Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spicy Asian-style Pasta Salad

The good with the bad: the computer is recovered and I am doing my blog entry on it now. Wahoo! The bad: I am at home with another sick kid. Poor E finally caught C's virus. This is her 4th day of sick and we are all hoping it passes soon.

The good: since I am at home I can post a new recipe!

This fast and easy to make Spicy Asian-style Pasta Salad tasted amazing. The leftovers made a fabulous lunch. I made it on Sunday evening, boxed it up and took it to work on Monday and Tuesday. The noodles didn't get gummy or mushy and the veggies stayed crisp. I think the key to the leftovers is that you initially add only enough dressing to coat the noodles and veggies. The remaining dressing is held out to be poured over the salad when it is served.

I adapted this recipe from the "Bon Apetit Fast, Easy, Fresh" cookbook. I followed the recipe when it said to use balsamic vinegar and it ended up being delicious. I think seasoned rice vinegar would be a tasty substitute. I also added the garlic and ginger. For me they are quintessential Asian flavors and I can't imagine this salad without them. One other addition which I do not mention below: shrimp. The addition of some protein made this more of a main course meal for me. You could easily add tofu, tempeh or chicken.

GF Spicy Asian-style Pasta Salad:
serves 4-6

1 lb rice noodles (whatever your favorite is, this would be good with sweet potato noodles too)

4 Tbs Asian sesame oil, divided
3 Tbs honey
3 Tbs GF soy sauce
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
3 red bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced
3 cups snow peas, trimmed
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (I used a Vidalia sweet onion and it was perfect)
3/4 C honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 C chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain very well. Transfer to large bowl.

Whisk 3 Tbs sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt (I didn't think it needed any). Mix half of dressing into pasta.

Heat remaining Tbs oil in heavy large skillet over med-high heat. Add bell peppers, snow peas, and onion; saute until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add vegetables to pasta. Mix in peanuts, basil and enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Serve, passing remaining dressing separately.

I am still trying to figure out how to create a separate "printer friendly" document for you. So, for now, I am hoping that if you want to try this recipe you will be able to copy and paste from your browser.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Glutino cookies

Wow, it has been an exhausting couple of days! I have been home with a sick toddler. He is much better now and is back to playing with his good friends while I work.

But now my computer is gravely ill and at the tech hospital. Pray for a speedy recovery. I am inputting this blog entry at work so it will have to be short and sweet.

I had every intention of telling you about one of the recipes that I have adapted to be GF, but alas, that is not possible today.

Instead, I bring you another GF product review: Glutino's Chocolate Wafers coated in Chocolate.

These were wonderful, with light crispy wafers with creamy smooth chocolate coating. The wafer to chocolate ratio was perfect. The chocolate melted nicely in my mouth. These would be wonderful savored with a cup of coffee. Not like how I ate them: standing at the counter, cramming them in my mouth for a chocolate fix while my cranky and sick toddler clutched at my legs begging to be held for the 23rd hour that day. Sigh.

They were about 4 inches long and about .75 inches wide and high. At $4.99 a box, these were quite pricey. However, if you are in need of satisfying a wafer cookie fix or even a candy bar craving, these are perfect.

Enjoy and be well,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Pancakes

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. And Mom, thanks for being my mom. I couldn't ask for more. I love you!

I started the day by sleeping in, a little. My slumber was disturbed by my oldest (E) as she came into the room to tell me I was not allowed to get out of bed. E insisted on continuing the tradition that she and my husband started a few years ago, making me breakfast in bed. After getting permission to go to the bathroom and wash up, I returned to bed just in time for her and my mom to bring in my breakfast on a tray. I had some GF cereal and a banana. Yum.

The card E made me is amazing. She put so much work into it; not a detail was missed. So sweet.

And she gave me the ultimate gift: dark chocolate. That girl knows the way to my heart.

Once everyone was up my dad and husband set to work making pancakes for brunch. For me, he used Bob's Red Mill GF Pancake Mix. As the pancakes were cooking on the griddle he added some frozen wild blueberries. He did this just before he flipped them over. The results was delicious. This mix was better than I had expected. The pancakes were light and fluffy. No grit, no aftertaste and a good mouth feel. Even the parts that did not get blueberries tasted very good. The addition of the blueberries was like icing on a cake; it made them even better. I had a little bit of butter and a touch of real maple syrup. They were a delicious Mother's Day treat. Even the glutenites in the house enjoyed them. They were indistinguishable from a standard pancake.

The rest of the family had my dad's amazing peanut butter pancakes. These used to be my favorite pancakes in the world. So moist and delicious, with just a slight peanut flavor. All that they needed was a touch of homemade jam. I missed having them, but my blueberry pancakes were great. I am going to work on adapting my dad's recipe so that I can once again enjoy peanut butter pancakes. I will post it here when I get it all figured out.

Enjoy the rest of your day Moms,


Friday, May 8, 2009

Gluten-free Starbucks

I was out running errands yesterday when I came dangerously close to a drive-thru Starbucks. Since I knew the afternoon coma would be hitting I couldn't help but pull in and order my favorite tall cappucino. Then I remembered that Starbucks had released their individually wrapped, gluten-free Velencia Orange Cake. There was no mention of it on the drive-thru menu board so I had to ask. Sure enough, they had them. I immediatly requested one and began anticipating a new GF taste experience. The cake came wrapped in cellophane to prevent any cross contamination from all the other baked goods that I used to enjoy.

Back at the office, I sat down and unwrapped my new goody. Because the cake was fairly moist I decided to use a fork, but it wasn't so moist that I couldn't enjoy eating it by hand. The first bite was delicious! It was less orange-y than I had anticipated, but had enough flavor for a pleasant citrus tang. It was incredibly moist and smooth in my mouth. There was none of that grittiness that sometimes comes along with GF baked goods. I could hardly wait for my next bite...and the next and the next. In fact, it was so delicious that I finished it off far too quickly. Well done Starbucks! I will return for another when I feel I need a quick pick me up. And at at a cost of $1.95, it shouldn't break my bank.

Of course, I do need to remember that gluten-free does NOT mean calorie free. Here is the nutritonal info from the Starbucks' website:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories - 290
Total Fat - 16g
Saturated Fat - 2g
Trans Fat - 0g
Sodium - 40 mg
Total Carbohydrate - 32g
Dietary Fiber - 4g

Whole Eggs
Valencia Orange Pulp
Orange Peel
Gluten-Free Baking Powder
Orange Oil

Thank you Starbucks! Now...can you make something GF and chocolate????

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Well, here I am. Trying to be gluten-free. I was diagnosed with a gluten-allergy (possibly Celiac, but not tested) on April 7, 2009; exactly a month ago. It has been quite a month with plenty of ups and downs. The best thing is that I feel better already.

I am no expert, but I am trained as a scientist. What that means is that I investigate and analyze (some would say too much) everything. I don’t make decisions or changes lightly. But I am NOT a medical professional. Any experiences that I recount on this blog are just that; my experiences.

I am still learning about what I can and cannot eat. I am also trying to figure out what level of sensitivity I have. Can my body deal with some cross-contamination? Do I need to go all out and have separate utensils and appliances from my gluten-y family? That answer is yet to be determined.

All I know is that I have switched to gluten-free foods within the general guidelines of the Mediterranean diet and I feel so much better.

Please join me as a experiement and play in this new gluen-free world.

Also, I have a rich and wonderful life. I will be including that on here too.