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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nosh & Enjoy Life

I must admit since being diagnosed with celiac disease I bake and cook more at home. Not just out of necessity, but taste too. My family and I really enjoy homemade food. That being said, I also enjoy the convenience of packaged goods especially when they taste oh so good.

Recently I joined a book club and everyone knows that book clubs usually share more than an interest in literary works, they share food. I like to bring snacks, yes so that I know there is something I can nosh that is safe, but I enjoy introducing gluten free foods to folks who may not know how delicious they can be.

That brings me to Enjoy Life Foods . To date, I have only had snack bars and cookies, but what I have had leaves me wanting to try more. For example the No-oats Oatmeal cookies and the Snickerdoodle cookies, yum! At the meeting of my last book club a friend brought the brownie cookies. Right away I noticed a significant change for the better. The brownies are now called "Soft Baked" Double Chocolate. Wow, what a difference! They are soft and moist. I have not had the Snickerdoodle or No-oats Oatmeal variety since the improvements, but I want to.
These cookies are delicious as is, but if you want to take them to the next level. Smear a generous tablespoon of your favorite frosting onto one of the cookies and then sandwich them by placing another cookie on the frosting. Oooo la la! (pictured above)

Not only have a friend and I brought these Enjoy Life "sandwiches" to book club; I have also sent them into my son's classroom as a treat. There is always someone who does not require a gluten free diet inquiring how to get a hold of these cookies.

I have spent so much time writing about the cookies I haven't mentioned the snack bar variety: Caramel Apple, Cocoa Loco, Sunbutter Crunch, and Very Berry. I recommend you try them all. Sunbutter Crunch is my favorite.

Enjoy Life Foods prints "Eat Freely" on their packaging and that is exactly what they have helped us to do. Congratulations Enjoy Life, you are now listed under the Top 20 products on Gluten Free and You. For those who don't know this label indicates my top 20 favorite gluten free products and/or brands. If I were diagnosed today these are the foods I would want to know about.

Crock-pot Pork with Cabbage

Well, it's not corned beef but this is what my family will be having this Saint Patrick's Day. Juicy pork shoulder roast, red cabbage sweetened with a kiss of brown sugar and a side of mashed potatoes. It brings me such joy when I find a recipe that is already gluten free. Don't get me wrong I love tweaking recipes to make them gluten free. However, when I find a recipe that is gluten free to begin with it reminds me of the many, many foods that have always been and will always will be gluten free. Too Shakespearean, sorry!

Crock-pot Pork with Cabbage offered by Linda Larsen on

4 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3lb. boneless pork shoulder roast

1. Combine cabbage, onion, brown sugar and vinegar in your crock-pot.
2. Season roast with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in a large skillet for approx. 5 minutes.
3. Place pork in crock-pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours until the pork heats to 160 degrees. Serves 6.

If you don't love this recipe I will be very surprised. I thank Linda Larsen for sharing this recipe on since it has become a family favorite. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bon Appetit Ratatouille

Dear Reader, I laugh about this today, but the only reason I went looking for a Ratatouille recipe was because I felt compelled to try the dish that melted the indignant heart of Food Critic Anton Ego from the animated feature film of the same name, Ratatouille. I thank my lucky stars that I found the following recipe from Whole Foods Market. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I won't say that my two children enjoy ratatouille the vegetable dish as much as the movie, but when I spoon a hearty helping of this onto their plates they always want an encore.

Recipe tip: Although the Whole Foods' recipe is gluten free, if you have read any of my blogspot posts you will not be surprised to hear I have tweaked the recipe to suit  my taste and that of my family. I almost did not put green pepper into this dish, again I am thankful I did, it is subtle and delicious. If you compare the Whole Foods version and mine, you will see only a slight difference in the preparation of the vegetables.

I dedicate this post to my mom; much like Ego this dish reminds me of my mom and all the ways she tried to disguise vegetables so that I would eat them. Although I no longer try to hide them from myself, I still enjoy her techniques for slicing and dicing. Thank you mom for helping to create a love of healthy food.

Now on with the show...


1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (In the past I have omitted the eggplant and increased the amount of squash with much success)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
Pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped in the food processor
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped in the food processor
2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds ( I like one of each for color)
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (I have blanched, peeled and roasted my own tomatoes from the garden, but jarred works great too)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and set aside in a paper-towel-lined bowl while preparing the other vegetables. (If omitting the eggplant, skip this step)

Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, garlic, herbes de Provence, chile flakes and pepper in a small bowl. Put the processed bell pepper and  onions into a large bowl. Toss in the zucchini or squash and pour the oil mixture over them. Pat eggplant dry with another paper towel and toss with vegetables, coating everything thoroughly. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until golden and very soft, 30 to 35 minutes.

Put tomatoes into a large bowl and break them up using your hands or a spoon. Add roasted vegetables and vinegar and stir well. Cool to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. The Whole Foods recipe recommends cooling the dish to room temperature; I have eaten this dish warm, room temperature and cold, and have loved them all. Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Steamed Shrimp

The following recipe was taken straight off the can of Old Bay Seasoning, one of my favorites in the kitchen!

Recipe Tips:  Shrimp are delicious alone or accompanied by a small bowl of melted butter for dipping. Although white vinegar is fine, my mother swears apple cider is best for this dish.

2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 lb. shrimp in shells

In saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp, stir gently. Cover; steam until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain, remove shells.

Baby Field Greens Tossed with Portobello Mushrooms

1 -2 package(s) baby portobellos, washed and dried
3-4 Tablespoons basting oil with herbs
1-2 handfuls of field greens per person
Newman's Own  Light Balsamic
salt and pepper
shredded Parmesan (optional)

Recipe Tip: I used field greens in this recipe, but please use whatever you like. Baby spinach is also delicious.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice mushrooms into desired size. Coat mushrooms with basting oil in a large bowl.  Place mushrooms on a baking sheet, salt and pepper mushrooms and roast for 12-15 minutes. While mushrooms are roasting wash and dry your greens. Once mushrooms are finished toss mushrooms and field greens together. Drizzle Newman's Own Light Balsamic to taste. Sprinkle parmesan if desired. Salad may be served warm or room temperature. Enjoy.

More Salmon Patties, Please!

"More Salmon patties, please",  is the phrase you will hear when you have served this delicious meal. I use two cans of Salmon when I make this dish because if you have leftovers they don't hang around for long.

 Recipe tip: I have used McCormick Salmon Grill Mates for the seasoning, but lately cannot find this product. I recently saw a product called Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Salmon Seasoning which may be just as good, but I have not yet verified it as gluten free. For your safety verify all ingredients as gluten free when following a strict gluten free diet.

Salmon Patties
2 (14.75oz.) cans Salmon, cartilage removed
1 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Salmon seasoning 
1 Tbsp. Leah & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (Gluten Free on the label, YAY!)
1 cup bread crumbs (I process unused portions of Pamela's Bread, I make in my bread machine)
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil

1. Flake Salmon with a fork or fingers in a large bowl.
2. Combine remaining ingredients with Salmon.
3. Shape into patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and  place in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours or overnight. This minimizes breakage when frying.
4. Heat oil in pan to med-high heat. Fry patties for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned gently flipping halfway through cooking time.
5. Drain on paper towels. Serve.

Makes a lot depending on how large your patties are. Experiment, have fun!