Menu Plan: November 16, 2008

My menu is pretty boring this week. Nothing new and exciting. Some of the things are things I was supposed to make last week…OOPS! Also, we are meeting an old friend out tomorrow night at Pei Wei, so that will make 2 nights that we are eating out this week. We have been busy with hockey, Jon is on 2 different teams, a house team and a Select (kind of like an All-Star team).

Sunday ~ Homemade Veggie Soup, cornbread & salad
Monday ~ Pei Wei with a friend. I will have Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls and Pei Wei Spicy Chicken…YUM!
Tuesday ~ Turkey Mexican Pizzas, mexican rice and salads
Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger in Paradise (hockey & ice skating night)
Thursday ~ Apricot Glazed Pork Loin, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, broccoli & salad
Friday ~ Leftovers
Saturday ~ Homemade Pizza, steamed veggies & salad

Baked Goods

Chocolate Crinkles
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownies (one of the mixes I have…either 1, 2, 3 Gluten-Free or Gluten-Free Pantry (the one you find at Wal-Mart))

Can’t wait for Turkey Day next week!! YUM! I am making a new pecan pie recipe that I found in Cooking Light and is easily adapted to be gluten-free. I am also making a pumpkin pie. Oh, and can’t forget about Black Friday. One of my most favorite days of the entire year!

Thank you to Lilac Kitchen for hosting this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap. :) Lots of great ideas there! Also, check out Org Junkie for lots more menu plans.

Review: Allergaroo Spaghetti

An excerpt from The Gluten-Free Mall: “Allergaroo is the first to offer all natural, ready-made dishes free of the 8 most common food allergens(wheat, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish and shellfish). Allergaro believes that your kids will love these meals that are shelf-stable and come in a microwaveable pouch. Just heat & eat! 1 serving per pouch.”

I have to say that I was very impressed by this product. I was skeptical at first, how good could spaghetti in a pouch be? Well, it was pretty darn good! I made this for Jon one night before hockey practice and he loved it! He wants me to buy more! I actually might grab some of these for him to take with him to an away hockey tournament that he has coming up and will be attending without DH or I (gasp…I am a little nervous about this). Now, he did eat 2 in one sitting b/c he is 12 and a growing, very active boy. But, it is nice to know that he can have a safe meal when he is away from home. If the hotel doesn’t have microwaves in the rooms, which I am going to check out hopefully today, I am sure that he could have the wait staff toss this in the microwave since you cook it right in the pouch.

I am giving this product 5 stars! Thank you, Allergaroo, for making a great, portable and convenient product for people with food allergies & intolerances.

You can find Allergaroo Spaghetti at The Gluten-Free Mall. A bonus, they are on sale right now!

Review: Barkat Pizza Crust

Another treat that was in our care package was Barkat Pizza Crusts. These crusts are shelf stable and ready to add toppings too. Very convenient! The other night when I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I threw some marinara sauce & cheese on one of these crusts and tossed it in the oven for 12 – 15 mintues and BAM! pizza!! Now, I made this for Jon, but I had to sneak a taste so that I could review it here and b/c I was curious. The pizza was good. Not anything like the homemade pizza crust that I have been making, but good considering that it was a shelf stable product. Jon liked it and said he would eat it again (that is huge coming from him). He also said that it wasn’t as good as my homemade crust, but, you know. These are nice to have on hand for quick dinners or maybe even to take with you to a local pizza place for them to put their toppings on if you trust that they won’t cross-contaminate your pizza.

You can find Barkat Pizza Crusts at The Gluten-Free Mall. They aren’t cheap, but like I said, nice to have on hand and good, too!

Honey Baked Lentils

About a month or so ago, I bought a package of green lentils from Whole Foods. I didn’t buy them for any specific reason other than I wanted to give them a try in something other than a canned soup. I hadn’t really narrowed down a recipe until this week, when I was reminded of a recipe that a friend shared for Honey Baked Lentils. This sounded perfect! I even had a spaghetti squash in the fridge that I could use as a base for the lentils. The best thing about this recipe is that it is gluten-free in it’s natural state. I love running across recipes like this!

Honey Baked Lentils
**Original recipe courtesy of Kay, modified slightly by me

1 cup lentils
2 cups water (I used 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup water)
2 TBSP Honey
2 TBSP Soy Sauce (I used La Choy Low-Sodium)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic (I used 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 small onion (I omitted this b/c I can’t eat onions)
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add rinsed lentils and bake, covered, for an hour and a half or until tender. You can also saute and throw in veggies, or sub in a bit of rice for some of the lentils. **I threw in some steamed carrots to my bowl of spaghetti squash & lentils.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars ~ Gluten-Free

As I was reading some blogs over the past couple of weeks as I recovered, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars/Squares. I am a sucker for pumpkin and add chocolate to that, look out! My sister, Kelly, likes to poke fun at me and says I need a pumpkin intervention. Now, just for kicks, I send her a new pumpkin recipe via email each day. ;) Love ya, Kel! I knew as soon as I read this recipe that I was going to have to modify it to be gluten-free and give it a try. This recipe is amazing. The bars are so moist and light. They taste like pumpkin pie, in a cake form, with chocolate chips added, all melty. What can be better??

Bars before baking:

After baking:

My serving (see the chocolatey goodness?):

I found this recipe on Kath’s blog, Kath Eats Real Food. She has some amazing recipes, and they are healthy too!

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares ~ Gluten-Free

**From Martha Stewart Everyday Food

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (I used Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix)
1 T. pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 ¼ cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Sheer heaven. These would be good topped with Cool Whip or Ice Cream, perhaps a pumpkin ice cream like Edy’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin or Vanilla would work too.

Okay, off to the gym I go to work off some of these pumpkin bars!

Product Review: Boomi Bars & Lara Bars

I tried another wonderful gluten-free product from my care package on Sunday. I needed a portable snack to eat after I went to the gym and was watching Jon’s hockey game. I brought a Apricot Cashew Boomi Bar. What a nice treat! :) I am a huge fan of Lara Bars, so I figured that I would like the Boomi Bar as well. The Boomi Bar has whole cashew nuts in it, dried apricots, honey dates, crisped rice, amaranth, apples, natural apricot flavor & salt. It was really, really good. I gave my mother-in-law a bite and she was also pleased with the taste and texture. Not only are these bars gluten-free, but they are vegetarian too!

I would give these bars 5 stars. They are tasty and filling. I was intending on having a latte along with this and would call it breakfast since I was in a hurry, but ran out of time to grab my latte. I was satisfied for a few hours on just the bar! Great product. You can buy them online at Divine Foods, by the case (24) for $38.40 or at Amazon for $1.75/bar.

While I am on the subject of bars, let me sing the praises of my love, the Lara Bar. I can’t say enough good things about these bars. I have many favorites, but I think that Peanut Butter Cookie & Pecan Pie are tied for first place. I have yet to try the Chocolate Cherry or Chocolate Hazelnut, they are brand spankin’ new, but I can’t wait!!! YUM!!

Lara Bars ~ my favorites
1. Peanut Butter Cookie & Pecan Pie
2. Chocolate Coffee
3. Gingersnap
4. Cinnamon Roll
5. Chocolate

Rumor has it that Lara Bar is making a new bar, Jamfraka. I saw them a couple of times on other blogs, but couldn’t find any info on Lara Bars site. I hope to find them soon, as they are GF too!!!

The ABC’s of Me

I saw this fun information game on Sugar & Spice and my Gluten-Free Life and thought it would be fun to participate. So, here are my responses.

The ABC’s of ME

A – Age: 35 (almost 36)

B – Band listening to right now: Foo Fighters

C – Career future: something creative, that’s for sure

D – Dad’s name: Phil

E – Easiest person to talk to: my sister, she just listens and I love her for that.

F – Favorite type of shoe: my Ugg slippers..comfy!

G – Grapes or Grapefruit: grapes, never been a fan of grapefruit. Maybe I should give it another chance now that I am an adult, I banned it as a child, probably not very fair to the grapefruit.

H – Hometown: born in Newport, RI; I consider Columbus, Ohio my hometown, though.

I – Instrumental talent: not so much ;)

J – Juice of choice: OJ or Welch’s Grape

K – Koala Bear or Panda Bear: koala

L – Longest car ride ever: Texas to NJ as a child when we moved

M – Middle name: Lynn

N – Number of jobs you’ve had: way too many too count, but let’s try…PB& Y, TCBY, Chi Chi’s, Bob Evans, Max & Erma’s, James Tavern, Dalt’s, Pockets, Temp Agency, Bent Tree Apts, Meadow View Apts, SAHM

O- OCD traits: should I really be going there??

P – Phobia[s]: heights, flying

Q – Quote: “Life isn’t about how to survive the storm
but how to dance in the rain.”

R – Reason to smile: I feel better today than I have in 12 days!

T – Time you wake up: 4:20 AM on weekdays

U – Unknown fact about me: If I told you, it wouldn’t be unknown ;)

V – Vegetable you hate: I really can’t think of one

W – Worst habit: Being a control freak

X – X-rays you’ve had: teeth, ankles, chest, fingers on right hand

Y – Yummiest food my belly likes: chocolate

Z – Zodiac sign: Capricorn

Now it’s YOUR turn! Answer one of these questions in the comments or share your ABCs on your blog!

Top Ten Healthiest Foods on the Planet

I get a daily email update from Mind, Body & Spirit Fitness and one of the links in the email the other day was the Top Ten Healthiest Foods on the Planet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of these foods were gluten-free!!! YAY!! Not only that, but these were all foods that I eat on a very regular basis. I guess I am doing something right, huh??

Easy Enchilada Bake ~ Gluten-Free

This recipe is one that was passed onto me from my sister. I think my sister got it from her sister-in-law. I made a few changes, due to foods that I can’t eat and that my family won’t eat. This is a fan favorite in our house. It is easy to put together and reheats very well.

Whole Casserole:

My serving:

Easy Enchilada Bake

1 pound ground meat (I used turkey, but beef or chicken would work fine too)
Taco seasoning for the meat
1-2 cans refried beans (I used organic black refried beans)
2 cans Hormel Chili w/Beans (With Beans is Gluten-Free, I am not sure about the others)
10 – 12 corn tortillas
Cheddar Cheese (I used almost 2 cups)

1. Brown ground meat and add taco seasoning per directions on packet or container.
2. Preheat oven to 350 and warm up your beans and chili.
3. Warm your tortillas up in micro according to pkg. directions.
4. Spread a little chili (not too much, you need to top the whole casserole with chili at the end) in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish.
5. Start to assemble your enchiladas: tortilla, beans, meat, cheese…then roll up and place seam side down in pyrex dish. Repeat until you are done. I do 6-8 length wise, then I stuff the remainder in along the side.
6. Top with remaining chili and then cheese. Cover and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until cheese is all melty and casserole is bubbly.
7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes; cut and serve.

YUM! Enjoy! You can add in onions, olives, tomatoes, green chiles, peppers, etc. I don’t b/c my peeps won’t eat them if they spot any of the above. Top with sour cream and/or salsa. I personally like to add lots of Frank’s Red Hot. ;)

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 10, 2008

I feel like the fog has been lifted. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I finally ditched the painkillers that I was on last week. ;) I have to say that when my dr first told me that I would be out of work for 5 days and still not feeling well for 10, I kinda laughed. I mean come on, I am in good shape, go to the gym 6 days a week…I should heal fast. Well, I shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh b/c today is day 11 post-surgery and the first day that I feel close to “normal”. So, I am bright-eyed and busy tailed, ready to start the week out with a clean bill of health and a new energy.

The Holiday season is among us. I went to Wal-Mart on Friday night after dropping Jon off at hockey and on the way I heard Christmas carols on the radio. It was November 7th. I think that is a record for the earliest I have ever heard Christmas carols on the radio. Sure, there are Christmas trees up in the stores and there have been for weeks, but the carols, already? Come on! I love, love, love my Christmas carols, but if they start playing them so early, I will be really sick of them come December 25th. I guess that means it is time to break out one of my all-time favorite Chirstmas movies, Elf. “Smiling’s my favorite!” Okay, enough about Holidays, on with the menu!

Sunday ~ Salmon, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli & carrots
Monday ~ Enchilada Bake, corn and salad (I can finally eat salad..YEAH!)
Tuesday ~ BBQ chicken breast, cheesy chili potatoes, steamed veggies & salad
Wednesday ~ Ice Skating/Hockey ~ eat out
Thursday ~ breakfast for dinner (omelets & french toast, bacon, fruit)
Friday ~ Homemade pizza, veggies & salad
Saturday ~ Pei Wei take out (if I haven’t caved and gotten it earlier in the week….we have a gift card that was given to us an we still have close to $100 left on it).

Baked Goods
I am excited to get back into baking this week. I hope to start baking for the Holidays soon and freeze some things.
Hot Soft Pretzels (Miss Roben’s Mix)
Bagels (Pamela’s Mix)
Bread (Pamela’s Mix)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownies (Mix…I have several to try out)
Maybe a coffee cake, if the spirit moves me

Phew….I am ready for a nap! Just kidding. :) I am so happy to have my energy back!

Don’t forgot to check out Gluten-Free Goodness and Cheryl’s menu plan. Cheryl chose pomegranates as the ingredient of the week. I just bought my first one today! YAY! Now I need to figure out what to do with it. ;) Also, head over to Org Junkie for lots of other menu plans.

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