Archive for Dining Out
If your kids aren’t out of school yet, no doubt they will be soon. It’s a great time to stock up on supplies to keep your kids busy and engaged this summer. We spend a lot of time outdoors, but I like to have some quiet indoor activities for them on really hot days. Find supplies and ideas for Free Activities at Discount School Supply (DSS) where they are currently having their End of the Year sale. (Sale good through May 31, 2009.)
I first discovered DSS more than three years ago while I was looking for a gluten-free play dough. My son was 2 at the time and was always putting things in his mouth. I didn’t want any play dough with gluten getting into his mouth, so I made my own at home. But I still wanted to see if I could find some pre-made. DSS was carrying the only commercially available gluten-free play dough I could find: Colorations Wheat & Gluten-Free Dough. It comes in a large plastic bucket that contains eight different colors of gluten-free play dough inside.
It was perfect for when my son started preschool. I gave the whole bucket to the teacher to keep in the classroom so they could use it whenever needed. The texture of the dough is a little different from other gluten-containing doughs. It’s smoother and not as squishy or grainy. My son’s teacher actually preferred it because it smells better. The bucket of Colorations play dough lasted about a year before it started to dry out and get too tough to work with. I make my own play dough at home at least once a year, but it’s nice to have the option to buy it. I also bought some of the play dough tools, including these
Dough Presses at DSS for my kids to take to preschool. That way I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination by sharing tools with others at school. My daughter has some for her class, my son has some for his class, and we keep some at home, too.
In addition to play dough, DSS has a lot of arts and crafts supplies that are labeled for gluten/wheat allergies as well as other allergies. The content of Gluten/Wheat, Dairy/Casein, Latex, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Soy is indicated on paint, ink, glue, and other craft products. Over 200 items are in the Common-Allergen-Free Products category at Discount School Supply. And, now they have a new line of items for helping kids with other Special Needs, too.
I’ve really found DSS to be a great source for arts & crafts and school supplies at very reasonable prices. I usually make one or two large orders every year to take advantage of their free shipping offer. And, this week they are offering Free Delivery on in-stock orders over $49! It’s a great time to check them out, and get ready for summer.
This week’s theme ingredient at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang’s Friday Foodie Fix is shrimp. In her post of it, Diane talks about the benefits of cooking shrimp, from the ease of cooking to the many nutritional qualities. If you like to cook shrimp, or would like to find some new recipes, be sure to check out the round-up of recipes at the link above. We don’t eat a lot of shrimp at my house. Mostly because my kids aren’t yet fans of it. My son will eat cold shrimp with cocktail sauce, but my daughter still sticks her tongue out at it. Despite my kids’ resistance, we still occasionally cook it on nights I give the kids leftovers or hotdogs for dinner. Gotta love leftovers!
I found a great recipe at Bonefish Grill’s website for Saucy Shrimp and Scallops. I was trying to recreate their recipe for their Saucy Shrimp appetizer that we love to order at the restaurant. It didn’t turn out exactly like the appetizer I have at the Bonefish Grill, but it was close (and very good!). After comparing the recipe I made with the dish at the restaurant, I noticed these differences: The restaurant uses lime juice, not lemon like the recipe states; and the Sun Dried Tomatoes the restaurant used had a much sweeter taste than the ones I got at the grocery store. Other than that, I’d say it was pretty much the same. My husband and I gobbled it up at home just as fast as we do at the restaurant. And, if my kids don’t want to eat it…well, more for me and my husband.
If you’ve looked through my menus or recipes, you’ll see that they are mostly quick & easy recipes. When my kids were babies and toddlers, I had to be fast at getting food on the table. Now a few years later, I need to be fast in order to keep up with the after-school activities. I don’t always have a lot of time and energy to spend in the kitchen. When I cook, I often make large portions so I have leftovers I can use another night. Our meals are often simple with few ingredients, but I still want food to taste good and cover all the necessary food groups.
If you’re needing a quick meal, whether it’s lunch or dinner, why not make a plate of nachos? “Appetizer” or “bar food” you say. Yes, they are. But they’re also filling and you can make them to be as nutritious or as fattening as you like. Choose your favorite ingredients: gluten-free corn chips, leftover taco meat, some refried beans, black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, sliced olives, avocado, salsa, sour cream, green onions, etc. A minute in the microwave or 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, and you’re done. Or, if you’ve got a lot of leftover rice, put the ingredients over rice instead of chips. It may not be Chipotle, but it’s easy, tasty and filling.
And don’t forget the guacamole. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, but really makes a nice finishing touch to an easy meal. Try The W.H.O.L.E. Gang’s 5-Minute Guacamole.
Or, if you want it even easier try Frontera’s Guacamole Mix. I found it at Wegmans but you can also purchase it online at Amazon. After reading the ingredients — “fresh tomatillos, fresh tomatoes, green chiles, fresh onions, fresh cilantro, fresh garlic, citric acid, salt, pure can sugar” — I had to give it a try. I was a little skeptical about all the “fresh” ingredients listed (I mean how fresh can it be if it’s in a jar?), but I couldn’t resist.
I think it took 2 minutes to remove the seeds, peel, and mash the avocados (3 or 4) with the entire jar of guacamole mix. And, wow! It wasn’t just good, it really did taste fresh. So, if you’re in a pinch for time, you might want to give it a try. Wouldn’t it be great for a Mexican Fiesta party? One side dish or appetizer you could have done in minutes before the party crowd shows up.
For more avocado recipes, check out The W.H.O.L.E. Gang’s Friday Foodie Fix – secret ingredient avocados!
Bonefish Grill is one of my family’s favorite restaurants. They have a gluten-free menu to make it easier to decide what you can eat. The staff is always helpful and actually seems to be knowledgeable of, or at least aware of, the restrictions of a gluten-free diet. And, it’s family-friendly, too. Would you believe my picky preschoolers actually ask to go to Bonefish for dinner? The kids menu is pretty limited for the gluten-free diet, but my kids are happy with the grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. To keep the kids busy, Bonefish provides crayons and a kids menu with activities that the kids can color.
My husband and I enjoy many more choices on the gluten-free menu. We always start out the meal with the Saucy Shrimp to share. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that they had the recipe for Saucy Shrimp and Scallops on their website! So, I decided to try it. And, even though I had to make a few substitutions, it was fabulous! I highly recommend you try it yourself.
Saucy Shrimp and Scallops
2 oz. Butter
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 ea. green onion [I recommend sliced.]
10 ea. Kalamata olives, 1/2 pieces
1 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, julienne
3 oz. shrimp (small count)
3 oz. bay scallops
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup clam broth
3 tbsp. Feta cheese, crumbles
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
For service: crusty bread, as needed [Use gluten-free, of course!]
- Heat butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and green onions and saute until the aroma fills the air.
- Add Kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes — cook for 30 seconds.
- Add shrimp and scallops, salt & pepper and saute until firm — do not overcook.
- Add lemon juice, clam juice and feta cheese — bring to a simmer.
- Pour into heated serving dish.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Serve with crusty bread.
- I didn’t have scallops, so I made the recipe with just the shrimp I had in the freezer. The appetizer at Bonefish doesn’t have scallops, either.
- I also didn’t have clam broth, so I used clam juice instead.
- You might also want to try using lime juice instead of lemon, quartering the kalamata olives, and adding extra feta at the end with the parsley.
- So here’s where you can find the recipe for Saucy Shrimp and Scallops on their website, but I suggest checking out the other recipes they have online, too. What better way to ensure that your meal is gluten-free, than by making it yourself!