Tag Archives: Gluten-free

Chēbē Original Cheese Bread Mix

I’m not sure how I missed sharing this great find.  Maybe I was too busy enjoying these tasty little bread bites straight from the oven!  My introduction to Chēbē Original Cheese Bread Mix resulted from my on-going search for gluten-free products for my mom, and several things convinced me it was worth a try.  First, and most obviously, it is cheese bread.  Are you with me so far?  Second, the mix calls for fresh cheese; no processed cheese-flavored mystery ingredients.  Excellent.  Finally, the preparation looked quick and easy.

The instructions suggest using a hard cheese, so I chose asiago.  I had the bread mixed, on a baking sheet, and in the oven in  short order.  Butter was at the ready as the bread came out of the oven.  The crust was crisp, but not tough.  The inside was moist with just the right chewiness factor.  The flavor?  Awesome!  This bread would be great on a buffet table, or with a warm bowl of soup.  Using different cheeses would make it easy to pair the bread with many different foods.

Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix

Chēbē owners, Dick and Ju Reed, based their bread on on pão de queijo, a native recipe from Ju’s home in Brazil, and they began producing it for U.S. distribution in 1999.  It is made with tapioca flour, so is naturally gluten-free.  The Reeds didn’t make a big deal about Chēbē being gluten-free, but gluten-intolerant consumers certainly did.  Today, all Chēbē mixes and frozen breads are certified gluten-free and bear the Celiac Sprue Association symbol.  Our blog isn’t focused on gluten-free foods; we tell you about foods we truly love.  We think you will love this bread, too!

Where to buy Chēbē Original Cheese Bread Mix

  • Buy from the artisan
  • Buy from Amazon
  • Find a store  (Note: “Find a store” links to a list of retailers on the Company’s website, but stores may not carry all of the Company’s products. Please check with your local store to be sure they have this specific product in stock. If not, ask them to carry it!)



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Filed under Breads

Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit

I’m over winter, completely done with cold weather, and hope not to see ice on my driveway again.  I’ve worn more heavy sweaters in the last two months than I have in the previous ten years.  With sleet and possible snow in the forecast, it seemed like a good day for chili.

IMG_0819Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit has been the foundation of my chili-making for years, but I didn’t know the historical significance of the recipe and its creator until very recently.  Homer Thomas Wilson (Wick) Fowler was born in East Texas, close to the town Karen and I call home.  After joining the Dallas Morning News in 1943, he became the first Texas reporter to go overseas in World War II.  He followed General Patton into Germany, and was one of the first journalists to enter Hiroshima after it was bombed.  Wick was known for his friendly, outgoing personality, and was in demand as a speaker after the war.  While continuing his news career, he started his own chili company and was one of the first competitors at the famed Terlingua chili cook-off.  He resumed the role of news correspondent during the Vietnam war, and with several cases of his chili mix on hand, established the Da Nang Branch of the Chili Appreciation Society International.  He accompanied H. Ross Perot to Vietnam in 1970 to seek the release of American prisoners of war.   Wick traveled the world recording history, but he is better known for his role in the culinary history of Texas.

The best thing about Wick’s kit is that there are seven individual seasoning packets, so it is easy to adjust the recipe to individual tastes.  I’ve tinkered with the standard recipe and here is the version that is a winner at our house:


  • Brown 2 pounds of chili meat or lean ground beef and drain fat
  • Add 1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and 2 cans of water
  • Add 1 – 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Add the salt, paprika, cumin/oregano, onion/garlic, and ground chili peppers seasoning packets
  • Add as much or as little of the red pepper seasoning packet as you like (I normally use 1/4 to 1/2 of the packet)
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • I do not use the masa seasoning packet

Although the recipe on the box recommends simmering the mixture for about 30 minutes, the flavors are more developed if slowly simmered for about 90 minutes.  Alternatively, the chili mixture can be transferred into a slow cooker, and simmered on low heat for 4 hours.

Honestly, we would have enjoyed an 80° sunny day, but our warm and spicy chili with Fritos® and freshly shredded cheese made today’s cold and dreary weather a little more bearable.

Chili bowl

Where to buy Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit

(Note:  “Find a store” links to a list of retailers on the Company’s website, but stores may not carry all of the Company’s products.  Please check with your local store to be sure they have this specific product in stock.  If not, ask them to carry it!)


Filed under Entrées

1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies

Gluten-free food has got to be one of the most significant menu trends in many years.  Many people are making voluntary decisions to go gluten-free, but those who have  been diagnosed with celiac disease have no choice but to eliminate gluten from their diets.  Such has been the case for my sweet mom, who recently learned she  has celiac.  As she has been working on a major diet makeover, I’ve been trying to help out by researching gluten-free foods and doing some cooking for her.

I purchased a box of 1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies before I knew the story behind the product, but I started doing my research as soon as I got home with the brownie mix.  Company founder Kimberlee Ullner learned she had celiac when she was an adult, and she resigned herself to eliminate foods she loved to eat, and eat only the gluten-free foods available on the market.  Her resignation turned to resolve when her two nieces and a nephew were diagnosed with celiac.  She wanted them to be able to eat the same types of foods their friends enjoyed, and she started developing her own recipes for gluten-free foods.  Her nieces and nephew were not the only ones to give her recipes rave reviews; everyone thought they were delicious, and family members encouraged her to develop products for the market.  Kimberlee’s story was very compelling and her products appealing.

Mom and I had researched gluten-free baking from scratch, and we quickly determined that was going to be a no-go in most cases.  In Mom’s home town, all the specialty flours and gluten-free products aren’t readily available.  In anyone’s home town, these ingredients can be expensive to buy and a pain to store.  Although the products are more accessible in the Dallas area where we live, the “from-scratch” recipes we found were complicated.  Mom doesn’t have the energy, and I don’t have the time for complex recipes.

When Mom was diagnosed, one of the first gluten-free products I bought was a brownie mix that yielded an 8″x*8″ pan and cost $19.99.  Not very practical for many people!  I was happy to find the 1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownie Mix for less than one-half of that cost, and was thrilled with the end result.  The mix makes a 9″x13″ pan of thick, silky, and completely delicious brownies.  They aren’t just good gluten-free brownies; they are really good brownies, period.   The company’s tag-line is “Easy to Make, Can’t Beat the Taste!”, and we heartily agree.

1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies

1-2-3 Gluten Free Brownies achieved a trifecta in gluten-free baking:  affordable, easy, and delicious.  Mom and I are anxious to try some of the company’s other baking mixes.  “Aaron’s Favorite Rolls” just might be next!  Check out Kimberlee’s gluten-free mixes on her website.   Mom and I highly recommend the brownies!

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Filed under Cookies

G. H. Cretors Just the Cheese Corn

My husband thinks we should have a commercial popcorn popper.  Not one of the small-scale table-top models, but a full-sized movie-theater style popcorn machine.  Right, Honey.  Exactly what we need.    There is definitely something inherently more tasty about popcorn popped in a commercial popper, though.  I never gave the origin of the commercial popcorn popper a single thought until the vintage striped bag of G.H. Cretors Just the Cheese Corn grabbed my attention at Plano’s Central Market.  In business since 1885, it just stands to reason that the Cretors family must know a thing or two about popcorn.  As I quickly learned, “Great Grandpa” Cretors invented the popcorn machine in 1885, and in 1893, it debuted at the Chicago Columbian Exposition.  Five generations later, the Cretors family is still popping corn and making Cheese Corn with his recipe.

I haven’t been a huge fan of cheese popcorn because often the “cheese” is nothing more than a chalky dusting of fake cheese powder.  Ick!  Just the Cheese Corn seemed promising, because the ingredients listed on the bag included real cheddar cheese.  That had to be a good start.  The bag also indicated Cretors Just the Cheese Corn is Kosher, gluten-free, has no GMOs, and is made with all natural ingredients.  With such an impressive resumé, I was expecting it to be really good, and it certainly was!  The popcorn was exceptionally fluffy, and the tasty cheddar cheese was tangy without even the slightest hint of chalkiness.  Add one more attribute to Just the Cheese Corn — this yummy and wholesome snack has only 170 calories in a 2-cup serving.  Are you looking for your car keys right now to run out and pick up a bag?  This would be the perfect snack for family movie night.

G.H. Cretors

G.H. Cretors offers sweet and salty Kettle Corn, Caramel Corn made with real butter, Caramel Nut Crunch with roasted nuts, and Chicago Mix, a combination of caramel corn and cheese corn.  The company’s website offers a sampler pack with full-size bags of all flavors, and also features a store locator to find a local retailer.  The vintage photographs on the site are very cool, too.  Check out this Waukegan, Illinois family company and their very tasty popcorn flavors!

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Filed under Crackers, Chips & Snacks