Gluten-Free Granola Bar Review

If you have been gluten-free for any amount of time, whether it be a few months or many years, you are well aware that a gluten-free granola bar can be hard to find. There are many “bar” products, but I have seen very few that are granola, mostly because gluten-free oats are expensive and have only become more readily available. Some companies make them without using oats at all, like the granola bars made by Bakery On Main. I found these the other day at Raisin Rack, my local health food store. They were not cheap, $5.99, but were on sale for $3.99, so I decided to give them a shot. I bought the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip variety, as PB & chocolate are 2 of my very favorite things. These bars were suprisingly very good. Both Jon and I have blown through a whole box in less than a few days. They aren’t like the Nature Valley Chewy Granola bars that I used to eat in my pre-GF days, but they were a nice treat. Not only are they GF, but they are casein free and dairy free, as well. They are 140 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per bar (no trans fats) and do have 1g of fiber per bar. A very nice grab & go treat to have on hand.

Also, Bakery On Main has 2 other varieties of the granola bars that are GF and bags of granola in many flavors. I actually have a bag of the Extreme Fruit & Nut in my pantry just waiting to be opened! I will make sure to write a review on it after both Jon & I try it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Bread

This is my all-time-favorite fall treat. Pumpkin bread. I remember my Mom making it when I was younger and I would eat it for breakfast or for snack when I got home from school. I would spread a little Country Crock (b/c that is what my Mom bought) on it and chow down. YUM! I have now modified the recipe that my Mom used to be gluten-free. I am in heaven! I even “gifted” some to a neighbor today for helping me out and she loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, she isn’t GF and didn’t realize the bread was GF until I told her. I froze the remaining 1.5 loaves so that I wouldn’t eat them in one sitting, b/c I could easily do so. I plan on sharing with my Mom when she is here this coming weekend to visit. I am thinking about topping it with Edy’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin Ice Cream and maybe some Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Oooooooh!

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can (1 lb pumpkin)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cup flour (I used a rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour mix)
3 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsps baking soda
1 ยฝ tsps salt
ยฝ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 cup raisin

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 9x5x3 inch loaf pans or 3 8.5×4.5×2.5 inch loaf pans. In large bowl, cream shortening & sugar until fluffy. Stir in eggs, pumpkin & water. Blend in flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon & cloves. Stir in nuts & raisins. Pour into pans. Bake about 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Gluten-Free Candy

Halloween is quickly approaching. Soon those little ones will be Trick-or-Treating and bringing home all kinds of treats. Melonie over at the Yahoo Silly Yaks group compiles a list of Gluten-Free Candy each year so that we know what is safe for us and our kiddos to eat. I am so thankful for this list. Having it all in one place makes life so much easier. You don’t have to call or email the companies or be put on hold. Thanks Melonie for all of your hard work, it is much appreciated.

Gluten-Free Candy List 2008

Editing to add that several people told me the link wasn’t working. It should be working now. Please let me know if it isn’t.

Meal Plan Monday ~ October 27, 2008

Another busy week ahead. Hockey practice, ice skating, hockey games and I am having surgery on Friday, hopefully in the AM. It is an outpatient procedure, so I hope to be home before the kids get home from school. I have to have my left sub-mandibular salivary gland removed b/c I have a small cyst on it. Apparently the only way to tell if the cyst is malignant or not is to remove it. Nice. Anyway, enough about that. My focus this week is just on getting through the week. Tonight, Sunday, we had leftovers. ๐Ÿ™‚ There is no “main” ingredient this week. I am planning on 2 desserts/baked goods to have made before Friday. That way I have treats, along with candy from Halloween, to snack on while recovering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunday ~Leftovers (pork loin roast, creamy pumpkin brown rice & veggies)

Monday ~ Salmon (most likely grilled), sweet potatoes (probably baked), steamed green beans & salad

Tuesday ~ Filet Mignon on the grill, baked potatoes, sauteed zucchini & salad

Wednesday ~ Eating out after skating & hockey

Thursday ~ Roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies & salad

Friday ~ Whatever my Mom makes or gets take out, maybe Pei Wei.

Saturday ~ My Mom is making her homemade beef pot pie, gluten-free. I can’t wait!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Baked goods for the week:

Pumpkin Raisin Bread
Homemade Chocolate Pudding (recipe by GingerLemonGirl)
Pumpkin Pudidng (this is a Jell-O mix that I came across… all know I am a sucker for pumpkin!)

Brunch at Panera Bread ~ Gluten-Free!

Today I went to Panera bread to meet up with a couple of friends. I am always leary of places like this because there is such a large potential for cross-contamination with gluten due to all of the bread in the place (and in the name of the establishment ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). However, I received an email the other day from a nice woman, named Pat, at Panera Bread who gave me a list of items on their menu that would be safe for me to eat, proper precautions taken to avoid CC, of course. It was nice to have a choice of what I wanted to eat and drink, not be “forced” to make a decision based on the one or two things that were GF. Here is a list of what gluten-free items they have:

GLUTEN FREE LIST – Panera Bread **

**Although we do our very best to meet your special requirements, we cannot rule out the possibility of cross contact between these items and gluten-containing foods in our bakery-cafรฉ.

Salads: (including the salad dressing)
(source of modified food starch is corn)
Greek Salad
Fandango Salad
Caesar Salad (without croutons)
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (without croutons)
Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (without Won Ton noodles)
Classic Cafe Salad
Strawberry Poppyseed Salad
Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken
Fuji Apple Chicken Salad
California Mission Chicken Salad
Orchard Harvest Chicken Salad

Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean
Cuban Black Bean and Lentil
Vegetarian Roasted Red Pepper & Lentil
Vegetarian Butternut Squash
Creamy Tomato (without croutons)
Low-Fat Vegetarian Southwest Tomato & Roasted Corn
Turkey Chickpea Chili
Summer Corn Chowder

Salad Dressings:
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roasted Garlic & Meyer’s Lemon Vinaigrette

Juice, both apple and orange
Soda, fountain and bottled
Tea, regular and Chai Tea
All lattes & Frozen beverages
Strawberry Smoothie

I ended up enjoying the Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup and Half Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (sans wontons & sesame seeds) and a Chai Latte to drink. It was amazing. I know that may seem silly, it is just soup and salad. I think it was more the experience. I have been gluten-free almost 3 years and have never eaten at Panera during that time. I am glad I took this step and have another choice to add of my list of establishments that I can dine out at. BTW, I have never had a Chai Latte before, anywhere, and it was TDF! I will be chosing that to drink more often, for sure!

The Carving of the Pumpkin

Today is 6 days before Halloween. I figured that now was a good of a time as any to work on carving our pumpkins. Oh, I had to go get the pumpkins too! LOL! I had wanted to take Jon & Hannah to the small pumpkin patch up the street, but it was rainy & wet this morning, of course. Wal-Mart and their pumpkins would have to do. Hey, they were under $4 a piece and they were a pretty good size! We headed out to mother-in-law’s house for the carving festivities. Jon informed me on the way over that he wasn’t really all that interested in carving a pumpkin. He didn’t want to get his hands dirty. Oh, that and his hand/wrist was sore and still healing from his recent injury. Okay, fine. I told him that he could take pictures and I would help Hannah. Once Hannah found out how messy (the insides) it was and how hard they pumpkins were to carve (very tough for some reason), she was all about swinging outside on the swing and abandoning the whole project. Glad we made plans to carve pumpkins today, huh? Well, the kids disinterest didn’t discourage MIL, FIL and I from carving up the 2 pumpkins that we had. The first one was much easier to carve than the 2nd one. The second one was very tough and hard to get a knife through. Thank goodness for FIL being there as I don’t think that MIL or I were strong enough to finish them up.

A couple quick pictures:

In honor of the pumpkin carving, MIL is going to roast the seeds and bring them by tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to snack on those! A great gluten-free snack! I also centered tonight’s dinner around pumpkins by making a Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice recipe that is from Whole Food’s website. I did make some changes. Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup brown basmati rice
Saute rice & EVOO until rice is toasted, about 3-5 minutes
Combine 3 cups chicken broth and 7 -8 oz. canned pumpkin puree in a bowl and whisk together
Add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, salt & pepper to the chicken & pumpkin
Pour mixture into rice and bring to a boil. Stir and turn down to simmer for 40 – 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add more salt/pepper, if needed. **I left out the onion (can’t eat them) and bay leaves (didn’t have any) and added the cinnamon & nutmeg.

Now, for the yummy part. I had an acorn squash laying around so I decided to cook it up in the micro (sliced, removed seeds and seasoned with cinnamon & brown sugar; place face up in micro safe dish, added 1/2 cup of water to dish & covered with saran wrap; micro for 10 min or until tender). Once the squash was done, I filled my half with the rice and topped with chopped walnuts! YUM!!! I served that along with Perfect Pork Tenderloin (recipe to follow) and a mixed greens salad. Dessert was pumpkin ice cream topped with chocolate chips. Perfect end to a perfect pumpkin filled day!

Perfect Pork Tenderloin

ยท bonelesspork tenderloins or pork loin roast (my pork loin was 2 lbs 12 oz and I cooked it for 16 minutes and let sit in the oven for an hour after that)
ยท salt and pepper
ยท dryseasoning, of your choice( I used thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, basil, oregano, S & P)

1. NOTE: The success of this cooking method will depend upon how accurate the temperature of your oven is and how well your oven retains heat. Adjust cooking time +/- according your individual oven.
2. Get the EXACT weight of roast from the meat wrapper.
3. Weight will determine how long to cook the roast.
4. Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
5. Remove roast from refrigerator. Season roast as desired. Place seasoned roast in an uncovered roasting pan.
6. Bake EXACTLY 5 1/2 minutes PER POUND. Adjust +/- according to your oven’s accuracy and heat retention.
7. Turn oven OFF and DO NOT open oven door for 1 hour.
8. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes to redistribute internal juices.
9. Roast will be done, very slightly pink in the center, and very moist.
10. NOTE:******* For anyone questioning this method of cooking, it really does reach the proper internal temperature on a thermometer.
11. If you have a thermometer that has a wire that goes through the side of the oven door, by all means use it and set alarm for 140-145 degrees.
12. It should go off before the hour is up.
13. After resting 5-10 minutes, the roast should reach 145-150 degrees.
14. According to Sara Moulton on FoodTV, salmonella is killed at 138 degrees, and 145 is a safe temperature for pork, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees (meat will be drier).

This is one of our favorite pork tenderloin/pork loin recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gluten-Free Movie Theater Outing

My daughter is 6 years old and is in love with the High School Musical movies. She loves anything and everything HSM. She loves Troy & Gabriella, Shapay & Ryan. When we saw that HSM3 was coming out October 24th, I promised to take her on opening night. She was ecstatic! I held true to my word. When Hannah woke up yesterday morning, she had a permanent smile on her face. She knew that it was the day she had been waiting for, counting down to, for the last month. There was no wiping the smile off of her face. She proudly dressed for school, making sure to wear her brand new HSM shirt.

As we walked up to the theater last night, I wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into. Yes, I enjoyed (okay, really, really liked) the first 2 High School Musical movies, but I did so in the comfort of my own home, with only 1 screaming, crazy 6-year old girl, not a theater full of them. It was a madhouse! Fortunately I had purchased my tickets online and only had to show my credit card to claim them. We headed to the snack counter to pick out our delicacies (I call them that b/c they are priced like they are made from gold or truffles or something of the like). I do have to comment on the number of choices for those on a gluten-free diet. Don’t get all excited, there really wasn’t a healthy choice among the layout of sweets & chocolate. There was, however, more than a handful of choices to choose from. There were Skittles (sour & regular), Reese’s Pieces, Dots, M & M’s (peanut & regular), Snicker’s, Gummi-Savers and a few others that I can’t recall. I ended up with Skittle’s and some of my little sister’s Reese’s Pieces. I have heard that popcorn (without butter and some theaters with) is another option, I have just never looked into it b/c I am happy with my candy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Plus, what an excuse to stuff myself with chocolate and/or sugar! We quickly headed into the theater to claim our seats even though there was still 45 minutes until showtime. I think I counted a total of 10 men in the entire theater. The rest were HSM crazed girls/tweens and their cranky Moms. Deep down I was really looking forward to the movie itself, just not the craziness that went along with it. The movie did not disappoint. Shhhh….I think I liked it better than Hannah & Regan! The best part was seeing all the little girls rush down to the front of the theater at the end of the movie to dance to the final song. Ahhhh…to be young again.