Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A cup is a cup is NOT necessarily a cup!


I came across this article in favor of weighing your flours with a digital scale, rather than scooping them out of your flour bin.  I have to say, that after reading this article, it really drove the point home.   One cup of  wheat flour weighs differently than once cup of all purpose flour.  The same is true of gluten free flours.  The difference in the amounts are enough to cause a  failure in your baking.  Read the article here.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mix and Match Cooking- GF Pasta Salad

  
      I have mentioned before that I subscribe to the Food Network Magazine .  They have a section that I use regularly called Mix and Match.  Not necessarily a new idea, but this format is a great way to teach kids to cook.  I am using this format to teach my teenage son.  I have been tweeking the dishes to make them gluten free.  Here is our first recipe:

Choose your GF pasta:



Pick a protein:


  • Chicken (cooked and chopped)
  • Steak (cooked and chopped)
  • Ham 
  • Salami
  • Roast Beef
  • Canned Tuna (drained and flaked)
  • Crabmeat (drained)
  • Shrimp
  • Hard boiled egg (chopped)
  • Beans (kidneys, chickpeas, etc.)


Add at least 2 vegetables or more if you like:


  • Broccoli florets (raw or blanched)
  • Corn (canned or cooked fresh)
  • Carrots (shredded)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Green beans ( blanched)
  • Peas
  • Celery (sliced)
  • Cucumber (diced)
  • Red onion (diced)
  • Bell pepper (diced)
  • Asparagus (blanched and chopped)
  • Olives


Salad Dressing:

  • Italian salad dressing (add more salt to pepper to taste)
  • Balsamic vinegarette dressing
  • Creamy Herb Dressing - 1/2 cup dairy free such as Vegenase (but this does contain soy) add 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice and fresh herbs or Ranch mix to taste.

In ours we used spirals, salami, peas, peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes, with Italian Dressing.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Waffled Hash Browns

    I came across this idea of waffling hash browns from the Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals cookbook.  They were truly wonderful.  I didn't put onion in it, because my kids aren't fond of onions but they were absolutely scrumptious.  I could see making these into a waffled potato o'briens ( onions and green peppers, oooh, and add a little bacon, because everything tastes better with bacon).  But for now, this is how I cooked them.



Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs of potatoes, shredded.
  • 2 Tbsp oil ( olive oil, or a garlic infused oil.  I used Wegman's Basting Oil)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Squeeze all the excess water out of the potatoes.  
  2. Mix in the oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray.
  4. Mound  1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of potato mixture into each quadrant of the waffle iron.  (I have a Belgium waffle iron, so the wells are deep.)
  5. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until they are brown and crisp. 

Cook's Notes:
  • When I cooked my first batch, they stuck to the waffle iron.  I realized that I didn't squeeze enough water out of the potatoes, causing them to stick.  The second batch I squeezed out more water and cooked them the full 15 minutes.  They came out perfect.  Crunch on the outside and soft on the inside.  


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Season - Strawberry Applesauce

    It's that time again...Strawberry Picking Season!!!  Time for jammin for the year.  I used these recipes to make our jelly with pectin, or without pectin.  I also used the Pomona's corn free pectin .
 We made thirty four quarts of jam, saved some strawberries for eating, made strawberry popsicles, and strawberry applesauce.

Strawberry Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic apples peeled and cut into chunks
  • 5 strawberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, add apples, strawberries, and water.
  2. Bring to a boil.  Turn down to low-medium heat.  Let simmer for 30 minutes or until apples are soft enough to mash.
  3. Mash with potato masher until desired chunkiness. 
  4. Stir in agave, cinnamon, and vanilla sugar.
  5. Let simmer 5 more minutes.
  6. Let cool and enjoy!
Cook's Notes:
  • You can add a small amount of lemon juice if you want.  
  • I have also made this by adding one pear to the mix, and cooking it up the same way.
Chunks of apples and strawberries ready to be cooked.

     

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tick season, Lyme's Disease, and Homeopathics

     I have seen a flurry of emails on my lists about people finding multiple ticks on their kids after playing outside.  It reminded me to begin to keep a look out for new "moles" with legs.
    I know many people know the symptoms of Lyme's disease but just in case you don't here is a brief list of what to look for:

  • Bull's eye rash
  • Flu like symptoms - fatigue, achy muscles or joints, fever, chills, stiff neck, swollen glands, headache.
  • Nondescript symptoms - headache, weakness, tingling, numbness, lack of energy, moodiness, achy. 
     Now something I didn't know about Lyme's Disease....teasel root.  Teasel root (xu duan) is a flowering plant.  It can be used internally or externally.  In Chinese Medicine, it affiliated with the liver and kidney.  It functions to tonify the liver and kidneys, promote blood circulation, and strengthen bones and tendons.  It also helps to treat pains and weakness in the lower back, to help repair tissue damage in such areas of the bones and ligaments, and control bleeding during a woman's pregnancy.  It is also homeopathic used to help with treating Lyme's disease.  There are loads of articles and videos out there on the internet about Lyme's disease and teasel root.  It is something to seriously consider.  Here is some of the interesting things that I found:


How much teasel root should I take?
The amount of teasel root being used depends on the condition(s) being treated. Generally, most practitioners recommend between 6 and 21 grams of teasel root per day. Some herbalists recommend a slightly higher minimum dose (10 grams per day). ---from Nutritional wellness
http://www.ladybarbara.net/html/using_teasel.html - talks about teasel root, where to get it, and dosing.  She also offers classes in using herbal remedies.  I thought she was interesting.

The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines  recommended by many, and received 5 stars by those reviewed on Amazon.  It has a chapter dedicated to teasel root. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ranch-y Potatoes



Instead of my usual parsley potatoes, I decided to try something new by adding dry ranch dressing mix to the potatoes.

I boiled potatoes until fork tender (4 potatoes cut in half and quartered).  I added Wegman's basting oil (a garlic infused oil) and 1 Tbsp of dry ranch dressing mix.  Tossed it all together and serve.  They vanished in minutes.

Here is my dry GF CF Ranch Dressing Mix :

  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day! Enjoying the Moment - A thought to share


Photo by Scott Liddell



"What can . . . young mother[s] [do] . . . to reduce the pressure [of raising young children] and enjoy [their families] more? . . .
"Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
"Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: 'The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less' (Loud and Clear [1004], 10-11)."
M. Russell Ballard

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


     If you are going to be cooking up Mexican fare today to celebrate Cinco de May, then check out my favorite recipes for the essentials -- great creamy guacamole,  garden fresh salsa, and slow cooker refried beans.   Then there is of course a spicy sausage and rice casserole for the main dish and Mexican chocolate cake for dessert!  

Garden Fresh Salsa


What is Cinco de Mayo without fresh salsa?  

Ingredients:

  • 3 roma tomatoes (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 3 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped (or more to taste)
  • salt to taste
Directions:
     Toss all the ingredients together and let chill for 3 hours. 

Creamy Dairy Free Guacamole


Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried cilantro, (3 Tbsp of fresh is better )
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 small tomato diced (optional)
  • salt to taste
Directions:
     Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy.  Add salt to taste.  Serve.

Cook's Notes:
   I like to let mine sit overnight to let the flavors develop.  I also like to add a little hot sauce for heat, or you can add a jalapeno to the dip itself.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

   This is a wonderful refried bean recipe for your crock pot.  It comes from one of my favorite recipe sites Allrecipes.  A real must for Cinco de Mayo.
     

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • 9 cups water

Directions

  1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
  2. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Sausage and Rice Casserole

This may not be a true mexican dish, but it sure hits the spot.  It is a quick meal that we serve often around here at the request of my kids.   Another keeper from Allrecipes.  Beware, if you use the spicy sausage and the cayenne, it is hot!   If you want something milder, omit the cayenne.  Also, I often forgo the chopped red pepper and throw in extras like kidney beans or corn.  You can easily double this recipe.



Ingredients


  • 1 lb ground spicy pork sausage
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a skillet, brown sausage and drain grease. Stir in rice, onion, garlic and peppers. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Pour into 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Or, at this step, you can cover and freeze it.

Gluten Free Girl's Mexican Hot Chocolate Cakes


     Today for the first time I tried the Gluten Free Girl's Mexican Hot Chocolate Cakes for our Cinco de Mayo dessert.   They turned out beautiful.
     If you like your chocolate with a little heat, then this dessert is for you!  They are dairy free, egg free, gluten free, and soy free.  They are like little chocolate pillows.  Click on the link and check out her recipe, it is worth making!  Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cakes

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easy GF Fruit Cobbler


     I saw this recipe on All Recipes.com and modified it to make it gluten free.  It was quick, easy, and yummy.  I just wish I had had my dairy free vanilla ice cream to top it with when I ate it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Spectrum Vegetable Shortening 
  • 1 cup Cybele Pascal's Gluten Free Flour Blend*
  • 1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup dairy free vanilla flavored milk
  • 2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (peaches, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or combination of fruits OR frozen berries that have been thawed and drained - I also like to pat mine dry)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place shortening in an 8x10 dish; set in oven to melt.  Once melted, remove the pan from the oven.
  3. Mix together thoroughly, flour, guar gum, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add milk, stir to form a smooth batter.  
  4. Pour batter into pan.  Sprinkle the fruit over the batter.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until done.  
Cook's Notes:
  • Be sure to scoop Cybele's GF Flour blend into the measuring cup.   You can also use your favorite all purpose flour blend in its place.
  • I cooked mine at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in a convection oven.