Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Really Good Bars

I grew up in Minnesota. Yup, I'm from the frigid arctic wasteland of... Minneapolis. Actually, it's not as cold as some might think. My family and my in-laws are still there, so we get to visit from time to time.

"Why are you telling me this?" you might ask. I'm telling you this as a way to explain today's post title: "Really Good Bars." Depending on where you live, you would call bars cookies, or treats, or some other ridiculous name. In the North country, we tell it like it is. When it comes out of a rectangular pan, and it's retangular or square in shape, it's a bar. That's just the way it is.
I work with our AWANA kids program at church, and this week we were celebrating everyone's birthday by having everyone bring treats to share. I brought the afore mentioned "Really Good Bars." Here's what I put in 'em.

10 oz. marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
6 cups Cocoa Pebbles
mini M&M's
extra mini marshmallows

Melt the 10 oz. marshmallows and butter. Mix with the cereal in a 9 x 13 pan. Add mini M&M's and extra mini marshmallows and mix. Spread out flat in the pan using a lightly greased baggie. They should look like this:

I must say, they were a hit!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Tonight we had stir fry. Although it was very tasty, it was not all that pretty. So, tonight I am going to direct you to my friend's blog. Check out his beautiful grilling pictures. It's easy to eat gluten free when you grill. Yeah for summer!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Salsa Chicken Soup

Tonight we magically changed our Salsa Sour Cream Chicken (from yesterday) into soup!
Actually, there was nothing magical about it; we just added chicken broth, black beans, and corn. It was a great way to stretch two chicken breasts into many meals. We have enough leftover soup for at least lunch tomorrow, if not a few more meals.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekly Menu

Here's our menu for this week:
  • Sunday lunch - Burgers on the grill
  • Sunday dinner - Salsa Chicken
  • Monday - Salsa Chicken Soup
  • Tuesday - Stir Fry
  • Wednesday - Rice Casserole
  • Thursday - Chicken on the grill
  • Friday - Spaghetti Pie

Thanks to Gluten Free Frugal for the Salsa Chicken recipe! We're excited to try it!

Check out more menu plans here.

Grocery Shopping

Tim and I went grocery shopping tonight. We got food to cover our weekly dinner menu and then a few things we needed for our bag lunches.

We spent about $51.00 at Wal-Mart and about $22.00 at Hy-Vee. That included fixings for S'mores since we're planning on having friends over for a bonfire sometime soon.

Check out this post over at Money Saving Mom for a great deal on organic tomatoes. We got four cans tonight and are planning on stocking up the next few times we go!


I know that this is off the topic of eating gluten free on a budget, but I just had to share these photos. I just took them on the north side of town. I thought that the water was just up the foundation of this house a few inches, until I realized that I was looking at the second story of the house! You'll notice the top of the garage door on the left.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pizza Hut

My Sunday School class is meeting at Pizza Hut for dinner tonight. I called ahead and spoke with Tiffany. She was very pleasant to talk with. I asked if I could just bring in my own pizza to eat with everyone else, and she said that would be just fine.

She also said that they have had customers who brought in their own crust and Pizza Hut would top it and bake it for them. I'll have to try that sometime when I'm not with a large group.

I'd better go put my pizza in the oven since we're meeting at 6:00!

Gluten Free Friday, Day 2

Last week I talked about reading labels and gave examples of what to avoid. If you missed it or just want to read it again, here it is.

Be Contamination-Conscious

There are two major areas of the kitchen that can become cross-contaminated with gluten: food and cookware/appliances. Let's start with food.

Anything that is used repeatedly over a period of time should be considered for gluten contamination. Common items are butter/spreads, peanut butter, jelly, and mayo. If a knife is used to spread jelly on a piece of wheat toast and is then put back into the jar to get more jelly, the whole jar is contaminated. Label all gluten free spreads clearly.

If you have wheat bread in your house, be careful where crumbs fall. Be conscious of what gets dipped in the salsa jar and the ranch dip. Watch out for kids with messy hands reaching into the chip bag.

Establish a cupboard that is for gluten free food only. Or, if the majority, but not all, of your household eats gf, have a special cupboard only for gluten-containing snacks. Always consider cross contamination. Once it's a habit, it won't have to rule your life.

Anything porous, like a cutting board, should not be shared by gluten-containing and gluten free foods. Never share a toaster with wheat bread. Be careful of baking pans with foods burned onto them. Even the smallest particle of gluten can cause problems.

If you're just switching to eating gluten free, but very discriminatory about what pans and dishes you keep. Evaluate each dish individually, but don't get overwhelmed. You may only have to get a new toaster, cutting board for gf use only, and a few storage containers. Have you ever heated up wheat spaghetti in a plastic bowl and had the tomato sauce scar the bowl? If so, throw that bowl out. As a side note, it's not healthy to be microwaving in plactic anyway.

This is a brief treatise on the gluten free kitchen. Once you establish a routine, this aspect of eating gluten free will become easier and easier. Do not be overwhelmed or discouraged. Take heart! With a little vigilance and an adventurous spirit, you'll get settled into this new lifestyle with ease!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cheeseburger Bake

Doesn't that look good? It was really tasty. Growing up with gluten, I used to love it when we would have a Bisquick cheeseburger bake. I missed it when I went gluten free.

Then I found a great recipe in Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy." Sorry, again I won't give you the full recipe. But I will say that it is very easy. A few months ago I made up the "Bisquick-type" mix, and whenever I want this meal, I just whip it together!

I put ground turkey, onions, and frozen veggies in mine. The recipe calls for adding milk and eggs to the mix. Unfortunately this time I was all out of milk and only had a few leftover egg yolks. Luckily I always have milk powder around for gluten free baking, and I actually had powdered egg whites as well. So I tried using those instead.

The bake turned out just fine, surprisingly enough!

Remember now; tomorrow is Gluten Free Friday, and I'll be continuing my basics series.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CranRazzGrape Smoothie

As a tribute to Karina, the Gluten Free Goddess, I made a CranRazzGrape Smoothie on Sunday. I should actually give credit where credit is due: Tim made the smoothie, I gave directions while making pizza crust (see previous post).

CranRazzGrape Smoothie

2 cups Grape Juice
1 cup frozen Cranberries
1 cup frozen Raspberries
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup sugar, to taste

Throw everything into the blender.

This recipe makes two large servings, and believe me, you'll want a large serving!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pizza for Dinner

I must say that I have a stellar husband! Yesterday, when I was in the office updating this blog, Tim finished putting dinner together for me. He just called me into the kitchen, and this is what I found:

He'd pulled the pizza out of the oven, cooked the last of our sweet corn, and made salads complete with onions, cheese, and dressing. Really, am I the luckiest girl or what?!

Here's a close up of the pizza. I use a yeast crust recipe from Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-free Gourmet, Second Edition." Since it's published, I can't share the recipe here, but I can tell you, it's the best gf pizza crust I've found so far. I've tried different mixes and different recipes; this one is just my favorite. It's so good, Tim will eat it, too!

(And, yes, that is corn on the pizza!)

Trip to the Cinema - Completey and Utterly Off Topic!

On Saturday, Tim and I met a frined at the cinema to see "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." I must say, I very much enjoyed it! It's nice to have a documentary out there that I can stomach.

The movie talked about intelligent design theory vs. Darwinism/evolution theory. It presented both sides of the debate (well, if you watch the movie, you'll see that there really isn't a debate), and had interviews with many prominent scientists. It discussed how Darwinism is intimately married to atheism, and how intelligent design is not rooted in religion.

The second law of thermodynamics states that if left to itself, Entropy always increases (thanks Rae). Entropy is the randomness of molecules. So, if left alone, molecules will always become more random. How, then, did molecules billions of years ago ignore this law and create life? (I'm digressing rapidly now.)

Back to the movie: I did like it; I thought it was well done, albeit a bit bizarre in format from time to time. Go see it; it could be an eye-opener.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Black Beans and Rice

Can you believe in my years of eating gluten free, I'd not yet made beans and rice until yesterday?! I was scared of trying to figure out how to prepare the dried, hard beans. Really, that was just silly. They were quite simple to make. I soaked the beans over night, and after getting advice from my sister, I simmered them while I made the rice.

After adding ground turkey, onions, and a bunch of seasonings, here's the end result:

Tim and I both declared it yummy!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday Dinner, All Alone

We had Tim's Health and Wellness meeting tonight. It started just a few minutes after he got off of work, and since he was going to have dinner at the meeting, I ate all by my lonesome. I did have a simple and tasty meal, though.

I heated up some tomato sauce and frozen peas and corn. I added sour cream once it was hot, and drizzled it over gf penne pasta. Of course I had to top it with some shredded cheddar cheese. I showed this picture to Tim and he was jealous!

Friday Night

Tonight my husband's company had a Health and Wellness meeting. They just implemented a Health and Wellness program and are trying to do meet with all of the employees. Tim asked if I could go along since we generally spend Friday nights together. His boss graciously allowed me to attend, although I felt a little awkward since there were no others spouses or guests.

Shannon was the presenter, and my-oh-my is she fit! She teaches exercise classes at a local gym 6 to 7 days a week (in addidtion to working full time with Tim's company) and spends anywhere from $50 to $125 on vitamins and supplements a month! She is in her 50's and could pass for a 30 year old. I'm not sure, but I got the vibe that she is not married and does not have kids. She says that you can't put a price on your health, and I agree; but you also can't put on a price on time with your family.

She gave some good encouragement for regular exercise and healthy eating. After talking through the Health and Wellness program, we got to eat! I did have a light supper before I went, of course, but she had brought some black bean corn chips and salsa that I could eat.

Luckily the meeting only went until 7:30, so Tim and I went home, parked our bottoms on the couch to watch "Entrapment," and ate popcorn!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gluten Free Friday

(I'm starting a Gluten Free Basics series today. As I mentioned yesterday, this is just my advice based on research and experience. Of course, check with your physician before drastically altering your diet.)

Be a Label Reader.

The obvious food to aviod is wheat. But there is gluten in other grains as well: rye, barley, triticale, and bran (which I think makes a cool boy's name). Don't eat anything that is made from these grains, such as most breads, pastas, and baked goods.

A few no-no's that aren't so obvious are malt and pretty much all premade soups, whether a dry mix or canned. Be sure to check broth and boullion ingredients as well. Also be careful with processed meats and sauces, including soy sauce and marinades.

Some ingredients that may contain gluten are:

  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • mono- and di-glycerides
  • modified food starch
  • caramel color

I read labels all the time at the store. After a while I just know which products I can eat and which I can't, but I still check from time to time since ingredients can change. If an ingredient seems iffy, call the manufacturer to be sure. Please be careful; it's better to be safe than sorry.

Don't be discouaged about *all the foods* you can't eat; focus on everything you can! There really is so much more you can eat that it makes the "list" of avoidables pale in comparison.

Next Friday I'll post the second installment of Gluten Free Friday. See ya there!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gluten Free Basics

Tomorrow I'm going to be starting a Gluten Free Basics series. Now, I'm not a doctor, nor a nutritionist, so please take my advice for just that: Advice. I've found quite a few things that have helped me stay gf and cut down on costs, and I'd like to share those idea with you.

Please tune in tomorrow for the first installment of:

Gluten Free Friday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gluten Free on the Go

One of the hardest things for me to get used to with eating gluten free was being restricted in eating at social events. My Sunday school class has about one party each month, and the parties almost exclusively include food.

I usually just bring a little something for myself, but I hate mentioning it to the hostess because she then feels like she has to provide a special menu for me. I don't mind bringing my own food, but I do get uncomfortable with the attention it draws.

Yesterday I played three youth concerts with my local symphony. We had concerts at 9:30, 11:00, and 1:00. The surrounding school districts bussed some of their students to our concert hall, and between all the concerts we played for well over 4000 kids. The symphony did provide us with lunch. I packed my own, of course, but did partake of the fresh fruit they served. I had packed an egg salad sandwich. As I didn't want to draw attention to myself or explain my food choices to everyone and their brother, I just ate my sandwich backstage by myself. I think that if I had had a sandwich that didn't have such a distinct smell, I would have been more bold.

Extra Income

This post is unrelated to eating gluten free, but it is related to being frugal/earning money. As I've mentioned before, I play percussion. I am a substitute for our local symphony. It is a great way to bring in a little extra income.

If you play an instrument, think about different ways you could earn money with that talent. Can you teach lessons? Can you play with a small group (quartet, quintet, etc.) and get gigs like weddings and parties? Can you join a large group in your area, like a symphony, orchestra, or city band that pays per gig? You could call around to see if any activities directors at nursing homes would pay you to play for their residents. You could contact hospitals and shopping centers to see if you could perform there and put out a little tip jar.

I love music; I love making music; I love sharing music. Think outside of the box to see if your passion could make you a little extra income.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekly Menu

I went grocery shopping on Saturday morning, but I hardly had to cook any meals at all last weekend. It was really nice! I did do some baking (my cheese cake), but that always seems less tedious than preparing a meal. Saturday dinner was at church, Sunday lunch was at a friends house (and very tasty, I might add), and Sunday dinner was also at church.

We started our menu tonight. Here's what we are going to have:
  • Monday - Salad and Popcorn
  • Tuesday - Stirfry and Rice
  • Wednesday - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  • Thursday - Black Beans and Rice
  • Friday - Pasta and Cheese
  • Saturday Lunch - Cheeseburger Bake
  • Saturday Dinner - Pizza
  • Sunday - Famous Dave's, to use up the rest of our gift card

Tonight we put chicken, eggs, and pickles on our salads. Whenever I go to Subway, I always have them put pickles on my salad, but I'd never tried it at home until tonight. Both Tim and I liked it. We topped them with shredded cheese and had a good meal!

Check out more menus here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake

1 package Glutino chocolate cream sandwich cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 packages Neufchatel (light cream cheese), room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
12 oz. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Form the crushed cookies and melted butter into a crust in the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Place the Neufchatel, still in its packages, into a bowl of hot water. After soaking, turn out the Neufchatel into a medium mixing bowl. The cheese should be soft and warm. This will make for a creamy cheese cake. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla to the cheese and beat with an electric mixer on low until no lumps remain. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Pour into the crust.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. If the middle seems soft, that's fine as it will set as it cools. I have baked it longer, though, sometimes up to 75 minutes.

Once out of the oven, run a knife along to outside edge to loosen it. This should help the cheese cake not crack, although mine usually still does. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, and then refrigerate. Do not cover right away in the fridge as steam will condense on the cheese cake. Cover after about two hours to avoid smells being absorbed. When cutting the cake, always wipe off the knife after each cut.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Variety Show

The variety show at my church went really well. We had a pasta dinner, which actually worked out wonderfully for me. I brought my own rice penne and heated it up in the microwave. Mona was in charge of the kitchen, and, since she knows I can't eat gluten, so kindly made me a plain chicken breast. And for dessert I had some of my delicious Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake. I'll put up some pictures and the recipe soon.

At 6:00 we had dinner and a time to socialize at our tables. Then we had the first half of the show. Dessert was next, followed by the second half of the show. We had a few skits, some piano duets, some vocal music. I played two pieces on the marimba, one in each half. Even though I get nervous, I really enjoy playing for an audience. The marimba is such an unusual instrument, most people have never heard one in person before. Here's the best picture of me playing. It's the least blurry of the bunch.

Thank You Morgan

I just got a call from my friend Morgan. She read on my blog that I was going to defrost my frozen chicken on the counter. Now, she says that I should never defrost chicken on the counter, but only in the fridge. I had just heard earlier this week from my music pastor that he thaws his chicken on the counter all the time. I think I'll follow Morgan's advice, though, since she's in school to be a nurse!

Thanks Morgan!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Under the Weather

With a low grade temp and a very sore throat, I'm feeling a little under the weather. Luckily for me, I have the best husband in the world who made dinner for me and did the dishes afterwards. I was finally able to put the chicken breasts in the oven, so Tim made Chicken Bacon Egg Sandwiches. With a side of chips and salsa, we had a pretty good meal. I didn't feel that it was photo-worthy, though; not through any fault in Tim's preparations, it's just not that exciting of a meal.

I just hope I'm feeling well enough to play at the variety show tomorrow; I'm really looking forward to it!

Desserts, Desserts, Desserts

This weekend is my weekend of desserts. On Saturday my church is having a variety show. Everyone (except the senior citizens) needs to bring a dessert. Of course I'll bring something gluten free. On Sunday, after our morning church service, Tim and I are going over to our frineds house. Again, I'm bringing dessert. After our Sunday evening service, my church is having a "going away" party for our intern. My last name starts with the letter that is supposed to bring, you guessed it: dessert!

I may bring a cheese cake on Saturday; I haven't decided. I haven't even thought about Sunday yet. I suppose I should figure something out since I'll have to make them all on Saturday afternoon.

On a non-food-related note, I'm going to be playing a marimba solo at my church's variety show. What IS a marimba, you ask? Here's a little photo of my dream marimba. It's a Yamaha 5.0 Octave Rosewood Marimba.

I play it with two mallets in each hand so I can play up to four notes simultaneously. It's a very unique and beautiful sounding instrument!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Grocery Bill

I enjoyed Gluten Free Frugal's breakdown of her grocery bill. I think that I'll have to try that sometime just to see how frugal a certain meal really is. Thanks for sharing, GFF!


We've reached the end of our weekly menu. That means that tonight was leftover night! We had tortilla pizzas again. Yum! Along with our pizzas, we had leftover baked beans and rice. It was kind of a random meal, but we try to put off grocery shopping for a few days to save money. We just eat whatever's in the fridge or the cupboards for a few days. Tonight's dinner was quite filling, albeit bizarre.

Even if you don't eat gluten free, tortilla pizzas are a good, frugal lunch or dinner choice. It's just a tortilla with some tomato sauce, pizza toppings, and cheese on it. Then we bake them at 350 for about 10 minutes and then turn on the broiler for just a few minutes. They crisp up nicely under the broiler.

I think tomorrow we'll have something with chicken since we have three chicken breasts in the freezer. I just keep forgetting to pull them out to defrost. Our microwave died a few months back and instead of replacing it, we got a toaster oven. So I have to defrost them the old fashion way: on the kitchen counter.

Apple Fritter Revision

Sorry! I left out one of the ingredients for the Apple Fritters. Please take another look at the recipe and note the addition of xanthan gum. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sweet Cravings

About two months ago, I had a craving for apple fritters. Now, this was no ordinary craving; it lasted for a week and a half! I finally broke down and found a recipe that modified nicely into gluten free.

Oddly enough, yesterday I was struck with the same apple fritter mega-craving again. I decided to not wait a week and a half this time before indulging, so I made up a batch this afternoon. They are extremely tasty and pretty easy to make, too. Here's my recipe:

Apple Fritters

1 cup gf baking mix (I use Bette Hagman's Gourment Blend)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 medium apple, finely chopped
Cooking oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Sift together the first 4 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and egg; beat with an electric mixer until batter is smooth. Fold in the apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil at approximately 370 degrees and at least 2 inches deep. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels on a cooling rack and then roll in the powdered sugar. Serve warm.

I made them a little bit too big this time, I think. But, that doesn't affect the taste!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Every once in a while, I'll be talking with someone and the fact that I eat gluten free will come up. Invariably, they'll say something like, "Wow; that must be really hard!" I tell them that it really isn't as hard as they'd imagine, it's just a matter of what you get used to. I'm used to not eating "regular" bread and fried foods. I actually like my rice bread that I make. I'm making a loaf on Thursday so I'll post a few pictures of it. I like rice noodles, a lot. My husband and I eat rice noodles with parmesan cheese for breakfast every Thursday, and besides French toast, it's probably my favorite breakfast. I like baking things from scratch when I have time. Besides a few difficulties in eating at restaurants, I'm doing quite fine.

So, if you are struggling with eating gf, please hang in there; it really does get better!

Monday, April 7, 2008


Whoops-a-daisies! As I was savoring the very last bite of my corn tortilla pizza, a horrible realization hit me: I'd forgotten to take a picture! Oh well; we have a lot of tortillas left, so I'm sure we'll have it again soon. Hopefully next time I'll remember to share a picture with you!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saturday Cook-Out

On Saturday, since it was such a nice evening, we decided to grill. I found out that at Wal-Mart I could get 2 pounds of 93% lean ground turkey for about 40 cents more than 1 pound of 93% lean ground beef. So, since I was going to be feeding 3 men in their 20's and myself, I went ahead and got the 2 pounds of ground turkey.

I mixed the turkey with fresh chopped garlic (a whole bulb) and about 1 and a half chopped onions. My husband then added about 3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce and formed it into 8 quarter pound patties. He then got out his grilling weapons and headed out to the porch.

A half an hour later, we were sitting around our small kitchen table eating when my friend Travis turned to me and asked why I wasn't taking a picture of dinner. I told him that I figured burgers on the grill were just too normal to post about. The concensus around the table, though, was that these turkey burgers were astonishingly good. I do think that their greatness was owed all to Tim's faithful addition of the worcestershire sauce.

When I was at Wal-Mart, I was worried that turkey burgers on the grill just wouldn't be the same as real hamburgers. And they weren't the same; they were better!

(Tim, Travis, Nathan, and me)

Milk Chocolate Bubble Cake

I made this delicious dessert this weekend. It's pretty easy to make, too.

Milk Chocolate Bubble Cake

Your favorite biscuit or yeast roll batter
16 Hershey's Kisses
1/4 Butter, melted
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a regular-sized loaf pan. Wrap each Kiss in some of the biscuit batter and form it into a ball. Roll each ball in the melted butter, and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar. Arrange the balls in the loaf pan in three long rows. If using a yeast recipe, allow to rise. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy warm!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Beautiful Day

If you live anywhere near the Midwest, you'll know that it is absolutely gorgeous out! I don't know why I'm here at my computer when I could be outside in the almost 70 degree weather.

Like I said yesterday, we have some friends staying for the weekend. Tim put them to work earlier picking up sticks in our yard. Now one of them is outside mowing up the leaves that we didn't rake up last fall. Whoops! We raked up our backyard, and then we had a big ice storm, so that put a damper on raking our front yard.

Well, I've got to go make my Milk Chocolate Bubble Cake. Eat your hearts out; it's gluten free and all for me! Actually, I will share it with my friends, and if I get any comments requesting pictures of it or the recipe, I just might share. We'll see.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Evening Out

Tonight I had dinner with my two visiting friends and Tim at Buffalo Wild Wings. I called yesterday to be sure that they had gluten free options. I spoke with Kirk and he was very helpful. He informed me that they did have many wheat free selections. I don't know if I impressed upon him the importance of the gluten free diet, but I felt comfortable enough to go tonight to see what I could find.

I started dinner with some super scrumptious buffalo wings with their "medium" buffalo sauce. It was still pretty spicy, but oh so vinegary just like I like it! Kirk had read the sauce label for me yesterday, so I knew it was safe. For my entree I had the Grilled Chicken Breast "sandwich" with no bun and no seasoning. Again, I had the medium buffalo sauce. Along with my side salad (substituted for fries for an extra $1), it was a good meal. I really enjoyed my night out.

Now I know that I want this blog to focus on eating gf on a budget. Going out to eat twice in a week is not a regular occurance for us. We did have a gift card that covered Famous Dave's, so that was "frugal." Tonight we wanted to go out since we have company over. I'll try to post more fragal-ly next week!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Our friends are here to visit for the weekend. We had a great taco salad for dinner. I just use an Ortega taco seasoning packet and a pound of ground turkey. I do make my own guacamole, though, and it is mouthwateringly good! It's a simple recipe; I don't put in onions and tomatoes and all the other bells and whistles. Here's what I do

Sarah's Guacamole

1 medium avacado, not too mushy, but not too hard

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
lime juice to taste
hot sauce (optional, I like Franks)
Mash up the avacado with a potato masher. Add the olive oil and mix. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Crazy Wednesday Dinner

Here's a snapshot of my dinner tonight.

Wednesdays are crazy days for us. My husband gets home around 5:45 and we have to be at church by 6:30. I try to have dinner ready and waiting, we scarf it down, and then head off to church.

Tonight we had Chicken Egg Drop Soup. Last week I made a huge pot of Chicken Rice Soup. I just used chicken broth from ALDI, which is exceptionally tasty by the way, some fresh carrots, celery, and onions, and frozen corn. After I simmered the fresh veggies in the broth until they started to get tender, I added the frozen corn and some chicken I had baked up earlier. I added cooked rice at the last minute. After bringing some to two different friends, we still had a lot left!

Today I brought the leftover soup up to a boil and slowly poured in 2 beaten eggs while stirring. And, voila! We have Egg Drop Soup! I made up some grilled cheese (yummy), and served the soup and sandwich with corn chips, apples, and veronica dip.

Veronica Dip

Here's a nice gluten free fruit dip that is super easy to make and not all that bad for you!


2 parts sour cream
1 part brown sugar

Mix the sour cream and brown sugar together until creamy. Serve with fruit slices or pour over fruit to make creamy fruit salad.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Menu for the Week

We're having some friends come over to stay this weekend, which we're very much looking forward to. Of course that means that we have to plan for extra large meals and special snacks. Here's our weekly dinner menu:
  • Wednesday - Chicken Egg Drop Soup and Grilled Sandwiches
  • Thursday - Taco Salad
  • Friday - Eat out at Buffalo Wild Wings (Yeah!)
  • Saturday lunch - Spaghetti (aka rice noodles) with Meat Sauce
  • Saturday dinner - Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole
  • Sunday - Mac'n'Cheese for Tim and Rice Noodles for me
  • Monday - Tortilla Pepperoni Pizzas
  • Tuesday - Veggie Stirfry

Of course, this menu can be fairly fluid in nature. We try to stick to it, but at times we'll deviate. We shopped at ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Wal-Mart. We spent a total of just over $60. That included luandy detergent, rice flour, and a few extra snacks.

We might go grocery shopping again next Tuesday, or else we'll just eat from the cupboard until the weekend. I'll share some pictures of our meals throughout the week.

Famous Dave's

Well, tonight we went to Famous Dave's for dinner. It was very tasty, let me tell ya! I called ahead to be sure that they could accommodate a gluten free diet. They were a bit brusque on the phone, but they assured me that the manager would be able to help me when I came in.

I asked our waitress, DeNicca, about the gluten free options. She was very nice and told me that she'd have the manager look them up for me. A few minutes later the manager came out and gave me a print out of some of the menu items with their ingredient lists and common allergens. He said that when I put in my order, he would go back to the kitchen to ensure that it was gluten free for me. I thought that was a very nice gesture on his part.

I ordered the baked chicken with corn on the cob and fries. Of course, to be truly gluten free, I probably should not have ordered fries. I just couldn't resist myself, though. I love those thick cut fries! Luckily they don't seem to bother me.

All in all, my hubby and I had a great experience at Famous Dave's. The food was great and the staff were helpful and polite.