Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Subway Gluten Free

Yep, that's right, Subway has jumped on the gluten free bandwagon, and I must say, they've done a stellar job educating themselves on what it takes to make a gluten free sandwich, from start to finish. Here's my review:

Subway has branched out and is testing gluten free bread and brownies in 700 Dallas/Ft. Worth locations, so it's not at every store, but hopefully it will be someday! It looks like they train their staff about the dangers of cross-contamination. I don’t know if this trend is gonna stick around though, since they said my sandwich order was only the 6th order they’ve had in 3 weeks. But, I’m hopeful. I’m actually surprised that they are using this store as a test market. We’re kinda out there in the middle of nowhere! Okay, so here’s what happened:
I walk in and tell them I’d like to try the gluten free bread for my sandwich. The girl tells me she’s got to wash her hands and change her gloves, and she’ll be taking care of me. So, she gets out the pre-packaged bread(looks like a hamburger bun, but a bit larger) with knife included, on a separate sheet of paper away from everything, cuts it, puts it on a tray and puts it in the oven to toast. She then asks me if I’d like her to pull all the toppings from the back so there’s no cross contamination. Of course I say yes. So, every topping that I got was from a fresh container, including the veggies. She was the only person that ever touched my sandwich, and I watched her the whole time. Granted, it did take longer to get my order, and about 8 people went in front of me while mine was being made, but it was worth it to know that I was getting a gluten free sandwich from a restaurant for the first time in 4 years. I can imagine that it might be difficult at different locations, where the employees speak a different language to communicate your needs, but if all the stores with the test markets are being trained properly, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Oh, and the bread is fantastic. I was very impressed. I also tried the brownie, by French Meadow, and loved the fact that it is completely grain free, using only potato starch as the flour. Very moist and flavorful, but then again I love chewy, dark, chocolatey brownies. They also display a list of all the ingredients that are gluten free(most of them) excluding the meatballs, seafood, and chicken teriyaki..and I think there might have been one other thing. They even have a list of dressings and chips that are gluten free(I think most of the chips are too, since they’re by Frito-Lay, and Frito-Lay has an extensive list on their website of gluten free chips. Anyway, Subway in Aubrey at Providence on HWY 380, east of Denton rocks! Oh, and Subway does have a list of allergens on their website, including gluten free toppings here:

One of the employees also gave me an ingredient list for the bread:

Egg whites, corn starch, modified corn starch, tapioca starch, palm oil, sugar, distilled monoglycerides, organic honey, organic apple cider vinegar, Contains less than 2% of the following: yeast, rice bran and germ, salt, leavening(sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), pectin, xanthan gum, carbohydrate gum, guar gum, enzyme. Contains Eggs manufactured on shared equipment with soy

Brownie Ingredients:
Sugar, expeller pressed canola oil, eggs, potato starch, cocoa alkali processed, natural vanilla flavor, salt, xanthan gum, natural chocolate flavor. Contains eggs, manufactured on shared equipment with soy.

I do wish more people would take cross contamination more seriously. For full blown celiac disease, cross contamination can cause serious issues. There are several people out there that just don't worry that much about cross contamination, and that's why so many restaurants don't understand what the big deal is about it. I know there are varying degrees of gluten sensitivity, and I can actually usually handle a bit of cross contamination, but I feel like for everyone's sake, cross contamination should be a universal concern for all restaurants attempting to cater to the gluten free diner. So kudos to Subway for being educated in that department. Now I want Jason's Deli to follow suit! They offer gluten free bread but make no attempt to avoid cross contamination. If you have a different experience there, please share!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Yep, that's right. I'm pregnant. I found out about 5 days after my last post on here! I'm due May1st, with a little girl. I'm 24 weeks pregnant now, and super excited about meeting our new little addition! Well, I guess I haven't posted all of fall and now we're already into winter. Ethan and I have kept busy going to play dates and generally just keeping busy with the day to day, house maintenance stuff. I had been feeling okay in the very beginning of my pregnancy, but by week 6, I was starting to feel the nausea. From week 6-11, I felt nauseous every day and pretty much laid around all day or tried to get out of the house in the attempt to distract myself from the nausea. Luckily I wasn't as sick this time as I was with Ethan. And it didn't last nearly as long! Thank God! I feel pretty good now, and the only food I can't tolerate is tomato sauce, like spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, etc. Which is sad because I love those foods dearly :( Every time I eat them though I throw up. It may not happen right away, but it does come back up later.

In the past few months, my mom, sister and I have started a food co-op. We basically are the ones that do all the work and provide local, organic produce, meat, eggs, dairy, coconut products, and other natural foods to other people for a lower price. We don't make any money at it, but we are able to order in bulk, larger quantities which helps us pay less in the long run. It's been fun so far. And it's been nice to be able to make the choice of what produce to buy each delivery. I only wish I could get my hubby to stop eating all the processed food he likes to eat. I'd say our only vices are corn tortilla chips(organic, from costco), commercial cereal(E and I don't eat this often though), and hubby still has that darn soda habit. We are thinking about buying the soda stream soda maker though, which will save money and the mixes have less crap in them than commercial soda. Besides that though, there's not much crap we eat. It's just enough to annoy me! I've just recently bought some organic popcorn so I can start making popcorn from scratch with coconut oil and sea salt so we will stop using that horrible microwave popcorn. I don't even like having it in the house but we bought a huge costco size box about a year ago and it's not gone yet. When it's gone, I'm not buying that crap again. The holidays weren't great for my eating habits, but then again, I had to be careful what I ate anyway, or I was at risk of throwing up! I did end up making gluten free chex party mix and muddy buddies as my holiday snacks, but man, those processed carbs can get so addictive. It was hard to put them down. My mom did much better than me and didn't use refined sugar in anything, no grain, and pretty darn healthy! I was surprised at how filling the treats she made were. Oh, I also made chocolate peanut butter cups. Those were darn tasty! I used dark chocolate, natural peanut butter, honey and coconut oil, so those weren't too bad.

My brother came home for the holidays. He got in around the 21st I think? Maybe it was earlier, and didn't leave until Jan 8th. It was great having him in town that long since I didn't feel pressured to get in all my time with him in one weekend or so. I'm glad he decided to stay that long. We had a blast while he was in town.

We started going to a new church recently. The Edge Fellowship. I really like how small it is right now and just recently joined the worship team. It's been nice getting really involved with a church finally. I have nothing against the church we came from, but I just never really got involved and again, I like how small this one is, feels more intimate. So, my Saturdays are usually spend practicing for worship about 3 hours a day, then church at 5. It's been nice having church on Sat night and then having Sunday free to do nothing!

Mark's been working a lot more lately since I stopped working in April, so that's been a little hard on us, but I try to keep our days busy and spend time with my family when I'm feeling cooped up. He always has Sunday free and Saturday mostly, so that's been nice. The week is what's tough! Also, it's just gotten harder since Ethan turned 2. He's not hit the "terrible twos" per say, but he's been dealing with teething, constipation and general toddler tantrums lately, which is so tiring! He doesn't seem even close to potty training yet, but I'm not concerned. I really don't want to start trying that process until he seems ready, and he doesn't. I just don't want to make it harder on myself than it needs to be!

We've started working on the new baby's room in the past few weeks, but certainly aren't done. We just bought the paint yesterday, and already have the crib and a rocking chair. The next step is to paint, do wainscoting, and get the rest of the furniture. I do need to get another mattress, but I think I'm going to get a regular toddler mattress for Ethan's room and use our expensive organic mattress for the baby's bed. I've read lots of studies lately blaming commercial mattress chemicals for SIDS. This is one reason a lot of people think that turning babies to their back is what helped reduce SIDS. If they're on their back, they aren't breathing in chemicals directly from the mattress. There's no solid proof for this obviously, but I don't want to take any chances. We have an organic mattress topper for a commercial mattress for Ethan, so I think that's better than nothing. Plus, half the time E's in our bed, and I'm sure the new baby will be in our bed occasionally and ours isn't organic, but I tend to feel safer if my kiddos are next to me :) The pictures at the top of the page is our crib, and the one to the right is the bedding we just ordered for this little girl. So excited to see the room all done! I like it because I think it will grow with her. It's not a "baby only" design. Well, that's about all I've got for today. I'm gonna go help Mark make dinner and I'll blog again soon, I promise!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wow, it's been too long!

What can I say, this summer has been busy! I stopped working in April, and have been staying busy with my little boy going to playdates, swimming, etc. Trying to keep cool as well! I'm glad my uncle Bryan reminded me that I have this blog, and I used to love posting. I need to get back into it. I guess I haven't tried many new dishes this summer since it's been so dang hot out and heating up the kitchen is so not on my list of things to do. I will share one specific recipe that is staying fresh in my memory, because it was so good, though. I had gone grain free and dairy free before my vacation to Puerto Vallarta in June, but fell off the bandwagon when we indulged in corn chips almost daily. We ate them with fresh salsa and guacamole though, so it was really hard to resist. Ever since then, I've been eating grain almost daily. I know I need to give it up for the sake of my allergies, but it's so hard to make a meal the whole family will love, completely grain and dairy free. Anyway, E is getting SO big. he's 26 lbs and about 34 inches long. He's still wearing 18-24 mo. clothing, so his height and weight has certainly evened out over the past several months. He's got pajamas that I finally put up because they were too small on him that he's been wearing since he was 9 months old. He's almost 20 months now! I ventured out today for tax-free weekend to see what little boy clothes I could find and found 8 items for 30 dollars. Most of it was resale and Marshall's. I did go to the mall, but I was about to pull my hair out by the time I left because the crowds were just insane. Not worth the 8% I was saving in taxes, for sure! E and I needed lunch so we were going to go to chipotle, but there was a huge line, so then we walked over to Tin Star and there was an even bigger line there, so I gave up and we went to the mall, where I knew I could get chickfila, and waited in line anyway. So annoying! Remind me next year not to do that. I'll stick to getting my daily deals at resale stores!

Anyway, so I did get another job, but it's only like 4-8 hours a week, depending on how much I work. It's good hourly though, so I hope I like it. I haven't started yet, because I need to take my TABC before I can do liquor promotions. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house for awhile without a kid. That will be nice. I joined a playgroup in May and have been doing outings with Ethan 3-4 times a week, and that's been a lifesaver for both of us. I'm really starting to bond with some of the moms in the group and making some good friends, so it's been nice.

E's been talking up a storm lately. He's starting to try and talk in sentences, but I can't understand a word he's saying. It's all gibberish right now but you can tell by his inflection that he's saying a sentence. He's started saying "no" to everything, even when he means "yes" and "why?" constantly. It's annoying and adorable at the same time. He loves Yo Gabba Gabba, and calls it "Yo Yo." He says "Nee-Nah" for "clean up" all the time. I love it! We've been working on getting him down to nursing at naps and bedtime only, and that's been going pretty well. I'd love to get to the point where he'd take a nap without me. It would totally free up my day and schedule, but we'll get there eventually I guess.

Okay, onto food. This recipe is grain free but not dairy free.

Smoked Brisket Salad

5 slices smoked brisket(we smoked ours in a smoker, but you could use smoke seasoning)
smoked almonds(we smoked our almonds, but you could use already smoked almonds)
1 dollop of sour cream
1 dollop barbecue sauce
shredded pepper jack
romaine or head lettuce, chopped
green onions, chopped
avocado, sliced
tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig cilantro for garnish

Toss all ingredients and serve. It would be nice with a squeeze of fresh lime as well.

I'll probably post again in the next few days. I need to catch up some more!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spaghetti with Bacon....yum

Ethan enjoying zuke noodles

So, I have been eating a lot of beef this week and decided to switch it up and make something with bacon, but pasta sounded good. I'm trying to go mostly dairy free though as well, so all those yummy creamy bacon pasta recipes were out of the question. So, I decided to try something new. I'm not doing grain, so I made some zucchini noodles. All you have to do is take 1 or 2 zucchinis, and peel them with a potato peeler until you get down to the seeds. I usually just save the seedy part in a bag in the freezer until I make some soup or something.

I love spaghetti sauce to taste a little sweet, so I usually add honey, but with the balsamic and vidalia onion in this recipe, you really don't need to add any sweetener.

Tomato Bacon Balsamic over Zuke Noodles

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp italian seasoning
celtic sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb bacon, cooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 vidalia onion, chopped
two zucchinis, ribboned with a potato peeler.

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and italian season in a medium saucepan, simmer while you make everything else. In a skillet, use the leftover bacon grease from cooking the bacon to saute the onions and garlic. Once soft, add the 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and cook on medium until it has reduced some. Pour the onion/garlic mixture into the tomato sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if it's too thick for your taste. While the sauce continues to simmer, clean out the skillet and add the zucchini, and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Saute until zucchini is tender, but not too soft. Serve the sauce over the noodles and top with chopped cooked bacon. I also grated a little asiago cheese and cooked some broccoli to mix in. Made a nice veggie rich meal. Very filling too!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grain Free! Garlic Wine Chuck Roast, Roasted Green Beans & Chocolate Cupcakes!

I just read (well, skimmed) The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson and was very inspired (partly due to my mom and sister as well) to go grain free. They were doing it for allergies, and weight loss and I am mainly doing it for my allergies. It seems every year around April 1st, I start to develop chronic congestion. I get so congested I can't breathe at night. It usually lasts about 8 weeks. Either this grain free diet is helping tremendously with my allergies, or it just happens to be better because it's been about 8 weeks since my allergies flared up. I know they are seasonal, but I have environmental allergies all year round. The allergy shots help with those though. Anyway, I haven't had grains in about 2 days and I feel awesome. I am never hungry. I still crave sugary things a bit but I think it's because I haven't cut out sugar and sweet fruit yet. I don't really intend to either. I really just want to cut out the grains. This may be a temporary thing, but if it continues like this I might stick to it for life. We'll see.

Being gluten free already has made the transition pretty easy. The only thing I really miss so far is corn chips and salsa. If I could make a grain free chip I'd be in heaven! I think it's also helping that we are at the yummiest season of the year for produce. Corn, watermelon, strawberries, blackberries are all in season right now, and are quite abundant. Unfortunately, we got about 10 ears of fresh local corn in our last produce share and I'm not eating any of it! So sad. Oh well, my son and husband will enjoy it with gusto I'm sure. I haven't attempted a grain free pizza yet (well, I guess chebe mix is considered grain free, because it's made from tapioca but still processed pretty highly), but I'd like to because I really love my pizza. With peppers, and sausage and lots of onions.. drool....Hell, I may still eat the chebe. I don't think it bothers my allergies. Only one way to find out!

Tonight I made an amazing chuck roast in the crock pot. My sister helped me out with this one.

The recipe:

1 cup dry red wine (I actually used pinot noir, which isn't dry but it's all I had. Dry would be better)
1 grass fed chuck roast (mine was about 3 lbs, bone in)
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 can organic diced tomatoes
salt and pepper ( just throw some in)
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 springs fresh rosemary

Layer all ingredients besides the roast into the crock pot.
Brown the roast in a little coconut oil before placing in the crock pot.
Cook on low all day (mine cooked from like 11-6)
If your roast is boneless, just remove and slice.
Mine was bone in so I had to remove the roast and take the bones and fat and cartilage and junk out, then chop up what was left and put it back in the pot to cook for a bit more. Drizzle with the juices from the roast.

And as a side:

Roasted Green Beans

1-2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Toss green beans in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, or done to your liking. I like mine really done!

For dessert, I made grain free chocolate cupcakes, thanks to Elana's Pantry!

Adapted from Elana's Pantry recipe:

Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2- 1 tsp almond extract
  1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda(I used my hands to smooth the lumps in this step)
  2. In a large bowl, blend together eggs, oil and maple syrup
  3. Blend dry ingredients into wet thoroughly
  4. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and scoop a 1/4 cup into each
  5. Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes
Makes 9-10 cupcakes

Mine turned out a bit dry, but very tasty. I'm thinking butter might help with that next time? Honestly the batter tasted like chocolate pudding. I might just eat the batter next time!!

Elana has a recipe for vegan buttercream frosting on her site, but I am trying to cut back on sugar, so I didn't frost them. I just ate them like chocolate muffins. Still yum!

And onto my child, my 17 month old toddler. Can't believe he's 17 months! He's now saying "Nee Na" for clean up, no, hi, bye, mama, dadda, knee, eww, oooh (like in amazement), yumm, doggy, puppy, poopy, wa wa (water), Beeba (which is his nickname, but we say EEB, because those are his intials), up, many words! He's no sleeping about 4-6 hours in his bed at night and then when he wakes up he walks into our bedroom and sleeps with us the rest of the night.
It's called part time cosleeping. I like it. It's a nice compromise! That's all for today. I'll post again soon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gluten free Grain Free crackers

I adapted this recipe from Elana's Pantry to suit my own tastes. This is adapted from her walnut crackers with fig tapenade recipe on her site. Just trying to give credit where credit is due and to remind everyone that very few recipes are truly original, so I'm going to call this an adaptation.

Nut Crackers

1 cup blanched almond flour (I used bob's red mill)
1 egg, whisked until frothy(not sure why, but that's what I did cause that's what Elana said to do)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey(to give it that real cracker taste..)
1/2 cup other nut flour blend (I combined walnuts and pumpkin seads in the food processor) You can play around with these combinations.
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out the dough with a spatula onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Roll out with a rolling pin (or in my case, a uniformly cylindrical glass since I don't own a rolling pin) until the dough is even and cracker-width. remove the second piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter, slice the sheet of dough into cracker size pieces. I ended up with about 30 crackers. Then bake in the oven for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. When I first read Elana's recipe, I didn't realize you could bake with parchment paper, so I removed both pieces of parchment paper and had to basically roll the dough again directly onto the baking pan. Well, the crackers stuck to the pan and I had to destroy them to get them off. I'm going to use the crumbs as a cracker crumb topping for a casserole I think and try again the right way next time. I'm sure it turns out much cleaner and the crackers are prettier like the picture on her blog. I then topped the cracker bits(a few made it) with some canned smoked sardines and kalamata olives. It was a very satisfying "snack." I call it a snack, but it was really a meal. Those crackers are super dense, but not in a bad way. They're completely nut based, so lots of protein and fat to fill me up! If I had some decent raw cheddar or aged parmesan, I would have added that as well. Anyone who attempts this, please let me know how it turns out! Mom, I know you are tonight. I'm curious to see what yours end up like.


Friday, April 30, 2010

My Adventures With Mayonnaise

So, my sister came over a couple weeks ago and showed me how to make mayonnaise. Well, I had recommended to her that we use my immersion blender because I read online that you can make mayonnaise in an immersion blender without having to add the oil slowly. You could just throw all the ingredients in there together and it would work. Well, it didn't and but we had a nice bacon, lettuce and tomato salad with a dressing made from our liquid mayonnaise. It tasted good, but it wasn't mayonnaise.

Well, Ethan has been really cranky and needy lately, and I thought it was due to this one tooth that hasn't popped through yet, but he has been happy as a clam the past two days and his tooth still isn't through, so I'm not sure what that is all about. Needless to say, he was a happy camper today and let me get all kinds of stuff done without whining all over the house all day :). So I decided to take advantage of his mood and get cooking! I attempted the mayonnaise again. I was determined to use the immersion blender successfully, but this time I started the right way. I added one egg to the container, and then slooooowly added an olive/coconut oil blend drip by drip. It turned out fairly thick! But then I added vinegar afterward, and it became liquid again. I tried again. Cracked another egg, but this time, added vinegar to the egg, blended then added the oil. Well, I guess I didn't pour the oil slow enough this time and it never emulsified. I added too much oil and the result was a very olivey tasting mayonnaise liquid.

I couldn't let it go to waste. Afterall, I used pastured chicken eggs and good quality coconut and olive oil. So, I turned it into a honey mustard dressing.

Honey Mustard Dressing

3/4 cup mayonnaise (homemade)
3 tbsp mustard (I used grainy brown mustard, but yellow would be classic and yummy too)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Apple cider vinegar (not sure how much, just use as much as it takes to taste right, probably around 1/4 cup.
Raw honey ( I think I used around 3 tablespoons)
a little whey (this will make it last longer with the homemade mayonnaise)

Mix all together with immersion blender or just shake it all up in a jar.

I then had a little less than 2 cups of honey mustard dressing that I wasn't sure I would use before it went bad, and I hate wasting food, so I decided to then make potato salad with it!

2-3 lbs potatoes, red works best, but I only had russets, so that's what I used, cooked and cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup honey mustard dressing
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
paprika for a splash of color. I didn't have any, but it would have been a lot prettier if I did! Oohh, smoked paprika would have been really good. Oooh and truffle oil would have been a good oil to use for the mayonnaise. Why didn't I think of that before? Oh well, next time.
Anyway, make sure the eggs and potatoes are cool before tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl and let chill in the fridge for awhile before eating.

I guess you have noticed that I didn't put a recipe for the mayonnaise. I am going to perfect it first, and then I will post my final results in a recipe format. I will master this! I'm determined.