Monday, April 13, 2015

King Arthur Brownie Mix

I've seen King Arthur mixes around for a while now. I'd heard from a friend that their regular mixes were very tasty, and that their gluten free options should be pretty good too. I got a box to try out, since we do love brownies in my house. We're pretty good at rating gluten free brownie mixes. I was making dinner, and thought dessert would be a nice complement to dinner, and wanted something simple. I was staring in the cupboard and saw this mix in there, checked the back, and it was Super easy to make! I didn't even need the electric mixer to make it, which was great, it was tied up in my sauce from dinner.


They cooked in the minimum needed time for cooking. they came out of the pan easily too. We didn't quite finish them all off in this sitting, so I put them in a Tupperware for later. They were just as good the next day, and the day after. Really you couldn't tell these were gluten free. I was very excited to find such an easy to make tasty mix. I think we'll be keeping a box of these on hand for quick desserts.There was no dry gritty texture, nor a funny after taste. I've noticed with A LOT of gluten free baking mixes once the treats cool they get gritty and have a strange taste that makes us all go, "YUP, it's gluten free." these didn't which was great, I don't feel bad making them when I have guests over.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rolo Pretzel thingies

Getting real technical here - we don't have a good name for these yet, so they are the Rolo Pretzel thingies in our house. Mom saw a commercial while watching TLC and said - "Hey you should make those" So I went and got some gluten free pretzels, rolo's and pecans. I happen to have some M&M's sitting around so I thought I'd do some that way too.



Super easy treat, honestly the longest part is un-wrapping the rolo's. Make sure you DON'T get the rolo's mini's they blatantly state they contain wheat on the wrapper. Stick with the regular bag of rolo's.  

You'll want to un-wrap all the rolo's so they are ready. Yes - It's annoying, but hey if you buy two bags, you can eat half while using the rest for the recipe!

Get a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper place pretzels on the paper and top them with rolo's. 
set the oven to 350 degrees and put the cookie sheet in for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes you'll pull the cookies sheet out and top each rolo with pecans or M&M's, press down, and wait for them to cool. Simple!

Ingredients:
Rolo's
GF Pretzels
M&M's or Pecans

Assemble as seen above and enjoy! These would be a great quick treat if you happen to be hosting, or going to a Game of Throne's party this weekend!! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pompei



Pompei has been making Italian food in Chicago since 1909. Named for their location near the Our Lady of Pompeii Church, the family lived above the restaurant making Italian foods. The business has stayed in the family and has continued making new dishes as well as old favorites in 5 locations around Chicago. We recently were in the Westmont area and decided to check it out. This was an old favorite of mine when I worked in Schaumburg they had a location that we’d go to often for lunch. That location had since closed, and I had to go gluten free. 
Pompei is like Fast Food Italian. You go up to the counter, wait in a line order your food, and it’s brought out to your table. For non-gluten free options, many are displayed in glass right in front of you and you can pick out exactly what you want to eat. 



We stopped in pleased to see a large gluten free menu, with lots of tasty sounding options! Turns out they are serving pasta made by Leo’s in Westmont, they also carry bread and offer a pizza option. Leo’s products are available in the grocery stores around Chicago as well. I had to try the Gnochi, in the creamy tomato sauce. They have a variety of sauces to choose from, as well as pasta dishes to mix and match. Another nice feature, they serve wine, so it was a nice “Classy” Italian meal with a more casual atmosphere. It was a nice find, and one that we will be going back for. My non-GF boyfriend even ordered off the GF menu cause he’s a fanatic for gnocchi, and he’s use to the Leo’s brand already. 



I give them 4 dragonflies based on their options as well as the ability to mix and match to make more choices on the menu. It would be nice if they had GF garlic bread, or some desserts listed, but dinner and a glass of wine satisfied me enough. 


Monday, March 30, 2015

Product Reviews Are Back!


I’ve come to the conclusion that some gluten free food makers feel that people who eat gluten free have no taste buds, that would be the only explanation why they would name an item something people would be excited over. They get them to buy it, (money in their pocket) and try it… And realize it falls way short of being anything that they would ever buy again. Sadly this happens A lot with gluten free products.They need more Non-GF taste testers to ask them if they'd eat these products to support their loved ones. Then I think we'd get a big fat, No this is awful for a lot of stuff!! 

Mikey’s Muffins would be one of them. These are hardly English Muffins. I’d call them way too sweet almond flour cakes. That would be a lot more accurate. I couldn’t add enough cream cheese to make them taste good. These go on the Never buying again list. Now I need to figure out who to pawn the last 3 of these off on, cause if someone gave them to me, I’d wonder what I did to piss them off!!


L’Eggo my Eggo, actually go ahead and keep it! These seem to have a funky after taste, and I’ll be honest, I don’t know what it is. I’ve tried these twice now, for certain, more syrup the better for hiding the taste. But overall I’ll stick with my Van’s waffles. Those tasted like waffles, with no funny after taste. The unfortunate part is Eggo even had 8 waffles in the box, not just 6 like Van’s. 



FruityDyno bites and Coco Dyno bites. These are a generic version of Fruity and Cocoa pebbles that can be found even at the Dollar Tree. I have to say these were quite Tasty sweet, but good. They were very satisfying for a quick breakfast before leaving the house. Now I've seen them at the grocery store as a generic to Fruity Pebbles as well. I'll be honest I never paid much attention to the regular cereal aisle until recently. I do find some irony in the parent company being Malt O Meal....



MindfulDelights – Found some products by this company one day at the Natural Foods store. I wasn’t sure what to think, and held off getting any. But I found an Apple Pie on Pi Day so I had to get it. What a nice surprise how awesome it was!! It said you didn’t need to heat it, but I love warm apple pie. So I heated it up, and my boyfriend and I shared it. I was sad I shared – I wanted more!! Plus they are a local to Chicagoland company out of Sycamore, IL!!


GeeFree – Spanikopita – Can I just say these rock. I can’t wait to try their puff pastry sheets after trying the spanakopita. They were light and fluffy like they should have been, and they didn't have a staunch after taste. They honestly were good. Even my not GF boyfriend was giving me the nod of approval while he stuffed his face. There 12 in a box which was filling enough for our munchies.


Glutino's has been serving the gluten free community for over 30 years. They have been providing hard to find items and bringing new items out to help stay front of mind as new competition has come around. If you ask me; their caramel pretzels are a great way to do that in the ever expanding pretzel options out there!


One last review for today - Udi's breakfast burritos, I like Udi's bread, I like Udi's Muffins, I even like Udi's Cinnamon Rolls. I did not like their breakfast Burrito's. Why not? Well the tortilla was gummy, and there wasn't enough filling to make it worth it. I hate throwing away food, so I mustered through it with extra cheese on top. But won't be buying these again.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Aurelio's

Aurelio's pizza is a southside chain of pizza places. It seems once you go south of the city of Chicago Aurelio's are everywhere. Their gluten free menu isn't huge, or the pizza they offer, but it's tasty. We have enjoyed their pizza for a while now, their pizza sauce is a bit sweeter, and not like most typical Chicago pizzas. It makes it different, and a nice change when we are in the area as somewhere different to order from. I have had their salads in addition to their pizza. The first couple times we went I had the salad, because I was leery of how well their kitchen would handle allergies, since pizza places can be dicey.. You are in an environment with a lot of flour, a shared preparation space, and a lot of times shared ingredients.

There is no guarantee that the ladle that scooped and spread sauce on a glutenous pizza was cleaned before it was dipped and spread sauce on the next pizza, causing a contaminated container of sauce. You definitely have to be extra cautious when it comes to pizza's which stinks, cause pizza can be such a great comfort food!

We stopped at the Aurelio's pizza on Jefferson St. in Joliet, Saturday after spending the day at Chicagoland Speedway for the Nationwide NASCAR race. There aren't many gluten free options at the track, and Saturday, it was a party, the only options were pre-made burgers and hotdogs on buns.

We were pretty tired by the time we got to dinner, and a pizza sounded good. The pizza is only 7 inches. 



The service was lacking in general part of our group ordered salad and appetizers and they never showed up. The pizza was tasty the crust was a bit dense, but wasn't the worst I had tried, I actually ate the entire pizza. Again it was only 7 inches, I've had pasta dishes larger!

I felt fine, all was good, my pizza had sausage, olives and garlic. The larger, Non-gluten free pizza next to it, that the boys ordered was sausage, olives, and mushrooms. We were good until midnight... And I felt like I might explode in stomach and back pain. I honestly don't know the last time I was in so much pain, and couldn't tell which end things might explode from... I briefly thought it could be food poisoning, but I assume the sausage on the guys pizza was the same sausage on mine, and they were watching TV in the other room, all peachy keen drinking beer. Sadly I was glutened. I was out of it most of the next day. It was only the 2nd time I'd been glutened that my reaction was getting extremely violently ill. It's days like this I wish there was an easy solution, a pill or something to make the reaction less violent and horrible. On my rating scale, I give them 2 dragonflies, because there was definite cross contamination on the pizza. From now on I'll stick to salads here, since we end up in this area a lot, and there aren't a lot of good dining choices that offer safe options.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Benvenuto's Italian in Wisconsin

While on a road trip with my boyfriend and my parents we stopped at the EAA AirVenture Museum in OshKosh, Wisconsin. It was a crazy rainy day. Though we got to see so many cool airplanes, watched some videos and got a great history, we worked up an appetite. The next leg of our road trip was taking us to Door County so we stopped in OshKosh before heading on for dinner. We found a cute Italian place called Benvenuto's Italian. They have several locations in the Wisconsin area. We weren't looking for a long drawn out meal, though we kind of got one anyways we were all happy with the food.


The gluten free menu was quite overwhelming for me. I was a bit in a debate on what I wanted. I went with the Cheese Ravioli and a side salad.


The side salad was a bit underwhelming, though it was pretty. At first I was disappointed in the plating of the ravioli, but honestly it filled me up! 


It didn't seem like a lot, but it really did fill me up in the long run. I'm not a huge fan of a lot of sauce so I was happy this didn't have alot. Though I really wanted some garlic bread to go with it... I wonder if any place with a GF Italian menu ever thought of serving their regular menu without garlic bread... I wonder how the customers would respond...... Over all I give them 4 dragonflies. While traveling this was a nice find.The staff was understanding and respectful and the food was super tasty. I will go back next time I'm traveling this way!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

OJ Ice Cream Shake

One of the lovely kitchen gadgets a friend gave me was a blender. Now I did have a blender on my list of things to buy on Black Friday, but I wasn't looking to spend a lot, and this one is definitely worth more than I would have purchased, so I was thrilled. I wanted the ability to make some smoothies and maybe start experimenting in making soups. Before I get too crazy here on experimenting I thought of making a dreamsicle drink.  


This couldn't be any easier.  

Ingredients:
2 cups Orange Juice
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

You just throw all the ingredients into a blender, and blend until you get the consistency you want! Personally I like my smoothies thicker, so I didn't blend too long. Since it went well, now we're looking into stocking up on some fruits and start making some more dessert shakes and smoothies!