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Friday, December 10, 2010

Adopt a Blogger - Ginger Lemon Girl


This is my first "adopt A Blogger" post and I am so excited. And so full. But excited mostly.

I chose to adopt Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl because I saw the Almond Joy Pie and I had to make it. I just had to, it was calling to me. Except that pie was eaten without me taking a picture. Oops. I was going to make another but didn't have a chance due to other baking. So anyway, make it, it is wonderful and is my new favorite.

So I also made her Aunt Linda's Amazing Broccoli Puff but the first one looked horribly burned (it didn't taste it though). I got a tiny bit distracted while it was under the broiler. Oops. It was so wonderful though I made it again tonight. YUM!!!! And this time, I took pictures. (yay me). I did not use Annatto because I don't have any. Also the first time I took fresh broccoli and cut it and steamed it while tonight I used frozen that I heated through - to be honest, the frozen worked just as well as the fresh and was much easier. We loved this! Well we are big fans of broccoli anyway but this was so good. Hubby loves "cheese sauce" on his broccoli (like the stuff in a can that I have never willingly bought) and this gives him a good cheesy flavor that I like too.


AND because my daughter had a sleepover Christmas party where they would be having regular pancakes for breakfast and she thought the idea of heating up gluten-free pancakes in the microwave was horrible - I made one more thing. Muffins.

She wanted muffins even though that was something we hadn't done yet. Even though it was a bit intimidating to me. So I found this lovely Streusal Topped Fresh Blueberry Muffins and I used frozen triple berries. I know! Shameful using triple berries (strawberry, blueberry and raspberry) that were frozen instead of fresh blueberries! But these were so good! I am thinking the other girls will be jealous. I will be making these again, both in the summer with fresh blueberries but also in the winter with other berries.


Carrie has a bunch more recipes so I really encourage you to look at what all she has.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pizza Soup

Sometimes something wonderful happens when you just throw some things together.

It works like magic.

And even stranger is when everyone likes it.

Even the picky kid who doesn't like anything.

That happened to me the other night.

We had a 4-H thing to go to and I knew that we probably wouldn't make it home till 8 and we would all be past ready to eat. And - as much as I love Chick-Fil-A - I would rather have chewed my arm off than have to eat another Chick-Fil-A salad.

So I looked to see what all I could throw together in the crockpot and then prayed it would be good.

It was.

It was so good that it was gone before I thought to get a picture (bad blogger).

Now you can try it.

Pizza Soup

As with all soups, if you don't like something, leave it out. If it is your favorite, then add some more.

  • 1 cup of browned hamburger meat
  • 1 onion chopped and browned
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers chopped (and browned if you don't want them crunchy)
  • 4 ounces Hormel pepperoni in a large dice (this is where most of the pizza-y flavor came from but it didn't overwhelm for those that don't like pepperoni)
  • 2 32 ounce cans of tomatoes (diced is good)
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt (or more or less)
  • enough water to make it a soupy thickness you like (2-3 cups)

Dump it all in the slowcooker and stir. Turn it on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

If you like olives, you can garnish with chopped olives. Next time I will be adding mushrooms because I love mushrooms.

We did think that this needs some kind of bread to go with it. Like GingerLemonGirl's Brazilian Cheese bread would be almost like dipping the pizza place cheese sticks into the soup.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's not December yet!

Last week was Thanksgiving and to be honest, I was dreading it a bit. I can somewhat control what goes on in my kitchen and I can limit my outside exposures.

But for Thanksgiving we were going to stay with family for a week. A week where I had very little control.

It went well, I did end up with some cross contamination but nothing very severe. I read that it isn't uncommon for the body to react strongly to a tiny bit of gluten to remove the gluten but for the body to sort-of shutdown in response to larger doses.

I don't know. I just know I reacted strongly to a Sonic Blast that I suspect either had some pie crust or sugar cookie pieces but there was a ton of cross contamination at Thanksgiving. It is things I didn't want to mention because I hated to make things more difficult than they were already; things like the cast iron shouldn't be used, foil that covered the gluten-rolls shouldn't be used to cover the gluten free cheese bread, and I didn't bring a supply of wooden spoons and spatulas.

My sister made Daisy a pumpkin pie because I mentioned that she had really been wanting one but I hadn't gotten around to making it. She also made Junior a pecan pie when she found out that it is his favorite. Her son is also gluten-free but he is still young enough that he only likes a small handful of foods and doesn't want anything else. My grandmother got into an argument with me about the pecan pie, insisting it was the gluten one because the crust was so good. Hehehe.

I made a Clark Kent fudge pie this is wonderful and is the pie that the kids loved (although when the pecan and pumpkin pie came they went for those. My grandmother wanted the recipe. I also made a Almond Joy Impossible Pie and I have to be honest, my kids didn't like it as much because they think they don't like coconut. However that just means there is more for me. Mwahahaha. If you like Almond Joy candy, you will lurve this pie. I used coconut flour as my "flour of choice" to increase the coconut-ie-ness.

The big debate in our family is not the "Stuffing vs Dressing" debate I hear so much about. It is "marshmallow vs no-marshmallow". Some delusional people insist that sweet potatoes taste better with marshmallows. Gag. I didn't know that sweet potatoes could taste good until I tried them as an adult without marshmallows. I love sweet potatoes. Fortunately there were both kinds so people could choose.

And now I need to get geared up to do Christmas baking. We are going to be doing gingerbread house decorating with our homeschool co-op and I need to make the gingerbread for my kids. The other kids are doing graham crackers and some will possibly eat theirs that night and I could tell the kids they can make one and not eat it but that just isn't as much fun.

I also am going to start tying to convert some recipes. It should be interesting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food and Nutrition 4-H style

We just participated in our county's 4-H Food and Nutrition contest. Again. This was Daisy's 4th year and Juniors 3rd and I honestly just wasn't into it this year.

It just felt rushed and we weren't able to participate as well as we would have liked. Plus some things I just didn't feel like messing with or forgot to put down. Anyway, although Daisy did well (from comments made by the judges and overheard by a friend) she didn't do well enough to win. I didn't really think she would when I saw who she was competing against.

Junior on the other hand TOTALLY would have won if his age group got any sort of prize that was based on performance. Seriously, at that age a kid could say "I don't know anything about it, my mother made it, I don't even like to eat it" and still win a ribbon.

Junior LOVED his dish though - since it was hummus I think a lot of the people were leery of it - this is East Texas. But Junior loves it. When he was asked what his favorite part of making it was his response was an enthusiastic "Eating it!"

One thing that struck us funny though, we get the judges score cards (with the actual numbers cut off) and one of the comments on Daisy's was "Good Job on reducing your sugar intake." It took me awhile but I finally figured out that they thought we are reducing glucose and not gluten.

She is already planning on doing some kind of bread next year and educating the judges.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finally!

Baking is fun for me. I was 13 when I made my first loaf of bread, Mom was gone and Dad had no idea how much mess it could make.

I enjoyed working with the dough, stretching and activating the gluten.

It is rather ironic, isn't it.

I didn't mind too much the thought of gluten-free baking. I mean how different can it be? Extremely different.

Then my Dad died. And then 31 days later my husband's mother passed away. And I stopped cooking and I especially stopped baking.

 I had no desire to experiment in the kitchen. At this point in our gluten-free journey, almost everything is an experiment.

But finally, I am wanting to play in the kitchen. I am looking for things to surprise my family with. I am having fun in the kitchen again.

I made Jowar Roti just to see how it turned out. Junior was ecstatic because they made great bean burritos.

I made pumpkin hummus because Hummus is yummy and so is pumpkin. Junior made it for 4-H food competition because he liked it that much. 

Daisy had a birthday party to go to and I suggested that we make cupcakes so she could have one to eat while everyone else was eating cake. I even made buttercream frosting with real butter.

And I made up a dessert. Made it up as in created it, came up with an idea and wanted to see how it would play out. And it was good. Really good. More on that later.

I am finally having fun in the kitchen again. There are so many things to try and do and taste.

I also plan on blogging what we try and what I invent. For now I have some pumpkins to scrape.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

A bit of background:
Two years ago my sister mentioned that she was cutting the gluten out of her diet and had noticed that her headaches went away. I had looked years earlier at possibly removing wheat from my diet and there was almost nothing available (I also didn't know what I was doing and didn't really know how to cook).

I thought my sister was crazy.

But I had chronic headaches too. So I googled gluten-free to see what would come up and the first thing was Gluten-Free Girl's blog and after reading it a bit, I decided that maybe it wouldn't be that bad. After all, there were better options and if it would get rid of my headaches . . . .

That time I wasn't able to stay gluten-free. This time I will and again Shauna James Ahern has a new cookbook out (my previous gluten-free episode was about the time her first book came out).

Mikki over at Not the Perfect Housewife was having a giveaway of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef and I won. Wow. I won.

So I looked forward to it's arrival and immediately started reading it. I love cookbooks. They always offer the hope that I will actually cook.

Like with all cookbooks, there are some recipes that make me want to start cooking and some that make me lose my appetite (bacon wrapped pork belly. The thought of pork belly makes me feel ill but then adding more fat in the form of bacon. . . . Gag.)

I didn't want to say what I thought of the cookbook until I had tried at least one of the recipes. (If it didn't turn out, I would have tried another).

We needed some sandwich bread so I made "Crusty Bread that Even Those Who Eat Gluten Might Like."

I have one word to say : YUM!

Look at this:



Clearly I need to get a cutting board for bread as I am currently using a plate to slice the bread and that is why there are so many crumbs. But seriously, that looks like real bread, doesn't it. It tasted like real bread.

It smelled like real bread.

If for no other reason, this book is worth it for the bread.

The other thing that was interesting is that the other gluten-free cookbooks give some variation of "you must do the baked recipes exactly as written or the bread won't turn out, your children will hate you and the world will end." This one requested that you make the recipe as written the first time, after that feel free to try other flours by weight not volume.

And it gives the measurements by weight as well as by volume so that the measuring goes faster. I prefer to measure by weight only none of my other cookbooks do so.

In warning, the F word is used 5 or 6 times and a few other swear words. Some may find that offensive, I prefer my daughter not see those words. I just marked it out with a pen because my 11 year old may decide to read through it (she likes to read cookbooks).

Other than that and the bacon wrapped pork belly, I do recommend this book.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Did you guess?

So did you guess what this is?



Well here is another hint:



Did you figure it out?

How about this:



It is a recipe box that I worked up from a basic wooden box that I picked up at Hobby Lobby (here is a set of 3 and the one I used is the middle one).

I found a piece of wood to go in the middle and with some glue and craft sticks I fixed a divider. Sorry, no pictures of the process because I am a bad blogger.

I then painted it black, but not just any black. No, I used chalk board paint (which was the most expensive part of the project). Since I used chalk board paint, I can let the kids decorate my box and then it can be wiped off later.

I can also write on the inside, maybe a recipe I want to look for or try. Or something to add to the shopping list. Or the plan for a big dinner, like Thanksgiving dinner.

With the extra room, I can keep the family recipes that we can't eat but have been written by family members.

I have room to add other things, like a list of foods through the year that we think of to use in food competition.

I didn't mean for it to be quite that big but I think I will like it better with the extra size. I have already got it close to half-full.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guess what this is



Hubby thinks it is too big but I have gotten it almost halfway filled up.

I wasn't planning on it being this large but I am able to do more with it.

I'll explain more later but first, try to guess what it is.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What to do to welcome traveling gluten-free family

I have a friend who has a new sister-in-law who is gluten-free and so Kristen was hoping to make her delicious gluten-free dinner rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, I have no recipe to give her, I haven't been baking since February and I hadn't build up any go-to recipes prior to that.

Then I started thinking how I would much rather have a sandwich bread for left overs than a dinner roll - then again dinner rolls have never really been my thing.

Then I started thinking about what would make me feel really welcome at Thanksgiving and I came up with this list:
  • a new unopened jar of peanut butter
  • a separate stick of butter or tub of butter spread
  • a new jar of mayo or Miracle Whip
  • a loaf or two of sandwich bread and a plan to heat it up
  • some gluten-free canned soup for a snack or in case I don't feel the meal is safe
  • being included in during the cooking plans, I may be able to tell you a simple thing to do to make the dish gluten free
  • showing a willingness to learn so that I do feel safe eating what you have cooked - and don't be afraid to say "don't eat that, I didn't know how to make it gluten-free"

I know there are other things that I am not even thinking of - what would you suggest be added to this list?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Posole de la Gringa - or - White Girl's Hominy Stew

Since I grew up in West Texas and my grandparents lived in New Mexico I grew up hearing about posole. It held a fascination for me because it was said to have pigs feet in it. Not that I wanted to try it! In fact with there being a possibility that it might contain pigs feet, I had no interest in tasting it. Ever.

I am not very picky but I draw the line at cole slaw and pigs feet.

Ewww.

Tonight I made a variation of Posole (poe-soe-lay) and my family loved it. I didn't tell them about the pigs feet though. Not that I used pigs feet. Ewww.

So here is what I did:

I had a rack of pork ribs that I had gotten on quick sale and then sat in the freezer for a few months because I couldn't figure out what to do with them. I took them out and put them in the crockpot and decided I would do soup. Isn't that what ribs say to you?

In retrospect, I should have trimmed some of the fat off but I didn't.

They cooked a few hours until the meat was falling off the bone and I took the meat out and cut it into bite-size pieces and put it back into the slowcooker along with a 32 ounce can of diced tomatoes and a large can of hominy.

I then added about a 1/2 teaspoon of habanero seasoning, two teaspoons of garlic powder, a teaspoon of thyme, oregano and salt, half a small can of tomato paste. I then decided it needed something to perk it up so I went with 5-6 dashes of Louisiana hot sauce and one long squeeze of ketchup. My son and I are wimps when it comes to spices so we could taste the heat but it wasn't uncomfortable. If you like it hotter, you could add more hot sauce and less ketchup. Then to thicken the broth I mixed a tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/3 cup of cold water and let that cook in.

My daughter LOVED it, she said she wanted to keep eating because it tasted so good but she was full. My son gave it a thumbs up and considering he almost always finds something to complain about its good but I wish you hadn't added onions he must have loved it. My husband was most surprised of all. This is not my usual cooking style, I have never added hot sauce or ketchup to any soup unless the recipe called for it. He loved it and told me to write down what I did so I could do it again.

As for me, it reminded me of visits to New Mexico and so I really enjoyed it.

As usual, I didn't measure so all measurements are approxomate, taste and add more if you want.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Those pills are not quite the miracle we hoped for

I was recommended these pills that give your stomach the enzymes to process the gluten so we could cheat occasionally on the gluten-free diet. They seemed miraculous, wonderful.

But it is a slippery slope from occasional cheating.

I noticed that if I ate gluten too often, even with the pills, I would start getting uncomfortable. About 2 or 3 weeks ago, I noticed these effects again so I completely cut out eating gluten, even with the pills.

Monday before last, I started walking and other than a few blisters and a bit of soreness I felt fine. Tuesday I walked a bit farther and felt good. Wednesday I took off because I thought maybe I ought to have a rest day. Thursday I doubled how far I walked on Monday and felt great. Friday I overslept and it is just too hot here to walk later in the day.

Saturday my son had a Tae Kwon Do tournament and I didn't think to pack a meal so I had a hamburger and on enzyme pill.

Sunday we went out to eat with my father-in-law and I had spinach enchiladas and a pill.

Monday I went walking and I liked to have died. My ankles hurt, my shins hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt. I was praying to get through it. The only things that got me through the walk was prayer and knowing that if I went home, I would just sit there and get fatter.

Tuesday I was mostly better.

Wednesday I added more distance to my walk.

So what happened that bad Monday? I really suspect it is the gluten. Even through the pill keeps my from having a messed up stomach after eating gluten, it doesn't protect my body from inflammation. When I am sedentary, I don't really notice it but it is probably still there.

So what about these pills? I dunno. I am going to keep them around for emergencies (no chance of eating for a few hours and no gluten free items available.) I will also probably take them when there is a risk of cross-contamination.

They are not going to be an excuse anymore to eat what I want though.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Making my daughter eat her words OR Applesauce Chicken

In the car today hurrying home because we were all hungry, we got to talking about food - 'cuz that doesn't make you hungrier. Daisy started talking about one of her favorite meals that we can't eat anymore, beer can chicken (gluten in the beer ya know and all the gluten-free beer I have seen has been in bottles.)

We told her that you can make it with other things such as sprite, apple juice whatever. Then Hubby said that apple juice with a cinnamon stick would be good and a very loud EWWWWWW was heard from the back seat.

So tonight I proved her wrong. I didn't do it in the style of beer can chicken - mainly because we were going to church and I didn't feel it was wise to leave food on the grill like that. And we had no apple juice.

Here is what I did: I put 5 frozen chicken breasts into the crockpot and then dumped an entire jar of apple sauce on top and then filled the jar 3/4 with water and poured that on top. I thinly sliced a large onion on top, added some salt and some cinnamon and stirred as well as I could with the frozen breasts. I put it on high and we left for church. And I prayed it would be edible because I made it up.

Two hours later we got home and the chicken was not cooked through so I pulled it out and cubed it into bite size pieces. These went into a large pot and I cooked them through then added the rest of the applesauce/onion mixture and let it cook down. Meanwhile I put some rice on and we had to wait until it cooked so the applesauce was back to applesauce consistency.

I served the apple chicken on top of the rice and my family loved it. It was slightly sweet but not too bad since it was the no sugar added apple sauce. It is one that we will be adding to our recipe collection although we might play with it some more. We were thinking a handful of dried cranberries the last 10 minutes would add an additional pop of flavor. I found a recipe on A Year of SlowCooking where she adds apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes and she actually measures the ingredients.

And we did point out to Daisy that she was eating her words since she was positive that apples and chicken would not go together. She was also appalled that people serve applesauce with pork chops but I can only cook one meal at a time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cheeseburger and rice soup

Last night I couldn’t figure out what to do for dinner – I really need to start planning our meals. I was still not sure what to do when I started browning the ground beef.

 

I thought about chicken enchilada soup but I had ground beef cooking.

 

I then thought about beef enchilada soup but that just didn’t sound that great.

 

Then I thought about cheeseburgers. Yum, I love cheeseburgers. How to carry that into a soup? I eyed the v*lveeta and that gave me the idea. I cooked some rice for the starchy bit and then began cooking a new creation.

 

I got some strange looks from my family when it was served and I told them what it was – especially from Hubby when he asked where I got the idea and I told him I made it up.

 

They loved it though. There was talk of me making it again and soon. Daisy said it wasn’t good, it was excellent.

 

I have to admit, it really isn’t very healthy. It could probably be made healthier – even using brown rice instead of white rice would help. I did also throw in some chia seeds for added nutrition and to thicken it up a bit.

 

Cheeseburger and Rice Soup

 

2 onions diced

1 1/2 lb ground beef, browned and well drained

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 box of broth (I used chicken because that is what I had)

2 cups cooked rice

1/2 large block of v*lvetta (processed American cheese) cubed

1/4 cup chia seeds

 

Cook the onion with a bit of salt until translucent. Add broth and tomato and stir and let it come to a boil. Add rice and cheese and let cheese melt. If you are using chia seeds, add now.

Serve.

 

That’s it. The hardest part it browning the beef and making the rice.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Death and Dying – again

I just . . . .

 

I don’t know what to say other than please pray for my family.  My husband’s mother unexpectedly passed away today and we are just stunned. We knew she wasn’t extremely healthy but no way did we think she was this sick.

 

My heart is breaking for my husband and his dad as well as my kids.

 

My kids have lost 2 grandparents in barely a month – my husband and I have each lost a parent. 

 

I just don’t know.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brownies, yummy easy gluten-free brownies

After making 4 batches of brownies this week, you would think I would have some pictures but you would be wrong. I forgot to take any and now . . .

They are all gone.

Every single one.

While we like them, I didn’t know that they would be such a big hit.

We made 2 batches for the 4-H meeting with no leftovers. Several commented that they enjoyed them and wanted the recipe.

I made 2 more batches for my Bible study class this morning and several more asked for the recipe. One of the ladies in the class was delighted that it was a snack she could enjoy (she is gluten-intolerant as well). We also had one of the preschool teachers look for us because there was a little boy who was gluten-free dairy-free and had no snack and they wanted something for him.

These are unbelievably good and no weird ingredients. . .

Ok, let me rephrase that, no ingredients you won’t find in a normal grocery store. But one of the ingredients is decidedly weird for brownies.

Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?

Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Black beans.

Nope, no typo there. Black beans like what might be used to make soup or refried beans or other savory dishes.

Black bean brownies

I promise they don’t taste like black beans – they taste like real brownies. Real fudgey, moist brownies.

And they are not much harder to make than a box mix of brownies. Really.

Black Bean Brownies
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor (you might could use a blender but I don’t really know). And blend until its a smooth batter (you don’t want anyone biting into noticeable bean bits). You can add chocolate chips or nuts at this point.
Pour into a 8x8 pan that has been greased and then bake for 30-ish minutes (until a knife comes out clean). My oven seems to cook slow so it usually takes mine about 40-45.
Let cool before cutting.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

Well you could put something else on them, frosting or ice cream or nuts or whatever but they are good by themselves.

They don’t need anything else.

With the beans and the eggs, I figure they are healthy. Ok, maybe healthy is pushing it, but they are better for you than some other options. Beans are good for you anyway.

By the way, if you are one of those who doesn’t like bean flour, for some reason this doesn’t have the bean flour taste according to other GF people I have talked to who don’t like bean flour. It isn’t just me.


Edited to add June 2014:
To be honest, we still love black bean brownies but we now use this recipe from Living Without.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

children can be so aggravating

I was going to do a post on homemade instant gluten-free oatmeal individual servings because they are really easy and my kids said they were wonderful. And perfect. And yummy.

 

Until today when they told me that it needs a little work. Apparently some of the oatmeal doesn’t get completely soft. And they want cinnamon in it. And can we dry some fruit to put in it.

 

So no oatmeal post yet.

 

Last night I made cabbage roll soup which nearly caused my children to run away from home. Could you leave out the cabbage? Uh, no.

 

I had planned on it being ready before Hubby had to leave for work, but it was done 5 minutes after he left. So I was the only one who was actually wanting to try it.

 

Daisy however was shocked that it wasn’t as horrible as she thought it would be. We decided the recipe needs more work (different spices) but it is a good base so when we get that the way we like it, I will post that.

 

The end.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On death and dying

We buried my dad today.

 

To be honest, it was both expected and unexpected. He had end stage cancer but we really thought we had a few more weeks or even months.

 

For his sake I am so very, very glad that he is no longer in pain and has energy again.

 

For his sake I am glad that he is in heaven with his precious savoir.

 

For our sake, I miss him. I wanted him to meet his other grandchildren who are yet to be born. I wanted him to dance with my mother at my daughter’s wedding. I wanted him to call me up a few more hundred times to just say “hi.”

 

But I would not have asked him to live one more hour in pain.

 

Posting may be somewhat sparse in the next few weeks but I will be back soon-ish.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salmon Croquettes – a quick little throw-together

Sometimes you start thinking about a food you enjoyed as a child and want to recreate that. Even a quick version of it, just something to give you a taste of the childhood comfort food.

The other day I was in Sams and saw a 4 pack of canned salmon which led me to thinking about the salmon croquettes we ate when I was a child. I loved them, it was one of my favorite meals – not that I was a picky eater, I liked most anything my mom cooked.

It wasn’t one of my dads favorites, I am not sure why. Maybe it wasn’t something he grew up eating. I am not sure why I have such a vivid memory of this,  it is strange the stuff you remember from childhood.

Anyway, most of the recipes I have seen call for crackers or bread crumbs crumbled up with the canned salmon and maybe some egg as a binder.

Crackers aren’t gluten free but corn chips are. Those little crumbs at the bottom of the bag (that are too small to dip in the guacamole) are perfect.

Because I didn’t know how it would turn out, I didn’t measure.

I know, shame on me.

Anyway, I am guessing about 1 cup of corn chip crumbs (although potato chip crumbs would probably work too). And then I put in 2 eggs and a can of salmon.

I then mushed it around in my hands until it was mixed and then made patties. These were then pan fried with a bit of olive oil until they were a beautiful golden brown.

Daisy was excited to try them because she loves tuna and other fish.

Junior was not. He was convinced that he would hate it because he hates tuna (among other things).

He was shocked – and so was I for that matter – he <i>loved</i> them. He ate two and then requested that “we have them every day for lunch” and then he told me that we needed “to have them for dinner so that Daddy can try them.”

Daisy did love them as well, although that didn’t surprise me because she is fairly open-minded about food.

So will be doing this again, I just need to eat some more chips so we can have the crumbs at the bottom.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pizza. Finally.

After all that whining about having to make pizza because I promised but didn't feel like it - I didn't make it that night. We had gotten some bad news about my Dad's health and I was crying to hard to focus on making pizza.

So tonight I made pizza.

Actually I made three.

I wanted to compare two Bette Hagman recipes to see which one we like better. And it seemed to be a better taste test to have them side by side.

Get it?

The third?

The third . . . well . . . its like this, cooking pizza on aluminum foil is just so much quicker cleanup-wise.

And for one of the pizzas it worked great. Absolutely perfectly.

The other pizza not so much. It might as well have been super-glued to the foil. I could not get them separated.

So I quickly threw together the third where I used a wheat flour recipe and just substituted sorghum flour (instead of the wheat) and added an egg to help bind it.

Honestly it was my favorite (although it does need a bit of tweaking - maybe some starch replacing some of the sorghum). It tasted to me like a whole wheat pizza - but I have always liked whole wheat better than white.

Hubby's favorite was the one glued to the aluminum foil, he laboriously peeled pieces of foil off so that he could eat it. I will admit, it was pretty good too, except for the metal.

Daisy liked the other pizza best (it tasted to corn-y for Hubby and I) because . . .

HELLO! It can't be simple! Can it?!

Junior was just thrilled to have pizza, I don't know if he cared for one over the other (he didn't try the foil one). Poor kid, he has just been wanting pizza for 2 months. As long as I didn't put any weird toppings on it, he didn't care.

Realistically, it was less work than making a wheat pizza, I didn't have to wait for the gluten to relax, or the yeast to do a lot of work. Just mix it up, dump it onto the pan and smoosh it into the right shape.

I wonder if gluten-free pie crust is as easy. I can't make a regular pie crust - never have been able to - but if it is like pizza crust, I might can do it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I can't believe I did that

Last night we tried out the gluten-free offerings at Olive Garden and enjoyed it.

Well, mostly.

My six year old always gets cheese pizza because he loves cheese pizza. He also loves ravioli. And gnocchi. And garlic bread. But none of that is gluten-free at Olive Garden.

Now he did clean his plate without any coercion on our part but that may have been because I promised, promised we would make pizza today.

Ahem.

I thought about it, decided that there was nothing big going on today, we could do it.

Then he said "and ravioli too?" and I said we would try but I was only going to promise pizza.

Then after we got home, the cold I have been fighting off won. By the time I went to bed, I couldn't breath through my nose and my chest hurt.

I then apparently slept wrong because my left arm aches all the way from shoulder to fingers, my joints ache and I am running a fever.

And I have to make pizza.

But first I have to find a recipe.

I could try to back out of it but I gave my son a promise and I have to break my promise.

Saturday, January 30, 2010



Have you tried these?

Oh. My. Goodness.

These are good. They taste like real, regular cookies. These are the first non-mix Pamela's product that we have tried and they are seriously good. Crispy, crunchy, full of yummy flavor. They didn't have the odd taste that so many gluten-free products have.

Yum.

I tried to convince my kids that they were awful so I could have them all but that didn't work. Darn it. They weren't fooled at all.

They also have chocolate chip ones but I haven't tried those yet. But if they are anything like these, they are also really good.


Per FTC regulations: I have no connection to Pamela's, I have never received anything from them, I bought these cookies at full price from the store.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chic-fil-A

Last night I was gonna cook but we had 2 doctor appointments that day and a 4-H meeting and I procrastinated.

So we got out of 4-H at 7:30 and I had a splitting headache and . . . and . . . and Chic-fil-A was on the way home.

Although they don't really advertise it, Chic-Fil-A is a great place to get safe food. Their fries and hashbrowns are gluten-free and fried in dedicated friers - not the ones the chicken are fried in. They have the chargrill chicken that is gluten-free and is good on the salads - I LOVE the chicken and fruit salad. They also do the kids meals with the chargrill (although it isn't on the menu, you have to ask).

So the kids and I went in to place our order, they were not really crowded and by the time we had figured out our order, we were the only ones ordering. So I ask for the kids meals with chargrill and she asks "Do you want the sandwich, nuggets or tenders?"

I tell her the kids can't have bread so she asks if they want strips, nuggets or patty. With no breading. I was completely shocked because we have eaten there several times and I had no idea there were several options for the gluten-free kids meals. I thought it was just the one large patty. So they got grilled chicken nuggets.

I got the chargrilled chicken and fruit salad - which comes gluten-free no special ordering for it.

I ordered hubby one of the chargrilled sandwiches (he needs to be gf but he won't admit it yet) and she asked if we wanted the bread off of that too so it would be gf.

While we waited for our order she conversed with my 6 year old while he told her all the things he was planning on inventing (a jet pack, a gun that helps you fly etc).

When we got home, we enjoyed our meal while I told Hubby how amazingly helpful she was.

I noticed that instead of the usual crouton pack and sunflower seed pack - both of which have wheat - she put in a granola pack that had no wheat. Now the oats weren't gf so I still couldn't eat it but I was still very impressed - I didn't say gluten-free or wheat-free and really probably the only ones that know the difference are the ones that have to know the difference.

In fact, I think I am going to call the owner/manager of the Chic-Fil-A and let them know how impressed I am.

By the way, as dictated by FTC laws, I have to tell you that I paid for our meal, I didn't get anything free except ketchup packets and straws and napkins. I am not being given anything for posting this review.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today I felt like cooking

To be honest, cooking is not my favorite thing to do but there have been a couple of things I wanted to try and so I did them today.

For lunch we had acorn squash and polenta lasagna.

Oh yes, we did.

It was something I have wanted to try ever since Katrina at GlutenFree Gidget posted about it. I even mentioned it to Hubby but he looked at me like I had grown another head. He is not that adventurous with food.

But I was excited because I love, love, love winter squash, Katrina used butternut which is my favorite but I had an acorn squash wanting to be used. Since we are diary-free as well as gluten-free I couldn't figure out what to so for cheese because lasagna isn't lasagna without cheese. Right?

The cheese was not missed because there was a yummy faux ricotta layer.

And the noodles were not missed because polenta was used instead. A

nd the kids requested I make it again, and maybe even make it for dinner. And my kid who hates onions, corn meal (corn in any form), and spinach, didn't notice the onions, corn meal or spinach. My daughter would like the spinach layer to be increased because she thought that part was really good.

This is a definite do again, although I will be increasing it to make a 9X13 pan so that we have leftovers and may just use homemade polenta.

Then for supper we had something completely different. Have you ever heard of Pupusas? I hadn't although around here we mostly have Tex-Mex sort of things like tamales, enchiladas, that sort of thing. Pupusa comes from El Salvador and is somewhat like a thick corn tortilla stuffed with meat or beans or cheese.

I found this recipe through a round about way. Book of Yum hosts an Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger event where you pick a gluten-free blogger, try one of there recipes and then blog about it. Well Book of Yum spotlighted one of the adopters here and told about what Heather had posted about. So I went over to Heather's Blog Celiac Family and read about her making the papusas and thought that I had to try them. So I got the recipes from Diane's blogThe W.H.O.L.E. Gang where she posted the pupusa recipe here and the accompanying Spicy Slaw here.

To be honest, the recipe called for cooking pork and I just didn't want to do that.

This Texas girl used brisket. And not just any brisket, but a pre-made frozen brisket bought from Sams. But my kids loved them. They really loved them. They didn't turn out very pretty, we will have to practise at it more but they were definately tasty.

They were less impressed with the spicy slaw (yes Mom, I made cabbage slaw and even ate some without gagging). They ended up sprinkling it with sugar for a sweet and sour slaw that was actually really good. To be honest, I liked it a bit better with the sugar too but I liked it without as well.

Really the slaw was a bit stretch for me because the one food I have always refused to eat is cole slaw. I don't really like ham, bacon, sausage, raisins and mustard but I will eat them. I don't like to look at cole slaw or smell cole slaw or even think about it. My kids picked up from me that slaw is disgusting so I am impressed that they ate it at all.

Anyway I will be making this meal again, and next time I may even try a more traditional filling. Or I may just keep eating it with brisket.

All in all, it was a good day in the kitchen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Buckwheat Groats

I tried some buckwheat gross groats yesterday and I must be missing something. I don't know what the problem is but they were awful, nasty, burnt smelling (and no I didn't burn them).

I tried with sugar but then it was like burnt, bland cookies.

I thought about dried fruit but that didn't help either.

Maybe they have to be mixed with something to be good but I don't see how they could improve the taste of anything.

It was kind of cool though watching them in the pot of water, sort of like those sponges encased in a gel capsule - Grow A Dinosaur sort of thing. I don't want to eat those either.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I now know the difference

You know that loaf of bread that I made on Thursday that was so repulsively nasty? The one that was so incredibly ugly? The one that I fed to the dogs and hubby asked why I was poisoning them?

I figured out what went wrong.

You know how some recipes almost scream at you to use potato starch not potato flour?

Well, this one didn't.

Yep, I used the wrong one.

Which explains why it tasted so bad because apparently potato flour has a stronger flavor.

I am just glad that I wasn't able to make another loaf immediately - because I was out of potato flour otherwise I don't know when I would have figured it out. or if I ever would have. Since I have been taking notes on how much the flours weigh (to make life simpler), I know what I did.

Luckily the 3 flour mix called for either corn starch or potato starch and I used corn starch otherwise the 3 flour mix would be messed up too.

So I am going to make another loaf.

This time I am going to use the right flours.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby its cold outside

It is so cold that I can't write a coherent post so you get bullet points.

  • First I need to let you know about a give-away I have going. Chantel Hobbs has written a fabulous weight-loss book called One-Day Way, while it is not gluten-free it could be by ignoring the meal plans. Click here to see more information about it.
  • Do I hafta go and get a new toaster?If no one is toasting wheat bread anymore then shouldn't it loose all the gluten before we get that sensitive?
  • I dreamed about bread again. That is just pitiful.
  • The other day I went to the health food store to pick up some nutritious yeast - which they didn't have. So I picked up the brewers yeast to ask the guy working there if they tasted similar. (I don't know why I bother because he never knows the answer to my questions.) So I was walking around looking because I wanted some other items and and older lady came up and asked what I was planning on doing with the brewers yeast. Well we got to talking, we found out that I know her daughter because she goes to church with me. Then she said she had a nearly full can of it at home and she hates it, she would he happy to give me half the can if I followed her home. She also lent me a Jewish cookbook which is such a blessing. I had been wanting to look through one but the chances of finding one here in my small East Texas town are pretty remote.

    I ended up finding the nutritious yeast at another store and it does seem to taste closer to cheese but I am going to play some more with the brewers yeast. I found this list of things to do with it but I haven't really tried any of them out.
  • The reason I wanted nutritious yeast is to make some gluten-free dairy-free macaroni and cheese. Junior has been patiently asking when we could have mac&cheese because I promised him that we would still be able to have it.

    I vaguely remembered seeing something about it - a recipe or mention of frozen dinner or something. If all else failed I could make up a gluten-free dairy-free bechamel and grate up some vegan cheese (although the price makes me wince).

    So then I found this recipe which for some reason just sounded good.

    It isn't the blue box but it is pretty good and really quick to go together. I used sunflower nut butter instead of almond but I am going to try it sometime with the almond nut butter.
  • I posted here on my other blog about how I had given up on my drug of choice - wheat/gluten. I am not craving wheat all the time now, barely give it a thought (except in my dreams apparently). But I still hadn't found a bread recipe I liked.

    So I made a loaf of bread yesterday and it was awful. I baked my first loaf of bread at 13 (Mom was out of town and Dad had no idea how involved it would be). So I have been baking bread for years. I have never baked a loaf that was so ugly and tasted so bad. I don't even think it could have been saved in a bread pudding. I threw it away. I have never thrown away a loaf of homemade bread because I can always figure out some way to use it.

    So I tried again today and I may have just found our basic recipe.[insert happy dance] It was actually good. The kids liked it and Hubby liked it. It is from Bette Hagman's book (I forget which one and am too lazy to go look right now).

    It earned me 2 high fives from Junior.
  • I am glad the bread turned out because the homemade pasta sure didn't. I have a pasta machine that I got 2 years ago so I could make pasta but never did so it is gluten-free.

    I tried Bette Hagman's bean pasta recipe but I must have done something wrong because it just didn't want to work right.

    So I let the kids play with it and the pasta machine.
  • Luckily the other part of dinner did turn out well. While watching Little House on the Prairie, we saw an episode where Almonzo says his favorite dish is cinnamon chicken. And we all looked at each other and said "huh? I have never heard of cinnamon chicken."

    A few weeks later I was reading some blogs and The Good Eatah said she saw a recipe that Cat Cora had put in a magazine for cinnamon chicken and tried it and loved it.

    So we tried it and loved it. The kids wanted seconds and thirds on the chicken. Hubby said he could make a meal out of the onion sauce and bread. Junior gave me another high five. Everyone said that we should make it again.

    Which totally made up for the pasta turned play-doh.

And that is the end.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cabbage and Lentil Soup with curry powder

Yesterday was another day of dreaded errands and by the time I had finally gotten home, I had a headache. A doozy.

So I wanted to throw something together with minimal effort that would taste good. So I thought of lentil soup.

I love lentils, they are such a small bean that they don't need any soaking and cook in about 30 minutes. I also had a head of cabbage that needed to be used and cabbage does well in soup.

I first chopped up an onion and threw it in the old stockpot with 5 slices of turkey bacon, I then got involved in something else and let the onions get a bit burned too caramelized. But with my throbbing head, I just poured some red wine vinegar over it and then lots of water (at least 8 cups but I used the sprayer on my sink so this is a guess).

Then I added the lentils - about 1 cup or maybe 1/2 cups - but be careful to look them over and pick out any rocks (oops) and rinse them first (I did do that).

I then chopped up a cabbage and added that. I also added a spoonful of curry, I didn't want it to be hot but I wanted to taste (for the first time) the flavor of the curry. I then went and sat down to wait for my migraine medicine to kick in for the cabbage and lentils to cook.

After about 25 minutes, I went and tasted the broth and added salt. Tasted it again and added more salt. Tasted it again and added more salt. I prefer to do small additions frequently rather than run the risk of over salting. Since the broth was very thin, I put some cornstarch in a cup with cold water, stirred well and added it to the soup. I let that cook in a few more minutes and then served it up.

The curry flavor was there but it wasn't very strong - it wasn't spicy hot or anything like that, it seemed (to me) to have cinnamon notes. The kids loved it and Hubby even liked it (he has said that he doesn't like curry but I don't think he has had it very much).

I will definitely be doing this again, especially on cold nights because nothing is better than a soup on a cold night.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Giveaway and some questions

Gluten Free Gidget is doing a great giveaway on her blog for Xagave a brand that combines the nectar of two types of agave plant for a richer smoother flavor.

I just love agave, I just don't use it as much as I should. Sugar is a bit of a habit.

Anyway, so if you are interested, check out this contest.

Now for some questions:

Did you find that your palate changed as you went gluten-free? I used to hate avocados - those green bombs of mushiness. As in like 2 months ago, I thought they were gross. Now, . . . well, let's just say I could seriously over eat these things. And I tried guacamole on top of gluten-free frito pie instead of sour cream and cheese and found I prefer it that way.

How do you keep the gluten-free flours from overtaking your kitchen? I was putting them in canisters (and the ones we use a lot are still in canisters) but seriously?!? They are taking over the pantry. And the fridge. And the freezer. I thought about hanging up a chart on the inside of the pantry door detailing each flour, what it is in and where it is located so Hubby can cook when he wants. Even I have to pull out half of them before I find the right one and I know what kind of container to look for. Maybe large canning jars would work. I don't know. I would appreciate any tips.

I have lots more questions but I will stop for now. I don't want to overwhelm.

Traveling on a special diet and I Won!

I was lucky enough to win this giveaway done by Babyfro at Living Without Wheat. I am so excited about this. Now I just have to figure out some gluten & dairy free casseroles.

We went to visit my Grandmother and parents over the holidays and it was the first time we have traveled while trying to completely stick to our diets.

Oh boy.

In some ways it was so very hard but in others it was actually easier.

In my family, we bake. Cookies, cakes, pies, candies are everywhere. It is a dieter's nightmare but almost all of it was loaded with gluten and dairy and was off limits (we did have some gf-df brownies that were good but that is pretty much it as far as the sweets went).

For me, there wasn't any of this "should I / shouldn't I" wishy-washy-ness. There wasn't any (or at least very little) "just one tiny piece won't hurt." I am feeling better than I have in months, I was not about to blow it on a piece of cake.

Even the kids seemed to do really well with it. Junior would ask if it had flour in it when he was offered a piece of something. That is really impressive for a 6 year old.

On the other hand, I didn't know what to bring with us. I also have a very, very small list of substitutions I can cook (like hoe cakes instead of pancakes) and I hated to try something new when there wasn't something to fall back on if it didn't work. If it was just me, it wouldn't have been such a big deal but I don't want the kids to feel more deprived than they already are.

I did learn what would make it easier. If there is a meal plan in place (something my Dad would really prefer to have) then I can plan accordingly - if we are having hamburgers than I need to bring buns or the stuff to make buns. We were able to get a bread mix from the local health food store that made a fairly decent loaf (Bob's Red Mill). I think I let it rise too long, but it was still pretty tasty.

We did eat out a couple of times which was rather nerve-wracking. We ate at a Italian place where I ordered 2 main dishes to share with my two kids - and asked that both have the pasta left off because we need to eat wheat free. I had never before realized how filling the pasta part of the meal was before that, I was still somewhat hungry. But then I saw a piece of spaghetti noodle on the plate. Like maybe they had started to load the plate with the pasta, then realized they shouldn't and took most of it off. My stomach did seem to be a bit more irritable after that but it wasn't bad.

It was just a reminder that the ones most concerned with my health and my children's health will be us, not the waitress or cook.

But now, I am just looking forward to getting back into the kitchen and learning.