Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bob's Red Mill Cinnamon Raisin Bread






















I got this mix as a Christmas gift.

I tried it in my breadmaker, using the mixing setting and everything. Just plopped the stuff in there and waited 3 hours for bread. I looked through the window as it mixed, wondering how on earth it could all get mixed properly.

I have to admit I was skeptical, but it mixed, rose, and baked without falling, unlike any other bread I've tried.

The loaf of bread itself is heavy, and seems dense. But, when it's sliced, toasted, smeared with butter and topped with cinnamon sugar, it's pretty good. Although at that point anything would be.

A tad dry, mild cinnamon flavor. With pesky raisins.
It's actually very comparable to the normal cinnamon bread from the store. Unlike many GF breads, it doesn't have that strange starchy texture and it's not too dense. It's not overly grainy or crumbly either. I have to say everything is pretty well-balanced. I'm impressed.

Overall, I might buy this bread mix again. But I'd strain the raisins out first. I'm not a fan.

Gluten Free Waffles!

gluten free wafflesI know, this is yet another crappy picture. But I was hungry and didn't feel like switching angles or messing with lighting. I need a tripod. I think that's what some of this Christmas money will be going towards.

ANyway. Did you ever see such a plate of messy deliciousness? I finally busted out with the waffle maker. The best way to eat waffles, in my opinion, is with strawberries and whipped cream. Simple maple syrup is fine for store-bought, but does not do homemade waffles justice. Something about the combination of warm, sweet, juicy strawberries and cool whipped cream on top of a soft waffle. Almost like strawberry shortcake, but better.

To make the waffle batter:

1 c. GF flour (try 3/4 c. rice flour and 1/4 c. potato starch)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 T. agave nectar (or 1 t. sugar)
3/4 c. milk
1 egg
2 T. oil

Mix the dry ingredients, then mix the wet ingredients, then mix the two together, trying to get all lumps out without over-mixing.

Pour some batter onto the preheated waffle iron, depending on how big it is, and cook them according to the directions.

To make the strawberry stuff:

Throw a handful of thawed or fresh cut up strawberries into a small pot. Sprinkle some sugar over the top to make it sweet. How much depends on how sweet the strawberries were to begin with. (I've also been experimenting with agave nectar, but didn't use it for the sauce)
When it's heated, the juices will make a nice syrup.

When the waffles are done, I like to toast them for extra texture.

Top them with the strawberry goodness and whipped cream, and we're in breakfast business.

*If you have any extra strawberry stuff, keep it and serve it over vanilla ice cream later.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Potato Soup

gluten free potato soupApologies for the crappy picture.

After peanut butter cookies for breakfast, I scrapped the waffle idea for today. I couldn't take that much sugar at one time.

My mom had boiled too many potatoes for potato salad, so I took them and this morning decided that potato soup would be the best use for them.

Potato Soup

4 T. butter
3 T. cornstarch
1 T. sweet rice flour
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
3 c. milk
1 t. parsley
1 t. GF chicken bouillon (I used Orrington Farms)
leftover cut up boiled potatoes

Melt the butter, then add the flours to make a smooth paste. Stir in the milk, add the cheese, bouillon & parsley, then plop in the potatoes. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so, until it's hot and creamy.

Top with crumbled bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese, chives, or whatever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and I'm chowing down on my most favorite cookie ever. Seriously, I'd be embarassed to tell you how many I've eaten. That's okay, my personal trainer kicked my ass today.

I'm super, SUPER excited. The Man and I did Christmas early this year, and he got me a waffle maker. It's one of those gadgets/ appliances that I've always wanted but could never justify buying one for myself. Kind of like that ice cream maker I finally broke down and bought, then used once.

This will be different though. I can not WAIT to start making waffles.

And, AND, my mom bought me some Kinnicknick CHOCOLATE DONUTS for breakfast tomorrow. I haven't even seen them in the stores, she just magically found them. Awesome. I hope they're as good as they look.

Well, I'm done talking about stuffing my face. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Cheese Spread

You know how I said that the Glutino Vegetable Crackers would be fab with some sort of cheese spread? I was right.

gluten free crackers and cheese
Here is the delightfully simple, very delicious cheese ball recipe we bust out every holiday.

10 oz grated white american cheese
1 block of cream cheese
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
paprika

When the cheeses are at room temperature and soft, blend with a hand mixer. Add in the spices and blend some more. Roll it into a ball or log and sprinkle paprika on the outside, or roll it in some paprika. Let it cool in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to meld, then serve it with crackers.

Sometimes I mix in some slivered almonds, or garnish it with green olives.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hot Cocoa Mix


This mix blows all of the store-bought mixes out of the water. I've never liked the packets of hot cocoa mix because they don't have that rich, chocolatey flavor.

I've also never liked milk in my hot cocoa. I have always abhorred the taste of milk, and never EVER drink it straight, or even as chocolate milk. My mom used to make hot cocoa using milk and ovaltine when we were kids and I could never drink it because I could taste the milk. I use milk to make this hot cocoa, and I can't taste it at all.

It's just a delicious, creamy, flavorful hot cocoa to drink when it's cold.

To make the mix:

1/2 c. cocoa
1 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. corn starch

Place that all in an airtight container and shake it up to evenly distribute the ingredients. The corn starch really does help to make it creamy and thick, and not so watery like store-bought brands.

To make a cup of cocoa:
Mix 3 T. of the mix with 2 T. hot water. Then add ~1 c. milk and heat it up.

Of course, it's not hot cocoa without a dollup of whipped cream, marshmallows, or a candy cane.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enjoy Life Very Berry Snack Bars

I picked these up in the store the other day because

1. they were on sale and
2. I thought they'd be different than what they were.

They were next to the bars that had a granola/ cakey outside and a fruity filling (think Nutrigrain Bars), and for some reason I thought these were the same, except with raspberry filling.

Quite the contrary, these are solid bars. They are indeed soft, like the box says, but not exactly chewy.

The texture leaves something to be desired. It's a tad grainy at the end of the mouthful, and there are unexpected crunches throughout the softness of the bar that interrupt chewing and leave you wondering what that was. In my opinion they should either be more crunchy or not crunchy at all.

The taste itself is not bad, and they small and sturdy enough to carry around for emergency carbs.

Will I throw them out? No, I'll probably finish the box.

Would I buy them again? Probably not.

There you have it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Glutino Vegetable and EngerG Crackers

My 100th post (woo!) will be about crackers.

There has been a cracker drought at my house lately because I'm too lazy to go to the store. My awesome sister got me a Whole Foods gift card for my birthday, so I figured it was time to stock up a little. I got some Vans blueberry waffles, some Glutino sesame bagels, and these crackers. It will be my first time to try all of these products, and I'm excited!

The Glutino Vegetable Crackers were 4.99, but are 3.99 on this website.
The EngerG crackers were 3.99 but are 4.65 on the website.
The Vans Blueberry waffles were 3.19 but are 3.59 on this website.
And the Glutino Sesame Bagels were 5.69 but are 6.99 on this website. I plan to use these for sandwiches.

I tore into the Glutino crackers as soon as I got into the car. I was expecting them to be a tad buttery, but they aren't. You can really taste the spices in the cracker. It tastes almost like a pizza flavor, but without that tangy tomato. They are flaky and have the same texture as the original flavor. These crackers would be FAB with a cream cheese spread or even tuna salad. I will definitely be buying them again.


The EngerG crackers come in a flat square. The picture's a little fuzzy but I needed to hurry because my camera batteries were dying. The texture of these crackers is a little more dense and less flaky. They're thinner, and have kind of a crunchy texture. They almost taste like sesame, but there isn't any mentioned in the ingredients. They are kinda blah, which makes them a good cracker to pair with cheese. I don't know if I'll buy these again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I ~have~ been cooking. The semester is winding down and I've got a more relaxed schedule. But the darn internet has been fritzy. I've got teff muffins, cornbread muffins and hot cocoa on the back burner, soon to be posted.

This is the scene that has been happening a lot lately: My mom is making a large salad in the kitchen. I head straight for the cookies. It's that time of year. (Who am I kidding? It's that time of year all year long)

It's tradition for me to make sugar cookies every year for Christmas. They're time-consuming, but they're my absolute favorite, and I get them only once a year. I eat until I'm just Sick, then wait for next year.

gluten free sugar cookies icedHere's how you make these:

1 c. softened butter
a little more than 1/3 c. powdered sugar
a little more than 1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour mix (with xanthan gum)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Cream the butter & sugar, then mix in the egg & vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients separately, then add them to the wet ingredients. Refrigerate the dough for a while. I put mine in small batches in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.

Roll the dough on a GF floured surface. I prefer sweet rice flour. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake them for ~10 minutes, or until the edges are just barely turning brown.

Let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool before icing.

To make the icing, I use:

4 T. crisco
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. water
few shakes of salt to cut down on the sweetness
~4 c. powdered sugar

Mix that up until it's creamy and ice away!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Cheesecake

gluten free graham cracker crust cheesecakeI'm 24, you guys. A whole entire box of birthday candles.

Sorry for the crappy picture. The cheesecake got a little mangled coming out of the pan.

What a better birthday dinner than GF pizza and cheesecake? (and wine...)

We ordered pizza and bought some frozen cheesecake for my GLUTEN-EATING guests, but I got many compliments on the GF fare.

The pizza got rave reviews. My mom used my grandma's sauce recipe. Yum.

Everyone liked the GF cheesecake, and hardly touched the other ones. In fact, Missy said she doesn't normally like crusts, but loved this one.

Why is that?

Because I made a graham cracker crust. Oh man. It was good.

I made an extra large batch of graham crackers last time, and I had some to make this crust.

Take about 1 1/2 cups of them crushed, added 1 T sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter. Mix that up and press it with your hands into the bottom of a pie pan. Place it in the fridge while you mix up the filling, then bake away.

I had a can of cherry pie filling to spoon on top, but to be honest, I think I liked it better plain.
It's just that good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Cake

gluten free pumpkin cakeWe've got quite a spread workin' here, but I wanted to post this recipe before the internet craps out again. Been having some trouble with that.

This "Pumpkin Pie" Cake is my absolute favorite thing that my mom makes during the holidays. Converted to GF, it tastes just as I remember it. Slightly sweet and moist with that fall pumpkin flavor.

It's from the Pillsbury's Money Saving Meals book, published in 1970. I have already told my mom I get dibs on this cookbook. It's yellowed and the spine is coming undone, and there are pages that have fallen out and have been tucked back in. It has that familiar old book smell when you open it up, and there are my mom's notes scrawled here and there among the pages. As you flip through it, there are old scrapes of paper titled "Christmas baking list" from years past tucked in, as well as other recipes clipped from magazines. It truly is a treasure.

And, here is the recipe, made GF, of course.

2 T melted butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. pumpkin
1/2 T. vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 c.each brown rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground ginger

Preheat to 350. Mix all of the ingredients together. Pour it into a 8-in pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. It can be topped with whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. Both are great.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amazed.

I came home from work tonight to an empty flour bin, and a smorgasbord of gluten free treats.

Mom was on a roll today. All of the traditional Thanksgiving baked goods we usually make were converted to gluten free. And I was amazed at how they tasted exactly like I remember. The mini pumpkin cakes were light and sweet. The pecan nut cups (which I was unable to eat last year) had just the right taste. There were cranberry bars, pineapple upside-down cake, and pumpkin custard in place of pumpkin pie.

I truly am amazed, and can't wait to post pictures and recipes.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you all have something to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

grr.

You know how awesome it is to go through a grocery store and see the words GLUTEN FREE on an item so you don't have to read through the ingredients and wonder if "natural flavors" is going to make you sick?

Well, the news lately has been raining on my parade. A friend sent me this link from the Chicago Tribune the other day. I found another related link here. Wellshire Farms is scrutinized in this article, and I happen to have some of their chicken nuggets in my freezer right now. I came across some more articles about false food labeling via this website.

How crappy is it when you can't trust the labels that are supposed to give us confidence that the food we eat isn't going to make us sick?

Good news- the Celiac Sprue Association has news posted on their website of FDA regulation in the works.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Life

gluten free chocolate chip cookies
Today is a glorious day. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and there's a nice chill in the air. Today also marks the 1-year anniversary of my Celiac disease diagnosis.

What a year it's been. I've learned a lot. In the picture above I realized that's the potholder that I burned. :o) I remember how frustrating it was learning how to read labels, figure out which flour to use, and figure out what to eat. I've had a TON of support from my friends & family. It's still not all hunky dory, sunshine and lollipops every day, but I feel better and I'm proud of myself.

I was raiding through the cupboards today and came across one of those Whole Foods 365 Chocolate Chip Cookie mixes that my brother bought me just to be nice, when I was first diagnosed. Now, they're not my favorite, and I wasn't a fan of the 365 Chocolate Cake mix, so I put off making these. I'm kinda glad I made them today.

This is a strange cookie mix recipe, one I've never seen before. The "dough" is very crumbly and you have to form it into balls with your hands. The cookies come out very un-flat without refrigeration (which surprised me).

There are two kinds of cookie people. Those who like crispier cookies (me!) and those who like cookies soft, barely cooked. I believe these cookies can please everyone. The first round came out crispy on the outside, softer on the inside. The second round I cooked a little longer, and still had that great crisp outside, but were firmer inside. The balance of flavors was really great too. I think I might have liked these. My mom and sister sure did: "Are you sure these are gf??"

So, I say try these, especially if you're a chocolate chip cookie fan.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

mom strikes again- brownies

gluten free brownies
After watching me lift the lid on the candy jar and ask, "Do we have any chocolate?" for the umpteenth time this week, my mom stole my flour mix and made brownies.

I must admit, I was skeptical. All of my attempts at brownies have been just, eh. They're either too fudgy or too cakey or too crumbly or... I could go on and on. I'm more partial to the fudgy kind myself.

These- don't look, taste, smell, or feel gluten free. They remind me of the brownies I always ate as a kid, and are a perfect mix between cakey and fudgy. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good these were- and promptly stole half the pan to hoard. So, this is this choco-holic's very first brownie post- made by madre, from the recipe on the back of the Nestle cocoa container!

1 2/3 c. sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
2 T. water
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/3 c. flour mix
3/4 c. cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

I advised her to deviate from the label's directions a bit and mix the cocoa with the hot water and melted butter. It helps the chocolate taste come out. That was mixed with the sugar, then the eggs and vanilla were stirred in. The dry ingredients were combined, then added to the wet. The nuts were stirred in, and it was baked at 350 in a 13x9 for 18-25 minutes.

Further evidence that my mom rocks.

gluten free brownies

click on the pictures for bigger views.
and prepare to drool.

Friday, November 14, 2008

survey whore and business expo

I love doing surveys- saw this on Sugar & Spice and thought it was neat.

The ABC's of ME

A - Age: 23- soon to be 24!

B - Band listening to right now: I heard Suzy playing 3oh!3- don't trust me. It's got a good beat.

C - Career future: working in a lab.

D - Dad’s name: John, Randy

E - Easiest person to talk to: I don't know. No one stands out.

F - Favorite type of shoe: flip flops all the way. I am one of those girls who likes shoes, but prefers to be barefoot- or the closest thing to it.

G – Grapes or Grapefruit: red grapes.

H – Hometown: Oceanside, CA relocated to Sugar Land, TX

I – Instrumental talent: absolutely none!

J – Juice of choice: lemonade?

K – Koala Bear or Panda Bear: they're both cute.

L - Longest car ride ever: either driving from CA to here or from here to Wisconsin. I hate road trips.

M – Middle name: Lynn <-- woot!

N - Number of jobs you’ve had: Subway, Gerland's, Miller Brothers, MNI, Carillion, Express, Tattle Tales, Honey Baked Ham, I didn't realize I've had this many jobs.

O- OCD traits: writing random words over and over in my head

P - Phobia[s]: roaches, puke, the dentist

Q - Quote: "I powdered their precious butts when they were babies and now they're all tattooed and pierced, smoke camels and drink Shiner." - I overheard my mom talking to her friends one night. Too bad it's true, lol!

R - Reason to smile: Things could always be worse.

T - Time you wake up: as late as I possibly can.

U - Unknown fact about me: i hate apple juice.

V - Vegetable you hate: onions. UGH!

W - Worst habit: eating junk food?

X - X-rays you’ve had: the usual torture of the teeth xrays, and I got my head x-rayed after my accident. It was cool; you could see my fillings.

Y - Yummiest food my belly likes: rice. always loved it.

Z - Zodiac sign: Saggitarius

Now you do it!!

In other news, I went to Sugar Land/ Stafford's business expo and there were tons of cool people giving away tons of stuff. I came home with bags of randomness- some of it pretty good.

There were a lot of restaurants and I talked to a lot of them about a GF menu, which was awesome because a lot of the owners were there. Some were already knowledgeable, like Outback. When I asked, the guy standing there said to one of the people handing out food, "Get her this and this but not that." He knew off the top of his head what was ok and what wasn't, and told me a little bit about the menu and stuff.

Other places, like Casa Ole, kind of knew what I was talking about, and the owner sounded interested and I told her where she could get more information.

Horray for spreading awareness!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

cranberry muffins with lemon icing drizzle

gluten free cranberry muffins
I stole this muffin recipe from hey, that tastes good!

Except I subbed fresh cranberries for blueberries, which I hate.

And it's not really stealing because I gave credit, so it's more like I'm promoting the recipe. Woo!

Anyway. I used half millet flour because I am still messing around with it to see what it's like in recipes.

They turned out gorgeous. When I pulled them out of the oven the berry juice was bursting from the tops in a bright red.

They were also tasty with a great texture. The top turned into a soft, tender crust.
...crust isn't the right word because when I think of crust, I think of flaky. But I can't think of anything else to describe it. It was good though.

They were a little less sweet than I would have liked, probably because the cranberries are a tad tart. So I made a lemon glaze to drizzle over the top and give it an extra kick of flavor.

The recipe made six, and four are gone. That leaves one for Ashley to snag and one for my breakfast. I guess it's better than peanut butter cookies, which I had for breakfast this morning. There's something about the combo of peanut butter cookies with coffee that is sooo good in the morning.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

listen to your body

I always pay attention to what my body is telling me.

Little clues, neurons firing, signals relayed to my brain. Sometimes subtle, sometimes in-your-face.

With my finicky stomach, I especially pay attention to what my body wants to eat. I always eat what I feel like eating; even if it's living off of ice cream and rice for 2 days. I figure if I'm craving it, I'm craving it for a reason. Everyone always asks if I'm pregnant, but I've always been this way.

For instance, I have been craving rice and ice cream the past couple days. This morning I woke up wanting ice cream, but figured I should eat something with some kind of nutrition. So I made eggs, and they weren't appetizing at all. After I ate them, my stomach hurt. I ate some ice cream, and it calmed down.

And I don't always crave junk food. Sometimes it's pumpkin. Sometimes it's tuna. Sometimes it's pasta salads, apples, or soups. But the bottom line is I always feel best when I listen to what my stomach is telling me- and eat accordingly. If I ignore it, I usually regret it.

I don't know why I second-guess myself.

Friday, November 7, 2008

pizza bite failures and pumpkin ice cream

I spent tonight trying to make pizza bites, somewhat like those Totino's ones. I failed!

I forgot that the dough rises, and didn't flatten it out enough. But if I flattened it out too much it would have had holes and the bites would have leaked.

I had very crust-ful pizza bites; but they were almost like mini-calzones. I could say that I was trying to make mini calzones, but I still want to figure out a way to make pizza bites.

Good thing there are things like Dreyer's Pumpkin Ice Cream on top of graham crackers to make a happy tummy. I'm serious. That stuff is awesome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

graham cracker-ness

gluten free graham cracker
After a long night of studying last night and a long day of test-ness today, I had to bake something.

I chose graham crackers. I've made these before, but not in a long time. And I have no idea why, they're delicious! They really have that distinct graham cracker taste. The cinnamon ones are great for snacking.

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 t. xanthan gum
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
6 T. cold butter (smart balance works fine)
2 T. honey
2-3 T. milk (non-dairy will work)

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork until it's nice and crumbly. Add the honey and mix in the milk until you get a dough.
Roll it out, cut into crackers, and prick them with a fork.
Bake them on an ungreased sheet at 350 for 12ish minutes. If they start to puff up too much, after 5 minutes I take them out and re-prick them.

They make the house smell absolutely wonderful.

[It helps to roll these out on wax paper, cut and prick, then invert them onto the cookie sheet.]

You know what I'm going to use these for? Besides stuffing my face, I mean. And besides S'mores.

Graham cracker cheesecake crust. You know, the kind I haven't eaten in ages, the kind I've tried to replicate with GF flours but couldn't get quite right? The only thing that tastes just like graham cracker crust... is graham cracker crust. I have high hopes and confidence that these will deliver.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

exams!

I would love to be screwing around in the kitchen right now. The weather is crisp and cold and perfect for baking and cooking.

But these darn exams. They suck up all my free time.

Speaking of being up at school all the time, I want to make a quick shoutout to McAllisters, the deli on campus. Those baked potatoes have saved my life many times. Wooo.

Back to cell bio.
deuce like a moose.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten free white chocolate macadamia nut cookiesThese were supposed to be white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but I didn't have any more nuts and didn't want to go to the store. The first batch fell apart and came out kind of flat, but were tasty. After a couple changes, these were much better.

Recipe.

6 T butter, soft
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 cup, rounded, brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2T. sweet rice flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 c. white chocolate chips, or 1/4 c. each chips and nuts

Cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix that up.
Combine the dry ingredients, and add that to the wet mixture in 3 parts. Mix in the nuts/ chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. It makes a little more than a dozen cookies.

Eat, enjoy, repeat. :o)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Enchiladas- 2 ways

It's been an enchilada kind of week.

Wednesday the Man and I went over to Scott & Dayna's for dinner. Props and thanks go out to Dayna, who is super-supportive of me and makes sure when we come over for dinner it's always safe. The menu was creamy chicken enchiladas & beans. I made mine with corn tortillas in a separate pan and everything else was the same. These are not your traditional enchiladas. They're mild and have an awesome flavor. I've been craving them all week. She mentioned they'd be good with green chiles, and I agree. We ate them with salsa.

The picture is un-artistic, but I had forgotten to take one until we sat down to eat and I was hungry.

I don't know where she got the recipe, but here is how to make them:

Season some chicken with salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook it (she used the george foreman grill) and then shred it with a fork.

Mix it up with some softened cream cheese and shredded mexican-style cheese until it's a chicken-salad-like consistency. Now would be the time to add a can of green chiles.

Roll up some of the mixture in tortillas and place them in a pan. Pour some cream over the top of them, and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake them at 350 until the cheese is melty. Mmmm.

For dessert I made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but I want to mess with that recipe some more before I post it.

For the second enchilada option, I made cheese enchiladas tonight. Super, super easy and quick.


To make them, you take about 6 tortillas, roll some shredded cheese in them, and put them in a pan. Open a can of GF red enchilada sauce (mine was from Kroger) and pour it over them. Sprinkle with more cheese, and bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. I wish I had beans to mix with the filling, but I didn't. They were still tummy-filling.

Now- I need to get Missy's mom's enchilada recipe, which is the best EVER, and we'll be in total enchilada business.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flour mix- updated

I like to keep an "all purpose" flour mix on hand for the recipes that I convert from regular to GF. It's also handy when my mom feels like baking. It's easier because she's not as familiar with the individual flours and the textures they produce.

I mix up a large batch at once:

2 cups cornstarch
1 cup tapioca starch
2 cups potato starch
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour (sometimes I omit the white rice flour and use all brown rice flour)
2 cups corn flour, sorghum flour, soy flour or millet flour. Any type of non-coarse flour will do.
3 T. xanthan gum

This is, of course, very general. I don't worry about exact measurements.

With each new batch I've been experimenting with raising the "flour" ratio and lowering the "starch" ratio and make it a little healthier. I also sub in some flaxseed meal or teff flour in a particular recipe, when it seems appropriate.

If you have a different one, share it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cranberry Nut Bars

gluten free cranberry nut bars
(click on the picture to get a better view of the texture)

This, I am not taking credit for. My mom made this from the gluten-free flour mix that I keep in my fridge. I came home and ate... three of them. In fact, I'm brushing crumbs off my hoodie as I type. These ROCK. Perfect for breakfast. -Or when you get home from work.

It's got a coffee-cake consistency, with some tart bursts of yummy cranberries and toasty nuts. The top part comes out as a delicate crust that's sweet but not too sweet. My mom really did a great job.

She used the OceanSpray recipe- I think she clipped out of a magazine. She substituted the GF flour mix for the flour, and ended up with awesomeness.

To make awesomeness you need:

2 eggs
a little less than 1 c. sugar
1 c. flour (GF!!)
1/3 c. melted butter
1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries (or frozen)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
cinnamon/ sugar

Beat the eggs until they're thick. Slowly add the sugar and mix it real well. Dump in the flour and butter, and blend that really well. Add the berries and nuts and just barely mix those in. Put the batter in a greased 8-inch pan, sprinkle with the cinnamon/ sugar and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. A clean toothpick and slightly brown edges means it's done.

*note- you can double the recipe and use a 13x9 pan.
*note^2- she tried the recipe again with regular flour and she said they weren't as good. Sweeett.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nutty Rice/ Flax cereal


Before my diagnosis, I was a cereal kind of girl. I ate cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner some days. Every day for breakfast was cereal. It's a wonder I never caught on as I sat in my morning classes, nearly every day, nauseous.

After I found out I had Celiac, all of my previous cereal options were banned. It was a sad day, but also a happy day- because who likes feeling sick after breakfast??

So I began trying out gluten free cereals, one-by-one. Needless to say, as many of you already know, a lot of them were terrible. Cereal went in the mouth, only to be spit right back out. Boxes of cereal went into the garbage can, or were kept in the hopes that one day I would find some creative use for them.

There are only a few gluten free cereals that I like, and among those few are the Nutty Rice. They come in a small box and are WAYY expensive. I see them for normally upwards of 4 dollars. It's hard to justify paying that much for a box of cereal, so when they go on sale at Kroger for $3 a box, it's a happy day for me.

Anyway, what is this cereal like?
They're little crunchy nuggets. The cool thing about them is that they stay crunchy until the end of the bowl. It's got a mild, almost nutty flavor, although there are no nuts in the ingredients. I like to sweeten mine with some sugar.

To compare the two kinds, I like the rice better than the flax variety. The flax has a more complex taste, and I might be crazy but it reminded me of green tea. It wasn't bad, but I've become accustomed to the milder taste of the rice.

I am really interested in crushing these up and making them into a pie crust.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Rice Krispie Treats"

I'm not the only one who has thought of using rice chex as a substitute for rice krispies in these. I've used crisp brown rice, and that works just fine, but I more often have a box of the chex laying around. And when the munchies strike, no one wants to go to the store. And when they're made in the micowave to boot? Ohh yeah.


Here's whatcha do.

Take 3 T. butter and melt it in a big mixing bowl in the microwave. Do this slowly, in increments of 20 seconds or so, or use the defrost setting. You want to melt the butter, not blast the heck out of it.

Then, add in 4 cups of mini marshmallows (make sure they're GF). Heat them up in the microwave. The key is to not over-heat these or they will be stringy and harden. Heat them up slowly, as before, and stir in-between bouts of microwaving. Once it's smooth and melted, mix in 6 cups of rice chex cereal. Spray the spoon with cooking spray to minimize sticky messes.

When it's mixed up well, press it into a greased 13x9 pan. The easiest way to do this is to cover your hands in plastic sandwich baggies and spray them liberally with cooking spray. No marshmallow under the fingernails is a good thing.

If you can wait for them to cool, cut them into bars. I don't know why you'd want to do that, because they're awesome warm and gooey.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
These were inspired by Ginger Lemon Girl. I don't think I would have thought of the pumpkin + chocolate combo. I gave one to my sister to try, and later that day I got this text message :

"So I don't normally like chocolate chips but omg. Those muffins were *expletive* yummy. I demand you make more."

Well, I complied with those demands.

To change the previous muffin recipe into this one, I cut the white sugar, added 1/4 c. more pumpkin, chocolate chips, and added 3T. of sweet rice flour.

The easier-to-read version:

3/4 c. flour mix
1 T. flaxseed meal
3 T. sweet rice flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. pumpkin
1 egg
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. water
chocolate chips*
*I just threw in the rest of the bag that I had, but I'm guessing it was around 1/2 cup.

Muffins are so easy. Mix the wet, mix the dry, then add the wet to the dry until it's just moistened. Mix in the chocolate chips, throw them in muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or so. Again, this makes about 6-7 muffins.

*update*

My sister also told me that she shared one of these muffins with the baker at the restaurant where she works, and she LOVED them. And she's not even celiac :o)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Glutino Breadsticks


I have seen these in the store before, but I always thought they wouldn't be very good. I was in the store today with my mom, and she always loves to point out interesting items. She thought they'd be neat to try, so into the cart they went.

The box cost $4.99. I had imagined about 6 or so large breasticks, but I was really surprised to see a bag full of small, finger-sized breadsticks. Compared to "regular" sesame sticks, they are lighter and less crunchy; more crispy. While tasty, I thought they could have had a stronger sesame taste.

Did that stop me from eating almost half the box in no time? Nah. These are awesome for snacking or for 'portable carbs.' I was a little bummed to see that they pretty much have no nutritional value though.

I might buy these again- if they're on sale or something.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Grocery Store Trips

Last night the Man needed to run to Whole Foods for something and while we were there he wanted to buy me some gluten free stuff. Just to spoil me.

We walked around. I wasn't hungry so nothing stuck out. I also didn't want to make him buy me expensive items like a $6 box of granola bars. Even though he would- but come on- six dollars?! Anyway I found a few items.

What did we come home with?


A box of Glutino's strawberry wafer cookies, a bag of Arrowhead Mills' millet flour, some chocolate truffles, and one of those "gluten free" tags that was on the shelf. Not saying how that got in there but it starts with "the" and ends with "Man."

We tried the wafers in California and really liked them, but I've never tried millet flour before. Suggestions on how it bakes/ tastes/ recipes are very welcome!

The truffles were just good.

Also- At Starbuck's I picked up a free sample of Justin's Natural Maple Almond Butter. It looks neat, but I don't know what to do with it. Use it like peanut butter? The website, www.justinsnutbutter.com... just begs for juvenile jokes. But I won't go there.

Anyway. Suggestions!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thai Kitchen

So there I was in Fiesta the other night, wandering through the asian aisle looking for something new or something on sale. I walked by these and stopped because I saw those two awesome words: Gluten Free.

This Thai Kitchen company offers a variety of instant noodle soups, much like old-school ramen noodles but with rice noodles and GF seasonings.

I tried two things:

the Toasted Sesame Stir Fry Rice Noodles- about $2-3
and the
Spring Onion Rice Noodle Soup- $1
See how it's clearly labeled? They even have a list of allergy info on their website, here. Good news, most of their products are gluten free!

The funny thing was, though, the Toasted Sesame isn't listed as gluten free on the website, but on the box it is. I checked the ingredients, just in case, and it all looked fine. So I dunno what the deal about that is. Maybe they recently changed the recipe.

But, the most important thing: How did they taste?

The soup cooked up quick, about 4 minutes in some hot water. The seasoning packet and oil packet added just enough flavor and it was a smallish sized portion so you didn't stuff yourself. I liked it.

The stir fry sesame thing was a little different. I brought it to school to try it out for lunch. You put some water in it, microwave for 3-4 minutes, and then pour out the excess water. This was a potential problem for me seeing as how I was in a cafeteria without a sink or open trash can. (They were all the kind that you push the flap). Fortunately (I guess...) all of the water bubbled out of the container into the microwave. I think that was the microwave's fault, though. It might have been one of those industrial ones.

Anyway. After the noodles are cooked you add the seasoning packet and oil and mix it up. Sounds simple enough, but I ended up with a clump of sticky noodles and had to mix pretty vigorously to evenly distribute the seasonings. Despite my noodle issues, it was tasty. Mildly spicy, somewhat sweet, and there were actual sesame seeds. The noodles just weren't working for me though. I don't know if that would be a good "bring to school" thing.

Would I buy them again? Yes.
Will I try more of their products? Yes.

*update* I'm not digging the thai peanut flavor...

OH OH and guess what? You know how I bitch about UH not having GF options in their c-stores?
They just started carrying these!! And those lara bars, which I could never develop a taste for...

chuckle

My cat's name is pumpkin.

Yesterday I walked in the living room.

"Hey dad I made pumpkin muffins."

"You made your cat muffins?!"

tee hee.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

pumpkin muffins

I was a bakin' fool today.
I made bagels again, but I'm still tweaking that recipe so that will have to wait.

But I finally made something pumpkin. And I have a lot of leftover pumpkin mash from the huge can my mom got me, so there will be others to follow.

gluten free pumpkin muffin
The best thing about making these is the awesome smell. It just makes you think of crisp weather (which we do not have- grr).

This is your basic pumpkin muffin- I can't wait to expand and make tasty variations.

To make:

3/4 c. flour mix
1 T. flaxseed meal
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. sugar
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. pumpkin mash... stuff. (mine was from a can... I'm not that fancy)
1 egg
2 T. water
1/4 c. applesauce
1/2 t. vanilla

walnuts to sprinkle on top if you want

Mix up the dry. Beat the egg a little bit and mix up the wet. Add the wet to the dry, and mix until it's just moistened. Put it into muffin tins. Bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes until the toothpick is clean.

A few notes:

This recipe makes 6 muffins. When I make a small batch, I evenly space out the muffins and pour water into the empty wells. I don't know why I do that, it's something I've heard.

These muffins, when eaten warm fresh out of the oven, are a tad gummy, as if too much starch has been added. But, when they've cooled, the texture is just fine. You have to just hold your horses.

I added the water because I decided to add in flaxseed meal. In my experience it tends to soak up moisture, so a little extra is needed in the recipe. I use 2 parts water to 1 part flaxseed meal.

Ashley said that these don't taste pumpkin-y enough, but I think it's fine. I guess it depends on taste, but the next time I make these I'll up the pumpkin ratio and see what happens.

I make my own pumpkin pie spice. I mix up a bunch and store it in a small container until I need it.

1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves
a little under 1/2 t. ginger

That is all for now.

My experience with Korean food

I accompanied the Man last night to a birthday dinner for one of his friends at a Korean restaurant, Seoul Garden. I was a little worried about the menu options because the research I'd done was not very helpful.

When it came time to order, you pushed a button and the waitress came. It was neat. Well, when I tried to ask questions the waitress freaked a little because she didn't speak much english. So they got a very helpful (and patient) waiter to come and talk to me.

The big thing at Korean restaurants is the grilled/ bbq meat. Pretty much every meat was marinated in soy sauce, except for some pork that you'd grill at the table. The problem with that, though, is that you had to get at least two orders of something "grillable at the table" and no one else was getting that.

Fortunately, we were with some people who knew the menu options and traditional food preparations who helped me pick something safe to eat and communicate with the waiter. They could tell me what had soy sauce and what didn't when the other foods arrived, too.

I ended up getting a bowl full of vegetables that included bean sprouts, lettuce, zuccini, and some other veggies that I can't remember the name of. It came with steamed rice that you were supposed to pour into the bowl and mix it all up. I preferred to eat them separately because there were some sprouts that were marinated or pickled in something that I did not care for at all. I just picked around them and it was all good.

The coolest part of the experience was, the huge amount of food that comes with the meals. The entire table was covered in small bowls of spicy potatoes, seaweed, spinach, fermented cabbage, pickled cabbage, and a couple other things I can't remember. It was very a colorful and festive sight, with deep greens, reds, yellows, all down the table.

They served miso soup and plates of salad, and this was all before the entree. There was hardly any table space with the huge amount of food.

Then, after the meal, they served slices of orange. I wish I had known because they looked really good but I was stuffed.

I don't think I'd go again, however, because the food wasn't "spectacular" and my options were very limited. But overall it was a cool experience and I didn't go hungry.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

pasta salad again

I made a really good pasta salad for lunch the other day. I was in a study group and when I busted it out my friends, who were eating pb&j or instant soup, said, "I wish I had that!"
Ohh yeah.

The picture I took was crappy because it was with my camera phone.

This is quick & easy, and to keep my paranoid self from worrying about the dressing going bad, I just froze the salad dressing in a baggie and by lunchtime it was thawed.

I chopped up some cucumber and carrot really small, and mixed it with some brown rice pasta and red beans.

Added the dressing and mixed it up right before I ate it. Yum.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

owwww

Man. I swear, the worst part about getting glutened isn't the upset stomach. That goes away within a day.

It's these damn canker sores. I used to get them constantly, then I became gluten free and noticed that they went away. Except for when I get glutened. They last for more than a week and are excruciating at times. I got glutened almost 2 weeks ago and my body's still giving me shit for it. To make it worse, it's usually two right next to each other.

The last time I got one, it was in the back of my mouth and made the entire side of my face tender, and the pain could be felt all the way down my neck.

This time, they're in the front and I can't even rest my chin in my hand without stinging pain. In fact, any time I move my lip it's uncomfortable.

So I know I should focus on the damage to the small intestine or the stomach upset when I think about avoiding gluten, but it's really all about these stupid sores.

I've tried all sorts of remedies, and none of them seems to really work any better than the others. Does anyone else experience this when they get glutened? And what do you do to make them go away?!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Apple Crisp

...and ribs, and potato salad = dinner at Dayna and Scott's.

Scott made ribs, Dayna made potato salad, and I made apple crisp for dessert. I've heard about how Scott's ribs are awesome, and I'd never tried them before. In fact, I think I've eaten a total of maybe 5 ribs in my life. So this was really my first rib experience- and they were great.


gluten free apple crisp
2007 Champ- gotta get the apron in the shot

potato salad love

gluten free apple crisp
apple crisp & ice cream

The apple crisp turned out great. Between the 5 of us we left only a humble serving in the pan. To make it, I used the same recipe that I used for the peach crisp, and cut up 6 or so granny smith apples. It's so easy and it turns out so awesome, I wonder why I don't make it more often.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Celiac Sightings

My mom grabbed a couple of cheap magazines at the checkout today: Woman's World and First. And, while I was flipping through them, they BOTH mentioned Celiac Disease in either an article or one of those Q&A sections.

Can we say awesome?

*update*

Whoa, then just now I was watching tv on Discovery Health and they had a quick little segment on it! Today is just a Celiac awareness kind of day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

what-a-burger

Whataburger's gluten list: this means that milkshakes (NOT MALTS) are ok. Sweeeeet.

*sigh* I remember the days of late-night biscuit and taquito runs.

That's ok. Mine taste better. :-p

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mac n Cheese!

This has been on the recipe pad in the back of my mind for a while now. Can you believe I have yet to make mac and cheese (that does not come from a box)?

So when ginger lemon girl posted this super easy recipe with an ammendment for a cheese sauce, I decided: it's time.


Two bowls and less than 20 minutes later [start to finish you guys], I have a happy tummy. I added 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, but I think I will add 1 1/2 to 2 cups next time.

I also sprinkle in a bit of ground mustard, lots of pepper and a small pinch of garlic powder.

When I reheat the leftovers I'm going to throw in some tuna. I don't know why but I love tuna mixed with mac and cheese.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

blahh

I feel crummy. Tired. Puffy.

I was happily munching on my Sonic M&M blast today when I suddenly tasted cinnamon. As in the cinnamon ice cream blast, which I'm pretty sure is not GF. Joy!

And I doubt my feeling crummy has anything to do with it, since I don't normally have big reactions and it was a small random piece, but still. I'm sure it didn't help.

My mom made beef stew that was AWESOME and she made sure to use my GF flour mix in it instead of regular flour. It was super nice to get home from annoying traffic and have a hot meal ready for me to savor. Okay, gobble down.

I am wondering if there's something to this "no refined carbs" kick that I see some bloggers embarking on. <-- preposition at the end of a sentence! It would be nice to not be puffy. Alas, I have no ambition for that today and I'm still having a hard time eating a balanced diet after cutting gluten. One thing at a time.

Oh-- apples are my go-to food that I always have on me, and I'm so happy that it's fall and they're starting to get crisper and sweeter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oatmeal Applesauce Flax Muffins

^Say that three times fast.

Ahh, procrastination at its finest.

I don't know what made this idea pop into my head, but I couldn't study until I made these muffins. That is why we have freshly baked muffins at near midnight on a Tuesday night.

gluten free oatmeal applesauce flax muffins
They're kinda brown and boring-looking. But I like them.

They are healthy and breakfasty. Lots of depth and texture, just a hint of sweetness, and not dense at all, like some muffins I've made. I'm proud of myself. These are even better when warm smeared with butter.

To make these you will need:

1/2 c. flaxseed meal
1/2 c. GF oats
1 c. GF flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 c. milk
1/2 c. applesauce
1 egg

Line a muffin tin with liners, or grease a muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350.

Warm the milk a little (not hot, just barely warm) and mix it with the oatmeal. Let this sit for 30 minutes or so to soften the oats.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Beat the egg slightly in a different bowl. Mix in the applesauce and oatmeal/ milk combo.

Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients with a spoon.

Use an ice-cream-scoop amount of batter for each muffin. It will make just enough for 12 muffins.

Bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let them cool for a minute before you try to eat them.


Horray for muffins! (And portable school snacks!)

Oh- and just for my sister Suzy, who came in, saw I was making muffins, and insisted I watch this:




Odd, yes, but I can see why it cracks her up. "mufffinnssssss!!!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gluten Trials

My sister is trying to go a week without gluten to see what it's like.

Read here for day one: GF Trials: Day One
Read here for day two: GF Trials: Day Two
Read here for day three: GF Trials: Day Three
skip a few days...
and the last day: GF Trials

I love her!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Italian Pasta Soup

I made a soup in Home Ec when I was in 7th grade that was so good I made it for my family. They gobbled it up and asked for seconds. I thought of the soup yesterday when I was in my "soup mode" and dug through the house looking for it. It seems like we've kept everything else in the world BUT that recipe. That means it's time to throw stuff in a pot until it seems familiar.

I chopped and sauteed in some olive oil: 3 stalks celery and 1/2 an onion.

Then I threw in 1 1/2 lb of lean ground beef and cooked that up until it was brown. I shook on some spices at random will, heavier on coriander and cumin because that's what I like. Italian season blend, some garlic powder, mustard powder, parsley, you name it and I threw it in there, haha.

I added:

1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 15 oz can black beans
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 can-ful of water
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

I let that simmer and stirred occasionally for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I put on a pot of noodles to boil. I used brown rice shells, appx 8 oz. I drained those and stirred them in the soup.

My mom came in to taste, and she's been back through a couple of times to taste some more, saying, "I need another bite." Ha ha, that's the best compliment there is!

*note: I don't like my soups to be "brothy" so it's hearty. Add more water or chicken/beef/ veg broth to taste.

gluten free italian pasta soup

Saturday, September 20, 2008

pretty bagels, lack of inspiration

First thing's first. I made something pretty!

I've been eating bagels w/ cream cheese & strawberry jam for breakfast lately, and a $7 4-pack of gf bagels from the store were getting pricey. So, I whipped up a batch to freeze. And I actually waited until they rose properly. And they came out pretty! Look:

In other news, I've been wanting to cook something neat, because I haven't updated the blog here for a while. But nothing's really striking my fancy. The ole appetite is minimal for whatever reasons it has.

That, and I had to throw out 90% of my food when the power went out, so the ingredients are ultra-low. But you know what that also means? A clean grocery-shopping slate! And I do love grocery shopping.

The weather here has given us a break, with a cool front right after the hurricane that lasted for a few days. Now it's warming back up and I'm longing for the cool-weather stews and soups. But who wants hot soup on a 90-degree day?

Maybe I'll crank down the AC and pretend it's cold outside. I'm thinking minestrone soup.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

hurricane food

Right before the hurricane, mom stocked up on stuff to eat, and wondered, "Will Jen have enough to eat?"

Well, I managed. The thing that saved my life was those packages of veggies or rice with chicken that are meant to be steamed in the microwave. Turns out, you can cook them in about 5 minutes on the stovetop. While everyone else was eating ramen noodles, I had a hot, veggie-ful meal. One night I heated up some chicken & rice soup, which was especially nice because I had a sore throat.

What else did I eat? I snacked on dried cranberries and slices of cheese. I discovered that bagels are toastable on the gas range. We scrambled eggs and sausage that had thawed in the freezer and rolled them up in corn tortillas. We grilled the rest of the meat that had to be eaten.

When we got bored, Chris and I went to Sam's and I found a huge barrel of cheese balls that said on the side, "this is a gluten free food." I brought those home and they were actually a big hit.

One night I headed over to Missy's and they had a "non-perishable mexican feast" which consisted of velveeta cheese dip with those rotel tomatoes, canned refried beans, and tortilla chips. I had a happy tummy that night.

Of course, if we did not have a gas stovetop it would have been a different story. I guess you can boil water with that sterno stuff.

But, contary to mom's fears, I did not starve during the hurricane, haha.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

it's still HOT here

I like how I'm starting to read about how it's turning into cooler, fall weather and people are making soups, chowders, and stews.

While here in Houston I'm sweating like crazy walking from class to class hoping my deoderant holds out, for the sake of the person who has to sit next to me.

Then I get home, defrost a bagel (best toasted), smear it with cream cheese and strawberry jam, and contemplate what to eat for real dinner. Using the oven does not appeal and there is a serious lack of ingredients in this place. Bean & cheese burritos are lookin' reallll good right about now. (btw, beans and corn [or rice] paired together supply all the amino acids our bodies do not produce. Not a complete protein, but good for you. This is good news for bean & cheese burritos.)

Meh, we'll see what I come up with.

Oh oh OH. Did you SEE when you clicked on the link above for bagels that they're coming out with graham crackers? And did you get as excited as I did? I thought so.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Natasha's Health Nut Cookies

I heard of these cookies through Gluten Free Food Reviews. They looked good and the cranberry one caught my eye, so I said what the hey and ordered some.

They come in three types: raisin amaretto, cranberry orange and vanilla chocolate chip. I got two boxes (6 cookies ea) of the cranberry orange and one of the vanilla chocolate chip. (FYI a minimum order is 3 boxes and it's about 20 bucks.) Not bad.

I was happy that I got a personal email from the company when my order shipped, and when I replied to the question "Where did you hear of us?" I got a reply back. Friendly vibes, yes. And they packed it in pretty gold paper.

So. The cookies.

In my opinion these are less like cookies and more like a cross between a muffin and a granola bar. The texture is not smooth, but rougher. It's much more substantial; heavier than a cookie. It's like a stick-to-your-ribs cookie. A wholesome cookie. A cookie on steroids, minus the unpleasant side effects.




<--See what I mean about texture? This is the cranberry orange.


I kept them refrigerated, and I have to be honest I wasn't crazy about the first one I tried. The texture did throw me off.

Still, I stuck them in my lunch and ate one at work when I got the pangs of hunger one afternoon. Wouldn't you know that it kept me over until dinner time? How many cookies do you know of that can do that?

In more detail, the cranberry orange one has larger pieces of cranberry in it, which I love just because I love cranberry. I didn't taste much orange right up front, but the entire melding of flavors was quite good. They are not extremely sweet. Even though I have a sweet tooth the size of Alaska, I thought the taste was great the way it was. If they were sweeter it would take away from the whole effect of the cookie.


^cranberry orange


The vanilla chocolate chip, I expected to be just like a chocolate chip cookie, with a fancier name. Nope, these are vanilla chocolate chip, just like it says. You can really taste that it's a vanilla cookie with small pieces of chocolate in it. The chocolate pieces are satisfying when you're chewing. They add a little texture of their own to the already... textur-y cookie. I agree with the GF Food Reviews that these are a little sweeter. This one tastes more like a treat while the other one gave me more of a "snack" vibe.




<-- vanilla chocolate chip







So, there you have it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies... Experiment!

It all started when I decided to send some peanut butter cookies to my little brother who is at Mississippi State. When contemplating the best way to mail them, I decided that the recipe I usually make are just too crumbly to make the trip.

That's when the research started. I knew I'd probably have to add flour to help keep them together, and the recipe I found over and over was the one I'll post in a bit. But first more talking.

While I was doing research, I saw that most of the recipes called for chilling the dough for at least an hour. The general consensus was that, if the dough is at room temperature before baking, the dough will spread more, resulting in a crispier, flatter cookie. On the other hand, if it was chilled, the cold dough would prevent the middle from cooking as fast as the outer layer. This would result in a cookie that would spread less and be more chewy.

I decided to see if that was true.

The recipe:

1/2 c. butter, room temp
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. flour*
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

*the recipe I saw online called for 1 1/4 c. flour, but I thought the dough was good enough after adding in 1 c. I didn't know how the flour mix would work and didn't want the cookies to taste "gluten free." So, I figured less was okay, and it was.

First I creamed the first 4 ingredients and then added the egg. I mixed the dry ingredients together and added them to the dough.

I split the dough in half and refrigerated one half for 1.5 hours.

Each batch went into a 375 oven for about 8 minutes. Each cookie was the same size blob of dough before it came out.

The Results:

I was skeptical, but sure enough. The cookies that were not chilled were much crispier and the ones allowed to chill were much chewier.

Both cookies spread out, but that may have been due to the fork-mark process. It kinda mashes them down. Even so, it does not flatten them completely and the chilled ones were not any thicker than the room-temperature ones.

I do wonder if I had added all the flour, if it would have provided more structure and more opportunity for the chilled cookies to stay thicker. The flour mix did not affect the taste of the cookies. They were not as rich as the previous recipe but still very very good. I don't think the addition of the 1/4 c. flour would alter the taste much. *hmmm* I guess I will try that next time.

Yet another question in my head is the issue of creaming the butter and sugar. Over at Gluten Free [Cooking School] they had their own experiment that yielded very different results depending on the creaming technique. And Gluten-Free Girl also recommends just barely creaming the butter and sugar (comment at the very bottom of the post). I've come across this issue a few times.

So I guess I'll have to perform another experiment and cover all the variables. I hypothesize that if I barely cream the butter and sugar, and chill the dough, the cookies will both spread less and be chewier.

We shall see! Right now I'm kinda burnt out on peanut butter cookies as I ate about 6 last night. And 2 for breakfast. :o)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Product Review: Enjoy Life Brownie Cookies

As with a lot of the new things I try, this was one of those "I'm shopping hungry and this looks good" buys.

They come in nuggets that are fatter than a cookie, the kind of size that makes it sooo easy to shove them in your mouth one after another.

The nuggets are pretty chocolatey, and the texture is good although slightly crumbly. I love that there are mini chocolate chips scattered inside the cookie.

The thing is, though, as I was eating them I detected a taste that I couldn't quite pinpoint. It wasn't chocolate, and it slightly competed with the chocolate taste.

Then I read the ingredients and I figured it out. Second and third on the list of ingredients were fruit juices and date paste. I suppose they keep the cookies moist and less crumbly, but you could definitely taste it.

And I don't know about you, but I don't like the taste of fruit to compete with chocolate in my chocolate brownies. It's subtle, but it's there.

Overall, if the taste of the dates don't bother you, these are not bad. However I think I'll be sticking to homemade versions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Help- cleaning tips?

Real quick because I have to get back to writing a pre-lab.

I put some really garlic-y tomato sauce in a plastic container and even though I've washed it, it still smells. Any suggestions on how to get it out? I really don't want to throw it away because it has sentimental value (I know, odd).

Help is appreciated!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Granola Bars

I haven't cooked in a while. School this past week was in-my-face and busy.

The hardest thing about school starting is the sudden loss of an available kitchen during the day. I can't just make something for lunch anymore. I have to make sure and pack enough food so that I'm not starving in the middle of my last class. Lots of planning goes into lunch. [Future blog coming about that.]

In an effort to mix things up a bit, I made granola bars... ones that actually stick together! Don't be fooled by the picture. They were still a little warm because I didn't want to wait to eat them.

gluten free granola barsIt's Alton Brown's recipe, but I substituted flax seed meal for the wheat germ, which we all know is evil.

Granola Bars

1 c. oats
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. almonds
1/2 c. flax seed meal
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 oz butter (I figured this to be 2T)
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. kosher salt
6 1/2 oz dried fruit (I used cranberries. I love those things.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the oats, sunflower seeds, nuts and flax for 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while. When it's done toasting, turn the heat to 300.

While that's happening, heat the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Mix the toasted stuff with the honey mixture and stir in the fruit. Press it into a buttered 9x9 pan and bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.

Let them cool and cut into bars.

*update*

These are awesome at curbing that "wasting away- gotta eat now!" hunger that strikes when you least expect it. I ate a bar when I felt the beginning pangs before a lab, and I was good for a few hours. Awesome!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yoplait's GF Labeling

So I was just sitting here eating my yogurt. When I bought it in the store I made sure to read the ingredients, like everything. But this time when I turned it around to read as I ate, I saw on the side: GLUTEN FREE. Bad ass man. So I guess now Yoplait now puts that on their yogurts that are gluten free.

I get excited when I see that written on packages. :o)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lundberg Rice Chips

click the picture to go to their website


My mom picked these up at Whole Foods. She came home, plopped the torn-open half-eaten bag on my desk and said, "Find these in bulk." In other words, she loved them. I like them too.

The chip itself is sturdy and thicker than corn chips or potato chips. It could definitely hold up to a dip, although it doesn't need one. The chips are seasoned just right; not too much, not too little. They've got a good crunch and don't feel greasy. I would definitely buy them again.

I've also tried the honey dijon flavor and liked it. I was bummed because it was at the beach and they got sandy so I couldn't eat the rest.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alfredo Sauce


A couple of weeks ago Dayna mentioned she'd like to know how to make alfredo sauce. Well, I learned! I was intimidated because I've heard cheese sauces are tricky but it's super easy.

There are 2 versions I've tried: a regular one and a lower-fat one that was less rich but still tasty.

For the regular one, use:

1/4 c. butter
1 c. heavy cream
1 clove of minced garlic or a shake of garlic powder
1 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. mozarella cheese

I heated the butter, garlic and cream on med-low heat until the butter melted, then stirred in the cheese until it melted. Threw in a bunch of cracked pepper, a few shakes of salt, and a splash of the wine I was drinking. I let it heat for a minute, while stirring, and served it over penne rice pasta, since those are the only noodles I had. I sprinkled some parsley over it one time, and some italian seasonings another time. Both tasted good.

For the lower fat one, I used:

3 T. butter
2 T. GF flour
1 c. milk
same amounts of garlic & cheeses

I melted the butter, then stirred in the flour until it formed a paste. I slowly stirred in the milk and heated that up for a minute. I threw in the cheese and other ingredients the same way as before. If you are drinking wine (as I do when I cook), splash a bit of that in too. The wine will help to keep the mixture smooth. Since it's a white sauce I would use a white wine. Put it over pasta and enjoy!

P.S. A small hunk of cream cheese will help make the second version thicker as well

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pizza Fusion

This past weekend I went to San Diego, California and through some research I found Pizza Fusion. They serve a gluten free pizza. So, of course I went. Houston has crap for GF pizza options so I was excited to try it.

It's a very eco-friendly trendy place, located in Hilcrest and in my opinion it's a great area.

I walked in, asked about the gluten free pizza, and our waiter was very helpful. He told me the flours they used, and pointed out another girl that was there for the GF menu, eating a pizza. She heard him say that and gave me a thumbs up. Sweeet. While we were there another group came in wanting the GF pizza. Ah! My own kind! It felt great.

Now, I'm a doofus and was so mad that I forgot my camera. But, I ordered a pepperoni and it came as an oval-shaped pie, available in thin-crust only. About 10 pieces, It was great. It tasted just like any other pizza I've eaten, but I think I would have liked a thicker crust better. I wanted to give it the "next day" cold breakfast pizza verdict, but I was a doofus again and forgot my to-go box on the table. It did come with a great sticker that said, "This pizza is GF."

I did not, however, forget my chocolate brownie. The brownie was a little on the dry side, and not as sweet as I would have liked. But it was so great to walk into a restaurant and order something postively gluten free without grilling the waiter or making special requests. They actually KNEW with gluten-free meant. That right there made my whole day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cheese Ravioli



I had the day off work because of a "hurricane," which I think is ridiculous how everybody overreacts to what normally turns out to be a simple rain storm. But there are some good things about that:

1. my car gets clean.
2. it's about 15 degrees cooler!
3. my rainy day off = cooking!

I usually don't crave something until my family cooks it or I see it in the store. This time it was ravioli. I used to LOVE cheese ravioli and haven't eaten it since way before the diagnosis. This was not as labor-intensive as I expected it to be, probably since I finally bought a rolling pin. Although they are not exactly like normal ravioli, I ate them right up.

Pasta:

1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/3 c. corn starch
2 T. potato starch
3 T. brown rice flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. xanthan gum
2 eggs
1 T. oil

Put a pot of water on to boil. Add salt and a few drops of olive oil.

Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet. Add the wet to the dry and mix into a dough. Roll it out (flouring all surfaces with rice flour) and cut it into equal-sized squares.

For the Filling:

Mix 1 c. ricotta cheese, 1 egg, a handful of shredded cheese (I used a pre-made italian mix of parmesan, romano, mozarella, etc), a few shakes of italian spices, a small dash of garlic powder, and some salt & pepper. [Note: this made way more than was needed for the recipe. Either double the pasta recipe or halve it using an egg substitute. I plan to use the leftovers with some penne and bake it into a mac & cheese type of thing]

Anyway, next plop a bit of filling onto a square. Wet the edges and layer another square on top. Pinch the pillow closed with your fingers, then press the edges with a fork to make it look pretty and further seal the pasta.

Boil the pasta for 5-7 minutes, depending on how big you make the ravioli. Drain and top with a red pasta sauce (my favorite, but it's really whatever) and gobble them down.