Review:  Smart Flour Foods Pizza

It was a long week.  We had our annual Lions Club carnival and then four days later I was on a bus to Denver for a quick two day legislative trip.  On the way home the last thing I wanted to think about was cooking dinner and settled on picking up a frozen pizza and settled on Smart Flour Foods pizza.

I needed something with a little protein, so I chose the uncured pepperoni variety. They do have two other kinds, and I know one of them is cheese, but I don’t really remember what the other kind that the supermarket had in stock was.  

I like the fact that it had a short term baking time. Just 11 to 13 minutes. When I took it out of the wrapper, it reminded me of the old school Totino’s pizzas. Very flat and not much to it.  It baked very quickly which I was very happy for.  

When I came out, the outer edges of the crust seemed very done but the underneath part still wasn’t very crispy, and I really like my pizza crispy! So I don’t know if I should have baked it longer, but I was afraid that it might burn the edges.

The taste was fine, nothing spectacular, and really did remind me of that old school Totino’s pizza! The problem is that for $7.99, the price is way more than it should be for a pizza of that type. 

Next time I will spend a little more money and go for the Conte’s pizza or the Udi’s pizza. Or just go all out and find a gluten-free place that delivers.

Review:  Udi’s Pizza

I will admit:  since going to Chicago last year, pizza just isn’t the same.  I find myself more picky and not eating pizza a lot.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing.

This past week I sat down with my parents to go over their website, which needs an overhaul.  They brought Udi’s pizza along.  

They were cute little things, as most gluten free pizzas are.  Normal baking time, pretty easy for a quick meal.  They came out looking pretty good but…remember the Totino’s pizzas from college?  So much like that!  Part of me was excited by my throwback but I also remember buying those at 10 for $10. 

I know this pizza was not that cheap.  So here is my opinion on this item:  if you are craving a Totino’s kind of dinner, grab one of these.  If you want a higher quality then this isn’t your pizza!

Review: Chicago

Yes, Chicago:  The Windy City, Chi-town, the City of the Big Shoulders.  I returned from there Monday and, let me tell you, it was an amazing trip!

It was my first time to Chicago and it all came about because I started a bucket list a couple years ago.  Most of the items are travel and learning items but this year I decided it was time to cross some of these things off.  I am turning forty in a few short months and I wanted to at least cross a couple items off.  It’s always been my dream to go to Wrigley Field and to Soldier Field (I am a die hard Cubs and Bears fan) and since they are on my bucket list, it was going to happen.

I asked my dad to go with me at first and he was excited.  Then, a while later, I decided to ask my mom as well.  I love my parents and I want to make memories with them.  Mom was hesitant but chose to go and I’m glad she did.

Last Thursday we made the trek to Denver to board our plane for a short two hour flight to Chicago.  I was excited to say the least.  And then the Midwest weather got in the way and we circled Chicago for a while…then got diverted to Kansas City.  After waiting on the plane for almost three hours we finally got back into the air and landed in Chicago only to wait another two and a half hours to de-plane.  I wanted to kiss the ground in Chicago!

I am a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club and our first stop on Friday was to Lions Club International for a tour.  We went straight from there, via our trusty Uber driver, to Wrigley Field.  We had the fortune to take Michigan Avenue to the ballpark and got our first peak of Lake Michigan.

When we got to Wrigley, I was ecstatic!  I actually skipped once inside.  My dream was coming true!  I had written Wrigley Field ahead of time regarding gluten free eats and they had a diner that had buns for hamburgers and hot dogs, although this day they were out of hamburger buns.  Not to worry, I wanted a ballpark hotdog!  Since the fries are not in a dedicated fryer they were careful to give us kettle chips instead.  Pair that with a hard cider and I was in heaven!

In front of Wrigley Field

After the game we decided to walk a mile to Chicago’s Pizza.  I had read reviews of this place online and they were great.  Their gluten free pizza had high reviews so we decided to give them a try.  The atmosphere was cozy and warm and we were warmly greeted.  We told the server that we were gluten free and he proceeded to tell us about the gluten free offerings.  We decided to have cheesy garlic bread and then ordered a stuffed pizza.  They brought out a little appetizer breadsticks and then the fun began.  The cheesy garlic bread was crispy with a nice layer of cheese and a hint of garlic.  Dip it in the tomato sauce and it was amazing.  Then the pizza.  Let me tell you, if you EVER get to Chicago, you have to stop here.  The pizza was about four or five inches thick and the cheese strung out forever!  It was the best tasting pizza I’ve ever had.  By the way, they will ship pizzas nationwide and it’s going to be my little treat from time to time!  Pictures don’t do the pizza justice but you can see the goodness!

Chicago's Pizza Breadsticks Chicago's Pizza Chicago's Pizza Cheese Garlic Bread Gluten Free Pizza First slice! Gooey, yummy pizza

The next day we decided to venture to the Navy Pier.  It’s a beautiful area with shops and restaurants as well as an amusement park.  They give boat tours and dinner/lunch tours as well.  We started the day at Harry Caray‘s and weren’t disappointed.  Dad had the burger with a gluten free bun and said it was amazing.  Mom and I had the fish tacos and they were the best I ever had.  The tilapia was seasoned just right, the sauce added a little kick and the salsas finished it off.  We wandered the pier, having a mid afternoon cocktail after our boat tour, and then settled on Bubba Gump‘s for dad’s birthday dinner.  The server was helpful and I decided on the shrimp and veggie skewers with jasmine rice and mom and dad had the Accidental Fish & Shrimp Broiled Mahi Mahi over a bed of Jasmine Rice.  My meal was so refreshing and done just right and mom and dad said that their meal was great as well.

Harry Carey's Burger Fish Tacos Navy Pier Shrimp and Veggie Skewers Accidental Fish and Shrimp

The last Chicago item on my bucket list was to see the Chicago Bears play at Soldier Field.  While the Bears didn’t have the stadium food that Wrigley had, it still had a few options.  The brats were gluten free (no buns) as were the tortilla chips and the nacho cheese.  They also have popcorn and Redbridge Beer as well as hard ciders.  We had enough to eat and got to see the Bears get stomped but it was well worth going.  That night we ate in the hotel and they were so good about knowing what was gluten free and had it marked on the menu.  My chicken was done just perfect and the potato-bacon hash was amazing!

At the Bears GameChicken and Potato Bacon Hash

The plane ride home was without incident which I was thankful for!

I’ve read that if you are a foodie that Chicago is a place to visit and I wasn’t disappointed.  Their gluten free foods were delish and I do plan on going back.  In the meantime, I will have my pizza delivered from Chicago!

A Helping Hand

Celiac Disease hasn’t been the most fun thing.  I mean, you eat something you shouldn’t or accidentally get cross contamination and end up in the bathroom for the rest of the day or curled up on your bed in pain.  Doesn’t sound like a great way to spend an afternoon.

Through my work with Gluten Free Grand Valley, writing for the newspaper and being vocal on social media, I have gained attention, hopefully as an advocate for those with Celiac Disease.  Because of this, I get lots of questions, lots of emails and phone calls and people who are friends or friends of friends stopping me at gatherings to ask questions because they have been diagnosed or because someone they know has been.

A couple of these things happened this week.  First, I found out that a friend’s sister was diagnosed a few months ago.  We happened to be at a birthday party and I was having a glass of wine and she started asking me questions about being gluten free.  She then proceeded to tell me that she had been diagnosed Celiac.  We, of course, spent the rest of the evening talking about food, restaurants and all that goes along with Celiac Disease…over a gluten free pizza, I might add.

The second was someone who is gluten free is moving to Grand Junction and contacted me about Gluten Free Grand Valley.  I directed her to the Facebook page but we started a dialog on how scary it is to move to a new city, to not know what grocery stores to go to or what restaurants are safe.  We plan on having coffee when she gets here so I can help her.

Sometimes being given the burden of a disease can be just that, a burden.  But I look at it like this:  God put me on this Earth for a reason and gave me Celiac Disease for a reason.  I believe it’s to help people.  That’s not being said with bravado or boasting, it’s a fact.  I hope that I can help as many people as possible whether it’s simply giving them a cookie recipe or if it’s guiding them through the first year of eating gluten free.  I hope that I can always lend a helping hand.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for news, fun items and more on being gluten free.  You can also follow me on Pinterest for recipes, quotes and information on Celiac Disease.

Well, that’s a lovely pair

I may have had people wondering what my topic was for this blog. Pair of what?

Last week Pizza Hut announced that it was introducing a gluten free pizza make with an Udi’s crust at the majority of their locations. Around the same time MillerCoors announced that they are creating a gluten free beer, their Coors Peak Copper Lager.

According to the Pizza Hut website, the patrons who need to eat gluten free will be protected: gluten free area, gluten free utensils and the workers will be required to wear gloves. The pizzas will be made in the same oven as the other pizzas but will be placed on parchment paper to protect the pizza from cross contamination. I’ve asked Pizza Hut which locations will have this pizza but haven’t heard back.

MillerCoors has a little better way of brewing their beer. Make from brown rice and pea protein, it is 100% gluten free. Also, in order for it to be certified gluten free, it has to be made in a separate area and they have made those accommodations. For those of you anxious to try this beer, unless you are in Seattle or Portland, you are out of luck for now. I am curious about this beer but was never a Coors drinker so…yes, I have asked to test it. 🙂 Why not?

Pizza and beer is something that I used to love to have, especially eating out. This pair may create that awesome relationship once again!