Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trader Joe's New Gluten Free Bread!

Trader Joe's - One of my favorite places to go grocery shopping. Though they don't carry everything I like, they sure have a knack of making me pretty happy with quick meals. I can't turn down their tamale's or chocolate covered bananas. But now they even have gluten free Bread, Bagels and Muffins! All of them under the Trader Joe's Name!! Upon confirming with the people at Trader Joe's these are made in a facility with no gluten. Though Eggs and sesame are present in the factory - Celiac win!!


When I heard this I had to go and see. I've had a variety of the other GF options they offer and like any GF products some are hits, some are misses, but I can do some major shopping damage still. I was surprised they had quite the variety of new GF options. 3 types of bread, including a rye-less, rye bread. I have such memories of eating chili and rye bread growing up. 

They had bagels, and right there easy to see they even had blueberry muffins!  All were in the fresh bread section and all were soft, light and fluffy. No 200lb loaf of bread, and it was squishy too. I honestly looked like I hadn't eaten in days, granted I was a bit hungry but I loaded the cart with bagels, bread, and the muffins, despite just buying a loaf of Udi's 2 days ago for my lunches this week, and buying a box of cereal for breakfast at the previous store.... 3 gluten free items were in the cart.

The All But Gluten Snack cakes came home last week... :)
The bread, is bread. That's really all I can say, it's OK. It's not the greatest thing since gluten free sliced bread, but it's bread. It's not horrible, it has a good consistency and it' fluffier than GoodBye Gluten Bread

The cashier was excitedly asking me if I was gluten free by choice or such, and that she "absolutely LOVED the bread" and that her best friend has CD so she tried it for her. Her enthusiasm was delightful. Now I will say these bagels R-O-C-K-E-D!!! They were soft and toasted nicely and were fabulous with cream cheese. The bagels are a buy again product!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Celtic Knot - hidden little place

A good gluten free meal can be hard to find, literally in some cases. I going places that can't provide information what they make is gluten free or even know for certain about their knowledge base for cooking gluten free.

We were out in the Evanston area doing some sight seeing and shopping, it was about dinner time, and my brother asked what "crazy" place I knew of in the area that we could go to for dinner. I told him there are a lot of main stream places in downtown Evanston that we never venture into the offbeat path of places. I read a few options, we had 3 on deck and my mom said Irish sounded good. So we ventured to find The Celtic Knot. My brother expected a hole in the wall dive bar. From out front I thought that was what we had gotten. Walking in, I did get a bit nervous because the average age of the dinners was about 55 years old... Thankfully I think it was just because it was Sunday.

The menu for gluten free had a lot of options, including appetizers and "chips" or as we'd call them, french fries. I was very impressed with all the options from appetizers to entrees. The fact that they had fries as a side I was over joyed.

The waitress was very knowledgeable on gluten free. All of their salad dressing are made in house and are gluten free. French fries are made in their own fryer so they are gluten free as well. we split an order of their stuffed mushroom caps as they called them Popems, though I could have eaten that all by myself. I got the steak and chips. My only complaint was they could have used a leaner cut of meat for the steak, it had more fat on it than I would have liked. But the fact that I got fries with it was so glorious.  

The atmosphere, minus the abundance of older people, was nice, it was rather basic for an Irish restaurant but still had that Irish feel to it. Overall they get 4 dragonflies I liked the menu, the staff was knowledgeable and the food was good.

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!

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 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. 

***After having stopped at their Taylor street location now as well they don't have the variety on their menu. They actually only have 2 pasta options, Spaghetti and mostaccioli.
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.