Monday, December 19, 2011

my gluten free english muffin dealer

Part of the fun about living in a Maine ski town is the weekend crew that arrives each Friday night. These hard core skiers work a normal work week then each Friday load up their cars and make the trek north on route 27. They might hit the local watering hole when they get to the Valley but regardless they're up early on Saturday vying for first chair. It doesn't matter how cold the thermometer drops and how high the humidity climbs and how negative the windchill becomes- they are Sugarloafers and they live for these days on the mountain.

This year I'm lucky enough to have friends who will be my English Muffin dealers. They come up from the Maine coast and will swing into the "Hootin" Gluten Free Bakery and grab a four pack for me. These are the only gluten free English Muffin's I've tried but I feel I know a good baked good when I see one.
We don't rock a toaster oven at camp chaos so I toss a bit of Earth Balance in a pan on the stove top and heat these gently. Add a bit of homemade jam and it's a breakfast that will fuel any day on the slopes- no matter how cold.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gluten free family time with a bit of Hakuna Matata

Have I ever told you that my house is called Camp Chaos?

 It's because of this guy. Chaotic isn't he? It's what we dubbed ourselves shortly after bringing home our first puppy, Chaos Monster in Febuary, 2005. The name's stuck and it's followed us from  Maine to Colorado and back to Maine. It's a great ode to our beloved golden retriever, Chaos who's about to celebrate his 7th birthday. Chaos was the first dog I ever had the pleasure of living with. He's taught me a lot since I brought him home as a young puppy in early 2005.  His soft golden mane is often a source of comfort and reminds me of my favorite Disney movie, The Lion King. I was in high school when the Lion King first came out and it earned it's place as my favorite all time Disney flick. I think that's why I love my golden puppies so much as Chaos often resembles a regal Mufasa and crazy little Mayhem is a young Simba. When the movie came back out on DVD this year I quickly snatched up a copy and enjoyed the movie along my memories of being a favorite babysitter to my young cousins.

This week my sister, Kim came for a visit with her husband and two kiddos- Moyer's who's almost 5 and Keturah who's 3 going on 7. Kim and Keturah are in the midst of a gluten free trial and Kim did a guest post a few weeks back about their Mighty Fine dining experience in Austin, TX. So far with this trial  they've discovered that Keturah doesn't do well with corn as well as gluten. As most of us glutards know a lot of gluten free items contain corn in one form or another so we stuck to a lot of naturally gluten free, corn free foods during their visit to camp chaos. Like Annie's Gluten Free Mac N Cheese with some hamburger and peas added in for fun.
The kids and I watched The Lion King the first morning here at Camp Chaos and the rest of the visit featured small voices singing lines of Hakuna Matata.

Hakuna Matata! It means no worries for the rest of your days

We even tried to make some corn free powdered sugar for our Chex Muddy Buddies...

Played Legos (because every good aunt and uncle should have a house with legos...)
Walked the dogs which was even better with shoulder rides from Patrick
But he wouldn't give the dogs shoulder rides- they had to walk
as did Moyer but he liked to run, jump and hop more then walk. He is a good runner.

We took time to make the donuts...gluten and corn free.
And of course I whipped up some knitted projects for the kids. You can see those over at Asiaramblin 

I've been really impressed with my dining experiences at the Rack since we've moved back to Sugarloaf and even more so after our trip with my gluten free, corn free niece. Our waitress (who's also gluten free) double checked the gluten free options for us for traces of corn and Keturah enjoyed a great safe bowl of gf, corn free noodles and marinaira.

 Don't you wish every gluten free meal could have a bit of Hakuna Matata?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gluten Free Love near Sugarloaf, Maine- The Rack and the Stratton Diner

First off a big kudos to my sister for last week's guest post  A Mightly Fine GF Option from Austin, Texas and a bit of her gluten free trial. She's not the first family member to try out a gluten free lifestyle and I'm looking forward to see how this trial goes for her and my niece. Since moving back to Maine I've had a lot of people ask me about my gluten free life- it's been great to share and hear about others challenges with food and health.

Last fall I was pumped to visit the Rack at Sugarloaf and have gluten free pizza and a Woodchuck. This year they've added two gluten free beers to the lineup as well with Bard's and Daura. While I'm not a Daura fan I am a Bard's fan and have been enjoying having a beer on our weekly visit to the bar along with a gluten free pie and my once a week slip into dairy.

I'm kinda shocked to report that it's not the only gluten free pizza I've had in Carrabassett Valley since our move east. Tufulio's which is 7 miles south of the mountain also offers gluten free pizza. It's not as good as the Rack's but it much closer to our place and good in a pinch. They served baked wings- which have great potential to be gluten free but I haven't gotten a clear answer yet so no gambling for me!
We've also been hitting the Stratton Diner for breakfast. They have occasional gluten free sweets but since we go for breakfast I haven't tried any out- plus I've been working on my own sweet baking.

It's a great and safe breakfast and they even tuck some sweet potatoes among the normal home fries for a bit of extra flavor. I've safely eaten there 3 times now and enjoyed each breakfast as well as the vibe inside this renovated old diner. Plus they have old school trivia cards on the table for pre-breakfast fun with friends.

Moving back to a familiar place with a whole new way of eating was scary and a bit intimidating but I've been lucky to find options for dining out and have had the added bonus of connecting with others who have had to change the way they think about food for one reason or another. I'm working on some of my old favorites with a new twist to my gluten free classic sweets so I can share with friends.  Thus far I've had success with gluten free, egg free and dairy free baking for whoopie pies, brownies and banana bread. It's a good ego boost as I've been struggling through 4 attempts at gluten free Anadama Bricks Bread.

Tomorrow marks the first day of the 2011-12 ski season at Sugarloaf and I'm looking forward to finding other gluten free options at my favorite Maine mountain.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a Mighty Fine g.f. option

This is my first g.f. post.  Kind of appropriate that I get to do it here, on my sister's blog, instead of over where I usually blog.  Asiaramblin is about a lot of things, but so far, gluten-free cuisine hasn't been one of them.

Moyer & Keturah excited about their Mighty Fine meals
On Monday, we were in the market for a quick lunch, not too far from my sister-in-law's place of work, that would be kid-friendly.  So, due largely to the recent g.f. status that my daughter Keturah and I have been experimenting with, we decided to skip the Chick-fil-A, and try out an Austin burger joint.

My thought: the gluten-consumers of our group would enjoy the burgers, and Keturah and I could just skip the buns.  I'm not traditionally a burger fan, but I was willing to take one for the team, since Patrick, my husband, most certainly is.

I approached the counter at Mighty Fine, to ask whether or not they'd be willing to serve up two of our burgers without the buns.

I kind of felt like Kate when I heard the service-person's response.

(I've known that my g.f. sister favors establishments that understand gluten issues, but I guess I didn't realize just how "taken care of" one can feel when there's no need to explain yourself--or your quirky eating habits--just to place an order.)

The gal on duty, not only assured us that this could easily be done, but let me know that she'd be happy to wash her hands and change her gloves before handling our orders.

She also knew exactly how their fries were handled, so we could enjoy these yummy, crinkled traditional burger sides without worrying about any gluten being served up on them.

Talk about a full-service burger joint!  Keturah and I get to continue our gluten free experiment, and the rest of our party gets traditional hamburgers.  What a win.
Keturah spies daddy bringing over our Mighty Fine bags

And then it got better.

Have I mentioned yet that these were Mighty Fine hamburgers?  I loved my bun-less version . . . even though I've never really been that big on hamburgers!  Turns out that the folks at Mighty Fine only serve up super-fresh, all-natural, hormone-free chuck, and all of the embellishments offered are fresh and cut on-site.  I can't speak for the bun-eaters of our group, but my burger was delicious.

Moyer, waiting for his meal; my bun-less burger; table-top condiments

I do think it's safe to say that Keturah enjoyed her gluten-free lunch too.

every g.f. morsel, eaten

For now, this Austin-born chain is only available in our neck of the woods, but you can visit Mighty Fine's menu from anywhere.

gluten free breakfast of champions

I took inspiration this week from Marlow over at Gluten Hates Me and ventured back to Oatmeal for breakfast. It's warm, hearty and filling which makes for a great meal after a morning walk in the Maine woods with my favorite dogs in their blaze orange vests.

I added brown sugar and a bit of real maple syrup to sweeten my oat. Did you know that not only does Bob's Red Mill make Old Fashioned Gluten Free Oats but also Quick Cooking Gluten Free Oats as well? These aren't your average Oats as Bob's takes special precautions with the growing and use dedicated Oat fields and test the oats during the process to ensure the gluten free status. 
I'm headed away for the weekend and these oats even made it into my glutarded snack and food bag for my travels for a quick breakfast away from home.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - gluten free and vegan

My obsession with whoopie pies has taken a new turn and today I pulled out my Whoopie Pies book and tried my hand at the classic Fall flavor- Pumpkin. I made my typical conversions to gluten free but then took it one step further and went egg free as well. Why? Well, I'm intrigued by vegan baking as I'm working on cutting out dairy 100% (damn you, pizza from The Rack- why must you call to me?) and wanted to go the extra mile with egg-less baking.

Pumpkin Whoopie (gluten free and vegan)
adapted from Whoopie Pies

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and blend flax seeds with water
Blend in a bowl:
2 and 1/4 cup Gluten free flour (Artisan Blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

In mixer:
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup brown sugar

Blend above then Add 
1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin (Libby's is gluten free)
1 egg or Flax seed *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 Tablespoons warm water- stir then let rest for 5 minutes- stir aging before adding

Combine Dry with Wet and mix until just stirred in 
Drop 2 tablespoon sized piles onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove- cool and enjoy with a cream cheese frosting but don't tell Dave that it's a cream cheese frosting- even if it's Tofutti and Earth Balance he still doesn't want to know this but will enjoy it anyhow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

baking bread at 900 feet above sea level

Moving from 9,000 feet above sea level to 900 feet above sea level has inspired me to dust the counter with flour and proof some yeast. I thought that baking bread at sea level was going to be easy... I hadn't considered the fact that I'm still experimenting with gluten free flours on "normal gluten bread" recipes.

Two very dense loaves into it and I'm ready for the third try to be the charm. However just like life there are no guarantees with baking bread. Each loaf teaches me a bit more- ahh, yes let the yeast proof in peace and kneading can be therapy but it shouldn't hurt the dough.
Any tips for a novice bread baker? I found these gluten-free bread tips and am going to test a few out.
Yes, my flour blend has been cold... and my dough hasn't been rising.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Leaving Colorful Colorado, Cross Country Gluten Free Travels

On each of the major roads on the Colorado boarder stands a sign that reads
 on a cross-country road trip it's one of many signs that will be encountered. On a cross country move it bears a lot more weight. I've moved out of Colorado. Think Outside the Breadbox will now be a Maine based blog. I'll work on adding some disclaimers to some Local Love blog posts but bear with me as I'm without internet at the new dwellings.
me and mayhem
Our cross country travel was interesting as always... take one 4Runner and load in two dogs and a nervous cat then one 16' Penske Truck full of furniture, ski gear, a bouldering pad, dog beds, people beds and more then drive 2,600 miles across America.
Chaos staying chill on the cooler

Mayhem checking out Dave in the Penske truck

our first PF Chang's stop

quick stop on Colorado's I-70
Dave, Chaos & Mayhem outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Add in 3 stops to PF Chang's for a glutard's safety net, 2 stops to Whole Foods and 1 stop to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH just to mix things up. And for a side of gluten stop into Cleveland's Hard Rock Cafe and order a gluten-free cobb salad off the gluten-free menu and feel the gluten seep into your whole being as you leave the city and head back toward the moving truck. Feel justified in your obsession with PF Chang's and Whole Foods as you fight off the gluten effects along Interstate 80 in PA.
Try to eat an applesauce that you found in Target as you know it's safe and will help get the gluten out....
Roll into Mass and hit up Flatbread Pizza Company for some safe gluten free pie and a bit of greens

round it out with a "goodbad" dessert

Moondance Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Cheesecake.... yum and chocked full of dairy. Now that I'm settling into my new life I'm cleaning up my act again and breaking up with dairy.

I'm also learning to bake gluten free at sea level- wish me luck!

Best Road Snacks- the 2011 List
GoGo SqueeZ Apple Sauces
Glutino Pretzels  
Banana Chips mixed with M&M's
Odwalla Mango Tango Smoothie
Surf Sweet Gummy Snacks
Mott's Medley's Fruit Snacks

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Short Road Trip and a Rudi's Bread Giveaway

This weekend I'm embarking on yet another cross country drive- but this one's different. This one involves a lot more planning and a much bigger truck. We're loading up a 16' truck and moving to Maine.

From Moving 2011

It's home for us so it's an easy move... even the dogs are excited for the change. 

From Moving 2011
As always road trips require special planning for my glutarded needs and this trip is no exception. I've mapped out Whole Foods and PF Chang's along the route and working on healthy snacks. The timing couldn't have been better as Rudi's Gluten Free Bread emailed me with some creative snack ideas. 
I browsed through the files and my eyes jumped to the hot dog bun... dressed in peanut butter and filled with a banana... this is a road trip snack I could get behind- healthy peanut butter and easily portable bananas- score!
How would you make your cross country lunches fun? Leave a comment below, be creative and tell me what kind of Rudi's Bread you'd use to make your lunch with and you can win a coupon for a free loaf of Rudi's and this snazzy container to pack your lunch in.  I'll pick a winner next Monday, October 3rd after 6pm Eastern Time as I'm cruising through Kansas with my furry entourage. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival from a Glutard's View

We hit up the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival this weekend. It's a beer lover's paradise- that is for GLUTEN drinking beer lovers. There's not a single gluten free beer to be found within the town park during the 3 day festival. This year I did find some great options for enjoying the festival in gluten-free style.
 I know what you're thinking... why would any gluten free person look at a Pizza booth at a beer festival? Is that just asking for trouble?
But a closer look reveals the truth... this booth is done by the local kid's ski & snowboard club and club members decided to do a gluten free offering this year.
 And just down the way was a booth offering Skinny Girl Margs- not the best Marg I've ever had but it was nice to enjoy a drink with friends on a chilly night as we listed to moe. and Big Head Todd & the Monsters in Telluride Town Park. The morning had torrent of rain and even snow which stuck to the peaks so the pristine grassy fields of town park became a muddy mess. I capped off my evening with Telluride Truffles which are locally made with Belgian chocolate and inspired by the mountains.
Today I went back for more gluten free goodies at the park after a hearty breakfast of french toast made with Rudi's.(More on Rudi's later this week- stay tuned...)
I hit up the pizza booth again for a slice of peperoni then swung over to the cotton candy booth for a pink bag of sugary goodness. Plus it matched my shirt... can you read it?

"Gluten Makes Me Grumpy" (You too can wear your gluten free status...) I had a few laughs from fellow festival patrons today and met some other gluten free people as well.

We even got the see Willie Nelson take the stage... how often do you get to see a legend like Willie in your town and see the alpenglow over snow capped peaks like Ajax Peak at the end of the Box Canyon. 

Are you coming to Telluride for a festival, read through my series a bit of love....Telluride for some gluten free options on your visit. Be sure to always double check... things change quickly in a small mountain town.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Think Outside Flashbacks in 7 Links

Even before I got the bottom of Marlow's post on her GHM Flashback in 7 Links post I was thinking that I'd love to do that. It's the cool nights of fall and this time of transition and changing seasons that set on the nostogia. I was honored to be tagged in the post to play.Things have been busy here so I'm just now sitting down and going over Think Outside the Breadbox to bring you this trip down memory lane?

Most Popular Post

Ajax Peak and Allred's in Telluride

Dinner at 10,000 feet above Sea Level? It truly is an elevated experience and I wish every post-hike dinner could like taste like that.

Post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

Strawberry Whoopie Pies
 Whoopie Pies with a strawberry twist? How have I not made these in a few months...

Post who’s success surprised you
My Version of Street Noodles

I'm a huge fan of recreating my favorites from PF Chang's but was shocked to see how much traffic this post has gotten. I'm happy to share and hope others enjoy the flavors as well. It's a great launching pad post and I hope it inspires you to twist the dish to your favorite flavors.

Most Helpful
A Bit of Local Love... Telluride, CO

This series put all my posts about Telluride in one simple spot. I've given a brief description of each place so it keeps it easy and quick for those visiting my small mountain town.

Most Controversial

Gluten Freedom with Spinach and Rice Noodles
Funny title but I reveal the results of my DNA test from Kimball Labs. I've never felt like a true Celiac based on the path I've taken so I call myself a glutard. I've got the genes, I've got the reactions to gluten but I never had a biopsy so I have a hard time saying that I have Celiac. What do you think? Do you need a doctor's diagnosis to use the label Celiac?

Post you’re most proud of

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
I'm a native Mainer... how can I not be proud of my mad whoopie pie skills? 

Most Beautiful
This Photo
Food Photography is hard. My current kitchen had terrible lighting and I struggle with my photos a lot.  I managed to snag this photo using my Droid and just loved it.

Do you want to play too? Leave a comment below to link you your Flashback in 7 posts. I want to read your blog too! Thanks for sharing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

cool nights and warm gluten free dinners

Fall is creeping into the mountains of Telluride, a few young aspens are starting to change from deep green to a golden yellow hue and meals are changing from summer staples to warm comfort foods.

Like this lazanga made with Tinkyada noodles and Daiya dairy free cheese...
and layers of peperoni, sausage, spinach, mushrooms and sauce. I modified this recipe for tofu lasagna that I've used for a few years by skipping all cheese and using almond milk to keep it 100% dairy free.
And Chicken Parm (sans parm)
served over a bed of Ancient Harvest Quinoa Linguine and steamed spinach. Tonight's fall fare featured quinoa served with sauted spinach and mushrooms, grilled chicken and a bit of experimental green peppers and onion (these are a bit out of my comfort zone but hit the spot tonight).
I even wore a knitted hat and insulated jacket during our evening dog walk tonight. This morning the pups really had to turn on thier cute factor to get me out of my warm down comforter...

From Droid think outside