Monday, March 29, 2010

snacking mayhem

Life has been pretty busy with the new pup in my life and I've been trying to eat well but have been going for a lot of quick meals and snacks. The change in seasons is also messing with my cravings and I'm no longer looking for hearty meals but craving fresh fruit which isn't always easy to find in a remote ski town. I can find fruit but I refuse to buy oranges or apples that are already soft or bruised. I'm really picky about how stuff looks.

I'm even going for really bad snacks that are chocked full of sugar but taste so good... the graham crackers themselves are not-so-good for you and then the chocolate peanut butter or frosting really make them over the top. The peanut butter topped grahams are really filling and get me through a long day at the office and give me the energy to sneak a ski break in. The lifts stop next Sunday so I'm trying to get a few last days in.
I did finally make time late last night to make banana bread. It was a good thing too as the bananas were almost too far gone. It's been a while since I've made it and I've been wanting to try a few changes.
I had a few variations and loved this new style. My loaf pan seems to take forever to bake and the center is too moist while the outside is very dry. I used the Artisan Flour Blend, Earth's Balance, 1/2 cup of Enjoy Life Chocolate chips and an 8x8" glass pan. I also reduced the baking time. At 9,500 above sea level it took 60 minutes for the toothpick to come out clean. The new pan shape helped ensure that the middle was cooked and the edges weren't too dry.
I wasn't able to try it last night but had some on my way to drop Mayhem off at the vet this morning. The poor little guy went in to get neutered and came home in a cone head. Chaos also had a few routine shots this afternoon. He's had to wear the cone before and I'm pretty sure he was thrilled it wasn't his turn today!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

a little road trip

Last week we took a small road trip. Living in the southwest corner of Colorado means that to get to any major Colorado city requires at least a few hours of driving. Google Maps estimated it to be a 6 hour drive. Mother Nature turned it into an 8 hour drive. We left the house at 6am bound for Colorado Springs, armed with my gluten free road snacks like Stretch Island Fruit and Peanut Butter & Jelly flavored Lara Bars. The weather was just starting to move in and within the first ten miles I realized that this was not going to be an easy drive. It was still dark and fat snowflakes filled my 4Runner's headlights making me drive slowly. As the light grew the driving became easier but it was still slow going. By the time we hit Monarch Pass I realized that the windshield wipers really needed to get replaced and the thick slush killed what little use they had left. We made it over the pass with a few stops for clearing the window and found an auto parts store for new super storm grade wipers. The trash outside the store was filled with old wipers and we went inside for the item of the day.
Our mission of the stormy day?
A new puppy- we were on our way to meet our new puppy. He is a one year old golden retriever and was in need of a new home. He was living in Colorado Springs and we ventured through the storm to pick him up. We were pretty excited as the Springs is also home to a PF Chang's and they just added new items to the gluten-free menu! We started with the Lettuce Wraps then enjoyed the spicy Gluten Free Beef a la Sichuan and Gluten Free Fried Rice. I'm not a huge fan of the beef dish as I'm not a celery fan but loved the lettuce wraps as always. It was a good treat after a long, hard drive that day.

I even got the Flourless Chocolate Dome to go for the ride home.... yum. We did a monster round trip and after dinner and a quick stop at REI we hit the road with our new puppy for some more fun winter driving.
It was all worth it to wake up at home the next day with our new pup. We've named him Mayhem and I took him on his first gondola ride on his first morning home. He's settling in well to our home and life with his big brother Chaos. He doesn't even mind that I'm a glutard!
Chaos, age 5 and Mayhem, age almost 1

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

skcations (ski vacations) with friends

We were very lucky this last week to have three fun friends visit us from Maine. I was able to show off my glutared culinary skills and make them let them sample the goodies.  Dawson got to try a monster batch of street noodles  then we also had pizza and while they did use balls of gluten dough (yuck) I quickly whipped up a thin crust pizza dough (version 2) from The Bronski's Cookbook.
I've been making up jars in big batches and labeling them so when I want to make pizza or pancakes I just grab a jar of all the dry ingredients mixed together. It saves a good amount of time and makes life pretty simple.  I divided the dough in two and par baked each then frozen one and decorated the other for that night with parm cheese, pesto, peperoni and pineapple.  I'm able to tolerate small amounts of cheese and even had a soft montz on a pizza last week and didn't suffer like I had been. I'm still aiming to be 96% dairy free but sneak in a bit every now and then.

Sara and I also whipped up a batch of strawberry whoopie pies. I made one small correction to the posted recipe. I had written baking powder instead of baking soda and realized this while making this last batch. Betty Crocker is also officially labeling frosting's as Gluten Free!
I even used my last bit of Udi's Bread on some gluten free french toast before a day of skiing. I lucked out and Dave made it for me. Breakfast always tastes better when it's made by someone else.
We took a ton of ski photos as we had some great sunshine and even a few powder days but they were more amazed at how many food photos I take. It's a lot of planning to blog each week and I need to ensure I have lots to work with.

Monday, March 8, 2010


At our last "big city" grocery store expedition I was delighted to find Udi's Bread. I've read a lot of favorable reviews and my local sandwich shop even swapped to it. My first home creation? Toast.
I haven't had toast since at least November, 2008 and it may have even been longer. I covered the toaster oven in tin foil since Dave hasn't given up gluten toast and gently toasted my bread. I picked out my first toast toppings- Earth's Balance with cinnamon and sugar. YUM!  I didn't realize how much I enjoy and missed toast until that very moment. I may even have to try Udi's for french toast....
I'm really loving the new Natural Grocers store in Montrose. It's been a great source for new products. They've even hosted a gluten-free sample day and I was able to try some new products without having to commit to a whole (expensive) package. They have almost all the gluten-free flour types I could ever want including brown and white rice flour in prepackaged bulk. They've earned a lot of our buisness and it seems like each trip they get a little more. This trip had me stocking up on my standard rice noodles plus the new Ancient Harvest Pasta and other treats.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Snacks on the fly

We have friends coming in from maine this week and I'm off on an airport run. We borrowed a thule box since ours traveled to a phish show in california last october and we haven't been up to see our summit friends yet to retrieve it.  We meshed the trip with our food stock up and target run and its going to be a big day and I'm going to need some fuel. I found this think green bar and was attracted to the chocolate and peanuts and didn't read the whole lable until I was in the car later.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

birthday cake

my friend Brianne celebrated her 30th birthday today and I was happy to bring a chocolate cake to the office to help mark the occasion. The Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Cake is fairly simple and made a great treat for all.
I made two 8" rounds and they came out very pretty. I didn't frost it until I got to work this morning as the pans made for easier transport. I did use canned frosting that contained some milk but the cakes were dairy free thanks to Earth's Balance and soy milk. 
 We've reached the point in the spring where it's warm enough during the day to melt the snow a bit and cause some runoff that then freezes at night. It makes for a slippery walk to the gondola in the morning. That's right, I ride a gondola to work in the morning and usually my monster comes with me. It's actually a chondola which is chairlift and gondola on one cable. Chaos and other dogs are welcome in the cabins and it's his favorite thing to chase (after skiers).