Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is Carnation Instant Breakfast Gluten-Free?

Updated as of December 10, 2012

In the spring of 2012 I began drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast as an alternative source of protein, vitamins, and minerals after reading that it was gluten-free by FDA standards. After a period of tummy trouble, I finally got around to reading the ingredients on the box and was unhappy to find "wheat starch" was listed as an ingredient. I promptly stopped drinking it and discovered that it was in fact the source of my recent problem. I was left with eight boxes of it that I passed off to my family to consume, which they did, happily. 

I do sincerely miss it, so I recently contacted Carnation to check on its gluten-free status. They replied so quickly and in great detail! Here is what they said:

So for the time being I am staying off of my Instant Breakfast kick. A thoughtful reader did comment that the sugar-free variety does not list wheat starch so if inclined you could give that one a try!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote of the Day!

"You can do anything, but not everything."
-- David Allen

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pots de la Creme a la the Pioneer Woman

I am a sucker for anything chocolate, especially chocolate mousse. At Bertucci's (a chain restaurant in the Northeast) you can get this dessert that is called a Budino and it's basically this extremely decadent chocolate mousse and I am in love with it. 

When I was checking out the Pioneer Woman's latest cooking blog entry I came across a recipe for "Pots de la Creme." They looked very similar to the Budino that I have gotten at Bertucci's, I had all the ingredients on hand, and they were also gluten-free! I decided to give them a go.

I decided to cut the recipe in half because I didn't need 12 servings and that worked out just fine. I ended up with 6 servings as one would expect. I also decided to do it in a food processor because mine was clean and the blender was missing. It turned out to be a poor choice. Maybe it doesn't incorporate enough air or blend the eggs the right way but either way it didn't work. The mixture wasn't as airy or bubbly as I expected and they didn't set, even overnight. 


I tried again the next day with the blender and they worked perfectly! They set up very quickly and were SO delicious! I also made a homemade whipped cream for the top and it was a great decision.

Whipped Cream

1 pint of whipping cream
1-3 tablespoons confectionary sugar (dependent on how sweet you want it)
1-2 teaspoons of vanilla

Add ingredients into bowl and whip until desired consistency.

I will most definitely be making these again! I have a bunch of ball jars on hand and they are so easy! They also look like a lot of work so why not impress some guests! I think instead of a cake for my birthday I'm just going to make a bunch of these, stack them and stick some candles in them. No messy cutting of cakes and then just toss everything into the dishwasher!

Here is what Will was doing while I was cooking:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day and that it was filled with homemade treats, gluten-free, or not!

A Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

Classic spinach salads are the epitome of everything a typical salad is not. Take your healthy spinach and protein full eggs and top them with chopped bacon bits and a dressing that is mostly fat. What you get though, is so delicious that it is worth every single calorie. 

For the salad:
  • 8 ounces spinach
  • 2 large eggs, hard boiled, chopped
  • 8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
    • 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Cook the bacon in a pan. Once crispy enough remove the bacon to dry on some paper towels. 
Measure out the fat and add remaining ingredients to the pan and mix and let it warm up.
So technically the recipe says only three tablespoons of fat but I just left it all in there and added ingredients till it was the right ratio. Whatever process floats your boat is fine.

Arrange the salad ingredients in a bowl or platter. I used a couple more eggs because I had a lot of spinach. Also remember to put a tablespoon of vinegar in the water when you boil the eggs because it makes the membranes come off with the egg shell.

Pour the warm dressing over the salad and enjoy! I would recommend keeping any excess dressing in the pan on the stove so when it's time for seconds you will still have some warm dressing! I also added a large piece of meat because I love my protein.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This morning I got myself a present: a fancy new domain name! While will still bring you here so will!

Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday! Go Pats!

Products I'll Never Be Without

Yankee Swaps are like fruit cakes. No one really likes them but for some reason they are a Christmas staple. For years on Christmas Day we had one, but one by one family members started dropping out, citing reasons like they hated candles or those token invitees always brought crappy gifts. Now those are very valid reasons and I was behind them 100% but this year we thought we might resurrect it. Since I'm now an "adult" (I can't say that or let alone type it without laughing) I decided to take part in it this year. I bought a gift and wrapped it but with the onset of a migraine on Christmas Day I had to leave the party early. Low and behold the next day everyone had forgotten about it anyway! I was psyched because I really wanted to keep my gift.

So for Christmas I got a Silpat! If you don't know what they are read up: 

SILPAT® products are a must-have for all bakers. SILPAT® is the original non-stick baking mat. Since 1965, Demarle has been committed to improving your baking experience by introducing top quality products. SILPAT® products never need greasing and replace parchment paper. Using SILPAT® products saves time, money and reduces waste in our environment.

SILPAT® products are great for working with sticky materials such as gooey batter, taffy, caramel, doughs and anything your imagination allows. Nothing sticks to SILPAT®.

SILPAT® Non-Stick Baking Mats are made of fiberglass and food grade silicone. SILPAT® products are completely food safe. Our products are FDA, NSF® and Kosher certified.

I am completely smitten with them! They eliminate the need for parchment paper (which we never had anyway) and the worry that gluten-full cookie residue is left on your pan. They produce a chewy yet crisp baked good that is near impossible to create with an aluminum pan.

I bought the largest size and I already want the littler one too. I was so impressed at how easy it was to clean and get the cookies onto the cooking rack. No more scraping your nonstick pans or soaking to get off burnt bits.

Mount Sunapee

Yesterday was spent at Mount Sunapee in Newbury, NH. The weather was perfect, sunny and 32 degrees but the slopes were icy. It's probably one of the only things I'll suffer a 5:30 AM wake up call for. I already can't wait to go again!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gluten-Free O'Henry Bars

Of all the deserts that my Nana Rita use to make these were always at the top of my list right under her chocolate coconut No Bake Cookies. I don't know much about their history other than the fact that they share a name with a somewhat similar candy bars.

O'Henry Bars are chocolate-y, peanut butter-y, oatmeal-y, chewy, and crunchy. Also very easily converted to gluten-free. The only substitution necessary to turn them safe is gluten-free oats. Also a gluten-free peanut butter, so be careful to avoid double dipped crumbs!

My recipe box is currently at home in Weymouth and I am at school in Boston so the actual recipe will be coming shortly! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Will!

Ah. The terrible twos. Our baby Will has now grown into a little boy and is living up to the "terrible twos" quite nicely. All before 9 AM he had stolen an insole from my Dad's boot, put a hole in a pair of Jill's underwear and dug up a plant of my Mom's, roots and all. We celebrated with a "Frosty Paws" ice cream treat for him and human treats for us. Happy birthday Will!