Friday, October 30, 2009

Nova Cafe - Gluten Free in Bozeman

The other weekend we had the pleasure of my parents visiting us and I thought it was a great time to try out the Nova Café. We always go out to eat breakfast the day they leave so we drove to Bozeman on Sunday morning. It was busy but the wait was only about 20 minutes and I was able to take in all of the gluten free baked goods they offered, plus you can sit and have a cup of coffee for free while you wait. Honestly when I heard they offer GF baked goods I figured there’d be one thing to choose from but I saw that there were 4 options, wow! They had lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate muffins, and maple nut muffins. I wanted to buy everything but I was able to control myself. Our waiter was very knowledgeable on what was safe for us and what wasn’t and that is such a comforting feeling. For instance the bacon is fried on the same griddle as the pancakes so there may be some cross contamination but the sausage is safe. Also the seasoned red potato home fries can be cross contaminated so instead they offer an awesome fruit bowl. The minute the fruit bowl hit the table my boy was all over it. They also offer gluten free bread, 3 seed or white, and both are really good. The three seed has fennel in it (at least that’s what I think it is) and I’m not a fennel fan but I still ate it. It was a great breakfast and here’s a picture of my boy in toast heaven.

I had the Veggie Scramble and I’m glad I remembered to take a picture before eating it all. The fruit bowl did have raspberries with it but they disappeared before everyon had their plates in front of them, the things I give up for my kids.

My kids had the chocolate muffins for breakfast the next day and they were really good, I heated them a bit in the microwave to help soften them up and yummy. I forgot to take a picture so just imagine a big chocolately muffin.

We found ourselves at the Nova Café for lunch the next day and I usually do salads but I had to get a sandwich just because I could. I had the Quickie on the white bread and it was fantastic. I was also able to safely eat the baked French fries and I was in a little piece of heaven myself.

This time I didn’t control my purchases so I picked up a chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cookie, and mixed berry twist. The cookies were really good though I prefer my homemade versions and the mixed berry twist was to die for. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s a sweet bread twisted with fruit and worth stopping by just for that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies

I have been fretting about turning our Christmas molasses cookie recipe gluten free. I’ve never swapped a cookie recipe on my own and there’s no way we could have Christmas without these cookies so I didn’t have an option. The kids were sick this weekend (again) so I had some extra time at home while we tried to not share our germs and figured it was perfect to try my hand at turning my recipe GF. I did some reading and comparing of cookie recipes I love and came up with a plan. I didn’t expect them to turn out but I was pleasantly surprised that they did. I tried variations in rolling them out and in bake times and below is what I found to work the best. These cookies are soft and yummy and the frosting is a must. The taste is great but they have a tendency to be a bit flaky and cake-like, it’s odd but the frosting helps to distract from its flakiness. I’ve subjected my co-workers to sample the cookies so I can get an objective opinion and the only comment has been that they’re very airy and light and not really like a cookie. My family is happy with them so I guess that’s what matters.

Becky’s Molasses Cookies
Adapted from my Mother-in-laws recipe

1 C molasses
1 C shortening (I used Spectrum)
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
3 ¼ C + 1/3 C GF flour (I used Gluten Free Mama’s Coconut flour)
1 ¼ t xanthan gum
1 T baking soda dissolved in ¾ C boiling water
1 T cinnamon
1 T cloves
1 T ginger
½ t salt

Sift or whisk together your flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Cream together the molasses, shortening, and brown sugar. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and baking soda mixture alternately in three batches starting with the flour. My mixer likes to splash the water mixture so start slow and be careful! Once it’s well mixed put it in the refrigerator overnight to chill.

Once the dough is chilled you can roll it out and cut shapes into it. Preheat your oven to 350 F, I used my convection option so I set the temperature to 325 F. Tear two 15 inch lengths of wax paper and take some of your GF flour and sprinkle it on one length of the wax paper. Put about 1/5th of the dough on the floured paper and then cover it with the second length of wax paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/8th inch in thickness then take a cookie cutter and cut out your desired shapes arranging them on a cookie sheet. These fluff up and don’t spread so you can squeeze quite a few on one sheet. I found it easiest to pin one end of the wax paper between my body and the counter top to hold it still while I rolled the dough out. Bake for 9-10 minutes and allow the cookies to cool before removing them from the cookie sheet.

Butter Frosting

2 ½ T softened butter
1 ½ C confectioners sugar
1 ½ T cream
¾ t vanilla

Cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the cream and vanilla until smooth and it has reached your desired consistency. I find that I always need to add more cream to get it to the consistency I want.

Frost your cookies and enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chili Spaghetti & a Review

This is a fast dinner that my family likes and it’s one that you can fudge with if needed. Sometimes I like to do a little fudging. The original recipe calls for spaghetti squash to be used but since I never have spaghetti squash on hand and want it quick I have substituted with rice noodles. If you have the time or want to make it even healthier try the spaghetti squash.

Chili Spaghetti
Adapted from New Dieter’s Cookbook

8 oz Gluten Free spaghetti noodles
12 oz lean beef or buffalo burger
½ C chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 t cornstarch
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2/3 C tomato juice (I never seem to have this on hand so I use a small can of tomato paste)
11 oz can corn
2 t chili powder (decrease if you don’t want it to have a little kick)
½ t oregano
½ C shredded cheese *Omit for DF or used Daiya

Bring a pot of salted and oiled (1 T olive oil) water to a boil. Add the spaghetti noodles, cook and drain.

Brown the meat, onion, and garlic. Stir in the cornstarch then add the tomato sauce, tomato juice (or paste), corn, chili powder, and oregano. Cook and stir occasionally until thickened and bubbly.

Serve the meat sauce over the noodles and topped with cheese.

I served this meal with one of my favorite snacks, it’s odd but I love it. Glutino’s gluten free breadsticks are yummy, they surprised me actually. I love to eat them with cottage cheese and thought they’d go great with this dish. They are nice and crispy and the kids like them so we have a keeper.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Turkey Tetrazzini

It's time for a recipe.

Here’s another casserole and this one is a favorite of mine. It’s great for leftover turkey but also really good with leftover chicken. I like to buy the rotisserie chicken from Costco (gluten and MSG free) just so I can have leftovers to make this casserole. I didn’t know what the kids would think of this but they have gobbled it up each time it’s in front of them so it’s a winner at our house. This recipe does make a lot so I always freeze half of it.

Turkey Tetrazzini
Adapted from Allrecipes

16 oz gluten free spaghetti noodles (I use Tinkyada)
½ C butter
½ C GF flour (I used Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Flour)
3 C chicken or vegetable broth (make sure it’s GF)
2 C milk
1 2/3 C grated Parmesan Cheese
4 C chopped and cooked turkey or chicken
2 cans peas
1 C croutons or bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, lightly salted with 1 T of Olive Oil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain and put in the baking dish.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the flour. Mix in the chicken broth and milk. Cook and stir until it comes to a boil then stir in 1/3 C Parmesan cheese and remove from heat.

Mix the chicken broth mixture, turkey, and peas with the spaghetti. Top with croutons and the remaining cheese. Bake for 45 min or until its bubbly throughout. You can make this ahead and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it, you’ll want to bake it about 1 hour if you do that.

I like to use fresh Parmesan mixed in the casserole and grated Parmesan for the topping.

There is a new gluten free networking site that is free and I love it. Its and it has everything from recipes, to GF eating locations, to tweets and blogs. It’s a great place to share information with other GF people so please check it out.

I received some exciting news too and I hope you all can spread the news to get people to sign up for this great option. is partnering with a new startup that delivers GF pizza (frozen) to your home. They are planning to start in WA, OR, and CA but if we can get enough GF buzz in Montana we could get us added to their launching list. All people need to do is join gling to let them know we’re here and want more GF options. The pizza would be about $9 per pizza delivered to your door with a minimum of 4 pizzas per order. It’s the same pizza that Garlic Jim’s serves, which is a west-coast gourmet pizza chain for those of us that have never been to a Garlic Jim’s. I hear it’s very good.

So if you’re interested join up at and hopefully we can get some yummy GF pizza delivered to our homes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Staggering Ox

My sister in law e-mailed me with some exciting news for those of you in Billings. She was watching Hello Montana and heard that the Staggering Ox in Billings now offers GF soups, sandwiches, and salads. I think I know where I may be eating the next time I’m in Billings. I did a search to see if I could get more information and I couldn’t but I did find information on the Helena Staggering Ox. It looks like they have GF options and you can contact for more information.

If you’re not in Billings but have a Staggering Ox in your town give them a call to see if they also have GF options. Let me know what you find too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gluten Free Goodies

I apologize for not getting a post in last week, the kids both had a virus and I was busy with that. I’m at work with swollen lymph nodes though I already went through their virus so I’m worried this is something different, it has already begun. On happy news I found a couple fun gluten free goodies at Oak Street Natural Market that I wanted to share with everyone. I haven’t had a chance to use either one yet but I can’t imagine they’ll treat me wrong.

The first is travel packets of GF soy sauce, how fantastic for sushi eaters?

The second is Toast It bags. They are reusable toaster bags that you can put your GF bread in and toast safely in any toaster. These would be great when visiting relatives or using a toaster at a hotel when travelling.

An update from my last post. Hubby is doing OK with eating gluten daily, he’s starting to break out but with only 2 weeks left he’s at least getting close to the home stretch. We weren’t able to try Biga Pizza in Missoula because it was busy and they were out of GF crusts, there’s always next time. My conference was at Fairmont Hot Springs and they did a great job providing me with GF food, I was very pleased. I even discovered that they have a portobella mushroom burger that uses the mushroom as a bun, it was yummy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gluten Fun

The past few days have been filled with gluten, purposefully and not. My boy was accidentally glutened at a friend’s house after she tried so hard to have safe options for him. She had bought him Barbara’s wheat free Snackimals thinking they were safe because they said wheat free not realizing that they are not gluten free. This just brings up an annoyance I have when things are wheat free but not gluten free, the confusion is frustrating! My boy didn’t have the effects until the next afternoon when his tummy was hurting him and he spent some time on the toilet. I don’t know if giving him Pepto helps or not but I always do, it may just be a placebo effect because he thinks it makes him better.

Hubby went to an allergist yesterday and has decided to do the gluten challenge so he can be tested for Celiac disease. We had to actually brain storm to figure how he could get gluten into his system, how sad is that? He has his own cereal, bread, cookies, crackers, and beer. He’s excited to have things that he hasn’t been able to enjoy but he claims no matter what the results are he’s going to stick with a GF diet. His plan is to eat gluten for 4-6 weeks and then take the test. If he keeps ingesting as much as he did yesterday I think 4 weeks will be plenty. He had a hard time finding cookies and crackers that didn’t have HFCS in them so he still had to read labels, hehe!

I have a work conference this week and I’ve stated I need GF meals so we’ll see how it goes. I am bringing snacks just in case but I’m hopeful I won’t need them. We are then heading to Missoula for the weekend and I’ve found a gluten free pizza place in town. Biga Pizza has a rice crust that is gluten free. They cook it on an oiled pizza pan so it doesn’t come into contact with the deck and it is also sliced with a different pizza wheel. I hope to give them a try and was told to call ahead and reserve one in advance as they tend to sell out quickly. They also have salads just say no toast points or that you have a gluten allergy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birthday Parties

Last weekend we had a neighbor’s birthday party to attend and I pulled out the cupcakes I had frozen so the kids could enjoy some cake with everyone else. This is a great option for anytime there’s a party and you don’t want your little one to go without cake. It also means that if you find out there’s a party tomorrow you don’t have to stress about baking a whole batch of cupcakes that night. When I freeze my cupcakes I let them cool completely then wrap each cupcake with plastic wrap. I then place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze. This way you can grab as many as you need and it keeps freezer burn at bay.

I don’t want my kids to feel like they’re missing out so my goal is to make their cupcakes fun. I filled each cupcake with frosting and then frosted the top. We had a great time doing this together, which meant the boy has his own cupcake to cut, destroy, and eat. I’ve tried filling them without removing cake and it just doesn’t put enough filling into the cupcake so I used the following method and the results were sweet, very sweet.

Take a small paring knife and cut about an inch into the cupcake at an angle cutting a cone shape out of the cupcake. Cut the bottom off the cone so you can place the top over the hole that is now in your cupcake. Fill each hole with frosting, top with the circle you cut out, then frost the rest of the cupcake.

This is really easy and results in an extra special GF cupcake. The frosting color choice was from my boy, we were trying for red but he was happy with this dark pink. I think he thought I was providing the cupcakes for everyone because he had me bring an extra one for the birthday girl. I smiled when it was time to eat cake and the other kids kept asking for the cupcakes, it probably didn’t help their desire when they were told those were special cupcakes.