies, breads, stuffing recipes, stuffing and croutons.  **Her Almond Horn cookies are mouth watering!!  

Stores and websites that carry Aleia's GF:
Aleia's Website
Whole Foods (Select locations-call ahead)

As you can see the bread crumbs in Aleia's are very fine like sand

The packaging looks like this:

Now my exciting news that actually happened by accident.  I had run out of my usual bread crumbs, so I took a subway downtown to the 14th street Whole Foods to re-stock my Aleia's bread crumbs.  To my complete dismay they had run out and were not planning on getting another delivery for a few weeks.  I was aghast!  I know it sounds dramatic but when finding gluten-free products you really like are a hard thing to come by.  The gentleman at the store was nice enough to check in the back for me, and he brought me out another brand of gf breadcrumbs.  I was so disappointed.  This new brand did not look as appetizing.  But I was in a dire need for gf breadcrumbs and ASAP.  So I bought two packages, thinking, I am just not sure if I can actually use this.  Sure enough I didn't.  I was stubborn.  I judged a book by its cover and judged what it looked like, even though I hadn't tried it.

Several months later, well actually two days ago, I was preparing chicken and reached into my cupboard for these breadcrumbs.  I thought do or die, it's now or never I will give it a try.  I have to say these were the BEST breadcrumbs I have ever tasted!  It reminded me of the baked chicken my mom used to make me when I lived at home.  These breadcrumbs are fantastic.  This brand is called Gillian's Bread Crumbs and her products are Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free AND Lactose-Free.  They have other products such as gf piecrusts, gf breads, gf pizza dough, gf bread rolls and more.  She makes her products in a Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Peanut Free and Nut-Free kitchen.  These breadcrumbs explode with flavor!  I am so happy to call Gillian's my new favorite Brand and I cannot wait to try some of her other products!  Bravo Gillian, you have created a great product.  Her product is so great that the restaurant Legal Seafood now serves her GF bread rolls!!  How great is that?!

Her breadcrumbs are coarser looking, with a yellowish coloring, similar to raw sugar texture.  Gillian's breadcrumb ingredients contain: white rice flour, water, yeast, salt and raw sugarcane.

As you can see from this picture her crumbs are very different then Aleia's.  They are more coarse.

Websites where Gillian's Foods are carried:

Gillian's Bread Crumbs come in these mouth watering flavors:

Overall, both of these manufacturers/vendors deserve a bravo for creating great products.  Depending on your needs you can create two totally different chicken dishes based on these crumbs alone.  Different tastes for different folks.

Roasted Yellow Squash

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Trying to stay fit and eat healthy but want a tasty delight to go with your protein?  I am now trying to cook most of my meals at home so I can control what goes into it.  I find that when ordering take-out, there is not a lot of control with cross-contamination.  I may say gluten-free or no flour, no this, or no that but that does not mean the guy/gal on the other end of the telephone line is noting this or hearing my urgency.  It's different when you go out to eat, because you are present, but take-out I often forget to follow my own advice.  I also find that when I dine out a lot I gain more weight.  So I’m back to cooking basics in my apartment.  I love this recipe; it's so good and so good for you.


What you will need:

2-4 Yellow Squash
GF cooking spray
Tin Foil
Baking tray

Preheat oven to 365 degree's

Slice yellow squash about 1/8" thick
Line baking tray with tin foil, and spray tray with gf cooking spray
Neatly arrange each piece of squash flat /side by side on tray (for layout of squash on sheet, pls follow my asparagus recipe)
Spray again with GF cooking spray
Add 1/4 tsp. salt
Add 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place on bottom tray of oven and bake for about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately or save for later.

Roasted Asparagus with Browned Butter

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Yum, yum!  One of my most frequently used recipes and so easy to make.  One of my favorite things to do rather then buying cookbooks in a store is to read cooking magazines and tear out any recipe I like. (Whether it has gluten in it or not).  I will take that recipe and convert it.  I have a collection of recipes that date back to pre-Celiac diagnosis and that itself becomes my cookbook.  As I said, I convert.  I have them divided by category: Veggies/Apps, Meats, Jams, Desserts and so on.  All color coated in different binders (I swear I am not a dork! Just organized).  I pulled this recipe out of a Cooking Light Magazine many years ago and I swear by it.  It's fantastic.  I actually just made it two nights ago as my vegetable for dinner, along with a fantastic gf crumb baked chicken and baby potatoes.  Yum!!


What you will need:
Baking tray lined with Tin foil
gf cooking spray
As many asparagus spears as you desire

Brown Butter Sauce:
What you will need:
GF soy sauce
Balsamic Vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degree's

Spray tin foil lined baking tray with gf cooking spray
Wash asparagus
Cut bottoms off with a knife

Line asparagus neatly side by side on the try
(If you have to use two baking trays, then double your ingredients)

Re-spray asparagus with GF cooking spray
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt on asparagus
Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of black pepper on asparagus

Heat in oven for 12 minutes


While Asparagus is cooking
Heat 2 Tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan (can be salted or unsalted) on medium heat
Stir occasionally letting butter get slightly browned aprox. 2-3 minutes 

This pic shows butter after the first minute

This pic shows butter after the 2nd-3rd minute

Remove from heat

Add 2 tsp. GF soy sauce and add 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar into a ramekin cup and add mixture into the sauté pan with the butter.

This will cause some sparking and spraying of ingredients.  Don't get alarmed-this is normal.  Stand back, it will calm down.

This is what butter mixture will look like once Balsamic and Soy sauces are added

Remove Asparagus from oven, place on serving dish and pour mixture on top.

Serve Immediately and enjoy.

xoxo Julie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Alcohol and Beer: What is Gluten-Free?

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I have been posting a lot of feedback on the zillion Celiac fan pages and group pages on Facebook, and one of the many questions I come across is regarding GF alcohol.  Which mixes are gluten-free, which hard liquors are gluten-free, what beer is GF and what is not.  There seems to be many articles and lists online, so I am here to blog about it.

Of course I love to blog about recipes and food products, but this is definitely a common topic that is worth discussing.

Here are a few links that I have found from the internet on GF alcohol lists that may be of help to those in question:


There are some on these lists that I don't agree with.  For example in many dessert liquors there is caramel coloring and caramel coloring has under 20ppm gluten according to the FDA.  Though the FDA states that this is suitable in being considered Gluten-Free, it is in fact not.  Even that small amount can effect some with Celiac Disease or a gluten-intolerance.  I for one, cannot have anything that has caramel coloring. This goes for Irish Cream, Kahlua, Sweet Tea Infused Vodka, Firefly, Chocolate Van Gogh vodka, Expresso Van Gogh Vodka and other various alcoholic beverages.

I also don't think that Whisky and Scotch are okay.  I have heard many people say that they steer clear of this altogether and there are some that say okay.  So you have to be the judge of your own body.  Just beware, if you feel symptoms this is probably why.



GF BEER LISTS:  (RedBridge GF Beer)          (New Grist GF Beer)         (Bards Tale GF Beer)   (Green's Ale GF Beer)  (GF Beer recipe)  (Twin Cities-GF Beer /which stores carry)

Hope this helps!!

xoxo Julie

Reading Labels What's Good vs What's Bad?

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So you have gone gluten-free eh?  Not only does everything in your life has to change, but also now you have to spend umpteen hours in the grocery store.  What a buzz kill.  I know.  Been there, done that.  But now for me, it's been a few years, and I have become quite savvy with the "label" reading of products.  In fact I love going to the grocery store.  But hey, that's just me.

For all of you Gluten-Free newbie’s out there here is what you need to look for on a product label to know if you can't have it.  Some helpful hints for the newbie’s and the oldies, because labels and ingredients are constantly changing.


Always read the ingredients.  I don't care how many times you have bought this product, ingredients change.  Believe me, you are not too cool to read that label, especially when you suddenly get sick and can't figure out why.  
I learned this the hard way with eating Corn Pops cereal.  What a disaster, and all my fault because I didn't take the time out the read the revised label.  For three months straight I ate Corn Pops because back in the day it was just corn...and then one night after 3 months of consuming this product I randomly decided while watching T.V. to read the ingredients.  I can't tell you how fast I was spitting those pops out of my mouth when I saw in bold black print, that this product now contained Wheat.

Modified Food Starch:  Good or bad?  For the most part bad.  Unless the modified starch in it is corn.  I went to a nutritionist who told me that modified food starch was fine as long as it was not in raw meats or refrigerated foods.  She said (and I won't quote her, because I think she is wrong) that any processed product that contains Modified Food Starch is A-Okay.  She was the second nutrionist I went to when I got diagnosed.  The first nutritionist I went to said steer clear, and I will have to agree with her.  I noticed many changes in my symptoms when I ate anything with "modified food starch", but as I said before if the manufacturer confirms that the ingredient is corn, then eat away.

Caramel Coloring: The FdA states that caramel coloring has under 20ppm of Gluten, and therefore is confirmed in the U.S. as gluten-free.  But so many people that are Celiac or Gluten-Intolerant can't even digest that amount.  I for example cannot have Caramel coloring.  It still does have gluten in it.  Just because the FDA approves it does not mean it is 100% gluten-free.  For a while I noticed my hair thinning drastically and kind of falling out.  Not to the point that I was bald by any means, but there was a bit too much hair in that brush of mine.  The culprit?  Caramel coloring.  And guess where that is found?? Starbucks flavored lattes and frappuccinos, coke, Pepsi, root beer, Kalhua, Irish cream liquors, licorice (most brands but not Candy Tree) and many other products.  This is something to always look for in the stores, because chances are it will affect you. But you as the diagnosed needs to base this on your own reactions.  **Just to clarify Caramel coloring is not the same as Caramel.  Caramel GF is usually ok.

Wheat-Free vs. Gluten-Free-Always remember Wheat Free does not mean Gluten-free!!!

If you are unsure-Steer clear!  If you come across a product and you are not sure how to read the ingredients or are not sure if it is truly a gluten-free product, just pass.  You can always try to call the customer service number on the back of the product right then and there, but if you cannot get an answer, it is better to do without, then to get sick.

Product Labels:  A small list of ingredients that have hidden sources of Gluten

Dairy Substitutes
Dextrin* (can contain barley or wheat starch, however are predominately corn, but it's always best to check with the manufacturer)
Glucose syrup*
Herbal supplements
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
Licorice (unless Gluten-free, try Candy Tree Licorice)
Lipstick (many are, and it is hard to find out what has gluten and what doesn't)
Malt Flavoring
Modified Food Starch*
Prepared cake frosting (This I also found out a bit too late.  More like after I ate almost half the jar with a spoon)!!  There was wheat starch listed as one of the first ingredients, and I didn't think to check that Icing would have gluten)! (I'm sure you are wondering why on earth I would eat half a jar of frosting, but let's just say it was one of those days).
Prescription and over the counter drugs (always check with the pharmacist)
Soy Sauce (unless wheat free/gluten-free)
Beer (unless Gluten-Free.  Try Redbridge)
Irish Cream liquor
Kalhua liquor

Ingredients with an Asterisk * may contain gluten.  Can contain barley or wheat starch, however are predominately corn, but it's always best to check with the manufacturer).

Ingredients that are Gluten-FRIENDLY:

Baking powder
Baking soda
Citric acid
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Mono and diglycerides
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) **
Natural color and flavor (ex. Pure vanilla extract)
Soy, soy protein
Soy lecithin
Vinegar (not malt vinegar)
Artificial color and flavor
Distilled Alcohols (certain brands are better then others)

MSG in the U.S. is often ok, but if traveling overseas to Asia, it might contain Wheat.  Always check!!

The listed additives above are generally safe, but only if it is manufactured in the U.S. or Canada.  If it is manufactured elsewhere it is best to call and find out.

I hope this helps when grocery shopping.  You can always print out this list and take it with you wherever you go if you are unsure.

**My information above is selected from The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. in addition to my own reactions after consuming these additives and seeing one of the nutritionists at this center.

xoxo Julie