Category: food

Spice World

Yes, I love the Spice Girls CD… and no, this post is not about that.

I recently found out some great news: Penzey’s Spices (one of my all-time favorite local stores) is 98% gluten free*!!

They have a spice for everything: dips, salsas, every meat and vegetable, baking, grilling… you name it. I usually just check the back of everything I want and then buy it if it looks safe. I don’t have to do that anymore. I didn’t want to trust the rumor, so I emailed Penzey’s and got an immediate response about their products when I asked which 1-2 items were not gluten free.

Ingredients are clearly listed for our spice blends. Some ingredients used in blending that contain possible allergens include, Soy protein, lactose and dehydrated cheese. Soy protein is used in Chip & Dip Seasoning, lactose is used in Taco seasoning and the dehydrated cheeses are used in our line of Cheese Seasoning Blends. A meticulous clean up is performed after production of these items. Penzeys soup bases are produced at another facility and are known to contain allergens. Penzeys Spices no longer sells MSG and does not use it in blending. All other items are free of common allergens.

The email was much longer but I was really happy with the response time and detailed answer. I love Penzey’s and if you don’t have one near you, consider buying from them online!

My favorites: Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle (amazing on popcorn) and Fox Point Seasoning (amazing on steamed veggies).

And, while looking up those links, I saw some amazing recipes on the website that will likely be showing up here.

Cute Penzey's Kitten
found this on someone’s blog… penzey’s + kitten = amazing
*There is one spice that isn’t gluten free and it’s the Beef Soup base, but since it’s made at another facility, it won’t cause contamination. Other soup bases may contain other known allergens, as well.

G-Free Review: WI State Fair

Last week I ventured to the WI State Fair to see all the best that my state has to offer. Generally, fairs and festivals are my least favorite places (despite my love of people watching) because I can’t safely eat anything.

This year’s fair had deep-fried everything: candy bars, veggies, s’mores, cookies, butter, pies… and all could be eaten from a stick. I was jealous that my husband could eat whatever he wanted.

I was lucky because this year I tried Slim McGinn’s basket of homemade potato chips that may not have been labeled “gluten-free”, but they didn’t make me sick (quite a risk eating them, but I was hungry!). Of course, that wasn’t as wonderful as seeing Molly’s Gluten Free Bakery supplying Robert’s Restaurant with hamburger buns.

It was expensive, and the bread was dry (likely from leaving it out… I know how food booths work), but it was nice to eat a meal and know I wouldn’t get sick. Thanks for being awesome, Molly’s!

G-Free burger
G-Free burger

G-Free Grade = B

G-Free Review: Moondance Cheesecake

After a stressful morning at work, I decided I would treat myself to the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake cup  (from Moondance) waiting for me in the fridge.

cheesecake heaven in a cup!
cheesecake heaven in a cup!

This heavenly creation was probably one of the best tasting grocery-store (Whole Foods to be exact) cheesecakes I’ve ever had.

The crust is “pecan shortbread” and I think it’s more pecan than cookie. I normally don’t like pecans but the texture and flavor only made the creamy cheesecake better. The cheese filling is typical, I would say. Nothing extraordinary, but nonetheless delicious.

For someone who is a chocolate fanatic, I initially thought the light sprinkling of chocolate chips was a bit too scarce. However, everything (crust, cake, topping) was in perfect proportion.

This is an excellent dessert – high in calories and high in satisfaction. I would definitely try more flavors… maybe when I’m not on a diet.

Don’t go the website if you’re hungry.

G-Free Grade = A+


In other news:
my scarf is coming along beautifully. I kind of wish I would have made something different. A hat maybe? I’m scared to try new shapes though…  Knit and Crochet Now! makes everything look so easy!

beautiful stitching
beautiful stitching

G-Free Review: Chili Lili’s Chili Bar

The moment I read that Molly’s G-Free Bakery was teaming up with this fabulous restaurant, I knew amazing things were in store. My regular Friday-night-dinner out was spent at Chili Lili’s Chili Bar a few months ago and it was amazing. They have a great menu of chilies and foods to put chili on and in. Not only that, but they promise to make anything allergy-free by altering their ingredients.

Last visit, I had the traditional Cincinnati chili over waffle fries. It was the best and weirdest chili I’ve ever had- tasted like there was cinnamon in the recipe. (After looking into this chili phenomenon it seems that cinnamon is an ingredient.) I didn’t go out of my way to make sure the meal was g-free, but I didn’t get sick so I think that meal would be safe for anyone else who is a sensitive Celiac. The waiter at my recent visit said the Cincinnati was g-full so I ordered the Spicy Pizza chili over fries. I felt bad doing a review without trying the bread, courtesy of Molly’s, so I cheated even more on my South Beach Diet Phase 1 (no carbs) to be able to honestly say that Molly’s garlic bread at Lilli’s is AMAZING. They also serve rolls to make any of the sandwiches that Lili’s offers.

Spicy pizza chili on fries
spicy pizza chili on fries

Pros:

  • They know what’s g-free and what ingredients are in their foods.
  • The chili tastes amazing and is healthy (extras like mac & cheese or fries probably aren’t as healthy).
  • They serve Molly’s bread.
  • Prices are very reasonable and affordable.

Garlic Bread
garlic bread

Notice the bread bending in the picture? That’s because it’s SOFT. If you’ve had any g-free bread, you would know that most are crumbly and disgusting and dry. This bread was soft and delicious, with a perfectly toasted crust.

Soft bread
soft bread

Cons:

  • Long wait (at least for this visit): The wait was 45 minutes! For 5 people in a slightly empty place, food should have been up in no time. And one person ordered a burger done medium, so that also should have been fairly quick.
  • Poor service : When the food came, there was no order of magical garlic bread and the burger was burnt and well-done. (Burger was obviously sent back and later refunded.) The waitstaff never asked how the burger was to make sure it was done the right way… then the bread finally came a bit after… then I had my special “oh my god I am eating delicious g-free bread” moment…. and then after the table was done eating, out came a new burger (another 30 minute wait).

I have never had to wait so long (or witness someone else waiting) for food. There was a small party going on but they were mostly drinking, not really seated to eat. And the other 4 patrons in the place weren’t eating. I don’t know what was wrong with the kitchen that night…

I would recommend going when you aren’t starving. Just in case.

G-Free Grade = B-

Wednesday Whine: G~Free Idiots

There are a plethora of websites and blogs on Celiac Disease and eating G-Free; I know, because I check out my competition (also, I borrow their neat recipes). With the popularity of avoiding carbs and the increase in autoimmune disorder awareness, why is “gluten” still such a foreign word?

I started a new job a few months ago and right away, I was bracing myself for the moment I would have to tell co-workers that I can’t have wheat. I hate the incessant questions, “Can you have this?”, “Can you have that?,” “Does this have wheat in it?” Previous experience has taught me that people don’t even understand the words “gluten” and “Celiac,” even after I describe them. These new co-workers were no exception.

Maybe it’s just the handful of people I’ve encountered who aren’t bright enough to comprehend “gluten-free”. You know, the kind of people who say, “I says” and “Eye-talian” – can’t expect a whole lot of smarts there.

Two particularly ridiculous moments come to mind. (1) A lady came over to me, “I like to bring in a baked good for my birthday – you wont be able to have that – but I also bring in a fruit salad. Can you have fruit?” Really? Is the fruit covered in flour? Because last time I checked, fruit didn’t have wheat in it. (2) One day pizza was being ordered for lunch. I was seriously asked, and this is an exact quote, “I know you can’t order pizza with us, but what about something else from the restaurant? Like pasta.” PASTA?! Since when is pasta the g-free alternative to pizza? I’m not sure people think very hard about the things they say. And sadly, these were separate people who said these things.

Even something as seemingly simple as dairy vs. non-dairy can’t be mastered by some people. I remember when my sister was younger and couldn’t have dairy, we had to request everything without it. And people actually asked if she could have eggs. Are eggs squeezed from a milk-giving animals teats? No? Oh ok, then it looks like eggs are NON-DAIRY.

Are people that stupid? Or do they just not think? I was hoping that when Celiac Disease became mainstream, people would be less retarded about it. So far it seems the dumb people will always ruin it for everyone else.

No Wheat!
No Wheat!