Life, Recipes

Gluten Free Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites + egg free & dairy free

I love cookie dough. Always have and hopefully always will. When I was in high school, my mom worked in an office building that had a cafeteria that made really good chocolate chip cookies. Once, she bought a giant box of frozen dough balls for us to bake at home. If we baked even 20% of them, I’d be surprised. Every time I’d go out, I’d grab a frozen ball of dough. If my friends came to pick me up, a ziploc bag full of frozen dough balls came to the car for us to nosh on. Those dough balls are a great memory for me.

As I said, I still love raw dough. And when I make chocolate chip cookies, yes, I will still eat some dough. And I’ll even freeze some dough balls for the future.

This recipe is an adaptation of one I saw online years ago and loved. I’ve tweaked slightly and added something extra so I can call it my own. If you are dairy free, simply sub out the chocolate chips to dairy free chips. Voila – you can eat these! For those that are worried about eating raw eggs in dough – there are none here. You can even skip the chocolate chips and add in raisins to make them more oatmeal raisin like.

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These are so good! They will become a hit in your house, too!

Speaking of oatmeal, I only use the oats from GF Harvest. Certified gluten free and harvested and produced with purity protocol. What does that mean? Basically, they are safe, high quality oats for Celiacs. You can read more about it on my friend gfJules blog here.

What I like about this recipe is the addition of chia seeds. It gives the dough some extra protein as well as healthy omega-3 fats. Chia seeds are really good for you.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!

Gluten Free Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

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Crunchy, chewy, full of flavor and protein!

 

2 cups cashews – I use salted ones. You can always use unsalted raw cashews and add some salt for flavor.
3/4 to 1 cup gluten free oats
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 – 2 T chia seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips or raisins

Using a Ninja or a food processor, process the cashews, oats and cinnamon until they are chopped and meshed together well.

Add the vanilla and syrup and mix until the “dough” forms. I like mine a bit crunch so I don’t overmix.

Place the mixture in a small bowl and add your chia seeds and chips and mash/mix together with a spatula. You can also toss the chia seeds into the mixer earlier, but I don’t. I fear they may become too gelatinous if mixed up and crushed,

With the dough, I roll out into tablespoon size balls and store in a plastic container in the fridge. They will be gone in days!

 

 

 

Life, Product Review

Rizutto Foods Flatbread Product Review: A+

A few months ago I was aimlessly wandering around the grocery store just looking for something new to buy. I just had that bug. As I stumbled into the freezer section, I saw a frozen ball of gluten free pizza dough from a company that I’ve never seen before. Rizutto Foods.

The Artist encouraged me to buy it and try it, as he so often does with new products. And I am so grateful he encouraged me.

I followed the instructions on the package and it made one of the best gluten free pizzas I’ve made from a pre-made dough. Don’t get me wrong, if I want to make my own dough, I’ll still stick with GFJules pizza mix. (Side note, you can buy them either on her site or via Amazon). I use a pizza stone when making gluten free pizzas. I received one as a birthday gift a few years back from a friend and I do think it makes a better crust. It’s not needed to make a good gluten free crust but it does help I think.

So back to Rizutto Foods…I immediately had to write them. The crust was the perfect combo of chewy and crispy. Like “real” pizza. Sidenote: I don’t like using the term “real” or “normal” when it comes to gluten free because for us, normal and real ARE gluten free!!! The two folks I communicated with at Rizutto Foods were really friendly and appreciative of my comments.

Rizutto Foods was kind enough to send me free samples of their flatbreads in two different sizes and a few more frozen pizza dough samples. So for my blog post today, the thoughts here are of my own and not based on the free samples. Trust me, if I don’t like a product, you’ll know about it.

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This gluten free flatbread is amazing. You’re gluten eating friends will not know it’s gluten free.

Here is a photo of the flatbread I made. Their crusts come frozen. I let mine defrost and cooked it for about 5 minutes on 425 degrees without any toppings. Then I topped it with The Artist‘s homemade eggplant tomato sauce (heaven in a jar!), some fresh basil from our garden, some crushed red pepper (always a must on pizza for me!) and then fresh mozzarella.

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Our basil plant on our back porch. Basil is so easy to grow in containers.

After topping the flatbread, I put it back in the 425 degree oven and watched it. The crust turns golden brown and that’s when I take it out.

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Here is the flatbread out of the oven. Looks good, doesn’t it?!

I let it cool for a bit and honestly, devoured the entire thing. No, I didn’t share it. It’s that good!

Rizutto Foods makes a smaller flatbread as well, and while I don’t have a photo, they have the same great flavor, texture and consistency as this larger version. I’ve been hesitant to use them as I don’t want to run out but yet I want to eat them all! We’re having guests over soon and I’ll be making some flatbreads for appetizers!

I’m grateful to the folks over at Rizutto Foods for the free samples. Thanks again for making such quality, gluten free products.

 

 

Life, Restaurant Review, Travel

Schilling Cider House in Portland Review: a.k.a. Fifty Shades of Cider for Celiacs

If you’re Celiac, imagine a place you could go to where everything on tap is gluten free. Where you don’t have to worry about cross contamination or cross contact from any deep fried foods. Or where everything on the pub food menu is gluten free so it’s safe to eat. No gluten at all on the menu or in the pub. Oh, and those drinks on tap?They have close to fifty cider varieties to try – all gluten free. Call it Fifty Shades of Cider for Celiacs.

Now, imagine this cider house is only 20 minutes away from you? Well, then it’s time to hop in the car and check them out for lunch. And boy, am I glad we did.

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I love their tagline of “Your Apple A Day Just Got Interesting”. Smart marketing there, folks!

Let me introduce you to Schilling Cider House in SE Portland. This cider house is relatively new to the area but I hope stays around for a long, long time. They also have their original location in Seattle.

All of their ciders are free of artificial colors, artificial flavors and corn syrup. Just as a cider should be!

The ambiance inside is pretty cool and I realized after I didn’t take a photo so I apologize. Imagine long wooden community tables with metal bar stools. The table next to us had a group of five playing cards while drinking cider and talking. I loved that – such a sense of community. They have a great outside seating area too but it was just too hot for me and The Artist to sit out today so we opted for a/c.

When you walk in, the cider menu on the wall is a bit daunting but don’t fear! Again – Fifty Shades of Cider! The staff is great at helping you decide what may wet your whistle!

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Ciders are color coded so you can easily distinguish characteristics (is that the right word? Variety? Tones? I don’t know….)20170708_123418

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20170708_12304720170708_12332620170708_123331The Artist and I each chose our own flight of six ciders for $12. Each was a generous sample size and a great way to try many new flavors. I asked the staff to tell me what their most popular cider was (I won’t reveal – you have to go try it for yourself!) as well as some ciders that I may never be able to taste elsewhere. Number 43 for example! Now, don’t quote me, but it is something like a London cider processed using French techniques.

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My tasting flight menu
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Here are the ciders I chose. From left to right, they follow the items on the card from top to bottom. Blackberry Pear was my favorite.

It was fun to try so many varieties that I’ve never heard of or would be able to taste elsewhere.

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Here are our tasting flights. The Artist chose a few different ones than I did. The one on the far left was really interesting. Called The Grumpy Bear, it had notes of coffee. Have you ever tried a cider like that before?! I imagine most folks haven’t.

And to go along with the ciders, let’s talk about the food!

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What? ALL items are gluten free?! YES! They were out of the risotto balls that day. Just means I have to go back and do more research. 😉

The menu above is the pub food. Short, sweet and simple. And oh so good. You can get any of the sausages made into a corndog. I had the Red Hot and The Artist had the frankfurter. We also split a pound of tots (you have to, right?!) and the fried zucchini. Which let me tell you, is amazing. More on that in a bit. Let’s see some food!

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The corndog batter was perfect. It held to the meat, was the perfect “GBD” (golden brown deliciousness) and to be honest, was amazing. I have not had a fresh, real corndog in 10+ years, and the frozen ones that come in a box that you put in the toaster DO NOT COMPARE! The Red Hot was spicy and juicy and fried to perfection. The Artist said his dog was equally as good. I was in such a food porn heaven I didn’t even think to ask to try his dog. Again, I’ll have to go back to try it.

Now the sides. The tots – good. Nice crispy outside. Flaky inside. They needed salt but they were good. But my favorite was the fried zuke. If they had had a side of marinara sauce, I would have set up permanent residence on site and never left. I’ve made fried zuke since being gluten free. It’s not the same. This batter was just like a tempura batter. Light and flaky with a hint of garlic. I just can’t begin to tell you how truly amazing the fried zuke was.

While we were eating, the chefs were preparing something that I just could not figure out what it was. So I went and asked and it was parsnips they were preparing for the veggie crisps. He brought me a small sample of the fried parsnips and carrots.

20170708_131805Folks, let me tell you this about the fried veggies. GET THEM! They are matchstick thin but fried to perfection. And seasoned with a delicious combo of what tasted like light brown sugar, salt and curry powder. I’m not a huge curry fan (though it is growing on me) but these were light years ahead of your fried foods at the county fair. Not even the same category.

I am so grateful that Portland “gets” gluten free and does a good job with it at many restaurants. I want to thank the staff there for putting up with my questions, for me taking photos and for the sample of the veggie crisps. And a warm welcome to the new cute chef who was on Day 1 today when we visited. He was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and gave me a hug, too. (Spoiler alert, he was a total mancrush for me and I asked for the hug!) Every staff member there was wonderful to talk with and seemed to really care about making your experience a great one there.

It’s a fun place to eat and we will definitely be back. If you’re in Portland, (or Seattle) please check them out and support them! Oh, and they only take cards – no cash! Just letting you know in advance.

Thanks for reading.

Gratefully yours…

 

Life, Recipes

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Salad Recipe

20170706_183709This salad is a hit in our house. We’ve made it for guests for a fun lunch and everyone loves it. I’m not sure if it’s the tangy yellow mustard vinaigrette or the mini cheeseburgers or the combo of yummy flavors all meshing together.

I first saw this recipe on one of Rachael Ray’s shows years ago – it has been at least five or six years since we first made it (as I remember the house in Denver we lived in at that time!).

On a hot summer night like tonight, it was the perfect dinner. Crisp, cool, crunchy romaine lettuce. Juicy tomatoes. Crispy pickles. And mini cheeseburgers. We even went old school and did Kraft American cheese on the burgers. Trust me, I was a bit aghast against myself for recommending it versus cheddar….but it just worked so well for the burgers.

We used ground beef for our recipe, but you can use any protein you normally use to make burgers. Beef, chicken, turkey – they would all work. We cooked our burgers on the stovetop but a quick grill treatment to cook them would give them some great flavor. Just be sure to not overcook.

My recipe for this is really a “make your own salad”. We use whatever lettuce we have on hand. Tonight it was romaine hearts. We added tomatoes and the best part – chopped pickles. They act like relish but not as sweet.

20170706_183114I buy these Vlasic pickles as they are gluten free and do not contain any artificial colors or dyes. Read your next jar of pickles. Why do they need to put dye in pickles? No thank you.

Ok, so back to the non-recipe, recipe.  The secret (I think) to this salad all coming together is the dressing. The recipe below is a double batch from what my original recipe had – you’ll want to go light on the dressing on the salad since it’s so tangy, but this will give you extra and the encouragement to make this salad again. You’ll want to after you eat it!

So what do you do? You make your salad. Add whatever you would normally add to really add to a cheeseburger. Want red onion? Add it. Bacon? Toss it in. Sauteed mushrooms? Now you’re talking!

We usually make about a 2 inch meatball size cheeseburger and pan fry for a few minutes on each side, then top with cheese. Don’t overcook (unless you like well done meat, and if so, then we need to talk!)

We put our dressing on before we put the burgers on but you can make yours anyway you want! Now for the dressing:

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The crisp romaine. The juicy tomatoes. The tangy yellow mustard vinaigrette. I want this again tomorrow night for dinner!

Yellow Mustard Vinaigrette
6 T yellow mustard
4 T apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Note: I never use salt in this recipe but use Supreme Shallot Salt from Savory Spice Shop. It’s a staple in our house. I love that place! We used to shop at the original when we lived in Denver and I am grateful there is one here in Portland.

You get the idea of the salad, right?! Go forth – make it! Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Gratefully yours…

 

 

Health, Life

Starting a new job

Tomorrow I start a new job. Like any new situation, I know in time a discussion of food will come into play. I briefly dropped the C word (Celiac) during my interview but know for others, it isn’t an important thing to remember. I’ve been gluten free long enough to know how to appropriately maneuver around the office potluck (bring my own potluck dish to share) or how to handle the group lunch outings (take the lead on suggesting places to go and remind folks that it is a must I eat somewhere safe). But there will always be new people to educate on why I eat gluten free, why it’s not a fad for me, why I don’t lose weight eating gluten free (my body is healthy now and absorbs nutrients)  and biting my tongue when I get told “Oh I’d die if I couldn’t drink beer” or the ever popular favorite amongst Celiacs of “You can go and just get a salad, right?”

So tomorrow begins a new chapter for me of which I am really looking forward to. The company, people and culture all seem great. 

I’d love to know how you handle new situations and assessing your dietary needs. What do you do?

Life, Restaurant Review, Travel

Pollo Norte Portland Restaurant Review

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When I first moved to Portland, I visited Pollo Norte‘s original location on NE Killingsworth with a friend for dinner. She and I sat at the counter, devouring tortillas, chicken, cabbage and potatoes and beans. And it was heaven. For starters, it was a place where Celiacs are definitely welcome and would love. EVERYTHING on the menu is gluten free except for the beer.  You can read more about their story here.

The menu is simple:

  • Rotisserie Chicken (seasoned with achiote, sea salt, lime and chili)
  • Two different kinds of beans
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Slaw

That’s it. And everything is gluten free along with vegetarian/vegan options for those that need it. CELIAC HEAVEN!

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One of the best things about the meal is the cabbage that it comes with. When my friend and I devoured our meal, we asked what made the cabbage so good?!  It’s because all of the drippings from the chicken fall onto the cabbage. So smart.

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The tortillas are perfectly cooked, perfectly warmed and perfectly charred. Apologies that the photo of our food is not the best. I was too hungry to stop and take the perfect photo with this plate of food in front of me today!

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The Artist and I ordered a whole chicken with two large sides and two margaritas and the total was $44. And we had leftovers to take home.

While the menu is simple, it is truly flavorful food. The flavors of the chicken, the potatoes, the beans, the salsas, the tortillas…and that cabbage!!….all come together so wonderfully.  And the staff is incredibly nice. We had lunch at their 2nd location today – the guys working there were great!

If you’re in Portland or traveling to Portland, I highly recommend you pay a visit to Pollo Norte. Love this place!

Life, Recipes

Gluten Free Margarita Pie Recipe

We have an ongoing debate at our house when it comes to gluten free margarita pie. It’s around the crust. Which is better? A gluten free graham cracker crust? Or a gluten free pretzel crust? One gives the sweet and one gives the salt. We have decided how to test the answer to this age old question – read through to find out the answer!

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Gluten Free Margarita Pie

We love this recipe year-round. In the summer, it’s the perfect after dinner treat with the zesty lime for a hot summer day. Or in the winter months, when you need a break from the cold, gray skies – the thought of the beach and margaritas comes to mind when you eat this pie.

Gluten Free Margarita Pie Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free graham cracker crumbs*
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tablespoons finely grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 6 Tablespoons tequila**
  • 4 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

*You can either get some store bought gluten free grahams or bake your own. We used GF Jules Gluten Free Graham Cracker mix and made our own. They tasted FAR better than the mass produced gluten free brands. Plus, how often in your life have you EVER baked graham crackers?! We baked the cookies then put them in a resealable plastic bag and crushed them with a mallet. You can also use a food processor to do the job!

**You can also scale the liquor back on this and use 4 Tablespoons tequila and 2 Tablespoons of gluten free margarita mix.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.

If you’ve baked your own grahams, be sure they are cool before making this recipe. In a bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and butter. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until crust begins to puff, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. If crust has pulled away from sides, use the back of a spoon to press it back. Let cool completely.

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Gluten free margarita pie – yum!

In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, zest, juice, tequila, liqueur, margarita mix (if using) and salt. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.

Pour filling into crust. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firmly set, for at least 2 or up to 8 hours.

We garnish with whipped cream or even candied lime peels. Last night when we made the pie, we just wanted to dive right in and didn’t need the garnish!

But back to the pretzels vs. graham cracker crumbs. We decided next time, we’re going to do a crust that is half graham crackers on one side and half pretzels on the other.

What crust sounds better to you?!

Life, Recipes

Gluten Free Matzo Ball Soup

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While it’s not my Bubbie’s soup…it beats making your own when you want a quick matzah ball soup fix.  This was my first bowl today…I may have had one or two more 🙂 !

It’s the time of the year when Passover products are in the store. Many Passover products are gluten free and are great to stock up during this time of year. You will see many products that state they are “Non-gebrokts”. That does not mean gluten free, but means wheat free. So if you are Celiac, like myself, it’s still best to read the label.

 

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Each year, I usually buy a box or two of Streit’s matzo ball mix and their soup and matzo ball mix. Years ago, before this became so mass marketed, I would buy them in bulk and horde them and not want to make them for fear of running out.

The soup mix itself is basic. I won’t lie. BUT, in the off chance you don’t want to make your own chicken soup for lack of time or energy, this works in a pinch. Because it is basic, I like to add a few extra steps/ingredients to help make it taste more like homemade soup then soup from box.

Disregard the steps to make the soup according to the box directions. What I do is use 2 3/4 quarts water (they call for 2 1/2 quarts) and whisk the soup mix into the cold water (they have you boil the water first, then add the dry mix). In my soup mix, I add carrots. LOTS of peeled chopped carrots. As a kid, I always loved my grandmother’s matzo ball soup mix. One of my favorite parts of the soup was the carrots in the soup. So when I make this soup, I add lots of carrots.

And then for additional flavor and color, I add a whole yellow onion. Not peeled, but rinse off the outer skin. The outer skin will help give it flavor and definitely some golden color.

From there, I bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes adding some cracked pepper as well. The simmering will help develop the flavors from the carrots and the onion. You can also add celery or parsnip, too. Why not?!  This is the time to make the dry mix of the matza balls since that has to sit for a while, too.

To that mix, the only addition I add is some shallot salt. The mix overall is salty, so I don’t go overboard. If you want to avoid the salt, add a bit of onion powder and garlic powder. And if you have schmaltz, use that instead of the cooking oil. Yum!!

Once the soup has simmered for 45, follow the instructions for making the matzo balls. It calls to boil them for 30 minutes, but I find 20 is enough.

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Look at the dutch oven filled with golden chicken soup and matzo balls. You can see the whole onion I add for color and flavor.

The matzo balls are more floaters then sinkers…but they aren’t super fluffy. What’s your preference?!

 

 

Life, Recipes

Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe

Last night was rib night at our house. There are two things I love really LOVE to make when I cook. The first being ribs. And when I make ribs, The Artist always loves my buttermilk skillet cornbread. And I admit, it is a good, easy recipe.

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Gluten Free Cornbread. The cast iron skillet helps cook it to a golden brown.

Now, you don’t need to wait to make ribs at your house. This recipe goes great with any meal, really. The bottom and top of the cornbread gets to be “GBD” – or golden brown deliciousness as we say in our house!

The buttermilk gives it such a rich flavor and the low amount of sugar makes it not super sweet. I am telling you, this gluten free cornbread recipe is easy, fast and will become a staple in your recipe file.

Gluten Free Cornbread Recipe

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar (If you like sweeter cornbread, you can add up to 2/3 cup sugar)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup gluten free flour*
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum**
1/2 teaspoon salt

*I use GF Jules‘ flour. I have also made this with a make your own gluten free flour mix consisting of 1 cup white rice flour, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup tapioca flour and 1 Tablespoon potato flour (not potato starch).

**If you are mixing your own flour, also add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum to the cornbread dry ingredients. Do not add it to your flour mixture since you will have more flour made up then you need for this recipe. GF Jules has it already included in her flour mix.

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Oh yeah…all those nooks and crannies soak up the butter when it’s hot from the oven and you slather butter all over this bad boy.


Preheat oven to 375 and place a cast iron skillet in the oven while the oven heats. You want that skillet HOT!

In a different skillet, melt butter on the stovetop.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar.  Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. You don’t want the heat to cook the eggs. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, gluten free flour  (and xanthan gum if you made your own flour mix) and salt and stir until well blended and few lumps remain.  Pour the batter into the hot cast iron skillet.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I usually bake mine for 30 minutes and it’s done.

It’s hard to not slather the hot cornbread with batter and dig in….can you resist?!

What are you going to make to eat along with your gluten free cornbread?