Monday, June 25, 2012

New Blog Address

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for following my blog, Thriving GFCF. I am excited to introduce my new blog at It is now in Word Press. To continue to follow my blog posts, you will need to log in your email address at the new site. Please go to and look to the right column. Under my ad, there is a line that reads, "Subscribe to blog via email." Simply enter your email address add click the "subscribe" button. It's quick and easy. My newest blog post is a new recipe, Shrimp with asparagus and carrots. It's one of my favorites so don't miss this one.

My latest blog post...shrimp with asparagus and carrots

I truly appreciate you as a follower and am excited to bring you many new exciting reviews...

Eat well, live well, thrive.

Coach Kim Rice

Monday, April 9, 2012

GFCF (Dye Free) Cake Pops

GFCF Easter Cake Pop
I always have my eye out for creative holiday GFCF treats. There are so many food items that my son cannot have that I strive to make the most of what he can have. After seeing an infomercial for a cake pop pan and an advertisement for vegan white chocolate chips, I thought I'd give this GFCF cake pop idea a try.

Friday, April 6, 2012

OMGoodness - Jules Thin Crust Pizza - Restaurant Review

Jules Thin Crust pizza in Danville (located in the Livery) is our favorite gluten free pizza place. I love everything about this pizzeria experience. It has a clean modern decor with a nice dining area. They use green products to clean the tables and have recycle and compost waste options. The staff is always friendly and Heather, the owner, treats you like a good friend when you arrive....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cinnamon Donut Muffins - Recipe Review

Cinnamon Donut Muffins - Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Nut Free

Photo from Cybele Pascal's blog
Back in my "gluten days" I used to make scrumptious mini cinnamon muffins on an occasional Sunday morning for brunch. They were great to take to family gatherings. Stuffed in a cute basket with a pretty napkin, guests would gobble them up. I made them in a mini muffin pan so they were easy to pop in the mouth and had a wonderful cinnamon toast flavor to them. After going gluten and dairy free (GFCF), I often thought about these muffins and missed having the option to make them. Well, you can imagine my excitement, when I saw Cybele Pascal's recipe for Cinnamon Donut Muffins. I was still a little leary that these GFCF muffins would measure up to my old favorite but with great hope and anticipation, I rolled up my sleeves and donned my Thriving GFCF apron and gave this recipe a try.

The recipe called for Authentic Foods Classic GF Mix which is one my my favorite "high end' flours to use when texture is key. It's often referred to as the "Cadillac" of GF flours along with Gifts of Nature. Although I had the Authentic brand on hand, I decided to use my new box of King Arthur Flour gluten free multi-purpose flour mix. It's a blend of rice flour, tapioca and potato starch and brown rice flour.

The recipe call for Spectrum butter flavored shortening which I found at Sprout's Farmer's Market in Dublin, California. Spectrum is made of organic palm oil which is trans-fat free.

I used my KitchenArt Adjust-a-Cup for the Spectrum shortening. It's such a breeze to get the shortening out of the measuring cup. Sammy had fun filling the cup up.

KitchenArt Adjust-a-Cups

Sammy loading the Adjust-a-Cup

Getting the shortening out of the measuring cup is as easy as pushing the bottom which then pushes the shortening out of the cup with no digging and sticky mess.

The Adjust-a-Cup makes pushing the shortening out simple and easy.
I've started freshly grating all my nutmeg using this Microplane grater which I love. It has a measuring cup built into the bottom.

Fresh grated nutmeg! Grater available at Williams Sonoma.

The recipe was fairly easy to follow. The only thing I don't like is alternating the liquid (rice milk) with the flour mixture while blending in the mixer. I'm lazy. I really just want to dump it all in there and turn it on high speed. I followed the directions though and the batter turned out beautiful. A nice looking batter always gives me hope that I'm going to have a successful product in the end.

Beautiful Batter!

I made the muffins in my mini muffin pan so it truly felt like the "old days." They're so cute!

Once the the muffins are out of the oven, they are ready to dip in the melted butter flavored shortening and then the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Dipping in the melted Spectrum shortening
Next step...dip in the cinnamon sugar.
You can either dip the whole muffin in the sugar mixture (similar to a cinnamon sugar donuts) or you can just dip the top which is what I did since I try to limit my sugar consumption.

The muffins turned out awesome.They were a little more dense than my old gluten filled version but they were yummy none the less. The outside of the muffin was crispy which did remind me of a cinnamon donut...hence its name, Cinnamon Donut Muffin. The donuts also froze well. After defrosting, I warmed one slightly in the toaster oven and it turned out perfect just like it was fresh out of the oven.

I'm excited to have cinnamon muffins on my brunch menu again. Gluten free eating just gets easier and easier!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gluten Free Pasta Class with Jeff Larsen

Jeff taking the gluten free bread from the pan after his earlier GF bread class
Two of our GFCF support group members and I took a road trip recently to San Francisco for a gluten free pasta class by Jeff Larsen. We had an awesome time and were able to not only learn to make and taste great gluten free pasta, but we were treated to samples of warm bread from the previous bread making class. He offered soy free Earth Balance spread, Earth Balance coconut spread and some yummy jams to spread on our delicious GF bread. It was amazing. The bread had a wonderful texture and aroma. I'm definitely going back for the bread making class.

Mixing the pasta dough
Jeff took us step by step through the pasta making process making it seem easy and effortless. I had no doubt after the lesson that this was something I could do at home.
The pasta dough ready to roll out

Rolling the pasta dough
I love this rolling pin (above) with thickness gauge bans (see the red band under his right hand). It allows you to control the thickness of the pasta. I bought this same rolling bin and gauge bands from Sur la Table in Westfield Mall, San Francisco. It is very affordable.

Adding the yummy butternut squash filling
Jeff made several varieties of pasta. He started out with butternut squash stuffed ravioli's. I have to admit that homemade, gluten free ravioli's excite me the most. I have not enjoyed homemade ravioli in over ten years. He also made fettuccine and showed us how to do lasagna noodles. I can't wait to try the homemade lasagna noodles. I think it will take my GFCF lasagna to a whole new level.

Cutting the ravioli
I love this little round ravioli cutter (above). I bought one while at Sur la Table. You can just cut the ravioli square if you don't want to buy the cutter.

Jeff demonstrating the pasta roller
Although a pasta roller is not necessary to make pasta, Jeff did demonstrate how to use one while making the fettuccine.
Cutting the fettuccine

Rolling out the fettuccine

The finished fettuccine

GF pasta with dairy free buttery, herbed lemon sauce. Yum!
Jeff's pasta was amazing. The structure was good. It was firm and not gummy. I would have never guessed it was gluten free. This pasta class has opened up a whole new world for me. I'm excited about the prospect of homemade pasta and of Jeff's next class. He offers gluten free bread, pasta and pizza classes. He also features a vegan, GF bread class called, Daily Bread Making. I am hoping he can make it out to the east bay area soon.

A few of our group members and I with Jeff Larsen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Juice and Java Express - Restaurant Review

I was delighted to find this little cafe right in the heart of Farmer's Market in Downtown Pleasanton on W. Angela St. Not only do they serve organic coffee and tea in a quaint and cozy atmosphere but they have a whole menu of juice blends and smoothies with exotic names like Dragonfly, Green Isle, Love Birds, Beet Me Up (my personal favorite) and Fresh As A Cucumber. Their wide selection of fruits and vegetables are organic, when possible, and they offer several non-dairy boosts (flax seed, pumpkin seed and vit C) as well as a nice selection of organic non-dairy milks (almond, coconut, soy and rice).

Beet Me Up - beets, carrots, apple, orange and ginger root (I asked them to add spinach)

They also serve a small selection of light breakfast and snack items. Their oatmeal, unfortunately, is not gluten free but they usually have a few gluten free granola type bars in the case. They also had these gluten free cookies (below) by Liz Lovely that I've never seen before.

I bought the GF vegan German Chocolate Cake cookie. It was very good. It had a "raw" type texture to it though which I'm not crazy about but I did enjoy the taste and it was very moist. I wouldn't mind trying the other varieties as well. Juice and Java Express has become one of my favorite places to stop on Saturday mornings after shopping the farmer's market. The staff is friendly and it's fun to sit on one of their outdoor tables and people watch. This new little gem gets a "thumbs up."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Olive Garden - Restaurant Review

Prior to going gluten and dairy free (GFCF), I used to love the Olive Garden restaurant. I'm not sure if it was the bottomless salad bowl (I'm a big fan of Italian salads with black olives and peppers) or the warm bread sticks I used to smother butter over. When I became GFCF and realized one day that I may never dine at the Olive Garden again, it almost brought tears to my eyes. I'm not sure why because it's not really that nice of a place but anyway you can imagine my excitement when I was told they now have gluten free pasta.

I decided to combine a needed trip to the Great Mall in Milpitas with a review of the Olive Garden. They have a full gluten free menu which includes Penne Rigate Pomodoro, Penne Rigate Marinara, Steak Toscano, Herb Grilled Salmon and Mixed Grill (steak and chicken). They even offered two kid's entrees.

I know this is hard to read. Email me if you want a bigger JPEG.
I was very excited over the prospect of our gluten free meal. I asked our server many questions which he patiently listened to and eagerly tried to answer. He was a little under trained on the new gluten free menu. He did however go the kitchen and proceed to cut the ingredient list from the bag of GF pasta - very sweet and accommodating. Turns out it is a quinoa and corn blend. He did verify that the two sauces both Pomodoro and Marinara are dairy free. He told me the salad dressing was both gluten and dairy free but then came sprinting back after I had eaten about three bites to tell me that there is cheese in the dressing. Oh man...he brought back a fresh salad bowl and I settled with olive oil and vinegar. It was disappointing especially when my "milk cramps and bloating" started about an hour later. 

Warning: the Italian dressing on the salad contains cheese!

I was further disappointed when the pasta came out. It looked over cooked and translucent. See the third photo below. The pasta was literally falling apart. From what I've read on the gluten free chat boards, this is a common experience at Olive Gardens across the country. One post read, "DO NOT ORDER THE GF PASTA AT OLIVE GARDEN." Unfortunately, I read that post after this visit.

Adult Entree of Pasta Pomodoro with grilled chicken

Kid's entree of Pasta Marinara with grilled chicken

Not very appetizing!
The taste was okay. It was not bad enough to send back but overall, I was disappointed with the meal. Maybe it was because my hopes were so high. Sammy seemed to enjoy his pasta. He's always happy to eat gluten free pasta in a restaurant though. They did not have any dairy free or gluten free desserts and no gluten free beer. They do bring out a small bowl of grapes for the kids. That was a special treat for them and served as dessert. I also love these capped children's cups (below). I like it when beverage spillage is just one less thing I have to worry about.

Being that there are only a few gluten and dairy free dining options at the Great Mall, I will probably be back there occasionally. I think next time, I'll try the salmon. Rather than give this Olive Garden experience a "thumbs down," I'll give it an "Okay" rating just because there are not that many other options at the mall and my son seemed to like it. It was a good atmosphere for children which was good for me since Sam kept popping in and out of his seat. No one seemed to mind.