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.