Friday, July 31, 2009

My First Try At Sushi Making

So, it ALWAYS happens. I plan dinner. I defrost meat. I have a meal plan in my head. And happens. Take Wednesday night for example. Had the pork chops defrosted. Was planning to bake them in the oven, maybe with some gluten-free bread stuffing on top, like my mommy used to make. Maybe with apples, onions and sugar...hmm...which is another great recipe that I haven't made in a while. First, the phone call from my husband. He HATES pork chops. I think it comes from long ago when his mom used to burn everything. That's another story. My daughter, who used to love my pork chops, now tells me that because of her loose tooth, she won't be able to chew them. It's now past the time when the pork chops should have gone into the oven. Then, my daughter comes running down the stairs. "Do something!!!", she's shouting. I turn around to see her mouth stuffed with blood-filled tissues. Ugh. I hate this part of parenting.

I panicked. I picked up the phone and called my husband. "Have her rinse with salt water", he said very calmly. Why didn't I think of that? It worked. Crisis over.

Now, it's really late.

I shuffle things around in the fridge to see what's left-over from other nights that doesn't have green stuff growing on it.

I see left-over rice, tuna and some veggies.

All of a sudden I remember the beautiful sushi making kit my husband bought me for Christmas. I had picked up nori sheets and sesame seeds several months ago, but was chicken to try it. Tonight, I thought, "why not?"

It also helped that I read how Jenna from Eat-Live-Run had just tried to make sushi. It looked GOOD. Check out her blog. She has a lot of great, healthy food ideas.

So I took the nori sheet and placed it on the bamboo rolling thingy. I put the cooked left-over rice on the sheet. Then I put a row of tuna and carrot strings along the middle of the rice. I started to roll. When I was done rolling, I wet the end of the nori sheet with a little water and voila! I cut the roll into slices...this is where it got tricky. I didn't used "traditional" sticky rice, I used regular Minute Rice, so it didn't hold together too well. Anyway, I think it came out pretty good for my first try!

It tasted pretty good too, even though it was a little messy and I ended up eating the rest with a fork! :)

What did I end up doing with the pork chops? Stay tuned!

Product Review: Schar Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Cookies

I LOVE Schar products. I was so excited to see a whole batch of new Schar products (or at least new to me) on my last trip to Price Chopper! I had never seen Schar Gluten-Free Chocolate-Dipped Cookies before! Wow. These are just delicious! They have a light and flaky shortbread cookie top and a chocolate dipped bottom! They reminded me slightly of the Keebler Fudge Strip cookies my mom used to by when I was a kid. Only better. Fancier. My gluten-eating daughter and husband loved them. *Note to self* Hide the box next time!

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten-Free English Muffins

Boy, do I wish we had a Trader Joe's in our area! Even more so now that I have tried Trader Joe's Gluten and Dairy Free English Muffins! I had heard buzz about these on other gluten-free blogs, so I picked up a package on the second day of our Cape vacation. I took them back to the hotel, sliced it in half and toasted it up in a "Toast It" bag in the toaster oven. Oh my gosh! These babies are delicious. They have a crunchy corn meal coating and are light and fluffy on the inside. I had the first one with just butter on it to see what it tasted like. Since then, I have used them for peanut butter and jelly and ham and cheese sandwiches. Next, I want to try making an egg, ham and cheese breakfast sandwich...I think it would be excellent! I loved these muffins so much that persuaded my hubby to swing by Joe's on the way home to pick up another package to bring home. I bought TWO. There are only four muffins in each package, so I'm already wondering what I will do once they run out, which won't be long! I only have two left!!! you like my Tweety glass? I've had it for AGES. Tweety used to be yellow, but has turned white after many dishwasher washings. I affectionately call it my "Albino Tweety" glass.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation 2009 - Part 2

Part of the fun of vacation every year is trying new restaurants and returning to our "old favorites". The good thing about being gluten-free and vacationing on the Cape is that just about wherever you go, you can order baked or broiled fish, a baked potato and a vegetable. Then there's also scallops and my very favorite LOBSTER! I had several great meals and I don't think I got glutened. I did have one faux pas, where french fries were put on my plate, but it was my own fault for not specifying. There are two restaurants we visited that serve gluten-free dishes with a smile. The first is BZ's Mexican and Pizza. This is the second year we have visited BZ's and again, they did not disappoint! I had a wonderful gluten-free pizza topped with sauce, cheese, black olives and bacon. Yes, bacon. The waitress told me that I could order any topping except meatball and sausage. The crust was very crispy and very good. My family ordered "regular" meals and loved their dinners as well. The prices are very reasonable as well. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are in Dennisport! The second restaurant is the "Chatham Fish and Lobster Company". This restaurant has been around for a while, but we had never stopped in before. This restaurant is part restaurant and part fish market. It is an "order at the counter, grab your drinks out of the refrigerated case, pick your own seat" kind of place. The kicker? All, and I mean ALL of the fried items are gluten-free. They don't say so on the menu boards, but their batter is traditionally gluten-free. SCORE! I ordered the fish fry platter, which included a HUGE piece of fish, a side of coleslaw, a pile of french fries and three fried onion rings on top! I was in HEAVEN! The fish was white and flaky and the batter was crisp and light. It was awesome! They also sell some gluten-free desserts, but I was so full that I didn't purchase any. Here is a picture of the outside of the restaurant and of my fish fry. My husband and daughter had already stolen two of the three onion rings off the top and I had eaten the other one and some of the fish before I reached for my camera.

If you are on the Cape, don't miss the Chatham Lobster and Fish Market!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation 2009

Wow. I can't believe it. How can our summer vacation on Cape Cod be over already? Eight wonderful days spent looking out on the Atlantic Ocean. Falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves. *sigh*
My husband brought his iTouch and we had free WiFi at the hotel, but he decided not to get a password to use it! He wanted to completely disconnect from the outside world. I have to admit, I was missing my Facebook after about 2 days, but I did get used to it. I did have a lot to catch up on when we got home!
This year, we stayed at the Corsair and Cross Rip Motel in Dennisport. Ahhhhh. It was wonderful.
We had a room with a full kitchen, so I was able to whip up breakfast and lunch without leaving the ocean. We did this several days while we were there. I had also baked a bunch of gluten-free snacks to bring with us so that I would have some safe things to eat.
Chocolate Chip Cookies, made with Betty Crocker's New Gluten-Free Mix . They were yummy, although crumbled a bit in transit.
Blueberry muffins, made with Pamela's Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix. Because what is morning coffee without a muffin?
Peanut , Chocolate Chex and Pretzel Bars. These were awesome! I plan on making some again real soon!
I also brought a loaf of Saratoga Gluten-Free Bakery's Hearty Country Bread along. I sliced it, wrapped each slice individually and then froze them. It was great to have bread to make toast and sandwiches with! I brought along a package of Toast It bags which worked out perfectly in the hotel toaster oven!
While on the Cape, I visited Trader Joe's. We don't have a Trader Joe's where we live, so it's a real treat when I get to go to one! Unfortunately, on the day we visited, my daughter was itching to get to the pool and decided to act out while I was trying to shop. So, needless to say, I didn't get to look around as much as I wanted to, but I did manage to pick up a package of Trader Joe's Gluten-Free English Muffins, which I will review at a later date. Let me just say that I've found a new love!!!
We also visited several restaurants and I had many wonderful gluten-free meals! I will also post about this later!
For now, I have to sign off and resume the endless vacation laundry duty! *sigh*

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Peanut, Pretzel and Chocolate Chex Bars

I've been a bad girl. I had vowed to give up sweets for a couple of weeks. I wanted to look a little better in my swimsuit at the beach. Hmmm. Let's just say it hasn't been going well. Last week while grocery shopping, I picked out some snacks for my daughter to take to summer camp and the town pool. I figure that anything I can pack for her is healthier than what they sell in the vending machines. My daughter loves Kellogg's® Special K® Bars. You know, the cereal bars that have chocolate or vanilla frosting drizzled on them. Well, there's a new flavor combination that just couldn't miss, in my opinion. Chocolatey Pretzel.

As fate would have it, my daughter was hungry after shopping, so I opened the box and gave her one for the ride home. I knew right away I was in trouble. These bars are NOT gluten-free. I knew that I wouldn't be able to taste them. I could tell from the smell of the chocolate pretzel breath coming from the back seat that I was going to have to come up with a gf alternative to this yummy treat! I remembered seeing gf Chex cereal bar recipes on their website. I followed the recipe with a few modifications... 4 cups Chocolate Chex® cereal 1/2 cup salted peanuts (instead I used about 1/2 cup crushed Glutino GF Pretzels) 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (since I didn't add peanuts, I used Skippy Natural Extra Chunky PB) 1/4 cup candy-coated chocolate candies (I used one "Tear-n-Share" size bag of M&M's) 1. Butter bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan, or spray with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cereal and pretzels. (To make cutting and clean-up easier, I lined the pan with aluminum foil and sprayed it with cooking spray.) 2. In 1-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, just to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter until smooth. 3. Pour over cereal mixture in bowl, stirring until evenly coated. Stir in candies. Press firmly in pan. Cool 1 hour. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store loosely covered. (I pressed a little too firmly and some of the M&M's cracked...oops!) Oh My Gosh!!! These are so delicious! Chocolatey, Peanut-buttery with the taste of salty pretzels! Does it get any better than this???, mine didn't turn out as pretty as the ones on the Chex website, but who cares? I think if I were going to make them again, I might add a few more pretzels... Whether you are gluten-free or not, you have to try this recipe. I guarantee, they won't last long! I've been trying to pace myself... :)