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Oct 1 2014

Recipe: Potato, Bacon and Cheese Soup

Last week I shared an awesome fall comfort food recipe for Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes from Allen Dikker of Potatopia. With the cool temperatures we are having here today, I am considering making soup for dinner. This Potato, Bacon and Cheese Soup is gluten-free the way it is written and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the month of October!


Allen Dikker of Potatopia’s Potato, Bacon and Cheese Soup
Servings: 12
Prep Time/Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 mins

4 cups water
6 thick slices of bacon
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
20 ounces chicken broth
4 tablespoons chicken soup base
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped small
2 stalks celery, chopped small (large)
1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 lb processed cheese
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 lb Swiss cheese, grated

Peel and prepare vegetables.

Cook bacon in a skillet. Once cool, crumble into small pieces and set aside.
In a large cooking pot, add water, salt, chicken broth, chicken soup base, black pepper, carrots, potatoes, onions and bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender; stirring occasionally.

Add celery, sweet red pepper and simmer for 5 minutes more. Gradually add mayonnaise to hot soup, whisking until smooth.

Reduce heat to medium and add bacon, processed cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese and simmer for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and soup is creamy; stirring constantly.

Let soup sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle bacon and cheese on top if desired.

Sep 30 2014

Review: Aldi’s Live Gfree White Bread

I have been pretty loyal to the gluten-free bread that I found I liked best. Part of that has to do with the size of the slices of bread, as they are the size (or a little larger) than “normal” bread. I went back to Aldi this weekend with Jon to stock up on some of the Live Gfree products he likes and picked up a loaf of the White Bread, which is priced at $3.99/loaf.

Jon planned to take the bread back to school with him, so I knew if I wanted to try it, I would have to do so right away. I grabbed two slices fresh from the package (not toasted) and made a PB & J.

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I didn’t have to put a layer of peanut butter on each slice of bread, I made it like I would with “normal” bread. This bread is unbelievably soft and so far from what I am used to with gluten-free bread. There is no crumbling, no breaking! I enjoyed this sandwich more than I have enjoyed a sandwich in a very long time. I made another one for Jon and he is very picky when it comes to textures and he agreed that it was amazing! The only negative thing I have to say about the bread is that the pieces are small, but that can be easily rectified by making 1.5 – 2  sandwiches. If you have an Aldi close by, I highly recommend giving this bread a try!

Sep 29 2014

Review: Russo’s Gluten-Free Gourmet Mozzarella Sticks

When I was grocery shopping at Meijer last week, I spotted some gluten-free mozzarella sticks in the freezer section and decided to pick up a bag for Jon as a surprise. He was on his way home to spend the weekend with us and some friends and I knew how much he used to love them before he started the gluten-free diet. We did find another brand a couple of years back, and while they were really good, they spread out and ended up being flat. I crossed my fingers that we would have better luck with Russo’s Gluten-Free Gourmet Mozzarella Sticks.

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All of the Russo’s Gluten-Free Gourmet products are made in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility. I followed the directions on the package and heated the oven to 350 degrees and placed the mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet for 4-8 minutes. I checked on the sticks after 4 minutes to make sure they hadn’t flattened on me. The directions said they were done when you begin to see cheese coming out of the sticks, which for me turned out to be just about at 8 minutes.

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These turned out perfectly! Not only do they look amazing, but they taste amazing too! I managed to swipe a full stick before Jon dug in, and thoroughly enjoyed it. These are especially tasty dipped in marinara sauce or a spicy honey mustard sauce.

Shop for Russo’s Gourmet Gluten-Free products online or in your local health food or grocery store. Have you tried the Russo’s Gluten-Free Gourmet Mozzarella Sticks? What about any of their other products? They also offer gluten-free Eggplant Parmesan, Italian Bread, Bread Crumbs, Tiramisu, Lady Fingers and Canoli Shells.

Sep 27 2014

Aldi Live Gfree Stuffed Sandwich Review

We are starting to work our way through the Aldi Live Gfree line of products. Jon is home for the weekend and was thrilled to see the new products I had stocked up on. He wasted no time choosing the Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Sandwiches as his lunch.

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There are two individually wrapped stuffed sandwiches in each package ($2.69/box). The directions on the box said to microwave for 2 minutes and then to let them sit for 2 minutes. Since I heated both of the stuffed sandwiches up at the same time, I cut them open in the middle to see if they were hot all the way through. They were warm, but not hot, so I heated them up for another 30 seconds.

Jon dipped his stuffed sandwiches in marinara sauce and oohed and aahed his way through them. He said they were just like the Hot Pockets he used to eat before he started the gluten-free diet and that is saying a lot from someone who is super picky. He also asked if I could get him some to take back to school with him to keep in his room, as he has a freezer and microwave.

Have you tried any of the Live Gfree products? Do you have a favorite?

Sep 26 2014

Recipe: Better-For-You Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

The theme for me lately seems to be comfort foods. I just received a recipe in my inbox for pumpkin mashed potatoes from Allen Dikker, owner and creator of Potatopia, and that certainly seems to fit the theme. Potatopia is an all-potato concept restaurant located in Edison, NJ, Staten Island and NYC.


The easy fall recipe below was created by Allen Dikker. The recipe, as written, is gluten-free.

Better-for-You Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 15 mins
1   pound medium baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
2   cloves garlic, peeled
1   cup canned pumpkin
2   tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
1   tablespoon butter or tub-style vegetable oil spread
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes and garlic in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cream cheese, butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Gradually add milk, beating until light and fluffy. Return to saucepan; heat through.
2. If desired, spoon mashed potatoes into Miniature Pumpkin Bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Makes 4 servings (3/4 cup each)

I love all things pumpkin and I love mashed potatoes. I was the kid who chose mashed potatoes over French fries any day. Combine two of my favorites together and I am sure I will be in heaven when I sit down to enjoy a large bowl of these potatoes.