Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Softening Hardened Brown Sugar

To soften brown sugar, place it in a microwave-safe container, covered loosely with a wet (but not dripping) paper towel.  Set the microwave on high, and check the sugar every 15 to 30 seconds.  Microwave-softened sugar hardens as it cools, so microwave only the amount of sugar you need. 

*To keep brown sugar soft:  Cut an apple in half and place in a plastic sandwich bag, leaving it partially open, and place in your container of brown sugar.

Cooking Substitutions

1 cup of buttermilk --- 1 cup of milk substitute + 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup of honey --- 1 1/4 cup of sugar + 1/4 cup of liquid
1 cup sugar
    Option 1--- 3/4 cup honey decrease liquid in recipe by 2 Tbsp      
    Option 2--- 2/3 cup agave syrup, decrease liquid in recipe by 1/4 to 1/3 cup
    (Note --oft times substitutes for sugar take some tinkering, because it depends whether you are replacing all the sugar, or if it is in a baked good as opposed to making candy.)
1 cup brown sugar --- 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup of corn syrup---1 cup of agave syrup or Lyle's Golden Syrup
1 cup of cornstarch
   Option 1---1 cup of arrowroot
   Option 2 ---1 cup of potato starch (not flour)
   Option 3--- 1 cup of tapioca starch ( also called tapioca starch flour)
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
    Option 1---1/2 cup hot water + 1 cup sugar +2 Tbsp oil +1 cup instant powder milk substitute ( powdered rice milk or potato milk);  In the blender place the 1/2 cup of water to boiling, sugar, powder milk and oil.  Blend for 1 minute.  This can be thick.  Thin to desire consistency.
     Option 2---Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk:** I use this one from the GlutenFreeGoddess's.  Her son (Alex) posted this to her website.  3 cups coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk), 1/2 cup organic sugar.  Stir ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat gently; cook slowly over low to almost medium heat, stirring constantly, until the volume is reduced to about 1 cup.   Add some vanilla extract to taste, if you like; and a pinch of sea salt, if desired.   Cool the condensed milk and refrigerate if not using right away.
whipping cream in sauces ---2 cups of raw, unsalted cashew  + 3 cup hot water, or broth; blend until smooth
whipping cream for desserts---refrigerate coconut milk overnight, pour into a chill bowl and whip it on high with a mixer sweetening with agave syrup and vanilla extract if desired.  It is not nearly as stiff as regular whipping cream.  Doesn't form the same stiff peaks.
 1 egg
     Option 1--- 3 tablespoon applesauce or other fruit puree (prunes, apriocots) + 1 teaspoon baking powder (binding and leavening)
     Option 2--- 1 tablespoon of flax meal  + 3 tablespoons hot water and let it stand for 10 minutes to thicken. Do not strain. (binding)
     Option 3--- 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (binding)
     Option 4---  egg replacer, according to package
     Option 5--- 4 tablespoons of pureed silken tofu + 1 teaspoon baking powder (binding and leavening)
     Option 6 ---  Using Baking Powder and Baking Soda (used for leavening)
             1 egg = 1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder + 1-1/2 tablespoons warm water + 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
                 1 egg = 1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder + 1 tablespoon warm water + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
                 1 egg = 2 teaspoons baking soda + 2 tablespoons warm water
                 1 egg = 2 teaspoons baking soda + 2 tablespoons warm water + 1/2 teaspoon oil
                 1 egg = 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon vinegar 

      Option 7 ---  Using Starches 
            1 egg = 2 tablespoons arrowroot + 1 tablespoon water ( binding)
                1 egg = 2 tablespoons corn starch + 1 tablespoon water (binding)
                1 egg = 2 tablespoons potato starch + 1 tablespoon water (binding)
                1 egg = 1-1/2 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 tablespoons warm water (whisk to froth;  leavening)
                1 egg = 1-1/2 teaspoon tapioca/corn starch + 1-1/2 teaspoon potato starch + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
    + pinch xanthan gum + 3-1/2 tablespoons water + 1 teaspoon oil (whisk to froth; leavening)

    Option 8--- 1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water ( leavening)
    Option 9---  3 tablespoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon water (binding)
    Option 10--- 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise ( binding)
    Option 11--- 3 tablespoons mashed beans ( binding)
    Option 12--- 3 tablespoons mashed potatoes (binding)
1 egg white
      Option 1--- dissolve 1 tablespoon of agar powder into 1 tablespoon of water.  Beat it, then let chill for 15 minutes, beat again and chill again.
       Option 2 ---1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum + 1/4 cup water (let stand 5 minutes, then whip)
1 egg yolk --- 1-1/2 tablespoons lecithin granules + 2 teaspoons water (binding)
1 ounce of chocolate --- 3 tablespoons cocoa  + 1 tablespoon oil
1 cup of coffee --- 1 tsp cocoa  + 1 cup of water ( if you want a stronger brew, add 1 Tbsp Cocoa)
                         ---  1 cup of dandelion tea
1 small onion fresh -- 1 tablespoon instant dried onion
dairy milk ---hemp milk, coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk, flax milk
self rising flour --- 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour + 1-1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt
cake flour---1-3/4 c gluten free flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch (or substitute)
rice flour --- sorghum flour or millet flour ( both have a mild flavor)
all purpose GF flour without rice flour---1 -1/4 cup sorghum flour or millet flour + 1/4 cup arrowroot starch + 1/2 cup tapioca starch (tapioca starch flour) + 1/2 tsp salt + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum   (recipe from Living Without Magazine)
how to use guar gum or xanthun gum:  Use 1/2 tsp per cup of flour in cookies, muffins, and quick breads.     Use 1 tsp per cup of flour in  pizza dough and yeast breads.
MSG - use a 50:50 ratio of salt and sugar, and then add a dash of fish sauce
xanthan or guar gum: use equal amount of agar powder or unflavored gelatin.  You can also use 1 tablespoon of potato flour (not potato starch) for each teaspoon of gum replaced.
flax meal:  can be replaced with an equal amount of salba seeds or chia seeds.  No need to grind them down if you want to use them to make a flax egg substitute.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Marshmallow Easter Eggs, Marshamallow Pops

    It's coming time to fill Easter Baskets.  How about making marshmallow eggs and putting them in a basket?  You can just as easily make other shapes-- bunnies, butterflies, or flowers.  Using whatever cookie cutters you have you can make your own spring marshmallow basket.
     Using the marshmallow recipe, spread the marshmallow out in a jelly roll pan lined with plastic wrap that has been sprayed cooking spray.  Let the marshmallow set up for two hours.  Use your favorite cookie cutter that has been sprayed with cooking oil.  Cut the marshmallows. Repeat process spraying between cuts.

     Now you are ready to decorate!
     Spread your marshmallows figures with white frosting* and add your favorite decorations.   Once decorated, insert kabob sticks, and ta-dah, marshmallow pops that can be put into a basket!

Possible decorations:
  •  Natural Sprinkles
  •  Crushed candy canes
  •  Shredded coconut with a few drops of natural dye
  •  Mini chocolate chips
  •  Chopped nuts
  •  Melted Chocolate chips
  • Add natural dye to the marshmallows as you are making them
*For frosting, I use 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp of rice milk whisked together.  You can make your frosting thicker or thinner as you like, by adding more or less milk.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rambling on about --Digestive Enzymes

     I remember when we first went gluten free, and what a struggle it was.   We did it for a year and honestly, we didn't see any real change in our Autistic son.  Many doctors said that if we weren't seeing any real change then we didn't need to continue.  Looking back, I wonder why he wasn't specifically tested with a Celiac panel, but maybe it wasn't a common practice back then.  Sometimes, I think that they just didn't know what to do.
    Three years later, we went gluten free again.  This time it was when we were undergoing treatment using the Tomatis Method at the Spectrum Center.  I listened to mother's chat in the waiting room.  Conversation whirled around about, who had tried what diet and what therapies. Everyone had a resume of regimes under their belts. (I was still building mine.)   Mothers were trying every diet, including the ever popular Gluten Free/Casein Free, and Feingold.  Many mothers had tried ABA, Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy, and Greenspan's Circle Time, all with varied success.  It reminded me of playing carnival games and hoping this time, this therapy would be the winning ticket.  Again after a second time on the GF/CF diet, there was still no big change in my son.  I wanted to note here, that this time while on the GF/CF diet they recommended using digestive enzymes and counseled that if I didn't want to continue the GF/CF diet, to consider using digestive enzymes while he consumed gluten and casein foods.  We did that for awhile.
     Now years later, we have undergone treatment at the Care Clinic in Austin, TX and Fort Lauderdale, FL where we were again put back on the GF/CF diet and a number of supplements, including the digestive enzymes.
    We have continued on the GF/CF diet to this day, but this time I actually think it is working.  Why?  Because we are finally at a place where we are treating the whole person and not just picking off the buffet line.   Before, I didn't feel like there was any improvement with my son, because we only treated the diet and not his gut issues, his reactions to certain shots, parasites, or sleep issues.
    Now, I know that was a long story, just to get to my opinion on digestive enzymes.  I use them in conjunction with the GF/CF diet, and the supplements, but where I have noticed that they have really worked is with my son who was gaining two to three pounds a month.  I have mentioned before that we had an allergy test done on him and he showed up mild to moderately allergic to gluten and milk.  We now rotate him on the foods that he tested moderately allergic to, and with digestive enzymes, he can eat them and not gain weight.  We did have an incident where he did consume wheat without having his enzyme and he gained some weight back.  We went back to being totally gluten free for two weeks before reintroducing it again.  He tried again with the enzymes and we were able to even him back out again.
     As with anything, you should consult with your medical doctor to see if they might be beneficial with your child's Autism or digestion and allergy issues.   I wanted to share what has worked in our family.  I have included here the website for Houston Enzymes, Peptizyde Enzyme.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see the explanation of how to use them with Gluten and Casein.  We personally use the Tri-Enza and the ZyCarb.  I use these with both my Autistic and allergy sensitive kids.

Happy Health.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crock Pot Beef

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Soy, Nut, Peanut, Egg, Fish, Shellfish
When I was a teenager (ancient history ago), my mother made this dish and it was one of my favorites.  I found out today that she wasn't nearly as crazy about the dish as I was.  Funny how that is.   It is a great time saver in the kitchen because it is a crock pot dish.  I like to serve it with homemade mashed potatoes and veggies.

1 (1-2 pounds) top round cut into pieces to fit in the crock pot
5 Tbsp of Homemade Lipton Onion Soup Mix *
1 1/2 cup of cream of mushroom soup

Place meat in the crock pot.  Sprinkle the onion soup mix on top of the meat.  Pour on the cream of mushroom soup.  Cook for 5-6 hours on high or until the meat is fork tender.

*When I made the onion soup mix I didn't add bouillon.  When I make this recipe I add about a cup of approved broth.  When it is done cooking you are left with more of an au jus.  Normally, it is a thicker kind of gravy.  If you want a thicker gravy, whisk 1 Tbsp of arrowroot starch and add 1 Tbsp of water together.  Add that to your au jus.  Let it cook a little longer until it thickens.  Keep repeating until it is the consistency that you would like.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Lipton Onion Soup Mix Recipe

   I have searched the internet looking for a copy cat Lipton Soup Recipe.  I found a number of recipes and they all have the same ingredients, just varying in quantity.   I liked this one the best.  It comes from Mille, and courtesy of Recipezaar

Copycat Lipton's Onion Soup Mix Recipe #24952

10 min | 10 min prep
SERVES 4 , 19 tablespoons, approximately

  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
  2. About 5 tablespoons of mix are equal to 1 1¼-ounce package.
  3. To make onion dip: Mix 5 tablespoons with one pint of sour cream.

     We have allergies to beef so we omitted the bouillon granules/cubes.  I make the Copycat recipe version without the bouillon and store the mix in a airtight container.  If you choose to omit the bouillon, simply add your choice of broth when you make your dish.  I make my own pork and turkey broth and use these in recipes to make up for the bouillon granules or cubes.  

Beef and Pepper Skillet

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Nut, Peanut, Egg, Fish, Shellfish
     Mom use to make this recipe for us all the time as a kid.  This recipe is from somewhere around the seventies or eighties on the back of an Uncle Ben's Converted rice box.  It truly is a quick recipe that I can make in about thirty five minutes.  Add a salad and voila, dinner!

1 1/2 pounds round steak cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup white rice
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) GF beef broth*
3 Tbsp GF soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1 jar of sliced pimentos (optional)
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown beef in oil in a skillet.  Stir in onion, rice, mushrooms, beef broth, once soup can of water and GF soy sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat until liquid is absorbed, about twenty five minutes.  Stir in green peppers, and pimento.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Heat through.

*Be sure that your broth doesn't contain any other offending allergens.

Tuna Casserole

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Peanut, Nut, Eggs, Shellfish
This is from my mother's recipe box.  I grew up on tuna casserole.  I remember as a I kid that I dreaded when my mom would make this, and you know as a kid, all you can think of is 'not again'.  But as with all things, if you eat it enough, it begins to grow on you.  Now I love it!

1 1/2 cup of cooked GF elbow noodles
1/2 cup of hemp milk (or favorite milk replacement)
1 (7 oz ) can of tuna drained
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (or favorite cheese replacement, or leave out)
1/2 cup of chopped onion
salt and pepper
1 cup broken potato chips

In a large bowl, combine soup, milk, tuna, cheese, onion and salt and pepper.  Pour in cooked noodles and gentle stir.  Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Top with potato chips and top with additional grated cheese if desired.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and hot.  Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot and Spicy Shrimp

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Nut, Egg, Peanut
When I order out Chinese, I love to order Hot and Spicy Shrimp.   It is shrimp in a spicy red sauce served over rice.

  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup of shrimp stock
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup*
  • 1 Tbsp GF Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup onions chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper**
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1 Tbsp water
  1. Peel and devein shrimp, placing shrimp peels in a medium pot.  Place peeled shrimp aside.  Add enough water to the shrimp peels to cover them.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium heat letting it simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain off broth into a glass measuring cup or suitable container.
  2. Mix the shrimp stock, ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, molasses, fish sauce, and salt together in a bowl.  Taste, and adjust the balance of sweet, sour and salty to your liking.  Set aside.
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in a skillet.  Add the onions and celery until translucent.  Add garlic and stir fry for another minute. 
  4. Add the ketchup mixture, and stir.  Let simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together arrowroot starch with 1 Tbsp of water.  Slowly add to the simmering sauce, stirring constantly as you add starch mixture. 
  5. Add shrimp and simmer for another 3-5 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through.
  6. Serve over rice and Enjoy!
*I use my own homemade ketchup in this recipe.  My ketchup is slightly thicker than store bought.  You may have to adjust the arrowroot starch (adding a little more) to get the desire consistency for your final sauce.
**Using a 1/2 tsp makes it very spicy.  Adjust this to your taste, or use none at all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marinade for Hamburgers

This is a favorite marinade that we always put on our burgers.  I got the recipe from my sister, who I think, might have gotten it from a Southern Living magazine.  Guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp of GF soy sauce or GF worschestershire Sauce
Dash of garlic powder

Mix it all together well.   Brush it on your hamburgers as you grill them.

To Xanthun or To Guar gum

     In recipes, xanthan gum and guar gum
are interchangeable.  It is a matter of preference, or sometimes it can be dictated by what allergies you may have.  There was a good synposis about xanthun gum and guar gum, that can be found in the  March National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Newsletter
     The purpose of both gums are to give baked goods elasticity and "helps trap the gases that are produced by the yeast, which in turn makes bread rise." 
     Now with concern to allergies, people with corn allergies may want to steer away from xanthun gum because it is a bacteria that is usually grown on corn sugar (though not always)  under controlled conditions. Guar gum, on the other hand, is an extract from the guar seed. 
    So that is the quick low down on xanthun and guar gum, with concern to allergies.

To use xanthun or guar gum:
     Add 1/2 tsp per cup of flour for cookies, muffins, and quick breads
     Add 1 tsp per cup of flour for pizza dough and yeast breads

GF Seven Layer Casserole

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Nut, Peanut, Egg, Fish, Shellfish
 I haven't had this casserole in years.  I was first served this seven layer casserole at the baby shower of my first child.  I loved it!  That night the lady (whose name I have forgotten) had run out of broccoli and served it with corn instead.  So it is possible to substitute out broccoli for your favorite vegetable.  Now that I have made cream of mushroom soup successfully, I  am trying recipes that I haven't had for a while. 

1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1 1/2 cup cooked hamburger or chicken
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli cooked and drained
1 1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of milk ( I used hemp)
2 slices of your favorite GF bread
2 Tbsp of butter or olive oil

Spray a casserole dish and layer rice, meat, onion, broccoli.  In a seperate bowl combine soup, cheese, and milk.  Spread soup mixture over broccoli.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  While it is cooking, make coarse bread crumbs, by pulsing in a blender or crumble with hands.  Saute crumbs in butter/olive oil until they are golden brown.  Sprinkle crumbles over casserole after it has baked the twenty minutes.  Bake for 15 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Soy, Nut, Peanut, Egg
    When I first started going gluten free,  I desperately needed a good chocolate chip cookie recipe.    I found this one --- The Gluten Free Goddess Chocolate Chip Bars.  Out of all the chocolate chip cookie recipes that I have tried, my kids prefer this one, hands down.              
     Since we cant have eggs, we substituted 3/4 cups of pumpkin and used the Mock Pamela's Baking Mix.**    These cookies are always moist and delicious.

**Make the Mock Pamela's Baking Mix using flax meal to make this nut free.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Saint Patty's Day

Ireland Flag Cookies

1 box Cherrybrook Kitchen Sugar Cookie Mix
1/2 cup light extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup hemp milk
1/4 coconut milk
2 1/2  tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pour sugar cookie mix in a medium bowl.  Add oil, milks, and vanilla extract.  Using a hand mixer or Kitchen Aid, beat until mixed.  The dough may look crumbly but when you form a ball, it should be soft and bind together easily.  Roll the dough out and cut with cookie cutters.  Place cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Cook for 7 to 9 minutes.  Don't over cook.  Cool one minute before removing.

Use your favorite frosting, and dying the frosting red and green.  I make my frosting with  powdered sugar , adding hemp milk, a little at a time, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beating until you reach the consistency of a thick frosting.


**I use the India Tree natural dyes for the frosting.  They do turn out a little paler, you will notice.  You can purchase this at the , if you can't find it locally.
**These cookies were not fragile and held up well.  Even larger cookies did not break or flake.
**This is the cookie mix that I used.  

Powdered Sugar

I have heard people say that they have tried to make powdered sugar but that it never works.  They couldn't get it to the powdered sugar stage.    The one thing I would recommend is to make sure that you have a powerful enough blender or grinder.  I have a Vitamix and it works great.  I have also heard of others who have used a coffee grinder successfully.  Regardless, a less powerful blender may not achieve the results that you want and you can get a gritty sugar.

The optional part of making powdered sugar is the adding of the starch, either arrowroot or cornstarch.  The cornstarch is added by manufacturers to prevent clumping.  You don't have to add the cornstarch or arrowroot if you are going to use it right away.

The recipe I use for powdered sugar is below.  Put all the ingredients in your blender.  Turn on high, until it is powdered sugar.  It takes a little less than a minute.

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of arrowroot or cornstarch (optional)

Friday, March 12, 2010


Shabtai is a yummy place to order gluten and casein free cakes and cookies.  I sampled these at a Celiac convention and they were delicious.  I love their rainbow cookie squares, pictured at the left.  If you are only gluten and casein intolerant, I highly recommend trying their products.  I give them five stars!  Yum!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Pioneer Woman Website

     I don't know if any of you know about The Pioneer Woman and her website, but she is a truly fascinating lady.  She has just released a new cookbook and it is absolutely beautiful!  All of my family members own a copy... I guess I better get moving and get myself one.  It is however, targeted to people that can eat gluten and don't have allergies, per se.  Which is one reason, I have not purchased it.  But that aside, I have to say she is one talented lady.  She has gorgeous photos that she takes herself.  She reminds me of others in the GF community, like Karina, the glutenfreegoddess, and the glutenfreegirl, who also have beautiful photos on their websites. 
    The reason that I recommended visiting a website that isn't allergy specific, is because she has a section called The Tasty Kitchen.  This is the portion of her website where people from everywhere share their recipes.  You can find GF recipes there as well.   You can subscribe and share your recipes, adding to the wonderful community of real people cooking up meals.  I have left a recipe of my own there, along with other gluten free people you might know, like Elana from Elana's Pantry.  She has submitted a number of recipes there.
    I personally enjoy The Pioneer Woman's photography section.  She picks a theme, (I am not sure how often), and people submit their photos.  There are some very talented people out there.  This website provides a forum where she not only shares about herself, but also celebrates others talents.  If  you haven't been to her site, I would definately recommend giving it a looksy.                                                    Photo by Bob Lowe

Easy BBQ Sandwich

My sister tried this new recipe the other day, and it was easy enough to make gluten free.  I used the recipe for BBQ that is listed under the Condiments tab because I needed a corn free sauce.  Makes for a quick meal!

2-3 lb pork roast
1 bottle of favorite GF BBQ sauce
1 can of cola ( I used Whole Foods Brand)

Place everything in a crock pot and cook on high for 6-7 hours (depending on your crock pot).   When it is done, with a fork, pull the meat apart and serve on gluten free buns. 

  • When I cooked this I only had a pork loin in the freezer and it worked just fine.  The biggest difference was that it is more of a saucy BBQ sandwich.  You can drain off the excess sauce if you want a drier BBQ sandwich.  My mother made this same recipe, with the called for pork roast, and she could remove the pork roast whole from the crock pot.  She then shredded it, and added the sauce from the crock pot at the table.  This allowed for everyone to get the right amount of sauce for themselves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Buying Clean Meat from Local Farms

     I love that term, clean meat.  It must be the new adjective for organic.
     I got an email from my sister, who reminded me that is time to place orders for the meat.   To try and eat cleaner  we order a quarter of cow and have it cut up to specifications.  I wanted to share with you the two places I know of here locally in Virginia that you can do that.  There might be other places, but these are what I know.      
     Polyfacefarms is located in the Shenandoah in Virginia.  This is where I have done most of my ordering.  They have very good meat and I like the fact that I don't have to drive all the way to the Shenandoah's to pick up my order.  They have several drop off locations around the state where you can pick up your order. 
    The second is Miller Farms Market located in Spotyslvania County, Virginia.  I have not yet tried them.  I do go to their farm to pick strawberries.  They are just the nicest bunch of folks you could ever meet.  I hope to try out their meats this year.
     I do want to mention that I have a freezer that I dedicate to storing the quarter of the cow and half a pig.  It is costly up front.  But, I don't purchase a lot of meat during the year.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Easter and Egg Dying

Easter is coming and I wanted to spread the wealth of some website that you can visit to help with egg dying naturally and goodies to fill the Easter baskets.

Gluten Free Registry

    Gluten Free Registry is a FREE searchable database of over 16,400 restaurants across America that serve gluten free food.  Another great feature is that consumers can leave comments and give honest feedback.
    I wanted to thank Steve Pollard of Guido's Pizza that I blogged about on an earlier post, for turning me onto this website.  So check it out and see what gluten free dining exists in your area or where ever you might be traveling to.

Slippery Elm Update

     I wanted to give an update on my child's arms, that had a really bad flare up of eczema.  For some reason, winters are worse for her than in the summer.  I am sure that it is some sort of clue as to what is ailing her, but I haven't put it together yet.

This is after one week of slippery elm and creams.

This is after four weeks of slippery elm and creams.

I use the slippery elm first and then applied the cream* on top of it.  We did it three times a day.   We have stopped using the slippery elm (because her arms have cleared up of all the little bumps) and now we just apply the creams three times a day to keep it moisturized.  

I do want to mention, that I had used just the creams for two weeks and saw no improvement.  When I added the slippery elm and then the creams, I had the above success.

*The creams we used were a rotation of Unda 270, calendula cream, and vaseline (petroleum jelly). 

Bacon Potatoes O'Brien

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy, Nut, Peanut, Egg

8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and chopped
2 Tbsp  potato starch
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (approx. 8 cups)

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook your bacon.  Crumble, set aside, and reserve the bacon drippings.  Use about 1 1/2 tsp bacon drippings and saute onions and green peppers, until tender.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, toss cubed potatoes with the potato starch until well coated.  In a fryer (about 320 degrees), fry batches of cubed potatoes for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Drain batches on paper towels, then transfer to a large bowl. Repeat frying with remaining batches of potatoes.  Add bacon, onion, and green peppers into the bowl of fried cubed potatoes and toss.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

Serves about 8

Monday, March 8, 2010

Circle of Friends Recipes

    When we are doing hard things it is great to have friends around you, that will reach down and help you up so that you can continue your climb.    I have a circle of friends like that.  We all have food allergies and we email each other good finds and recipes that we have tried.  I wanted to share in our circle of friends.  Though some of our recipes aren't our original ideas, when there is so much out there, we wanted to share the recipes we have had success with.
     I hope you join our circle of friends.  If you have a recipe that you want to share, please do.  Add it, by posting a comment under this Circle of Friends post.  We are all trying to find good eats that our families will enjoy!   Join us!  

Thanks to my circle friend ,Christine, who has tested this GF Millet Oatmeal Bread that she got off the

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup certified gluten free oat flour (you can pulverize oats in a food processor to make oat flour) *If you are sensitive to oat flour, try quinoa flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch* you can substitute cornstarch if you need to
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 flax seed meal (you can’t taste it and it adds fiber)
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
3 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 packet active dry yeast+ 1 tsp granulated sugar for proofing yeast
1 Tablespoon molasses
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter or butter substitute, melted
1/4 cup plus 1 cup heated water (I heated my water to 120 degrees to proof the yeast)

Make sure all your dry ingredients (and eggs!) are at room temperature. Grease the bottom of a 10 inch loaf pan or two 8 inch pans. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn off. In the bowl of your stand mixer (I used my paddle not my dough hook for this recipe), sift together the dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, mix eggs, molasses, vinegar, and melted butter together. Heat your water for proofing the yeast. I recommend 120 degrees. In a small prep bowl, stir together your active dry yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. Add 1/4 cup of the heated water to the yeast mixture. Let the yeast sit for 10 minutes. It should be foamy and active! If not, start over with another packet of yeast. Once your yeast is ready, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add the yeast mixture. Then slowly add your water (should still be warm) to achieve the right consistency in your batter. Since different brands, flours, measuring techniques act different I do not recommend just blindly dumping in the rest of the water but adding gradually instead. The dough should be like very stiff cake batter. I beat my dough on high for about 15 minutes in my stand mixer. If you accidentally add too much water simply add a little rice flour until you achieve the dough consistency you are after. Put the dough in your prepared pan and place in oven to rise for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. You can put plastic wrap or a towel over the pan. My house is much too cold right now so I put mine in the oven so that the dough can rise. Once the dough has risen to the top of the pan, bake the bread for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. As you can tell, I am big on thermometers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ramblings on about Special Needs Teaching Resource

I found a website today, that I had not known about previously.  It is .  It is a website that is dedicated to Special Education Resources in core academic areas. 

The tabs that you can search through include:

  • Special Education

  • Autism Resources

  • Developmental Disabilities

  • Struggling Learners

  • General Education

  • ELL/ESL Resources
I am going to see what they have to offer.  I hope to find items that may help me in homeschooling my special need kids. 

A Gluten Free Pizza Restaurant

How cool would it be to stop by for pizza on the way home from a family outing--- and still eat gluten free?   If you live near Okemos, Michigan, it is totally possible!  I just read in my Celiac Newsletter that Guido's is  a Pizza Restaurant that caters to gluten free dining.  Check them out!  They have a full gluten free menu, including subs and stromboli.   I hope these kinds of restuarants begin to pop up in my neighborhood!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dairy Free, Soy free Mayonnaise

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Peanut, Egg, Soy
 On one of my favorite websites -- Elena's Pantry,  I have found that I can usually use her recipes if I replace them with ground hazelnuts.  I tried her Marcona Almond Mayonnaise recipe and it worked wonderfully.   Thanks Elena!  I wanted to include her recipe here and when I made her recipe, I used 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar ( otherwise it was too vinegary tasting for my likes) and I used 5 Tablespoons of blanched ground hazelnuts.  

She has a whole cookbook out if you like your recipes.

Milk Free- Gluten Free Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Egg, Dairy, Soy

1/2 - 1 cup chopped mushrooms (depending on how much you like)
3 Tablespoon sweet rice flour*
3 Tablespoon extra light virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hemp milk
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 tespoon dried basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the mushrooms in the 1 tablespoon of oil.  Set aside.

Heat the  3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the sweet rice flour.  Stir the flour until it has abosrbed the oil.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth a little at a time, constantly stirring and adding a little more chicken broth until all of it is added.  (*Note that at first the flour absorbs the broth and forms a ball.  However, as you keep adding liquid it will expand and loosen up.)  After all the chicken broth has been added, slowly add the milk.  The mixture will be thick.  Stir in the mushrooms, onion powder, thyme, basil, and salt and pepper.  Let in cool and store in an airtight container.  Refrigerate for up to four days.

*Cook's notes:

  • If you are going to use the cream of mushroom in the crockpot, I like to increase the flour to 5 tablespoons. 
  • For cream of celery- add celery instead of mushrooms.   For cream of chicken- you can add small pieces of finely chopped chicken.  
  • I have also tried using Better Batter Flour in the place of sweet rice flour and it worked out fine.

Note about roux:     I have included a link from one of my favorite gluten free websites.   It has a video that is extremely helpful in showing you how to make a roux.  It lets you see what your flour should look like as you add the liquid.