Dinner & an Answer

Today the kids and I headed out to the Farmer’s Market in between rain storms.  We stopped by Cherbourg Bakery’s booth for some more yummy goodies!  Jon had to get his Double Lemon Bar fix.  We were also able to sample the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, which were drool-worthy and the Polenta Cake (it was a savory cake versus a real sweet cake and it was amazing!).  The kids picked out their goodies and then we paid and were on our way.  Stopped by a couple more booths & picked up some fresh basil and tomatoes for dinner. 

I had thought about making pizza for dinner, but Jon was out with his cousin at the movies and Aaron & Hannah ordered pizza.  I was on my own.  I really wanted to use the fresh basil & tomatoes & remembered I had some fresh mozzarella in the fridge.  I toasted a Trader Joe’s French Roll and then topped each half with a slice of fresh sliced mozzarella, basil leaves & tomatoes slices.  Then I drizzled balsamic vinaigrette over the top & broiled until hot & melty.  Holy YUM!  This meal was soooooooooooooooooooooooo good!!  I paired it with a rather large salad and sauteed kale, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms & grape tomatoes.  Oh, I may or may not have had a nice glass of cabernet along with my meal. ;) 

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See the melty cheese? 

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Now, for the answer to yesterday’s bonus question.  The vegetable that I pictured & cooked was Rutabaga!!  I peeled & cut up my rutabaga, then sprayed with olive oil Pam and tossed with sea salt & fresh ground pepper.  Then I roasted it for 30 -40 minutes at approximately 375 degrees.  It came out great!  Ranks right up there with my butternut squash fries!  Perfect for dipping, a side dish or for on top of a salad. 

Now, the winner.  No one guessed correctly so I will just choose a winner from those that responded.  I asked hubby to pick a number from the number of people that responded (he had no idea why I was having him do this).  He chose #3.  So, Pam, you are the winner!!!  Email me at kbouldin@insight.rr.com your address and I will send your goodies off to you early next week. 

Thanks to all who played along! :)  I will be doing a couple new product reviews & contests in the upcoming weeks.  :)  Make sure to check back. 

Cherbourg Bakery

Last week I received my weekly email from Raisin Rack, my local health food store.  They mentioned that they were carrying a new line of gluten-free bakery products made by Cherbourg Bakery.  I was intrigued.  I had never heard of Cherbourg Bakery before, but I was bound & determined to find out more.  I went to Cherbourg’s website and tried to find out where they were located so I could plan a visit.  Turns out that Cherbourg is a wholesale bakery that is starting to sell products in local stores, at Farmer’s Markets and other pertinent health-related, Celiac or gluten-free events.  I sent an email to the owner, Geri Peacock and anxiously awaited a response.  Geri contacted me and we planned to meet up to chat. 

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I met Geri, who is just the sweetest woman, on Tuesday for coffee & a play date with our kids.  Here are the questions that I asked Geri:

Why did Geri decide to open a gluten-free bakery?

Once she had to go gluten-free, she really missed out on the treat that she once loved.  She found it hard to find anything comparable to the treats she enjoyed before she embarked on the gluten-free diet.  As a life-long baker, Geri started experimenting making her own gluten-free treats.

How long has Cherbourg Bakery been in business?

Cherbourg bakery has only been in business for about 4 months, but the recipes have been in the works for more than a year.  Geri started baking at 6 years old, so she got to work adjusting old favorites to be wonderful gluten-free treats.

Will Cherbourg Bakery be opening a brick & mortar location at any point?

Geri would love to have a store location and hopes to get to that point one day.  She wants to be able to provide a place for people to be able to go in, grab an amazing gluten-free treat & a drink and sit down tp enjoy it.  She would love for this location to be in the Bexley or Clintonville area.

Where can Cherbourg Bakery’s products be found?

Currently Cherbourg Bakery has products in the Raisin Rack (Westerville location), with several other stores in the works.  Cherbourg Bakery’s products can also be found at the Westerville Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays from 9:00 AM – 12 Noon. 

What ingredients does Cherbourg Bakery use to make their products?

Geri prides herself on using only local and organic ingredients for the best possible treat.  Geri’s treats are always fresh & are never frozen.

What was the first treat that Cherbourg Bakery made?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  After perfecting the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Geri moved onto other treats that she loved & missed. 

What is Geri’s favorite treat that Cherbourg Bakery makes?

Mini Marsala Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes and Chocolate Chip Cookies are Geri’s favorites.  (We agree, those cakes are amazing!)

What is the most popular treat that Cherbourg sells?

The Double Lemon Bars, Mini Marsala Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes and Chocolate Chip Cookies are the most popular treats. 

Does Cherbourg Bakery plan on expanding to other gluten-free products like bread, rolls or bagels?

Not at this time.  Geri is focusing her efforts on the treat side of gluten-free and all the things she loves. 

Upon meeting up, Geri walked in with a huge tray of her gluten-free treats for us to sample.  She brought along Double Lemon Bars, Mini Marsala Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes, Lemonade Sandwich Cookies & a brand new cookie that she has been working on.  Jon and I sampled a couple items during the meeting and were very impressed.  I don’t recall Jon ever gushing over anything as much as he gushed over Cherbourg’s Double Lemon Bar.  Later at home Jon and I sampled the other items and they were just as impressive.  The Chocolate Lava Cakes are everything I thought they would be and more.  I seriously think that Jon wants Geri to adopt him because he has done nothing but talk about her lemon bars & chocolate cakes all week! 

Thanks Geri & Cherbourg Bakery for meeting with us for this interview!  We will be seeing you sometime very soon!

Upcoming Events where you can check out Cherbourg Bakery:

Westerville Farmer’s Market ~ Saturdays from 9:00 AM – 12 Noon

New Albany Farmer’s Market ~ August 14, 2009

To keep up with the current list of locations or new possible places to find Cherbourg Bakery, please visit Cherbourg’s blog

Kicked Up Tuna Salad Melt

Since I have discovered Sriracha sauce in the past year, I have tried adding it to all sorts of food.  Just because I have to eat gluten-free, doesn’t mean I have to eat plain, bland food.  If you have ever had Sriracha, you know that it is far from bland or plain. 

Here is my new, kicked up Tuna Salad Melt recipe:

1 can or 1 pouch of tuna (packed in water)

1-3 tsps. Greek yogurt (I like Oikos.  To your own taste…I like 1-1.5 tsps)

Squirt of spicy brown mustard

1 tsp of sweet pickle relish

Sriracha sauce (to your taste….very spicy so add a little at a time…a little goes a long way)

chopped celery (1-2 TBSP)

chopped water chestnuts (1-2TBSP)

Squirt of lemon juice

Fresh ground pepper

Cheese of choice

 

1.  Place all ingredients in a bowl & mix well.  Taste to make sure it is to your liking.  Add more of whatever you like.  Remember, start with less, you can always add more (I tell Jon this ALL the time!).  :)

2.  Toast your bread, roll, bagel. 

3.  Top your bread with tuna salad & then top with your cheese of choice.  I like to use Swiss or extra sharp cheddar.  Lately I have been using a sharp Vermont white cheddar. 

4.  Pop under broiler in your over or toaster oven until it is all melty. 

5.  Enjoy!!  I will sometimes add a grape tomato to the top or a fresh sliced tomato.  YUM!

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Friday Fun & a Contest!!

I had a lot of time to think this morning while I was getting my 7 mile run in.   I ran on the treadmill at the gym because it was dark outside and I have watched a few too many horror movies (and too much news on TV as well).  So while I was chugging along to my tunes, I came up with this super fun Friday game & bonus contest at the end!

The game first.  Take the word “Friday” and then list your favorite gluten-free foods that start with each letter in the word “Friday”.  See my example:

F ~ Fritos

R~ Raspberries

I~Ice Cream (the gluten-free kind, of course)

D~Dark Chocolate

A~Asparagus

Y~Yellow Squash

Now, it is your turn!  Just simply put your answers in the comment section below.  Feel free to share this on your blog as well!

Now, the contest.  Everyone likes a contest, right?  Well, I made a new vegetable last night and loved it.  I prepared it much like I do my butternut squash fries.  Here is a picture of the vegetable (cut up, not in it’s whole state):

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The prize is a gluten-free goodie package that contains the following:

  • Endangered Species Supreme Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Authentic Foods All Purpose Bread Mix
  • ‘Cause Your Special Classic Muffin & Quick Bread Mix

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Here are the ways to enter & win:

1.  Correctly guess the vegetable I have pictured above.

2.  Post your answer below & link back to your blog or tweet about it & let me know in the comments section.

3.  I will randomly choose a winner from the people who responded correctly.  Contest will run through midnight tonight (Friday).

Have fun and have a great Friday!!!!

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Gluten-Free & The Chocolate Factory

Yes, I said chocolate.  My all-time, hands down, favorite delicacy in the world.  I have been trying to make sure to keep the kids busy this summer to stave off boredom.  As a parent (and as all parents know) boredom = trouble.  Trouble comes in many forms.  They can range from mild bickering to full-out knock-down drag out fights & wrestling matches.  We were supposed to visit The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium yesterday, but the weather did not cooperate.  I couldn’t take another rainy day cooped up inside, so off to Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory we went!  Anthony-Thomas does free tours of their candy factory!  What a bonus!  They also have an on-site candy shoppe for purchasing multiple yummy treats on your way out. 

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As we arrived, we were greeted by the amazing smell of chocolate!  I instantly knew that this would be a place that I would have to visit repeatedly.  The tour took about 20 -30 minutes, doable for kids (and adults) of all ages.  ;)  Unfortunately there was no photography permitted in the factory, so I can’t show you any candy making shots.  I did learn all kinds of interesting facts today.

  • Anthony & Thomas are 2 names combined to make one company name. 
  • Anthony is the father of Thomas.
  • The business started out as candy making, soda shop & lunch counter, but the candy was so successful, that they decided to focus solely on candy.
  • Anthony-Thomas is still very much a family run business. 
  • Thomas has a daughter that he named Candy.  (I really got a kick out of that!)
  • Employees can eat as much candy as they like while they are at work!  (Enough reason for me to apply!)
  • Anthony-Thomas also does contract work for other candy companies.  They weren’t allowed to tell us who, so I was told when I asked, however, there was a label that I could see and it is one of the larger candy companies!  I was a little surprised by this.
  • Did you know that if you freeze chocolate, you need to put it in the fridge before you take it out to room temperature?  I learn something new everyday!

After the tour we obviously hit up the candy shoppe.  First we were treated to an amazing sample of the Buckeyes there were making today.  Heaven in my mouth!!!  So smooth & creamy. 

Here is the Buckeye that I ate:

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Just kidding!  LOL!!  This Buckeye weighs in at 235 pounds and costs $3,500.00!

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Hannah, my niece & my little sister, Regan.  Jon could not be bothered for a photo. 

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The kids each had an allotted amount of money to spend on whatever treats they wanted.  It was not easy for them to make these choices, let me tell you!  LOL!  Heck, it wasn’t easy for me either, but I settled on Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries & Dark Chocolate Covered Cranberries.  Also, Jon & I bought a 72% Dark Chocolate Bar to split. 

Here are some of Jon’s goodies ~ Cappuccino Truffle (note the ketchup, salt & pepper on his fingers from his fries!):

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Truly a wonderful, gluten-free experience!  Great way to spend a good 1 – 1.5 hours and keep the kids happy! :)

Afterwards we went to Cheeseburger in Paradise, which wasn’t as good of an experience. 

A Disappointing Dining Experience

Another gluten-free blogger that I read wrote about a bad experience he had at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  He titled the entry “Cheeseblunder in Paradise”.    We experienced a “Cheeseblunder in Paradise” today as well.  This happened to be the Hilliard location. 

We met some family there after touring the Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory (post re-cap to follow).  We placed our order and the place was virtually empty.  This was surprising because it was lunch hour on a weekday.  While we did let the manager know that there were 2 gluten-free orders and he did follow them through, the service was extremely slow.  Jon ordered a salad, cheeseburger & fries; I ordered the mahi mahi sandwich (sans buns and not blackened), veggies (which I told would be a medley & ended up being just broccoli) and a salad.  My mahi mahi was horribly overcooked.  I don’t know what was going on there today, but for the amount of people that were in the restaurant, there was no reason for our food to take that long and for my fish to be that overcooked.  I even had my Dad try the fish to make sure that it wasn’t just me and he completely agreed.  When we were finally checked on by the server, I let her know.  She did offer to have it re-made, but by that time we had waited plenty long enough & having the fish re-made or ordering something else was out of the question.  The manager also stopped by and they did take it off my bill, it is just frustrating.  I did eat the broccoli, salad, some of Jon’s fries and some dark chocolate, but not the meal I ordered.  There are too many restaurants out there now offering gluten-free options to continue to frequent places that can’t get it right, regardless if it is a gluten issue or another issue. 

Edited to add:

Ben, from Cheeseburger in Paradise commented below regarding this experience.  Here is my response to Ben:

Hi Ben,

 

I apologize for taking so long to respond.  I really wanted to think about my response to your comment on my blog. 

 

The specific incident that I blogged about was not a gluten faux pas, but a general failure in customer service.  One would think that at lunch hour, there would be plenty of speedy service taking place, as most people only have 1 hour for lunch.  And not only speedy service is expected, but being staffed appropriately as well.  On the day we dined at CIP, the restaurant was dead.  There really was no reason for our service to take as along as it did, unless mistakes were made in the kitchen that we were not made aware of.  Overcooked fish, a different vegeatable than was ordered, though still gluten-free, no one checking back in the expected time frame, all contributed to the less than acceptable experience.    

 

Now, there have been several other incidents when we have dined at CIP where our gluten-free food order has come out with buns on the burgers or chicken.  We used to dine at CIP at least once a week for well over a year or 2, but have since stopped doing so.  The reasons isn’t necessarily due to gluten-free issues, but you get tired of eating the same thing over & over.  The one problem that seemed to be consistent was salads that were ordered had gluten-containing wontons in them.  Dressings were on the side or salad and there would frequently be other items from the line in the dressing (wontons, which aren’t gluten-free is a huge concern).  A way to avoid that is to get all gluten-free dressings straight from the container in the walk-in.  Also, better education for the staff on gluten-free dining and how to avoid cross-contaimination since you have a gluten-free menu.  There has been such a huge increase in the number of people following this diet due to the increased diagnosis of Celiac Disease AND the number of places that offer a gluten-free menu.  To keep comptetive with those other eateries, you need to make sure that your staff is knowledgeable & consistent regarding the menus & diet. Just because a person has to follow a gluten-free diet shouldn’t mean they have to settle on less than desirable food & experiences.  This diet is not a diet that is followed by choice (like Atkins or South Beach), it is a diet that is followed out of necessity for health & wellness.    

 

 I love the concept of CIP and would love to continue to keep it on my list of places to dine, but I have to honest, the service that we had was not overly convincing to return any time soon. 

Kim

Summer Lovin’

There is nothing better in the summer than fresh fruit.  All the fun varieties…I really can’t get enough.  I get so excited walking into a Farmer’s Market or produce department with rows & rows of fresh fruit.  I have really broadened my horizons over the past couple of years with fruit…just ask my family, I didn’t eat fruit.  Period.  And God forbid if fruit was in my food.  By food I mean salad, main dishes, vegetables, etc.  No, thank you.  That has all changed now.  I can’t get enough!! 

cherries

Some of my favorites:

  • Cherries (Bing or Ranier)
  • Plums (all kinds)
  • Pluots (cross between an apricot & a plum…awesome!)
  • Watermelon (seedless, please)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches (all)
  • Nectarines (all)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries (Golden & Red)
  • Bananas (kind of a staple)
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Apricots
  • Cara Cara Navel Oranges (I save these more for the winter)

I have come up with all kinds of different ways to incorporate fruit into my food now.  Yes, it is now allowed to mingle with my other food.  ;)   Some of my favorite ways to eat fruit:

  • Berries on salads
  • Cherries pitted & cut up on salads or in cottage cheese (this last combo is amazing!)
  • Pears on salads/sandwiches w/goat cheese or feta
  • Pineapple on salmon or spicy turkey burgers
  • Any of the above with Greek yogurt then topped with flax seed
  • On dry cereal (berries, bananas, plums & peaches)
  • In a stir fry or rice bowl mix
  • On top of peanut butter or almond butter toast or rice cakes
  • On top of oatmeal
  • In Chia Goodness cereal
  • On Ice Cream (berries are the best!)
  • Made into Ice Cream (Bananas)

I can come up with endless ideas.  :)  The best thing about fruit?  You don’t have to research whether or not it is gluten-free.  A naturally gluten-free food is the best, in my opinion.  You are packing tons of nutrients when you eat fruit…fiber & vitamins that your body needs.  Whole foods are so much better for our bodies than processed junk.  Treat yourself right and grab some fruit today!

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