28 March 2009

corn chex

Remember when Rice Chex became gluten-free and we were so excited? And remember I said that there's no reason that other cereals can't be gluten-free, too, except the cereal companies insist on using barley malt? Well, General Mills has been listening. Boxes of gluten-free Corn Chex are popping up on store shelves, and according to General Mills, several Chex varieties will be officially gluten-free starting on 1 June 2009. 

It's great the the mainstream food companies are listening to us.

**Read labels carefully. Many boxes of Chex containing gluten will stay on the store shelves until they are sold out.**

Image from istockphoto.com.

25 March 2009

bakery on main granola

I love granola. I don’t care how hippie that makes me sound. I don’t care that it’s one of those health foods that’s secretly laden with fat. When going gluten-free, giving up granola made me nervous. What was I supposed to put in my yogurt now? Dried fruit alone is too much sugar for me. Flax seeds just don’t crunch. No granola also meant no granola-type cereals, too, and cereals were a major source of my whole grain intake. Now what?

While visiting my mom in Rhode Island, she introduced me to a gluten-free granola that she picked up at a local health-food store. I bought a couple bags to bring back to California with me, ate them, and sort of forgot about them. I assumed they were locally made for that one private store. Besides, I was living in California; if I didn’t see gluten-free granola there, it must not exist anywhere except for one little Rhode Island pocket. (And there are quite a few products that exist only in Rhode Island, so it’s not crazy for me to assume that.)

Last summer, while browsing for gluten-free foods to stock up on for our move to Burundi, I rediscovered Bakery On Main. More flavors! And available in bulk on Amazon.com! Now I have my grains and dried fruit and nuts to take with me.

The Rainforest mixes well with the tropical fruit salad I’ve always got in the fridge here. When I tried the Cranberry Orange Cashew, it was like opening a bag of Christmas, with the orangey-spice scent that wafts from the bag. I’ve tried all the flavors and they all suit different snacking moods. Sometimes I mix it with other cereal (the Cranberry Orange Cashew is yummy mixed with EnviroKids Koala Crisp); sometimes I eat it straight up with milk. As I noted before, I mix it into fruit salad. I also mix it into muffin batter for hearty breakfast muffins. I try not to snack on it right out of the bag, because then I’d eat it too quickly. It’s tempting but my fear of not knowing when my next fix will come keeps me at bay.

Bakery On Main gluten-free granola is available from their website and in bulk from Amazon.com groceries. Their website has a store locator to help you find granola near you. Not all their products are gluten-free, so read the packaging carefully.

23 March 2009

lesser evil krinkle sticks

When I saw these on sale from my primary grocery source these days, Amazon.com groceries, I made an impulse buy. I was jonesin’ for some crunchy, salty snack food. Of course the frustrating part about satisfying cravings via internet shopping in Africa is that it takes three weeks for your poison to arrive. By the time my Lesser Evil Classic Seasalt Krinkle Sticks arrived, I’d forgotten that I’d wanted a crunchy, salty snack. (And because Amazon sells in bulk, I had something like twelve little packs to get through before allowing myself another crazy impulse buy.)

Now, if I had taken a bite and discovered they tasted just like Pringles, I would have instantly fallen back in crush with salty, crunchy snacks. But for a product that calls itself “Seasalt,” it wasn’t salty enough. I kind of liked the natural potato flavor though. The crunchiness… it was a satisfying first bite, but ended up getting chewy and stuck in my teeth.

As for the “Lesser Evil” gimmick… it’s still snack food, not health food. For some reason it’s not simple enough to have potatoes, salt, and oil on the ingredients list. Ingredients include: potato flakes, potato granules, potato starch, salt, annatto coloring, sunflower oil, maltodextrin, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, white powder. They claim to have 75% less fat than “regular” potato chips, they have 110 calories per serving, and they are cholesterol free and gluten free. I guess the lesser evil part comes in because all potato chips are bad for you, these just aren’t as bad.

And I’m a potato chip fiend. But I’d rather have less healthy chips that are just a tad tastier. And I do prefer chips to sticks.

I’m almost through my 12 packs. I aim to be finished with them by the time my next impulse purchase arrives.

Lesser Evil snacks are available directly from their website and from Amazon.com groceries. They are also sold at Target, Whole Foods, and Safeway. They have potato sticks and kettle corn varieties. (I don’t care for kettle corn, so I’m not going to try it.)

22 March 2009

food safety

I was shocked when I read this in a recent New York Times editorial:
Thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, but people often use the same knife to cut raw meat and then to chop vegetables. Or they plop a pork chop on a plate, cook it and then contaminate it by putting it back on the original plate.
Really? People don't wash their knives after cutting raw meat? I thought that was the most basic rule of being in the kitchen. They put cooked meat on the same plate as raw meat? Seriously? 

The major meat-raising facilities aren't going to quit using antibiotics in the feed any time son. It's not realistic for everyone in the United States to go all cage-free organic. We can't trust the FDA or USDA to monitor the health of every piece of meat that's raised. We have to take matters into our own hands and that means washing those hands, and everything else in the kitchen, while we prepare food.

14 March 2009

food meme: how many have you eaten? 38/100

1) Copy this list into a post.
2) Bold or underline all the items you’ve eaten. (Feel free to include comments!)
3) Put an X in front of any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Edit the subject line of your post to reflect your score

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
X 6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
X 26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
X 28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects -- well, I probably have eaten bugs unintentionally
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
X 55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake --In Rhode Island, doughboys would be the equivalent.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Being gluten-free prevents me from eating some of these things, even though I'd really like to try them. (And some of them I got to try pre-diagnosis.)

I realize it's a little too easy to post a meme, but I'm exhausted. Two friends are leaving Bujumbura this week and we've been having farewell parties and receptions since Thursday. We are bumming around trying to sleep this afternoon before the next round of parties tonight. (After just having come home from a champagne brunch.)

07 March 2009

annie's rice pasta & cheddar

I grew up loving the original Annie's macaroni and cheese and I was devastated when I couldn't eat in any more. On the other end of the spectrum, I also loved the fake oranginess of Kraft macaroni and cheese. I found some enjoyable gluten-free macaroni and cheese mixes, but nothing that brought me back to childhood (and college-hood, and first-apartment-hood).

Just before we left for Bujumbura last summer I noticed that Annie's had finally developed a gluten-free macaroni and cheese: Annie's Rice Pasta & Cheddar. It was tasty! It was orange! It was Annie's + Kraft, sittin' in a tree. And I could buy it in bulk from Amazon.com Groceries.

This month, just as my supply is starting to dwindle, Amazon.com Groceries has Annie's products on sale, including the gluten-free Rice Pasta & Cheddar.

Save 30% instantly when you purchase select Annie's products. Enter code ANNHOME5 at checkout. The offer is valid through 31 March 2009. Sold in packs of 12 boxes.

Image from Amazon.com Groceries.

06 March 2009

lunch in a box forums

I've been a long-time reader of the Lunch in a Box blog. It's more than just bento blogging. It's practical food packing advice for kid and grown-up lunches. Time-saving tips. Food recommendations--what works best as leftovers and how to care for them for optimum freshness.

Now Biggie and fans have a place to chat: the Lunch in a Box forums. I've had so much fun the last few weeks "meeting" food bloggers and the lunch-packing obsessed. Check it out if you're looking for fun new ways to pack lunch for your kid or yourself, or if you're just a foodie like me.

03 March 2009

peet's burundi

This escaped me while I was on vacation, but for one last day (today!) you can buy Burundian coffee from Peets:
Discover Peet's Burundi—a berry perfumed and caramel textured East African coffee. This wonderful new treasure is a coffee redolent of Kenya's berry perfume, but with the bold, caramel texture we enjoy in Burundi.

Tucked in between Rwanda and Tanzania, Burundi sits in the heart of that grouping of East African jewels which consistently provides us with interesting African flavors: berries and body, clarity and heft. Given the country's remote location, it is difficult to get coffee out on time to be savored at the peak of the season. Fortunately we did—because Burundi coffees are at their finest this time of year.

This coffee is so good that we are making it the heart of our upcoming Anniversary Blend—but it's a treat to taste alone, so we're offering the top pick of the lot for one last roast.

Order online by Tuesday, March 3rd for the last roast.
Also available in Burundi African sampler.
Cross-posted at Where in the World Am I.


The food on our trip wasn't great, but one night the main meat dish was an interesting surprise. I was going through the buffet, scooping up rice and vegetables, avoiding pasta and bread, and I don't love pot roast, but I figured I'd take a piece or two because I was pretty hungry. A few people behind me in line, I heard someone ask, "What is the meat?" The answer: "Impala." I had mixed feelings about eating one of the little critters I had just watched all afternoon long on safari, but I didn't want to return meat I'd already taken from the chaffing dish. I went back to the table and said to Mike, "Guess what the meat is!"

I sat down and tried it, and it was tasty! It's like pot roast, only leaner. And the roasted veggies on the side were a nice complement. This was undoubtedly the best meal of the whole trip, outside of one night in a restaurant.



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