Monday, August 27, 2012

Mac n' Cheese

Not sure why, but I can't seem to stick to a recipe when I cook.. which is especially odd since I love to bake  (which is very precise).

Anyway, I found a recipe for Gluten Free Mac n' Cheese from a blog called "Gluten Free Mommy" so I thought I'd give it a try.

Macaroni and Cheese
(Adapted from:
Yields: 6-8 (unless you love mac n' cheese as much as I do, then it may be 4-6) ;)

2 Cups Uncooked Gluten Free Pasta (Elbows, Penne, etc)
8 oz of Cheddar Cheese cut into cubes (Sharp, Mild, etc)
1/4 Cup Diced Onion*
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup Rice Flour*
1/2 Tsp. Dried Mustard*
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Breadcrumbs and Parmesan Cheese for topping (approximately 1 1/2 - 2 cups)

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish*.  Cook pasta according to directions, being careful not to overcook. For cheese sauce: heat butter on the stove and cook onion until translucent.  Add rice flour, mustard, salt and pepper; stir until bubbly and smooth.  Gradually add milk and cheese cubes.  Whisk until cheese has melted and the sauce thickens.  Combine cheese sauce with the pasta into casserole dish.  Top with the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.    Cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.


  •  I have a Pampered Chef baking dish I love which cannot be greased and worked really well.  It may also be possible to use a smaller casserole, I was just afraid of overflow.  
  • I had dried onion left over as well as actual mustard so I used those since I hate to buy ingredients when I have something else that will work.
  • Since I didn't have rice flour on hand and hate to buy something which can be substituted (as noted above) I used Pamela's Pancake Mix as thickener.
  • For the topping I mixed Schar's breadcrumbs with the parmesan cheese with some leftover Sweet Potato Pop Chips left over
  • I also had a little bit of canned pumpkin leftover from some weekend baking, so I added that as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Occasionally Cake

During a visit into Old Town, a friend and I were on a mission to find Gluten Free cupcakes at one of the (seemingly) many cupcakaries in the area.  After all, we'd had a wonderful dinner and it was time to finish the night off with a little dessert.

As we strolled down King Street, we happen about a cute shop called Occasionally Cake (  Very quaint and the lady running the shop was super nice as well as helpful.

They had one Gluten Free option: Chocolate with Strawberry Buttercream icing.  It was so moist and delicious!

The Upside:

  • Cupcake was really moist
  • Frosting actually bits of strawberries in it (yum!)
  • They use rice flour to make their cupcakes.

The Downside:

  • The gluten free cupcakes are 'petite' in comparison to normal cupcakes.  Which isn't necessarily bad,since sometimes you just want a *little* treat, however..
  • These petite goodies go for $3.25/piece. 
  • Was told the daily flavors were provide on their Facebook page, which is partially true.  The regular flavors are listed both on Facebook page and on their website, but Gluten Free not listed anywhere. Bummer..even if only one or two options are offered, it is still nice to know they exist.

Final:  Would definitely visit them again, but at $3.25 for a petite cupcake, it won't happen often.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gluten Free and Grateful

Every month or so, some friends and I gather for pizza and a movie (thank goodness for Domino's Gluten Free crust, even if a small is $13!)

We share hosting duty and typically whomever is hosting provides snacks, desserts, drinks, etc.  Tonight was our second round since my Gluten Intolerance diagnosis and I wasn't expecting the hostess to provide 'safe' snacks just for me.

I know it has been hard for family, friends and co-workers to understand what it means to be Gluten Free (especially the concept of it not being a "fad diet" to lose weight).. so I was awed tonight when not only had my friend bought crackers which were Gluten Free, but also had gone to a local cupcakery and made sure to get GF cupcake for me (one of each of the two flavors available) along with the normal cupcakes for everyone else.

Things like this, make this change so much easier.  Hopefully, your friends and loved ones are making an effort to accommodate and learn about Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Intolerance to better understand what it truly means to live "Gluten Free".

To learn more about Gluten Free Living:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tamale Pie

There is a food blog I love called "Brown Eyed Baker" and I relied on those recipes a lot prior to being diagnosed as Gluten Intolerant.  Since I haven't been able to play around with different flours as substitution, I haven't been able to use many of those recipes.  THEN, she posted a recipe for Tamale Pie..and it is really good.

Tamale Pie
(adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour / Bake Time: 30 minutes

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and minced
1.5 lbs Ground Beef
1.5 C  Corn Kernels (fresh or frozen)
1-14.5 oz  can  Diced Tomatoes, drained
3 Tbsp.  Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
4 Tsp. Ground Cumin
2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 C. sliced Black Olives
4 oz Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

Cornbread Topping:
1 bag Pamela's Cornbread
(2 eggs, 1/2 cup of butter (melted), 1/2 cup of sugar*, 1 cup of water)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
2) Making the filling: In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until hot.  Add the onion, green pepper and jalapenos, and cook, stirring occasionally until softened.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3) Reduce heat to medium and add ground beef to pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned.  (orignal recipe did not call for the meat to be drained, however, I drained anyway).  Once meat is browned, add onion mixture back to the pan.  Stir in corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Stir well to ensure all the spices and tomato paste are evenly distributed.  Bring to simmer then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  While it is simmering make cornbread topping.
4) Making the topping: mix together the cornbread as instructed on the bag.  (I used agave nectar instead of sugar)
5) Assembling & Baking: Stir olives and shredded cheese into the beef mixture and pour it into a 9x13 baking dish.  (I poured into the baking dish first, then mixed in olives & cheeses since it was easier to stir that way).  Pour cornbread batter over the filling, using a spatula to spread into even layer.  Bake, 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow pie to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

*One of the nice things with this recipe is that you can adapt to your liking.  Don't like black olives? Don't add them.  Prefer another kind of cheese? Switch it out.  (Personally I added more cheese, since my love for cheese always trumps the actually recipe)  I also forgot to buy the green pepper, so that was not included in mine and I'm sure you could exchange ground turkey or chicken for the beef if you preferred.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Not sure about everyone else, but I like to know what I am buying (Is it any good? Does it work?) So since becoming Gluten Free, I have relied on reviews and recommendations of others for products I know nothing about.

But it's been hard to find reviews and GF is expensive.  I hate spending money on something that is just going to be thrown away.  Hence, one of the reasons I started this blog.. not only in case others happen upon it and can find it useful, but also for me to keep track of what I have tried and liked.

During a recent grocery store run, I found Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Cookie mix ( and since I was needing a dessert for an upcoming movie night, I figured they were worth a shot (as a side note, I had tried other products by Pamela's and really liked so I knew chances of it being awful were fairly slim).

The mix was easy to make and the end result was just as I expected - delicious!  No offense to Pamela's, but the deliciousness doesn't quite make up being able to whip up something from scratch.. but it comes close. And even my non-GF friends really enjoyed them. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Uncle Julio's

Recently a good friend had her birthday celebration at Uncle Julio's (  Honestly, I was a little worried when I saw the evite, thinking it would be another dining experience of enviously watching everyone else eat delicious food.

The need to be Gluten Free is forcing me to be a little more forthright and outgoing than I am used to. So, determined I am going to try and make the best of it, I called a day before event around 4pm thinking it would be in-between the lunch and dinner rushes.

Both the girl who answered and the manger she later passed me off to, claimed my "phone was cutting out" and they could barely hear me, but considering all the din I could hear from their end, I knew it wasn't me and low and behold once the manager moved to another (quieter) area, there was no issue at all.  Needless to say, I was a little put off by their customer service.. and wasn't getting my hopes up that they would accommodate.

However, the manager did state that items without the marinades, corn tortillas, and the grilled fish would all be safe.  He also verified that the chips were made from corn, but did share fryer with other gluten containing items.

As mentioned, my expectations were set low.. but I was pleasantly surprised!  The wait staff was phenomenal and very patient as I asked about the menu, and considering we were a party of 20, I find that to be a BIG plus.  I ordered the chicken fajita (sans tortillas) and ate a few of the chips from communal bowl.  The food was fantastic, service was great, I highly recommend!