Baked Yams with Lime & Honey

There is nothing I like more than finding a recipe that is naturally gluten-free without having to modify it. Not that it is difficult to modify all recipes to make them gluten-free, but I find it almost comforting to not have to worry about it. Today was the night that I had filet mignon on the menu. I had planned on sweet potatoes, but couldn’t find them at the store. I did find yams, though. I know that now that they are interchangeable, but I didn’t earlier today. See, it really is true that you learn something new every day. ;) So I began to search the net for a recipe for baked yams of some sort. I came across this amazing recipe on Food Network.com.

Baked Yams with Lime and Honey Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

3 large yams (about 4 pounds) ~ I used 2 large
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons honey ~ I used 4 Tbsp
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature ~ I used 2 Tbsp
Juice of 4 limes ~ I used 3 small limes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt ~ I used 3/4 tsp
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ~ I used 1/4 tsp
Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the yams and place in a baking dish with the water. Bake until the potatoes are soft and the skins puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside to cool slightly (leave the oven on).
Peel the yams and place in a medium baking dish. Add the honey, butter, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and mash well with a potato masher. Cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle the top with sour cream and serve hot.

Here is a picture of it straight out of the oven:

And my plate with filet mignon and green beans:

Now, onto the fun gluten-free beverage…..a Red Bridge beer!! I was never a huge beer drinker before, but tell me I can’t have one and boy, I really want one! LOL! I do like an ice cold beer every now and then, and tonight was “now”. ;)

Oh and I can’t forget my plate full of tomato slices. :) I have them coming out my ears, you know, so no meal is complete without them for now.

A Successful Dinner Out

So last night we met my Mom and Step Dad for dinner because they were bringing Jon back to us from Dayton. We met at P.F. Chang’s since they have a great gluten-free menu and we had a gift certificate and a free appetizer coupon. We ordered the gluten-free lettuce wraps for an appetizer. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and made sure to bring out the gluten-free soy sauce for us. The lettuce wraps were amazing. I tried to get a picture, but it didn’t come out. For the main course I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles and Snow Peas with Garlic. Jon ordered Philip’s Better Lemon chicken with no lemon pieces (LOL) and his broccoli on the side. God forbid the broccoli have the sauce on it. Then he says he didn’t like the taste of the broccoli. Well, duh….it is plain, steamed, un-seasoned broccoli. Needless to say, I took the broccoli off of his hands and added it to my dish. For dessert Jon ordered the Flourless Chocolate Dome (sans raspberry sauce, berries & cream ~ Silly boy!). I had a couple bites….YUM!!!

Some pictures:

Singapore Street Noodles:

Jon and his beloved dessert:

By the time dinner was over, Jon was ready to go home to bed. This is my child who never sleeps. He has never been a good sleeper. Never wanted to nap as a young child, always fought going to bed. Well, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe wore him out! He golfed twice, went to the driving range, played putt putt, swam and stayed up way too late. He was worn out by 2 grandparents! LOL! Here he is trying to get some rest after dinner:

We came home and he was in bed before I could even tell him to get ready for bed. There was no arguing. No fighting. No sound. Nothing. I think we may have found a solution to all of our problems. So, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe, hope you are up for Jon again this weekend. ;)

Garlic Pork Roast with Parmesan Cheese & Pea Risotto

So my menu plan for the week was derailed once again, but for a good meal. I had planned on making grilled chicken Thursday night, but when pork loin roast was on sale for $1.89/pound, I couldn’t pass it up! I bought a 5.5 pound roast and put half in the crockpot and made pork loin chops out of the rest, froze and will cook next week. I found this crockpot pork recipe this week when browsing through a slow cooker cookbook that Betty Crocker wrote.

Garlic Pork Roast (serves 10)

3.5 pound pork boneless loin roast
1 TBSP vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium onion (I omitted this b/c my body doesn’t like onions and my family would leave me if I served them anything with visible onions in it)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup chicken broth or water (I used broth; the Great Value brand says “Gluten-free” right on the side)

1. Trim excess fat from pork. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in oil about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with S & P.

2. Place onion & garlic in 3.5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Place pork on onion & garlic. Pour broth over pork.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 – 10 hours or until pork is tender. I cooked mine just over 8 hours and it was fall apart tender. It would have probably been fine after 6-7 hours.

This was super yummy and everyone liked it!! Another bonus, 1 serving is only 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Parmesan & Pea Risotto (This has been modified from Lundberg’s Basic Risotto Recipe)

1 cup Lundberg Arborio White Rice
1 TBSP EVOO
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4-5 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 cup to 1 cup frozen green peas

Heat EVOO in a heavy, non-stick, 2 quart pot. Add rice and stir rice until grains are coated with oil. Add wine and stir constantly on medium heat until wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot broth, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, adding the remaing liquid, 1 cup at a time. This rice creates its own creamy sauce; add additional liquid if more sauce is desired. Add frozen peas and stir during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately. Yields 3 cups or 5-6 servings.

Everyone loved the risotto except for Hannah b/c she despises frozen peas. She wanted me to exhange her frozen peas for some canned peas. LOL!

I had a bunch of steamed mixed veggies and a salad on the side.

Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping

When I first started to eat gluten-free, grocery shopping became a very tedious, time consuming task. I dreaded it. I compiled a very large 3-ring binder full of foods that were safe for me to eat. I had my list of companies that clearly label gluten, but what about store brands? I typically do all my shopping at Meijer, but occasionally will shop at Wal-Mart, Kroger or Giant Eagle. Meijer has a great list of all of their GF store brand items. It is nice to have the choice of buying the store brand to try and save a little money. One thing that the gluten-free diet isn’t is cheap. Kroger has some great info on the gluten-free diet and their Private Label gluten-free list. They also have a list of available gluten-free specialty items offered in their stores (I am sure that this can vary by store, but you may be able to have them get something specific for your location). They have really come a long way in making it easier to shop at a mainstream grocery store. Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand labels their products now. It is so nice to turn over a package and see “gluten-free” staring right back up at you! It really makes shopping so much less stressful. Giant Eagle does offer some gluten-free specialty products and deli meats. I don’t usually buy meat from the deli due to cross contamination risk. I do occasionally buy some of their specialty items, especially the Chebe bread mixes when I need them.

When I can’t get the specialty items I am looking for in the mainstream grocery stores, I will venture over to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Raisin Rack. Trader Joe’s has a gluten-free list. They have some great pancakes, waffles and pastas. They are nicely priced for gluten-free foods too. Whole Foods has great lists for special diets. Their Whole Foods Bakehouse frozen pie crusts are amazing and even my picky glutenoid relatives were amazed. They are a little on the pricey side, but it is nice to have options out there. Raisin Rack is an amazing store. They have the largest gluten-free specialty food selection in the state of Ohio and some surrounding states. They will order in products upon request (loved the GF Conte’s Ravioli). I am going to work on them for this Rustic Crust pizza crust very soon. I do some shopping online, mostly at Amazon.com for items in bulk. This is where I buy my Pamela’s bread mix and pancake & baking mix. I buy in bulk and signed up for the subscription service. This makes the mixes between $3 and $4/each. Very reasonable and if you are going to be using them a lot, well worth the cost. Also, you always get free shipping when using the subscription service through Amazon.

So, since I started the gluten-free diet 2 and a half years ago, grocery shopping has become much easier and much less stressful. Part of it is the experience, part of it is better availability of products and the growing knowledge and incidence of Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet.

The First Day of School!!!!

12 hours and counting until the 2 children who live in this house are back at school! Hannah is so stinkin’ excited she can barely contain herself. Jon, not so much. He is dreading it and will probably fight going to bed tonight like we have never seen before. Like he can postpone school by not going to bed. I really don’t know what he is trying to accomplish by acting out at bedtime. I mean, come on, he is 12 and knows the program. What, are we all of a sudden going to say “Fine, stay up and skip school!”?

So, being the nice mother that I am, I am going to make sure that my kids start the day off right with a nice, warm breakfast. I made a huge batch of gluten-free pancakes on Monday from Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix. I used milk instead of the water it called for. I let them cool and then froze them in individual serving packets (Jon eats 3 at a sitting). He can then heat them up in the microwave all by himself. Hannah likes these pancakes too, but isn’t a huge breakfast eater. I see her eating a few bites of cereal, drinking some milk and going on her merry way.

Pancakes:

Now, I will probably have some of my newfound love, Lara’s GF Oatmeal. I wasn’t a huge oatmeal fan before going gluten-free. In fact, I don’t recall ever eating oatmeal, except for my Mom telling me I ate it as a baby. Well, in my quest to eat healthy, I thought I would give it a try. At the very least I could make granola out of the oats or use them in cookies if I hated the oatmeal in hot cereal form. So, I tried them the other day…WOW…I was impressed. I used 1/4 cup of oats, 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup low-fat milk, 1 tsp brown sugar, dash of vanilla and topped with 1/3 cup blueberries and a sprinkle of walnuts. YUM!! Here is a nice picture to show you what I will be doing again for breakfast tomorrow!

Lara’s GF Oatmeal:

All dressed up with my goodies:

I do need to add that not all people with Celiac disease can tolerate oats. So far I don’t seem to have any issues with it, surprisingly since my stomach is very sensitive. Jon won’t try them, so I don’t know how he would react, as he is the super sensitive one.

So as I drift off to sleep tonight, I will be dreaming of my nice hot breakfast together with my kids on their first day of 1st grade and 7th grade. Sniff, sniff.

Chinese Take Out

Gotta love being able to call and get Chinese take out. That is one thing I have really missed since going gluten-free. I still have yet to find a GF egg roll, but I will take what I can get. Last night on the way home from King’s Island I was really tired and couldn’t fathom cooking & cleaning up, so I suggested Pei Wei Asian Diner for dinner. Pei Wei is run by P.F. Changs. Convenienty I keep a carry-out menu in my glovebox. I love the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken or the Pei Wei Spicy Chicken salad. Jon really likes the Pei Wei Sweet & Sour. Some locations even carry gluten-free soy sauce, you just need to ask for it. I keep La Choy Soy Sauce at home for when we get Chinese take out. It is like heaven on earth.

We really like P.F. Chang’s too, but there really isn’t one close by to our house. Not only do they have a pretty extensive GF menu, they have an amazing dessert too. It is a flourless chocolate dome. Whenever we go we have to get more than one b/c Jon doesn’t really like to share his dome. :) I don’t blame him. It is one of the few places he can safely order dessert out. I have tried many of the items on P.F. Chang’s menu, but really like the Singapore Street Noodles the best. Some of the other good dishes are Philip’s Better Lemon Chicken, Ginger Broccoli, Chang’s Spicy Chicken and don’t forget the lettuce wraps. They also have gluten-free soy sauce, just make sure to ask your server to get it from the back, the soy on the table is not GF.

The Gluten Wish List

Every once in a while when Jon and I get frustrated with eating gluten-free, we will make a list of all of the things that we would eat if we had one day to eat gluten. We both realize that unless there is some major medical/pharmaceutical development, this will never happen, but it is fun to daydream. So with our upcoming King’s Island trip, I began to think about what I would eat if I could. My list is not going to be limited to what I can find at King’s Island, KI just inspired me to daydream about gluten. Here is my list….let’s see how long it is:

Charley’s Chicken Philly & Fries
Pizza Hut Pan Pizza & Boneless Spicy BBQ wings
Whole grain bread (weird, I know, but once you have eaten GF bread, this sounds gread)
Sourdough bread (never knew how much I would miss this one…..when we go out to eat and the server places a nice, hot, fresh basket of sourdough on the table, I will pick it up and just let the wonderful aroma drift upwards towards my face)
Cheesecake (yes, I know I can make it GF and it is excellent, but I miss ordering it out)
Hot Soft Pretzel (have yet to find a replacement)
Pretzels
Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich with cheese & mayo
McD’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich
Egg McMuffin
Flour Tortillas (love Chipotle burritos)
Kringle (the pasty filled with fruit, topped with icing that you eat around the Holidays)
Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts
Panera Bread Bagels or a good bagel in general
Amstel Light Beer
Nathan’s Hot Dogs

Jon’s List:

Pop-Tarts
Waffles
Pancakes
Donuts
Pizza (in all shapes and forms)
Chicken Fingers
Cake
Cookies
Pop-Tarts
Charley’s Fries & Philly
Did I mention Pop-Tarts?

Now, I am sure you are catching a theme by now. None of the above is healthy, except maybe the whole grain bread. So, if there is a silver lining in our gluten-free cloud, it is that we eat pretty healthy now.

I like mine with lettuce and tomato…..

Ah…Cheeseburger in Paradise. One of my favorite songs and one of my favorite restaraunts to eat at. I loved this place even before I had to eat gluten-free. The burgers rock! Imagine my surprise the first time I went in there after starting the gluten-free diet and they handed me a gluten-free menu. I swear that I almost fainted. I had gone months without french fries. Yes, I had fries at home, but they weren’t the deep fried yummy potato goodness that you get from a restaraunt. I was in french fry heaven! We started to make CIP a weekly treat, after my daughter’s ice skating class and now, 2+ years later, we are still going at least once per week. I have had the burgers (love the bacon and cheddar burger and fries), Carribean chicken sandwich, Son of a Sailor salad with grilled shrimp, Parrot Beach Salmon and Blackbeard’s Shrimp. I am on a salmon kick now, so I start with the side sald with citrus vinaigrette and then have the blackened salmon and steamed broccoli. I got to know the staff very well at the location we visit. They even went as far as to order in the gluten-free beer, Red Bridge! Jon loves to eat here too. He gets a plain cheeseburger, fries and house salad with the house vinaigrette, which he loves so much he gets extra to take home! He will occasionally get the Jamaican Root Beer sans coconut as a treat. When we go to CIP, we usually have the same server and she knows what we want without us having to tell her. She knows what to watch for and makes sure our food comes out properly. It is so nice to be able to eat out regularly without having to worry about getting sick. Jon is really sensitive and seems to get sick every time we eat at Bonefish, though he still begs to go back. We have yet to have a problem with CIP (knocking on wood). I know it is risky to eat out due to cross contamination issues, but I don’t want to live in a bubble either.

Speaking of eating out. In a few days we are heading to Kings Island for Aaron’s company picnic. They provide lunch, very scary for anyone with any kind of food sensitivity or issue. We plan on brining in a cooler with lunch for Jon and I and a doctor’s note so that we are allowed to bring food in, as it says right on the website that no food or drink may be brought into the park. The kids are really looking forward to going. Let’s hope we don’t have any issues getting the cooler in or Jon and I will be having an awful lot of Graeter’s Ice Cream and Starbucks coffees during the day! LOL! Come to think of it, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? I plan on packing roast beef sandwiches on the bread that I made yesterday, along with some fresh fruit, baby carrots and chips (either Cool Ranch Doritos or Blue Corn Chips). Maybe I will make the brownie mix I have sitting in the pantry from Trader Joe’s. Ooooh……I bet I can top one of those with a big scoop of ice cream from Graeter’s…..I think I just might! I will probably pack some Lara Bars for snack. Jon’s favorites are chocolate mint, lemon, key lime pie and peanut butter cookie. I love the chocolate coffee, cashew cookie, chocolate, pecan pie, cinnamon roll and gingersnap. I love they are a whole serving of fruit! It is helpful to disguise fruit in any way possible for picky eaters like Jon. :)

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