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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yummy Goodness

Yes, it is December.

Yes, it is cold.

But this is east Texas and our idea of cold is in the 40's so the idea of making ice cream isn't completely ridiculous.

Or is it?

Wait! Don't answer that.

The ice cream did turn out pretty good. It has potential anyway. I was drooling over the strawberry coconut and peach coconut and so I picked up a bag of frozen blackberries (that is what Daisy wanted even though she didn't know what project I had in mind).

The blackberries just didn't interact with the coconut milk well. They were like two shy junior high kids at a dance, they were both there but neither was very noticeable.

Hubby suggested peaches because the coconut and peach would play well. He also suggested raspberries because it would contrast nicely with the coconut.

Junior was annoyed that I put in all the seeds. He didn't seem to care that it was God who put in the seeds (and they were a little annoying).

I wonder how almond milk would do with the blackberries, I see them playing better together but I don't even know if almond milk would work in ice cream.

It is also possible that the blackberry would do better in a sorbet, maybe that is what I should try with the almond.

Either way, it isn't going to go to waste. I do like it and think it tastes good - just not great and the potential is there.

Basing it off this recipe here I did change it somewhat.

I used

1 lb frozen blackberries
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar (I didn't have that much honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

I put it in the blender then poured it in my ice cream maker. After letting it run for about 30 minutes, I took the container out and popped it in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dining for Christmas Day - results

Every year there are last minute "disasters," things don't turn out exactly as planned. Luckily everything this year turned out eatable at least. Although it may not have been as pretty or as tasty as planned.

So here is what we had:
Brined Turkey - This is the first year that the turkey was too salty. We made the vegetable broth instead of using store bought chicken broth and Hubby didn't taste the broth to see if it tasted good and so added extra salt (homemade broth always needs more salt than I think.

Dressing - my in-laws did try to make a gf dressing but it was too bitter (they used just soy flour) so they went ahead and made the regular version. So we quickly threw together a dressing that was gf/df. For a first try, it did taste pretty good, I think I want to play with it a bit more before I post the recipe.

Gravy didn't turn out well, it needs alot of work because I didn't stick to the recipe. Sigh. Dinner was waiting on the gravy and so I tried to hurry it. It was edible but wasn't good.

sweet potato casserole It really did turn out well gluten-free and dairy free - also lower sugar. This is a keeper.

cranberry sauce - Daisy made this one, she did 2 Granny Smith apples instead of just one and probably put more sugar than I would. But she is not big on tart stuff.

bread or rolls - since we had to make dressing at the last minute, we didn't even attempt to do bread or rolls.

mashed potatoes - made with ghee and goat milk and soy milk. (We are doing dairy free for the casein and goats milk is very low in casein.)

Creamed Spinach - blah. I found a recipe but it wasn't something I would recommend. it was seriously lacking.

Fruit ambrosia - This turned out really good. Yum. it is more of a method than a recipe. You can check it out here.

And for the end of the meal, we have desserts.

I was really, really sneaky and made brownies that had black beans. I didn't tell anyone what was in them until they had tried them - because I am not stupid. The kids LOVED them, Hubby thought they were good but they did taste a little unusual (I think he has more hang ups on the GF thing than the kids). They were very dense, fudge-like brownies and not overly sweet. EVERYONE was surprised that the main ingredient was black beans. I will be making these again and playing with the recipe doing things like adding nuts or seeing if I can make them more cake-like just for variety. If you want to check it out, here is the recipe I found.

I also made Gluten-free Lemon Bars from Living Without. These had a wonderful flavor but they didn't turn out quite right. I used ghee instead of butter and probably should have used less. It also took quite a bit longer for the crust to cook up - again maybe because of the ghee. I don't know. I was also expecting the lemon layer to be on top (like a lemon pie) but it didn't really do that and that maybe because there was something wrong with the crust. Either way, it tasted really good so I will try playing with the recipe some more to see if I can get it to turn out.

And then Daisy made something like these Raw Date Truffles except instead of dates, she used prunes - because that is what her mom had bought. We also added a little bit of powdered sugar to the rolling cocoa because otherwise it was too bitter. Otherwise we really liked them, I want to try with some other fruits just so see how the other fruits compare. It was also nice to know that it was a healthy treat - no sugar (except for a tiny bit in the rolling cocoa and I used presweetened coconut).

Hubby was really wanting green bean casserole and I could have done it except for the fried onions on top. At some point it will be do-able but I am having too much to learn to cook and so that is going to be put off for another day.

How was your holiday meals?

Ambrosia

I kindof combined two recipes and then didn't follow either very well. But it was yummy. We all loved it (except Junior who still thinks he doesn't like coconut. insert eye roll here.)
I found this recipe from Whole Foods website and this recipe from Aprovechar. I wanted to make the coconut whipped cream but didn't have any safe yogurt and forgot to chill the bowl and beaters. It made really soft peaks but it fell in the fridge - not that it affected the flavor. It was still yuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmy.

Sweet Potato Casserole

When I was in high school one of the women where my dad worked brought some of this and he liked it so much that he got the recipe. I think this was one of the first times I had tried sweet potatoes without marshmallows (gag) and loved this.

I used to make this with all purpose flour and regular milk and was one of the competitors in a sweet potato cook-off my family did here. Since we have gone gluten-free it is not something we can eat anymore so we remade the recipe. It tastes just as good as the original but is gluten-free and dairy-free.

We have reduced the amount of sugar in the topping and increased the sweet potatoes to make it less sweet. Plus we made it gluten-free and dairy free and something we could all eat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something I am realizing

As I pull my focus off of what I can't eat and learn more about what I can eat, my food horizons are broadening. Instead of whining about not being able to eat boxed macaroni & cheese (where most of the nutrition is probably in the box), I am planning meals with kale and polenta and garbonzo beans and sauerkraut and flax and . . . .

Well, you get the idea.

I could complain about how cold cereal tastes disgusting with soy or rice milk (my kids like it though) or I can make smoothies and gf waffles and migas and other stuff that would be healthier.

I think that we tend to get in dietary habits and without something significant to shake us out of those habits, we stay in them. Or maybe I am the only one who has planned a week of meals and realized they are all similar in some way (mostly chicken, mostly beef, mostly tex-mex, or mostly pasta).

The first week I planned out the menu for the week that was dairy-free and gluten-free, I thought it would be simple. Then I went shopping. When I shopped I found out that dairy-free cheese is horribly expensive. I thought we would starve or hate our food - after all it didn't have a topping of cheese on it. And it doesn't have wheat in in. And. And.

But I haven't really missed it.

I mean, yes I am still looking for a good sandwich bread. The kids prefer rice cakes to any bread that I have made.

Yes, there are things I am going to miss.

But, I think that my diet is going to be generally healthier when I get more into the swing of gf/df or gf/cf.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pot roast

I had decided that a pot roast sounded wonderful. Yum. I love a good pot roast. For some reason my sisters don't but I love them.

My normal method is to drop the meal in the slowcooker with some onions, potatoes, carrots and a packet of onion soup mix.

Except I didn't have any onion soup mix, and I forgot to check at the store for any, and I don't even know if it is gluten-free/dairy-free.

So I instead thought about what makes onion soup the deliciousness that it is and the answer is onions caramelized into oblivion.

Note that this is more of a method than an actual recipe mainly because it kindof depends on what you like.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas dinner plan

I enjoy hosting adn cooking special dinners. Typically I have too much that I want to cook, too much to try to do, and I can't do all that I would like to do.

This year may be different.

With us on a full gluten-free dairy-free diet it is going to be more challenging.

So with that in mind here is what I am planning so far (the recipes, where available are linked):

Brined Turkey - I have never been a fan of ham so turkey is a given

Dressing - my in-laws are going to make this. My father-in-law is intrigued with the idea of making it gluten-free and dairy-free.

gravy - it's a must have this one is gluten-free but not dairy free. Maybe use unsweetened rice milk.

sweet potato casserole - I am working on making it gfdf

cranberry sauce - yum, one of my favorites

bread or rolls - I have no ideas on this one, I need to get busy baking to see what I can find. Any suggestions?

mashed potatoes - made with ghee and some kind of milk. I don't know what kind, possibly goats milk (we are doing dairy free for the casein and goats milk is very low in casein.)

Creamed Spinach - I am still working on a recipe

Fruit ambrosia - again working on the recipe

And then the reason my children will eat any turkey, stuffing or anything with nutritional value - desserts.

Part of me would like to try a pie, but honestly, I can't even do a pie crust with gluten. I am afraid to think about a gluten-free one.

What are your plans for dinner?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A confession

When I did the gluten-free thing before, it was just me and I mostly just reduced the gluten. I tried not to blow it very often, or at least not very big. So if we went out for pasta, I didn't eat the rolls.

Surprisingly, I did reduce the gluten enough to feel better but when I began to sense that maybe I needed to reduce it more, like completely, that is when I quit. It was too much. Because I hadn't gone completely gluten-free, it wasn't a major sudden change in how I felt when I gave it up.

So yesterday, we had a late breakfast and then I cleaned out the freezer (got rid of the gluten and cheese in there).

Then we had to head over to a 4-H event where we were selling trees, then tae kwon do, then back over to the tree sale. Then at 6:30 I realized we had skipped lunch and I was beyond rational thought.

I suggested we blow our diet. and we did. in a big way.

We went to Pizza Hut, I had a deep dish pizza because I have never liked pizza on crackers (thin crust). I had cinnamon sticks. I lamented that it tasted so good. And I enjoyed it.

Two hours later, both kids needed Pepto-Bismol and I had a stomach ache. I also had a stomach ache this morning and felt tired all day.

I think I can say that I learned my lesson. I need to be sure that I eat before we go somewhere and I do something stupid like this again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Score two for me!

As I have said, my kids are less than delighted with our new diet. In fact they have complained about it a fair bit but today I redeemed myself in their eyes.

I made pancakes and chocolate cookies.

I actually made 2 batches of pancakes, one a Bob's Red Mill and the other a variation on Alton Brown's Dutch Oven Hoecakes. I made the Bob's Red Mill according to the directions using vanilla soy milk but then needed to add a bit more milk because it was too thick. The hoecakes I added 1 tablespoon of sugar and didn't put in the corn (someone thinks he doesn't like corn.)

Daisy loved the hoecakes although she did say that if they were very big, they were too cornbready. I agree with her, the cornbread flavor is more noticeable on the larger one. It seems the good size is silver dollar pancake size.

She also liked the Bob's Red Mill pancakes, she said she would be happy with either one. Junior prefered the mix but his hoecake was pretty big so that may be the reason (he doesn't like cornbread).

So then tonight we had a cookies and caroling event at our church. We went to one of the local nuring homes and sang Christmas carols. After we did that, we went back to the church for hot apple cider or hot chocolate and cookies. We made Cocoa Melt Away Cookies that are gluten-free dairy-free and just wonderful. The outside is crisp and the inside is chewy and these could easily be habit forming. There is another family with a daughter Junior's age that is newly gluten-free and dairy-free and they brought gf/df cupcakes so the kids got to have both and so didn't feel very deprived.

It was a good food day for the kids and so it was a good day for me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta

Both of my kids love participating in the 4-H County Food and Nutrition contest. Daisy has to go into another room with three adult judges and then gets judged and ranked.

Her first year she won first place for applesauce bread, last year I don't remember how she placed with her baked apple.

This year she won first place again! She made Butternut Squash and Chicken Pasta which is so perfect in the fall.




Junior's Macaroni and Cheese - not dairy free

Both of my kids love participating in the 4-H County Food and Nutrition contest. Junior is considered a "Clover Kid" and so he isn't really judged - he gets asked questions but his ability to answer isn't scored. His dish for 4-H Food and Nutrition was Baked Cheese and Pasta - well Macaroni and Cheese but he didn't do macaroni noodles.

His dish has been more challenging for me just because of various problems. The first time he made it, I forgot we were doubling the recipe when we added the cheese. So it only had half of the necessary cheese. It was good, just not cheesey.

A few random things

Well , I reorganized things so that I think it is going to be easier to find, maybe.

Everything that is not gluten-free or dairy-free is labeled as such in the title.  I am going to try to rework them to make them gluten-free and dairy free and then I will repost them with the changes to make them gluten-free and dairy-free. (Some I don't know if they could be reworked or if it would be worth all the effort.)

I am going to get rid of the categories gluten-free and dairy free because I am going to try to only post such things anyway. Not to mention, those two categories will get very overloaded.

I also fixed all the recipe posts so that you don't have to scroll through the whole long recipe to get to the next post. If you want to see the whole thing, just click "more." I did this because I was getting annoyed looking through my own blog for recipes and having to scroll through so much.


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Last night I cooked the my first recipe from The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well without Wheat. I did the Lentil stew and it was lovely.

Yumm! Definitely something we will do again.

Junior was a bit concerned though because the recipe called for bacon and he thinks that bacon should be done crispy. Obviously bacon in soup isn't going to be crunchy so how can it be bacon?


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I need to start planning Christmas dinner, some of it is going to be easy but some is going to be a challenge - like the dressing and the rolls. I have done gluten-free gibblet gravy before so that isn't a big deal but we haven't yet found a basic dinner roll recipe that we like.

And then there is the dessert stuff. Yet another challenge. sigh. I guess I had better start planning.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feeling hopeful again

Ok, I am on the upswing again. I will figure out this gluten-free dairy-free thing. I found a recipe for buns, called the "wonder bun" that I just had to try.And if didn't taste like cornbread but like real, live wheaty bread. It is a bit too dry for us to use as rolls for a meal but for hamburger buns it would be great.

I wish I had found this pre-gluten free days just because it is a quick throw together bread that is great for the sandwiches that need a denser bread (like hamburgers, sloppy joes, and the like).

Yep, it is that good.

I would have totally eaten it instead of store bought, nutrition-less buns.

And it is quick. The recipe is for one but you can easily make more, just cook one at a time for 90 seconds in the microwave.

I may play later to see if they can be oven baked at the same time (which would be easier when making several) but for right now the microwave is great.

There is a video here on how to make them or you can read a blog post here.

I also got my book, "The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well without Wheat" by Bette Hagman and can't wait to try out some of the recipes in it.  

So things are looking up.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Meal planning

I want to meal plan, I would love to meal plan. It is just difficult when the list of things that can be cooked is so incredibly short.

Or maybe I should say the stuff that I know we can cook and like. I don't have a list of quick and simple throw-togethers that I can quickly and easily make. My old standbys were spaghetti or mac & cheese - both are on the no-no list.

I am also trying to cook with less tomatoes. Awful, I know. I just got to thinking about how I crave pasta and tend to put tomatoes on everything and wondering if I have an intolerance to tomatoes.

So that has got me wondering, if you don't have gravy and don't use tomatoes, what else is there? Seriously. I have no ideas.

Tonight I cooked little steaks (top round maybe, I forget) cut them in thin slices and then cooked them some more with onions and cranberries because I couldn't think of anything else. Luckily it wasn't that bad but my kids really hate the nights mommy throws random stuff into dinner. Hubby isn't too fond of it either.

I did also make the wonder bun and that turned out pretty well. It was so nice to have bread with dinner and it didn't taste corn bready. Like real wheat based bread. I am definitely going to play with that recipe some more.

But I still don't know what to do for meals. And there are 3 of them a day. Any ideas?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shepherdless Pie

This is one of the easiest, quickest throw-togethers. The hardest part is the mashed potatoes and if you aren't doing dairy-free then you can pick up mashed potatoes at the local fried chicken place.

This is something I have been making for years - although not often because Hubby is less than thrilled with vegetarian meals. Normally I do add the cheese and have buttery potatoes but that doesn't fit in with the dairy-free.

Sheperdless Pie

Week 1 completely gluten-free dairy-free

First, I need to say, Monday doesn't count. Not at all. We were traveling and it is difficult to eat gluten-free dairy-free on the road.

So today it started for real.

I have to say, the hardest part is the mental part. You know the part of me that is screaming "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T EAT CAKE AND MAC&CHEESE AND PIZZA EVERY DAY?!?!?"

Not that I eat that way every day, but it is a different mindset. There are so many things that are naturally gluten-free & dairy-free but most of it isn't convenience foods. I could do mac&cheese but instead of 3 for $1 it will cost more like 3 or 4 dollars.

I have got to learn how to cook again while avoiding what I need to avoid. I know I have problems with gluten and I suspect my daughter does. My son has problems with milk (I may too but I don't really crave it so it isn't a big deal for me.)

So here is our meal plan for the week and if you notice, none of it is really weird. Recipes and results will follow.

Tuesday - Shepardless Pie
Wednesday - Chicken Cacciatore
Thursday - Layered Vegetarian Enchiladas
Friday - Sloppy Joe Potato Skillet
Saturday - Mexican Cornbread
Sunday - Beef Stroganoff

The gluten-free is a challenge, but I am finding the dairy thing to be almost more of a problem. I can work around the wheat thing - I think - but some things just seem to scream "I NEED CHEESE!" like pizza and really I like having it in Mexican Cornbread.

I also would like to have yogurt, without paying an arm and a leg (and I do fee ok with making it at home if I can just find a starter.)

Anyway, that's the plan. Any ideas and suggestions would be appreciated.