Friday, October 31, 2014

Gluten Free Zombie Brownies

Happy Halloween!!!!

How does the time fly so fast these days? I swear it was just summer time, and now I'm making Halloween brownies? 

With so much going on this years Halloween party treats got down right, "simple" in our house, but still tasty and gluten free. 

Can't get any simpler than this. 

1 package of Pamela's Brownie mix
1 package of Extreme Chocolate cookies 
1/2 a bag of Wilton Candy melts

Follow the recipe on the pack of the brownies that suites your fancy. We went with the Fudgie option. While the brownies were baking we were crushing the cookies to sprinkle on the top for the dirt. Once out of the oven and cooling the "dirt" was applied.

The Wilton Candy Melts are awesome, I have a candy melter that I use to melt them, but the microwave for 2-3 :30 second rounds works, as well as using a double boiler to melt them. Pour them in the mold, freeze for 10 minutes and you have zombie hands to push down into the brownies and look like the walking dead are coming out of your dessert.... Heck it doesn't need to be Halloween to enjoy these, they'd be great to share watching the Walking Dead on Sunday nights too! 

Happy and safe Halloween and don't forget after Trick or Treating check out the safe candies for you and your little ones and swap them with someone for anything you can't have! Here is the list for a quick reference

Friday, September 19, 2014

Puccini's Smiling Teeth

Off the beaten path for sure. There is a lot of construction on Meridian right now, so it was a little crazy. We were ending our trip in Indianapolis and deciding where to eat, if we ate in Indianapolis or drive closer to home. Looking on Find Me Gluten free Puccini's Smiling Teeth came up in Carmel. After we giggled a bit about the name, we read the online reviews. It seemed they had some good gluten free options. Thankfully we punched the address in the GPS or we might not have found it, but at last we did. They have been in Indianapolis since 1991, and now have several locations in Indiana and Kentucky, they have also won several awards for the innovative pizzas and other Italian dishes they've started to serve.

Right away before walking in there was a sign stating they offer gluten free, and that although they don't have a dedicated kitchen, their staff is trained in preparing gluten free food. Positive sign!

When we walked in, they'd just opened for dinner, so I felt an extra sense of security that my meal would be correct. They had a full menu for gluten free, with the pizza options on the back. There were so many good sounding different options it was hard to choose what I wanted. I ended up getting a pizza, and we got a appetizer of scamorza; which was similar to a warm bruschetta that game with gluten free toast. The gluten eaters in my group said they enjoyed the toast, and that they were glad we tried the scarmorza because it was really tasty!

Talking with our server and mentioning that I was "allergic" he assured me the items I got were fine, and I would be ok. The pizza came out in it's own disposable pan, so I knew it didn't get contaminated from cooking. I even had my own pizza cutter and spatula.

The food was good, the staff was friendly they seemed knowledgeable. I am curious if the same would go for when they are busier, since they don't have a large kitchen or dinning area. We are hoping to go back next summer when we are back in town for the race again. My brothers girlfriend kept calling it "The best flipping pizza" she's had in a long long time. So the gluten eaters in the group won't object to stopping for pizza while you're there.

They get four dragonflies from me on their variety of options they offer for gluten free with everything from appetizers, traditional dishes, pizza and pasta. Though they could be dicey when it gets busy, but the staffs training and knowledge of gluten free did leave me feeling happy with our decision to stop.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Chik-Fil-A -- A Gluten Free quick stop meal

The first time I had Chik-Fil-a was back in my pre gluten free days in college. Down at ISU we had them on Campus as one of the places to eat in the dining hall of Waterson. They were one of the more expensive places to use our dining dollars, plus they were not open on Sunday’s so we didn’t eat there a lot, it was really more of a treat to get a chicken sandwich from there.
Fast forward 8 years and chik-fil-a is finally making their move into the Chicago Market. I was ecstatic, only issue… I couldn’t get that amazing chicken sandwich any more. Until I was gluten free I would only order chicken breaded, deep fried was even better then breaded, but I’d never order it grilled. Then they went and put a Chik-fil-a Right by my house, walking distance, it begged going in to check it out. 
Looking for a quick meal that wasn’t Chipotle or Pei Wei,(Which are right across the street) we stopped at Chik-fil-a to get dinner. I went with a salad with grilled chicken. I told the girl taking my order it needed to be gluten free, no croutons or bread, she told me right away there were no croutons or bread to worry about, but she’d make sure everything else was ok on the salad. (how sweet) I had the list of Gluten Free salad dressings pulled up on my phone already, I noticed one thing, they did not have Ranch, Blue Cheese, or Caesar salad dressing, my normal salad dressing staples. I was a bit miffed because I didn’t know what to order!?!!  I got the avocado lime ranch dressing, which turned out ok, I did like it. 
I did some more research, I found out you can ask them to be certain, but they fry their waffle fries in a separate fryer from the breaded items so they are gluten free too!!!!  OMG French Fries!!!! My love!!!

Note - I couldn't pass up ordering a side of fries with my Salad.
The Chik-fil-a sauce is also gluten free, Yum! While we were traveling to Indianapolis for the race we stopped in Merriville to visit the Albanese Candy Factory and decided to grab dinner since we had several options there (Joe’s crab shack, Don Julio’s, Red Robin, Chik-Fil-A) to choose from. We opt’d for a quick meal so we could hit the road quickly after eating so we did Chik-Fil-A. I was so excited when the girl taking our order checked with the kitchen; yup the fries were safe! Large fry for me, and a salad, since I guess fries aren’t enough for dinner. We now have another place to add to the quick eats list when traveling, or grabbing a meal before an event. 
I give them 4 dragonflies, since they have several options for grilled chicken, salads, nuggets, and patties, if you want to do a bun-less burger and waffle fries. They also have several dressings and sauces that are gluten free. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stashu's Deli, Pizza, Meats, Gluten Free?

Recently I found myself visiting my bestie down in Galesburg, IL. Road Trip! The last couple visits we've taken off for Peoria for her to do some real shopping and hit up Old Navy for some clothes and get some good food! This time we decided to see what the Quad Cities could offer. We didn't spend too much time, since things close by 5:00, or everything we wanted to do closed at 5:00.

When we got to Davenport we were pretty hungry, we did only start our day with Kinikinnik Cinnamon sugar donuts. We checked out Find Me Gluten Free and found Stashu's Deli. The menu sounded interesting, pizza's and calzones, sandwiches for the non-gluten free eaters as well. We plugged it into the GPS and went on the journey to find it. Turns out they are in the far corner of a strip mall, set off the road. We actually couldn't find it at first, because there were only a few cars in the lot, so it almost seemed like they weren't open. We decided to go and see if they were open, lucky for us, they were.

We all decided to try out the calzones, though I was the only one who got it gluten free. All calzones come in two sides, small and regular, and range from normal pizza parlor flavors to unique. I went with the Taco Calzone.

They are using a shared space for making and baking calzones, they do state that gluten free items take long to cook, so if possible call ahead. I give them a 4 dragonfly rating for the uniqueness of getting a calzone, in really any flavor you want. They also seemed to understand the need to make sure the gluten free taco was prepped away from other ones we ordered. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Here is another place that you don't have to twist my arm to go for dinner Carrabba's Italian Grill. Technically they have 2 locations in the Chicagoland area.... Just not near me, so we don't get here very often. It was semi close to where I worked at my last job, so we could get there a little more often. Now for an Italian restaurant they do not do gluten free pasta, but that's OK, they have enough delicious items on the menu to make up for it.

My favorite dish is the Chicken Bryan all dishes come with a veggie on the side, in lieu of the pasta. You get a choice of soup or salad as a starter to your meal. The chicken soup is good, and can be served without the pasta. I do normally get the soup, I opted for salad the last time, because I was craving an appetizer with my meal.

I had to get the shrimp scampi, that alone I could give 5 stars to. The difference from the regular portion is it's served without the little garlic toasts. I may bring some Glutino bagel chips the next time and eat that with it, I think it would go very well!

My Favorite dish, Chicken Bryan who can turn down chicken with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes! When I ordered the server make sure to note it on the order that it was gluten free, and when the other server brought out the plate she announced again that it was gluten free before placing it down. That makes me feel extra comfortable that the chef was told and the meal was prepped properly. I was told come early 2015 their grill base will be updated so EVERYONE can get the grill base, that it will be made with Rice Flour instead of regular wheat flour. Little victories for the gluten free peeps!

I give them 4 dragonflies, their menu is very detailed on how to adjust items to make them gluten free, and the servers will re-iterate that information back to you when you place the order. They seem to really take care in the prep and presentation of the food when they bring it out to serve you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mago's Cantina

A friend recommended checking out Mago’s Cantina one day, because she saw the Gluten Free listings on the menu. She loved the food and told me to give it a try. I kept trying to get around to it, but being all the way out in Bollingbrook, it was a bit far for me to travel, just for dinner, and none of my friends lived over that way anymore. I Overheard there was a great Mexican place in downtown Arlington Heights I should check out. When I pulled up the menu online I saw that it was the same place my friend recommended. So we decided to check it out.
What a cute place! The one in Arlington Heights is attached to the Metropolis performing arts theater, making it a great place for dinner if you are there to see a show. There is free parking right around the corner, and there are a bunch of places to grab a drink or ice cream after dinner. In the winter, North School Park, right across Northwest Highway has some really pretty light sculptures they put up, that are in walking distance to go and enjoy.
I was delighted with the menu selection. The menu lists out what items are naturally gluten free, or can be modified to be gluten free. There were a lot of choices. Right away when you are seated you are given chips and 3 different types of salsa, which they warn you right away one of the salsas does contain peanuts.  They have a guacamole cart they come around and will make it for you right at your table.

Note the Gluten free rice is White, the regular is orange.
I couldn’t decide what I wanted to get, so my boyfriend and I opted to split a couple dishes. When I told the waitress my meal needed to be made gluten free, she right away told me they would modify the rice that comes with the beans so that it was safe. I would have never thought the rice at a Mexican restaurant would be an issue!

After we ordered a mariachi band started to walk around and play music, it added to the ambiance.
We were so full after eating so much food, but we had to get dessert because they had flan! Honestly I’d never had flan until recently, so I was excited to try theirs. The flavor changes throughout the year, but it is still gluten free. Over all they were a bit pricy, but the ambiance and the food made it totally worth it. Recently they opened another location up in South Barrington; I’ve recommended all my friends who live up there to go try it! It’s worth it.

Flan for dessert
I give them 4 dragonflies. The menu is extensive on what they can offer. If you talk to the wait staff they will definitely take care of you for gluten freeness, and they have dessert options! I love dessert options.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pizzaria Uno

A Chicago Original that is a slice of home for anyone from Chicago - Pizzeria Unos. I've been to the original Uno's in Chicago once in my non gluten free days. I've been to a couple locations for their gluten free options, and discovered they do a good gluten free dish. The first thing I got there for a gluten free meal was their pizza, I mean Pizzeria Uno is known for pizza, I'd hope a gluten free one would live up to the Chicago standards. It's comparable. Now sadly it's no deep dish, but hey thin crust saves room for dessert.  We do laugh when we eat at a Pizzeria Uno's when we are out of town, since well, we can have Chicago Style pizza anytime we want!

This press release from 2009 explains the difference in the gluten free from a regular Uno's pizza, that the French Meadow crust are round and thin crust, not a flat square crust like the regular or deep dish.

They don't have a wide variety of pizza options, but the basics are covered. The nice thing about their menu is there is more than just pizza. So you have options no matter what mood you are in.

Recently while traveling we noticed a Uno's Bar and Grill sign near our hotel. We decided it was a good dinner to order in. I was very impressed that all our food was in one back, and the gluten free pizza was packed all by itself. Yay; They understood!

One of my other favorite dishes there is the Baked Chicken Spinoccoli, how can you go wrong with chicken, two types of cheese, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, garlic... Yum! They have more than just broccoli as a side, so I am willing to stop here for a quick meal since everyone can find something they like.

Like any pizza place there is always open flour in the kitchen that makes things a bit dicey. The food is tasty and when you ask for gluten free the first thing they do is ask if it's an allergy. I feel like they do really understand what they are doing, especially since the menu that have has been in place since before 2009. So it's not just trendy to sever gluten free here. I give them 4 dragonflies, and will be visiting again.