Monday, June 27, 2011

GF Open Face Berry Tarts

     I was reading my newest issue of Food Network Magazine and immediately tried the Open Faced Plum Tart.
Blackberry Plum Tart
    

 Sunny suggested mixing and matching your favorite fruits and I took her up on it.  I made two tarts.

Tart 1- Blackberry Plum 

  • 1 disc of your favorite gf pie crust ( I really like Cybele Pascals or the Sweet Pie Crust from Nicole Hunn.  For this recipe I used Nicole's.)
  • Spread strawberry jam (about 1/4 cup or so) in the center of your pie crust disc, leaving about a 2 inch border.
  • Layer on your plums, pitted, and cut into wedges.  I also took the skin off my plum.
  • Add a handful of blackberries.
  • Sprinkle fruit with 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Fold the edges in, in a pleating fashion.  Be sure to press the dough together to make sure it is sealed.  Otherwise the juices will runneth over.  (I did this and juices ran, and it was still supper yummy!)
  • If you can tolerate egg, you can brush the crust with an egg wash.  I lightly brushed my crust with oil.  
  • Baked at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  
Tart 2 - Triple Berry-Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry
  • 1 disc of your favorite gf pie crust. ( I used Nicole Hunn's Sweet Pie Crust)
  • Spread strawberry jam (about 1/4 cup or so) in the center of your pie crust disc, leaving about a 2 inch border.  
  • Layer on strawberries that have been quartered, a handful of red raspberries, and a handful of blueberries.
  • Sprinkle fruit with 1/4 cup sugar.
  • Fold the edges in, in a pleating fashion.  Be sure to press the dough together to make sure it is sealed. 
  • If you can tolerate egg, you can brush the crust with an egg wash.  I lightly brushed my crust with oil.  
  • Baked at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  

Gluten Free on a Shoestring Book Review

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap    I bought this book to review because it received great reviews on Amazon.   My hope for this book was that with simple substitutions that many of the recipes could be made allergy free (dairy free, egg free, soy free, etc.)
     What I found is that this book is truly is a gluten free cookbook.  If you are only gluten free and just beginning, then it would be a good starter cookbook.
     I was a little disappointed because we are allergic to eggs, and dairy, which this cookbook relies heavily upon.  But again, that isn't the books fault, it delivers on being what it claims to be - gluten free.
    Still, I have had other cookbooks that will often take into account other allergies, especially dairy.  And even if the cookbooks didn't, I have rarely had a problem with substituting an egg replacer for one egg in a recipe or subbing out dairy for a dairy free alternative.   Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend doing that with this book.  
     I tried several recipes...the Szechuan Meatballs, the White Sandwich bread, the French Bread, and Chicken and Dumplings, to which my family consistently preferred our regular recipes better.
     The silver lining.....every cookbook usually contains at least one recipe that is a winner.  I found two real gems in this cookbook.  The potato gnocchi, and the sweet pie crust.  In each of these recipes I substituted the butter with shortening or olive oil.  The results were delicious.
    I didn't find enough in this cookbook for me to justify buying it, but I would recommend checking this one out of the library.
Nicole's Pie Crust used in my Open Face BlackBerry Plum Tart

Potato Gnocchi

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dairy Free Rice Pudding


Ingredients:
2 cups cooked jasmine rice
1-2/3cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat for about 18 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Stir occasionally, about every 6 minutes.  
Let sit a few minutes. 
Serve with your favorite berry.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Firecracker Onion Dip (egg free, dairy free)


Ingredients:
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients together. 
 Taste the dip before you decide to add salt and pepper.  You may not want to add as much because there is salt on the chips.  
Serve with blue and red chips for a fourth of July theme.

Notes:
  • If you prefer, you can use a dairy free sour cream in the place of the mayonnaise.
  • This dip is makes a great Belgian Fries sauce.   Serve with your next batch of french fries.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Parfaits (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

     Who doesn't love parfaits.  They are simple, quick, and beautiful.   And if you don't want to do those, you can take the same ingredients and turn them into kabobs, with a fruit dip on the side.



     Cook up your favorite cake.  I used the coconut cupcake recipe from the  Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook.  She also has a sponge cake that rocks.  Whatever you choice, cut the cake into cubes.  Layer it a glass, with Dairy free cream cheese, and fruit (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries).
    Cut the cake into shapes if you want to make kabobs, add fruit, and serve with the dairy free cream cheese on the side.  I had parfait with just fruit and cream, and it was heavenly.
    Just a note here.  I really love coconut, so I added pieces of coconut to my cream cheese.  Hence, the reason my cream cheese looks chunky here.  If you click on the dairy free cream cheese link, you will see that it actually comes out creamy and smooth.  

Gluten Free Pigs in a Blanket (on a pogo stick)

     I have to tell you that when I made these, it was because I was pushed to make up something on a dime.    My kids were having friends over, and they are gluten kids.  They wanted corn dogs, and I just didn't feel up to making them from scratch.  Instead I pulled out my Joan's Italian Bread,  rolled out pieces of dough big enough to cover my cooked hot dogs.  I skewered hot dogs (be sure to wipe them dry if you boiled them), wrapped them up in the dough, and placed them on a lightly greased baking sheet for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  Voila!  A pig in a blanket on a pogo stick.  They were quite tasty and disappeared, which is the norm around here when the eats are good.

    If you don't have Joan's Italian Bread, use your favorite pizza dough or something of that consistency.   You should use a dough that can be easily rolled out, but not too sticky.   

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

By Dee

A father carries pictures where his money used to be. 
 ~Author Unknown 


 Dad, you're someone to look up to no matter how tall I've grown. 
 ~Author Unknown 


 The greatest gift I ever had Came from God; 
I call him Dad!
 ~Author Unknown


 Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GF Grocery Guide, and Online GF Cooking Classes

     This weekend I was surfing the net to see what was new out there in the gluten free world.   I came across two websites that are worth a mention, especially if you are new to being gluten free.

    First is the a website that gives gluten free newbies online cooking classes.  Wish I had thought of that!  But alas, six years ago I was wading through Autism, and the gluten free - casein free diet, and feeling lucky to just keep my head above water.  What is great is that she offers you access to her whole cooking class library for a $1 for two weeks.  If you want more than that, then you can subscribe to her cooking classes.  That is a great deal to get you started.  Pretty nifty.  You can find her cooking class at http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/cooking-school/ .

     Second is the New 2011/2012 Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide by Cecelia's Marketplace .  It gets rave reviews at Amazon, and personally wished I had one when I started this journey.  If you are just getting started Gluten Free, this book will help you manuever the grocery store shelves.  They have done the research for you.   It lists a whopping 37,000+ gluten free products that are available nationwide at major supermarket chains.  It tells you which popular brands (Heinz, Kraft, Del Monte, etc.) are gluten free.  If you are gluten and casein free they have a book for that too, the  2011/2012 Gluten/Casein Free Grocery Shopping Guide by Cecelia's Marketplace and one that includes soy free as well 2011/2012 Gluten/Casein/Soy Free Grocery Shopping Guide by Cecelia's Marketplace.
    

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gluten Free Pie Pops

Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Pie, Date Walnut Pie
    Pie pops.  Oooooh...the endless possibilites of pies that could be put on a stick.  My mind swirls not just to the tried and true apple pie, but pecan, sweet potato, pumpkin, chocolate, blueberry, four berry!!! Ooooo... I just get so excited!  And what if we just make up a few... S'more, Almond Joy or Turtle pie with chocolate chips mixed with pecans and caramel.  Okay.  Okay.  I will stop now.
 

What you need:

Favorite GF Pie Crust  (I use Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook pie crust - it is Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy Free.  Another pie crust I have tried, is Jeannes's pie crust, I used shortening instead of butter.)


Filling:
      Date Walnut Filling:
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
      In a small saucepan, combine water, dates, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil.  Stir and mash the dates until it forms a paste.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and walnuts.  

     Cranberry Applesauce Pie
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened Cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Spectrum Shortening 
  • 1 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp GF all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum
      Stir together well.

      Pumpkin
  •  3/4 cup pumpkin
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer  egg made according to the package
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup dairy free milk
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
      Beat together until well blended.


Assembly:
  1. Roll the pie dough about 1/4 inch thick.  
  2. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.  
  3. Using a sandwich technique, place pie crust on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Press in a lollipop stick half way through the dough.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp filling, depending on size of pies.  Top with another pie crust cut out.
  4. Press together with the tines of a fork, sealing the pies together.
  5. Repeat the process until all the dough is used.  
  6. If you can have egg, feel free to brush the tops with an egg wash. Sprinkle tops with sugar.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes. 
  8. Let cool.  
  9. Gobble them up! 

Spring Rolls


     I have to tell you,  I really do like my fried foods. (Yes, I know that is bad!)  But, I do keep trying to find lighter versions of my favorite foods.  I am not as young as I use to be and I don't want to look like I have a permanent life preserver ring attached to my waistline.  I found a really good recipe in Rachael Ray's magazine that was inspiring and fresh.

     I did cheat a little bit and used what ingredients I had on hand to make these.  The great thing about spring rolls is all you need to know is the basics and add what you like.

Meat or Protein:

  • Cooked chicken, shrimp, or pork.  If you are vegan why not use cooked chopped egg, a favorite bean, or tofu.
Veggie Filling:
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Carrots, matchsticks
  • Cucumber, matchsticks
  • Mint leaves
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Chives
  • Rice sticks ( Boil water in a small sauce pan.   Remove from heat.  Add 1/4 cup rice sticks and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain off water.  Cut into bite size pieces.) 
Rice Wrapper

Sauce:
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tsp honey
  • splash of lemon juice (optional)
       Mix the ingredients together and toss with your meat or protein.




Assembly

  1. In a skillet, place enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, and just a little more.  Heat the water over the lowest setting.  You need the water to be warm.  
  2. Dip one rice wrapper at a time in the warm water until it becomes pliable.  You will use your hands here, so be sure that your water is warm only!  Don't burn yourself.  
  3. Remove the softened rice wrapper to a flat surface.  (I use my cutting board.) These will be tacky, so they may stick a little to a plate, but they are manageable.  
  4. In the center of the wrapper lay down your carrots, cucumber, protein choice, rice sticks, herbs, and lettuce.  
  5. Fold up the bottom edge over the filling, then fold the two sides in and roll up.  
  6. Dip in your favorite sauce.  Mine is Homemade Thai chili sauce.  I also like Major Grey's Mango Chutney (I like the Patak brand.  I use the hot and spicy, and it really isn't too terribly hot.)

Allerbling

     I saw this advertisement in my Living Without magazine and thought What a great idea, these Allerbing bracelets are!   They are customizable food allergy awareness bracelet for ages 3 and up.  They have few non allergy charms too.  It is a good reminder to care givers of your child's allergies and helps your child remember what they are allergic to.  Click here to visit their website.  The bands are 100% silicone and are latex free.  How cool is that!


Here are some great FAQs that are found on there site.  This is just a sample of questions and answers that I thought were very informative.


FAQ1.
Why did you develop AllerblingTM?
When our one-year son was diagnosed with a severe allergy to peanuts, among other food items, we searched for a product, which would help us highlight his food allergies to his caregivers. We wanted to keep him safe, when he was not in our care. We found nothing that he would wear.  (You can read the full story on their website!)



FAQ6.
My son is allergic only to peanuts, what should I do with all of the extra holes in the wristband?
Many parents will order several peanut food allergy charms (and tree nut charms to be safe) and place them in the otherwise unused holes in the AllerblingTM wristband, providing extra visibiity to the child's peanut allergy. The same can be done with any child's single food allergy.



FAQ8.
My daughter is allergic to strawberries and sesame seeds?
Five new food allergy charms have been released, including: strawberries, sesame, corn, coconut and chocolate. Please visit our online store to order. AllerblingTM continues to develop its Customer Wish List of new food and non-food allergy charms - this helps our Product Development team when designing new charms. Please contact us if you have ideas for new charms or new products.



FAQ9.
Why the red medic charm?
The AllerblingTM wristband is not a toy or kid jewelry. It is an important visual communication and awareness tool for your child. It can help your child to communicate important information about his or her food allergies, to day care providers, preschool and elementary school teachers, playdate moms, etc.



FAQ13.
My 18-month old was just diagnosed with peanut, milk, and soy allergies? Can he wear the AllerblingTMwristband?
AllerblingTM was designed for ages 3 and up. The medic and allergy charms included in the kit are a choking hazard. But please check back, as we are in the advanced stages of development of an important product for children under 3 years of age.



FAQ15.
If I am not completely satisfied can I return or exchange it?
It is very important to us that you are 100% satisfied with the items you have purchased. If you are not happy with your purchases, please return the items within 30 days of purchase. Please contact us for a shipping address if you wish to make a return.




Thursday, June 9, 2011

Egg Free, Soy Free, Dairy free, Nut Free, Gluten Free Mayonnaise

Spoonful of Mayo
 
    I tried making my very own mayo today.  I was inspired by Vegenaise to try and re-create it without the soy.  It was neat to watch the emulsification process, to produce a white creamy mixture.  This mayonnaise is slightly tangy.

    All mayonnaise is basically made with some common ingredients, give or take one or two.  It is created with an egg (or egg replacement), oil, salt, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, sugar and sometimes garlic.  The trick to mayonnaise is emuslifying - in other words, adding the oil slowly enough to be incorporated into the mixture.  Patience is a must when making mayonnaise.  If you don't have a blender, you can whisk vigorously as you slowly add your oil.  I used my Vitamix because I just don't have the arm for all that whisking, plus it allows me to concentrate on not pouring the oil in too quickly.

Ingredients:

  • Ener-G Egg Replacer  egg made according to the package
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice ( I also use Santa Cruz brand when I'm lazy)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (use whatever you like here, apple or white wine vinegar could be used here)
  • 1 cup safflower or canola oil
Directions:
  1. In a bowl whisk together the egg replacer that has been made according to the package, salt, mustard, agave syrup, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  2. Pour egg mixture into the blender.  On speed of 1-2, begin to add a few drop of oil at a time.  Continue to add drops of oil until it begins to emulsify.  Once that is achieved, you can pour the oil in a very thin stream into the 'egg' mixture. 
  3. Transfer the mayonnaise into a jar.  Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Cook's Notes:
  • This whole process of adding the oil in a thin stream took about 13-15 minutes.  I rested my Vitamix blender every couple of minutes.  
  • By the time I had added a 1/2 cup of oil, I had reached a nice emulision.
  • If you think you are too heavy handed to pour a fine stream of oil, you can use a condiment dispenser like theses 12-oz. Squeeze Bottles 3 pk. - Clear.  I found one at my local Walmart and just cut a small part off.  You can also use an eye dropper, pipet type instrument.  
  • If adding garlic appeals to you, add 1/2 tsp minced garlic or one small garlic clove that has been through a garlic press. Whisk it in with the other ingredients at the beginning of the recipe. 
Emulsification

Finished product

GF Honey Brown Bread

     Clone recipes, I love them.  I saw one the other day for the brown bread at the Outback.  I love their bread.  I also love the Cheesecake Factory's brown bread.  It moved me to find a clone recipe that I could work to make gluten and dairy free.

     The results were, well, ...that it doesn't taste exactly like their bread, probably because I didn't include the instant coffee.  It wound up tasting more like a honey wheat bread.

     Despite the fact that I can't call it a clone, I really enjoyed the bread and so did my kids.  I am always really nervous when I post a bread recipe because bread is a touchy thing in the gluten free world.  So even though it's not a clone, I hope you guys like it.  And of course you know I used the bread machine.... I hate touching dough!
Bread Dough


Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Place the ingredients in your bread maker according to machine's instructions.  ( I used a Zojirushi Breadmaker.  I mixed all the dry ingredients together and set aside.  I placed milk, oil, honey and vinegar in the bread maker first.  Placed the dry ingredients atop the wet ingredients.  Made a well and added the yeast.)  
  2. Set bread maker to dough cycle.  
  3. Once the dough is done, lightly spray your pan with cooking spray.  (I used a 12-cup Square Muffin Pan.  You could use mini loaf pans, or regular muffin cups.) 
  4. Using a 1/4 cup, scoop out the dough and place into each muffin cup.  
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  
Cooking Notes:
     * Remember when you measure out Cybele's flour to use a spoon to fill your measuring cups; otherwise, you will wind up using too much flour.

  • If you want to add the instant coffee back in, add 2 teaspoons to the dry ingredients.  
  • If you want to add spice but omit the coffee you can add 1/4 tsp of ground mace.

First crop! Yeah!!!!!

We got our first little handful of vegetables today!  My daughter decided to make a face with our vegetables.  I will be taking these and drying out the seeds for next year. 
 I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your garden too!

Dragon Salt

     My sister shared a carry out menu with me the other day from the Genghis Grill.  As I perused the menu, there was a seasoning called Dragon Salt.  I thought that they were just being funny.  Something made up to make the menu sound more enticing (which by the way, I thought it was a pretty cool name. They had me).
     My curiosity got the best of me, so I Googled 'Dragon Salt'.  There it was, a recipe for dragon salt!  There was one from Skyduchess from Garland, TX at Group Recipes and one from Southern Living.  Both were almost the same, except Skyduchess added ginger and lemon grass to her mix.  I did find what I called a short cut version, that mixed sea salt with Chinese Five Spice powder.  I haven't tried that version because I loved all the different spices in the recipe below.
     Dragon salt is a spicy salt that you can use to season meats or anywhere else you add salt but want to turn up the heat.  I loved it!  My family loved it!  I made a two pound roast, coated it with just the dragon salt, threw it in the crock pot with our favorite veggies and it was the tastiest meat with nothing more than just the salt.  I think it would taste great on a rotisserie chicken.
  

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp red pepper flakes (or ground)
2 Tbsp dried dill weed
1 tsp lemon grass powder
1 Tbsp Spanish smoked paprika
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp celery salt

Mix altogether and store in an airtight container.


Cook's Notes:
The skyduchess used lemon grass sticks, dried ginger, and celery seed in hers.  I used what I had on hand.
Pork Roast with Dragon Salt in the crock pot

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lamb Burgers

     I have never eaten lamb before, so this was new territory for me.  I am the girl that loves a good hamburger and fries, a Sunday pot roast, and Kentucky Fried Chicken at a picnic.  Of course with a child allergic to beef and chicken, I have been forced to try new things, buffalo, and now lamb.  I've always passed on a Gyros for a good Cheesesteak.  I know that many of you probably frequent lamb and think, Girl, what took you so long?   Honestly, I have no idea.
    I loved this recipe.  It comes from my favorite website hangout,  Allrecipes.  This burger is a nice change from the regular.   I wanted to include a picture, but it was another case of starving kids who ate them all before I could get my camera out.
    I made note of what I used in my burgers in blue.  I would have used more of the fresh spices if I wasn't making it for my kids, who by the way thought it was divine.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves (1Tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (1Tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1Tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sherry (omitted)
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (rice vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 pita bread rounds (gluten free buns)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (omitted)

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  2. Place the lamb in a large bowl, and mix with the mint, cilantro, oregano, garlic, sherry, vinegar, and molasses. Season with cumin, allspice, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and mix well. Shape into 4 patties.
  3. Brush grill grate with oil. Grill burgers 5 minutes on each side, or until well done. Serve burgers wrapped in pitas (gluten free flatbread) with feta cheese (or not if your dairy free).

Makin Bacon

     There are quotes about it.  Elvis Presley had a favorite sandwich with it.  There is even bacon salt.   Bacon.  Everything tastes better with bacon.  If vegetables tasted like bacon, everyone would be eating them.  
     So, go ahead and add to the bacon creativity that is out there.  Dare to add flare to your breakfast and give one of these bacon flavors a try.  Later, experiment with your favorite spices and play around with syrup flavors.  I like to change it up by using maple agave syrup.
Chinese 5 spice bacon -
 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
 1/4 cup agave syrup

Candy apple bacon -
 1/4 cup  Brown sugar
   3 Tbsp  apple juice

Sweet Peppered Bacon -
  1/4 cup agave syrup
  1/2 tsp pepper (1/2 tsp more if you are daring)

Cajun Bacon -
 1/4 cup agave syrup
  1/2 tsp cajun seasoning


  1. Mix the ingredients together.  Set aside. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the bacon on it.
  3. With a Basting Brush, brush on the spice mixture.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Check often to make sure you do not burn the bacon.  If necessary turn down the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Drain on a paper towel and serve.



Monday, June 6, 2011

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Mock Hidden Valley Ranch Mix




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
Directions:
  1. Mix all together and store in an airtight  container.  
  2. To use, mix 1 teaspoon of dry mix with 1/2 cup gluten free, dairy free mayonnaise, and a dash of fish sauce.  Thin with your favorite dairy free milk until desired consistency.
Cook's Note:
     In the normal Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing they use MSG.  The substitute for MSG flavor is equal parts sugar and salt with a dash of fish sauce.  Since this recipe already contains sugar and salt, I  simply added the dash of fish sauce.

Making Laundry Detergent

     I have always wanted to try my hand at making my own detergent.   Having read those laundry detergent labels makes me feel like they are hiding something, and the ingredients they do list, I have no clue what they are.  Makes me think I should have gotten an advanced degree in Chemistry.

     I searched around the internet and found that most recipes are the same.  I found several sites that show you step by step for making the liquid version.  I liked the the simple dollar 's directions.  He gave a great tutorial and included stats about how much he spent and how well it cleans compared to a commercial brand.

Here is the words of advice from fellow laundry soap makers:

  • If you are making liquid soap, it can separate from the water.  There is nothing wrong with detergent, you just need to shake before using to mix it back together.
  • The smaller the soap particles the easier it is to melt or use in a powdered version.  People use a blender or magic bullet to get fine soap.
  • People reported that it can be used in HE washers, use half the amount of soap.  
  • If you don't want to purchase a 5 gallon bucket to mix it in, try asking in the bakery section of your grocery store to see if they have a left over (dough) bucket.

Every recipes uses essentially the same three base ingredients :
  •  some people use one whole bar of soap (Pure and Natural, Ivory) or a  1/2 bar to whole bar of soap of  Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap or Zote because it is specifically laundry soap.  
Feel free to play around with it and use what you like or what you think gets your clothes the cleanest.

Powdered Soap
I used the following for powdered (it takes up less space):
 To use :  2 Tablespoons per load of laundry.
Shredded Fels Napath

Notes:
  • I have been using the above mixture now for two weeks and even with their size, I have not had a problem with them dissolving.
  • A little off topic here  - When I place the damp clothes in the dryer,  I use a damp sponge, with a little distilled vinegar and a few drops of essential oil to give the clothes a faint scent.   This replaces the dryer sheets. 

For liquid detergent I used simply dollars recipe of :
Directions:
  1. In a pot, add 4 cups of water.  Bring water to medium high heat. (You don't want the water to boil, just really hot.)
  2. Add your soap a little at a time.  Stir until dissolved.  Repeat this process until all your soap is gone and you have a very soapy mixture.
  3. Using hot tap water, fill your 1 gallon jug.  Add to your five gallon bucket.  Do this two more times, equalling a total of 3 gallons of hot water.
  4. Add your soapy water and stir until blended.  
  5. Add your washing soda.  Stir well.
  6. Add borax.  Stir well.
  7. Let sit overnight and cool down.
  8. Tomorrow it is ready to use.  
  9. Use about 1 cup or detergent in your load. 
Remember that your liquid detergent can separate over night.  It can also end up gelationous, or can be just like the soap you buy.  All of that mostly depends on the amount of water you add and the bar of soap that you use.  Color varies as well according to your bar of soap.  Don't worry so much about how it looks, it still works great.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GF, Dairy Free Ice Cream Cake




     I wanted to make a different cake for my son's birthday, so I cruised on over to  She Let's Them Eat Cake website.  Her recipe turned out great and I wanted to share.   We used all our favorites ingredients instead of making all the individual components that her recipe called for.  You can buy or make as many of the ingredients as you like.  Click here to get to her recipe.  She made hers in a springform pan.  I chose to make mine in a loaf pan that I lined with parchment paper for easy removal.
     Another interesting note, She Let's Them Eat Cake uses a chocolate pudding layer (the middle layer) that is an avocado chocolate pudding.   If you Google avocado chocolate pudding there are a lot of variations out there, some with avocado and banana, some add rice milk, or coconut milk.  The sky is the limit so look around to find the one that is right for your taste buds!