Thursday, December 31, 2009

BBQ Beef Roll-ups

I had been feeling creative with using up the roast leftovers last week and this is a recipe I winged. I remember having some appetizers similar to this but they were much smaller, I made these “meal size”. It was very easy and very yummy. The best part is you can enjoy BBQ beef without needing bread.

BBQ Beef Roll-ups

Leftover roast, shredded
BBQ sauce
Gluten free tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream for garnish, or anything else you think would add a nice touch
Vegetable oil for frying

Mix together the shredded beef and BBQ sauce and warm until heated through. Take 1 tortilla and zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds to make it more pliable. On the end closest to you spoon some meat mixture on the tortilla and top with shredded cheese, I used about ½ C meat and I handful of cheese. Fold the edge closest to the meat over just until its covered then tuck in the sides and roll the tortilla. Lay it seam side down and repeat with the remaining tortillas and meat.

Pour enough oil in a fry pan to cover the bottom and heat to about 400 F. Place the tortillas seam side down in the hot oil and fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel then serve with sour cream or any other sides you’d like.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gluten Free Restaurants & Stores in Montana

I want to bring all the gluten free restaurant and store locations in Montana to one place. I’ll update this post as needed but this way it’s all together and easy to find. A lot of these locations (and holy moly are there a lot of locations) I have never been to but online it states they carry GF products. If you have any locations to add to this list or have any information on these locations please let me know. There will be a separate post for GF beers that are available across Montana.


Bonanza Health Foods
923 Grand Ave

3042 King Ave
They have a GF menu that shows what is safe and the sides you can have with it.

Good Earth Market
3024 2nd Ave Nth

Mary’s Health Food
2564 King Ave W #J

Montana Harvest Natural Food
1710 Grand Ave

Olive Garden
2201 Grant Rd
They have a GF menu but I wouldn’t recommend trying this, one woman I know tried it and was glutened. The waitress said they don’t like to say the pasta is GF so I’m guessing there’s some cross contamination happening, it’s really too bad.

Outback Steakhouse
2001 Overland Ave

Red Robin
1603 Grand Ave #1
They offer a “Lettuce-Wrap Your Burger” that has no bun and is served with a side salad, the fries are not GF.

Staggering Ox
2829 King Ave W
They have soup, sandwiches, and salads that are GF.

Z Pizza
1430 Country Manor Blvd #7
A rice crust is available along with a menu list of what is GF.


Lee & Dad’s IGA
205 W Madison Ave


2159 Burke St
They have a GF menu that shows what is safe and the sides you can have with it.

Colombo's Pizza & Pasta
1003 W College
They have GF pizza crust and soy cheese. When you order be sure to let them know you are very sensitive and ask that they use all clean utensils to avoid cross contamination.

Community Food Co-op
908 W Main

The Daily Coffee Bar & Bakery
11th & College
And a second location at
N. Rouse & Oak St.
They have GF treats like brownies but I don’t know if they are available at both locations.

Elle's Belle's Bakery & Cafe
7 Tai Lane
They offer GF muffins, a crust free/GF cheesecake, Linzer Heart cookies.

Food For Thought Specialty Deli
270 West Kagy Unit B
They have gluten free bread for their sandwiches along with entress, sides, salads, and desserts.

Montana Ale Works
611 E Main
GF pasta is on the menu and delicious and they have GF buns for burgers, etc. I’ve also safely had a lot of their other items but note the fries are not safe.

Montana Harvest
31 S Willson Ave

The Naked Noodle
27 South Willson
They have GF pasta on their menu, I would be very diligent about making sure they’re careful with cross contamination.

Nova Café
312 W Main
They offer GF bread for sandwiches and toast and also have GF baked goods for sale.

Oak Street Natural Market
1735 Oak St #F

Outback Steakhouse
6059 East Valley Center Road

Over the Tapas
19 S Willson
They have a GF menu.

Rosauers Huckleberry’s Natural Market
3255 technology Blvd W

Sola Café
290 W Kagy Blvd
They offer GF bread for sandwiches and have a GF treat daily, ask at the counter.

Sweet Pea Bakery
2622 West Main St
They offer GF Opera cake, flourless tortes, GF cheesecake, GF key lime torte, and GF shortbread tarts. You need to call ahead for most of these items


Dancing Rainbow Natural Grocery
9 S Montana

Silver Bow Pizza Parlor
3500 Harrison Ave


Herbs & Things
1102 2nd Ave Sth


Reynold’s Market
1014 West Bell St

Great Falls

Boston's The Gourmet Pizza
1101 7th St South

1420 Market Place Dr Suite A
Chili’s has a GF menu, you will need to request it from your server.

Pegasus Blu
Closed, bummer.

2 J’s Natural Foods
105 Smelter Ave NE #17


Super 1 Foods
1131 N 1st


2790 Nth Washington St
Chili’s has a GF menu, you will need to request it from your server.

Pathway’s to Health
700 N Ewing

Real Food Market & Deli
1096 Helena Ave

Staggering Ox
400 Euclid Ave

Van’s Thriftway
306 Euclid Ave


Sunlife Health Foods
2302 US Highway 2 E Ste 10

Super 1 Foods
Nth 55 First Est

Withey’s Health Foods
1231 Sth Main St


Food Works Natural Market
412 E Park St

Miles City

Great Grains Health Foods
21 S 9th St

Reynold’s Market
2106 Valley Dr E


Biga Pizza
241 W Main
They offer a rice crust but be sure to call ahead and reserve a crust because they go fast.

3630 Nth Reserve
They have a GF menu that shows what is safe and the sides you can have with it.

Fat Cat Pizzeria and Pasta
1502 Dearborn
They use seperate utensils and cutting boards for their GF pizza and boil the GF pasta in seperate water. A lot of the soups are also GF, ask the wait staff to check with the head chef.

The Good Food Store
1600 S 3rd St W

Huckleberry’s Natural market
2350 S Reserve

Jaker’s Bar & Grill
3515 Brooks St

James' Bar
127 Alder St
They have a dedicated GF fryer and have rice flour to bread onions, etc. Call ahead and talk to the Chef to ensure you can get a safe fried GF food.

Outback Steakhouse
2415 N Reserve

Red Robin
2901 Brooks St
They offer a “Lettuce-Wrap Your Burger” that has no bun is served with a side salad, the fries are not GF.


Mission Mountain Natural Foods
319 Main St

Super 1 Foods
50331 Highway 93


Bitterroot Community Market
601 Main St

Super 1 Foods
39 Stevensville Cutoff Rd W


Third Street Market
244 Spokane Ave

Super 1 Foods
6475 Highway 93 Sth

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chili's Springfield, MO Review

I wasn’t planning on trying Chili’s while we were in Springfield but the people we ate dinner with had chosen it and I wasn’t going to argue. We had a fantastic waitress and she did a great job taking care of us. I’m pretty sure she overheard me mention that I’ve read mixed reviews on how well Chili’s does with GF items but we didn’t get glutened so maybe that was a good thing. They didn’t have any GF menus printed so she did have to print a couple for us and I think this is because they update the menu on a regular basis. When we ordered she asked some questions to verify what we were getting was safe, like whether we could have cheese or not. I did my best to give her a quick rundown on what wasn’t safe for us and assured her that cheese was OK.

I ordered the Guiltless Grilled Salmon and was happy with my dish though the vegetables were a bit salty for me. The rice was really good and my salmon was perfectly cooked.

Hubby ordered the Guiltless Carne Asada Steak. He said the carne asada was also more salty than he likes and his veggies were the same as mine.

We did have their chips and salsa along with a chocolate shake even though they aren’t on the GF menu. Thankfully it was safe because we didn’t have any reactions.

To view their gluten free menu go to their main menu page and at the bottom there’s a “Download Allergy Information” link, click on that then choose the “Chili’s Wheat and Gluten Allergen Information”. This brings up the Gluten Free Menu. The Chili’s in Springfield, MO is located at 3020 S Glenstone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

BamBu Springfield, MO

We found ourselves in Springfield, MO right before Thanksgiving and a quick search online brought up BamBu as a restaurant with GF options. The day we arrived we hadn’t eat much since airports only offer so much for a GF diet, at least I found yogurt and bananas at the Billings airport for breakfast. We had an early dinner at Bambu which is a Vietnamese restaurant. We asked for the GF menu when we sat down and the options were really good. We decided to start off with Fresh Spring Rolls and instead of giving us the peanut dipping sauce we were give fish sauce. They were really good especially since our bodies hadn’t had anything substantial the whole day.

For the main course I had the Bun Tom Thit Nuong (charbroiled shrimp & BBQ pork on vermicelli). It was really good and A LOT of food. Hubby like the flavor of my dish better, I think it was just a stronger flavor for him.

Hubby had the Com Ga Xao Thom (chicken pineapple with rice). Again it was a lot of food and a yummy dish.

The waitress was really helpful and the food was on our table in no time at all. I wanted to make it back to try another dish but we wound up eating at Chili’s instead.

Bambu is located at 1338 E Battlefield in Springfield, MO. Their hours are 11-9 Mon – Thurs, 11-10 Fri – Sat, and 11-6 Sun.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gluten Free Sugar Plum Cookies

To prepare for the small road trip we’ll be taking for Christmas the boy and I made some granola bars, he’s such a great helper in the kitchen until it’s time for cleanup. I was telling him what the different ingredients were that we put in the bars and when I added the buckwheat he informed me that he can’t eat that because it has wheat in it. It was so sweet and I did my best to explain that even though it has the word wheat in it it doesn’t have gluten so it’s safe. The granola bars had GF butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, raisins, and coconut in them. They were delicious and I’m a big fan of the butterscotch.

I saw a sign for sugar plums the other day and not knowing what one is I had to look up some recipes. Most of the recipes include dried fruit but this recipe was the exception and as I looked at the picture and read the recipe it sparked a memory. I don’t know where I’ve had these cookies but I have had them. All I can recollect is I was little and I associate them with a grandmother type figure. I’m not sure if one of my Grandma’s made these or if one of their friends did. After I put them together and took my first bite I knew these were the cookies. Funny how I didn’t even know I missed them until I saw them again.

I will be giving some to my Grandma when we see her over Christmas and I’m hoping my mom or dad will remember them. I want someone else to remember them! My IL’s were over to the house and they ate a few of them (I was pleasantly surprised) but had never had them before. It’s a mystery.

These cookies aren’t the prettiest things in the world and when you’re mixing it together it looks like ground beef. I decided to save you from looking at that picture. They’re very fast and they’re no-bake so it can’t get much easier. I like these a lot. At first they have a little bit of tartness to them but then it’s all sweet, and very sweet at that. My husband said they taste like raspberry zinger’s just without the crème filling.

Gluten Free Sugar Plum No-Bake Cookies
Adapted from All Recipes

1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
1 package (3 oz) strawberry flavored gelatin (cherry or raspberry would also be good)
1 ½ C shredded coconut
2 C GF graham cracker crumbs, I used the crumbs from our Gingerbread House
1 package (3 oz) strawberry flavored gelatin
40-ish whole cloves

Pour the milk into a mixing bowl and add 1 package of the gelatin. Stir until it’s dissolved and then add the coconut and GF graham cracker crumbs until a stiff dough forms. Pour the remaining gelatin package into a small bowl. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll the balls in the gelatin to coat. Place on wax paper and press a whole clove into each cookie to form a stem. This process is pretty messy so to make it a little less messy I used my Pampered Chef small-scoop then dropped the ball directly into the gelatin. Otherwise your hands will be covered in goop. This made 42 cookies for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roast Beef Burritos

So I'm doing two posts today because after tomorrow I won't be posting until next week and I really wanted to get two more posts up before Thursday. I can't wait for tomorrow's post because I really like the cookies, but patience is a virtue and I need practice!
Saturday was a busy day for me, we had the play group families over to decorate sugar cookies and do a gift exchange. I knew I wouldn’t have time to make dinner after the fun and mayhem so it was to the crock pot with a roast. This of course resulted in leftovers and this is a delicious way to use up those roast leftovers. I actually used a lot of leftovers for this meal, like rice, black beans, and the mushroom and onions from my roast. Mmm, it’s so good.

Roast Beef Burritos

Leftover Roast Beef, shredded
La Victoria Taco Sauce
Black Beans or Refried Beans
Rice (optional)
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Any other favorite burrito toppings
GF Tortilla, I love the La Tortilla Factory Ivory Teff Wraps

Mix together the beef and taco sauce, base how much you use on how saucy you like it ;) Heat through in the microwave for a couple minutes. Heath through your beans and rice then zap the tortilla in the microwave for 20 seconds to help it become more pliable. Pile the toppings in the tortilla as you best see fit, wrap, and eat.

I love this stuff and the best part it's free of MSG, Gluten, and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Gluten Free Cheesy Beer Bread

I saw this cheesy beer bread recipe at Tasty Kitchen and I had to try it, it looked too good to pass up plus there wasn’t much time needed to whip it together. This accompanied our roast this last weekend and it was delicious. It’s a quick bread so no time wasted for it to rise, just mix and bake resulting in a dense but tasty loaf. Delicious? Yes! Healthy? No! The whole family liked it and it’ll be my new recipe for when I need some bread and I need it fast.

Gluten Free Cheesy Beer Bread
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

3 C gluten free flour (I used Mama’s Almond Blend)
2 t xanthan gum
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
¼ C granulated sugar
1 C cheddar cheese, shredded (For DF Daiya works perfectly)
12 oz gluten free beer, I used Redbridge
¼ C melted butter
Garlic & onion powder to taste
Parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir in the cheese and mix well. Mix in the beer, it will be a bit hard toward the end but I was able to get it all mixed together by hand. Put in a loaf pan or separate into muffin tins. Pour melted butter on top of the dough, sprinkle with garlic and onion powders to taste, then sprinkle with parsley flakes to make it pretty. Bake for 1 hour with a loaf, I would try for 40-45 minutes with the muffin tins.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gluten Free Holiday Shoebox Swap

I’m part of a Yahoo Gluten Free Recipes Group and this year some of us got together for a Holiday Shoebox Swap. This was a lot of fun and it just so happened that my swap partner also had me. Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl was my partner and on Friday I came home to a wonderful package of GF treats. She gave me chocolate, recipes, preserves (cherry which is my favorite), coffee, chap stick, a Christmas towel, Werther’s, A Wrinkle in Time (can’t wait to dive into this book and Hubby was surprised I hadn’t read it already), a Kind bar (Hubby and I will split this since we both want it and I’m so glad I can finally try one), blueberry muffin mix, and a mix for one of Elana’s recipes. It was so much fun getting this early Christmas present and I can’t wait to dive into all of it. So far I’ve only enjoyed a couple Werther’s and I’m enjoying the coffee right now. Thanks Carrie, you did an awesome job!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Naturally Gluten Free Candy

I love making candy for Christmas and these three are my regulars. It makes the entire family happy so why fix something that isn't broken? The cookies are my molasses cookies and they turned out fantastic.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

I remember when I saw my first homemade chocolate covered cherry. I was amazed it was something that could be made at home and I knew that I had to give it a try. This was way back before my cooking and baking days, mom was still doing all of that for me. It wasn’t until I was married that I finally tried my hand and the reason I did is because my mom is a huge chocolate covered cherry fan, so I make this for her every year. These are a little bit time consuming because you have to wait for things to sit but they’re fast to dip in the chocolate and so worth the time.

Chocolate Covered Cherries
From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

60 maraschino cherries w/ stems
3 T butter, softened
3 T brown rice syrup or corn syrup
2 C powdered sugar
1 lb chocolate bark

Drain the cherries on paper towels for several hours. Moisture from the cherries will cause the butter mixture to liquefy.

Mix together the butter and syrup until smooth. Stir in the sugar and knead until evenly mixed and smooth. Shape a ball of the mixture around each cherry and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm, not too long of the sugar mixture will begin to liquefy.

Melt the chocolate bark in a microwave safe bowl. I zap it for 1.5 minutes then do 1 minute intervals stirring between each minute until it’s smooth. Holding the cherries by the stem dip into the coating making sure to get a complete seal. Let the excess chocolate drip off the cherry and place on waxed paper. Once the chocolate has hardened store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Let them ripen (liquefy) 1-2 weeks.


Fudge is a classic Christmas candy and this fudge recipe is not only easy but it’s also pretty tasty. I love pairing it with coffee but be warned this can be addicting. I don’t put nuts in my fudge, I believe it ruins it but if you are a “nuts in your fudge” kind of person then feel free to add them.

Remarkable Fudge
From Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book

4 C granulated sugar
2 5 oz cans evaporated milk (low fat works)
1 C butter
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
7 oz candy bar cut up, milk or dark chocolate
7 oz jar marshmallow crème
1 t vanilla

Line a 13”x9”x2” pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Butter the sides of a 3 qt saucepan and then combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until it boils. Reduce heat to medium and cook and stir another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips, candy bar, marshmallow crème, and vanilla. Stir until it’s combined with a wooden spoon and then beat by hand for 1 minute. Spread in the pan and score into 1” squares while it’s still warm. Once it has completely cooled lift the fudge out of the pan using the foil and cut into square.

Peanut Butter Balls

I started making these for my dad years ago for Christmas. They were something that was naturally gluten free and I knew he loved them. I was impressed with how easy they were and since the rest of us love them too it’s become a tradition. The only problem with them is that they disappear way too fast. I always double this recipe, a single batch just isn’t enough.

Peanut Butter Balls
From Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book

½ C peanut butter
3 T butter, softened
1 C powdered sugar
8 oz chocolate bark

Mix together the peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar stirring until it’s all combined, sometime I use my hands toward the end to knead it together. Shape into 1” balls and place on waxed paper allowing it to dry, about 20 minutes.

Melt the chocolate bark in a microwave safe bowl. I zap it for 1.5 minutes then do 1 minute intervals stirring between each minute until it’s smooth. Dip the peanut butter balls into the candy coating one at a time. Use a fork to let the excess chocolate drip off the ball and then place on waxed paper until the coating is firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seasoning Stoneware

I'm planning to post my favorite Christmas candy recipes tomorrow, I just need to remember to take pictures tonight. It's going on my to-do list.

Stoneware is the bomb but I hate using it the first few times, things just stick to it until it gets some seasoning and this doesn’t bode well for non-greasy dishes. That’s when I realized I can season it from the start to make it non-stick and then I’m a happy camper. I’ve done this with most of my stoneware and it works wonderfully.

To start make a 2:1 butter/shortening:salt mixture. Base how much you make on how much stoneware surface you plan to season. For instance I seasoned a 14” pizza stone with ¼ C butter and 2 T salt. Preheat your oven to 250 F and take the salt mixture and rub it all over the stoneware. If you have a piece that doesn’t have a lip you may want to set something under it to prevent the butter from dripping in your oven. Put the stoneware in the oven for 20 minutes then remove and let it sit. Once it’s cool to touch take a paper towel and rub the salt into the stoneware surface. Place the stoneware back into the oven, turn the oven off, and let it sit overnight. The next day rinse the stoneware with hot water and you now have a non-stick stone ready for business.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gluten Free Beer in Helena & Bake Sale Review

Hubby’s GF Aunt lives in Helena and has shared some gluten free beer information with me. Van’s Thriftway (306 Euclid Ave. 406-442-8645) carries Redbridge and Topper’s Cellar (1221 Helena Ave. 406-442-9357) carries Bards and Redbridge. Sounds like a great excuse to make some beer bread to me.

We made it to the GF Bake Sale on Saturday and it wasn’t what I expected. Maybe my expectations were too high but I was really disappointed and not just by the selection. There were 3 types of cookies and some bread crumbs so the selection wasn’t fantastic but that’s not what put me off. I walked in with my kids and had promised my boy that he could get a treat. We’d just left the doctor’s office with a diagnosis of an ear infection so he wasn’t feeling too good. We went over to the bake sale area and no one there really seemed interested in paying us any attention. I did get two cookies for my boy and one cookie for my girl but after I paid that was all the attention we got. No mention about the drawing nor the Montana Celiac Society. I guess I expected them to be more open and offering of information rather than leave it all to me to open up the communication. I didn’t open up the communication at all and I also didn’t give them the cookies I had made and packaged for them to sell. It was a big disappointment. Did anyone else make it to the bake sale and if so what did you think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gluten Free Gingerbread House

Last year for Christmas we bought a gingerbread house kit from Costco, my boy and I had fun putting it together and I figured we’d do it every year. Then we went gluten free and I realized it was no longer as easy as buying a kit. Bummer. We took the journey of making our own gingerbread house from scratch and it was actually pretty easy and not as time consuming as I expected. Well, once I stopped trying to do things the hard way. I’m really good at doing things the hard way first and then figuring out the best way a few frustration levels later.

The first thing was to find a template online so I could just cut it out and go. The one I used was from I cut the templates out then traced them on cardboard for a more stable template.

For the gingerbread I used my graham cracker recipe and it worked perfect. I made a double batch and rolled half of the dough onto a greased 16.5”x13” cookie sheet. You could use a smaller sheet you just may need to use a bit less dough. Once the dough was rolled out I placed the cardboard templates on the dough and used a sharp knife to trace the templates. I had some extra room so I used cookie cutters to cut out trees and gingerbread men, my men didn’t survive to make it on the final product but there’s always next year. Bake for 15-17 minutes then allow them to cool. Once they’ve had about 10 minutes to cool cut the trace marks through with a sharp knife and if you used cookie cutter shapes re-cut the shapes with the cookie cutters. Once it’s completely cooled you can remove the excess graham from around your shapes and save in a bag for graham cracker crumbs, you can always made a yummy piecrust with those. I made the gingerbread the night before to give it plenty of time to cool and harden, it worked perfect for me.

The next thing is the frosting and I expected this to be a pain in the butt and take awhile, it was easy and fast so I was wrong. Maybe it was just an excuse for me to procrastinate a bit. I used royal icing and be sure to keep the icing from being exposed to air, that’s what makes it harden so immediately put it in a Ziploc bag and seal it up. You can then cut the corner of the bag and use it to pipe the icing on your house and for your decorations.

Royal Icing

3 egg whites
½ t cream of tartar
4 C powdered sugar

In a large bowl whip together the egg whites and cream of tartar until its foamy. Add the sugar gradually whipping the whole time. I whipped it by hand with a whisk and toward the end when it was getting thick I just used a fork. I poured the icing into two baggies, one for white and one for green. I added some green food coloring and then massaged/mixed the color in until it was evenly mixed together. If the icing is too runny whip it longer to get it to thicken up. You want it thick enough to stay when you pipe it but not too thick to where you can't easily use it.

Start by laying the four walls down then put icing along one edge to stand the first wall up. Use a glass to support the walls while icing the others in place. As walls meet ice them together on the inside and outside and let it sit until it is sturdy. It only took about 10 minutes until I felt like it was ready for the roof. Put icing along the tops of the walls and place the roof pieces on top, ice the peak of the roof to help stick them together. For the trees I used green icing to glue the trees together along the edges, I glued 3 trees together to make 1 tree. These were a bit more difficult to put together but once the icing set a little bit they held.

I drew the windows and door onto the house with icing and then I followed the kids’ lead on where to put icing so they could decorate with the candy. We used M&M’s, gumdrops, cinnamon drops, mint leaves, gluten free licorice (which I found at Oak Street Natural Market), and sprinkles. I was really impressed with how well the kids did and we had a lot of fun.

I’m glad we can continue this tradition and happily make it gluten free.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mrs. Leeper's Chicken Alfredo Review

Before I post the review remember there is a Gluten Free Bake Sale tomorrow at Oak Street Natural Market, here's the link for more information if you haven't read about it. I made chocolate crinkles last night to donate so I'll be wrapping them up tonight and I hope I can make it pretty.

Last week I was in a cooking slump. I was more than happy to bake cookies or cook candy but I sure didn’t want to cook dinner. I was searching the pantry for something easy to make when I saw the Mrs. Leeper’s Chicken Alfredo box. My mom had given this to me and I hadn’t used it yet. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting much from this boxed dinner but I was desperate so I gave it a try. The directions are easy and since I had some leftover canned chicken I used that instead of cubing and browning a chicken breast. I think it took about 20 minutes from start to finish and I added a can of peas at the end then topped it with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. I dished the kids up before Hubby and me and by the time I sat down to eat my girl had almost cleaned her plate. The boy was digging in also and without encouragement from me so that was nice. I took a bite and was surprised by how good it was. Hubby said he likes it better than the canned Alfredo that I buy because it’s not as strong of a flavor. We were all happy with it and I’ll probably keep it in the pantry just so I have an easy meal on nights I don’t feel like cooking or have much time. You can buy the Mrs. Leeper’s box meals at Rosauer’s Huckleberry Market and Oak Street Natural Market.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PF Chang's Spokane, WA Review

Our second GF meal in Spokane was at PF Chang’s. I miss Chinese food so I was looking forward to trying PF Changs. The atmosphere is “fancier” than the Chinese restaurants I’m used to but it was a nice place and the waitress was fantastic with taking care of our GF needs. We started off with the Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps because I’ve read great reviews about them online. They were really good and Hubby was much more impressed with them than he expected.

For the main dish I had Chang’s Spicy Chicken. I really liked it and definitely noticed that the GF versions aren't near as greasy and fatty as the gluten filled versions. Well at least in comparison to the Chinese restaurants I used to eat at. It had a nice kick to it.

Hubby had Philip’s Better Lemon Chicken and I’m not a big lemon fan but this was delicious. He liked it better than my dish which was surprising since he originally was going to order my dish.

They offer a GF dessert but we were stuffed and ready to get out of there. I think my only complaint, and it’s pretty minor, is that it took forever for us to get out of there. We were a bit on the anxious side so I’m sure it seemed longer than it really was. PF Chang’s is located at 801 W Main in Spokane.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

White Box Pies Bakery & Cafe Spokane, WA

On our pre-Thanksgiving trip our first stop in Spokane was White Box Pies Bakery & Café. We arrived a little before they opened and I was so excited to see their digital sign mentioning gluten free items. It really doesn’t take much to get me excited if you haven’t noticed. We planned to eat lunch and pick up some treats for us to enjoy and to send some with my dad since my parents were watching the kids. They have a GF menu where you order from and be sure to specify that you are wanting the GF option. They listed all of the sides that were GF (potato salad, broccoli raisin salad, cucumber & tomato chopped salad), the soup that day was GF, and a great list of lunch items. I had a hard time deciding between the BLT and French dip but I opted for the BLT and it was fantastic. For my side I had the broccoli raisin salad and I was filled to the brim after that meal. Hubby had the Triple Decker and after eating that sandwich he could barely get his potato salad down. The GF bread was really good, a little flaky but not dense and too thick like some GF breads can be. I highly recommend their lunches.

After ordering our GF lunches I then feasted my eyes on their GF baked goods. This was such a nice sight to see, I hope you can see the labels with Gluten Free on them. If not here are the goodies on the top shelf starting from the left. GF Pecan Torte, GF Pumpkin Sour Cream Torte, and GF Huckleberry Cheesecake Bars.
In this picture we have, starting from the left, GF Pecan Pie, GF Peach Pie, GF Pumpkin Pie, GF Blackberry Cobbler, and GF Cream Puffs.

What I chose was the cream puffs, blackberry cobbler, and huckleberry cheesecake bar. I don’t think you can wrong on any options there. The cream puffs were fantastic, I would have never known they were GF and it was so nice to eat one. My favorite was the blackberry cobbler and Hubby preferred the huckleberry cheesecake bar. Both of these seemed to have a sugar cookie flavored base and all I could think of when I was eating them was how on earth can I duplicate these. Bottom line is nothing was bad and this is a GF heaven. They also offer GF chicken pot pie and quiche.
My boy enjoyed the cream puffs.
Blackberry cobbler on the left and huckleberry cheesecake bar on the right.

White Box Pies is located at 28 E Sharp Ave in Spokane. Their hours are 9-6 M-F and 11-4 Saturday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkles

For some reason I have been craving chocolate crinkles, I’ve never even made these cookies in my gluten eating days but I just had to have them. I adapted a recipe from Allrecipes and I can’t stop eating these cookies. The kids are all over them too. Usually they take a few bites then are done with cookies but with these the powdered sugar was first licked off by the boy then the cookie was devoured. It’s a winner in my book.

Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkles

Adapted from Allrecipes

4-1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate (Hershey's Baking Bar's are dairy free)
½ C shortening (I used Spectrum)
2 C granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 C GF flour (I used Gluten Free Mama’s Almond blend)
2 t baking powder
1 t xanthan gum
¼ t salt
¾ C powdered sugar

In a small saucepan melt the chocolate and shortening over low heat. Remove from heat and add the sugar and vanilla. Beat the eggs in one at a time. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Stir in the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Chill the dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll the balls in the powdered sugar to coat. I make sure they are well coated. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Let them cool on a wire rack & enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

7 Bone Roast

With a high today of -2 F it’s a good time to throw something in the crock pot and have a hearty warm meal for dinner. I’ve been trying to use up the buffalo meat we have in our freezer and I have a lot of roasts to cook, that’s not such a bad lot in life. One roast cut is a 7-bone roast and I was a bit nervous to cook this. I’ve never heard of it for one and there weren’t a lot of recipes online to give me ideas on what to do. I found this recipe and it was fantastic. The roast was moist and delicious plus the meat just fell off the bone so all I had to do was pick the bones out and remove a little bit of fat. It’s a nice hearty meal and the leftovers will make great BBQ sandwiches.

7 Bone Roast Gluten Free
Adapted from Family Recipe Box

1 7 bone roast, I used buffalo
½ C water
1 C red wine (I used a Syrah)
1 envelope GF French onion dip (I used Simply Organic)
1 onion, chopped
6 carrots, sliced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 celery stalks, sliced

Place the vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot then place the roast on top. Season with salt and pepper then pour the water and wine over the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with the onion dip. Cook on low for 10 hours.

Friday, December 4, 2009

GF Bake Sale in Bozeman, MT

I stopped at Oak Street Natural Market to pick up a few necessities and I picked up a flyer about a GF bake sale in Bozeman held by the Montana Celiac Society (MCS). Here's the information to pick up some GF goodies & mingle with other GFers.

Annual GF Bake Sale
Saturday, December 12, 2009

At Oak Street Natural Market
1725 West Oak St

Donate your favorite GF dishes and/or purchase lovely baked goods for your holiday. After you shop, enjoy a delicious GF lunch and goodies at the coffee bar with your friends. Kids love this event!

Enjoy Oak St Market's GF soups & salads for lunch.

Door Prize: A Montana Monster Munchies Gift Box will be donated to the MCS Bake Sale & it will be given away as a door prize. The drawing is at 2:00 pm and you do not have to be present to win.

So if you're free that day and have some GF treats to donate to the MCS or just want to do some shopping then stop on by.

I also saw that Oak St Natural Market has a holiday order form with a GF Rustic Holiday Tart available for purchase. It's $15.99 and serves 6. It contains crisp apples, dried cranberries, fruit-sweetened and baked into a rustic crust. A 50% nonrefundable deposit is required at the time of the order.

Biga Pizza Missoula, MT Review

A couple weeks ago DH and I journeyed to Spokane to see my favorite band, Built to Spill, play at the Knitting Factory. On our way we stayed in Missoula and stopped by Biga Pizza to try out their GF pizza crust. When I initially found out about Biga Pizza I e-mailed them to ask about cross contamination and here’s the post with their response. Hubby had called to reserve us a crust (recommended by the owner) and we hungrily sat down looking forward to some GF pizza. First off I really liked the restaurant, it has a great local feel to it and we sat at the counter and were able to watch them make all of the pizzas and bake them in the oven. This was nice because I was able to keep an eye on their methods to avoid cross contamination and I was pleased with the process. Hubby and I ordered the Flathead Cherry (house made spicy Italian sausage, cherry chutney, smoked gouda, mozzarella, garlic oil & parsley) and it was awesome. I could have eaten that whole pizza myself. The crust was also fantastic, crisp and not chewy at all. This is by far the best GF pizza we’ve had at a restaurant and probably that we’ve had period.

The pictures don't do it justice since they're from my phone.

The crust used is by Sis’s Kitchen, it’s a rice crust and you can buy it frozen at The Good Food Store. I made it at home several months ago and it wasn’t as good as Biga Pizza’s but I think using my BEST pizza process it would be very close.

I highly recommend Biga Pizza, it’s going to be our new regular stop when we’re visiting family. I can hardly wait to go back in February. They’re located at 241 West Main Street and here’s the phone number to call ahead to reserve your GF crust, (406) 728-2579.
Next week I'll have GF reviews in Spokane.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweet Chili

I have been in the mood for chili and I assume it’s from this beautiful winter weather we're enjoying. This is a recipe I threw together years ago and my mom even uses it for her chili recipe. You can add or omit things to your taste and make it as spicy or as sweet as you like.

Cindy’s Sweet Chili

1 lb ground beef, buffalo, or turkey
2 t Chili powder
1 t Cinnamon
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet bell pepper
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can corn
1 can pinto beans
2 cans organic tomato sauce
Brown sugar to taste
Cheddar, shredded
GF crackers (Glutino and Schar work great)

In a large skillet season the hamburger with chili powder and cinnamon then brown with the onion and garlic. The more chili powder you use the spicier it will be so adjust to your taste. Once the hamburger is no longer pink add the bell pepper, garbanzo beans, corn, pinto beans, and tomato sauce. Stir together then allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the garbanzo beans are soft. Add the brown sugar to taste, I love sweet chili so I do two handfuls and let it simmer for a couple minutes then taste to see if I need more or if it’s perfect.

Serve topped with cheddar and crushed GF crackers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gluten Free Mascarpone Brownies

I had high hopes for these brownies and unfortunately they were not met. All the reviews online are glowing and I expected the most chocolatey brownies in the world, what I got was a disappointment. They’re cakeier than I like but the taste just isn’t really good. They weren’t sweet enough for me so I put frosting on them to, as Hubby said, make them more palatable. The frosting, my no-cook fudge frosting, saved these from hitting the trash. What are the chances of both of us not even liking these enough to still happily eat them? The nice thing is that they are moist and hold together really well even straight out of the oven. Maybe it was the chocolate I used, 60% cocoa and dark, who knows?

Gluten Free Mascarpone Brownies
Adapted from RecipeZaar

1 C butter
3 oz best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 C granulated sugar
½ C cocoa powder
½ C mascarpone cheese, I got mine at Lee & Dad’s
3 eggs, room temp
2 t vanilla
½ C GF flour
¼ t salt

Preheat over the 325 F and butter an 8x8 pan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan bringing it to just below a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl and let stand for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the sugar and cocoa powder slowly and with a wooden spoon beat in the mascarpone, eggs, and vanilla mixing until smooth. Fold in the flour and salt then pour batter into the pan making sure it is spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

I’m not even sure why I’m posting this because I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our BEST Pizza

I apologize for not posting anything last week. We did some travelling, mostly planned, but one trip was unplanned to attend a friend’s funeral in Missouri. Mark was such a fantastic guy and to lose him at the age of 32 is just heart breaking, we'll miss you Mark. Onto happier news, we were able to try a few GF menus at restaurants in 3 states and our Thanksgiving Dinner had GF stuffing from Hubby’s GF Aunt and GF pie crust from my SIL. I covered the GF gravy and none of us felt like we were missing out, it was a fantastic meal. I have a lot of recipes and reviews to post but today I want to share the best method for making GF pizza.

We’ve been trying to perfect our homemade GF pizza for awhile now and I think we finally did it. We use Gluten Free Mama’s Pizza Crust mix and it’s fantastic, I’m sure this process would work really well with your favorite GF pizza crust too.

Once your dough is mixed grease your pizza stone. I like to use garlic flavored olive oil but any olive oil will work. The Gluten Free Mama dough is for 2 12” pizzas but I used about 2/3 of the dough for my stone. I let the boy use the remaining dough to make his own little pizza or I’ll make breadsticks. Put the dough in the middle of the stone and sprinkle some flour on the top to keep it from sticking to your hands. Evenly spread the dough out on the stone letting it lay over the edge a little bit. Then fold the edges over to make the crust. I like to fold then do a little roll with the crust. Let the crust sit for 10 min and then take a fork and poke holes in the crust to keep bubbles from forming. Rub the crust (including the rolled edges) with olive oil then bake for 12 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Now it’s time for the toppings. I have a tendency to put too much of everything on my pizzas so Hubby does this part. First he puts a thin layer of pizza sauce on then he tops the sauce with Provolone cheese slices. The next layers are your toppings, we did pepperoni and mushrooms. Now sprinkle mozzarella over the toppings and then sprinkle a little bit of cheddar/jack cheese over that. Bake for 14 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is just starting to brown.

This is the best way we’ve found to bake this dough, I about died over the browned crust. Neither Hubby nor I can find anything wrong with this pizza, it’s fantastic!

Do you have any pizza secrets to share?