National Peanut Butter Day : KIND Bar {Review & Giveaway}

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This giveaway is now closed! The lucky winner was Rachel – please check your e-mail. Congratulations!

I don’t normally write posts about national such and such day for a few reasons but mostly because there are just too darn many of them and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. However, when KIND Healthy Snacks e-mailed me asking if I would like to do a review for them for their peanut butter line, I couldn’t say no! I will admit I am a sucker for KIND Healthy Snacks bars in general but I have a deep love for peanut butter. My grandfather and I used to eat it on slices of granny smith apples (still my favorite way to eat it). I could probably eat peanut butter by the spoonful (okay maybe I have once or twice).

I know many people who are gluten-free and miss those delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I know I get a craving for them every now and again). Many brands of peanut butter and jelly are naturally gluten free, but  KIND Healthy Snacks came up with a brilliant way to get these fixes and to give people (especially those gluten-free) a great alternative to the traditional ways of enjoying peanut butter!

They have two delicious bars:  Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein a healthy, satisfying blend of peanuts and antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and Peanut Butter & Strawberry, If you don’t have time to make a PB&J sandwich, this bar tastes strikingly the same, and is just as good! No lie, at first it was kind of weird because it tasted so much like at PB&J made with crunchy peanut butter and without the bread, but weird in a good way! Both of these bars are delicious, and I will be buying them again in the future!

They also have a peanut butter granola, Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters which is made with 100% whole grains like amaranth and quinoa. I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but I can’t wait to dig into it this weekend.

So in celebration of National Peanut Butter Day and these delicious bars and granola – the wonderful people over at KIND Healthy Snacks has offered the following prize pack to one lucky reader! Entry is easy – one mandatory entry and a few extra optional ones to help boost your chances. Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

GIVEAWAY!!

image004One lucky reader will win the Peanut Butter Cube which contains:

Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters (2 Pouches)

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein   (4 bars)

Peanut Butter & Strawberry (4 bars)

Rules: Must at least complete the mandatory entry to qualify for the giveaway. Each person has a chance to enter 6 (six) times. Giveaway begins at 8:00am (EST) on Thursday January 24th and will end at 11:59pm (EST) on Thursday January 31st. Winner will be chosen using random.org and will be notified by e-mail. Winner will have 24 hours to respond – if no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is open to all those living in within the United States.

Entries – leave a separate comment below for each entry! Good luck to all who enter.

  • Mandatory Entry: Which product in the above mentioned cube are you most excited to try?
  • Optional Entry: “Like” KIND Healthy Snacks on Facebook
  • Optional Entry: Follow KIND Healthy Snacks on Twitter
  • Optional Entry: Tweet about this entry (and be sure to include the link to the tweet in the comments below, must mention @Creatively_GF and @KINDSnacks)
  • Optional Entry: “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
  • Optional Entry: Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter

Good Luck!!

Also you should check out their store for more great KIND items! I just saw this on their site and I have a “wish list”:)

*Disclosure: I was sent the above products for review from KIND Healthy Snacks, I was not paid for the review and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

{Review & Giveaway} The WHOLE Gang 2013 Desk Calendar!

gf-calendar-20132013 Cookbook Desk Calendar (© The W.H.O.L.E. Gang)

[Giveaway is now closed! The lucky winner has been notified by e-mail. If there is no response within 24 hours a new winner will be chosen..check your e-mails!]

I can’t believe it is already December! Which means the holiday season is in full swing and just around the corner is 2013! How did this year fly by so quickly?!

I know most of you have already started your holiday shopping but I have the perfect stocking stuffer idea for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or those who just love tasty food in your lives. Diane of The WHOLE Gang came up with an amazing idea this year…a desk calendar with gorgeous color photos of each of the 12 recipes (which you will find on the back of each month). All the recipes are gluten and dairy free! You will also find directions on how to prepare the dishes vegetarian, vegan, and paleo! As an added bonus there is a secret access code for a hidden page full of insider tips, tools, resources and 28 additional recipes on her website!

The desk calendar comes in a clear CD case specially made to stand-up on your desk to display the beautiful calendar. I already have mine on my desk! Each calendar costs $14.95 plus S&H and you can order them at: http://www.thewholegang.org/2013-cookbook-desk-calendar/ 

Hidden Page Features:

  • 9 new additional recipes & links to 19 more recipes

  • cooking tips and tricks

  • additional suggestions for the recipes along with instructional photos

  • information on ingredients & tools- resources to find items they might not have

  • instructional cooking videos

About the Author:

  Diane is the founder a2b87bca55e64ec9e102870ff6e41ce0a_biggernd creator of The WHOLE Gang website where she shares easy, healthy,     gluten-free living through recipes, coaching and resources.  She is a Gluten-Free Specialist, Certified Health Coach, Chef and Professional Recipe Developer. She has cooked for over 40 years and lived gluten-free for 5 of those years.

Want to win your own 2013 Cookbook Desk Calendar? Diane has been generous enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win their own desk calendar which can be kept by you or given as a gift! A winner will be chosen at random using random.org. The winner will be notified by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Best of luck to all who enter…you are going to love this!

To enter complete one or all of the entries below. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one!

  1. Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win this and if you would keep it or gift it? (Mandatory)
  2. Like The WHOLE Gang on Facebook (Optional)
  3. Follow The WHOLE Gang on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  5. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)
  6. Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and leave a comment for each separate share. (Optional)

Giveaway begins today, Sunday December 2, 2012 and will end at 11:59 EST on Wednesday  December 12, 2012. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada!

[Full disclosure: I was sent a calendar, free of charge, from Diane Eblin of The WHOLE Gang for this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed here are my own. – Again, thank you Diane it is beautiful and I hope you make another one next year as well!]

Meet Penny {Cloud Star Review & Giveaway}

This giveaway is now closed. The winner was lucky number 8 – Jenni! Congratulations and thank you to all who entered.

Penny is a 9 year old Jack-a-bee which means she is 1/2 jack russell and 1/2 beagle.

On May 1, 2012 Bryan and I adopted Penny from a local shelter called The Potters League here in Portsmouth, RI. We had lived here for two years and would always say “one day we’ll stop in  to look around”, but never did. Well we finally made it in, with no intentions of coming home with a pet (isn’t that how it always is?), we were looking for a hedgehog (someday we still hope to have one). We looked at their website first and it said that all they had were puppies and all were adopted, so we figured we were safe.  We went in, filled out the paperwork to have them call us if they happen to get a hedgehog in and then asked if we could just look around. The told us about the lay out of the shelter so we headed off to the dog area. Almost all of the stalls had puppies in them, cute as they were they were adopted and we had no intentions of adopting anything, especially a puppy. We made our way to the last little stall and there she was, quite as can be. It was love at first sight.

Let me back up a little bit and give you a little back story…I am not a dog person! Pretty much anyone who knows me well will agree to that statement. However, when I first went to Bryan’s house I learned he had a dog…a bit one, but she was amazing. I fell in love with her and we had the pleasure of having her as our house guest two years ago a few months. In April of this year she had to be put down, which was so heart breaking. I felt so bad for Bryan, and his family. Bryan started looking at dogs online and I said, maybe one day when we have a house we can get a dog. But I had some rules – I wanted small…but not one that would fit in a purse. So I attempted to describe my ideal dog. When we say Penny for the first time, I said she is it…she is the perfect size!! She was everything that I had described to him the night before.

After acknowledging to each other that we both really liked her, we asked to take her on a walk. We had her outside for about a half hour, played with her, took a few pictures, and realized that she had no interested in other dogs, was pretty quite, and very well-behaved. She was my kind of dog. Soooo we asked to put a hold on her, made a few phone calls, and picked her up two days later.

She is a complete cuddle bug, loves to be outside, is terrified of loud noises, and a little skittish at times (we think she may have been abused a bit). Penny is amazing and I can’t imagine not having her around. She gets so excited to see us when we walk in the door, even if we were only gone for five minutes. She is also an incredibly picky eater!! No lie we tried to give her the food from the shelter, but that was a no go, so we found a great food that she loves and it just so happens to be gluten-free. She also is extremely picky about her treats…she will take a milk bone from you and leave it on her pillow for two or three days and then eat it. We weren’t sure if we would ever get her to like treats until Cloud Star came along. She goes crazy, and I mean crazy for these treats. They have a great line of gluten-free treats and when I opened the bag for the first time she was chasing me around to get a treat. I tried to hid the bag from her but she went search for it. She had never done this before so we were completely surprised.

Check out Cloud Star’s website for more information about this great company and the people who run it!

I’m a huge fan of these treats because one she loves them, and two they are gluten-free which means they are safe for me to handle and give to her. The lovely people over at Cloud Star have offered a giveaway to one of my readers. For your chance to win just read below how to enter!

Cloud Star Giveaway:

One winner will win either a Prize Pack for a Dog: Two boxes of the oven baked Grain Free Buddy Biscuits dog treats and two bags of the soft & chewy variety, a Wag More Bark Less magnet or a Prize Pack for a Cat: (1) each of the three cat treat varieties.

1) Leave a comment below saying which prize pack you hope to win (mandatory)

2) Like Cloud Star on Facebook

3) Follow Cloud Star on Twitter

4) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

5) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter

6) Share this giveaway on twitter (must include @Creatively_GF), Facebook, or Pinterest – be sure to link back to this page and mention Creative Cooking Gluten Free in the post.

This winner will be chosen by random.org and will have 48 hours to respond by e-mail with their mailing information, if a the chosen winner does not respond in the allotted time, a new winner will be chosen.You must leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Wednesday October 31st.

Outdoor Dining with Kitchen-Play and Land O’Lakes

When I received an e-mail from Kitchen PLAY about taking part in their Land O’Lakes 30 Days of Outdoor Dining, I was very intrigued. I grew up eating Land O’Lakes cheese from the deli counter. This project, however, features a whole new cheese that they have recently released. It’s called 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese, which is a combination of Asiago, Romano and Parmesan with creamy American.

I went to pick up a pound of the cheese and couldn’t wait to create a recipe with it.Naturally, I had to eat it straight out of the package first. (I love cheese by the way, so it was very difficult to even wait to get out to the car to do so.)

This cheese is creamy and delicious. I couldn’t decide on just one recipe to make so I tried several. I pretty much used this cheese on everything I possibly could – buffalo chicken pizza, stuffed zucchini, and many other dishes. I loved the flavor and the great creamy texture of this cheese!.

Of all the different ways I tried this cheese, I decided to share a burger recipe with you. To me, nothing says outdoor grilling more than a juicy cheese burger with great toppings. Below is an easy yet delicious burger recipe that is quick to make and easily adjusts to a larger or smaller crowd. Remember to keep it simple because you also want to be able to enjoy your company along with the food!

Grilled Cheeseburger with Avocado and Grilled Onions (serves 4)

1 pound ground beef (you could also buy the pre-packaged burgers)

1 large onion

1 avocado – sliced

1 medium tomato

4 slices of Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend4 pieces of romaine lettuce (washed and dried)

4 gluten-free hamburger buns

salt and pepper to taste

Condiments of your choice

Pre-heat grill.

Divide ground beef into four even portions (1/4 pound each) and form into hamburgers. To help prevent shrinking press down in the center of the burgers. Season both sides with salt and pepper

Slice onion and tomato – set aside.

Place burgers on grill and do not move them around! Just let them hang out for a few minutes until they easily release from the grill. You want to have some delicious grill marks on those beauties. Once they release easily (this timing all depends on the thickness and how you like your burgers cooked) flip them and then top with the 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese

Lightly oil the onions and season both sides with salt and pepper – grill until desired done-ness

Cook until desired internal temp has been reached. To learn more about internal cooking temperatures check out this informative post. Toast buns on the grill.

Slice avocado and remove from skins Click here to learn how to slice an avocado. Place one burger on each bottom bun, top with grilled onions, tomato slice(s), avocado, and desired condiments–I personally love ketchup and spicy mustard.)—and top bun.

Serve with your favorite accompaniment – grilled corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw etc. Enjoy and have a great dinner!

Don’t forget to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next delicious recipe featuring new Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All opinions given are my own.

Gluten-Free Frito-Lay Recipes

Don’t you just love when a favorite item or brand of yours is actually gluten free, and provides the information on their website! I know I do. I get abnormally excited over something that most would consider small, but to me its all about the small things in life. I’ve always been a fan of Frito-Lay’s products however, I never realized how many of them are gluten-free! Check out their recently updated list here. I think you will be presently surprised. This was brought to my attention by the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness (NFCA) when they asked if I would like to be a recipe tester for some of the new products.

I was assigned the Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote. I had the option of changing up the recipe if I so desired to, however I rather liked it just as it was. The waffles were more on the savory side, but topped with the Mascarpone and Strawberry Compote made them a sweet-savory treat. I made these for my neighbor and myself whose respective other halves are away for the summer and she was recently told from her doctor that she needs to avoid gluten and wheat. They not only would be great for dinner but they made a mighty delicious dinner:)

In addition to my recipe and post check out the NFCA’s page for additional recipes and bloggers:  http://www.celiaccentral.org/frito-lay/recipes/

Keep reading to learn how you can win your own Frito-Lay products!!

Frito Waffles with Mascarpone and Warm Strawberry Compote

175 grams (about 1 1/4 cups millet flour)
50 grams (3/4 cup) crushed Fritos® Original corn chips
1 tablespoon golden flaxmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 large egg whites

Strawberry Compote
1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mascarpone cheese

Combine flour, corn chips, flaxmeal, baking powder, milk, egg yolks, vanilla, butter and honey
in a blender container. Blend until smooth. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until they form
soft peaks. Fold flour mixture into beaten egg whites until incorporated, being careful not to
deflate egg whites.

Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto greased, heated griddle and cook until waffle is done,
according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.

Combine strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium
heat until juicy and thickened, stirring often.

Serve waffles with mascarpone cheese and warm strawberries.

Yield: about 9 waffles.

Notes:

To make these a little sweeter – maybe add a tablespoon of sugar

This recipe was pretty easy and quick to make. Again this is great for breakfast or dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? I know I do!

I ended up eight large waffles

My waffle maker is old (very old) so they came out a bit darker than I had hoped.

The strawberries and Mascarpone are fantastic on this – don’t add anything to the cheese, just add a dollop on top of the waffles and then top with the strawberry compote.

Head on over here to enter for your chance to win a prize package from Frito-Lay!

 

 

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 erecipecards.com 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 erecipecards.com 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 erecipecards.com 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

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables. A Le Creuset and EdgeWare Review & Giveaway!!

Updated 2/18/12 10:15 am – This giveaway is now closed.The two lucky winners have been chosen!! Congratulations to Marnely (Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set) and Karol (EdgeWare V-etched Zester). Please check your e-mails. Winners were chosen using random.org. I would like to again, thank Le Creuset and EdgeWare for sponsoring this giveaway. 

Over the last three and a half years I have had the opportunities to do many reviews of great products. I truly enjoy doing reviews of cookbooks, and gluten-free products, and I’m looking forward to do more in the future along with any culinary based items (kitchen appliances, tools, etc.).

I love kitchen gadgets. Here are a few of my “must-haves”  items: Chef Knife, Stand Mixer, Mixing Bowls (different sizes), Prep Bowls, Boning Knife, Steamer (pan/bamboo basket), Zester, Grater, Silicone Whisk, a good set of Non-Stick Pans, Cast Iron Skillet, and a Crock-Pot. There are plenty more items, however this is a great starting point.

Two of my favorite companies for kitchen products are EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I mean, don’t well all hope to own their products?? I was sent one of each of the following products to test out and review and I have to say, I am honestly in love with both of them. And, now two lucky winners will have a chance to win one of the following prizes (one winner for the Zester, and one for the Farm Fresh Steamer!)

First up we have a fantastic Zester from EdgeWare – The V-etched Better Zester! Here is what their website has to say about it:

New for 2012! The star of the new Edgeware V-etched line of graters is the Better Zester.This zester takes zesting to a new level with its innovative design and features. The V-etched Zester blade is made up of over 300 tiny V- shaped teeth and is covered with a non- stick coating. The food- approved coating allows the zester to smoothly glide across the surface of all types of citrus, while finely zesting the outer layer of skin and not the bitter pith. The Better Zester includes a “fresh zest” storage container with squeegee. This additional accessory gathers the fresh zest as it is grating and the squeegee helps remove the moist zest from the back of the blade. The ergonomically shaped kitchen tool features a non-slip tip and soft touch handle as well as a reusable protective cover. The Better Zester is available soon at specialty retailers nationwide in Stealth Charcoal Gray or Zesty lime Green.  Dishwasher Safe. Designed in the USA.

I’ve been using this almost daily since I received it…for zesting fruits, ginger, garlic, etc. I love the back of it where the container/measurer is, because it has the “squeegee” that works so well for getting all the little pieces. It is perfect for so many applications and a “must-have” in every kitchen.

Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set. This is a three (3) piece set that is a must have, especially when you are looking to make healthier cooking choices. I’m currently taking a Nutrition and Sensory Analysis course and our two main cooking methods are steaming and poaching – talk about a perfect time to review this huh? We are also trying to eat healthier this year by cutting out a lot of the “bad” foods and cooking methods and replacing them with “healthier” ones.

I’ve used this pan a few times, and it is wonderful. I’ve had another steamer for a while but was never a big fan of it. The Le Creuset one is a 3-quart steamer and its  base is constructed of tri-ply stainless steel and can be used separately to prepare sauces or side dishes.

For vegetables and seafood with maximum nutrients and the truest flavor and texture, steaming is the way to go. Le Creuset’s Farm Fresh Steamer Set, with its 3-quart base, fitted 2 3/4-quart steamer basket and tempered glass lid, offers a convenient and healthy option for meal preparation. Less water to heat means vegetables cook quickly, while maintaining their flavor, texture and nutritional value.

  • Steamer insert can be used with all Le Creuset stainless steel saucepans
  • Precision-pour rim allows for clean, convenient pouring directly from the pan
  • Tempered glass lid locks in moisture and heat while providing a clear view of food as it cooks
  • Brushed steel exterior prevents fingerprints
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

I also really loved the facts that it is dishwasher safe and the brushed steel prevents fingerprints.  I tested it out in the dish washer and it works great! Even with out the dishwasher it is still a very easy item to clean. This pan also has very even heating and you don’t need to use very high heat due to the material and design.

Below is a recipe I made one night to try both of these items out. We have been craving vegetables and lighter foods lately so I thought a simple dish of steamed shrimp and vegetables would be a great solution.  The cooking time was about 15 minutes!! Perfect for a weeknight meal that is also healthy and delicious.

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables

Yield: 4

3/4 Pound Medium Shrimp (raw/cleaned and deveined)

2 Tablespoons light gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Chili Oil

1 Large Garlic Clove – grated

1/2 Inch piece of Ginger – grated

1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Large bunch of Bok Choy – Chopped

1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots

1/4 Cup Sliced Water Chestnuts

1/4 Cup Sliced Bamboo Shoots

1/2 Cup Snow Peas

Grate the ginger and garlic with the V-etched Better Zester. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar. Add shrimp to a separate bowl and poor 1/3 of the mixture over the shrimp, toss to coat well and set aside.

Fill the Farm Fresh Steamer with about 1 1/2 quarts of water (or stock…slightly more flavor if you use stock with aromatics in them like crushed garlic and ginger pieces – this is what I normally do), and heat over medium-low heat.

Once the steam starts to build up in the pan, add the bok choy, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and cook for 2-3 minutes (these take a little longer than the shrimp). Add the Shrimp, carrots, and snow peas, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked throughout. Do not over cook the shrimp.

Toss with remaining sauce and serve over steamed rice. Top with a little chili paste if you like a bit more heat (we love spice so it is usually added).

Now for what you have all been waiting for…the giveaway!!

Two winners will be chosen – One (1) for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and One (1) for the EdgeWare V-etched Better Zester.  Both of the products are awesome and I am very excited to be offering a giveaway. There are several ways to enter so be sure to do as many as possible to increase your chances. You must leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

  1. “Like” Le Creuset on Facebook (Mandatory)
  2. “Like” EdgeWare on Facebook (Mandatory)
  3. Follow Le Creuset on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Follow EdgeWare on Twitter (Optional)
  5. “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  6. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter
  7. Leave a comment below saying what dish you would make first!
  8. Tweet about this giveaway “@LeCreuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and @SmithsEdgeware Zester #Giveaway at @Creatively_GF http://wp.me/pnrJm-tv enter today! Pls RT”

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

The giveaway ends on Friday February 17. Two winners (one for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and one for the Edgeware V-etched Better Zester) will be chosen by using random.org. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Saturday February 18th and will have until noon on Tuesday February 21st to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen.

I would like to thank Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare, and Le Creuset for the opportunity to review these wonderful products and for offering this giveaway.

*This giveaway is sponsored by Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.

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!

NEW GLUTEN-FREE WHENEVER BARS FROM PAMELA’S

MAKE ON-THE-GO SNACKING EASY AND HEALTHY

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 Amazon.com.

“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 www.pamelasproducts.com.

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 random.org – 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 random.org – 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:

WHEAT – GLUTEN – DAIRY – CHOLESTEROL – PRESERVATIVES – OILS
ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS – SOY PRODUCTS – TRANS FATS

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: www.dolcetticookies.com – 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 random.org 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 www.dolcetticookies.com)

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: http://www.laurabrussell.com/ 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 random.org 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!

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.