Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Update

Hi everyone,

I hope you had lovely Thanksgivings with your family/friends/coworkers/self. For the first time in seven years, I did not host a meal for my friends. Mainly because I don't have any friends here yet, but really because I am in driving distance of my family now. Over the years, my Thanksgivings have morphed into a gluten-free smorgasbord of delicious turkey, vegetarian entree, and sides. However, re-entering the regular world meant that there were fewer options this year. Instead of quinoa-based alternative stuffings and crustless pumpkin pies, I was back in the land of traditional stuffing, dinner rolls, and regular pies. This meant less food, but that is probably better in the long run anyway. Gobs of research suggest that caloric restriction may improve longevity. I did team up with my cousin, a recent culinary school graduate, to make some really tasty roasted asparagus with lemon and dill. The original idea came from here, but I didn't look at the recipe after deciding that this was a good idea. The asparagus was so tasty that it will probably become a more frequent visitor to my plate.  

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Dill (another half-baked recipe from your Goddess)
Fresh asparagus, or frozen*
Olive oil
Half of a Lemon, juiced and zested
Dill, chopped finely, or dried*

Trim asparagus. Lightly coat with olive oil and salt and roast in oven at 350 for about 10 min. Make a sauce by combining olive oil, juice of lemon, zest of lemon, and dill until it tastes good to you. Chef Cousin was pretty adamant that the zest go in, since it would make the flavor stronger and richer. Chef Cousin also shook his head in quiet disgust when he noticed how old my dried dill was. Clearly, Chef Cousin was the brains of this operation. After 10 min, turn asparagus and add sauce, then roast for another 10 min. I think our asparagus took about 20-25 min total to roast. 

This dish is best enjoyed eating straight from the scalding hot baking sheet and pretending you're my uncles. 

*same sh*t, different pile :P

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fancy Chickpeas

I miss stuffed grape leaves. I miss how the lemon, dill, mint, and olive oil came together to make something fatty and savory, yet bright. Using only local grocery store ingredients, I got really close to mimicking that taste. Here's how I made my 'fancy chickpeas' tonight*:

Fancy Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 roma tomato, coursely diced (I tossed this in to add texture and color)
A little bit of red onion, coursely chopped
Crumbled feta 
Lemon juice (a little)
Olive oil (more)
Dill weed

I don't really have proportions to share... I was really hungry, so I just dumped and stirred until I had a nice ratio of olive oil, lemon, and dill. I'd have added mint, too, but the local grocery store was out. 

*I assure you that there was nothing fancy about the disposable lunchmeat container I mixed it in. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Glutard Navigating the World of Beauty Products

Being beautiful is hard, especially if you're going to try via the dominant cultural definitions of beauty in the US. For women, this often means using makeup and hair products, among many other things. Now I am NOT saying you have to use these products to be beautiful, or that you need to limit yourself to this very narrow definition of beauty. All I'm saying is that if you play by the dominant culture's rules, you're gonna have to play smarter if you're a glutard. BECAUSE THE FDA DOESN'T REALLY REGULATE ALLERGENS IN COSMETIC PRODUCTS. What??? Maybe you already knew this. I guess I kind of knew it, but hadn't really thought about it. Let me share a story, then what I've learned in my procrastination-induced research.

First off, I don't think much about cosmetic products because I don't really use them. I moisturize and mascara-ize, but otherwise would prefer sleeping over waking up earlier to make myself up. I know enough to not buy hair or makeup products with hydrolyzed wheat protein (which is all the rage right now), or barley, or malt, or any of the obvious perpetrators. I read labels to look for potential gluten offenders, buy the stuff that seems safe, then carry on my merry way. This topic was thrust to the forefront of my attention, though, when my mother (who is also a glutard) broke out in a rash after using Pond's cold cream. She had checked the label before purchasing the product and didn't notice anything that looked offensive, so she bought it. When my Ma called Pond's, she learned that they routinely use gluten in most of their products. They also told her that cosmetic companies are not required to list all of their ingredients on their product labels. So my mom tried a higher-end brand in hopes that their labeling practices would be more straightforward. But when my Ma spoke to a sales associate at a Clinique counter, they told her that they also cannot guarantee that their products are free of allergens. They don't seem to be actively using gluten as an ingredient, but they did say that they can't guarantee the source of some of their ingredients and that there may be cross-contamination since their parent company also produces other brands of cosmetics. 

This irked me. I don't know why I expected more, but I did. Perhaps I had been lulled into a sense of pseudo-security since I have mastered reading food labels.* Especially from Clinique, which markets itself as hypoallergenic. HELLO - your products contain one of the eight major food allergens. Yeah, it isn't going IN your mouth, but the products are going ON or AROUND your mouth.  So I did some research. I focused on reliable sources, mostly the Food and Drug Administration's websites. 

Here are some things I learned:
-The use of the term 'hypoallergenic' is not regulated by anyone. It means whatever someone wants it to mean. In fact, a federal court specifically mandated that use of this term doesn't have to be backed by anything. FYI, I'm hypoallergenic. 
-'Incidental' ingredients don't need to be declared on labels. If a company uses an ingredient in the manufacturing process, but is has no 'technical' or 'functional' effect, you don't have to list it as an ingredient. This can include suspension or concentration agents. This is the Pond's situation. 
-Cosmetics also have vague-yet-familiar catch-all terms that can include almost anything, like 'fragrance' or 'flavor'. This isn't surprising to me, since we see similar terms in foods and drugs (e.g., 'natural flavoring' or 'pregelatinized starch,' respectively). 
-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) may or may not be wheat-derived. Tocopherol shows up in a lot of moisturizers and lip products. I had no idea where it came from... Maybe someone just hugged a Vitamin E tree so hard that it produced oily little happy tears of vitamin-filled moisture. Maybe not. 

For more information, check out some other FDA websites:

Do you have any other helpful information to share about allergens and cosmetics? I'm a newbie here...

*Honestly, food and drug labels are just as confusing, what with all of the ingredients/additives of unknown origin. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Command Center Brunch, Part 1: Egg Bake

So back in August I moved across the country. One of my best friends, Kathleen, also moved across the country (but much farther away ::sadface::). Fate smiled upon us and we were actually able to leave at the same time. This meant that I had someone to support me as I said goodbye to my old life, and someone who was sharing my excitement about leaping into the unknown. This also meant that there would be 2x the logistics, since we were doing a coordinated move. Essentially, her moving posse and my moving posse convoyed halfway across the US, then my moving posse waved goodbye as her moving posse continued their journey. It was kind of like a Modern-Day Oregon Trail Live-Action Movie. Except instead of wagons we had Penske trucks, I didn't have to shoot any buffalo or squirrels, there was no dysentery, and no oxen died fording a river. We did have some pretty epic weather that threatened our caravan, and some near-death experiences at a sketchy motel, though. 

<<Rewind>> So I hosted a 'command center' meeting to coordinate the move. This was a great opportunity to get together in the same room to enjoy a hearty brunch and discuss the logistics of moving two households in tandem. In addition to the in-person team, my boyfriend joined the meeting via webcam and my best friend joined via instant messenger. (I was serious... most of my favorite friends were a part of the command center. And yes, I play favorites.). I had been hungry all week, so I wanted brunch to be super-filling. It was also one of my last opportunities to show my appreciation for them through cooking, since we'd soon be scattered across the country. I made an egg bake and cheesy potatoes. The meal was a hit, and we all rolled out of the meeting stuffed to the gills with brunchiness. Today I'll share the egg bake recipe; when I get a break from work again, I'll share the recipe for the cheesy potatoes. 

My Friend Jenn's Egg Bake (That Will Blow Your Mind If You Are Not Lactose Intolerant)*

½ cup butter
12 eggs
½ cup gluten-free flour blend (I used cup4cup this time and it worked well)
1 tsp baking powder
8oz chopped green chilies
1 pint cottage cheese
1 lb shredded jack cheese

Melt butter in a 9x13 baking pan. Beat eggs lightly add flour, baking powder, butter, chilies and cheese pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 40 min on 350 degrees. Cool slightly before cutting.


*If you are lactose intolerant, it will blow your colon. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Holy September, Batman

I haven't forgotten about you, I promise. I'm just have the most ridiculous work schedule, which prevents me from doing most things, including sleeping. One of the things my work schedule prevents me from doing is grocery shopping. True story: twice in the past month I have had baked beans and string cheese for lunch when left to my own devices. Lucky for me, I now live with my boyfriend, which means that there is someone else around to buy me food so I don't just eat expired things I meant to throw away two weeks ago. This is great because it is one less thing I have to actively worry about, but I still find myself passively worrying that he'll accidentally poison me. (He hasn't yet, but I am a worrier). I am happy to report that he is learning the ins and outs pretty quickly and that I have consumed numerous complete meals thanks to him. My favorite so far has been baked ziti, which he augmented with Italian sausage. I am also happy to report that I worry less with each independent grocery trip he makes. Yay for learning and trust! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bunch of sh*t to do... 

Happy September! May the beginning of fall be filled with pumpkin lattes and cozy hoodies!

PS: Kathleen, I promise I will post the recipes from the Command Center 2012 brunch!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Friday Chuckle

I was catching up on the internet and came across this comic from Married to the Sea, one of my favorite comic sites:

If you want to print it out yourself, here's the link to the original post.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small Town Kindness

So, grocery stores might be a tad difficult, but it turns out that there are some perks to being part of a small community. I used to work at a big place. A place that was so big that it didn't faze anyone to put a plate of lettuce in front of me and call it a meal even though everyone else was eating breads and meats and sides and desserts. 

Here, however, things are different. I'm not sure if it is because I'm now part of a very small work community or if it is just because moms here come with some very strong programming that requires them to offer rich food to everyone they meet. I was fully prepared for a lettuce-fest or to eat one of my Kind bars for lunch during my training, when the woman who runs our cafeteria came out and handed me a specially made sandwich on gluten-free bread (with homemade garlic-guacamole spread!). The next day at training was even more impressive - this time the cafeteria made gluten-free vegetarian pasta salad as a regular menu item for everyone to eat. Not a tiny plop of food for me, but food for EVERYONE that was based on MY needs. And they brought me out a special, toasty warm bun so I could eat what everyone else was eating. Minnesota NIIIIICE! No employer has ever made such a sweeping gesture to ensure that I had food to eat, or that my food was satisfying. 

During lunch yesterday, I felt so welcomed and valued in my new community. I wasn't an afterthought to be handed some naked* iceberg and pushed out of the way, but I was someone who warranted advanced planning and preparation and menu adjustment! I tracked down the cafeteria lady and practically professed my undying love for her. Food can be a powerful tool and I don't think most people stop shoveling it in their mouths long enough to realize it. Value your food and what it means to who you are and how you connect with people. Accommodating others is a very personal way to show that you care about them. 

Maybe I'll be okay here after all!

*Naked salad is how I refer to the unfortunate situation when the raw vegetables pass the glutard test, but none of the dressings do. Raw vegetables a lunch do not make, unless anorexic you are. More than one food group per meal, please.**

**Unless it is a block of Dubliner cheese. Then one food group is plenty. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Big Move!

Remember when I said I wouldn't ever move because I lived next to glutard pizza and beer? Well, I moved. And not just down the block like the last time. Days after I posted that, I was offered a job in the rural midwest. Which means that I haven't been blogging because I've been hauling my possessions across the country and figuring where I am going to eat. 

Breaking news: Turns out it is way easier to be a glutard in a metropolitan area than in the middle of nowhere. The grocery store in my town of 6,000 people has a 6-box-wide gluten-free section (don't get excited... wait for it...): But it is all mixes. No pastas, no cookies, no breads, no waffles. No convenience food. Just mixes. And it looks like it was stocked in 2000, back before companies figured out how to make edible gluten-free food. Seriously, it is all of the pioneer brands and nothing recent or delicious. I'm sure the grocer means well, they've just completely missed the mark. I cried in the damn grocery store. Thankfully, I found a co-op about 25 min away that carries better gluten-free options. I was so relieved that I posed for a picture with glutard waffles. I think Amazon is about to become my new best friend. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Breakfast at Am's / My Dominoes Dilemma

I'm braindead, that's why there wasn't a post last week. My life has become a whirlwind of dinners and a haze of drinks. More than once in the past two weeks, I've passed out on my bed after a full day of working and a full evening of socializing, only to wake up around 4:30am in my clothes, usually precariously balancing a Nalgene bottle half-full of water. It has been exhausting, but also a tad spectacular. Right now, I am a less glamorous 21st century Holly Golightly. 

*Insert jeans and frozen gluten-free waffle and you've got me. 

None of that really has anything to do with anything. But I've been craving pizza and some preliminary testing suggests that Dominoes' gluten free pizza could actually be relatively safe. (And relatively edible, if I am remembering Dominoes correctly from my previous life.)

So I called my local Dominoes and asked to talk to a manager about how their gluten-free pizza is prepared because I'm really sensitive and wanted to be sure they were being careful at that location. I told him that I understood that there is limited prep space, and asked if they wipe down their counters between preparing traditional pizzas and gluten-free pizzas. He said no. Fine. I then asked if they COULD wipe the counter before they made a pizza for me. He said no. UMM... WIPING IS BASIC CLEANLINESS! So yeah, no Dominoes pizza for me. While it would probably be fine, I recommend talking to your local manager before ordering if you're particularly sensitive to gluten. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Radio [Should Have Been] Silent

Hey folks. Sorry for the light posting lately. I'm transitioning in pretty much every possible life domain PLUS I just had a semi-successful oral surgery yesterday. So today's post is brought to you by vicodin

And just like all of my other pain-killer-induced prose right now, here's a reference to Call Me Maybe:

...So that's some gluten, don't cook it maybe. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence day to my American readers and happy Wednesday to all!

I am blogging from my phone today as I prepare my grill for hotdogs, bratwurst, and veggie dogs. We'll also be having some grilled corn on the cob, a delicious black bean salad, watermelon, popsicles, and sangria before heading out to see some fireworks. I am pretty excited about celebrating the holiday with friends and eating so much summery gluten-free food! 

Have fun and be safe! And stay cool out there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Four more years! Four more years!

So it looks like the folks over at Frito Lay decided to celebrate my fourth anniversary of being a glutard by removing the wheat flour from their Nacho Cheese Doritos! Aww, shucks! You shouldn't have! No really, because even though they are no longer Nacho Cheesier, they're still pretty darn addictive. 

The Frito Lay website doesn't reflect the changes, but I've recently seen bags at a couple of stores that no longer contain wheat flour in the ingredient list, nor have the wheat allergen disclaimer. Let's celebrate four strong years of glutenless growth for your resident goddess by ripping open a bag of Doritos and snacking ourselves silly!*

*After verifying that the bag you're holding is actually gluten-free, of course, since it is never a good idea to just rely on what other people say. Even if that other person is me.  

Opinions about Food: Against the Grain Gourmet's Original Baguette

Like I said, I've been trying a lot of new stuff lately. I recently tried Chocolate Chex, Celia Saison (a new gluten-free beer), and Against the Grain Gourmet's Original Baguette. I wouldn't have thought to look for a gluten-free baguette, except that one of my friends recently got married and put me in charge of finding bread and cupcakes for myself and a couple of other glutard guests. Lucky for me, my trip to Whole Foods was quite rewarding. I can honestly admit that I don't often get emotional over bread... but here we go!

A little context: A lot of gluten-free bread products are unsatisfying. Like, I wouldn't wish them on my enemies terrible. Traditionally, gluten-free flours tend to be dry and crumbly, and/or have weird flavors and textures. Recently things have improved quite a bit, but I still felt like the breads I'd occasionally try left something to be desired. Until I found Against the Grain Gourmet. This company seems F'ing rad. They source local ingredients, treat their employees well, and only put real foods into their products. Essentially, they're a company by glutards, for glutards, with a completely gluten-free facility. 

Pros: Amazing texture - a soft center with a thicker crust, as you would expect from a glutenous baguette. Guessing based on their ingredient list, it seems as though they solved the dry and crumbly problem with cheese instead of using a filler or binder. This is M-Fing genius. It adds a hint of satisfying saltiness without compromising the bread flavor, and results in a moist, durable slice of bread. And you can taste the difference! Not because of the cheese, but it tastes like something a human made and not like something that came out of a lab. There isn't weird shit in this bread. And looking at the bread, I could *see* that they used *real* eggs because it had a homemade sheen that most mass-produced bread products just don't have. I hadn't realized how un-wholesome some of the stuff I had been eating was until I tried this. This labor of love birthed one of the most magnificent gluten-free products I've ever had. This baguette was delicious and durable with and without toasting. I sliced and toasted my baguette with some olive oil and garlic and it easily supported my heap of Trader Joe's Bruschetta. My friend Jane tells me that their pizza crust and frozen pizzas are also solid gluten-free offerings. 

Cons: Because it contains cheese it probably isn't a good option for anyone with a lactose sensitivity. Also, I'm not sure if their products are distributed nationally.

Overall: It is a little known fact that I had just been introduced to bruschetta and toppings prior to my gluten allergy. In fact, I may have only lived on Pop-Tarts, french bread, and cheese for a brief period of time. When my mom was first diagnosed as gluten-intolerant seven-ish years ago, I was so turned off by the gluten-free bread products that I just assumed that my bruschetta days were solidly behind me. However, Against the Grain Gourmet came along and completely changed my opinion of gluten-free bread products. Seriously. They should keep doing whatever magical thing they're doing, because their products taste so fresh and real. If you see their baguettes at Whole Foods, definitely give them a try! Two very enthusiastic thumbs up for these guys. WIN!

PS: Vermont appears to be a hotbed of gluten-free-friendly activity. Against the Grain Gourmet is up there, Celia Saison, a new gluten-free beer, is also from there (here's a non-glutard raving about it and other new beer offerings), and I had a gluten-free crepe when I was there on vacation. Maybe we glutards should put Vermont atop the list of our travel destinations!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Opinions About Food/Beer: The Alchemist Brewery's Celia Saison

Whoa, this beer doesn't have such a strong sorghum-y finish! What am I talking about? A new regional brew out of Vermont, the Alchemist Brewery's Celia Saison. Formally only offered in their pub, this beer is now in limited distribution in New England. The pizza place near me that offers gluten-free crusts recently started carrying Celia Saison in addition to Bard's - Clearly since I had never seen this before, I had to try it. Also, TWO GF BEERS IN ONE PLACE AND PIZZA??? I'M NEVER MOVING! 

I'll begin my review with some comical beer reviews from non-glutards who are clearly comparing it to glutenous beers and not gluten-free beers: Beer Advocate Reviews.

Have all the children and gluten-beer drinkers left? Good. Cuz here's an opinion from someone who doesn't have barley beer fresh in her memory as a comparison.

Pros: Celia Saison is a light-ish, citrusy beer. (Can you tell that I'm a real technical beer aficionado?) I think it is made from sorghum, but I honestly can't remember. This beer starts nicely and has a nice mouthfeel (is that a thing?), but I think its greatest strength lies in the finish. Unlike most gluten-free beers which end on notes of moldy grass (aka sorghum), or hot rusty pipe water, Celia Saison finishes pretty crisp. In case you're a slow beer drinker like me, I'll also mention that Celia Saison maintains its charm as it warms up. 

Cons: Hard to find, but worth the effort.

Overall: All-in-all, a welcome addition to the New England glutard beer scene. Hopefully they'll continue to grow so that they can begin distributing this elsewhere, too. 

Opinions About Food: Chocolate Chex Cereal

In light of some recent exciting developments in other parts of my life, this week I'll be sharing some (overdue) product reviews instead of more substantial content. 

I've been a far more adventuresome glutard than usual. Although typically I don't seek out gluten-free substitute foods aside from pasta and frozen waffles, I've been revisting these products lately. And these adventures have been fruitful. On my latest adventure, I stumbled upon Chocolate Chex. I was on a mission for Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and, well, Mission Accomplished!

Pros: The box says 'with a touch of cocoa.' That's quite an understatement, General Mills. These little buggers are the perfect amount of chocolatey. I feel like a kid who is pulling one over on her parents because Chex is typically a healthy cereal but these are only slightly more age-appropriate than Cocoa Pebbles (which are also gluten-free). Unlike their pebbly competitor, these don't turn into soggy little rice flakes that become impossible to catch with your spoon. Their larger size means you can easily scoop up every 'touch of cocoa' in your bowl. And they make your milk taste awesomely chocolatey, not fake chocolatey. The box also clearly states 'gluten free' in huge contrasting colors and font, which is how I spotted them in the cereal aisle anyway. And Chocolate Chex make a good snack on the run, sans milk. And they'd probably make good finger food for a toddler, if you want your toddler addicted to touches of cocoa.  {End Lovefest}

Cons: They do get soggy pretty quickly. I blame all of the damn holes in the grid that let the milk in for ultimate penetration.

{Resume Lovefest}

Overall: A solid gluten-free friendly cereal option from the folks at General Mills. If you want to make your Chocolate Chex healthier, add fruit. I found that they pair well with bananas or blueberries. Chex also comes in Cinnamon, Honey Nut, and possibly Apple Cinnamon varieties that are gluten-free. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Opinions About Food: Kinnikinnick Soft Hamburger Buns

Whoa, it has been a really long time since I've polluted the internet with my reviews of food. Wait no more, because I have stuff to say! 

I'm going to warn you that I don't care about bread. Bread is dead to me. Cupcakes are very much alive but bread gets a big ol' whatever. That said, I went to a BBQ recently and the hostess purchased a package of Kinnikinnick Soft Hamburger Buns for me at a local Whole Foods. I was surprised by these buns. I had a gluten-free bun approximately a year ago and it sucked. I wish I could remember what brand it was, because it was crumbly and therefore 100% useless. These Kinnikinnick buns were the opposite of crumbly. So here's the review.

Pros: These Kinnikinnick hamburger buns taste and feel like their over-processed, super-refined glutenous counterparts. They hold up to copious ketchup, and so are useful for picnics and BBQs. They toast nicely, although they are actually really good without toasting. And they freeze well. Oh, and they are standard hamburger bun size, so you're not being cheated out of burger-holding space. Like I said, I don't really care for/about bread anymore, but these were completely functional and impressive for their ability to imitate a regular hamburger bun. 

Cons: Only four per package. This is four times as many buns as I'd ever want at once, but you might want a bigger package if you're going to an all-day event. 

Overall: Bring these along to your next BBQ so you don't have to search for a fork and a plate. Enjoy the free hand that a functional gluten-free bun affords by holding a gluten-free beer. 

Summer Shoe Hunt Update (AKA Options about Shoes)

Because I'm sure you care after I mentioned my search here, I purchased two new pairs of summer shoes. Both lean toward casual, which means I'll have to come up with something else for summer wedding season, but both seem pretty comfortable. 

1. Toms. Yeah, whatever. All the kids are doing this. But I wanted a shoe I could wear sockless and I wanted that shoe to cover my feet and be breathable. So I bought a pair of red classic Toms. They're breathable. They have the teeniest bit of arch support. They dry quickly if you're caught in the rain (which is pretty much how June has gone). They don't rub in the exactly the same place as most of my ballet flats. And the lining makes it feel like my feet are wrapped in bedsheets. They do make my big feet look a tad like skis, but I've always wanted red shoes and am currently living the dream. Win.

2. Birkenstocks. I wanted a feminine yet supportive sandal for dinking around this summer. I do a lot of dinking, so support was really important to me. I'm also kind of sensitive about my feet looking large and mannish, so I ended up getting a pair of Birkenstock Mayaris, a ladyshoe if I've ever seen one. They run a little big, so I was able to get my man-sized foot into the largest women's size. Not going to lie, they're a bit on the small side. But they're so cute that I just couldn't send them back. I feel like a girl in these sandals! A girl with supported arches and perfectly polished toes on display! The straps are lined with felt or something, so there aren't sharp edges to dig into my tender feet. I'm still breaking these/my feet in a little, but I'm calling them a win, too. Win.

So yeah, that's the conclusion to the quest that consumed me for days. I'm a winner?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Second Mac & Cheese Recipe!

I love mac and cheese. So much so that I want to shout it from the rooftops. However, it is not exactly the healthiest meal on the planet. Which is why I am so glad that my friend Kathleen posted a recipe a while ago for a healthier Cauliflower Mac and Cheese over at her blog, Perfect Recipe Project. This recipe is easier than the previous one I linked to, but just as satisfying. It also includes Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning, which is one of my new favorite things. In fact, 'In Tony I Trust,' is my new seasoning motto. Cauliflower is a fantastic vegetable addition to the pasta since it is already relatively white and flavorless ...just like noodles! Plus, cauliflower holds up better for leftovers, so you're not just left with an amorphous blob of day-two gluten-free noodles. But wait, there's more! Kathleen's recipe calls for Greek yogurt, which means that you're sneaking extra protein in along with the veggies! How clever! 

Being me, I took it upon myself to pimp out Kathleen's recipe. I used quinoa noodles, my favorites, as the pasta base (more protein!). Then I followed the directions, except: 
-I sauteed half of an onion in butter (because it was already on my counter) and added that to the mix
-I nearly doubled the amount of cheese. 50% less fat = 50% more cheese! I trust Kathleen and think her recipe is probably awesome already, but I wanted it to look cheesier while I was stirring all of the ingredients together
-I also browned some gluten-free bread crumbs with butter, salt, pepper, and a dash of Tony's and topped my mac and cheese with that before baking it (because I had leftovers)

This version has surpassed Alton Brown's as my favorite homemade mac and cheese because it is easier and healthier while still being flavorful. It is the perfect bit of comfort food for when the weather decides it should be chilly and rainy even though it is June. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ramblings Unrelated to Gluten

I don't have anything to say about gluten this week. Instead, I've been spending my time hunting for the perfect summer shoe. I haven't found anything I like yet, but that shouldn't be surprising because I am generally hard to please. I'm hoping to find something flattering, supportive, and feminine. This would be a lot easier if I didn't have gigantic feet. If only my quirks were adorable like Zooey Deschanel's. 

My friend Kathleen and I had a tiny Memorial Day BBQ yesterday that ended with grilled pineapple and vanilla ice cream. It's a delicious summer combo and I highly recommend it. I also recommend grilling hotdogs. It is the only way to make hotdogs edible.

I've also been thinking a bit about food allergy etiquette since I'm officially in the midst of glutarded wedding guest season, but that would be a rambling related to gluten so I'll have to think more about it and possibly put it into a gluten-related post. 

And that's all she wrote for this week. Life has been busy with visitors, trips, and weddings. I'll have more relevant stuff for you soon. Happy summer!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Let's all take a moment to thank the men and women who have served this country. In fact, let's take more than a moment -- let's take an entire long weekend.

Today, like every day, I want to thank our armed forces and their veterans. Thank you for making so much possible through your commitment and sacrifice. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I've Been Here For Over A Year

I've been blogging since March 2011 and have been watching my legion of readers slowly grow over the past 13 months. Here's a table of who loves me most, by country:

United States
United Kingdom

Way to go US, which I'm pretty sure are just clicks from people who are my Facebook friends. WTF, single-digit postings? I'll forgive you, though, because having an international readership is pretty darn exciting, even if that readership might be mostly comprised of spambots. Thanks for making the project worthwhile! 

With culturally-appropriate expressions of excitement and sensitivity-oriented snacks for Food Allergy Awareness Week,