Thanksgiving Mini Pies

We had so much fun making pies on Thanksgiving. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005, Thanksgiving just hasn't been the same. This year with my parents coming out and my mom also having Celiac Disease (diagnosed 2006) I decided things were going to change. This year we would have a completely gluten free Thanksgiving feast.

A week before Thanksgiving I made up several batches of pie crust using the recipe found in Gluten-Free baking classics by Annaliese Roberts (I love her book!), divided each batch into 3 pieces and rolled them out to fit a 4 inch mini pie pan. Then I wrapped them up and froze them until Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we got out the frozen pie crusts and sat around the table putting them into the tins. It was really fun working together and since we were making mini pies we were able to make everyone's favorite kind without having tons of leftovers.

All in all we made 9 pies: a pumpkin, 2 mini chocolate cream, 2 mini banana cream, 2 mini dutch apple and 2 mini cherry. We put a cherry and apple in the freezer after they were baked and cooled and we'll have them for Christmas dinner. Pretty clever if I do say so myself!

GF Cornbread

There's nothing like a warm piece of cornbread smothered in butter and honey! After trying a few gluten free recipes with okay results I came across one that I love. I'll post a picture the next time I make it.

Gluten free Cornbread

3/4 cup GF flour mix
1/2 tsp guar gum
3 tsp. GF baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbls. melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornmeal, sugar and salt together in large bowl. Make a well and add melted butter, honey, egg and buttermilk. Stir with a fork until flour is just moistened. Pour into nine inch pan and bake at 425 degrees until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 18 -25 minutes.

Easy Applesauce

This applesauce is so yummy and easy to make too! I like to make it when I've bought too many apples and they are starting to go a little soft - still good, just not as crunchy as I like my apples to be. I came up with this no sugar version as we find the apples to be sweet enough on their own. You can always add 1/2 -1 cup sugar if you feel that your apples aren't sweet enough.

Crock-pot Applesauce

8-12 apples peeled, sliced, & cored (peel them and use an apple slicer/corer to do the rest)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put the sliced apples in the crock-pot and sprinkle with cinnamon. If you like a thin applesauce you can add 1/2 cup of water. I like mine thick so I don't add any. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Mash up the apples depending on how chunky or smooth you like it. We like it warm, but it's good cold too. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Enjoy.

Frontera Grill

We went to the Frontera Grill and called ahead for reservations, which is a smart idea, since it is a popular spot. When making the reservation, I explained that my wife had Celiac Disease and asked if they could accommodate a gluten free diet. They noted this on our reservation. When ordering, the waitress asked the chef what menu items are gluten free, or could be made as such, since they change their menu every month, it is important to ask the chef. Most of the appetizers are not gluten free (including the tortilla chips) so we got the guacamole with jicama and cucumber slices. For dinner I got the only entree that wasn't gluten free, the Chicken with red chili sauce and a chorizo & pineapple tamalon. Meredith ordered the tacos al carbon with steak, which came with guacamole and 2 kinds of salsa (the tomatillo salsa was awesome). The meal was fabulous, although a little on the pricey side. But hey, we were on the way to see Phantom of the Opera, so why not? The link to Frontera Grill and other restaurants by Rick Bayless is

Ted's Montana Grill

Last night we ate at Ted's Montana Grill in Naperville, IL. They specialize in bison and are very Eco-friendly(cardboard straws) and fresh (no freezers or microwaves). They have a gluten free menu available upon request and it is really quite extensive. I ordered the New Mexico style burger (beef) with no bun. The menu said the fries were gluten free but not cooked in a dedicated fryer, so I ordered the garlic mashed potatoes instead. Shane ordered George's Cadillac burger(bison) and got a baked sweet potato for his side. We really enjoyed our food at the restaurant has a fun casual atmosphere. We will definitely go back again! here's the link if you want to check out their menu

Homemade Hamburger Buns!

It'd been a couple of years since I'd had a hamburger bun so when I found this recipe I was anxious to give it a try.
As you can see the buns turned out so beautifully that Shane couldn't help being a little overzealous with the toppings. The buns had a great flavor, but they did get soggy quickly and crumbled a bit (squishing everything together to try to fit this monstrous Burger into his mouth didn't help!). It was fun to have a burger with a bun and I made extra for the freezer. I'm looking forward to sloppy joes or maybe a BBQ beef sandwich. mmm...

Eating Out

Eating out is always a challenge, or better said, eating out at a NEW restaurant is always a challenge. Here are a couple of our favorite places:

Noodles and Company ( I order the pesto cavatappi, penne rosa or pasta fresca substituting rice noodles in all 3 and request they use an "allergy aware" pan. The meat is not gluten free. If you have any questions talk to the manager and they'll let you see their big allergy binder so that you can determine what is safe for you.

Outback Steakhouse -This link is for their gluten free menu. I don't think anything can satisfy a brownie craving like the chocolate thunder from down under!

Chipotle - Here is a link to the FAQ on their website with what contains gluten. I love their vegetarian burrito bol!

PF Changs- One of our favorites! I love the lettuce wraps, chang's spicy noodles, and singapore street noodles. We ordered the flourless chocolate cake on my birthday and it was heavenly! Here's their GF menu:

Bangkok Village-Naperville, IL This is a little local place that we love. The owner knows his stuff and if they're not busy the chef is willing to alter dishes to be gluten free. I always order the yellow curry with chicken. It's the best and is naturally gluten free so I can safely order it when the owner isn't in.

Adobo Grill- Chicago, IL They have a gluten free dinner menu but if you go for lunch the staff is very knowledgeable and able to give you a few suggestions. Their tamales are delicious and their chocolate dessert tamales are gluten free. Yum!

Wendy's- When all else fails you can always find a Wendy's. I get their chili and baked potato.