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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Things you Bring Home from the County Fair....

Back in August our family went to our county fair. We had a great time and while we were there my husband had to get a New York style Italian Sausage sandwich. It was very messy. My sweetie was so excited about this sandwich. He'd had it two years ago when we had attended the fair and was still drooling at the thought of it. So of course he wanted me to watch the vendor make the sandwich and he asked the guy a lot of questions. He also mentioned to the guy that I am capable of recreating things that I've tried. To which the man replied "a lot of people have tried to make this at home, but they don't succeed." Oh, did I hear a challenge?! It certainly sounded like it to me. So I kept all the info that we had gleaned by watching the guy and after we were home I searched the internet and found something that sounded about right. I combined my info. and that recipe and made a very good copy of the sandwich, if I do say so myself!
And then we realized we needed to not eat gluten and dairy. Dairy wasn't a problem for this sandwich, but gluten...hello...the bun! So I tried using Tapioca buns. Yeah, not so good. The filling still tasted great, but the bun? It had the taste and texture of socks and paper. Terribly dry and tasteless. Horrible in fact. Ian's still talking about how bad those buns were and we had them a month ago!
So I had a little discussion with my sweet hubby and told him that I'd like to try turning his favorite sandwich into a very tasty stir-fry. We tried it tonight and I have to say, I like it better than the sandwich. The sandwich was always a messy thing because the vegetables were diced and you put a lot of them on the sandwich. The thing was always dripping veggies in your lap! So here's the recipe and a picture even (I managed to snap one before the food was devoured).
Fair Inspired Italian Sausage Stir-Fry
Happy Eating!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Zesty Oven Fried Chicken and Super Easy Parsley Potatoes

Finally a picture to go with some recipes. I made this last week before I got sick. The chicken was fabulous! Ian loved the crispy skin and even called it "fried chicken" which it isn't, but it is tasty. The Parsley potatoes were a snap to make because I baked my red potatoes in the oven and just cut them up to use them.
Click on their names to look at the recipes.
Super Easy Parsley Potatoes

Zesty Oven Fried Chicken
We added a salad with the chicken and potatoes to round out the meal. It was very tasty and best of all, gluten and dairy free!
Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Momentary Break

In case you were wondering where all the new recipes are... I really do have some, but this cold I've been fighting is still working on me, which means my brain is in slow motion right now. I promise I'll be back to share more recipes. Tonight Ian told me I should put my meatloaf recipe on here because it's really good. I'm with him, it's yummy (and that's not me bragging, that's my taste buds smiling at the thought of that meatloaf). Meatloaf is on the menu for next Wednesday, so I'll try to post it by next weekend. Hopefully, I'll feel better before then and share some other recipes. And yes, I have several pictures of food to share, but again...the brain is foggy and tired, so I'll wait until it's working well again. See you soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

There's Gluten in....Tea?

The more I read, the more amazed I am at where gluten is hiding in the American diet. I've read about gluten in some toothpastes and now I have to investigate my tea. One reason that there might be gluten in your tea is the process the factory uses for sealing the bag. Some factories use a wheat paste to "glue" the bag shut. Of course, when you make your tea that is in it and you're drinking gluten!
Right now I'm fighting a head cold, which is exactly when I like to drink tea. I pulled out a box of green tea and even though it didn't say gluten free on the box, I examined the tea bag and thought it looked like it would be okay. Uh, probably not. My throat was starting to feel sore before I finished the cup, so I tossed out the rest and made a new cup of tea using Celestial Seasoning (their boxes are marked gluten free). I did some research online and found that all Stash teas are gluten free (they have no gluten in the factory at all) and Bigelow teas are gluten free except for: Blueberry Harvest Herb Tea, Chamomile Mango Herb Tea and Cinnamon Spice Herb Tea. They also stated on their website that they do not use wheat paste to seal their bags, they use either a heat or crimp seal.
I also found the Republic of Tea products are all gluten free. What a relief to find companies that are making gluten free tea.
I also found a web page that linked to a lot of companies lists of their gluten free products. If you'd like to look at that, just click the link.
Gluten Free Shopping
Happy Sipping!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What to make when you feel under the weather...

A yucky head cold has hit hard at our house. My son got it first, starting with a bark and progressing to a fever and a runny nose. Poor baby, he's been so tired. When I suggested a nap today he agreed with me! No 8 yr. old would ever agree to a nap unless they are sick!
I woke up this morning and started feeling yucky almost right away. I'm coming down with it, too. Usually, when I don't feel good I have a can of chicken noodle soup. That's not happening for me now that we've switched our food and my mom isn't going to fly out to make her homemade chicken noodle soup for me and even if she did, I'd need some kind of gluten free noodle. So what's a girl to do? Get creative and pull out that crockpot!
I decided to make a chicken noodle soup without noodles. I used potato chunks instead. It's still simmering in the crockpot as I type this (I started it a little too late, it happens when you don't feel well). I did sneak a taste and it looks like it might be my new recipe to pull out when sickness strikes our house.

Chicken and No Noodle Soup

Almost Homemade Salsa

I got this recipe a few years ago and it's been one that Ian absolutely loves! He gets very excited when he knows I'm going to make it. The only problem is, it makes a lot of salsa and there are only 2 of us eating it. It would be perfect to take to an event or a tailgate party. Best of all for me, it's gluten free (as long as I'm careful about the stewed tomatoes).
Almost Homemade Salsa
1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
2 cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
Jalapeno pepper (to taste, I use a small fresh jalapeno to keep it mild)
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. minced garlic (or one garlic clove pressed)
1 can peaches, drained
Blend in the blender. Serve with Frito-Lay tortilla chips
Salsa may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Product Review: Trader Joe's GF Brownie Mix

I found Trader Joe's Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix shortly after we switched from gluten and dairy. About the time that my husband had started moaning that his life was over and he'd never eat anything yummy again. Such drama! I assured him that his life was not over and as soon as I bought groceries, he'd start having some yummy things again. I'm not sure he believed me until I whipped up a batch of these brownies. That was the beginning for him. We were having a date weekend (the kiddo was spending the weekend at Grandma's and Grandpa's) and my dear hubby had been moaning about the new food. So I decided it was a good time to make some brownies.
I looked at the ingredients to add (1 egg, 1/2 c. oil, 1/4 c. water) and immediately decided I would need more egg in it (I like my brownies a little cake-y). I mixed in my two eggs plus the other ingredients and decided it looked a little dry, so I added a little more oil and water. It took 30 minutes to bake and when they had cooled down (well ok, they weren't that cool, but I NEEDED brownies) I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and snuck a hot little nibble. Oh. YUM. They were SO good.
That was Friday night and by Sunday night all that was left was the bite we were saving for the kiddo.
I also made these a second time to take to my Bunco night. They went over quite well even though there were 2 desserts and ice cream, too! I took the leftovers with me to my friend's house the next day for our yard sale and my kiddo ate the last brownie on the way home that evening.
These brownies are great! Of course, keep in mind that I did adjust what was added to the mix (I do that to almost everything I make). If the mix looks too dry after you've added everything it calls for, add a little more liquid. They taste like regular brownies, not gluten/dairy free brownies!
These are now on my grocery list permanently. Both Colin and Ian(hubby and kiddo) have asked when we are having them again. That's a big thumbs up in my book!
Happy Eating!

Ghee for me!

Since we have started this new eating "adventure" we have been getting very creative around our house. Since we can't have milk and related products we were trying to figure out what to use instead of butter. We tried Smart Balance and then we realized it had to be Smart Balance light as the regular has whey in it. Ugh!
So I looked around and found that ghee (also known as clarified butter) doesn't contain the milk proteins that we need to avoid, making it the perfect replacement for regular butter. I searched around on the internet to find out about ghee and found a couple of blogs that shared how to make it (and also told me it was expensive to buy, which didn't really matter to me as I haven't seen it in any of the stores around here). One blog said it would take 45 minutes to make while another said it would take 15 to 20 minutes to make. I'm sure you can guess which one I decided to try. The shorter time recipe, of course!
So the recipe told me I could use coffee filters or cheesecloth to strain the milk proteins after they had separated. I had coffee filters, so I decided to use those. DO NOT USE COFFEE FILTERS! Unless you enjoy waiting for something to strain one slow drop at a time and also watch part of your ghee be absorbed by a coffee filter. I ended up calling the local hardware store to see if they had cheesecloth in stock and sending my husband to buy some. It was really cheap, maybe $5 total and you just cut off what you need to use. It's washable, too. I think I'll need to buy some more in 10 or 20 years! Anyway, I'm sure you would love to see this recipe for ghee yourself, right? Well, here it is: Making Ghee At Home
Hope you like it as much as we did!
Happy eating!

Picnics and Potlucks

In the last couple of weeks our family has been to a picnic and a potluck and I have gone to Bunco. These kinds of events can be challenging when you aren't eating gluten or dairy. Most comfort foods have one or both of those items in them. So what can you do? You can be creative!
Actually, I didn't have to be too creative. I found two new recipes and one old favorite that were completely gluten and dairy free and still would be great tasting to share with other people. I'll share them all with you, starting with what I took to our homeschool picnic.
Picnics mean yummy salads and rich desserts. I didn't bring a dessert (next time I will, thankfully some people brought fresh fruit) I took potato salad. I love potato salad! My recipes in the past have had Miracle Whip or sour cream in them. Definitely not on the menu now at our house! I was looking at a little "sampler" cook booklet from Better Homes and Gardens that I had sitting around the house and found a recipe that seemed simple, easy and gluten/dairy free. Of course, I changed it a bit because, well, that's what I do!

Creamy Dill Potato Salad
6 medium red potatoes (about 2 lbs.) 1 1/3 c. mayonnaise (gluten free, I used Best Foods)
1 c. sliced celery
4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
2/3 c, thinly sliced green onion
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish (this is really to taste, I think I used about 1/2 c.)
2 t. celery seeds
2 t. dried dill weed
1 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika
Hard-boiled eggs wedges (optional)
celery leaves (optional)

Scrub potatoes. In a large saucepan cover potatoes with water. Bring to boil; boil for 10 min; reduce heat and simmer for 25- 30 min. or until tender. Drain; cool. Cut into bite size chunks after cooled.
In a large bowl combine the potatoes, celery, green onion and hard boiled eggs. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, celery seeds, salt, paprika and dried dill weed; mix together thoroughly. Pour mayonnaise mixture over potatoes and toss gently until mixture completely coats potatoes. Cover and chill for at least 2 hrs. (overnight is better). If desired, garnish with egg wedges and celery leaves. Makes 12 servings.

For our potluck at church I made a couple of favorites, Three bean salad and coleslaw. I didn't have to change the Three bean salad one bit, but I had to find a new recipe for coleslaw as my "go to" recipe has sour cream in it. So, I tried a new recipe and immediately changed it and after it sat overnight, I decided it needed one more change. You are so lucky to be able to make this without all the trial and error.
Since this post is getting long, just click on the recipe name to get the recipe.
Three Bean Salad
BBQ Slaw

All these recipes did really well at the events. The only one that had any leftovers was the Three Bean Salad and that was because there were two of them at our potluck! I didn't mind, I like leftovers, especially Three Bean Salad.
I'll tell you what I took to Bunco in my next post. It will be a product review.
Happy Eating!
P.S. I know I don't have any pictures of the food up yet. I'm working on that. I just have to be quick about it before everyone gobbles the food up!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The First Gluten Free Recipe

Well, here it is, my first gluten free (and dairy free) recipe on this blog. I actually got this recipe from another gluten free blog Click on their name to link to their blog. Before you think "great, she's just passing along someone else's recipe", please note that this recipe has been changed to work in the bread machine. Originally it was to be made by hand, which I don't do, don't really want to do and don't have the time for even if I wanted to, which I've already said 'I don't want to'. So without further ado, here it is:

Gluten Free Sunflower and Millet Bread for the Bread Machine

1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. honey
4 T. canola oil
2 eggs
1 c. raw sunflower seeds (processed in a food processor until somewhat smooth in texture)
1 1/3 c. millet flour
3/4 c. quinoa flour
1/2 c. potato starch (not potato flour)
1/3 c. flaxseeds (not ground/meal)
2 1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. yeast (yes, I mean Tablespoons)

Mix together in a separate bowl, processed sunflower seeds, millet flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt. In bread machine pan place water, oil, honey and eggs. Pour in flour mixture then add brown sugar and yeast. Start bread machine. I have a Breadman machine and I set mine to white bread medium setting. It turned out perfectly. I did watch at the beginning and used a spatula to scrape some of the dry ingredients back into the mixture (they tend to fly up and not get mixed in sometimes. Just make sure to only do this at the beginning as it will mess with heat levels if you do this later. Hope you like it! We sure did. It was much softer and moister than store bought gluten free bread. Thanks to GlutenFreeGobsmacked for sharing the original recipe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Under Construction

This blog is officially under construction! It is about to go through a complete transformation. In the past it has been about my thoughts and my family activities, but soon it will be full of recipes and pictures of food! Our family has stepped into the world of gluten-free and dairy free food and I thought I could share our experiences and good recipes here. However, since today is the first day of homeschool, the blog will wait for a little bit! Check back later to see the transformation!