Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Emergency" Snacks for Mexico

Our family of 5 is thrilled to be heading to Mexico tomorrow for a week!  We are staying at an all-inclusive upscale resort with several restaurants on the property.  I am hoping and assuming that most foods will be fresh, local fruits, veggies, fish and rice.  However, when we venture off property for day-long excursions, I'm worried about accessibility to gluten-free foods.  We don't speak Spanish so, I'm also a bit concerned about translations issues regarding gluten.  Therefore, we are bringing a huge bag full of pistachios, a gf trail mix, dry roasted edamame, a variety of gf bars, fruit pouches and my favorite Justin's nut butters.  Hopefully these provisions will be enough to get my 2 favorite gf guys through a week of snorkeling, cenote exploring, pyramid climbing and zip-lining through Mexico!  I'll be off the grid for the week, taking lots of notes about gluten-free dining in Mexico.  I'll fill you in with lots of details when we return.

Gluten-Free Easter Basket

In an effort to simplify and move away from candy, candy, candy, I chose to fill my little guys' Easter basket with spring themed gifts instead.  I'm really trying to move away from food being the center of every celebration.  I actually found Easter themed Lego online!!!!  Who knew?  I also included a giant bubble wand, a cute little gnome for our "enchanted forest", a roly-poly puppy dog, spring bunny tic tacs, and a Hershey bar.  Simple and sweet.  I hope he loves it :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gluten-Free Ravioli

I love pasta.  I love tortellini, ravioli, angel hair with pesto, ziti, penne with vodka sauce and the list goes on....  However, when my 2 favorite guys were diagnosed with Celiac Disease almost 2 years ago we gave up all pasta completely for a while.  Then we slowly ventured in the gluten-free pasta world.  We tried brown rice pasta first which no one was particularly fond of.  Next came a corn pasta from Canada, which was ok but we didn't love it.  The fact that the price of a box of gluten-free pasta was triple that of "regular" pasta, and considering we are a family of 5 living in a resort community where prices are already inflated, didn't help our pasta situation.  We finally settled on a favorite, Bio-Naturae(which I write about in another post).  To keep costs down, we now only have pasta once a week, and I make 2 pots - regular(whole wheat veggie pasta) for the girls and gluten free for the guys.

Well, my little guy does not like dairy and he's a good eater - not picky at all with a very well rounded gluten-free diet.  But he truly does not like milk, cheese, or yogurt although he seems to have no problem with ice cream:)  But I was desperate for some ravioli and came across Conte's Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli and decided to give it a try.  The Ravioli held together in the pot!  I feared that it would wind up in pieces.  I served it with some fra-diavlo sauce and broccoli on the side.  When my little guy asked what was on the inside, I simply replied "ricotta".  No need to explain that it was cheese:)  He devoured every last bite, asked for more and asked when we could have it again!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dry Roasted Edamame

Although all 3 of my kids love steamed, salted edamame, they do not like the dry roasted version.  However, I love them!  They are conveniently packaged in 100 calorie, lightly salted, snack packs.  They are gluten-free, Non GMO, have no trans-fat or cholesterol and have 11grams of soy protein per pack.

Seapoint Farm's edamame snack packs are a heart healthy, crunchy, taste and satisfying snack to stave off hunger between meals.

With 70% less fat and 40% more protein than peanuts, dry roasted edamame are a healthy and satisfying snack!
Give them a try!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Toaster Bags

Along with our initial Celiac Disease diagnosis, came a brand new, dedicated gluten-free toaster.  Us girls use the "regular" toaster, which is great because my teenage daughter goes through a lot of frozen waffles and bagels with her girl-friends.  And the beautiful, stainless steel toaster is "gluten-free".  However, we seem to be on the road a lot lately.  In the past 2 years whenever we have travelled we typically stay in hotel suites with kitchenettes and bring all of our own food.  This year, with field hockey tournaments, college visits, skiing trips and visits to the in-laws we seem to be on the road quite a bit.  

So, I decided to try toaster bags.  They can be used in a toaster or toaster oven and can even be used to heat up pizza, chicken nuggets or quesedilla.  Most toaster bags can be washed in the dishwasher and can be re-used up to 100 times!  
My hubby and I are both heading out of town in separate directions next week.  He'll be taking the toaster bags with him and giving me his review upon his return home.  I'll let you know what he thinks.

Friday, March 8, 2013

GF Melted Chocolate & Banana Sandwiches

I typically make this decadent dessert once a year when our family is celebrating something special.  It's so easy to make, the kids can help and you probably already have all of the ingredients.
Warm a cast iron griddle and melt a sliver of butter(about a teaspoon).
Place a slice of g-free bread on the griddle and top with your favorite gf chocolate bar.
Slice a banana lengthwise and place over the chocolate.

Cover the bananas with another layer of chocolate bar.

Top with a slice of your favorite gluten-free bread.                

Cover with a grill press.  If you don't have a press, you can wrap a brick with aluminum foil!

Cook for about  5 minutes, flip and place the grill press back on top of the sandwich and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then enjoy with your favorite people!

Sadly I forgot to take a proper photo of the sandwich on a pretty plate and cut in half so that you could see the delicious insides:(  We were just so eager to devour it!  I guess it's a great excuse to make this delicious dessert again - just so I can take the photo:)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Glass Jar Storage for Baking Ingredients

Luv these jars!  I picked up all 3 for less than $15 at our local TJ Maxx.  A wide mouth container makes scooping out a teaspoon or tablespoon much easier. But mostly, I love how they dress up my pantry and make me feel fancy when I'm baking in my pj's.  If your TJ Maxx doesn't carry them, check out these jars from Sur La Table - fantastic!

A Closer Look at Wheat

I recently read an article titled "a closer look at wheat:  Amber Waves of Trouble?" in the January 2013 Taste for Life magazine written by Jane Eklund.  The on-line version I've linked to here, is slightly different.  Take the time to read it - even if you aren't eating wheat - it's more than likely that your loved ones are.  
Eklund states that today's wheat has been crossbred and hybridized to make it drought and and disease resistant and to produce higher yield per acre.  This results in wheat that contains a high level of a starch that dramatically raises blood sugar; a "super gluten" that causes inflammation; and addictive polypeptides that induce cravings.  
Perhaps a Celiac diagnosis is something to be thankful for.  And perhaps we should all be working to clean up our food supply, food production and food processing.