One Vinaigrette – Two Dishes {O Olive Oil}

In my last post about O Olive Oil, I mentioned that I was one of the lucky bloggers who was chosen to participate in the O Olive Oil challenge over at Each blogger was asked to do two posts – one a tasting and the second a recipe. Please take a second to read my fist post – A Naked Tasting. I was generously provided a bottle of the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar to taste and create a recipe with.

As I mentioned in my last post these have a higher sugar content and in turn a lower burn temperature which make them great for finishing oils and vinaigrettes. I decided to do just that – make a vinaigrette and then create two dishes to use it with, both of course are gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken in one and the fish in the other – you can also add in some delicious tofu!

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette (adjust this to meet your needs)

3 parts O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

1 part Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar

Small Shallot – minced

Kosher Salt – to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper – to taste

Pinch of sugar

I know you are probably wondering where the exact measurements are but I think vinaigrettes are a personal judgement call.  Taste as you go, adjust as needed based on your likes and needs. This oil and vinegar make such a delicious vinaigrette – its sweet and tangy all at once.

Quinoa Salad with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup red quinoa

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small zucchini diced (1/4 inch)

1 small summer squash diced (1/4 inch)

1 1/2 cups roasted chicken (omit or sub with tofu for vegetarian option)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir  Vinaigrette – to taste

Lemon Zest


  1. I roasted mine with a lemon pepper compound butter that had a light drizzle of the olive oil in it and placed it under the skin. When done – let the chicken rest and cool – shred and set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  3. In a small non stick pan over ow-medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and gently cook the mushrooms, zucchini, and summer squash – just to warm them up a bit.
  4. In a large bowl add the vinaigrette, shredded chicken, and veggie mixture – toss to coat.
  5. When quinoa is finished cooking add directly into the bowl with the chicken, veggies, and vinaigrette – toss to combine and let sit for at least 20 minutes so everything soaks up the awesome vinaigrette.
  6. Toss in the tomatoes and zest lemon over the top before serving.
  7. This makes for a great entree or as a side dish. You can add anything you really wanted to this dish as quinoa to me is like a blank canvas just waiting to be jazzed up a bit. This dish can be served warm or chilled, which makes it great for the summer and a picnic or BBQ!

Grilled Tilapia Pasta with Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

Penne pasta (gluten-free)

Broccoli florets and pieces

1 – per person, Tilapia Fillet

1 slice of lemon per piece of Tilapia

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Meyer Lemon and Pinot Noir Vinaigrette – reserve 1-2 table spoons

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Create foil packets – in each packet place lemon slices, and two fillets of fish, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with just a little bit of the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and seal the packet.
  3. Grill the packets lemon size side down first for 3-4 minutes, flip and repeat.
  4. Remove fish packets and set aside for one minute.
  5. Open fish packets and flake the fish into chunks. Set aside until pasta is complete.
  6. Cook pasta according to package.
  7. During the last 4 minutes of cooking add in broccoli florets and pieces.
  8. Strain pasta and broccoli, place in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette – the warm pasta is going to soak up all of this beautiful vinaigrette.
  9. Place pasta on individual plates or bowls – top each plate/bowl with grilled Tilapia fillets and drizzle with reserved vinaigrette.
  10. Another dish perfect for the summer, especially on a week night – quick, easy, delicious, and full of flavor from just a few ingredients!




O Olive Oil {A Naked Tasting}

A naked tasting?? Before all of your minds start going in the wrong direction let me clarify the title of this blog for all of you. There are so many great benefits of being a food blogger – networking with fantastic companies, sampling new products, and being invited to partake in tastings and challenges.

Recently I was selected to participate in O Olive Oil contest. Each blogger selected to participate received a complimentary box from O Olive Oil that included one of their olive oils and one of their vinegars. The bloggers are then requested to write two posts – a review and the second a recipe. I received the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar! O Olive Oils are pressed and NOT infused as some might think. The pressing gives the oil a deeper and richer flavor profile.

O Olive Oil is the original maker of organic citrus-crushed olive oils since 1995 and premium barrel-aged wine vinegars since 1997.

For the review I chose to do a tasting.  I really wanted to taste the oil and vinegar for what they are. I started by simply tasting them naked…with no bread or anything, just took a small spoon and tasted each one just as it was.  I had to refrain myself from continuing to “taste” (aka drink them – they are that good!) like this, so I heated up some gluten-free ciabatta bread (from Schar) and tried each individually then a combination of them.

Let me start with the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil  – Oh. My. Goodness. that pretty much sums it up but I’ll elaborate a little bit for you. This is beyond delicious and I wasn’t joking when I said I would have drank this. I’m a sucker for olive oil, especially really good olive oil. The hint of Meyer lemon in this oil is just perfect. It has a slight sweetness that balances out the slight acidity of the oil its self. To me it tastes just how the lemon smells.

Next up was the Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar. This also deserves an Oh. My. Goodness. Their wine vinegars are barrel aged (just like wine)When I first read about these they sounded great. Pinot Noir is my favorite grape varietal, however I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sounding great and tasting great are two different things. I was so thrilled that these exceeded my expectations. As I tasted this vinegar, my mind started racing on what I wanted my recipe to be.  My taste-buds were going crazy when I tried this both naked and with the bread.

These oils have a higher sugar content than most olive oils and have a lower burn temperature so keep that in mind when you go to use them. With that said they are not intended to be used for frying and most cooking methods, however they are great as a finishing oil and used in vinaigrettes!

Have you visited yet? If not head on over there – this website is a great resource for recipes and you can find plenty of gluten-free ones there too! While you checking it out, why not sign up and submit your recipes!

Thank you and O Olive Oil for letting me participate in this review and contest.

Below are some photos that I took for the tasting…

The “naked” tasting – Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

Tasting with gluten-free bread

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil tasting with gluten-free bread

Pinot Noir Wine Vinegar tasting with gluten-free bread

Check out my recipes here!!

Disclosure: All reviews on Creative Cooking Gluten Free are 100% honest and completely my own opinions

Whenever Bars (Pamela’s Products) Review and Giveaway!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 10:20 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winners are Karin A. and Cathi (please check your e-mails)!   Congratulations to you both and thank you to all who entered.

Have you heard of or tried the new Whenever Bars that Pamela’s Products released in October? I was asked if I wanted to give them a try – of course I said yes, I love Pamela’s Products! Plus with school I am always on the go and always looking for quick, delicious, convenient and gluten-free items to throw in my bag – these bars meet all of those requirements.  I actually ate these as breakfast bars and they are absolutely delicious.

The bars come in four different flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice.  At first I wasn’t so sure about the Oat Raisin Walnut Spice because I’m not a huge fan of raisins but they ended up being one of my favorites.  The flavor combinations that Pamela’s Products have created are perfect.  I especially loved the Oat Blueberry Lemon…delicious! I also really enjoyed the addition of the chia seeds in them.

The bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, low in sodium and cholesterol, and are sweetened (primarily) with agave nectar and coconut sugar. Each box contains 6 (six) individually wrapped bars.

I’ve also included the press-release that was sent to me.  I think you will all really enjoy these bars.  Great to send with your kiddos to school, purse, brief case, or school bag (if  you are in school like I am).  The bars were filling and satisfying.

I need to add these to my Amazon wish list!

The extremely generous and wonderful people over at Pamela’s Products has offered the following prize package to TWO of my readers!

1 Box – Oat Blueberry Lemon Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Cranberry Almond Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Raisin Walnut Spice Whenever Bars

1 Package Baking & Pancake Mix

To enter to win one of two prize packages scroll to the bottom of the post to see the entry rules!



Nuts, Fruit, Chia Seeds and Chocolate Make These Bars a Standout

UKIAH, Calif. – October 12, 2011 – Setting the gold standard in gluten-free baking since 1988, Pamela’s Products is launching a new line of snack bars inspired by their loyal customers. Whenever Bars are soft and chewy, gluten-free, whole grain bars that are as delicious as they are healthy and convenient.

Pamela’s gluten-free certified Whenever Bars come in four delicious flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice. The line is making its way to store shelves nationwide with an SRP of $4.99 per box, five bars per box and they are also available on

“Whenever Bars are our first on-the-go gluten-free snack,” said President and Founder Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, a third generation natural foods entrepreneur and baker. “I wanted to create a great tasting snack that anybody can enjoy wherever, whenever. They’re made with simple, real ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dark chocolate so you’ll feel satisfied, not hungry, after you eat one.”

Only the highest quality ingredients are used in Pamela’s Whenever Bars, including gluten-free oats, almonds and walnuts. The addition of chia seeds gives the bars a significant Omega 3 essential fatty acids and dietary fiber boost. They’re also non-dairy, low in sodium and cholesterol, and lightly sweetened primarily with agave and coconut sugar. With nine grams of whole grains per serving, the bars meet the Whole Grain Council’s requirements for wholesome grain servings and include the council’s stamp on their packaging.

If anybody knows what it takes to produce a great tasting gluten-free product that everyone can enjoy, it’s Giusto-Sorrells. She’s honed her gluten-free baking expertise with delicious, simple, wholesome ingredients and a lot of patience during her more than 20 years in the business.

About Pamela’s Products

Since 1988, Pamela’s Products has created some of the best-selling gluten free products on the market, including Traditional, Organic and Simplebites Cookies, Biscotti, Baking Mixes and Ready-to-Eat cakes, found in natural food and grocery stores throughout North America, as well as online. For additional information about Pamela’s Products, including recipes, baking and allergy information, visit

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The two winners will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using – the winners will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The prize package will be shipped directly to the winners from Pamela’s Products. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and come back here to leave a comment  letting me know which bars you would like to try the most. (Mandatory)

2) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and let me know which of the recipes listed on the Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix you would try first. (Mandatory)

3) Like Pamela’s Products on Facebook (Optional)

4) Follow Pamela’s Products on Twitter (Optional)

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)

All of the opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Pamela’s Products generously supplied me with samples to review and are sponsoring this giveaway to two lucky readers! Photos and log are courtesy of Pamela’s Products.  

Good luck to all who enter!

Gluten Free Asian Kitchen – Giveaway!!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 9:30 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winner is Brittany  who said: “I want to try the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and peanut sauce. I would keep it. I could live off of Asian food (and Mexican). I might actually buy this if I don’t get it.”  Brittany – please check your e-mail! Congratulations Brittany and thank you to all who entered.

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to review Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. This is by far one of the best cookbooks out there, especially if you are gluten free and miss eating Asian inspired dishes. Bryan and I could live on Asian food – of all kinds.  We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the recipes that we have made so far. You can read my complete review here.

Today I will be sharing two of the recipes from Laura’s book and giving away a copy to one lucky reader!  Trust me, you will want to enter this giveaway – you won’t be disappointment in any of the recipes.  Roasted Pork Meatballs

serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as an appetizer


11/2 pounds ground pork

8 green onions, white and green parts, minced

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, peeled and minced, or substitute the grated zest of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

11/2 tablespoons sugar

11/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32), for serving

Lettuce leaves, hoisin sauce GF, Carrot and Daikon Pickle (page 114), and fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, so the flavors have a chance to marry, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. More time equals more flavor.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Oil a baking sheet. Stir the cornstarch into the meat mixture. Form the meat into twenty-four 11/2-inch meatballs. (You can form the meatballs several hours ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated until ready to cook.) Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet. Cook the meatballs until browned and cooked through, turning once with a spatula, 12 to 15 minutes.

For serving, skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and arrange them on a serving platter with the nuoc cham or mango sauce for dipping. Alternatively, using lettuce leaves as wrappers, spread a bit of hoisin sauce on each lettuce leaf and add a meatball, some of the pickle, and a few cilantro leaves.

variation For a juicy, coarse-textured meatball, substitute pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes, for the ground pork. Toss the cubes with the ingredients in the first step and then freeze the mixture for 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until the pork is coarsely chopped, about twenty (1-second) pulses. Proceed with the recipe, including the marinating time.

heads up

You’ll need to marinate the pork for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. The dish calls for nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32). You can prepare the nuoc cham up to 2 weeks ahead, or the mango sauce up to 3 days ahead.

Spicy Mango Sauce

makes about 11/2 cups

11/4 cups diced fresh or frozen mango (thawed if frozen)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed

3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, cilantro, vinegar, ginger, oil, jalapeño, and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Nuoc Cham

makes about 13/4 cups

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup very warm tap water

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Kung Pao Chicken

serves 4

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 tablespoons soy sauce or 
tamari  , divided

1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

21/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic, minced

6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashews

Steamed rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce.

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cornstarch to the chicken. Toss to combine. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the peanuts; serve hot with steamed rice.

Want to win The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen from Laura? This would make a great gift for a family member or friend with Celiac Disease (or you could keep it for yourself). Please leave a separate comment for each entry – up to 6 entries per person.

1) Visit Amazon and check out the cookbook by “Looking Inside” – then come back here and post a comment telling me which recipe you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Post a comment telling me if you would gift it or keep it (its okay if you keep it:) (Mandatory)

3) Like Notes from a Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

4) Follow Laura B. Russell on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The winner will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using – the winner will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The book will be shipped directly from Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publish Group. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

I would like to thank Laura and her publishers for not only sending me a review copy but also providing an additional copy as a giveaway to one of my lucky readers.  The opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.  I have enjoyed this cookbook and very thankful to Laura for putting together such a wonderful and comprehensive book on my favorite cuisine which I have missed very much since being diagnosed.

Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell. Published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.

Dolcetti Cookies {Review & Giveaway}

Updated 12/5/11 – 7:46 am – Congratulation To Cindy and Meghan – You’ve won the giveaway!  Be sure to check your e-mails.

Updated 12/5/11 – 5:00 am Giveaway has ended – winners will be announced and contacted via e-mail on 12/5/2011! Thank you to all who entered – don’t forget to enter the other two giveaways going on right now! Best of luck to all who enter those too.

Have you heard of these cookies yet?  If not, let me introduce you to some extremely delicious little treats from Dolcetti Cookies (find them on Facebook!) that are made from ground nuts and free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, cholesterol, preservatives, oils, artificial ingredients, soy products, and trans fats! I fell in love with Dolcetti cookies from the first bite.  Absolutely delicious – especially if you are like myself and love nuts. If I had to pick one of the five flavors as being my favorite…it would probably be the macadamia and coconut Dolcetti’s. You can taste the little hit of lime zest in them.  Yum!

I thought these would go great with a cup of tea so the other night I made a cup of vanilla tea and had two cookies to go along with it. (the serving size is two cookies, but I’m going to admit that it is extremely hard to just eat two of these.  I could probably eat the whole bag.) This little tea and cookie snack made me think of my Grandma Lu, she always has a cup of tea at night with something “sweet”, which usually means a cookie of some sort.  I think these would be a perfect gift for her (and she’s not even gluten-free).

These cookies are inspired by an old Italian recipe, and instead of using flours the creators of Dolcetti instead used finely ground nuts.  Here is a little blurb from their website:

We have come up with our own method of milling nuts without heating them, to obtain a smooth and nutritious dough.  Our process does not require any added oils or fats.  In fact, Dolcetti are completely flourless and dairy free. We believe in creating cookies with a very short list of ingredients, and the best part is that you will recognize them all. Finally, Dolcetti do NOT contain any:


We use only the finest quality ingredients and our cookies are baked daily.

These delicious soft baked nut cookies come in five delicious flavors:

Almond Dolcetti: A soft and light cookie with delicate almond flavor, accented with fresh grated orange zest… A fan favorite

Ingredients: Blanched California almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, pure almond extract, fresh grated orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Pistachio Dolcetti: From a very old Sicilian tradition, a cookie with a very distinguished flavor, a unique and delectable experience.

Ingredients: Roasted California pistachios, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Macadamia Coconut Dolcetti: Take a bite, close your eyes and you’re in paradise.

Ingredients: Roasted macadamias, almonds, evaporated cane juice, shredded coconut, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh lime zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Hazelnut Chocolate Dolcetti: The most decadent of all our flavors, rich hazelnuts are combined with the finest quality Belgian dark chocolate for the most classic pairing…It’s love at first bite.

Ingredients: Roasted hazelnuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, 63% dark chocolate (cocoa, caner sugar, cocoa butter), honey, aluminum-free baking powder

Peanut Chocolate Dolcetti: Our take on an American classic, fresh roasted peanuts combined with semi sweet chocolate and a dash of sea salt give this famous cookie a new personality.

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, aluminum free baking powder, sea salt

Dolcetti is based out of Oakland, CA and you can find their cookies in the following places if you are local:

Or you can order online at: – minimum 3 bags, and you can use any combination of flavors to meet that three bag minimum!

Daniele – the owner of Dolcetti Cookies has kindly offered a giveaway for two of my readers!  See below for how to enter. Contest ends on December 4th, 2011 at midnight. Two winners will be drawn using and cookies will be shipped directly from Daniele at Dolcetti Cookies. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Visit Dolcetti Cookies and leave a comment saying which cookie(s) you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Like Dolcetti Cookies on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already Like CCGF leave a comment saying so.

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already follow CCGF leave a comment saying so.

Thank you Daniele for the delicious cookies and for sponsoring this giveaway!

(All photos courtesy of Dolcetti Cookies

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen {Review}

If you follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook or Twitter you have probably seen my recent posts about receiving a review copy of Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.  When I first received the book in the mail, I don’t think I put it down for about thirty minutes (okay it was probably longer than that). It is simply beautiful.  Bryan’s first response was “the cover looks so good I could eat it”. Thankfully Bryan loves Asian food as much as I do.  The majority of the food we eat is Asian inspired.

I was more than excited to receive this cookbook.  If you read through my recipes or take a look at my “pantry” page you have probably noticed the large selection of Asian inspired dishes and ingredients.  Since I can remember I have had a deep fondness of Asian foods and their cultures.  My mom used to tell me that while she was pregnant with me she craved Chinese food all the time.  That statement there could probably be the root of my love of Asian food, however it grew even more when I had the opportunity to live in China for a little while in 2003 (yes right in the middle of SARS).

While living there I had some pretty interesting foods but also some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted.  People used to make fun of me saying I could live off of Chinese food and eat it for every meal, well I had the opportunity to do so and I have to say I would do it again.  My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it.  Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou)  which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

As I’m looking and every recipe and every picture in The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen I am taken back to my time in China.  All of my wonderful memories came rushing back, not just about food but all the places I had the opportunity to visit, the amazing friends that I made, and the beauty of the country.  As I mentioned above I was there during SARS so I was unable to travel very far. I was fortunate enough to visit, The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more. The best part about it was I was there pretty much by myself.  Not many people were out visiting and there were definitely not tourists around. You can view some of my photographs from China on my Flickr Page (this was pre-digital so I have a ton to scan still)

Sorry for being side tracked on memories of China, I just couldn’t help it.  Now back to the book. After I looked (drooled) over the recipes and photos I handed the cookbook to Bryan and asked what he wanted me to make first.  With out much hesitation he asked for the recipe on the cover: Gingery Pork Pot Stickers with the Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce.  Thankfully I had enough of the flours the recipe called for to make them. You can get the recipe by ordering The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on my Amazon Store! (This is still available for pre-order, release date is August 23rd! so order now for only $14.50)

Over all the recipe its self is pretty simple with simple ingredients that most of us (especially if you are gluten-free) already have in your pantry.  The only two items I needed to pick up were the pork and the green onions.  We don’t normally cook with any form of onion in our house because of Bryan’s allergy, but we decided to give these a try to see how he felt (he felt fine after eating them, woo hooo). I read the instructions a few times because I didn’t want to screw anything up…I had my heart set on these dumplings and probably would have shed a few tears had they gone wrong.  Due to the heat and humidity I had a bit of a hard time “rolling” out the dough, but I just made it work.  We ended up with a few less dumplings than the recipe yield but we devoured them all regardless.

It is amazing what a huge flavor impact just a few ingredients can have.  I had a little bit of the sausage mixture left over so I added it to a skillet, cooked it up and then tossed it with my spicy green beans as a side dish.  I’m not joking when I say I almost cried when I first tasted them.  Between the dumplings and the green beans/sausage it brought me right back to China.  I was in love with this cookbook when it arrived and after tasting this first recipe I am even more in love with it.  Laura did an amazing job with this recipe and the whole cookbook.  My next recipe to try is her Kung Pao chicken.

We plan to make these again but I have to order some flours first.  However, when I do make them I will be making a triple batch and freeze the majority of them.  That way we have them for a quick dinner and something that Bryan can just make while he is home for lunch and I am at school.

Seeing as this is the recipe Bryan choose I asked him what he thought of it (I usually do this anyway but he still can’t stop talking about them) and his response was “these are fucking delicious – anything more would just take away from its deliciousness”.  Now who said you can’t have gluten-free Asian food and it taste like the real thing?

Laura,  I know we’ve been chatting back and forth and I have said this a million times to you but thank you for creating such a beautiful cookbook with amazing recipes that take me back in time.  The recipe that we tried truly made me feel like I was back in China with my friends at a dumpling restaurant or on campus at the dining hall.  You also made my non-gluten-free boyfriend one happy person.  We are both looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

Please visit Laura’s website at: You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

Also, Are you in the Portland area? Laura will be doing a  book signing for “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen” at Crave Bake Shop on Wednesday, September 7th in the evening. Lots of treats involved!

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items Part 2

On June 29th I posted some potentially good news: California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items.  There was a bit of mixed reviews regarding this post, which is completely understandable.  You never truly know if your meal will be 100% gluten-free (and free of any cross-contamination) when you are eating out in a non-designated gluten-free restaurant.  Many restaurants take extra precautions when preparing gluten-free menu items and will train their staff regarding the gluten-free diet and cross-contamination.

I will admit at first I was a bit skeptical about trying the new pizza but I asked a few other bloggers and readers who had tried the new pizza and they all said it was delicious and didn’t have any glutened symptoms.  When we went to Boston a few weeks ago with our dear friends Warren and Joyce we found a CPK and decided to give it a go (when you sign up to receive their e-mails you get a $5.00 coupon!).

Out of the four of us I am the only one with celiac disease so I ordered off of their Gluten-Free Menu! (which is actually just the real menu with “gf” notations next to the items that are gluten-free”). I also asked to speak with a manager about the process of the chefs making the pizza and serving it.  She did assure me that they use a “foil boat” to cook the pizza on, use a separate paddle, separate knife, and serve it right away to avoid any confusion.

I decided to go with what they are known best for – The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (Invented here in 1985. BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, Mozzarella, BBQ chicken, red onions and cilantro).  This was always one of my favorite pizzas before I went gluten-free and it was as delicious as ever.  The flavor combination may seem a bit odd when you are just reading about it but the sweetness of the BBQ sauce goes so well with the smoked Gouda and red onions.  Best part of all? I didn’t get sick from eating it!! It was so nice to eat pizza out at a restaurant. Sadly though the closest CPK to us is Boston so we won’t be going there very often.

Again, this is obviously a personal judgement call but I can say that I ate there with absolutely no problems and it was delicious, the staff was very friendly, helpful, and well-informed.  A nice change from my last visit to a CPK.  Again, please come back and let me know if you have tried CPK’s new gluten-free options and what you thought about it.

Five Star Marinade (Review & Giveaway)

We love to grill – chicken, steak, burgers, and especially vegetables.  Depending on what we are grilling we use different seasonings, sauces, and marinades – it usually is something spicy.  About a month ago Burt – the creator of Five Star Meat Marinade asked if I would like to try his gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade, of course I said yes!

Bryan’s dad has diabetes so lately I have been trying to find things that are suitable for him.  When Burt shared the information about the marinade with me saying that it was “All natural, NO MSG, NO Sugar, NO Preservatives, NO Oils or Fats”, I thought this would be a great marinade for him to try.  Sadly we don’t get to see him much but I figured his birthday is coming up so I’m going to put together a little goodie bag for him.  I’m also going to start experimenting with some refined sugar-free baking for him also and hopefully send Bryan down with some diabetic friendly baked goods.

Back to the marinade🙂

Here is a little bit of history from Five Star Marinade’s website:

While growing up,  holidays were special for many reasons. Getting together with family, good food and lots of laughter. Most meals were potluck,  making it easier on those hosting the event. We always had the traditional turkey or ham as a main course, but my Grandmother would provide another meat with her marinade. Everyone loved the flavor so much that often the family dinners would break tradition serving only her meat dish.  Little did Grandma know that her marinade was a healthy substitute for sugar or molasses based barbeque sauce.

Grandma is gone now but I have taken the recipe and bottled this great taste for everyone wishing great flavor without the worry of calories, preservatives or fat. The marinade is easy to use and is excellent for barbeque, broiling or baking making it enjoyable all year no matter the weather.

My marinade is just the thing for those on restricted diets such as those on low sodium, sugar free, gluten free or Diabetics.

Last week I decided to marinade some chicken breast over night (per Burt’s instructions) and grill them up and served them with some spicy broccoli and a  side salad.  Oh man is this marinade delicious!! It has a bit of a peppery kick to it, which I loved and a great flavor.  I made an extra piece of chicken so I could slice it up and have it atop a salad the next day for lunch. I think next weekend I’ll be marinading (only 30 minutes) and grilling up some portabella mushrooms.

The marinade is simple – yet extremely delicious!  Five Star Marinade Ingredients: Vinegar*, Salt, Spices, Paprika, Garlic *Red Wine Vinegar (not distilled white) so this marinade is also corn-free (for those of you who have corn allergies, this is perfect for you)!

Thank you Burt for making such a delicious, gluten-free and diabetic friendly marinade! And thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to sample your delicious creation (your grandmother would be so proud of you!)

Who would like to try a bottle of this delicious, gluten-free, sugar-free all-purpose marinade?  One lucky winner with have a chance to win a bottle – please leave a comment for EACH entry!

1) Like Five Star Marinade on Facebook

2) Follow Five Star Marinade on Twitter (@GFMarinade)

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (@Creatively_GF)

5) Leave a comment below saying what you would like to try this on.

One winner will be chosen using on Tuesday June 26th, 2011.  The lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond after they receive my e-mail.  If a winner does not respond in the allotted time, a new winner will be chosen.  This contest is open to US residents only – the prize will be shipped directly from Five Star Marinade.  Good luck to all who enter!

Green Cooking Pots

I first heard about Green Cooking Pots on a blog that I stumbled upon.  I kind of feel in love at first sight, which can happen very often with me when it comes to pans, knives and kitchen utensils/appliances.  Then it hit me, these are probably right up there (cost wise, etc.) with Le Creuset and even the Martha Stewart Cast Iron Enamel pans, so I went to their website to do a bit more research before my little heart got crushed again.  I love both of those companies and their products, but sadly I just can’t afford them.  We are two college students living on an extremely tight budget but we make due with what we have.

After going to Green Cooking Pots website, my excitement grew the more that I read especially went I looked at their prices!  Here is a bit of information from their website about the creators, Cafe and Mica, and the pots themselves:

Hello! Our names are Cafe and Mica. We are twins who love food and cooking. We grew up in a household where fresh organic food was always in the fridge and on the table. As children we would regularly visit the local farmers market with our mother, who instilled a deep value of preparing and cooking healthy food. We learned that food preparation is a holistic endeavor, every step as important as the food itself, from the pots used, to the oil that we cook with. We believe food should be prepared with love, the intention to nourish people and is an expression of gratitude. Greencookingpots was envisioned as an extension of our love of cooking and creating meals for and with our amazing family and friends.

Greencookingpots are made of enameled cast iron and are free of any chemicals, making them a great alternative to potentially toxic cookware. Our pots and skillets make healthy cooking affordable and simple. Enameled cast iron absorbs heat and distributes it evenly, creating an efficient cooking experience, whether it is the slow roasting of vegetables or the simmering of soups. They can be used on any heat source including the oven for casseroles or baking bread.

Greencookingpots provides eco friendly “green” pots and skillets. Our products are a great alternative to potentially toxic cookware. Teflon and Aluminum cookware have raised various health concerns in this country and others. Cooking with greencookingpots is an easy choice and simple way to live healthier.

Proper care of your Greencookingpots will ensure a lifetime of use.

-It is best to use low to medium heat with your pot.

– Clean up is easy when using a non-abrasive sponge and warm soapy water. You can remove any stubborn bits by bringing a little soap with water to simmer for a few minutes. Also a little lemon juice will lighten any stains.

-Over time some enamel chipping may occur, but this will not affect the quality or performance of your pots. If this occurs you can rub a little oil on the chips to prevent them from rusting. But know that these show the use and love of your cookware and speak of all the wonderful meals you’ve shared with your family and friends.

Greencookingpots are made in China. We use the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Test Procedure Leach ability of lead and cadmium for glazed ceramic surfaces. Greencookingpots also uses third party test (Mervyn’s Hardline Test) to ensure that products with the our name comply the standards set forth by the United States Food & Drug Administration.

Cafe and Mica were generous enough to send me a grass green 10″ skillet to try out and I use it all the time!  It has quickly become one of my favorite pans.  You get the quality of Le Creuset and Martha Stewart but with out the heafty price tag.  Green Cooking Pots offers square grill pans, skillets, specialty pots, dutch ovens, roasting pans, sauce pans, and they even offer several different sets. The colors are also beautiful.  As I mentioned, Cafe and Mica sent me a grass-green skillet and it matches my green and blue kitchen perfectly. These pans also do not let off any toxins like Teflon and Aluminum do when cooking, making these pans “green” – hence the name🙂

I’ve used this pan to make a bunch of different things, but this morning I used it to make bacon in and I have to say this is now my go-to-pan for bacon.  The bacon crisps up perfectly and cleaning the pan is beyond easy.  Just a little bit of warm water and soap and everything comes right up.

Head on over to Green Cooking Pots and check out their great selection. I think that whenever we do get married, I’ll try to do a registry with Green Cooking Pots!

TrueBar – Love Letter and Review

Here is my love letter to Bakery On Main

Dear Bakery On Main,

I would like to start by saying thank you so much for sending me a sample of your new TrueBars.  I am always looking for little snack items to keep in my backpack for school, my camera bag for photo assignments and my purse for when I am at work or traveling.  Having an item that is not only gluten-free, good for me AND delicious can be a bit tricky to find, but you my dear friends have mastered all three.  I am in love with these bars.  The first thing I noticed is the packaging – I really love that you can see the bars through the packaging and that they say exactly what they are: “I’m a coconut cashew bar with nothing to hide”.  (Both Bryan and I cracked up at this), Secondly they smell so good – and I know that sounds funny but I always smell my food first because if something doesn’t smell like it should then it probably wont taste like it should.  Third the taste of these bars are amazing! My favorite is the coconut cashew bar but I really enjoyed them all even the hazelnut chocolate cherry and I don’t ever like dried cherries!

Thank you BOM for making such delicious and nutritious gluten-free bars!  They are simply wonderful and I’m not just saying that because I received samples – I can’t wait for them to be released so I can get more of them. You rock.

Love, Jenny

I would love to have my pantry stocked with boxes upon boxes of these bars-they are that good. They are the perfect size to throw in one of my many bags and perfect for travel.  The bars definitely have nothing to hide – They are loaded with omega 3 from chia, a good source of fiber (all bars have 3 grams!!), made with many low-GI ingredients (such as brown rice syrup, agave nectar, chia seed and a variety of nuts), and they GFCO certified gluten-free!  These bars are also: dairy and casein free, GMO free, low in sodium, kosher, all natural, wheat free, they are free of transfats and cholesterol and are low in saturated fats.  What could be better?

TrueBars come in six delicious flavors (and like I said, I don’t liked dried cherries but loved all of the bars):

  • hazelnut chocolate cherry bar
  • walnut cappuccino bar
  • fruit and nut bar
  • raspberry chocolate almond bar
  • coconut cashew bar
  • apricot almond chai bar

I’ve never had anything with chia seeds in it before however, they were delicious and I think I might have to pick some up and start experimenting with them.

If I could give the wonderful people at BOM a high-five for these bars, I would! When you see them in stores around you, pick up a box and give them a try!

Yabba Dabba Doo Cookies (Review + Giveaway)

Last year (almost to the day) I posted a recipe for  Fruity Pebble Treats after I had gotten “glutened” by eating a rice krispy treat – silly me for missing the MALT flavor ingredient (see my post about the new gluten-free Rice Krispies here).  So instead of making the same mistake twice, I followed the advice of one of my readers, Kristi, and made the crispy treats using Fruity Pebbles (I’ve also made them with the cocoa pebbles and both are awesome!).  Before making these I called Post to double-check that these two cereals were in fact gluten-free and was assured that they were gluten-free.  You can check out the original post here.

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Post with the following information:

Thought you might be interested in hearing that longtime favorite Post cereals, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, are gluten-free and can be enjoyed on their own or in gluten-free treats!

They also generously sent me a box of each the Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles to review and offer a giveaway to one of my lucky readers (see below).  I decided that I would make something with the Fruity Pebbles because as I found out last year Bryan really really likes the Cocoa Pebbles and pretty much that means those were off-limits and were his to enjoy.😉 (I’m such a nice girlfriend huh?)

And the following is from the press release that was attached:

Beginning in January, Post Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereals will lower sugar content and establish a new upper limit of 9 grams per serving for Fruity Pebbles; 10 grams per serving for Cocoa Pebbles. In addition to lowered sugar levels, all Pebbles varieties are also deemed by FDA regulations to be Cholesterol Free, an Excellent Source of Vitamin D, Low Fat and Providing 10 Essential Vitamins and Minerals.

Pebbles, a rice-based cereal, will also be receiving Gluten Free certification, a relatively unique distinction in the cereal category.  In response to increased concerns over celiac disease and products containing wheat gluten, the brand went through a rigorous FDA approval process to achieve Gluten Free status on all Pebbles boxes.

“Post Foods is dedicated to providing both nutritious and delicious cereals for people of all ages, and we’re pleased to announce improvements to the Pebbles brand that will assist in our ongoing efforts to improve kids’ nutrition,” said Bart Adlam, President of Post Foods.  “By lowering our sugar content and receiving Gluten Free certification, we hope moms feel confident serving a cereal that combines the fun and heritage of Bedrock with great taste that kids love. “

Additionally, Post Foods is working in tandem with the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a program launched by the Council of Better Business Bureaus to help tackle the issue of childhood obesity.  A progress report released Dec. 15th by the CFBAI shows Post Foods is demonstrating excellent compliance with the established pledge to advertise healthier foods to kids and continues to achieve steady progress in promoting products that are better for them.

Now you will see “Gluten-Free” listed right on the boxes so now there is no second guessing if these are gluten-free or not.  You can now make those delicious crispy treats or better yet you can try one of their many other recipes such as these Yabba Dabba Doo Cookies (Pebble Cookie Crispies). The recipe listed on their website is not gluten-free however, it is super easy to convert this recipe to be gluten-free.  Below is my adaptation of Post’s original recipe which is a great recipe for both kids and adults:

Yabba Dabba Doo Cookies

1 pkg. Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix- such as Betty Crocker* (If using this cake mix, add two teaspoons of vanilla)

1/2 cup Oil

1/4 cup Water

1 large Egg

2 1/2 cups Fruity or Cocoa* Pebbles Cereal (*if using Cocoa Pebbles use a gluten-free chocolate cake mix)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix the egg, oil, and water until well combined.  Add in the cake mix and mix until combined with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Once everything is combined add in the Pebbles and mix well.

Drop tablespoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I always line my pans with either a Silpat or with parchment paper) about two inches apart.  Bake for 11 minutes or until cookies are beginning to brown.

Cool cookies on a wire rack – makes about 4 dozen.

I had a box of the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix on hand however you could use another gluten-free yellow cake mix or better yet try this awesome recipe from the lovely Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl who created her own gluten-free vanilla cake mix.

Now for the giveaway!  Who wants to win a box of each the officially Gluten-Free Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles?!? It’s pretty simple to enter just follow the instructions below by Monday June 13th at 11:59 pm:

You MUST leave a separate comment for each entry.  Each person may enter up to four times total.  The boxes of cereal will be sent directly from Post.  There will be one winner. The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize.  If the winner does not respond in that time frame a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to anyone in the continental U.S.

Ways to enter:

Thank you to the lovely people over at Post for providing these samples and offering a giveaway to one of my readers.

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Goes Gluten-Free

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  I’m sure you have heard the rumors that Kellogg’s was releasing their famous Rice Krispie cereal in a gluten-free form which means not malt flavoring!! Last year I posted about being glutened after eating a Rice Krispie Treat (which I absolutely love by the way) and the response that I received from Kellogg after calling them about the issue.  If you read the post I just linked to you’ll notice that the package said “Contains: Milk and Soy” ingredients – nothing about containing wheat/gluten.  (This is the perfect example about why the FDA really needs to define what gluten is and put this labeling regulation into effect asap.) So instead I made my own Krispie treats with an alternative cereal and they tasted great, but still not the same.

When I heard that Kellogg was planning to release a gluten-free version I almost couldn’t believe it.  I was wondering what they would do/change/add to make them gluten-free.  I knew that they had to remove the barley malt in order to do so but that was about it.  Here is a little excerpt from the e-mail that Kellogg’s sent me in regards to the release: “The latest addition to the Rice Kripsies® portfolio is scheduled to hit select grocery store shelves in early June 2011. The new cereal eliminates barley malt and is made with whole-grain brown rice to differentiate it from the original and for flavor. The suggested retail price is the same as for original Rice Krispies® cereal.” There are a few awesome things to point out from that statement: 1) they are made using whole-grain brown rice and 2) the suggested retail price is the SAME as the original!!

The wonderful people over at Kellogg’s also sent me two complimentary boxes to try, of course the first thing I did was open the box and try them just as they are.  I wanted to see how different they would taste with out the barley malt and with them being made of brown rice instead.  They are mighty tasting and yes, Snap, Crackle, and Pop are all there! I also tried them with a little bit of almond milk and again they were delicious.  The only thing I had left to do was make what else but Rice Krispie Treats!

The recipe below is the one that was sent to me from Kellogg when I received the complimentary boxes (there is no recipe listed on the box which I thought was a bit odd).  It also says “best if served the same day” – oh boy do I agree and then it continues to say “Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.  To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight containers.  Freeze for up to six weeks.  Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving”.  I agree these are best serve the same day…they taste delicious and have the same texture as regular rice krispie treats.  I stored ours in an air tight container and the next day they were a bit hard and the third day I was afraid I might crack a tooth…I’m not trying to be funny or exaggerate.  I think the next time I make them I will either make them on a day when I know we are having people over or I will store them in a large zip lock bag instead of my airtight glass container. As I said they were great on the first day and we were very happy with them.

Gluten-Free Rice Krispie Treats

Prep Time: 10 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes     Servings: 12


3 Tablespoons butter or margarine (diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended)

1 Package (10 oz, about 40) regular marshmallows (fresh is best) -OR- 4 cups miniature marshmallows (again fresh is better)

6 Cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal


In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal.  Stir until well coated.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.  Cool.  Cut into 2-inch squares.  Best if served the same day.

Again these will be released in early June!!  When you pick up a box and try them please let me know what you think.

Pacific Natural Foods – Review & Giveaway

UPDATE: The five lucky winners have been picked and e-mailed.  They have until Tuesday May 24th to respond.  If a winner does not respond in that time frame another winner will be chosen.  I went through all of the comments and we had 57 total!  (Some comments were all together on one so I wanted to make sure that everyone received the correct number of entries).  The winners were picked using (I love this site!) and our five winners are: Venessa, Sofia, Kristina, Rebecca and Kristen – Congratulations to you all.  I know you are going to love these products and can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you’ve tried them. 

Venessa said: I would love to try all the flavors. Everything sounds delicious! Thank you for this opportunity.

Sofia said: I would love to try the hazelnut chocolate milk! Looks delish!

Kristina said: oooh I would LOVE to win this – I could really use it right now! I want to try the cream of celery and the cashew carrot ginger looks great too.

thank you to you and Pacific for the opportunity!

Rebecca said: I would love some of that chocolate-hazelnut goodness! :) I’m sure it’s as great as the other Pacific Natural Foods products I’ve had (mostly soups, milk)

Kristen said: Ooooo, I would love to try the soups! The spicy black bean soup sounds particularly yummy to me.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed (5/20/2011)

May is National Celiac Awareness Month! In honor of this there are tons of great things going on to celebrate.  The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is featuring a Gluten Free Blogger A Day (I will be featured on May 29th), Tons of great cookbook and product reviews and giveaways are also happening on a bunch of blogs – so please be sure to check out all the great posts this month.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Pacific Natural Foods asking if they could stock my pantry with some of their products.  I have used their broths in the past and absolutely loved them, especially the low sodium broths because I like to control how much salt I put into my dishes. Their products are all natural and delicious. The broths were the only products that I had tried because that is what I could find around me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at their website to see the huge selection of gluten-free products they had (listed under special diets).  They have condensed soups (these are the only condensed gluten-free soups on the market!), creamy soups (I’m in love with the Cashew Carrot Ginger soup – sooo good, and I plan to use this by serving it over some rice with chicken, mushrooms, baby corn and bamboo shoots), and some very delicious “milks” made from soy, almonds and even hazelnuts.  So when I received the e-mail asking if they could stock my pantry I of course said yes and little did I know that they would actually stock my pantry.  I feel truly blessed by receiving all of the wonderful products pictured above.

We’ve tried the Creamy Tomato Soup and the Cashew Carrot Ginger Soup (as I mentioned above) and both were extremely flavorful.  Bryan loves tomato soup and he really enjoyed this.  He even ate it with his favorite little oyster crackers (he still has some gluten food items in the house and he can’t eat tomato soup with out them). The Cashew Carrot Ginger soup is amazing.  Thick, creamy, filing and the right balance of flavors.  I did try a few bites of the tomato soup (before the crackers were added) and it was such a nice treat to be able to have tomato soup again.  I have missed it so much and this tomato soup was delicious.  Homemade gluten-free croutons would go great with both of these soups.

I can’t wait to try more of the amazing products from Pacific Natural Foods.  They also have some very delicious sounding recipes online that I am looking forward to trying out along with creating a bunch of my own.  This one here for Grilled Chicken Primavera of course served over some delicious gluten-free pasta instead.  

Have you tried Pacific Natural Food’s products yet?  Would you like to? If so the very generous people at Pacific Natural Foods have kindly offered to give FIVE of my readers a chance to win a similar gluten-free pantry staples kit to the one that I received.  In order to be entered in the giveaway simply follow the instructions below:

1) Leave a comment below telling me which product you would like to try

2) “Like” Pacific Natural Foods on Facebook and leave a comment below saying you did so.  If you already do please leave a comment below saying so.

3) “Follow” Pacific Natural Foods on Twitter and leave a comment below saying you did so. If you already do please leave a comment below saying so.

4) “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook and leave a comment below saying you did so. If you already do please leave a comment below saying so.

5) “Follow” Creatively_GF on Twitter and leave a comment below saying you did so. If you already do please leave a comment below saying so.

6) Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to mention @Creatively_GF so I can track the tweet) and leave a comment below saying you did so

Open to US Residents Only! This giveaway will end on Friday May 20th at 11:59 p.m. Each person may enter up to six times.  There will be five winners chosen by using  Winners will be notified by e-mail and will have 72 hours to respond.  If a winner doesn’t respond within that time frame another winner will be chosen. Again, I was sent the products shown above by Pacific Natural Foods and the comments and reviews are completely my own.

Gluten Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (Review)

Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry is one amazing woman and in my mind a genius when it comes to coconut and almond flour! Her website is the first one I came across when I was diagnosed almost three years ago and it is one that I continually go back to for inspirations.  Her recipes are straightforward, simple yet unbelievably delicious and you don’t ever miss the gluten or the refined sugars.

While searching her website one day I found a recipe for cupcakes made with coconut flour so I went online ordered some coconut flour and have been making those cupcake ever since.  I’m a huge lover of cupcakes and extremely picking when it comes to them.  There was nothing to pick apart with these cupcakes so when I first heard that she was releasing a new cookbook all about cupcakes I put it on my wish list right away.  Her cookbook has 50 (yes 50!) recipes all made from coconut or almond flour.  When I received my review copy I went through the cookbook about ten times before deciding which to make first.  This cookbook doesn’t only have delicious sounding recipes the photos make your mouth water. I finally decided on making the Garlic Cheddar Muffins and for a sweet treat the Marble Cupcakes. Another great thing about this cookbook is that each recipe has a sweetness scale next to it!

I started with the Garlic Cheddar Muffins because I wanted something more on the savory side and planned to eat them more as a biscuit with dinner.  I ended up taking these to school the next day for breakfast.  Again her recipes are simple and not many ingredients, yet these had so much flavor to them packed in to them and they are nice and fluffy.  So as you can see you can eat these as a snack, along with dinner and even for breakfast ;)  I’ll be making these again soon.

For a sweet treat yesterday, because it was just one of those days that called for baking.  I went for the marble cupcakes made with coconut flour.  We’ve been trying to get away from refined sugars in our house and this cookbook is perfect for that.  I love baking with agave, it adds just the right amount of sweetness and it has a low glycemic index.  I’ve made Elana’s coconut cupcakes for Bryan in the past but he forgot about them so he was a little hesitant to try these yesterday but he really really enjoyed them (in fact he just had another one).  Next week I’ll be making Mocha Chip Cupcakes for a classmate of mine to celebrate her month-long Paleo Diet Challenge.  I can’t wait to make her Strawberry Cupcakes soon, just waiting for my farmers market to open up next month.

I don’t have Elana’s first cookbook – The Almond Flour Cookbook (yet) but if you have that one and loved it, I’m sure you will love this one also.  Who doesn’t love cupcakes?  And who doesn’t love them when they use such fantastic ingredients such as coconut flour, Almond Flour eggs, and agave.

Elana is absolutely amazing, I can’t say enough good things about her and her recipes.  Her website has helped me so much over the years.  She was always very friendly and informative when I had questions for her.  Check out her website and you can purchase her book on Amazon.  Trust me you are going to love this cookbook. Thank you Elana for making this beautiful cookbook and sharing all of your wonderful creations with all of us.
Check out these other great reviews (and some might even have a giveaway) of this fantastic cookbook:

Shirley of GFE-Gluten Free Easily

Kim of Cook It Allergy Free

Sea of Book of Yum

Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom

Stonewall Kitchen – Gluten Free and Delicious (Review)

In the last few months Stonewall Kitchen has rolled out some gluten-free products and they are absolutely delicious.  I have always been a fan of Stonewall Kitchens products, especially before being diagnosed with celiac disease.  They have always had the best jams, sauces, dips and mixes so when I heard that they were coming out with gluten-free mixes I got very excited.  I wasn’t sure how they would taste compared to their regular mixes but they exceeded my expectations.

I was sent some complimentary gluten-free mixes form Stonewall Kitchen to try.  They sent me their Chocolate Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cupcakes and Pancake/Waffle Mix.  Of course I started with the cupcake mix which comes with a chocolate frosting mix in the box.  The cupcakes mix has a hint of coffee too it, which balanced very well with the chocolate flavor, not too over powering.  The cupcakes were very flavorful and moist and the frosting was just perfect, not too sweet and the perfect amount to cover all of the cupcakes.  These cupcakes were so good you couldn’t tell that they were gluten-free – no one could!

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Don’t these look amazing?)

Next up were the brownies (not in the same day!) and I have said many times before I’m not a huge brownie fan but slowly I am becoming one.  I decided to make some peanut butter brownies with this mix.  I made the brownies according to the package and poured the mix into a prepared pan.  I then I took about 1/4 – 1/2 cup peanut butter and softened it a bit in the microwave, then dropped tablespoons of peanut butter onto the prepared brownie mix and using a sharp knife made figure eights to incorporate the peanut butter into the brownie mix and baked according to the package instructions.  Absolutely delicious.  I love chocolate and peanut butter together and these brownies came out perfect. I had to give most of them away so I wouldn’t eat them all🙂

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Imagine them with peanut butter, little squares of heaven)

When we had our great friends Warren and Joyce up one weekend I thought instead of going out to eat for breakfast we would have them over, I would make a big meal and then we would be off on our little adventure.  Perfect time to try the pancake mix…most people wouldn’t want to try a new product when you are having guests over especially if they aren’t gluten-free.  But, seeing as we both enjoyed the cupcakes and brownies so much I had confidence in the pancakes as well.  Talk about delicious and fluffy pancakes, wow are these good.  Bryan who absolutely loves the pancakes I make with the gluten-free Bisquick loved these even more.  They have a slight hint of sweetness also.  I can’t wait to make some waffles next with this mix. Everyone loved these and we didn’t have any left overs.

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died. Perfect pancakes, delicious, fluffy and a little bit of sweetness so less syrup)

If you haven’t tried Stonewall Kitchen’s new gluten-free mixes you really should.  You can order them online and also check your local stores for them.  I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed.  In addition to the three mixes I reviewed above they also have a chocolate chip cookie mix and a vanilla cupcake/frosting mix. Stonewall kitchen got it right with these mixes.  I’ll be sure to let you know if they come out with anything else that is gluten-free.  Well done Stonewall Kitchen – fantastic job on making these mixes and keeping the prices reasonable to your normal mixes.