Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chicken marinade - yummy!!!

I have a hard time finding chicken marinades because so many of them contain soy sauce, which usually contains wheat. I found this sauce in the specialty sauce aisle in the grocery store. It is called Famous Montreal Style Chicken & Rib Sauce. I marinaded raw chicken in the sauce for about 5 minutes and then cooked the chicken in a pan with a little big of olive oil. It made some very tasty chicken - flavorful without being too spicey. It is made by Hakai Foods. It was a little pricey - about $5 for the bottle - but since it tastes so good, I think it's worth it.

Top Blogs

Frozen Pizza was pretty good

Last night I tried Glutino's Gluten Free Personal size pizza with the Spinach and Feta topping. The serving size was good - the personal size was perfect for one meal. The topping was also very good and tasty. The crust was okay. The edge of the crust that got brown and crispy was really good but the main part of the crust resembled rice bread which was the only downside of the pizza. However, the very flavorful topping made me enjoy the pizza enough that I would definitely eat it again. I purchased the pizza from Whole Foods in the frozen foods section for about $5.

2/3/09 update: Now that I have tasted Amy's gluten free pizza, I would definitely go for Amy's over Glutino's frozen pizza.

Top Blogs

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

McCormick & Schmick's San Diego

I went to McCormick & Schmick's in San Diego this weekend for dinner. It is a seafood restaurant and is located downtown in the Omni Hotel. It is pretty pricey by San Diego standards. I used to eat in their Seattle locations for special occasions and although the prices are the same, they seem less expensive because everything is more expensive in Seattle. Anyway, I told the waiter about my food allergies and he seemed familiar with them and discussed my chosen dish with the chef. The waiter checked on what I could and could not eat. At this point, I appreciate the fact that the staff of a restaurant has heard of and understands a gluten allergy. The food was pretty good although it was a little lacking in flavor since I picked a dish that usually has soy sauce in it and their soy sauce contained wheat so they couldn't use it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A great coffee shop but zero gluten-free food.

I went to Caffe Calabria on 30th in North Park today. It's a great coffee shop. Nice, friendly staff. Clean bathrooms. A good selection of coffee and looseleaf teas. Yummy hot chocolate and lots of baked goods and sandwiches..... but not a single thing to eat for those of us who are gluten-free. So although there is free wi-fi, my time there is limited by my stomach.

Nothing to do with gluten, but....

Zappos has been my absolute favorite online shoe store for years. They have a great selection, typically great prices, and a wonderful return policy (you can return unworn shoes for up to one year with free shipping). They also used to have a price match guarantee, i.e. you find the shoes cheaper elsewhere and they credit you the difference plus 10%. This was great because you could confidently buy shoes from them, and if you found them cheaper elsewhere, you would just call and you would get the better price. Just this morning, in the midst of ordering shoes, I found out that they discontinued this policy. No more price match guarantee. That is really too bad... now I must shop around for price and selection again. Zappos, we had a good relationship while it lasted.... but now I must date other shoe stores...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trader Joe's Refresh Citrus Shampoo

Trader Joe's Refresh Citrus Shampoo is gluten-free, it smells great, it works well, and it's super cheap! An all around winner.... with the small caveat that I don't think it is good for colored hair. Since my hair is not currently its natural hue, I have to be careful about which shampoos I use. Many shampoos will strip hair of color. Although I think this is a great shampoo for non-chemically treated hair, I wouldn't recommend it for colored hair because I think it is slowly removing my hair color. Still searching for that perfect gluten-free, color-friendly shampoo...

Gluten-free shampoo

Only after talking to my hair stylist did I realize that many shampoos and other hair products contain wheat. For those with skin sensitivities, the wheat in the hair products can leave you with an itchy or dry scalp and face. My prior favorite shampoo, Pureology, unfortunately contains wheat protein, so I needed to search for a new one. In Whole Foods, I found California Baby's Super Sensitive Shampoo. Since I love their calming moisturizing cream and all their stuff is gluten-free, I decided to try this product. Unfortunately, I think it may be too sensitive. After I using it for several days, my hair felt dirty. I don't think it was cleaning my hair sufficiently. This may be one product that is great for babies but not for adults.

Cookies yes, Shortbread no

Schar's gluten-free shortbread cookies are pretty good as just cookies. They are sweet and crunchy and pretty light, although they do seem to leave a somewhat sandy feeling in your mouth. However, I would not classify them as shortbread. When I think of shortbread, I think of a buttery, sugary heavier cookie. These cookies lack that rich buttery flavor and the heavier texture characteristic of shortbread. Overall, I can't decide whether or not I like them. Flavor is good, sandy aftertaste is bad....

Wonderful face cream

A lot of moisturizers and hair products contain wheat protein. California Baby's products are all gluten-free. I found this California Baby Calming Botanical Moisturizing Cream at Whole Foods and although it's theoretically aimed at babies, it works wonderfully on adults too. I use it on my face and it feels great. I also use it when I have an allergic reaction on any other part of my skin - it really does "calm" the skin. You can buy this online at or at Whole Foods.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nut-Thins are a great gluten-free cracker

I have not actually tried these because I am allergic to nuts, but I have heard from multiple friends that they are delicious and of course, gluten-free! One friend highly recommends the pecan variety, and another likes the almond kind. I have seen them at Whole Foods. I think they are approximately $3 per box.

ENSURE shakes are yummy!

Ensure shakes seem to be marketed to seniors but they are good for everyone. Each shake contains 9g of protein and is certified lactose and gluten-free!! I have only tried the vanilla flavor so far, but it is very yummy! Finally a gluten-free product that tastes really good! I buy them at Costco in a pack of 30 or so and they are under a $1 each.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Best Yogurt on the Planet

Wallaby Organic Yogurt is the best yogurt out there by far! It's fruity and creamy and delicious without being too sweet like all those regular commercial varieties. It comes in tons of good flavors, one of my favorites is Orange-Pineapple. It also comes in both low fat and fat free. It is available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Corn Flakes that aren't so flaky

I never really ate Corn Flakes that much but once I figured out that I couldn't have them, I started to crave them! Since regular corn flakes contain malt, i.e. wheat, they are off limits. I tried these Erewhon Organic Corn Flakes since they don't contain any gluten. However, unfortunately, they just didn't cut it. I think the real thing I miss about corn flakes is the malt flavor, and without it, they are just not the same. And these flakes are a lot thicker and chewier than traditional corn flakes. I found them at Whole Foods.

Gluten-free cookies

These cookies are individually-wrapped so they are great for eating on the go. They taste like a healthy version of a cookie with an orange flavor. They are pretty good but they aren't sweet enough to be compared to a cookie containing wheat. I take them with me when I want to have a snack while out, but generally, they are not enticing enough to make me eat them at home. They sell them at Whole Foods for about $4 a box.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Soy Sauce!!

Why is it so hard to find soy sauce made of just soy??? Most brands of soy sauce contain wheat, especially those found in restaurants. This brand, La Choy, thankfully does not contain wheat. I have not found it yet in little packets, so I just pack a bottle of it in a ziplock bag and throw it in my purse when I am going out for sushi. All of the sushi restaurants that I have visited in SD serve wheat-containing soy sauce, which is disappointing. I have heard that Nobu, downtown, has wheat-free soy sauce, but I haven't been there yet. Oh and La Choy is a regular grocery store brand... I found mine at Vons.

I want to like these cookies, but...

These cookies are nut AND gluten free, which is good for me! However, despite my cravings for chocolate-chip cookies, these cookies just don't deliver.
They have a soft texture but are kind of grainy too and the flavor just isn't there. I have tried the double chocolate cookies and the lemon flavor as well. I think the lemon ones are the most palatable of the bunch, perhaps because there isn't that huge difference between what a regular chocolate-chip cookie tastes like, and what these kind taste like. I hope they improve their recipe because I LOVE chocolate-chip cookies.

Taco Bell - Not so safe!

Although Taco Bell could seem safe since many of its products are corn-based, it is not safe for people who are especially sensitive to gluten. Its own website says that all of the products may contain gluten, even though some specifically don't contain wheat. I know some gluten-free people who can eat at Taco Bell without a problem, and some who can't.
I don't risk it because the after-effects are not worth a few TB tacos for me. It's too bad though because TB could have been one of the few "safe" fast food restaurants for us gluten-free folk.


I haven't actually tried LARABARs but Jill, another gluten-free
San Diegan, says they are great for eating on the go and promise to be gluten free! Unfortunately for me, they contain nuts so I can't eat them because I also have a nut allergy!

I've checked out their website and they offer tons of flavors,
so let me know if you guys like them.

Vegetarian Lentils & Beans

I found this stuff at Costco. It is called Madras Lentils and is made by a company called Tasty Bite. It is a beans and lentils mixture in a tomato based sauce and is certified gluten-free! It is very tasty with rice and pretty high in protein too. It has a sort of Indian theme to it, but it isn't spicy. For the lazy among us, i.e. me, Tasty Bite also sells precooked basmati rice in a 2 serving pouch. You microwave it for 90 seconds and voila, perfectly cooked white rice. The two in combination are very good and you get two meals for about $4.00. I assume they sell this at regular grocery stores or Whole Foods but I haven't actually seen it there yet. However, don't buy their multigrain rice pilaf because it does contain wheat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pirate's Booty

Pirate's Booty is a baked corn snack. I have only tried the cheddar ones. They are good but lack the strong cheesy flavor of Cheetos. They are marketed as healthy snacks because they are baked. While they are lower in fat than Cheetos, I found that the subtle flavor makes me eat a lot more than I would if the flavor were stronger. Overall, as a snack they are pretty good, and they are gluten free, which is always appreciated. I would like to try the other flavors and maybe they would have the stronger flavor that I seek. (Please note: most types of Cheetos contain gluten, however, I believe there is one kind that does not contain wheat)

Bread - kind of.

After trying several varieties of rice bread, this is the only one I can say I like. But "like" is relative. Rice bread is really not comparable to regular wheat bread. The texture is a lot denser and can be a little chewy. However, I found that if you toast it, it is so much better. I usually toast it and have it with butter and honey. As far as flavor, I have found the Tapioca Loaf (which is just rice bread with a little tapioca added) tastes better than the plain or brown rice bread.

A note about this blog

Just wanted to let you guys know that pretty much of the food listed on this blog can be prepared in about five minutes or less. I am pretty lazy when it comes to food, so I'm all about microwaving something for a few minutes and then sitting down to eat. I also try to eat healthy but can't resist chocolate cake and chocolate brownies!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pasta... can't live without it!

My favorite type of food has always been Italian. I love the tomato cheese combination so living without pizza and pasta is just not an option. Luckily there are several varieties of rice pasta available. One of my favorites is Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Pasta. It is easy to cook, tastes great and is relatively cheap! I have found that rinsing the pasta in cold water after it has drained definitely reduces the rice slimey stuff that seems to accompany rice pasta.

My favorite frozen entree!

When I want a meal in a hurry, which is pretty much all the time:), my first choice is Amy's Organic Cheese Enchilada dinner. It comes with black beans and sweet corn. It is really tasty and filling and is ready in only 5 minutes! Amy's offers a pretty good selection of gluten free frozen meals, but this one is by far my favorite. Although I have also tried the meal which contains just two cheese enchiladas and it's just too rich. All that cheese feels like it is going straight to my arteries! I have heard that Amy's also offers a gluten free frozen pizza but I have yet to see it in any of the stores where I shop.

Another Costco find!

Why do so many frozen Mexican food items contain wheat? I couldn't find any frozen taquitos in the grocery store that didn't contain wheat even though all they should really contain is corn and meat. Anyway, I found this large box of El Monterey Corn Taquitos in Costco. On the box, they say Gluten Free! They come in either chicken or beef varieties. They are good for a quick meal. Just heat up a few of them and serve them with some salsa - easy!

Risotto - kinda disappointing.

I was excited to find this Risotto at Whole Foods since a lot of the pre-made rice mixes contain wheat. However, after making it, I found it to be a little bland. The picture on the box looks so good, but the flavor of the food inside just doesn't live up to its image. Maybe some more spices would have helped?

My favorite breakfast food!

I eat these waffles everyday for Breakfast. They are super yummy! My favorite flavor is the buckwheat ones - I eat those with apple sauce. I also like the plain ones and the blueberry ones. The flax ones are okay and the apple cinnamon ones are pretty good too! I don't really notice any difference between these gluten free waffles and regular waffles. Amazingly, I have found that they are cheaper at Whole Foods than at Ralph's!

French fries!!

I used to love McDonalds' french fries, but no more. Their special flavor spray contains wheat:( In the search for the best substitute, I started eating In-n-out fries. Now they aren't as crunchy as McDonalds' fries (even if you get them well-done), but they are definitely a taste that I enjoy more and more each time. They taste very fresh since they are made at the store from fresh potatoes every day and not frozen for months. I've tried their protein-style burger (i.e. a burger wrapped in lettuce in lieu of the bun), but it's just not the same as a regular hamburger. However, if you order this, I would ask for it to be cooked on a separate grill from the buns.

Crackers that actually taste good!

I was missing crackers and cheese. I tried the rice crackers in all the flavors but they just didn't do much for me. I finally came across these crackers at Whole Foods. They are not in the gluten-free section, but rather, they are in the regular cracker section. They are really good with plenty of flavor and are very crunchy. I think they are made from a variety of seeds. So far, I have only tried the original flavor but they are excellent with cheese!

Healthy Mexican Food in University Heights!

This is the most delicious and healthiest Mexican restaurant I have found in San Diego so far! They have a very large menu with lots of traditional Mexican items plus lots of unusual combinations like a Seafood Chimichanga! I usually stick with the chicken and beef enchiladas using corn tortillas of course! The food is all fresh and made to order, so allow a five minute wait for your food. They have fountain drinks so lots of free refills! The only downside is that the seating area is somewhat small and is often crowded, so either go early or late to avoid the pack, or get your food to go. Parking is never a problem in University Heights. Since becoming gluten free, I have found that Mexican food is my friend, however, it is still necessary to be careful. Depending on your sensitivity, it may bother you if corn and flour tortillas are cooked on the same grill. Also, some restaurants marinate their fajita meat in sauces that contain wheat gluten - so always ask!

A Gluten Free pizza place in Hillcrest

Pizza Fusion is a pizza restaurant in Hillcrest that offers gluten free, as well as vegetarian and vegan pizza choices. They also have regular pizza for all the non-allergic folks out there.

I ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza on the gluten free crust. The pizza was very good - just tasted like regular pizza crust - and it wasn't greasy! I also had good gluten-free brownies for dessert which were delicious. They even offer gluten-free beer! All their toppings are fresh and organic and overall they serve a very healthy pizza.

Our waitress was very nice and the decor was great. Parking was kind of a pain - but that's Hillcrest. If you save your receipt, you get 10% off your next visit. And they deliver - in an eco-friendly Toyota Prius!

Snack Bars that I can eat.... if only they tasted better!

As a realtor, I am often away from home during meal times and I
foods that I can take with me that don't require refrigeration.
Unfortunately most granola bars don't work for me because they
either contain wheat or nuts (did I mention that I'm allergic to nuts too!:). Anyway, I found Enjoy Life brand of snack foods. They are certified nut and gluten free. The snack bars come in several flavors including caramel apple, berry and chocolate. I have tried them all and the caramel apple are my favorite. However, although I can eat them, I don't exactly love them. They are a little grainy and are a little too sweet for me, however, given my lack of choices, I often take these with me. You can find them at Whole Foods and the organic section of some grocery stores.

Chocolate Cake Finally!!

It's been so long since I have had chocolate cake... I've just had to watch others enjoy that moist delicious airy chocolatey piece of heaven without being able to have a slice. However, that all changed when I was in Costco (yes, Costco!) and I found this box of chocolate cake mix. It includes two bags of cake mix and two bags of chocolate frosting mix. All organic, all gluten free! The brand is Sof'ella.

I made some cupcakes this morning after waking up with a craving for chocolate cake. They were soft and moist and chocolatey and lacked the gritty texture that is characteristic of a lot of gluten free cakes and cookies. And they rose nicely so that they were fluffy and not dense. I added some Betty Crocker whipped vanilla frosting and they were perfect!! I would definitely use this mix again!

Rice Chex is gluten free.

This is the first cereal I have found in the regular section (i.e. not the organic section) of the grocery store. General Mills certify that it is Gluten Free which is nice. I appreciate that there is a more affordable cereal option, however, I find Rice Chex to be a little bland. I miss Rice Krispies, but unfortunately, they contain malt (which contains wheat gluten), so I can no longer enjoy them. However, this is a good breakfast back-up. I found that Rice Chex is cheapest at Target.

Corn flakes also unfortunately contain malt flavor (which unless it says it is corn malt, is usually made from wheat). I have tried an organic version of corn flakes that are gluten free but they just did not stand up to the flavor and texture of regular corn flakes.

Starting this blog

After living gluten free for about six months, I have finally gotten around to writing this blog. I now have to think about everything I eat and I have to read all ingredient labels. Even the most innocent sounding food items can contain wheat - did you know that most soy sauce contains wheat? I didn't, until I started reading labels. Eating out can be a challenge because wheat gluten can be in just about anything and you often can't determine all the ingredients in a restaurant dish. Even packing a lunch can be tough since almost all bread contains gluten. I have slowly found foods I can eat and enjoy and I love to find new dishes that are gluten free. It is also so exciting to meet someone else on a gluten free diet because they completely understand the challenges. I encourage anyone reading this blog to comment and add their own experiences to this site.