Update 2019….GF Keeps Getting Better

It’s been 6 years and a month. I find it fairly easy to be gluten free at home. It’s when I go anywhere that it becomes fairly difficult. I bake a lot of treats rather than buying them as I find the readi-made stuff to be drab and of poor quality. I sure don’t want to eat it if I can bake something easy and tasty. My family is quite understanding and accommodates my gluten free lifestyle. We get together at frequent intervals, my sisters and I and they always make sure we are eating safely for me. And yummy food too! They love my gf french bread, my lemon birthday cake was a huge hit and the recently enjoyed banana cake has been requested for this Saturday night supper with family.

banana cake

A big hunk of banana cake.

I cut back on breads although I had a rare grilled cheese sandwich today. Needed a quick meal. T hat I could take somewhere. My seven year old grandson is living with me and he is not gf. He eats gf for most part but I don’t want to make him eat gf store bought snacks and I just don’t have time to bake them for him. So there is a bit of effort needed for me to remain safely gf. I did find some Everything bagels at Aldi’s last week and that made me so happy; great flavor and texture. Their bagels are the best. Honestly, I shop more and more there; great dairy, super chocolate, love their salsa and chips and I’ve never had bad meat from there yet.bratwurst package

My Instant Pot is a great resource for making quick gf meals. I use it most weeks at least once. Plus it is perfect for making yogurt in it; I use organic milk from Aldi’s; makes great cheap yogurt. I also love making rice in my IP; perfect.  I do a lot of chicken thighs in it in a wide array of recipes from Indian to Thai and Italian. It is portable and can be used anywhere you have an outlet. instant pot 2

I still am experimenting with flours although I truly am happy with the King Arthur All Purpose flour blend. I do like gf bisquick and Better Batter. I have experimented with cassava flour for tortillas and I have a new blend I want to try soon that uses meringue powder to lift the dough. I enjoy that sort of baking. My dad was a chemical engineer and I am clearly his daughter! lemon birthday cake slice

We went out to dinner at Jennys Kuali in South Bethlehem recently. Their egg rolls are absolutely the bomb and we adored the ginger garlic sauce. We both enjoyed the chicken on a stick; kinda a curry flavor there.Jenny eggrolls

My fish special; a whole fish in very spicy sauce was enjoyable if a tad overcooked and Joe’s chicken with mango was rather bland but he dressed it up with hot sauce and that ginger delish sauce and happily devoured it. The staff there is very pleasant and they go out of their way to make it easy to eat GF; only dumplings and egg noodle dishes are off my menu. We agreed that we want to go back there soon and try some other dishes.  And eat more eggrolls! I haven’t had one since I went gf. We had a great table and I had a glass of bubble tea; a novelty in Bethlehem. Joe loved the Thai black iced tea. We tried some desserts and left stuffed and happy.

Eating at church functions is tough; sometimes I bring my own food. Sometimes there is fresh fruit I can enjoy at gatherings. Not complaining. Just observing.

Life is good, I try to avoid even minor gluten incidents so I don’t eat at events most of the time nor do we eat out as often as years ago. I eat so much healthier than I did six years ago. I feel better for it and am so glad I need no medicine for my celiac disease. Many thanks to all my family and friends who accommodate my strange diet. I’m doing great!

Frozen Strawberries and Chocolate Delight!

Summer is the best time for enjoying ice cream bars. Aldi’s may be the best place to buy them! I got a four pack of strawberry ice cream bars there last week. They are fruity, creamy and covered with dark chocolate; a triple play of yumminess! Two are gone…the other two will be devoured soon enough. They also come in coconut; not tried it yet; soon….

strrawberry fruit bar

Nutritional report: only 180 calories; not bad for a sweet treat. 18 grams sugar; not quite so good and 20 of sodium; minimal. A few grams of fat. Overall; for a somewhat processed ice cream bar: pretty okay on the nutritional scale of things.

On the flavor scale; about a 9.5; darn yummy. About $3 for four of them; darn cheap. Hardest part is planning so I am able to go right home from Aldi’s before these beauties melt even a tiny bit in the insulated bag they are packed in for travel. Go gettem!

Darn Good GF Pizza You can Bake at Home

Sometimes you just need a pizza! And there is time to make a crust or grate cheese or any of that. Just a decent gluten free pizza, that’s all I’m asking…but, not that easy unless you are willing to pay about $13-16 for the same or even a smaller size that is half the price for regular wheat flour-based pizza!  Major bummer. But, fret not, Aldi’s to the rescue; they had some by Mama Cozzie in the refrigerator case. I got a pepperoni and mott pizza to test it; $6…not a bad price!  Baked it two days later; put the cold pie directly on hot oven shelf as requested.  In 11-13 minutes it is done; let it cool 2-3 minutes! Otherwise, it is a wicked way to burn your mouth.

aldi pizza box

I should admit I doctored it up with some dried basil and oregano, garlic powder and store grated parmesan cheese. It was so good; thin crust. Great flavor from the pepperoni and the add-ons I sprinkled over it deepen ed the flavor significantly. So I am definitely getting it next time I see – the package says you can freeze it; so maybe buy a few and freeze all but one.

aldi pizza slice

So that’s a big yes to this Mama Cozzie pizza; about 15 inches in diameter unbaked. It says 4 servings but unless they are small kids it is really more like 3. Great quick lunch or worry-free Friday night meal. Add a salad and you are eating healthyish!

Bratwursts From Aldi’s are the Best!

This post is an addendum to my buckwheat crepe post of the other day. I neglected to tell you how delish the bratwurst were in my crepe wrap entree. I bought the package of 4 uncured Bavarian bratwurst at Aldi’s. They were kinda pale and unexciting looking in the shrink wrap but when I pan fried them in a bit of olive oil they browned up nicely. Each brat was still juicy and tender with a delicate flavor I was very impressed with. bratwurst

 

I have bought brats before at other grocery stores and found them rather dull and pedestrian. These are thinner, longer and far tastier.  bratwurst packageUncured means they have less junk added in the curing process of many sausages.  Definitely a yummy and healthyish choice for sausage in any recipe. They cook in about ten minutes.  And grilling them is on the package as an alternative to the frying pan. Next time I will try them on my grill. Maybe for camping…

They are imported from Germany so I am guessing they are very authentic compared to stuff made in the USA. I give these an A plus in every category. Enjoy!

Buttery Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

I don’t buy redi-made mixes that often, in fact I never bought a gf biscuit mix until last week. This was from Aldi’s; my fav hangout! Cheddar cheese biscuits in the orange and blue box.

biscuit box

You add water, quarter cup oil and a third of a cup of grated cheese, stir and it becomes this slightly weird fluffy white stuff that looks more like cotton batting than anything else. Next, plop big clumps of this mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking pan and pop them into the hot oven to bake.  After about 16-17 minutes out comes the pan.  Each biscuit gets brushed with a mixture you create with an herb/garlic powder that is blended with fresh butter you melted.

cheddar cheese bisquits

They are browned on the bottom and tender. The flavor is buttery and definitely has a garlic vibe going on. We had them with a big bowl of chili with beans I had made for supper.  My guy took home a quart of chili and two biscuits. He wanted more cheesy rolls than two but I said; “Hey, those are my gf biscuits! You can eat any rolls you like but these are mine!” He left happily clutching a bag with all his treats including those two biscuits.   That should tell you they are tasty; Joe does not need to eat gf and he is fairly picky about his bread.  If it passes the Joe test; it is pretty tasty!! cheddar cheese bisquit

They were a couple bucks and the add ins are minimal. I made 11 decent sized biscuits. I froze all but two which were destined for chili consumption the next evening. Totally yummy even if not particularly healthy, white gf flour, sugar,  cheese and butter as major components.  Still, not often I find something this easy to make and this tasty.  I put this in my win win column. Enjoy!

Aldi’s Update February 2018

Today I have an Aldi product update to share.  A few totally unrelated items that I recently purchased and want to comment on.  First, their grapefruit seltzer; ridiculously cheap and mixes perfectly with kombucha tea or fruit juice. The label says PurAqua.  Caffeine and sugar free. Just carbonated water and natural flavoring. Great to have a new flavor choice for a mixer.                            grapefruit selzer

Secondly, their SimplyNature house brand organic fair trade light brown sugar. Soft, moist, great flavor and cheap. And it is organic and sustainably grown by small farmer cooperatives according to their label. Can’t get much better than that.  I am busy using my bag of Aldi’s organic sugar in my baking efforts. It does seem to add a better flavor than regular granulated sugar. It is far cheaper in Aldi’s than in the local Giant grocery. brown sugar

For snacking I am enjoying their Casa Mamita Chunky Salsa, mild version.  It tastes very fresh and is yes, chunky.  They have spicier versions; see picture below! Great with Aldi’s Blue Corn Dipper chips. Clancy Dippers are decent but the blue corn dipper is just amazing in flavor and crunch. Cheaper than what I can find at my big box local grocery store too!

I like their own brand organic ground cinnamon. Great flavor and far cheaper than organic cinnamon usually is.  I wish they would get in even more spices and that they would label them as gf. Ah the typical celiac lament!

Finally, their Red Lentil Rotini is back; I loved cooking with it when I found a box quite a few months ago. I look forward to using it again!  Cheap, organic, high in protein, iron and fiber. Win Win!

red lentil

My friend Josh says I need to work for Aldi’s as I write about them so often…. I write about this company often because their food is wonderful. If there is an Aldi’s near you; what are you waiting for? Great food, great prices and lots that is gf for folks like me who have celiac disease. Enjoy!

Aldi’s Update January 2018

When I see something on facebook that seems problematic for my life, rather than complain…I investigate.  I saw this post which said that Aldi’s wasn’t carrying gluten free foods anymore.  Not something I want in the least. So I contacted the company via their website and was happy to receive a prompt email reply.  They are not ending their line of gluten free foods, just ending labeling things that are naturally gluten free.

I wrote again with a follow up email asking why they keep discontinuing popular things like the tiny orange gf cheddar crackers or their chocolate covered gf pretzels. Today I spoke with a representative who had left me a voice message yesterday to give Aldi’s a call. I was a bit excited thinking they were going to give me some good news on gf products I was missing.  Alas, she listened but talked only a bit and gave no reason why they discontinue things so often. Just repeated that such is their policy. I told her that I have resorted to buying chocolate covered gf pretzels else where but that the Aldi brand  tastes superior and is cheaper so why are they making such a contrary decision: to only offer them once or twice a  year. She had no answer for me but said she would convey my suggestions to the powers that be. Not particularly satisfying…but I did get to voice my issue to an actual representative of Aldi’s. Still, not all that comforting as I am longing for those crisp and tasty cheddar crackers… cheddar crackers