Friday, September 25, 2009

The Simple Things: GF Fried Clams

Every so often, when someone discovers I can't eat gluten, they ask me what I miss the most. It's a hard question to answer. For one thing, it changes depending on my mood and, for another, I don't like to dwell on the foods I miss- it's hard enough already sticking to a GF diet! The foods I miss change depending on my mood. Often I really miss donuts, Boston Creme was my favorite. And I definitely miss pie crust, I'm still working on perfecting a GF version. Another is chicken nuggets (stay tuned for the results to my search for the best GF chicken nuggets!) and - well, I guess I could go on and on . . .

This summer I was really missing fried clams. I grew up in coastal Maine and fried clams seem like an integral part of summer. There's something about Maine, summer and the ocean that demands fried clams- or lobster rolls. I'd contemplated asking Santa for a deep fryer this Christmas, something that would help with the fried clams and the donuts (something I'm definitely still considering!), but we stumbled upon a more immediate solution. At my brother's graduation celebration dinner at the Kennebec Tavern in Bath, we discovered they use a rice flour batter for their calamari. That got our wheels turning and we decided to ask the kitchen staff if they could make me some gluten-free fried clams. The answer: yes!

So, a few weeks ago, I finally ate some gluten-free fried clams. They weren't quite as good as the gluten-full original (always the case), but they were a pretty good substitute and I was completely thrilled to enjoy something as simple as fried clams again. I'll definitely be calling ahead to order these again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A GF Adventure: Hiking Mount Katahdin

I have been a very bad blogger.

The academic year has started and I'm still trying to figure out how to balance a full-time job, a graduate course and my hobbies. Unfortunately, blogging has been neglected. I'm hoping to be better in the future!

Over a month ago, Joe and I climbed Mount Katahdin. It was a once in a lifetime experience- because no amount of cajoling will ever convince me to go back (Asthma, a twisted ankle and running out of water did not make for a happy hiker)! Well, maybe not. Women have a hormone that helps them forget the pain of pregnancy and perhaps I have a similar hormone that helps me forget the pain of hiking, a month later it doesn't seem so bad. The feeling of accomplishment reaching the submit (and reaching the parking lot- I've never been so happy to see Joe's ugly car) and the views were amazing - none of my pictures do them justice.

Luckily, I packed plenty of GF treats to keeping me going and I needed the snack incentive when the going got tough!

Here's the recap:

We started out bright and early, but not early enough and Hunt Trail was the only option.

Snack #1: Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar! I'm a big fan of Larabar for their gluten-freeness and yummy flavors. I especially love how I can always count the ingredients on one hand, so rare and so much easier label reading. For instance, the Peanut Butter Cookie bar contains peanuts, dates and salt. So simple. So good.

The scenery really was gorgeous. This is about half-way up. Please note the cloud shaped like a duck.

Snack #2: The old standby, Luna Bar, in Toasted Nuts and Cranberry. Like the Larabar, I enjoy Luna Bars for their gluten-freeness and yummy flavors. I also like reading the back of my bar for some inspiration. Favorite flavor: Chocolate Raspberry!

None of my pictures do it justice, you might just have to climb Katahdin yourselves!

My summit sandwich. Thoughts of this declicious sandwich concotion kept me going the whole way up (I guess Joe helped a little too, maybe) and it's probably the best sandwich I've ever had. Turkey, goat cheese, cucumber and spinach on GF Bakehouse Sandwich Bread.

There aren't any pictures for the way down, because I really wasn't having any fun anymore and didn't feel any picture inspiration. After we left the summit, it didn't take me very long to twist my ankle and the rest of the way was very slow going. I'm starting to remember why I swore I wouldn't do it again . . .

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Product Review: Liz Lovely Gluten Free Cookies

Last Friday I came home to this beautifully presented package from Liz Lovely. It wasn't exactly a surprise, I had been obsessively tracking the package since I placed the order and couldn't wait to get home Friday night to open it! It was worth the (very short-they're amazingly speedy!) wait, these cookies are delicious!

I discovered Liz Lovely's gluten-free cookies on the blog Gluten Hates Me, when I went to the website and looked at the product, I couldn't wait to place an order! The only problem was: which cookies to order. Liz Lovely offers an mouth-wateringly diverse selection of GF cookie treats, from the classic Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle and Peanut Butter to the more exotic German Chocolate Cake covered in coconut. Lucky for me, Liz was having a sale. I ordered the Gluten-Free Cookie Sampler and saved myself the agonizing decision of picking just one or two cookies to order.

I first sampled the Chocolate Chip, figuring the old standby was a good starting point. And, honestly, doing a squeeze test, I thought it felt a little harder than the other selections. I also wanted to get the cookie with the slight hockey puck feel out of the way first. The cookie had great flavor, but I wasn't impressed with the texture. Too dense and crumbly, probably a result of the rice flour. It was a good cookie, as far as GF cookies go, but I wasn't blown away.

The Snickerdoodle, however, blew me away! So soft, moist, pefect Snickerdoodle flavor- love that combination of sugar and cinnamon- I was amazed it didn't have any butter in it (Liz's cookies are also vegan). I can't say enough good things about this cookie, I hope the others I have yet to sample are as good. I'm especially looking forward to the German Chocolate Cake and Ginger Molasses. I will let you know the verdicts!

I definitely recommend heading over to Liz's website and placing an order. Join the Fanclub and get a little discount!

Liz Lovely's GF Cookies make cats happy!
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