Review: Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Nut Free Trail Mix

When I was still having a problem chewing and swallowing food the other day, I got into this trail mix that I received in my care package. It is called Mountain Mambo Nut Free Trail Mix and is made by Enjoy Life Foods. I had mixed some cereals together and tossed in a couple of handfuls of this stuff. Boy, was it good! I love the flavor combinations! It has seeds, dried fruits, dairy free chocolate…YUM! This gets 5 stars in my book. One of the best things about Enjoy Life Foods is that they are free from all allergens! No nuts, soy, dairy, gluten. Also, if you visit their home page, there are a couple of coupons on it.

I bet this would also taste good over some ice cream. I like to get creative with my food. ;) Oh, another thought, use it as an oatmeal stir-in or topper! I may have to give that a try tomorrow!

Review: Andean Dreams Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is not often that I eat pre-made, packaged cookies anymore. If you have purchased gluten-free packaged cookies you are aware of a couple of things: they aren’t cheap and often the ones you can make at home will taste better, for less money. Now, that isn’t saying there aren’t some decent, even tasty pre-made gluten-free cookies out there on the market. I received Andean Dreams Chocolate Chip Cookies as part of my care package last week. I dove into them this afternoon when I discovered that I had run out of homemade cookies/treats. I was plesantly surprised by these cookies. I have never heard of this company before. These cookies reminded me of the Chips Deluxe Cookies I used to eat when I was a child/teen, in my pre-GF days. They had a little more texture with the quinoa, but were very tasty. Definitely nice to have on hand for a sweet treat. These would be excellent crumbled over ice cream (pumpkin flavored comes to mind, imagine that!). Not only are these cookies, gluten-free, nut free and soy free, but vegan too! There are only 140 calories in 2 cookies, making them a nice afternoon snack or after meal treat. These get 5 stars in my book! :) You can find them on Gluten-Free Mall, they are $6.32/box.

Hopefully I will feel up to baking next week. I am going through kitchen withdrawls! The only part I don’t miss is the clean up! ;)

Review: Ener-G Wylde Pretzels

“These pretzels are making me thirsty!” Remember that Seinfeld episode? One of my favs! Another wonderful gift from my care package! I loved pretzels before I had to go GF and miss them dearly. I was very excited to see that there were companies making GF pretzels, until I saw the price! OUCH! $7+ for a “normal” size bag, one that would be more than a snack or single serving size. This size bag is the perfect size and can be found for less than $2. These pretzels are crunchy and taste very close to the real thing. They are very good. The only thing they are missing is salt! They do have salt on the ingredient list, but they don’t taste salty at all. There is no visible salt, like on a normal pretzel. So, what I found these pretzels to be great for is to mix into a trail mix or Chex-like mix. I took some Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, Rice Chex, Reese’s Pieces, Pretzels, Raisins and nuts and made a very yummy mix! :)

Another thing these are good for is for rings on your fingers. ;) That makes them really fun for your GF kids!

Review: PerkyO’s Apple Cinnamon Cereal

Since I am still recovering you will see a lot more product reviews and a lot less cooking/baking from me for a short while. Part of this is because I am supposed to be taking it easy, the other part is because we received a very generous gluten-free care package from some friends and there are all kinds of gluten-free products to try and review in it!

Today I am going to review PerkyO’s Apple Cinnamon Cereal. This cereal is supposed to be similar to Cheerios. It has been so long since I have had Cheerios that I can’t honestly say if they taste anything like them or not. I can tell you that the PerkyO’s are very good. Not only do I like them, but Jon LOVES them! He begged for another box at the store yesterday. They are made from whole grain sorghum and have a nice apple cinnamon flavor. They are gluten and NUT free and vegan, too boot! They have 140 calories per 3/4 cup with 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugar. I was also impressed by some of the vitamin stats….Calcium 30% of the RDA, Iron 20% of the RDA. While they are priced a little high in the local store I frequent ($4.99/box), they are very good and a nice, healthy treat.

Review: Gillian’s Apple Pie/Crisp

In our care package that we received last week, we got a real special treat: An Apple Pie/Crisp from Gillian’s Foods. What a perfect fall dessert and easy to prepare! Just pop into the oven for an hour and 20 minutes and it is done! The house smelled heavenly while it was baking. My Mom put it in the oven right before the kids started Trick or Treating on Friday night. After our dinner, both Jon and I dug into the apple goodness. The pie crust edges were a little too crisp, but the crust in the pie dish, topped with the apple mixture, was very good. This is a great go-to dessert. Nice to have on-hand in your freezer for a quick dessert with no work on your part. We topped with Cool Whip (the new stuff, in the can!), but ice cream would be yummy too!

Menu Plan ~ November 3, 2008

Still sore and taking it easy here, so nothing elaborate for us on the menu this week. I haven’t even done my grocery shopping yet for the week, so that has got to tell you something. We do have lots of meat in the freezer, so I may just need to make a quick stop in for fresh veggies (assuming I can chew them sometime again), milk and lunch meat for the kids. I am flying by the seat of my pants with this menu plan….haven’t put one ounce of thought into it until I sat down at my laptop right now. So, let’s have at it!

Sunday ~ Oh, that was last night. Guess I don’t have to plan for that, huh? ;)
Monday ~ Spaghetti & meat sauce. I may do spaghetti squash since I have one that has been sitting here for 1+ weeks. The kids & DH will do Tinkyada. I would love to have salad, not sure I am there yet. I will make one for the kids & DH.
Tuesday ~ Grilled Chicken, brown rice and butternut squash.
Wednesday ~ Ice Skating & Hockey; out to dinner, maybe soup at Panera or Cheeseburger in Paradise
Thursday ~ Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, veggies and cornbread.
Friday ~ Breakfast for dinner (eggs/French Toast/bacon/sausage)
Saturday ~ Homemade Pizza and salad (If I can’t eat a salad by then, I will cry)

Baked goods ~ HA! I do have a bunch of mixes that were sent in a care package, I don’t see it happening. I would like to try the Soft Pretzel’s (Miss Roben’s Mix) ASAP.

Make sure to pop over to Angela’s Kitchen (Thanks for hosting, Angela!) for the Gluten-Free Menu Swap and to Org Junkie for lots of other menu plans.

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cone Review

The other day we were sent some gluten-free items in a care package, which was very much appreciated. In the package were some gluten-free ice cream cones. The cones are made by Barkat. I have never eaten anything made from this company, but they looked good. Let me start this out by saying that I was never a huge ice cream cone fan before I went gluten-free, so I may not be the best judge for these. If I ate cones before, they were always the sugar cones or the homemade waffle cones, the ginormous ones you get at Cold Stone Creamery or TCBY. Jon, my GF child, did not care for the cones. I don’t know that he had ever eaten a cone before going GF, so he may not be the best judge either. Hannah, my non-GF child, LOVED these cones. She devoured her cone with Edy’s Slow-Churned Peanut Butter Cup ice cream on top. She is 6 years old and very picky, so that has got to stand for something. :) I tasted the cone, but wasn’t impressed. It tasted like a cake ice cream cone, you know the ones you feed goats out of at the zoo? I am not saying that in a bad way at all, if you like those cones, you will like these, a lot. Hannah begged for another, but I had to put my foot down and make her wait until tomorrow. The downside to these (as is probably to all ice cream cones, gluten-free or not) is that they crumble/crack easily.

Hannah ate hers so fast that I didn’t get a picture of her eating the cone, just the box they came in! ;)

Day After Halloween Comfort Food

Not sure how much sense that all makes, because isn’t Halloween all about comfort food, at least in the form of candy?? Anyway, my Mom and Step Dad came up to stay with us this weekend to help out. I had some minor surgery on my neck (salivary gland) on Friday and was told by the docs to take it easy for 5 days….yeah, right. My Mom is here to make sure that I don’t do too much, so she cooked one of my favorite childhood meals tonight for dinner and made it gluten-free! I was literally taken back 25 years tonight with this amazing beef pot pie that she made. I think it may have been even better tonight, gluten-free, than it was back in the day. Along with the beef pot pie she made some baked cheese grits, another childhood favorite and comfort food. YUM!! Of course grits are naturally gluten-free, but I haven’t had this recipe for them since I was little. I happened across it this afternoon while looking for another old recipe for my Mom. We decided that it would go wonderfully with the pot pie and be easy for me to swallow, too. We rounded out the meal with Parmesan Broiled Tomatoes. For dessert we all had Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream….we had Mint Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Cup to choose from. My Mommy loves me and takes care of me when I don’t feel well. Hopefully I will be back on my feet in a day or 2. It is hard to sit still for so long. Here are some pictures and the recipes will follow:

Grits

Tomatoes

Beef Pot Pie

**Recipe for Pie Crust from Pamela’s, see below

1.25 lbs beef stew meat
1 lb carrots, cut to bite size pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled & cut to bite size pieces
4 stalks celery, cut to bite size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped **I omitted due to intolerance
2 TBSP Kitchen Bouquet
3 TBSP Cornstarch
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
3 cups water total, divided
1 10oz box package frozen mixed vegetables
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Thyme or Marjaram, to taste, approx. 1 tsp

1. Cut beef into bite size pieces. Heat oil in pressure cooker; brown meat. Remove meat from pressure cooker to insert cooking platform/basket; add ½ cup water and add beef to basket. Seal pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes after rocker/pressure is reached.
2. Cool pressure cooker to remove lid. Add all veggies (including frozen ones), salt & pepper, add another ½ cup water; seal pressure cooker, bring to pressure, cook 5 minutes. Cool pressure cooker to remove lid.
3. Dump basket of food back into pressure cooker pot.
4. In gravy shaker add 2 cups cold water, 3 TBSP cornstarch, thyme or marjoram & Kitchen Bouquet and shake well.
5. Bring pressure cooker to boil then add cornstarch solution. Stir until boiling & thickened. Taste, add more seasonings if necessary.
6. Pour into prepared pie crust (see additional instructions).
7. Top with remaining crust
8. Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.

Pie Crust for Pot Pie

3 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
4 tsp sugar (omit for savory crusts, like pot pie)
8 TBSP unsalted butter
4 TBSP vegetable oil
½ cup ice water

Yield: 2 9-inch pie crusts or 1 9-inch top & bottom

Combine mix & sugar (if using) in bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with 2 knives until butter is in very small pieces. Add oil, then ice water, slowly until dough comes together, not sticky. You may not need all of the water. Roll dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper. ***We were able to press this right into the pan for our pot pie without rolling and then form the top on a piece of wax paper without rolling. Foil can be placed along the edge of the crust to decrease the edges browning.

Baked Cheese Grits

½ cup grits in 2 cups water & 1 tsp of salt
Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup milk
1 beaten egg
½ tsp garlic powder

1. Pour into 1 qt greased casserole. Bake at 350 for an hour.

Okay, I am off to be a good little girl and lay down. At least I am in the middle of a good book, Twilight. I can barely put it down!

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