Monthly Archives: December 2010

Don’t be too trusting…

Beware the Pizza….

Once again, I have been taught that even doing our best to research products and cross-contamination precautions will not always guarantee “clean” food. When my husband recently told me that Mama Mia’s pizzeria in town had gluten-free crusts available I was excited. Being the skeptic, I e-mailed the owner and asked what procedures were taken to prevent cross-contamination.

The owner responded quickly to say that a separate area was used to prepare the pizza, it was cooked on a separate aluminum tray so as not to touch the oven bottom (where pizzas are placed) and that a separate cutting utensil was used for all GF pizzas. Of course, it’s a pizzeria so there is flour in the room, he said, but every precaution was taken. He also said that the crust was ordered from a GF outside source. Then I checked the website, here, which states that precautions are taken.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I did what every diligent GF eater should do…go right to the top and ask questions. I ordered a pizza, feeling confident that precautions were taken and I would soon be feasting on a GF mushroom pizza.

I arrived to find that my pizza was not ready. I waited, watching the pizza cook shift pizzas in the oven on three levels, using the same cutting utensil for all of them. I finally witnessed my pizza come out of the oven…sans any aluminum tray…and plopped into a box. He then quickly grabbed the same pizza cutter he had used on about 8 other pizzas and sliced it in 2 seconds.

Yes, I protested. “What are you doing?” I asked. “You just contaminated the pizza.”

“I did what?” he asked, completely clueless. When I explained to him, and someone who seemed to be the night manager, that a separate utensil was supposed to be provided, they both looked at me as if I had horns. They were given no instructions on doing anything different with these pizzas. The pizza cook then grabbed another one after I said I didn’t want the first one and tossed it into the oven, once again without any separate pan.

I finally explained that I wanted my money back and did not want any pizza. I told them they needed to talk with the owner and get educated on what they were supposed to do, and that they shouldn’t be selling it until they do.

I was sorely in the mood for pizza and went home and made a GF Creations pizza in my own oven. Yes, it was good and I knew it was safe.

Bottom line…unless you make it yourself, you just can’t be sure. And even after doing everything to ensure we are safe, there is no guarantee. I will still eat at restaurants and take my chances, but I won’t stop checking and double checking. I suggest you do the same.


Filed under cross contamination, gluten free, pizza

Saving Christmas Day with Almond Cookies

Although I had planned everything for the holiday, I realized early yesterday morning that I had forgotten cookies. Yes, company would be here in a few hours and I was cooking dinner. But, no cookies? I asked a friend if that was bad. Her reply, “Yes, it’s not Christmas without cookies. That’s like New Year’s Eve without booze.” What could I do?

Then, I checked my Facebook page, Gluten Free in AZ, and Ta-Da! There was a recipe for cookies from a loyal follower. And what could be better? I had everything I needed at home, no shopping required. Sweet!

These cookies are just as I remember them to be when I was a kid. I remember buying the box of almond crescents when I was in my 20s and eating the entire thing. Yes, they were that good. So I couldn’t wait to share these with my family. They were so good, everyone took some home and my husband ate every last one! I’ll be making these very often, they are my new favorite. Thanks to Sue Bush for saving my Christmas!

 Almond Crescent Cookies
1 c GF flour
1 c almond flour
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c cold butter in cubes
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

1 c crushed raw almonds

1/2 sifted powdered sugar to coat cookies

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Put the first 7 ingredients into a food processor and pulse until blended. Be careful to wipe down the sides and watch the butter to make sure it mixes. It will be a crumbly mixture.
3. Add nuts and pulse just until mixed.
4. Shape into crescents using about a tablespoon of mixture for each.
5. Place on parchment paper pretty close together. They only spread a little bit.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until bottoms are brown. Watch to make sure they don’t burn.
7, Let cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar while still warm so the sugar sticks.

Tips: I used Bob’s Redmill GF and Almond Flour. Also, make sure you grind the almonds pretty small so you don’t have huge chunks of almond in the cookies. I’ll be doubling this recipe next time since they went so fast.

Sue’s recipe called for pecans instead of almonds and did not include the almond extract. But you know how I must tweak things to fit my palate. Feel free to switch out the nuts, just watch for different baking times depending on the type of nuts used.

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and are looking forward to a brand new year. I’ve decided to completely change the layout of our house with new furniture and carpeting, just to get a new start on the year. But, the kitchen will stay the same. I know where everything is and I love it! The kitchen is the heart of the home, right?


Filed under almonds, cookies, gluten free, vegetarian

Let others pamper you sometimes!

Vegetarian, Gluten Free and Amazing!

Daughter decided she was hungry and wanted to make dinner tonight. What can I make? Well, surprise me…I said.

Wow, look at my surprise! She used a Gluten Free Creations Italian Herb Pizza Crust, spicy marinara, mozzarella, basil and garlic. Yum! She can cook for me anytime!

There is something wonderful that happens when someone cooks for you, isn’t there? Yes, I love to cook and share with others, but I have to admit I love it when someone cooks for me. Last night at book club, our hostess made a fabulous, gluten-free, vegetarian eggplant Parmesan for dinner. As a matter of fact, the entire meal, including appetizers, was completely GF and vegetarian. I felt like a princess.

So go ahead and let others pamper you every once in a blue moon. It feels great!

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Filed under gluten free, pizza, vegetarian