Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A $20 trip to the Strip

It was one of those rare days, the rain was holding out and I had the whole evening off! But when your paycheck isn't coming in until Monday, and you are hungry for something delicious there is one place to go, The Strip District.

I remember as a little girl getting up early with my father, grumbling about how early it was, but obediently getting in his old Cadillac to go and see Bill. Bill was the owner of Bills Produce, and my Dad was always good with getting to know everyone. Because my father was a regular on the weekends Bill used to save him the “special stuff”, which was hidden in the back. Each week Bill would run into his back area and come out with a beautiful basket of fresh plump strawberries or green beans that cracked when you snapped them. I remember the effect it had on me as a young girl, seeing my father talk with his grocer and getting to know him as a person, and then remembering him when we said grace that night at dinner.

On Saturday as Karen and I walked in the strip district on a $20 bill mission for good food, we passed by the faded sign of Bills Produce. It’s been closed for some time, but the legacy and the same Strip District is still very much alive down there. As we walked along the way across from Old Bills we found this open garage door (as stores are in the strip) with a hand written sign of the prices. For $2 we carried out a beautiful bunch of Kale Greens, Fresh Curley Parsley, and 3 or 4 Lemons. Not to mention having a great conversation with the woman who handled the money, who said I looked like a girl she went to school with back in the day.

With a new pep in our step from being told I was pretty, and only spending 2 dollars we paroozed my favorite stops. At the Open Air Market, I had a great conversation with a female baker who now is working with a local bakery to have Gluten Free bread etc mix there. Local and affordable, count me in! We then wove our way through Wholey’s Fish Market bumping in to one of my High School friend’s parents who were on a mission to buy an Octopus, which they say if prepared right is quite a delicacy.

After Wholey’s we weaved in and out of the throng of people on the main street. Music playing in the air, vendors hacking t-shirts with hilarious Pittsburgh themes, sales on home made food, and lots of colorful scarves, hats, and jewelry. We ducked into a cookware store, and drooled over all the cooking ware. Not being able to leave empty handed, we found a fun $6 hand grater. We justified this because Karen had just gone to Delillos grocery earlier that morning and bought fresh asiago cheese, hand rolled mozzarella, mozzarella with prosciutto, as well as having assorted other hard cheeses in my fridge waiting to be tried.

Only 2 more necessary stops, because our stomachs were beginning to grumble. The first being to Pittsburgh Popcorn Company. As always there was a line of people gearing up for their weekend treat. Large basins filled with different flavors and the delectable smells that accompanied them greeted us as we entered the store. There is a hip young feel as the 20-something workers seamlessly work around each other dishing out samples and filling bags with popcorn goodness. Karen sampled the baklava flavor of the week, which she likes, but not enough for immediate buying. I, on the other hand, tried the Reese’s flavor and had to buy a medium size bag. Only $5.50, which for this bag of gold I was more then willing to spend.

Our last stop was my favorite grocery store, Right By Nature, with 6.50 left in out pocket. One of the best things for someone who has a Gluten Allergy is knowing that there is a place where you can find food you can eat. I had been hankering for a baguette for several weeks, and knew that Right by Nature would have it. They have a beautiful 8’ft isle dedicated to gluten free foods. To my surprise and elation, gluten free foods such ad baguettes and frozen pizzas were on sale by the manager. And with a dollar or so change in our pockets, Karen and I left the strip district excited about our spread for the evening.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rough Day

Madam, how like you this play?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

I MUST PROTEST! Yesterday was rough. I had a Light and Fit yogurt... which i had thought was gluten free.... but alas.... no... and i was doubled over on my couch for several hours not able to move.....

But despite the sickness... i did have a new recipe for you all

Baked wings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 (or more) chicken wings (DE THAWED)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Combine the olive oil, garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large, resealable bag; seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken wings; reseal and shake to coat. Arrange the chicken wings on a baking sheet.
  3. Cook the wings in the preheated oven 1 hour, or until crisp and cooked through.

KAIT's note: flip them over half way through the time!

ooo and the best part THE BBQ SAUCE


  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup HEINZ ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Savory paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce.... enough to taste!


  1. In a medium bowl or bottle, combine EVERYTHING. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready for use.

the sauce was so delicious... we had them on the potatoes .... and the wings...... mmmm delish.

So gluten might have conquered my afternoon. BUT WE CONQUERED DINNER.

Does the lady protest too much? Nah..... just enough.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's for Dinner??

Alas, poor Gluten! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.

OK My major thunder is Bob's Red Mill products. They have a pizza dough and flower and pancake mix that is all gluten free...

GF Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 package of Bob's redmill pizza dough (follow instructions.. but make sure you put butter on the ends of the crust when you bake it with toppings... gives it a nice taste and color)

Buffalo Dip recipe


* 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained (trader joes is GF)
* 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
* 3/4 cup pepper sauce (Frank's Red Hot® is GF)
* 1 1/2 cups of GF Mozzarella that i shred with a carrot pealer


1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Now add on top of pizza and bake with the cheese on top. (The Bob's red mill has the pizza directions)


Citrus Salmon and Salad

* 4 (4 ounce) wild salmon fillets
* 3 teaspoons olive oil
* 4 (12 inch) squares of parchment paper
* 1 blood orange, sliced into rounds
* 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
* 1 lime, sliced into rounds
* 1 bunch fresh dill weed
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Brush each piece of salmon on both sides with a light coating of olive oil. Fold each sheet of parchment in half and use scissors to round out the corners so that it is almost a circle. Open the sheets back up.
3. Place the salmon fillets skin side down onto the center of each piece of parchment. Sprinkle with lemon pepper, then place a sprig of dill onto each fillet. Cover with one slice of orange, one slice of lemon and one slice of lime per serving. You may add more to taste. Lay another sprig or two of dill over the citrus slices.
4. Fold each piece of parchment up and over the fillets. Holding both edges of the parchment together, roll the edge down making several folds as you go until the fish fillets are tightly sealed in their packets. Place packets on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until fish is able to be flaked with a fork. You may need to open one of the packets to check. To serve, place packets onto serving plates and use scissors to cut an X in the center, being careful not to cut the food.
(from all recipes.com)

I love to have this on spring mix lettuce with chopped sweet onion, GF crckers from Costco, and home made honey mustard dressing (Helman's mayo, Dijon mustard and honey mixed with a freshly squeezed lemon)


Coconut Shrimp

(i modified a recipe i found online!)


* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup brown rice flour (topped off with flax seed flour)
* 2/3 cup coconut milk (instead of beer)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 cup (of the brown rice flour flax seed mix)
* 2 cups flaked coconut
* 24 shrimp
* 3 cups oil for frying


1. In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, milk and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.
2. Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/milk batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes!!!! really important!!! Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer.
3. Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. (then put into oven to keep warm)

(make sure to defrost shrimp! water and oil do NOT mix!!)

Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.


I use orange marmalade, mustard and horseradish mixed to taste... heated them on the stove and mixed together.. delish! yum yum yum

I enjoy cooking, and the best part of this whole going GF is figuring out WHAT's for Dinner...

I will keep on keeping on! and fill you all in... who ever you are. :)


Monday, March 1, 2010

Let me Recap my Gluten Free journey thus far!

If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Mr Shakespeare that sounds great.... but was I eating food that was poisoning me?

My best friend since first grade decided to go Gluten free in January... I was intrigued, and asked around about it. Found out that her mother had also gone gluten free, and my mother had seriously reduced her carb intake...... what was their common reaction. They felt a lot better.

Things about me. I am in theater... I dance, i am very active... and i kept gaining wait. I did have abdominal pain... weak sense of smell, was stuffed up/ cold like symptoms often.... bloated.... you get the picture. I felt like my body was just getting bigger and bigger and there was nothing i could do about it.

The last week in January 2010. I thought.... hey maybe I should try going gluten free. And thus started my journey. First i had to figure out what was gluten... what is it in.... how to recognize and avoid it. (i also decided to give up alcohol for lent to help me see the difference in how the food effects me without that clouding my system)

Gluten: Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-gluten.htm)

SO i have eleiminated these things from my diet.

Things i have noticed:
I can SMELL THINGS (for better or for worse)
I lost 15 lbs quickly..... hmmm interesting
I have a lot more energy

Interesting! Another thing is one day I decided.... "Hey i don't really think i have a problem with gluten." ....and decided to eat brunch at Piper's Pub. an Irish Boxy. which is a potato pancake that engulfs other stuff. I used to eat this whole thing.... when i went the one weekend after going gluten free... i got sick after 1/4 of it.

Interesting...... I will be updating you all with how this goes..... OoOoO and adding my recipes!!