Raspberry Heaven

When I was out grocery shopping yesterday, I ran across a sale on raspberries.  A 6 oz. container was $.99!!  I bought 12 of them.  Yes, I said 12.  ;) 

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I pondered what to do with all of these.  I love raspberries fresh.  I love them on cereal, yogurt, salad, ice cream, waffles, etc.  However, we all know they don’t last long once they have been picked.  I kept 2 containers out & froze the rest.  I considered jam/preserves for about 30 seconds.   I Googled the procedure and once I learned that I would have to buy all kinds of canning/jarring equipment, that idea was out the window.  LOL!! 

I Googled how to freeze the berries and it was super simple.  I figure now I can use them for baking, smoothies, ice cream, cereal, pancakes, etc.  I washed the berries first by dipping them in cold water in a colander. 

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Then I spread them out over a few dishtowels to dry. 

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Then I spread over a few cookie sheets in a single layer and placed in the freezer.  They need to stay like that for 24 hours and then they can be placed in a bag or Tupperware container. 

I just transferred the berries to their new homes, a Ziplock bag and snagged a few frozen ones to chomp on.  YUM!!  I could used these as ice cubes in seltzer, too!

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I may even go back & buy more this week.  :)  As I always say, best thing about fresh fruit & veggies are that they are naturally gluten-free!

 

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Menu Plan ~ August 31, 2009

School is back in swing & the weather is reminiscent of fall already!  Today it was 66 degrees & breezy!  Cool enough for us to turn off the A/C, open windows & put on a sweatshirt!  I am so excited about fall baking & cooking!  I love apples & pumpkin, 2 fall favorites.  I can’t wait for the pumpkin ice cream to show up on the shelves again.  Toss in some chocolate chips…YUM!! 

This week’s gluten-free menu swap is being hosted by Book of Yum and the ingredient of the week is eggplant!  One of my favorites!  I have done so many things with eggplant recently.  I could eat it daily and be happy.  Here I ate it sauteed with other veggies over quinoa & sweet potato.  Here is an Easy Eggplant Parmesan that I am hopefully making for lunches this week.  I also like it on pizza or used as the “bread” for a portabello mushroom burger.  Thanks for hosting this week, Sea!

Here is my plan for the week:

Sunday ~ Burgers (recipe t0 follow), sweet potato steak fries, fresh green beans, raspberries w/chocolate ice cream

Monday ~BBQ chicken breast, baked brown rice, broccoli & salad

Tuesday~Spaghetti/Easy Eggplant Parmesan, asparagus & salad

Wednesday~Leftovers

Thursday~Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, parmesan garlic potatoes, corn on the cob & salad

Friday ~Pizza night (most likely homemade)

Saturday~Maybe Chipotle!

 

Baked Goods

More Zucchini Bread

No-bake Oatmeal Cookies (recipe to follow)

New recipe from cookbook that I am reviewing..will share later this week..top secret! SHH!!

 

I hope you all have a great week!  Don’t forget to stop by Orgjunkie for more fun menu ideas.  :)

 

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Review: Bonefish Grill

Aaron & I had date night last night!!  It has been a long time since we have gone out on a “date”, so it was about time.  We chose to go to Bonefish Grill.  We have dined at Bonefish Grill many times since going gluten-free. 

For a drink, I ordered the Chocolate Martini.  I decided to be adventurous, as I normally order wine.  Well, I should have stuck with wine.  While the Chocolate Martini was very impressive looking, it was way too strong.  Aaron called me a light weight, I think the bartender has a heavy hand. ;) 

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I opted instead to go with a glass of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio.  It was much better!

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Bonefish Grill has a special running through the end of the month.  You can order off of a special menu for $18/person and you get the choice of appetizer (from 2, neither were GF, but they were nice enough to allow us to swap the Saucy Shrimp for the non-GF apps), choice of salad & choice of entree from 3 or 4 listed. 

Here is our Saucy Shrimp (shrimp sauteed in a lime tomato garlic sauce with kalamata olives, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes):

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This appetizer was amazing!  I loved the combo of flavors going on.  Even Aaron liked it! 

The house salad was great, too!  It included greens, kalamata olives, tomatoes, pine nuts, hearts of palm & citrus vinaigrette.  You can have feta or blue cheese added for an additional charge.  The salad is a nice, unique blend of vegetables, nuts & cheese that you don’t typically see.  The dressing has a nice zing to it and isn’t overly oily.

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For dinner I ordered the salmon with lemon butter (on the side) and haricot verts.  Aaron ordered the scallops & shrimp, herbed jasmine rice & garlic mashed potatoes.  We were fully intending on sharing our meals.  We went as far to ask for no seasonal garnish, because the garnish with the zucchini & tomatoes is not gluten-free per the menu.  Well, guess what?  Aaron’s came out with the garnish.  Sigh.  Not as big of a deal as if it were my plate, but still, they didn’t know that.  It was disappointing because we were really looking forward to sharing and it would take way too long to send his back & have it remade.  We had a movie to catch at 8:10.  The food was cooked well & tasted great, but I am growing more & more frustrated with issues like this.  I was so irritated that I forgot to take a picture of my entree!! LOL!! 

While the food at Bonefish is very good and the gluten-free menu fairly large, this seems to be a common theme for them.  Of all the times we have dined at Bonefish over the past year or so, we have never had a dish where the plate came out just as it was supposed to.  Most often the plate has had to be sent back because it was for someone with Celiac and just removing the item from the plate isn’t good enough.  It seems as if some brushing up on the gluten-free menu & procedures is in order.

After dinner we headed over to the movie theater and saw The Hangover.  OMG…that movie had me laughing the whole way through!  I haven’t laughed like that in a very long time. 

We had a great night out!  I am giving a shout out to my Mother-in-law & Father-in-law who watched our kids last night.  THANK YOU!! 

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I have also written a more “formal” review of Bonefish Grill on The Examiner if you want to check that out. 

 

Gluten-free Zucchini Bread

Remember a few weeks back when a friend gave me a zucchini the size of a baseball bat?  Well, I ended up with another one and a yellow summer squash that is the same size.  I needed to find a way to use the zucchini before it went bad.  I shredded the zucchini in my food processor & went to work. 

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I had received an email earlier in the month with a great looking zucchini bread from Pamela’s Baking Mix.  I chose to use this recipe & modify it slightly to my needs.  Here is what I did:

2 cups Pamela’s Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix

2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups grated zucchini, blossom end removed
1/3 cup oil + 1 TBSP coconut oil (I used Tropical Traditions)
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Whisk together Pamela’s  Baking Mix, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and sugar for one minute on medium. Stir in vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a batter. Fold in grated zucchini .

Pour into greased loaf pan (8×4) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan & place on wire rack.

NOTE: This bread is very moist. You can lessen the moisture by squeezing grated zucchini in paper towels to absorb some of the water before mixing into the batter. Also, I doubled this recipe & only added chocolate chips to half of the batter.  I added nuts to the other half.  YUM!!

Variation: You can make these into muffins by filling greased muffin tins and baking for 30 – 35 minutes. 

This bread rocks!!  Jon loved it and is consuming it at an alarming rate. 

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More Zucchini ideas:

I still had 4 cups of shredded zucchini left, even after doubling this recipe!!!  I used some on my salads.  I used some as pasta & topped with leftover taco meat, black beans, cheese, black olives & tomatoes.  Delish!  It could be used to make zucchini pancakes or waffles.  The possibilities are endless.  Now I know what to do with my baseball bat of a yellow summer squash, too! 

 

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

 

 

Random Thoughts

How was everyone’s week?  I hope it went well.  :)  Things were a little crazy in our family this week.  My sister delivered twin boys on Wednesday!!  Welcome Baby Wyatt & Baby Jack!!  They were premature, so they will be in the NICU for a while.  They just need to grow!  Congrats to Kelly, Greg & Noah!!

Baby Wyatt

Wyatt

Baby Jack

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I have a bunch of small things to chat about, so I thought I would lump them into one post. 

-Lara Bar Tropical Fruit Tart – One of the 3 new Lara Bar flavors.  I tried this the other day while running errands and was almost instantly transported to a tropical paradise (in my mind).  ;)  LOL!  What a nice treat this bar is!!  A definite favorite here.  I can’t decide what my favorites are now….LOL!  I am loving the PB & J Lara Bar, too! 

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-Clif Shot Bloks – as my long runs increase, I need some kind of portable food to fuel me during my run.  I have tried the Gu Gels and while I liked them, I can’t handle the caffeine in the Gu.  I don’t drink any caffeinated beverages & the addition of these Gu gels was wrecking havoc on my whole day.  Clif Shot Bloks & Shots don’t have caffeine unless you specifically buy the ones with the caffeine in them.  I tried the Cran Razz Shot Blocks this AM and they worked great!!  I took 3 before my run and 3 during my run.  There are 6 in a pack for $2/pack (but there are 2 servings in a pack, making them comparable to the gels).  I also bought some of the Clif Gels to try out next week. 

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-Chipotle update note:  I had mentioned the other day in my review that the chips, taco shells & one salsa were not gluten-free.  This is NOT the case.  Everything is gluten-free except the flour tortillas!!  Going to get my chip on here in the next few days!  Go Chipotle!!! 

-Let’s talk okra for a minute.  I have grown up loving okra.  When I was between the ages of 4-8, we lived in Texas & my Dad grew okra in our garden.  Then my Mom would make fried okra.  Pure heaven.  Moving to New Jersey in 3rd grade was tough as it was with a Southern accent.  Then add to that that you can’t get fried okra anywhere and you have torture!  LOL!  I remember loving going on vacation anywhere where I could get some fried okra.  Enough about my childhood.  Since I have grown up, I have grown to like okra without it being fried.  I love it sauteed, as you can see here in my okra medley.   The other day I was reading some blogs on my Google reader (thanks to whoever recommended that…it rocks!) and saw a few eating whole, raw okra dipped in ketchup.  I had to try this.  So, for lunch yesterday in addition to my deli wrap, I had raw okra dipped in ketchup.  It was awesome!!  So crisp & crunchy!!  Why haven’t I tried this before?  Naturally gluten-free, too!!

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-Cherbourg Bakery is now in 2 new locations in Columbus!!!  See my Examiner post for more info.

Upcoming posts:

  • Zucchini Bread (YUM)
  • Udi’s product review (amazing!)
  • Menu Plan Monday
  • So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream Review

Hope you all have a great weekend!!!  Any special plans?  Aaron & I have date night planned tomorrow night!  Dinner out & we are seeing The Hangover.  I can’t wait!

School Starts Tomorrow

Today was a day of fun for the kids and I.  This was officially the last day of summer.  I had planned out a fun day for us all.  This morning we had pedicure time for the divas:

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Then we headed out to Chipotle for a super yummy lunch!  This was the first time that we have eaten there gluten-free and I was very impressed.  You can read more on The Examiner in my new article.  I will tease you with a picture of my yumminess…..

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The gluten-free boy is in heaven (see our bottle of Ortega Taco Sauce that we brought?):

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Hannah not liking her cheese quesadilla (not gluten-free) so much without ketchup.  Note to self:  bring ketchup next time, too!

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After our awesome lunch, we headed over to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert.  The kids each got love it sizes (way too much, but I had a buy 1 get 1 coupon from the entertainment book) with 4 mix-ins.  Hey, it was a special day. LOL!  I myself stuck with the smaller like it size and should have chose the kids size instead….that was still too much.  I had to have the dark chocolate with Heath bar mixed in.  So rich & satisfying! 

I had a great time today with the kids and I hope they had as much fun as I did.  :)  I think we just started a new tradition. 

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Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom had a wonderful post that I have to talk about today.  She made her own GF Happy Meals!  What a brilliant idea!  Jon is a little old for this idea, but I know a lot of others have young kids that are gluten-free and can’t have the Happy Meals.  I wanted you all to see what Heidi came up with.  Please head over to her blog & read her amazing idea!  WTG Heidi! 

 

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Odd Notes

First on the agenda…I had to choose 2 new winners for the Fiber One Yogurt contest b/c 2 of the 3 winners did not contact me & left me no way to contact them.  The new winners are:

Krysten H of Brunch at Tiffany’s.  Krysten said “My favorite snack is a toss up between Pamela’s GF brownies (from the mix) and Tropical Source dark chocolate rice crisp bars. I cannot control myself with those bars & they break into triangles, not squares, so when I eat the chocolate I wind up getting it on my face since it’s at an angle. Very attractive.”

Carri of The Five of Us.  Carri said “Cheese nachos. Particularly – the Blue Garden of Eaten (not baked) chips and Sargento Mexican Blend cheese…….now – don’t you want to go and make some???”

Carri & Krysten, I am sending emails to you.  Please get back to me with your addresses ASAP so I can get them to My Blog Spark to send out your prizes!!

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Found some amazing deals at Meijer today on gluten-free goodies.  Glutino pasta: $.72.  We bought all 8 boxes.  Glutino Pizza Breadsticks: $1.19.   Bought the only one they had.  Lundberg Brown Rice Cakes: $.72.  Bought the last 2.  Perky’s Nutty Rice cereal: $72.  Bought the only 1 they had.  HUGE savings!!!  We have no idea why they were marked that low.  The other flavors of the same products were there and marked at normal prices ($4.79 for the Nutty Flax Cereal).   

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Menu Plan ~ August 23, 2009

The time has come…..school starts this week!!  WOOHOO!!!  Not all of us in the house are doing the “Back-to-School Boogie”….Jon would prefer to keep right on going with his summer vacation.  Sorry, Charlie!  While I have enjoyed the summer with the kids, I am excited to get back into more of a routine.  The school supplies have been purchased and the backpacks are packed.  Now all we need is for Wednesday to get here! 

This week  Asparagus Thin is hosting the gluten-free menu swap.  She chose grapes as her ingredient theme of the week.  I love grapes!  My new favorite grape is the champagne grape, which I have been using on my salads!  YUM!!  I talk about them here.  I plan on continuing to use them in my salads this week.  I also have some seedless red grapes that I am probably going to freeze for fun snacks this week. 

I have some news that really disappointed me today.  I had written a while back  that I was so excited that Meijer’s Rotisserie Chicken was gluten-free…the original only had 4 0r 5 ingredients on the list, all clearly gluten-free.  Well, today I went to buy our Sunday night chicken and went to check the ingredients like I always do and what do you know, they changed them!!  Now there was a huge list for the “spices” and wheat flour was the 3rd one on the list!!  WHY????  What was wrong with the way it was??  If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!!  I was trying to find a manager on duty, but decided it would be best to email after Aaron convinced me of it.  So, that scrapped our dinner for tonight.  I did buy a roasting chicken so I could make my own this week.  Close in price, just more work for me.  Oh well.  I should be used to it by now.  This just goes to show you why it is very important to check the labels on everything you buy & eat every single time. 

Sunday ~ Chicken Parmesan a la Aaron.  :)  Spaghetti, green beans & salad on the side

Monday ~ Kim meeting friend at Whole Foods; leftovers for the family

Tuesday ~ Filet mignon, broccoli, sweet potatoes & salad

Wednesday ~ Tacos or Mexican Pizza, beans & salad

Thursday ~ Apricot Glazed Pork Loin, parmesan potatoes, asparagus & salad

Friday ~ Breakfast for dinner (pancakes or omelets)

Saturday ~ Out

Baked Goods

Haven’t gotten this far yet!  HA!!  I would love to make some more chia muffins or banana bread this week. 

Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots more menu ideas. 

Hope you have a great week!!

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Z Pizza – A Gluten-Free Party & Review

Last night I met up with a bunch of other Celiac/gluten-free people in Columbus.  These are all people that I have met online, either through the blog world or Twitter.  It was so great to put faces (and voices) with names and to meet some of their friends and/or family members.  Jay at The Gluten-free Post was nice enough to organize this function with Z Pizza for us. 

Once we all said “Hello” and sat down, we were given the gluten-free menu to browse over.  I was very impressed by the selection of items that were gluten-free.  Almost every style of pizza on the menu could be modified to be gluten-free.  Heaven!!  Also, they offered 2 different gluten-free beer choices!!  They had New Grist and Bard’s Tale

I started off with a Greek salad.  I was so excited about all the choices, I totally forgot to take a picture of it!  HA!  Aaron stayed home with the kids and I brought a co-worker of his who also has Celiac, Lindsay.  Lindsay has only been gluten-free for 4 months, so she had yet to experience gluten-free beer.  Lindsay & I decided on 2 different pizzas to share.  We ordered the Moroccan. (basil, eggplant, mozzarella, feta cheese, pesto & pine nuts) and the Mediterranean (mozzarella, feta, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, Greek olives, pili pili oil, and oregano. 

The Moroccan:

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The Mediterranean:

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The pizzas were amazing.  There is nothing like beer & pizza.  Lindsay said she was “in heaven”!  Lots of good sounds coming from the table at Z Pizza last night. 

As we were finishing up our chatting & dinner, the staff brought out some cookies for us.  We all looked around like wondering if they were gluten-free and sure enough, they were!  Coconut Macaroons & Peanut Butter cookies.  OMG…they were amazing!!  I asked where they got them from and turns out that they make them there!  This place just kept getting better & better.  This is a definite repeat visit place.  THANK YOU Z PIZZA & JAY!!!

After dinner some of us walked a few blocks down to Jeni’s Ice Creams.  I have never seen so many unique flavors!!  I had to sample several before I made up my mind.  I sampled the Sweet & Salty Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Lemon & Blueberries and a Pear & Riesling Sorbet.  They were all amazing, but the Dark Chocolate was amazing…so smooth & rich!  I got a kids size cup because I was already stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.  I seriously could have done without the salad, but I had to have it! LOL! 

This was a great night!  Great company, conversation & food.  It was so nice to meet everyone and I hope to see you all again at the next dinner or get together. 

Gluten-free Restaurant Review: Marcella’s

Last night 2 of my BFF’s and I went out for our monthly dinner at Marcella’s.  Marcella’s is one of the many restaurants in the Cameron Mitchell Restaurant group.  We try to choose new places or ones that we don’t dine at frequently for our monthly dinners.  It is a great way to stay connected to each other; life is too short to not spend good times with your friends. 

Upon arriving, I asked the hostess if they had a printed gluten-free menu or if  the manager would be able to go over the menu with me.  While they didn’t have a gluten-free menu, the did have gluten-free pasta!!!  WHAT?  OMG!  I have  never eaten in a restaurant that serves gluten-free pasta.  I almost fainted right there and think that I did actually jump up & down and maybe even let out a little shriek.  I hope that I didn’t scare the hostess too much! LOL! 

Check out the menu:

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I looked at the menu for a long time.  I couldn’t decide what to have.  I was told that they could pretty much modify anything on the menu to be gluten-free (with the exception of the breads & fried stuff, obviously).  There were so many choices, which is odd, because normally there are only a handful of things that are gluten-free on the menu.  The pasta is penne style and is also soy-free.  I wanted to eat pasta because I had never had pasta out since going gluten-free, but the Seafood Risotto was calling my name.  Additionally, I had just had a tuna pasta creation for lunch because I was not expecting to have pasta as an option for dinner.  I settled on the Seafood Risotto.  For an appetizer we ordered the prosciutto & melon and then a chopped salad, too.

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The melon was perfect…crisp & flavorful and the proscuitto was the perfect pairing. 

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The salad was made up of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, gorgonzola & a yummy house vinaigrette. 

Here is my Seafood Risotto:

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Do you see the big, succulent pieces of shrimp & lobster?

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The Seafood Risotto has lobster, shrimp, white wine, parmesan reggiano and tomatoes.  Completely & totally amazing.  Super creamy.  Gordon Ramsay would be proud of this risotto!!  (Hell’s Kitchen fans will catch that reference.) ;)

Dessert offerings for the gluten-free crowd were a few flavors of gelato, including pistachio and chocolate.  Unfortunately I was too full to enjoy any.  Yes, I, Kim was too full.  That is not something that occurs frequently with me.  LOL!  I did finish all of my salad and most of that large bowl of risotto, though.

Marcella’s is definitely a place that I will be dining at frequently.  I can’t wait to go back now!  Only problem is that I want to have that risotto again, but I also want to try a bunch of other stuff! 

Once again, well done Cameron Mitchell, well done.  :)  Now if we could just get some gluten-free pizza there, I might just eat all of my meals there!  HA!  ;)

 

 

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