Kid Foodie’s First Restaurant Review

This past Saturday we were able to have an early Valentine’s dinner out as a family. We all agreed to try a new place that my friend Melissa introduced me to last month. The new hot spot? Goji in Bellingham, WA. I ordered the Hawaiian Fried Rice (as I did the time before and LOVED it) and Kid Foodie decided on the Vermicelli Noodle Salad. Here’s his review:

Restaurant Atmosphere:

“It looked like an Asian restaurant. It seemed cozy and inviting. I saw a big plaster hand in the entry that was holding cards with information on it. That was cool. There was a big window that looked into the kitchen that I noticed at the end. It seemed clean and like a place I wanted to eat in.”

Service:

“The service was very fast and the waitress was nice. She was very kind. She called me and my brother “bud” a lot.”

Food:

“It was GREAT! The salad I ordered was what I expected. It was crunchy and lean and it tasted like it would be healthy. The sauce was a little spicy, but I still liked it. I would try something else next time. I would probably order the same thing my dad ordered — the Bulgogi Don. That was delicious.”

On a scale of 5 stars, I give it 4.5 stars!

 

We were all starving after a day of bird watching.

 

Aunt Monica and Uncle Steve came up for an afternoon of bird watching. Kid Foodie and Little Brother were really into it! It was pretty cute. But by the end of the day we were starving and Goji sounded like the perfect way to end the day. I had such a great experience the first time I went with some girlfriends that I was anxious to introduce my guys to it.

But, I will say, I don’t think anything there is truly gluten free. If you know me at all, you know that I’m pretty easy going and I try not to be the girl that you’d be embarrassed to take out in public when it comes to being picky when ordering food. BUT, Kid Foodie and I both had instant tummy aches after we finished our meals. Don’t get me wrong, they were DELICIOUS. I encourage anyone without gluten issues to go there. You won’t be disappointed. But I think it served as a wake up call for us to be a bit more diligent with making sure gluten doesn’t sneak in to our food. Especially for Kid Foodie who has full-on Celiac Disease.

I don’t know if we’ll be able to go there anymore. I should ask if they have gluten free options — especially with soy sauce. Or if they’re able to dedicate a grill to gf entrees. It’s all part of this learning process I suppose. In the meantime, we’ll continue to have fun experimenting in our own kitchen and stick to the tried and true GF restaurants that we are lucky to have in this fantastic little town.

So, what about you? Do you ask a bunch of questions when dining out? Are you a pro at dining out GF? Any tips?

Chocolate Pudding (with a secret)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever stretched the truth about the contents of your child’s food in order to get them to eat.

Be honest.

Thought so. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s worked so well for me that I never reveal the secret ingredient. Other times, it’s totally backfired on me. Like the time I snuck beets into a decadent chocolate cake — only the beets turned out to be a little too old and bitter. Even I had to spit it out.

So today I tried something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Any guesses as to the secret ingredient in this pudding?

Any guesses?

Hear me out. Avocados are smooth and creamy by nature and have a very mild taste. And let’s face it, chocolate makes almost anything taste better. In this case, two great tastes that taste great together isn’t so far fetched.

I was inspired to try this today because, A. I have avocados I need to use and B. one of my favorite GF bloggers, Lisa Thiele from With Style and Grace, posted her own spin on it the other day. Here is my recipe with my adaptations:

Chocolate Almond Pudding

2 ripe medium avocados

5 Tbsp cocoa powder

3 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp coconut milk

1 tsp almond extract

almonds for garnish

Directions

In a food processor or blender, puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey, coconut milk and almond extract. Chill for a bit before serving.

That’s it! This recipe yields enough pudding for 2 – 4. I found it very rich, so in my family it would realistically stretch to feed 4 for dessert. So now the question becomes, do I reveal the secret ingredient to Kid Foodie and little brother???

To be honest, my avocados were just a bit too ripe. There is a hint of overripe avocado in the flavor BUT the almond extract does a nice job of masking that. If I were to rate this recipe, I’d probably give it a 5 but mostly I think it’s because of the age of the avocados. If I were to do this again using perfect avocados, this recipe would easily yield an 8. When you’re craving something sweet this would fit the bill. And it’s super quick and easy to make too. So it definitely gets points for that.

Has anyone tried this combo? Think you might give it a shot? Let me know!

Rustic Tortillas

So the good news is that we’re taking a finance class and getting an accurate look at our budget. The bad news is, it’s pretty sad. Compared to most Americans, we’re doing slightly better in the debt area, but we’ve still got a ways to go. But there is hope and there are techniques to help us. One area that we can trim is our food budget. I took an informal poll of girlfriends the other day and found we’re already spending quite a bit less than they do, so we really don’t have THAT much wiggle room. But I’ve also learned a thing or two about couponing so maybe I can fine tune that a bit this year. This may be one of the reasons I’m so in love with the cookbook we got for Christmas, Gluten Free On A Shoestring.

Another reason I might be so in love with it is because I can make things like this:

Yep. Hand made tortillas. Now, I know they’re a little rough around the edges. It obviously takes practice. So until I can refine my technique, we’ll call them rustic.

And yes, it’s easy to get them THAT thin. You roll them out between two sheets of plastic. Now my naturopath let me know that she doesn’t let plastic touch her food. She uses parchment instead. Arrrgh. It’s just so hard to know everything about everything. Maybe I’ll try the parchment next time.

Kid Foodie requested chicken enchiladas last week. No problem at all. Every time I make these I get faster. So it wasn’t long before a hearty dish of homemade chicken enchiladas was bubbling in the oven (complete with enchilada sauce from scratch!) If you’re so inclined it would be great to make up a double or triple batch of the tortillas. We tend to go through these babies pretty quickly! There are so many snacks you can make with them when hungry boys get home from school.

Ok think you might want to try the tortillas? Here you go:

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

2 Cups all-purpose gluten free flour (you can use Bob’s Redmill blend or make your own)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 Cup warm water, about 100˚ F

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, suntan gum, baking powder and salt. Combine well. Add vegetable oil and stir to combine. Add water slowly, stirring as you pour.

2. Once you have added all the water, press dough together with wet hands. Divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece separately between two sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/8″ thick and about 8″ wide.

3. Heat a skillet. Once the skillet is hot, one at a time, place each raw tortilla flat in the skillet. Allow each to cook for 45 – 60 seconds or until slightly charred. It’s better to undercook than overcook. Flip and cook for another 30 – 45 seconds. Remove from pan and place onto plate.

4. These are best when still warm. If they stiffen, just microwave for 30 seconds wrapped in a moistened paper towel.

source: Gluten Free On A Shoestring, pgs. 120-121

Kid Foodie’s Honey Glazed Ribs

Sometimes, altering a favorite recipe to fit within gluten free guidelines is quite simple. So simple, in fact, even a kid could do it. Well, this kid, anyway. Kid Foodie was going through one of his favorite cookbooks, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes, and decided to give the Hansel and Gretel Spare Ribs a try. (Really it’s just honey glazed pork ribs). Roald Dahl is the author of many books including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Both are books Kid Foodie has read and re-read. The recipe book is filled with foods that are referenced in his whimsical books.

Here he is in action. Click on the photo to watch a YouTube video of Kid Foodie’s rib prep:

The Worcestershire Sauce was clearly marked gluten free and we have replaced soy sauce with wheat free Tamari. Soy sauce is one of those sneaky culprits that harbors wheat. It’s surprising to a lot of folks. You can find the wheat free Tamari in the natural foods section of most grocery stores. I generally don’t find it in the Asian food aisles, though. The nice thing about this recipe is that it calls for relatively few ingredients. A little basting throughout the cooking time is the only extra TLC it needs.

Hansel and Gretel Spare Ribs from Rhyme Stew

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon wheat-free Tamari

1 Tablespoon mustard

1 Tablespoon ketchup

1 Tablespoon honey

1 medium onion, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds spare ribs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.

2. Place ribs in a roasting pan.

3. Mix all ingredients together and spread mixture on the ribs.

4. Place pan of ribs in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, turning them over every half hour and basting them with the juices.

NOTE: These must be well cooked and crunchy.

There was nothing revolting about this recipe! Kid Foodie felt pretty proud to make dinner for the whole family. It’s quite nice for me too. Do you think it’s possible that cooking dinner for us could become a regular thing? Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Spicy Coconut Chicken Soup

We’re in the middle of some pretty extreme winter weather (as far as the PNW is concerned). At our house, as we speak, we have 15″ of snow, with 6″ more forecasted for today and 12″ more tomorrow! I, for one, love it. I try to make the most of being housebound by keeping the kitchen full of tummy-warming goodies.

I made this soup for the first time a few days ago. We gobbled it up and then yesterday I made some more. Don’t think it’ll last through today, however! It’s spicy, creamy and oh-so satisfying. I doctored the recipe a bit to add some chicken and then I serve it over Basmati rice.

SpicyCoconutChickenSoup-1 Click here for recipe.

If you’re stuck inside like we are — enjoy! This snowstorm will be one my kids will remember for the rest of their lives. I haven’t seen such pure joy and contentment from 2 little boys like this in a long time!

Taken first thing this morning -- 15" officially.

We may not have the best sledding hills, but they work with what we've got!

Digging snow tunnels. He was hoping to have enough snow to do this today!

When it’s time to come inside today, we’ll warm up with another bowl of this soup. Now I’ve got to decide what we’ll eat tomorrow and the next day. We’re supposed to be socked in for quite awhile!

Mmmmm Savory Pies

There’s a restaurant in our town called Man Pies and they sell both savory and sweet pot pies. Since we found out they offer gluten free options, we gave them a try and MAN are they good! I could seriously eat there every day. Or figure out how to make my own at home. So that’s what I’m bringing you today! Homemade gluten free meat pies. And — bonus — they’re pretty easy!

These ones are stuffed with beef, carrots and parsnips — a British spin, I suppose. This is comfort food at its best. They’re made from super basic ingredients, they can be portable for lunch on the run and they feel so indulgent. I had extra filling leftover so as an added bonus I’ll get another dish out of my time spent in the kitchen.

Wanna give it a try? Thought so. I started with the flour mix. I generally have the ingredients to mix up a batch of all-purpose flour and this is the ratio I use: 1 part white rice flour, 2/3 part sorghum flour, 1/3 part tapioca flour. As usual, I almost had everything, but I did make one substitution — I didn’t have sorghum flour like I thought, but used coconut flour instead. It still totally worked but I added a bit more water than it called for. No biggie. If you already have all-purpose flour then you’re one step ahead.

To make the crust I used the Savory Olive Oil Crust recipe on page 42 of my new favorite cookbook Gluten Free On A Shoestring.

SavoryOliveOilCrust This is a link to a pdf of the crust recipe. I’m still learning the ins and outs of WordPress, so bear with me.

Here’s a link to a little video I put together on rolling out the dough. Sorry, I can’t embed videos on this free blog I guess : (

dough video

Once you’re confident with rolling dough, the sky’s the limit on fillings. My second batch of pies had the filling you saw in the video — mushrooms, butternut squash and goat cheese. Technically, these aren’t meat pies are they now? How about we call them savory pies? Ok that settles it. Savory Pies. I like it. I hope you try them and let me know how it goes!

Pear Crumble

It doesn’t happen often, but once in awhile I get sugared-out. We’re coming off weeks of fudge, caramel corn, Christmas cookies, peanut brittle, etc and I think I’ve had enough. I’m trying to dial back the sugar content in our cooking as a general rule, but it’s nearly inescapable during the holidays. So here we are, January 2, 2012 and my thoughts turn toward getting back on track with our family’s food consumption. So why the dessert post? Well, I can’t just go cold turkey now can I? This pear crumble is pretty light on the sugar (in my opinion). So it’s the perfect thing when your body starts craving something sweet late in the afternoon but you want to eventually curb the sugar spikes altogether. Plus I gotta use up my pears!

Pear Crumble

4 or 5 pears, peeled and thinly sliced

1/3 cup whole cane sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cornstarch

1/4 cup whole cane sugar

1/4 cup softened coconut oil or organic butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place thinly sliced pears, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, & nutmeg into a medium sized bowl and mix to combine everything. Set aside while preparing topping.

2. To make the topping, place all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix well until crumbly. Place the apple mixture into a 9 X 13-inch pan and sprinkle it evenly with topping.

3. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until bubbly.

If you want to add a little tartness to this, include one or two small apples. I find it’s a nice balance.

Here’s to a wonderful new year filled with delicious food and new experiences. It’s a big year for me as I will be turning 40 in July! I have a few ideas for celebrating. You KNOW they’ll include some scrumptious food and a few surprises as well.

This Biscuit Is A Game Changer

There are exactly 3 biscuits left out of a dozen that have not yet been inhaled. I demanded that 3 remain so that I could take photos of them — I don’t think anyone’s noticed that I’m done taking pics. Shhh. Actually I shouldn’t say the 9 consumed biscuits were inhaled. It was more like they were slowly and wonderously savored. “These are the best gluten-free things I’ve ever eaten.” (This was heard by more than one person) And then, with an almost apologetic or sheepish look my husband slowly offered up this review. “This isn’t the best gluten-free thing I’ve ever had . . . It’s . . . the best . . . anything . . . I’ve ever had.” We stared at each other in stunned silence for awhile. I was studying his manner trying to decide when the punchline would come. But, no, these biscuits were quite amazing. His puzzled expression was part of his processing of what we had just experienced. Kid Foodie sat in between us intently focused on the flaky, buttery thing in his hands trying to make it last as long as it could. Little brother finished up his second and traipsed off to the kitchen to grab a third when he was interrupted with my demand to save the rest. I think we’re all in love!

So what exactly are these? They’re Sweet Potato Biscuits from our new cookbook we got for Christmas, Gluten-Free On A Shoestring. I can’t put this cookbook down. It’s perfectly synced with my taste buds, life stage and organizational preferences. Since I already had roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge and the rest of the ingredients on hand, I gave it a whirl. We’ll never be the same around here again.

While my mom was here visiting this week I realized I had no all purpose flour in the house. So the first thing I did before beginning this recipe was to mix up some with what I had on hand. I used 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup corn starch and 1+ cup tapioca flour. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups all-purpose gf flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick butter, diced and chilled

3/4 cup pureed baked sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)

1/3 cup sour cream (I made my own using almond milk, apple cider vinegar & butter)

1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

2. In a large bowl, place flour, xanthan, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add cold, diced butter to the large bowl with dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients til the mixture resembles small peas. (I left my butter pretty chunky and clumpy)

3. In a separate bowl, place sweet potatoes, sour cream and milk. Mix to combine. Add these ingredients to the large bowl and mix with spoon until dough begins to come together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 15 – 20 minutes (or for as long as overnight).

4. Remove dough from fridge and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a disk that is nearly 1 inch thick. Keep the dough in the plastic wrap.

5. Once it’s ready, with plastic wrap peeled back, cut out rounds with a floured 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.

6. Transfer cut outs to baking sheet spaced about 1 inch apart.

7. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 – 17 minutes until puffy and golden. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking.

* This recipe says it makes 6 – 8 biscuits but I was able to get a full dozen.

Persimmon Pear Muffins

I was a kitchen machine yesterday! My fruit bowl was staring me down as if to say “You’d better think of something to use us in. We’re not getting any younger.” While I still have beaucoup pears to use up, I had 3 persimmons that came in last week’s produce bin. Persimmons?!?!? I don’t even know where to start. I won’t bore you with how I arrived at my decision, but in the end I decided muffins were the way to go.

Again I adapted this recipe from an existing one. My every day, go-to gluten free cookbook is called The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. I used the Peachy Millet Flour Muffins as my base recipe (pg. 137 of the cookbook). Here’s my adaptation:

Persimmon Pear Muffins

2 1/2 Cups brown rice flour

1/2 Cup tapioca flour

1/2 whole cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 Cups pureed persimmons (about 4 persimmons, peeled. if you only have 3 toss in a pear and puree that too)

1/4 melted organic virgin coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line muffin tins with paper or silicone cups (or lightly oil tins)

2. In a large bowl combine the flours, sugar, xanthan gum, soda, powder and salt. Mix well.

3. Peel and puree persimmons (and pear, if using) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Measure out 2 cups. Put puree in a small bowl and whisk it together with the melted coconut oil and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together.

4. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Kid Foodie wasn’t in the mood to critique these muffins yesterday. I had some fudge that trumped these healthy bites. But little brother surprisingly gobbled these up! He downed two in about as many minutes! I was pleasantly surprised by how these turned out. The trouble with most gluten free baking is texture. Either it’s gritty or doesn’t hold together well or just off somehow. There are some great GF flour mixes available to order nowadays, but they’re pretty spendy. And for us, I just buy whatever is on sale at the store. So I often use what I have even if it’s not what the recipe calls for. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time it TOTALLY worked. These are moist and dense with just enough of a sweet/tart combination. These are easy, healthy and yummy.

 

* First image found on Pinterest.

What’s-In-Your-Fridge Tacos

I’m getting pretty good at using most of the fruits and vegetables that come in our weekly organic produce bin. I definitely have to stay on top of it though. This time of year, the cabbage can start to accumulate so I’ve started mixing up batches of slaw to have on hand. This is just purple cabbage, green cabbage and carrots with chopped purple onions — no dressing. Lately I’ve been on a taco kick, so I whipped up these little ones earlier this week and they were a crowd pleaser. Kid Foodie’s review: “MMMMMMMMM!!!!! These are SO GOOD!” And he went on to consume about 5 of them.

Here’s how these came about. At the store earlier in the week I picked up a couple of packages of these sprouted corn tortillas. You’ll find them in the natural foods part of the grocery store in the frozen foods. I just did a little research into these and they are considered wheat free but not gluten free. In the ingredients I only see organic sprouted corn, water, sea salt and lime — so not sure why they aren’t gluten free. Hmmm. While I try to get to the bottom of that I will tell you that these tortillas are TO DIE FOR. So good. Unlike other gluten free brown rice tortillas, these don’t crack and break apart and they have a fantastic texture. I happened to have some leftover wild rice in the fridge so these two ingredients were my base for this recipe.

Between the texture of the tortillas and the complexities of this rice, these little tacos really satisfy. I added the cabbage mix next:

Starting to look good right? But it needs a little sauce — something creamy but tangy. Just my luck the morning I made these I got this recipe in my inbox — Creamy Herb Sunflower Dressing. This recipe is not only gluten free but dairy free as well.

1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 to 6 hours 
1/2 to 1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 to 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
small handful fresh parsley

Place the sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 4 to 6 hours then drain and rinse. Place into a Vita-Mix or blender with the water (less for a dip, more for a dressing), lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Blend on high for one minute or until very creamy and smooth. Then add the herbs and blend on a lower speed until combined but not completely pureed.

Pour into a glass mason jar, cover, and store in your refrigerator until ready to serve.

A couple notes here — I didn’t soak my seeds and I didn’t have some of the herbs listed, so I used what I did have. I also used lime instead of lemon and it still turned out great! So the lesson here is be creative. Use the recipe as a guide. We’re still eating off of this one batch so you can really get a lot of bang for your buck here and use up your perishables too!

  • Kid Foodie

  • About This Blog’s Authors

    Even before his diagnosis of Celiac Disease in 2010, Kid Foodie was passionate about food. Although the diagnosis brought some restrictions, his appreciation and appetite for good, healthy food has only skyrocketed.

    For me, his diagnosis of Celiac opened up a world of food possibilities and a new way of thinking about what we eat. It has absolutely been a joy to overhaul our family's food choices and we all continue to benefit from it. We write this blog to help our family and friends understand how to cook gluten free and to provide them recipes to try out themselves.

    Kid Foodie now has his own blog:
    heykidfoodie.com

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