Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Pie, part 1 & 2

"One time at band camp...."

Mmmm......pie. So tasty, so simple. I love baking when having friends over, but I don't like to do the same thing over, and over and over again. Not that I don't love my strawberry (oat)short cakes or peach cobbler, because I do! I just love trying something new. And the great thing I learned about pie is how easy it is. You make whatever goodness goes inside and just pour it into a pie crust. Viola! And while I love making my baked goods from scratch, I cheat with the crust. I admit it. I buy frozen. I need to get motivated and make my own, but for now, this is how I roll.

I was a huge fan of Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse gluten-free crusts...until I went to buy some for Father's Day the other week...and they were out! I kept staring at the freezer shelf in desperation, hoping one would magically appear. Next, I looked behind everything in that section, hoping I would find one. Thankfully, as I was walking away in sulking defeat, I saw Gillian's had a pie crust in a different part of the freezer section - score! I was skeptical, but in the end, I really liked Gillian's crust and may go for that one first next time. Rich buttery flavor.

And when you buys crusts they come in sets of two, so of course I couldn't use just one!

So what was I going to put in my pies...well, I had a desire to work with rhubarb, which I had never done before. I never even touched it, so this would be a total first. I decided to do a strawberry rhubarb pie, and as I was picking up blueberries on sale, Whole Foods had a recipe for blueberry sour cream pie next to the blueberries (how clever you are WF!), so that decided it!

I admit, it is pretty risky to try something new on guests, but I decided to go for it. And thankfully it resulted in some mighty tasty pies!! Two very distinct flavors, but equally as delicious. I kept asking which one my guests like best, but no one could decide.

I posted my strawberry rhubarb pie on the celiac-disease web site. Below is a fabulous photo of the pie in progress before the crumble topping was put on and it was baked.

The blueberry sour cream pie was not a recipe I put together myself, so I have Whole Foods to thank for it. I will copy it below with my change of using a gluten-free pie crust, and leaving out the powdered sugar sprinkled on top, which I just felt it didn't need.

Blueberry sour cream pie

1 cup sour cream

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pint blueberries

1 frozen gluten-free pie shell, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gently stir in blueberries.

Pour mixture into pie crust and bake 55 to 65 minutes or until custard is slightly puffed and just set in the middle. Allow pie to cool to room temperature. If desired, chill before sprinkling with powdered sugar and serving.

Enjoy, and get ready to feel the love!

Gluten-free dining at Disney World, deconstructed

This picture really says it all. Freshly made, gluten-free Mickey Waffles (not a freezer in site)! On a recent trip to Disney...ok, well, not too recent, more like mid-March for Z's 6th birthday....but I have been beyond let's just pretend. Ok, so on a recent trip to the haven of many a children, we went to Disney World in Orlando, FL. Of course, before any trip, I do tons of reading and research about what I am going to be able to eat, what I should take, snacks available, etc... I spend way too much time searching food options it can seem. So, I came to the conclusion that Disney was going to be pretty easy, especially if you let them know beforehand, and I was going to be able to get through it just fine.

Well, it was better than fine, it was downright enjoyable and made our trip much better than I could have imagined.

We had been putting off Disney until our daughter was the right age to really enjoy it, and well, let's face it, when we had the $$ to go, and not have to sleep on the side of the road. So with our passes we won at our daughter's silent auction, and airlines miles we used to stay the Swan, research, dining reservations, a cooler full of snacks and Disney books in hand, we were on our way.

I can honestly say every eating experience I had was enjoyable. The best feeling is to be able to feel like everyone else and enjoy stress-free tasty meals during three extremely fun-filled days when I just can't afford to be sick. I mean, how awful would it be, to have to return to the hotel while in line for Pirates of the Caribbean....or after an hour waiting for Soarin', and only to have to go fetal in bed for hours waiting for the pain to pass? Definitely not what I wanted to happen on our trip.

Now, I can't wait to go back...time to start filling that piggy bank!

I wrote a series of in-depth articles for, where I have been a writer for almost year years, and will link them below so that I can share my experience and help others who are about to venture on this wonderland. It really can be easy!

Willy's expands gluten-free options!

Last May, I wrote about how most items at Willy's Mexicana Grill were gluten-free, with the exception of many of the salsas and cheese dip which used a wheat-based thickener. At the time, I was told they were moving to make these items gluten-free in the near future.

Well, I am excited to announce that finally...NOW... Willy's salsas and cheese dip are gluten-free! The only thing off limits at my absolute favorite fast-food Mexican joint are the cookies and flour tortillas. Personally, I can easily deal with that.

The wheat-based thickener used in the chili d’arbol sauce, which is the base to many of Willy's other salsas and cheese dip, is now corn-based. Whoo hoo!! I was excited a year ago when I learned I could still enjoy Willy's, including the chips (which as we know are usually fried with gluten-containing foods at many places - but not here)...I am even more excited now!

So, with that news, my daughter and I enjoyed a warm cup of cheese dip with our chips this week on our mommy/daughter night out! Indulgent cheesy yumminess.

But remember, there is always a risk of cross-contamination anywhere where gluten-filled foods are served. For my own personal preference at Willy's, I ask if they can change their gloves when they make my food. So far, I have not had any problems.

Buen provecho!