CAT | food
Anybody who has followed this blog for any length of time is familiar with my affinity for all things breakfast. What I am about to describe is a gluten-free wonder of old school baking: a magical combination of fluffy dough with crispy edges and apples drenched in a cinnamon and sugar glaze.
The apple pancake was something I wasn’t introduced to until I was in my teens, so I never really craved this beast of bakery magic until I could no longer have it. This isn’t an every week thing in my house, but it really hits the spot in late summer and fall when the apples are ripe and you find yourself lucky enough to have a weekend morning free.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (Authentic Foods or King Arthur brand work well for me)
- 1 cup milk – low fat or 1% is fine
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Authentic Foods vanilla powder
- In a bowl, add flour, milk, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
- In another bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Add butter in a 10″ pyrex-type deep dish pie container and put in oven.
- Turn oven to 400°.
- When butter is completely melted, remove from oven.
- Pour batter into buttered dish and put in oven for 20-25 minutes.
- In a separate pan, warm apples, butter (to taste) and cinnamon. Cook for 13-15 minutes.
- Remove batter from oven and add apple mixture.
- Cover entire dish with brown sugar/sugar/cinnamon mixture.
- Return dish to oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool, cut into portions and enjoy!
Depending on your oven and your altitude, cook times may vary, so do pay close attention to this dish while cooking. It took a couple of tries to really get this recipe right, but it is totally worth it when you get it down.
Let me know how yours turns out or share any tips and tricks in the comments. Cheers!
Whether you have traditionally followed me on this blog or not, you may have noticed that it has been over a year since I have published anything. So much has happened. I’ve become quite good at brewing gluten-free beer. I have discovered fabulous new recipes and gluten-free grocery products that I look forward to sharing. I won’t bore you with personal details, but last year, my work life exploded and my career carried me to a place where I averaged fifty-some hours per week for the year. I spent many nights and weekends in the office. How I managed to maintain my gluten-free lifestyle during the past year is a discussion for another post. Recently, I have regained control of my professional life, but one thing stood out to me last year that led me on a very different path than the one I was on.
A struggle that became increasingly apparent last year while I was working so many hours, was that locating places that are friendly for gluten-free folks is still very difficult. If you are reading this, I don’t have to tell you that gluten awareness is growing and more products are flooding into the market every day. But when it comes to eating and drinking on the run, we still have very few options. There is a gluten-free restaurant directory, but it is difficult to navigate. There are maps that require you to download additional software. There are sites where piles of restaurants are uploaded via user submission and no moderation is done to provide any sort of consistency or quality.
As soon as I had the time, I started planning, coding and stockpiling information from my own personal travels around the country. What if there were a place that featured every restaurant, bar, bakery and market that catered to the gluten free community? What if that place featured sortable content, mapping and a description of what to expect at each location? Finally, I wanted to know how helpful that site would be if it was moderated by one person who investigated each and every gluten-free location to ensure accuracy of information.
What started out as a way for me to map my personal gluten-free travels quickly became a passion for sharing knowledge with others who also find it difficult to locate gluten-free accommodations in their neck of the woods. Now, I am happy to present Gloodies. Gloodies.com was born out of personal necessity, but has grown into a robust search engine and mapping tool for people who live the gluten-free life.
My favorite part of Gloodies.com is the way you search for information. Enter a city or zip code and away you go. If you’re planning a trip, you can enter the location you’ll be going before you ever leave. I’ve been using the site as a way to prepare an itinerary before I head out. There is an area where users are encouraged to upload any gluten-free locations that they are aware of that haven’t yet been uploaded to the site. I moderate all submissions to make sure the wrong sorts of sites aren’t being uploaded.
So, what are the right locations? Gloodies.com features only restaurants that offer either gluten-free menus or offer individual gluten-free items such as pizza. I only upload bakeries that offer daily gluten-free options. I only upload bars that feature gluten-free beer. Finally, the only markets that get added are markets which have made a concerted effort to make life easier for us in living on a gluten-free diet.
There are many upgrades planned for Gloodies.com. First, I am looking at ways of presenting more location results per page. I’d like to make it easier to determine which sites are which on the map without having to click to see them. Finally, I plan on rolling out applications for iPhone, iPad and Android. I believe Gloodies will work even better as an application than as a web site, since GPS will make searching even easier.
I have added locations all over the country so far. Since I am from the Chicago-land area, I have uploaded way more sites there than anywhere else. My travels have recently taken me to Washington, D.C. and Houston, TX, where I was shocked at the amount of gluten free options, so those are the areas I would like to focus on next. If you have suggestions, feel free to email me or submit them on Gloodies.
I hope you find the site as useful as I have found it. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know. I look forward to sharing this site with the community. I also promise not to be such a stranger on this blog…
If you keep up with my blog at all, you know that I’m a huge brinner (breakfast for dinner) fan. Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I try to eat it as often as possible at all times of the day. This particular recipe is a traditional breakfast skillet with potatoes, meat, cheese and eggs and it serves 2 people. This is also another recipe that is easier and more fun with 2 people. Let’s get started.
4 strips of bacon
6 oz shredded cheese or 2 slices of Kraft American cheese
The first step is to cut up the potato into 1/4″ chunks. You can cut them smaller if you like, but 1/4″ is a nice bite-size serving. Grease a small skillet pan with butter or your preferred gluten free cooking spray and toss the potato chunks in. Cook them covered over medium heat for 10 minutes or until they soften up a bit. Add in a dash of salt and pepper to taste at this point if you like. If you really like butter, feel free to add a pat of butter to the potatoes as well. This can help them to soften up a bit. Don’t forget to move the potato chunks around from time to time during cooking to ensure that every chunk gets a proper amount of attention from the heat.
While your potatoes are cooking, begin cooking your bacon. It’s up to you if you decide to cook your bacon on the stove or bake it in the oven. Regardless, just be sure you have a gluten free bacon and that it is well cooked. If you cook it on the stove, be sure to place it on a bed of paper towels and dab it with paper towels to remove a bit of the excess grease when finished cooking.
Around the time that your bacon and potatoes are wrapping up, you should begin cooking your eggs. I prefer my eggs over-easy, but you can cook them to your own liking.
While your eggs are cooking, break apart your bacon into small pieces and mix it in with the potatoes. Once you have them mixed well, you can add shredded cheese to the mix. If you want to use American slices, you may prefer to wait until the mix is plated.
Finally, it’s time to plate your masterpiece. I prefer to serve my skillets in a bowl. Place the cheese, potato and bacon mix in the bowl first. If you are using sliced cheese, place that over the mixture now. Finally, take 2 eggs and place them on top of the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, if you like, and you are all finished.
This is a very basic skillet recipe, but you can add whatever you like to make it your own. Try Bob Evans crumbled sausage or spicy turkey sausage for a kick. Pile in sauteed vegetables or some hot sauce for more flavor. There are no limitations. Just be sure, as always, that your ingredients are gluten free. Let us know how you make this recipe your own in the comments.
I wish I had a better name for this recipe, but strawberry pretzel cream cheese dessert is all I’ve ever known it as. It is really easy to make and satisfies the sweetest tooth. If you haven’t enjoyed pretzels and strawberries together, then I just feel sorry for you and it’s time for your taste buds to have their minds blown. I’m thrilled any time I get to enjoy Glutino gluten free pretzels. Even my friends who still eat gluten agree that they are the best pretzels ever. This recipe features pretzels as the main ingredient in the crust, so let’s start there.
3/4 cup crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. I crush my pretzels by placing them in a clear baggie and running a rolling pin over them until the largest pieces are about 1/4″. Use a spoon or your hands to mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
Lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan and flatten out the pretzel mix in it until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. I prefer a Pyrex glass dish, but any pan will do. Cook this mixture for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow the mixture to cool for at least an hour.
4 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup sugar
approximately 7 oz. Cool Whip
Once your crust has had ample time to cool, begin the middle layer by whipping your cream cheese. While whipping, gradually add the sugar.
Once you have whipped the cream cheese and sugar, fold in the cool whip. 7 oz. is difficult to measure out. Adding a bit more or less will not hurt this recipe. I prefer a fluffier middle layer, so I tend to err on the side of adding too much.
Once your mixture has been sufficiently folded, pour it over the crust and smooth it with a spatula. Allow this layer to sit and firm up for 10-15 minutes.
1 small package strawberry Jell-O
1 cup hot water
1 large package frozen strawberries (be sure your strawberries contain only strawberries, some additives contain wheat)
This is the trickiest layer of the recipe. Mix Jell-O and hot water until dissolved. While still frozen, add in the strawberries. It is important to allow the frozen strawberries to cool down the Jell-O mixture to prevent the topping from soaking into the lower layers and making the pretzels a soggy mess. Once at a sufficiently cool temperature (but before it begins to congeal), pour over the top of the fluffy middle layer and smooth out accordingly.
At this point, place the entire concoction in the refrigerator and wait for about 2 hours. When you are ready, cut into slices and serve. It takes a bit of time, but all of the techniques are simple and the ingredients are all generally readily available on the shelf at your local grocery store. If your local grocer doesn’t carry Glutino pretzels, ask them politely to consider it. They make a great snack even when not being used for a wonderful crust in a tasty dessert. Try out this recipe and be sure to share your experience in the comments.
Update: Sadly, these chips no longer have “Gluten Free” printed on the package.
There’s nothing better than a good, safe, gluten free snack. We all have our favorites. A quick look online will produce lists and lists of foods that “do not contain gluten.” But in order to really feel good about my snack food, I prefer to see the words “GLUTEN FREE” right there on the package. I want to share a new snack I found the other day that I’m throwing into the WIN column.
Jay’s Grande Tortilla Chips are amazing. I can’t remember coming across a tastier, more exciting gluten free chip. They are extremely airy and very flavorful. The texture is just perfect for this type of snack. My wife was crazy about these too and she usually doesn’t care for gluten free snack food.
This is a new product, so the Nacho Cheese flavor is the only one I’ve tasted. They were discovered at a grocery store chain in Chicagoland called Strack & Van Til’s. I’m assuming they will be sold at any store that carry’s Jay’s brand chips in the future. Do yourself a favor and look for these chips at your local grocery store. Let us know where you find them in the comments area.
I’ll take advantage of just about any opportunity to head to downtown Chicago for food. Last night, the wife and I found ourselves headed to a theater near P.F. Chang’s China Bistro at 530 N. Wabash Avenue and decided to sample their new gluten free menu.
Our server, Juanita, was very attentive and from the second I ordered a Redbridge beer was aware of my gluten intolerance. We each wanted to try a couple of things, so my wife and I both ordered from the gluten free menu.
We enjoyed one order of gluten free mongolian beef and one order of gluten free Chang’s spicy chicken. This came with a huge bowl of rice for us to share. As soon as we ordered, Juanita removed the sauces from the table and came back and mixed up some spicy gluten free soy sauce for us.
We were both blown away by the food. The mongolian beef dish was cooked perfectly with a sweet crispness around the edges. The portion was huge and the scallions that came along were also very good. The spicy chicken dish was beautiful as well. Moist chunks of chicken cooked quickly with a sweet and spicy sauce paired nicely with the white rice. Everything was flavorful and filling.
We were too full to take advantage of the flourless chocolate dome. I do, however, plan on making that a priority on my next visit. It was obvious throughout the entire meal that the staff has been well trained to be as accommodating as possible to diners with food allergies. The food, the service and the atmosphere are all top notch and I highly recommend finding out for yourself. Share your experience in the comments area and recommend a favorite dish.
Anybody who knows me, knows that I love Mexican food. For many of us, Mexican food is a mainstay of the gluten intolerant diet. I will admit to not knowing anything about cooking authentic Mexican food. But one thing I do know, is nachos. This little recipe is fun, fast and completely gluten free. Sharing the cooking duties with your significant other is part of the fun. So start an assembly line and get to work. You’ll be reaping the delicious rewards in no time.
1 Large Chicken Breast (1/4 pound ground turkey or beef will work as well)
1 Bag Corn Tortilla Chips (Mission brand round style work great)
1 16 oz can La Preferida Fat Free Refried Beans (if you can find a smaller can, 8 oz is all you really need)
1 4.25 oz can Black Pearls Chopped Ripe Olives (fresh olives are fine, sliced or chopped)
1 7 oz package Wholly Guacamole Classic (or homemade guacamole)
1 16 oz tub Daisy Light Sour Cream
The most important thing to remember, is that you can modify this recipe in any way, as long as you keep it gluten free. We’ll discuss some of the ingredient choices throughout the instructions, so let’s get started. First, chop a large breast of chicken into 1/4″ cubes. The smaller you can chop them the better, but I’m not chef and I’m certainly not any good with knives, so I stick to 1/4″. I have used ground turkey before and it works just fine, but sometimes I just get a taste for chicken.
Cook the chicken over medium heat on your stove top until fully cooked. I like to add some seasoning here to spice up the dish. I find that a dash of salt, a dash of garlic powder, a dash of red cayenne pepper or some blackening seasoning work well together. Feel free to use whatever spices you like to give this meal a bit of flare. While your chicken is cooking, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Pull out a 9 x 12 non stick pan and lay out 24 round chips on it in neat rows.
Once your chicken is fully cooked, it’s time to fire up the assembly line. Begin by taking a knife or other spreading utensil and wiping a layer of refried beans across each chip. There is a fine line between under-beaning and over-beaning. The general rule of thumb is that if you can stick a piece of chicken in the bean spread and it doesn’t roll away, you’re in good shape.
Next, add your chicken or meat of choice to each nacho. Be sure to ration them out so that each nacho gets an appropriate amount of meat. Feel free to skip this step if you don’t want all that meat on your nachos. There are plenty of ingredients to come, so adapt the recipe to suit your taste.
Next, add the black olives. If you have chopped black olives, you may want to scoop them onto the nachos with a spoon. For sliced black olives, you might decide that using your hands works just fine. And if you don’t like black olives, leave them out.
Our final step before sliding them in the oven is to add cheese. Chihuahua cheese is great. So is cheddar. Tonight I have some shredded Mexican cheese and that will work out very well. Be liberal with the cheese. It always seems like there’s too much before it cooks, but it can be surprisingly deceptive.
Place the nachos in the oven on the middle rack and let them cook for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is sufficiently melted. Depending on the amount or type of cheese, this number could vary widely. Be sure to check on the nachos occasionally during this time to prevent a burnt cheese disaster.
Shut the oven off and pull the nachos out. Be careful during these next couple of steps because you will be working near a very hot metal pan. If you prefer to move the nachos to a plate at this point, be sure to use a good spatula. The next 2 steps are perfect for those of you working in teams. First, begin dropping a dollop of guacamole on each nacho. I prefer Wholly Guacamole. If you can find it, give it a try. There is also a spicy version available and all Wholly Guacamole is gluten free and comes with 2 – 7 oz bags in the package.
A dollop of sour cream on the top of each nacho will cap off these wonderful little treats. If you haven’t already moved your nachos to plates, now would be a good time to do that.
And there you have it. Eat them as a meal or set them out for a party. They pair especially well with a pint of gluten free brown ale (homemade, of course). Make this recipe your own and don’t forget to let us know how it turns out in the comments.
Every once in a while, I post about getting a win for gluten intolerance. Some wins are more exciting than others, but the bottom line is that the more wins we get, the easier living with gluten intolerance gets. In this particular situation, we get a small, but exciting win.
Glutino Gluten Free Breakfast Bars taste just like you would hope. I was never a huge fan of this type of cereal-replacing NutriGrain-style snack, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to substitute a bar for a meal once in a while. As for nutrition, you won’t be upset with yourself after eating one of these. If you are struggling to keep carbs out of your diet, you might want to steer clear, but for those of us simply looking for a gluten free breakfast replacement option, these are great.
The blueberry filling (my favorite flavor) is moist and the outside is chewy and flavorful. The serving size, as is usually the case with Glutino products, is spot on. Also as usual, this Glutino product is produced in a gluten free facility, so any fears of cross contamination can be put to rest.
Glutino has managed to produce a portable, tasty and most of all gluten free breakfast product that should find a home in your office desk drawer or kitchen cabinet. They are available at local Jewel stores in Chicagoland and I would assume they are easy to find in the rest of the country as well. Give them a shot and let us know what you think in the comments area.
I have never been a fan of frozen entrees. Mushy pasta, chewy chicken, tough vegetables…gross. There are benefits to frozen dinners. They save money over going out for food every day. They cook quickly in the microwave. The packaging is usually somewhat flashy and you feel pretty good about yourself when you pull it out of the office freezer. The problem is that the dish you pull out of the microwave generally looks nothing like the one on the package. Even if it does, the smell and taste hardly ever live up to the high hopes of the graphics on the box. I’ve tried to like them. I really have. Now I can say that I’ve found one that lives up to the hype.
I never noticed anything on my local grocer’s shelves that said Amy’s before. I know now that there are cans of soup, frozen dinners and other stuff. I came across Amy’s frozen entrees one day while desperately combing the frozen department looking for anything I could eat. I hadn’t been gluten intolerant that long, but was going crazy eating the same things day in and day out. I was hesitant to pick up any of them. I had lost a lot of faith in any kind of frozen entree, but I picked up a few of them. My initial reaction was that these were different. Organic ingredients and unique flavors combined for a more tasteful dining experience. Many of the meals left me feeling a bit bloated and uncomfortable, but that has always seemed like a trademark of microwave meals to me. There was one product that stood out above the rest.
The macaroni and cheese is awesome. I am not a macaroni and cheese fan. In fact, I hardly ate the stuff for years. But this is one frozen meal that lives up to all of the hype on the box. It tastes great, it looks like the image on the box and it doesn’t give you that feeling all afternoon that you’ve done something terrible to your body. As far as my office habits go, I keep one of these dishes in the freezer at all times. Knowing that I have a comfortably-filling, quick and easy meal just moments away helps to keep me sane on those really busy days. This mac and cheese also makes a nice side dish for two. Use it to complement grilled sausage for dinner. Easy, quick, delicious, gluten free. What could be better? Got a favorite gluten free frozen dish? Post it in the comments.
A lot can change in the course of a year. In February of 2009, I was just beginning to enjoy the benefits of being a young professional in the city of Chicago. I spent nights and weekends discovering new restaurants and bars, random ethnic food, and generally getting fat off of all that my great city had to offer. I had no idea that my body was nearing a breaking point.
I knew that I hadn’t felt well for a long time, but I had chalked it up to family history. The other men in my family have always had abdominal pain and issues with digestion and I assumed it was just something I had to deal with. My breaking point came when my pain began to feel more like an illness and I couldn’t go to work. One particular Saturday night led to 4 days off of work. Several times before, my doctor had suggested that a gluten free diet might help my abdominal issues. This time, he gave me strict marching orders.
Nothing can prepare you for the diagnosis. This is the type of bittersweet message you never want to receive. I can feel better yes, but at what cost? No more discovering new foods, no more rare beers from all ends of the earth, no more enjoyment of any kind. I thought all was lost. My despair led me to a desperate search for all of the things I used to enjoy. I struggled for a long time to find some balance and understanding. These are the hard lessons I learned.
1. Be Vigilant, Be Aggressive
In most situations, I am not an aggressive person. I avoid confrontation whenever possible and am not as direct as I should be sometimes. This is one of those situations where I have needed to break a few of my own rules about common courtesy. If you go to a restaurant to eat, be absolutely clear about your condition with the help. Ask to see the chef. Demand that your food be prepared at a separate workstation in order to prevent cross-contamination. If they won’t comply, don’t stick around. If you go to a friend or family member’s house for dinner and there isn’t anything that you can eat, don’t eat something just to be polite (more on this in the next section). Most people do not understand what having a gluten intolerance means. They will try to get you to eat things that will make you sick. Be assertive, but be patient. The people who misunderstand your disease initially may be the same people who surprise you the most down the road.
2. Be Prepared
If you have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it is important to find a fallback food for emergency situations. For me, that food was Rice Chex. Did I feel like a toddler toting around some Tupperware or plastic bag full of cereal? Absolutely. Did I have something to eat at family parties and as a snack when I was out and about? You bet. Another element of being prepared applies to restaurants. More and more restaurants are catering to gluten intolerant folks and plenty of resources are appearing that list those restaurants. Call restaurants before you leave the house. If you are meeting friends for dinner, sometimes you need to eat before you leave. It will save you the trouble of starving through dinner just to spend some time with company. This leads me to my next point.
3. The Internet Is Your Best Friend
Use the resources at your disposal to improve your way of life dramatically. When I have free time, I search randomly on Google. I type in my city or neighborhood and the phrase “gluten free” and occasionally I find new restaurants and grocery stores that are accommodating our community. Most of the brands at the grocery store have allergen information on their websites. Forums and discussion boards are everywhere waiting to answer your questions. As a matter of fact, post questions in the comments area and I’ll be happy to help you out. The moral of the story is that resources abound on the internet. Use them.
4. Be Fearless
Nearly 3/4 of the food you are used to eating has just been taken out of your diet. What do you do? Accept this turn of events as time to experiment. Not everything you make is going to be a home run. Use the remaining foods you have at your disposal and combine ingredients like you never have before. A white corn tortilla rolled up with sliced ham and shredded cheese baked in the oven. Is that good? No? Build up from there. It takes some work and some terrible food before you start to become comfortable creating your own dishes. Don’t forget to use the internet to locate gluten free recipes. There are full communities dedicated to this single topic. Finding a local restaurant with some gluten free food is great. Having a go-to restaurant can be a life saver. But don’t forget to try new things. Since I went gluten free, I’ve discovered sushi. It never interested me before, but once you start eating healthier, you may find your tastes changing. Does spicy blue crab wrapped in rice and seaweed sound awful to you? Be fearless. Try the scary stuff. You might be shocked by how much flavor you are missing out on.
5. Be Consistent, Be Committed
This is the most important lesson I learned. Taking on a new diet is daunting. Don’t assume that you can come and go from this diet. Be committed to it. The more time I spend away from gluten, the more sensitive I get to the effects of it in my system. Get on a regular schedule of finding recipes and going to the grocery store. Buy fresh produce. Support local farm markets. I have already laid out the benefits of preparation. Take the time to research recipe ingredients individually to prevent any surprises down the line. Your diligence can be the difference between a new favorite recipe and several days of misery.
Your diet is what you make of it. For a long time, I struggled to find sweets that I could eat. I didn’t take the time to do the research and it was my own fault that I wasn’t happy with my food choices. Then I started looking up each of the sweets I used to enjoy. I found out that many of my fears were unsubstantiated. When I finally discovered a selection of beers that I could have that were accessible to me, I was thrilled. When I decided that I wanted a greater selection of beers, I began brewing my own. You have options. There is one undeniable truth to all of this. Whether you look at this diet as a curse or a blessing, you’re right.