Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gluten Free Bun at Red Robin, YUMMMM!

DELICIOUS gluten free buns from Red Robin!

Last night we picked up Tim from the airport and took advantage of being near the only Red Robin on Long Island for dinner.  We have been to a few Red Robins in the last couple of years, including the one in Carle Place and always enjoyed our meals.  After arriving last night and facilitating multiple bathroom trips and trying to get all of Ellis's food out of the diaper bag, I glanced at the menu for a second and tried to make a decision.  Thank goodness Tim is a speed reader because he was the one who noticed they now carry Gluten Free Hamburger Buns, for $1.00 more.

I usually get my burgers wrapped in lettuce when I'm there, which is nice, but messy, the juice just leaks out all over the place and makes a disaster.  I didn't have much faith that the Gluten Free Bun would be much more than edible, but was I ever WRONG!!!  It was AMAZING!!!  Soft, warm, lightly toasted, and buttered, PERFECT!  I have eaten so many hamburgers without buns in my life that this was a truly delicious experience, the bun is there to sop up all the juices and make the whole thing more edible, who knew!

Tim also noted that his Royal Red Robin burger actually looked like the picture on the menu when it was delivered to him.  I had the "Big Tavern," I think, the waitress helped me order (she told me the Tavern double is two smaller patties and almost the same weight as the Big Tavern) amid the chaos of two hungry kids, and I couldn't have been happier .  Ceci had a cheese burger without a bun, she is so spoiled!  She lives in a world where there is access to gluten free buns and she doesn't even want them, foolishness!

We will be going back for sure!  And if I have my say it will be sooner than later.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gluten Free Buttermilk and Cranberry Scones

Ellis and I are sitting here at the breakfast table and I'm realizing I haven't really posted anything since he was born.  I'm nearly positive that's because he hasn't slept through the night, more than 5 times since he was born, which combined with the lack of sleep at the end of pregnancy means I haven't slept right in almost a year.  I'm happy to report (and hope I am not jinxing myself) that he has finally started sleeping through the night a little more regularly and I now seem to have more energy, go figure.

Yesterday, armed with my new found energy I was inspired to use some of the buttermilk I have sitting in the fridge and bake.  I found a recipe for buttermilk scones and could not wait to try it, I'm always so tempted at Starbucks by the pretty scones in the case.  Fortunately I can always resist them, but it's getting harder and harder, until now!!  Ceci and I made these up yesterday afternoon while Ellis was sleeping and we could hardly keep our hands off them to save them for this morning's breakfast.  Ellis even ate bits of them for his breakfast, after I picked around the cranberries for him.

I love baking with buttermilk, it gives a really nice tang to the scones, as well as a velvety moisture, making them impossible to resist.  The recipe called for cinnamon to be sprinkled on top and gave a warmness to the scones.  I realized when we were making the scones that I take a lot of language for granted with Ceci, she is 4 and a half now and communicates with us incredibly well.  I told her to sprinkle cinnamon on, and turned to put some dirty dishes in the sink, I turned back to see her hand all the way into the (costco size) cinnamon jar, and piles of cinnamon on top of several scones.  Oops, guess I should have explained the difference between sprinkle and dump, one of the scones I had to dump the excess cinnamon off.  She is a crack up!  The scones were still delicious

Gluten Free Buttermilk and Cranberry Scones

1/4   Cup Soy Flour
3/4   Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/2   Cup Oat Flour
1/2   Cup Brown Rice Flour
1      teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/4   Cup Granulated Sugar
4      teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4   teaspoon Baking Soda
1      Egg
1      Cup Buttermilk
3 1/2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
1/2   Cup Dried Cranberries (or any dried berries, raisins, or chopped up dried fruits)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)
Whisk dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl and set aside.
Mix Egg, Buttermilk, and melted butter, then add all at once to dry mix, with dried fruit.  Stir with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened, batter will be very wet.
Using a large spoon, or a muffin scooper with a 2 1/2 inch bowl, drop batter in mounds on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle tops with cinnamon.
Bake for 12-15 min, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of scone comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack, or serve warm.
Inside view of Buttermilk Cranberry Scones

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ceci's 4th Birthday Purple Velvet Cake

Today we celebrated my amazing daughter's 4th birthday!  About 11 months ago she started asking for a Rapunzel birthday party for her 4th birthday, so today we made that simple wish a reality.  I asked her a month ago what cake she wanted me to make and she simply shouted "purple!"  Well, I know that red velvet cake is one of her favorites, which I truly believe is because she loves the cream cheese frosting on top, so I hunted down purple food dye and made it happen.  A week or two ago I realized I could make a frying pan shaped cake so I could write a birthday message.  Yesterday I went on a dessert making rampage and created all sorts of treats, purple velvet mini cupcakes, purple velvet cake, cake pops, purple chocolate covered marshmallows, and purple chocolate dipped pretzels.  Today I dyed frosting, and myself, 3 different colors, and was pretty proud of my mess!  The smile on that sweet face made all of it worth it.

Here's to 4 years of sweet joy!  I love you my little kitten Ceci!

Ceci's dessert extravaganza!

Purple Velvet Cake with grey cream cheese frosting, made into the shape of a frying pan.
"Chocolate" covered marshmallows, and "chocolate" dipped pretzels
Purple velvet mini cupcakes with yellow cream cheese frosting, representing Rapunzel's purple dress, and yellow hair

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Coffee

For Mother's Day this year Tim got me a Keurig coffee maker, with an auto on timer to help me start my days with two kids.  I have spent the last several months taste testing several coffees and found a few I like.  Until about two weeks ago, I found San Francisco Bay Coffee company through

I was so thrilled to find these coffee pods, there is no plastic cup on them!!!  So much less waste!  I was sick about throwing away those little plastic cups everyday and now I don't have to.  I chose to sign up for Amazon's subscribe and save program, where they automatically charge your credit card and ship your item on a regular basis, this brought the cost of the coffee pods down to 41 cents each, the cheapest I have found anywhere.  One more reason I decided to get this coffee with out taste testing it was that for every 1 or 2 star review on Amazon the San Francisco Bay Coffee company personally responded and offered a resolution to any possible problem with the product.

view of the bottom of the coffee pod

I subscribed to the French Roast flavor of coffee, because it is considered their dark roast.  San Francisco Bay offers 2 other varieties of coffee, I personally like coffee you can stand a fork up in.  Their French Roast coffee delivers!  I love the strong dark taste, and it's perfect with a little milk and a bit of agave nectar.  It has an amazingly rich smell, and it goes down smooth and easy. I'm very happy we found these coffee pods and I'm also glad someone thought to get rid of those plastic cups.  The only drawback to these pods is they need to be stored in an air tight container to maintain freshness, I put them in a Rubbermaid storage container I had laying around.  The good part of that is they send you 3 vacuum sealed bags of 12 pods each so you are only storing at most 12 pods at a time the others can stay in their factory bags until you are ready to open them.

P. S. My aunt just let me know that Costco in Oregon carries these pods in a box of 80 for $26.00, or 32 cents/each.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Breakfast, Wild Flours Bakeshop

I wanted to type a nice post about my breakfast this morning, instead I'm surrounded by two adorable children who want all of my attention.  I've managed to balance Ellis on my lap and the computer on my legs with Ceci on the other side begging for wonder woman videos on youtube.  I bargained a few minutes away from wonder woman videos to write this note about my delicious coffee cake from Wild Flours Bakery in Huntington Village.   We stopped by last night on our way home from haircuts and picked up some cupcakes and breakfast treats.

First of all, it's a dedicated gluten free bakery that does not use any nuts!  They are also dairy free for those who need it.  I love walking in the door and telling Ceci she can pick anything she wants in the cases, that is a huge mommy moment for me, considering most of the time I have to negotiate with her to select one or two items that are close to safe for her.  Ceci picked a gorgeous vanilla cupcake topped with chocolate mousse frosting and some pink sprinkles, I chose a cookies and cream cupcake for dessert last night, and a coffee cake for breakfast today.  We were too greedy to stop and take pictures of the cupcakes, they were so yummy we gobbled them up.

All the cake components of our treats were so light and airy and perfectly sweet.  The vanilla cake is almost to delicate to hold up the sinfully rich chocolate mousse frosting, but somehow gets the job done in the most delicious of ways!  My cupcake had a light chocolate cake, again light, airy, and delicate, with the perfect flavor of chocolate.   The icing on my cupcake was more of a ganache than a frosting which I suspect comes from the lack of dairy, and was a bit purpley-grey from the cookie bits being blended into it.  Now ask me if I was bothered by any of those issues after the first bite, my answer is NOPE!  I ate the whole thing!  This morning I got the joy of a beautiful coffee cake that I did not have to make.  The topping was so crumbly, with the perfect balance of sweetness and cinnamon, on top of the again, delicate, airy and sweet, dry cake.  I loved it!

Maybe I'm glad it's a bit of a hike to the bakery, so I can save it for when I really want to go, otherwise I would weigh a million pounds.  Everything is always yummy there and it is so hard to choose just a few treats when we are at the counter.  As a person who has been gluten free all my life, there is such a beautiful happiness seeing an entire bakery case full of treats that are totally safe for me to eat.  I said it earlier, but it's worth repeating, taking Ceci into a bakery where everything is safe for her to eat, makes my heart so happy, seeing the huge smile on her face as she runs to the glass case and presses her tiny button nose against it to choose the most beautiful treat she can find.

We are so happy we have found Wild Flours Bakeshop!

Ok, back to Wonder Woman videos!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Announcements and Apologies

I would like to apologize for my lack of posting in the last few months, I am sorry.  I would also like to announce the reason for my lack of posts, on April 3, 2012, we welcomed Ellis Yung-Tsun into our lives!  I had a beautiful healthy baby boy, 6 lbs 8oz, 20 in.

Since his birth I have been in a total fog trying to keep up with his eating habits day and night, so typing on the computer has been hard to do.  Hopefully as he settles into a schedule and doesn't need to eat every 20 min (it just feels that way) I can get back to cooking with Ceci and posting our creations here.

We feel so fortunate to welcome Ellis into our family.  Thank you for your patience in this exciting time in our lives.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Timing is Everything

This last week I was contacted by an amazing woman, Heather, who has an incredible story to tell with a beautiful outlook on life.  She was so kind as to write a guest post for me, while it doesn't directly correlate to Celiac/Gluten Intolerance it does relate to handling what life gives you.  It also relates to being a mother, which is certainly a part of this blog, and always welcome here.  Please read, and please encourage your friends and family to read more of Heather's story and philosophy on her blog at  A huge Thank You again to Heather for sharing her journey.

Heather and Family

Timing is Everything
By:  Heather Von St. James

Ineffable, funny sounding word, it’s an adjective with the definition of unable to be expressed in words. Most people can conjure up an adjective to describe any situation life puts in front of you. But alas, there is still one situation that can never be put into words to describe the feeling of it. Cancer, yes cancer, the real “C” word, which was introduced to me first hand on November 21, 2005, roughly four months after the birth of my one and only child. How’s that for timing? You’ll see that timing is a theme of this life episode.

Why would life do this anyone, to me!? Blessed with a new child to care for and now I’m to conquer the big C, malignant pleural mesothelioma to be exact. Why now? Why ever? But I wasn’t going to beat down by any disease. I’m strong, I’m now a Mother and I’ve got a life to live beyond my own. I turned cancer on its head and decided to not be the victim but to accept this challenge with my head held high. Being referred to one of world’s leading mesothelioma doctors, who was able to give me continued hope that I could beat this thing; kept the fire burning in me to beat it.

So did having a sense of humor about it, very important to this ordeal, I could only laugh when realizing that the date of my surgery to remove the tumor was on Groundhogs Day, 2006. We renamed Groundhogs Day, Lungleavin Day, since it was the day my lung left, and every year on the first weekend of February, we have a party to celebrate Lungleavin Day. No seeing any shadows this day. We celebrate the bright light of hope and life.

The big “C” is not so scary, in many ways I’ll be eternally grateful for this challenge that I overcame and lived though. My life has a bigger purpose now, more direction. I didn’t take the birth of my child for granted but there is a pureness to my love of motherhood now, because it could have easily been taken away from me. Proudly I’m now in a special club of beautiful and strong warriors, current battlers and survivors of cancer, their supporters and nurses and doctors who dedicate their lives to beating cancer and bringing more awareness to this disease.

In life, timing is everything. And now I simply approach each day with the joy of being alive and enjoying it, because any day could be your last. Cancer, you’re strong but I’m stronger and wish great strength to any other warriors battling cancer, call me, I’ve been there.