Panda Asian Fusion

panda asian fusion

When I was first diagnosed with celiac, one of the first things I missed was good ol’ takeout Chinese food. My all-time favorite dish was lo mein, and although the lo mein at Panda Asian Fusion in Freehold, NJ isn’t exactly like the gluten-y version, it’s pretty darn close. They also have a full gluten free menu—seriously, this menu is huge—which is always a big plus. They even have a sign by the door that says gluten free!

panda asian fusion gluten free menu

It was almost overwhelming to look at all these options! This is one of the largest, if not the largest, gluten free menus I’ve ever seen. I think I forgot what it felt like to have a full menu of options. It was so exciting! When I ordered off the gluten free menu, instead of bringing those crispy noodles with duck sauce, they brought a little bowl of Chex with it! I mean how cute is that? I got the General Tso’s Chicken Combo Platter, which comes with chicken fried rice and a gluten free egg roll (yes, you heard that right, it’s a gluten free egg roll). And that egg roll (although very flaky and messy) was fantastic!

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This was soooooo good. Like, incredible. I couldn’t even believe it was gluten free; I felt like I shouldn’t have been eating it! It was crispy and juicy and the sauce was amazing! I can’t even explain how much I love this. The fried rice was also very good, although I had to add a little extra soy sauce to it. But that’s just because I love soy sauce a lot. My mom got the Shrimp with Broccoli Combo Platter, which was also delicious. The shrimp were so juicy and tender, and the sauce was very tasty!

panda asian fusion gluten free shrimp with broccoli

Now, I couldn’t go to a Chinese restaurant that has gluten free lo mein and not get it. So my mom and I shared an order of the chicken lo mein. I am also just realizing I consumed a lot of chicken at this place (General Tso’s chickenchicken fried rice, chicken lo mein). Anyway, this lo mein was soo yummy! I’m calling it lo mein but it technically isn’t; they just call it Chicken Noodles on the menu. But it’s as close as I’ve ever gotten to gluten free lo mein so that’s what I’m callin’ it! The flavor was great, the noodles were cooked well, and it was just awesome.

panda asian fusion gluten free lo mein

Panda Asian Fusion is overall just wonderful. When I’m craving some good takeout Chinese food, this is definitely one of my go-tos. The staff seem like they’re knowledgable about gluten free, so you’re not worried about getting something that’s not actually GF. When you go to Panda Asian Fusion, you can expect delicious food and friendly service. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to gluten free Chinese!

I’m gonna do a little comparing here, too. So one of my first ever reviews was P.F. Chang’s. Don’t worry, my love for P.F. Chang’s still goes on, but I am torn between which I like better. It really depends what I’m in the mood for. Do I want beef? Do I want noodles? Do I want chicken? Do I want fried rice (I will say P.F. Chang’s does do this better)? It all depends, it’s so hard to compare them! I will say Panda Asian Fusion is more reminiscent of traditional takeout Chinese to me. No matter where you go, you will absolutely get amazing food!

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili!

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When you’re snowed in with blizzard conditions, everyone wants a nice warm bowl of something comforting. For us this weekend, that bowl was full of Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili! We got about two feet of snow, so were desperately in need of warmth. I got the idea for this recipe from Skinnytaste.com, but changed a couple things according to what we actually had in our pantry. It was different from your typical chili, mostly because the chicken is shredded instead of ground, and the taco seasoning gives it a little bit of a different flavor. We always love a Crockpot dinner in our house because all you have to do is pop some stuff in the pot, turn it on, and dinner is ready for you in the evening! It was so delicious, easy, and most importantly, warm!

What you’ll need:

  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can Cannellini beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can black eyed peas
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

How to make it:

  1. Combine beans, onion, green chiles, tomato sauce, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and combine well
  2. Add the whole chicken breasts and completely cover them. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours (we did it on high because we didn’t start making it early enough)
  3. 30 minutes before serving, take the chicken out and shred it. Put your chicken back in the slow cooker and stir it all together to cook for the last couple minutes. When it’s done, scoop it into a bowl, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

crockpot chicken taco chili

This chili was so easy and so so yummy! I topped mine with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, and some chipotle hot sauce. My mom opted for diced tomatoes instead of hot sauce. When we were all topping our chili, my mom and I got into a bit of a presentation war to see who could make their chili prettier. As much as I hate to admit it, I think she might’ve won (although I argue that she tried way too hard).

crockpot chicken taco chili

Me vs. Mom

The nice thing about this chili is you can put whatever kinds of beans or additional ingredients you want. We used those three kinds of beans because they were all we had, but you could use black beans, pinto beans, whatever you like! You could also add corn, or put the diced tomatoes we topped with into the chili, or add some peppers. You also don’t have to just eat the chili out of a bowl; you can serve it over rice or even as a dip for some tortilla chips. No matter how you enjoy it, it will be delicious and will keep you warm! I can’t wait to use up our leftovers. 🙂

In the meantime, we will continue to dig ourselves out of the snow!

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Whipped Crêperie & Dessert Bar

As promised, here is my review of Whipped!

So, as I said before in my Gaetano’s review, we had a not-so-great dinner there, but it led to an amazing dessert here, at Whipped Crêperie & Dessert Bar! Actually, on our way to dinner I spotted this little place and instantly became sad because I missed crepes and thought there was no way they had anything gluten free. But then, at the end of dinner, I checked Find Me Gluten Free to help decide whether we would have dessert at the restaurant or if there was anywhere nearby with something sweet. That is when I saw that Whipped has gluten free crepes. This was at the same moment that our waitress came to our table and asked us if we wanted dessert, and I said with a little too much excitement (and a little aggression), “NO.

So we walked over to Whipped and sat down and ordered our crepes. Most of the crepes can be made gluten free, but obviously not the ones with cookies or graham crackers or anything obviously gluten-y in them. If you’re not sure if something in the filling is GF, always ask. I ordered the Classic (strawberries, bananas, and Nutella) and my mom got the Monkey’s Choice (bananas, peanut butter sauce, and walnuts).

crepes

Classic & Monkey’s Choice

These crepes are sooooo good! The filling was delicious, the crepe itself was amazing, even the whipped cream was great! The Nutella/peanut butter sauce was both on top and inside, and man it’s just so damn good! Also, they are huge. It doesn’t seem that big when you get it, but once you start eating, it’s very filling. There was no way me or my mom were finishing these! We ended up taking the rest of what we had home and giving it to my dad (have food leftovers? Give them to my dad, he’ll take care of that). If I’m being picky, the only annoying thing about them was that they were a little tough to cut through so you have to use a knife, but that’s probably because the GF crepe batter is thicker than the typical gluten-filled crepe batter.

We visited a few weeks later after another dinner in Red Bank, and now that we knew how filling they are we ordered just one for me, my mom, and my dad to share. This time we got the Mixed Berries crepe, which has strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. We also added Nutella for $1 extra, which was totally worth it. The second time at Whipped was just as fantastic as the first! And seriously, aren’t these crepes just so pretty??

mixed berries crepe

I really love this place so much. It’s so unique; I’ve never seen another restaurant with gluten free crepes. They don’t just have dessert though, they also offer lunch crepes (which sound weird to me but they’re probably good) and breakfast crepes, as well as Belgian waffles and other breakfast foods. I’m dying to try one of the breakfast crepes with Greek yogurt, mixed berries, granola (which I do have to ask to make sure it is gluten free first), and honey, but that would require me waking up and being ready early enough to actually do it.

I’m so happy we discovered Whipped, and this will definitely become a regular spot for me. I can’t wait to go back!

Link to Whipped menu

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Chicken Dumplings

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If you’re ever wondering what I eat for lunch everyday, probably three days out of the week it’s these dumplings (the other four is most often some form of pasta dish). These things are sooo good, and if you’ve ever tried to find a restaurant that offers gluten free dumplings, you know that it’s almost impossible. Since I’ve been gluten free, this is the only way I’ve been able to get my fill of delicious little dumplings, and I am not complaining. They are so easy to make, and I also added a little step to make them even better!

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There was actually quite a long time that I stopped eating these dumplings. A few months ago, they redesigned the dumplings. When I bought this new version of them and cooked them in the pan as usual, they all got stuck to the pan and fell apart into a pile of mush. From that point on I stopped buying them. However, about a month or two ago I decided to give them another chance. I took extra precautions to make sure they wouldn’t stick to the pan (which means I sprayed that whole pan with a nice thick layer of canola oil before adding the water), and they turned out perfect! Which ended up making me upset that I went so long depriving myself of perfectly good dumplings for one little mushy fiasco. So now I happily enjoy my yummy little pockets of chicken and joy all the time!

So let me get into how they’re made. I start by coating my pan in canola oil first, for reasons I have already mentioned, then add 1/2 cup of water (I usually do a tiny bit more because 1/2 cup doesn’t quite cover my whole pan) and a tablespoon of canola oil to a large nonstick pan and let it heat up. Then add your dumplings and put the lid on the pan. Each box has 9-11 dumplings (could they not settle on a single number??), but I have gotten boxes with 12 (I call them lucky boxes). I cook mine for 10 minutes, and that is technically when the box says you should be done, but I like to do a little more.

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So, the box claims that after sitting in this pan, the liquid will evaporate and the bottom of the dumplings will get brown. This has never happened. So after the 10 minutes, I take the dumplings out and empty the liquid out of the pan. Then I put the pan back on the stove and add some sesame oil to start heating up. Then I put the dumplings back in the pan, and fry them in the sesame oil until they are brown and beautiful. Trust me, this makes them so much better than they would be if you just ate them after the 10 minutes.

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So once your dumplings are browned to your liking, you can plate ’em up and enjoy! Oh, I almost forgot the dipping sauce! Inside the box is a little packet of sauce that you can leave out to thaw while the dumplings are cooking. Now, I love soy sauce, so I add a bunch of it to the sauce that comes in the packet, just because that’s my personal preference. So once you have your sauce and your dumplings all ready, then you can enjoy. And you don’t have to eat them for lunch like I do; you can have them as a side for dinner if you’re having an Asian dish, or as little appetizers at a party. No matter how you eat them, they will be delicious!

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Recipe: Tuna Casserole!

This is one of my very favorite recipes, mostly because it’s one of the only things I can make completely by myself with no help whatsoever. (It’s also my mom’s favorite because it means she doesn’t have to cook dinner). And it’s so easy! All of the ingredients are things that I almost always have around the house, and you can substitute in whatever you like! Instead of peas, you can use your favorite vegetable. Instead of tuna, you can use chicken or turkey. Instead of mozzarella, you can use cheddar. Instead of cream of mushroom, you can use cream of chicken. Literally so many possibilities! So here ya go:

What you’ll need:

tuna casserole ingredients

  • 16oz brown rice pasta (my very favorite pasta is the Tinkyada brand)
  • 2 18oz cans of gluten free cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 6oz cans of albacore tuna
  • 8.5oz can of sweet peas (I usually prefer to use about a cup of frozen peas but I didn’t have any)
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • about a tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs, for topping
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste
  • a few drops of gravy master

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°
  2. Cook your pasta in a large pot according to the package. While it’s cooking, flake your tuna.
  3. After your pasta is done, heat the cream of mushroom soup in the same pot. Add a few drops of gravy master (until it’s a light brown color), and add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste.
  4. After the soup is hot and starts to bubble, add your tuna, peas, and 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, half of the parmesan, and then your cooked and drained pasta. Combine well.tuna casserole
  5. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan and spread it so thats the top is flat and even. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan, as well as the breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake for 15 mins, and then broil on high until it’s brown and bubbly and crispy on top.
tuna casserole

Before & after

This casserole is SO good! The first time I made it was actually at my aunt’s house when she showed me how to make it, and I just kept making it ever since. Like I said before, the best thing about this is that you can put whatever you have in your fridge in this. Anything will work!

I hope you try it and love it as much as I do 🙂

Gaetano’s

Here it is everybody, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

My first negative review (aww 😦 )

So a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I went to Gaetano’s, a little Italian restaurant in Red Bank, NJ. This was actually not our first visit; we’d been there a year or two ago but I couldn’t remember whether I liked it or not. So with our hopes high, we returned again. It was pretty exciting that they had a separate gluten free menu—usually that can be a good sign.

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Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the worst place I’ve ever eaten. There were good things about it. As an appetizer, we got the Mussels with red sauce, and they were delicious. I wasn’t 100% sure before I ordered them whether I liked mussels or not, but apparently I love them! They were cooked very well and the sauce was very tasty. I really liked them a lot.

gaetanos pasta

As entrees, I got the Penne a la Vodka and my mom got the Shrimp Fra Diavolo (minus the chilis because she doesn’t like spicy things). Let me first say that I love pasta; if I could eat it every day all day I totally would. However, this pasta was average at best. The pasta itself was not cooked well. This seems to happen pretty often with restaurants that offer gluten free pasta—they don’t really know how to cook it right so they just wing it, and it doesn’t always turn out very well. It was pretty undercooked and was a weird texture. No bueno. As for the sauces, my vodka sauce was pretty good. The pancetta in it made it so much better. My mom’s sauce was okay, and the shrimp were cooked well. Overall, it was nothing exceptional.

The worst part about Gaetano’s was the price. For an average meal, this was super expensive. In total, we ended up paying about seventy dollars. Seventy. Dollars. For a meal that was only average. Totally not worth it.

To conclude, we will not be returning here. In fact, the best thing about this outing was actually what came after the dinner. We went around the corner to Whipped Creperie & Dessert Bar, which was amazing.

Stay tuned for my review of Whipped coming soon. 😀

King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Muffin Mix

gluten free muffins

My first post of 2016! Yay! I hope everyone’s New Year is going great so far.

Now, it’s time to talk about muffins! Who doesn’t love a good muffin? I love using King Arthur Flour GF Muffin Mix, because the mix is just for plain muffins, so you can add whatever you want to them to personalize and make them delicious! There are endless possibilities with this mix. This time, I got the idea for these chocolate muffins from the King Arthur Flour website, specifically their recipe for Chocolate Breakfast Muffins. So here is how I made them!

What you’ll need:

  • One box of King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Muffin Mix
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter (or oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup espresso*
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • sparkling white sugar for topping (optional)

*The recipe called for espresso powder, but we didn’t have that on hand so I used brewed espresso. Because of this, I had to adjust how much liquid was in the batter and use a little less milk (usually 1 cup). If you do have espresso powder, use 3/4 teaspoon and use the full cup of milk.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° and line your muffin pan with muffin cups
  2. Stir together the melted butter, eggs, mil, and espresso. Add the mix and cocoa, and whisk until it’s nice and smooth, then add your chocolate chips
  3. Fill your muffin cups until they’re almost full, and sprinkle sugar on top
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean
  5. Remove the muffins from the pan, cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
gluten free muffins

Before & after

These muffins were ridiculously good. They were so soft and fluffy (like seriously, do you see how puffy these things got???). A lot of the time, gluten free muffins are pretty dense and look deflated, but not these little guys. They are light and pillowy and chocolatey. The only bad thing was that I really couldn’t taste the espresso, but maybe that would’ve been better if I’d used espresso powder or just a little more brewed espresso. Overall, this muffin mix is fantastic, and definitely my favorite way to make muffins!

gluten free muffins