Uno Chicago Grill ~ Gluten-Free Pizza Review

OH.MY.GOD.  Seriously, I might be at a loss for words.  Not only does Uno Chicago Grill have a GF menu, but they have  GF pizza on it!!  Now, it isn’t deep dish pizza, but I’ll take any pizza at this point.  Having been GF for 3+ years and not having pizza (other than what I make at home), I was VERY excited to try this.  I didn’t get a picture, unfortunately.  I didn’t think to bring my camera and I honestly don’t think it was around long enough for a picture.  Jon & I ordered the pepperoni pizza, salad & steamed broccoli.  Heaven.  Simply, heaven.  The pizza was on a thin crust, the flavor & texture was amazing.  I was also very impressed by the knowledge of the needs of gluten-free dining.  Bill, the manager, came over to our table almost immediately after we were seated and explained the process with which the pizzas were made and the lengths they go to to avoid cross-contamination.  They only make the pizzas in the AM (or prepare them), so that it can be done in an area that is “sterile”.  They don’t recommend adding any additional toppings as they can’t guarantee that anything from the line would be GF after the restaurant has opened.  It was so nice and refreshing to dine out some place where they “get it”.  I will definitely be going back, to dine-in or carry-out.  This place isn’t super close to us, but is worth the drive when that pizza craving must be met!  :)  I am off to write a letter of “THANKS” to Uno Chicago Grill for taking the time to accommodate those of us on a GF diet and putting in the effort to make sure that we can dine safely.

So, if you have a Uno Chicago Grill close by, stop on by and give this GF pizza a try.  :)

Weekly Menu Plan ~ January 25, 2009

Here we are at the end of January.  Let the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) begin.  I always thought that this was a joke in the past, but maybe there is something to it.  Boy, have I been cranky lately!  Maybe I should go hop in the tanning bed and get some “light therapy”!  Just kidding.  I’ll take a little sleepiness & crankiness over skin cancer.  I just hope that Mr. Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow next Monday and we have an early Spring!  That would be very, very much appreciated!  Hear that Punxsutawney Phil? 

On with the plan.  Nothing really special going on this week.  Just keep on keeping on.  Report cards are coming out Monday.  Hockey continues, as does figure skating. 

Sunday ~ Breakfast for dinner (omelets, sweet potato hash browns & toast)

Monday ~ Lemon Butter Tilapia, quinoa, sauteed okra & spinach salad

Tuesday ~ Bourbon Chicken, brown rice, steamed broccoli & salad.

Wednesday ~ Homemade Mac & Cheese w/quinoa pasta, baked beans, salad & veggies

Thursday ~ Herb Roasted Pork Loin roast, mashed potatoes, steamed sugar snap peas & salad

Friday ~ Homemade pizza (cheese & pepperoni) and salad.

Saturday ~ Pei Wei or leftovers

Baked Goods

Bread

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Banana Bread

 

Manda over at Asparagus Thin is hosting this weeks’ GF Menu Swap.  :)

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Peanut Butter Recall

Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard about the latest salmonella outbreak.   For most of us who have Celiac or have to eat gluten-free, this really doesn’t apply, as the crackers & cookies are not GF and the actual peanut butter isn’t sold in stores in a jar, but used in schools, hospitals & nursing homes.  However, I did happen across some information this AM that shows that Lara bar has recalled their Peanut Butter Cookie bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter BlissCrisp bars.  These are both GF items and ones I have consumed in the last week.  Geesh!  Scary stuff!  So, please check your cabinets and the web sites to make sure that you & your loved ones are safe from this latest outbreak. 

 

Weekly Menu Plan ~ January 18, 2009

BRR!  It is cold, stinkin’ cold!  I know I live in Ohio and I shouldn’t expect it to be warm right now, but -20, COME ON!  Oh, and that is without the wind chill factor.  I am not one to let weather keep me from doing things normally, but I have turned into that person this week.  I can’t fathom doing out unless I absolutely have to.  The kids had 2 2-hour delays last week and a “calamity” day on Friday.  We are allotted 5 per year and have used 2 so far – one for extremely cold weather, the other for the day after the remnants of Hurricane Ike came through Ohio last fall and we had no power.  So, let’s hope this craziness clears up and we have an early SPRING here in Ohio!  Fortunately the kids are already scheduled off Monday & Tuesday of this week, so if it going to snow/ice/be colder than a witch’s whatever, let’s schedule that for Monday or Tuesday, okay? 

Okay, now that the weather is settled for the week, let’s get to menu planning.  Sea over at Book of Yum is hosting this week’s GF Menu Swap.  Her choice ingredient of the week is lentils.  I don’t have a lot of experience with lentils, but the one recipe that I have tried, I love, and will be making this week!  Perfect choice for the weather we are having! 

Sunday ~ Breakfast for dinner (veggie omelets, sausage, hash browns & toast from Pamela’s Wheat Free Bread)

Monday ~ Sweet Thai Chile Salmon (I know,  I love it so much I have it weekly!) , steamed brown rice, sesame snow peas & salad

Tuesday ~Honey-Baked Lentils, quinoa, sugar snap peas & salad

Wednesday ~ Tacos, refried beans, corn and salad

Thursday ~ Crockpot pulled pork, steamed broccoli, cheddar garlic biscuits, and salad

Friday ~ Dinner out with my Mom for our b-day celebration!

Saturday ~ burgers, sweet potato fries, baked beans & salad

 

Baked Goods for the Week

*A confession.  I have totally sucked at my New Year’s resolution of making one recipe per week from my new cookbook.  I got derailed right away with the stomach flu (twice for me and everyone else once).  At least I have kept up my other resolutions….trying out new classes at the gym (spin, Urban Iron, Abs..GO ME!) and keeping my house cleaner.  So, I am trying to get back on track this week, okay?

Pamela’s Bread

Chocolate Bundt Cake (pg. 490 of 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes)

Buttermilk Coffee Crumb Cake (pg. 461 of 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes)

Raspberry Bars (pg. 451 of 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes, if I have time)

 

Don’t forget to head over to Org Junkie for lots more menu plans and ideas. 

Have a great week and stay warm!  For those of you that live where it is warm, send some my way, please!!

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Crock Pot Lady’s Taco Soup

If you haven’t checked out Stephanie’s web site before, you really must check it out.  Stephanie is know as “The Crock Pot Lady“.  Last year, 2008, Stephanie vowed to use her crock pot to make something in her crock pot every day for 1 year.  I love my crock pot and love this site.  A bonus?  Stephanie makes most things gluten-free because her daughter has Celiac Disease.  Of course I don’t mean it is a bonus that her daughter has Celiac, but that there is really no conversion of her recipes needed.  I have made several recipes from her site over the past year, but my favorite is this Taco Soup.

One reason that this recipe appealed to me is that there are no onions in it.  I could actually make the recipe exactly as stated for once!  WOOHOO!  That is a celebration in and of itself. I made the soup with ground turkey.  That combined with the beans & veggies made this a wonderfully healthy meal.  Low in fat, high in fiber.  I did have to put it in the food processor for the kids because they are not big on tomatoes, though they like ketchup, marinara sauce & chili.  They both liked the soup, though once Hannah found out there was corn in there, she was hesitant to continue to eat.  She likes corn, but by itself.  Definitely a mental issue for her.  I was very pleased with the way this turned out.  I froze over half of it in small portions so I would have some quick meals for nights when we are in a hurry. 

I look forward to trying more of Stephanie’s recipes.  :)  I especially like some of the dessert ideas.  YUM! 

Starbucks & Gluten-Free Items

It seems that there is a possibility that Starbucks is looking into offering gluten-free items to it’s customers.  Here is some info from their blog .  How cool would it be if you could go to Starbucks and not only enjoy their coffee, but a breakfast roll, muffin, cookie, scone, etc?  Wow.  They are lo0king for input from us, the customer, so make sure to visit the site and give your 2 cents.  :)

 

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3 Years Gluten-Free

Today is my third anniversary of going gluten-free.  I can’t believe that it has been that long.  It some ways it seems like it has been much longer since I have had a Ho-Ho (well, really, it has been more like 10 years) or a nice, warm piece of Sourdough bread.  I will never forget that first day on the diet, or the night before, when I ate my “last meal”.  My “last meal” consisted of a grilled chicken cheese steak & fries from Charley’s Steakery.  Boy, was it good.   How I felt afterwards, not so good.  The next day, I made my way through the day avoiding all gluten.  It was quite a challenge.  What the heck was I supposed to eat?  I didn’t know anything else.  Was I ever going to enjoy a piece of bread again?  Was I ever going to have a cookie or a piece of cake again?  Would all replacement foods taste like cardboard or sandpaper?  I know that the first roll that I tried was horrible.  I had no idea that you were supposed to toast it first for the best consistency.  I threw the package away.  I should have let Jon use them for hockey practice. ;)  Funny thing, I now eat these on a regular basis…they are the GF French Rolls from Trader Joe’s, and prepared right, they are really good.  Little did I know back then. 

I went through many other foods that I determined were horrible and some that I fell in love with.  I love Van’s Wheat Free Waffles, they were a breakfast staple for the first 6 months or so on the gluten-free diet.  I had to find new favorite foods.  Another staple quickly became black beans, brown rice and cheese.  All naturally gluten-free.  I could eat tortilla chips on the side, as they too, are mostly gluten-free.  (**I have run across one or 2 brands that use wheat starch, so always check labels!)  I was quickly learning that sticking to whole foods, like meats, fruits, veggies and rice, it was pretty easy to follow the gluten-free diet.  Where the difficultly later came was baking.  I think I waited a good year or so before even beginning to tackle some of my beloved recipes GF.  I had quite a few disasters.  There have been many more successes.  Now, I frequently bake GF and usually no one even knows the difference! 

I was amazed at how quickly I noticed a difference in how I felt.  Gone were the cramps and pain that always seemed to be in my stomach.  Gone was the bloating and gas.  I now had a good reason to follow this crazy diet…I actually felt better!  Yes, I had ups and downs, as most do when first going on the diet, but the longer I was on the diet, the better I felt.  I still have days every now & then when things aren’t right with my stomach/digestive system.  Chances are that I have run across some gluten either in my home (Hannah & Aaron are not GF) or eating out someplace.  I can usually tell within an hour or so. 

Eating out has become much easier since I first went on the diet.  I was very intimidated at first and didn’t want to even try to eat out.  I was scared.  The amount of restaurants that now have GF menus is astonishing.  When I first went GF, there were only a handful of places close by that I felt comfortable eating at.  Now, the number of restaurants has almost tripled.  It is amazing.  The increasing awareness of Celiac Disease has really made following the gluten-free diet at home or eating out, much easier. 

So, today I will celebrate my new-found health and well being.  I will celebrate with GF cookies and probably a GF beer, too, though not together. ;)   Now, if I could just find a good, easy GF sourdough bread.   YUM! 

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Menu Plan ~ January 11, 2009

Phew, what a week that was!  As I mentioned last week in my menu plan post, Jon had the stomach flu.  Well, within a few hours, Aaron had it and so did I, for the second time!  What is that all about?  The same thing happened to me last year.  I am officially over winter and ready for Spring.  Everyone hear that?  Fortunately we were all better by my birthday on Friday.  Needless to say, I have some things on my menu plan this week that we never got to last week due to the illness in our house and going out to dinner on Thursday with my Dad & fam and Friday night for a “date”.  :)  I also didn’t go my baking last week.  Geez, I am slacking big time!  Guess I will be playing catch-up this week.  :)

Fresh Ginger is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap and has chosen “locally grown” as the theme.  Seeing as it is mid-January here, not sure that I will be able to participate in that.  Next year I hope to plan ahead and be able to freeze and can some of my tomatoes.  I was browsing her site and was very interested in the “brittle“.  I may have to give that a try.  YUM!

Here is my menu plan for the week.  Let’s see if I can stick to it this week. ;)

 

Sunday ~ Breakfast for dinner (omelets, bacon, pan-fried hashbrowns, gluten-free toast ~ Pamela’s Wheat Free Bread or TJ’s gluten-free French Rolls) with Orange Juice

Monday ~ Crockpot Taco Soup & salad (this is one I didn’t get to last week)

Tuesday ~ Grilled Salmon, steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli & spinach salad

Wednesday ~ Grilled Chicken marinated in balsamic dressing, roasted potatoes,  steamed green beans & salad

Thursday ~ Burgers on lettuce wraps, sweet potato fries & salad

Friday ~ Homemade Pizza and salad

Saturday ~ Probably Pei Wei Asian Diner OR Uno Chicago Grill’s new GF pizza!!

 

Baked Goods for the week

Pamela’s Bread

Brownies

Scones from Carol Fenster’s 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes

 

As always, don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for more great menu plan ideas.  :)  Have a wonderful week!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 29 for the 7th time.  ;)  LOL!  I am officially half way to 72.  Whatever.  I feel better now than I have felt in years.  Mentally & physically.  Perhaps it is the exercise.   Perhaps it is a new year and possibilities on the horizon.  Who knows.  We had a couple of days of celebration.  Thursday night we met my Dad, Step Mom and little sister out for dinner at The Fish Market.  It was SO good!  They have an extensive GF menu.  Both Jon and I were able to enjoy meals & dessert.  I had a cedar plank salmon on top of eggplant & zucchini with portobella mushroom relish, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.  It was so flavorful!  For dessert, they brought out an amazing creme brulee with fresh strawberries.  Jon had a grilled shrimp Caesar salad.  We had a wonderful time.

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Last night Aaron & I went to Hyde Park Steakhouse.  Wow.  I can’t believe the options.  They were extremely well versed in the gluten-free diet, though they didn’t have a written menu.  I had a beefsteak & mozzarella salad with balsamic vinaigrette for my salad.  Then, our wonderful waiter brought me out a fruit & cheese plate because I obviously couldn’t eat the bread!  The fruit was blackberries, blueberries & strawberries.  There were 2 kinds of cheese…..a stilton with mango & ginger and an0ther, stronger white cheese, I don’t remember the name.  Both were excellent.  For my main course I had Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Crystal Citrus Sauce, Potatoes Gruyere Gratin and steamed broccoli.  Divine.  Really, an amazing meal and even better knowing it was all gluten-free!  We headed home after our meal and had some awesome gluten-free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that my Mother-in-law, Mary, made for me!  It was very sweet of her and the cake was TDF!  I have had several pieces already!  :) 

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It was a wonderful birthday celebration!  A great way to welcome in the New Year and celebrate my turning a year older.  :)

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

It is no secret that I love potatoes.  I love potatoes in all shapes & sizes.  There was a sale the other day on red-skinned potatoes, so I picked up a bag and decided to roast them.  Boy, they turned out yummy!  I washed them and cut them into chunks and then tossed with some EVOO & spices.  I roasted them for 30 – 40 minutes and then served along side some Sweet Thai Chile Salmon & veggies. 

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Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

4-5 Red-skinned potatoes, washed

2 TBSP EVOO

1 tsp or so Garlic Powder

1-2 tsp Rosemary

Sea Salt

Pepper

**Spice amounts are approximate…I didn’t measure, just estimated.

1.  Chop potatoes into chunks

2.  Pour EVOO & spices over potatoes & mix well.

3.  Spread onto a cookie sheet or pyrex dish (sprayed with PAM).

4.  Roast at 400 or 425 for 30 or 40 minutes or until tender & browning.

 

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Sweet Thai Chile Salmon

Trader Joe’s Sweet Thai Chile Sauce

Salmon

Salt & Pepper

 

1.  Pour 1TBSP or so STCS on each piece of salmon

2. Sprinkle salmon with S & P

3.  Bake at 375 for 12 min or so. 

4.  Broil for 1-2 minutes.

5.  Be careful not to overcook.

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