Sunday, April 14, 2013

Easy Easter Lunch

I hosted my first ever holiday this past Easter with my mom and her boyfriend joining me for a culinary feast...and a chance to show off my plates and serving pieces my mom bought me as my Christmas present one year.  Since I was attending Mass a few hours before lunch, I had to be a good chef and have my mise en place in place so I could start the oven within minutes of returning home.  Everything below is very easy to make and I did not create too many dishes.  (The dishwasher did have to run twice that day.)  After lunch, the three of us headed off for a light four mile stroll along Lake Michigan to Montrose Harbor, enjoying the beach, protected bird area (never knew we had that in Chicago), and city skyline.  Then we headed back home for some gluten free angel food cake topped with pineapple and chocolate ice cream.

It was great fun hostessing the holiday as well as enjoying quintessential spring foods.

Here is what I made for our Easter lunch:
Scalloped potatoes
   Substitutions: coconut milk, vegan butter, cheddar cheese (I'm only doing small amounts of dairy at a time) with Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour
Ham with Peach and Apricot Glaze and
   Substitutions: used crushed pineapple and its juice
Roasted Asparagus
   Substitutions: added a side of bacon.  Just kidding.  I ate all the leftover bacon so had none to spare.
Spring Penne with Bacon: finally, an original recipe!  This is my new favorite and I was thrilled to have lots of leftovers for lunches.  I am also addicted to the Eating Right Gluten Free Penne pasta from Dominick's (Safeway).  It is the best corn based pasta I have had!  And it goes on sale frequently!!

Spring Penne with Bacon
12 oz gluten free penne
2 T olive oil
1/2 lb frozen peas
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 lb cooked bacon cut into small pieces
1 t red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Cook the noodles according to the package's directions.
Cook the frozen peas in the microwave for one or two minutes less than recommended.
Add oil to a pan and saute the shallots until tender.  Add the peas, shallots, bacon, and red pepper flakes and cook for another two or three minutes.  Drain the pasta and toss with this mixture.

Happy spring from Windy City Cooking!  Enjoy the glorious spring days ahead!

2013 GFAF Expo this weekend!

This weekend is my favorite weekend of the year - Gluten Free Weekend!  I will be attending the 2013 Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo in Schaumburg, IL - a close drive from Chicago.  The expo is on April 20 and 21 with early bird admission starting at 9:00am both days.  Otherwise, the expo is open to the public from 10:00am until 4:00pm.  Early bird tickets are $35.00 and regular tickets are only $20.00.

Some tips and tricks for making the most out of the expo:
Bring a bottle of water to drink - you will be trying lots of tasty treats and sipping some water between sampling and staying hydrated is a must.
Wear comfortable shoes - you will be walking around, chatting with genius vendors who make your new favorite gluten and allergen free goodies, meeting new friends, sharing secrets of the diet and more.  Treat your feet well!
Bring a camera or a smart phone - I use mine to take pictures of products I want to find in my local grocery store and websites to visit. I find this much more convenient than digging through my bag for a pen!
Plan on learning something new - there are so many wonderful presenters this year sharing more information on the gluten free diet.  Be sure to check out the class schedule here.  I am most excited for Kim Koeller's Safely Eat Out and Travel presentation on Saturday.  I heard her speak last year and it is inspiring me to travel the world!

Over a hundred and fifty vendors will be attending the expo this year.  Don't miss out!  Ticket prices are a steal considering how many samples you will try and coupons you will receive from the various vendors.

I am excited about attending the expo this year.  I was dairy free for around four years and over the past few months, I have grown out of that intolerance.  More of the expo's samples are available for me to try but I still need to enjoy things in moderation.  In addition to being gluten intolerant, I have been on a low fructose diet due to fructose malabsorption for just over a year now.

Follow me on Twitter during the expo at or on Facebook at

Check out my earlier recaps of previous expos:
2011 GFAFExpo
2012 GFAFExpo and Nourished - Blogger's Conference

See you there!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oh My, OMango!

My sister always has her ear out for gluten free offerings and new products to share with me.  Valerie's latest find is her best one yet - OMango restaurant in Aurora.  Valerie billed this new restaurant to me as "like Chipotle - but Indian" and I was instantly sold on taking the Metra out to Aurora to meet her for lunch.
Their menu is packed with Indian staples like tandoori, wraps, and curries.  At the bottom of the menu is an allergen statement - a sign that I am in a restaurant that will take care of me.  Many of their menu items are also marked signifying vegan options; no vegans or dairy free folks will go hungry here!  A helpful manager guided us through the menu - pointing out the dairy and gluten free options for me (a large portion of the menu) and some recommendations for my sister who is just starting to eat Indian food.

Valerie's lunch on top; My gluten free lunch on bottom
The food arrived at our table quickly after we ordered and Valerie and I enjoyed a full lunch.  The portions were generous and the food tasted superb.  The plain (no filing) dosas are made with lentils and rice, are naturally gluten free, and HUGE.  My once huge dosa slowly shrank as I tried my different curry offerings and rice.  Valerie devoured her samosas while I used my gf dosa to scoop up my curries, including the tasty saag (a spinach puree).  OMango is the place to go for a delicious Indian meal - whether you are gluten free or not!  My OMango lunch was even better than the Indian food I previously have eaten on Devon Avenue - who knew that best Indian food in Chicago was outside the city limits?

For OMango menu, check out their website.  Whether you are familiar with Indian food or are trying something new, you are sure to enjoy OMango's offerings!  I'm excited to return to OMango with Valerie again and try even more of their menu.  Until I can travel to India, OMango in Aurora is the next best thing!