Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waffles for Christmas

I got a swanky new Krups waffle maker for Christmas, and used it to feed my hungry family on Christmas Eve (including my parents, my brothers and families). They quickly finished off the first triple batch of waffles(!), and left me with only a few from the second triple batch (and there were only 8 adults and 3 kids). These came from Roben Ryberg's upcoming cookbook, which is now on pre-order at Amazon (apparently available March 10th). These waffles are great. But they are even better in this waffle maker. Roben made some for me in her Krups waffle maker back in June, and I knew I had to have this waffle maker. Since mine decided to fall apart in September (and I did not help it), I had a good reason for getting it! It makes the waffles a little crispier on the outside, and more tender on the inside.
So this morning, I decided to make waffles again, but this time make them a little higher in fiber. Finally, I begin my experiments with Montina. I have been wanting to for quite some time, but it's just one of those things that I don't remember to do when I start baking.
I started slow, because I don't want to screw up the recipe or waste my Montina. Out of the 190 grams of flour in the recipe, I used Montina for 15 of them. It's not a lot, but it is a start. The waffles tasted almost the same, but just had a tiny bit of the grain feel to them (but not at all like grainy rice flour). Next time (maybe tomorrow, lol) I'll try 30 grams. (I haven't quite gotten the "feel" for my new waffle maker's temperament. That's why it's really dark on one side.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cookie, Cookie, Cookie Starts with "C"

It's Christmastime, and that means it's Cookie Time. Of course there will be loads of brownies, and there is already Daddy's Peanut Brittle, and a few Orange Dreamsicle Cookies left in the freezer. But we need some special Christmas cookies. This post will have some tips for baking cookies. The actual recipes came from The Gluten-Free Kitchen by Roben Ryberg. I should have some recipes for other cookies in the next week or so.
Rolled Sugar Cookies:
1. Work with cold dough (if you are going to roll them out). Keep the dough in the fridge, and only take out small portions at a time.
2. Keep your rolling pin in the freezer when you are not using it. This helps prevent sticking, by keeping the dough cold.
3. Generously flour all your surfaces (with cornstarch or the flour mixture you are using, or even with powdered sugar - I've heard it works).
4. Roll the dough on parchment paper. This way, you can peel the parchment paper off the cut-outs, instead of peeling the cut-outs off the counter. But don't be a cheapo - use a new sheet each time. Otherwise, it gets a build-up of wet flour on it.
5. Pay attention to your humidity. This time, I forgot this very important tip. It was very humid in my house the other day when I made these cookies (like 75%). Water condensed on my dough - it was not a pretty sight.
6. Use an easy shape for a cookie cutter. The reindeer's legs are going to fall off (unless you are the wonder baker). I, personally, do not have enough patience for the silly reindeer. Braden wanted one, so I made him one (and only one).
7. If you do not have the "skills" to lift paper-thin dough and keep it in it's shape (I certainly don't - never have), then roll it out thicker. Say it with me - thick cookies are okay.
8. If, after making all the cookies, you are too tired to make your own icing, then don't. Pillsbury will clearly label gluten ingredients. I haven't yet seen one of their icings with gluten in it (and I think most are dairy free, too, including the cream cheese one).
9. Don't use cold icing - it causes the cookies to break. Warm icing spreads real easily.
10. This one, I almost forgot, but it is important. After you have rolled out your dough, when you use the cookie cutters, peel away the excess dough as you go. Put the scraps in a bowl to go into the freezer (chills quicker). Remember, it is not one for the bowl, one for me. It is, in fact, one for the bowl, two for me. Sugar cookie dough is a gift - do not take it lightly. :)

Not specific to sugar cookies:
1. Get your favorite assistant to help you.
2. You can roll the dough into a log (in waxed paper) and put it in the freezer (in a freezer ziploc). Then you have cookie dough ready for you whenever you need/want it. Many cookie doughs can be sliced frozen, thus eliminating the job of rolling or balling, or whatever. Sugar cookies are still yummy in circles, too. Plus, if you are like me, this is about the only way to get small cookies.

I know you are all itching for your cookies, so get going! Enjoy this last picture of snickerdoodles.

Andy's Easy, Yummy Chili

Yes, I know it's in a Diego Dixie bowl, but sometimes I just don't want to wash the dishes.

Andy made this chili yesterday, and it was really good. What did he put in it? you ask. Not a whole lot, actually.

Andy's Easy, Yummy Chili

1 pound ground beef, cooked
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can Ready for Chili Tomatoes (it has spices and stuff in it - we used Wal-Mart's Great Value brand)
And a little brown sugar

Simmer for about 20 minutes.

If you want to sneak in a little more nutrition, you could add some pureed spinach (no one will even notice) and/or some ground flax seeds. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fried Rice

I don't know how fried rice is made in a restaurant - I don't even eat the stuff. But as I was making dinner last night, I had a little pinch of inspiration. Maybe you'll get one tonight.

I had 2 hamburger patties and 2 small chicken breasts in the freezer, so I defrosted them, and cooked them in a stainless steel skillet (first the hamburgers, then the chicken - in just a little olive oil). When I was done, there was all that lovely flavoring in the bottom of the skillet. I had opened the fridge at some point and noticed the last of that brown rice from a few days ago. Hmmm... So I put that bit of brown rice in the skillet, and added some of the mixed veggies from dinner (carrots, corn, peas, and green beans), and stirred it around until it got nice and hot and released some of those flavor bits off the bottom. I added some of the chicken. It was so good!

I think I will let inspiration pinch me more often.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daddy's Peanut Brittle


It's just not Christmas without Daddy's peanut brittle. He makes it every year, so that he can take it to people he visits from church. This is one of the ways that Daddy says he likes you. If you get some, you must be special!

Daddy's Microwave Peanut Brittle

In a large microwave-safe bowl, add:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
1 cup raw peanuts

Microwave on high for 4 minutes.
(If using cooked peanuts, add 1 cup cooked peanuts now.)
Stir.

Microwave on high for 2.5 to 3 minutes.
Add:
1 tsp butter (Daddy uses 1 tbsp!)
1 tsp vanilla

Stir.
Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Add:
1 tsp baking soda

Mix well.
Pour onto cookie sheet sprayed with Pam (or use a silicone mat). Allow to cool, then break into pieces.
Cooking times may need to be adjusted for your microwave. Using different kinds of nuts may require adding the nuts later in the cooking cycle.

I hope you enjoy the peanut brittle. We sure do!

A Homemade Christmas

All the gift buying really upsets me around this time. Not because we're giving, but because people expect us to buy them gifts, and the pressure we feel to spend money on others. Me, I'd rather spend time on others. I want to give a gift that says "I like you. I think about you. Your friendship is meaningful to me." What better way to show love than to spend some of your time on other people. I'm not talking about slaving away all week long, instead, just doing a little here and a little there.

One of the things I have been making is bath salts. They are really quite easy. You mix up some epsom salts with an essential oil (available in craft stores in the soap making section - use about 4 or 5 drops per cup of salts), and some food coloring. You can also use some Kosher salt with the epsom salts. Then you just put in a jar, and add a little label and decoration, like some ribbon and a small ornament.

Another gift for this year is pretty soap dispensers. Get a clear plastic soap dispenser (I got mine in the pharmacy at Target, in the travel-sized stuff). Put some silk flowers inside, and pour in some liquid soap. They will easily spiff up a bathroom or kitchen sink.

Do you make up mixes to keep on hand? Try putting a mix in a mason jar. You can make something like Instant Potato Soup or Flour Tortillas, where all the ingredients are stirred up. Or you can layer ingredients for a pretty effect with a cornbread mix (I like one from The Gluten-Free Kitchen), or the Orange Dreamsicle Cookies (these will be very pretty, with the Tang layer - or two). Put a label on the back with the directions, or for a craftier (and prettier) approach, write it on a homemade gift tag. Get some mason jars and get creative! Dry ingredients for many of your baked goods can be mixed or layered in a glass jar.

Another good glass jar gift is some nuts (like pecans) in honey (especially local, if you can get it for a good price). My brother recently bought some honey from a farm in his town, and the taste is so amazing! My mom's not going to have many pecans left in her jar if I don't get my own jar soon. :)

Please leave a comment and share with me some of your ideas for a Homemade Christmas.
Ginger's Making Christmas, too, over at Gluten Free in Georgia (and Florida).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Instant Potato Soup

Mix up a jar and keep it handy for when you need a quick dinner or some feel-good soup.

I found this recipe all over the internet, and I'm not going to bother telling you the 3 million websites it comes from.

Instant Potato Soup

2 cups instant mashed potatoes
1 & 1/2 cups instant milk powder
3-4 cubes HerbOx Chicken Bouillon, crushed*
2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 & 1/2 tsp seasoning salt (I used McCormick's)

Mix all ingredients and store in a 1 quart jar.

To serve:
Place 1/2 cup instant soup mix in a soup bowl, cup or mug. Add one cup of boiling water and stir until smooth.
Top with shredded cheddar and bits of bacon, if desired.

* The original recipe (or all the versions I saw, LOL) called for 2 tablespoons of powdered bouillon. Since I just have the HerbOx cubes (because they're gf), I crushed them with my mortar and pestle and figured it took about 5 cubes to make 2 tbs. I think 5 cubes is too chickeny for my soup, which is why I'm writing 3 or 4 cubes. Also, the recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon turmeric. I don't have any, so I can't very well tell you to use it, can I?

Braden really enjoyed his soup. Carter was not in the mood for food, so his lack of empty bowl does not count.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Nana's Cookies Review

I received some samples of Nana's No Gluten Cookies today. Sinful and decadent, these are not. But they are pretty good. The only sugar is from fruit juice, and they are also free of dairy and eggs.

The main ingredient is brown rice flour. It is a bit grainy (but not as bad as some), and it is a little on the dry side, but that actually results in the cookie sorta melting in your mouth. I had the Chocolate Cookie and the Berry Vanilla Cookie Bar.

Both cookies are sweet enough with just the fruit juice, without being overly sweet. The chocolate cookie has a very nice chocolate flavor. It reminds me of a chocolate cake, but not as fluffy.
I like the combination of berry and vanilla flavors, and the rice crunchies in them.

Carter absolutely had a fit after I gave him a bite of each and then put the rest of the cookies away. So I know they're a hit with him. I definitely don't feel guilty about giving these cookies to him (like I do with my brownies). Nor would I feel guilty about eating them for breakfast.

If you're looking for a new product, especially if you want a healthier treat or need to avoid dairy or eggs, pick up a Nana's No Gluten Cookie next time you go to Whole Foods. Give it a try - you may like it, and like not feeling guilty about it.

Quick and Easy Hot Rice Cereal

Carter's not feeling too well this morning, so I wanted to make him something yummy and fairly easy on his tummy.
I took some leftover brown rice, poured in a little milk, added a splash of vanilla and a clump of dark brown sugar, then microwaved it for a minute. Because he was in no mood to wait for the rice to soften, I put in some baby rice cereal to thicken it up (think rice pudding), and a little cold milk (to cool it back down for him). It was really good.
Carter didn't want to try it, but once I got some on his lips, he started eating it with gusto.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Green Chili Bake

Mom pulled this recipe out of some magazine once, and I have absolutely no idea what, when, or where, lol.
This is a great dish to make for a breakfast or brunch. Warning - it is not low-cal, but it is really good.

Green Chili Bake

10 eggs
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup gf flour mix
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chilies, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Serves 8 to 10 for brunch, or 12 to 16 as an appetizer.

GF (of course) Flour Tortillas

We'll credit this recipe to Bobbie Coughlin, over at the Delphi Celiac group. She thinks it came from a support group in Texas, but I was unable to find this recipe on any of the Texas groups' websites. I have made this a few times and we really like them.

GF Flour Tortillas

1/4 cup each cornstarch, tapioca flour, potato starch, white rice flour and brown rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 generous tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup water, more if needed


Mix dry ingredients and add water and oil. Let rest 10 minutes.


Divide into balls, roll into tortillas, and cook on a hot skillet.

Beef Jerky

It truly is a wonderful thing to have on hand. I had nearly forgotten about this lovely snack, until digging through my freezer yesterday (I have to defrost it - now that it's cold outside, lol). My parents have a big dehydrator. Dad and I usually make this together.

Cassandra's Homemade GF Beef Jerky

All measurements are approximate – I put in what feels right


A few pounds of beef – round steak, top round roast… cut into small strips

GF soy sauce (I use La Choy) – enough to cover meat, 1-3 large bottles

Brown Sugar, 2 or 3 tbsp per bottle of soy sauce

McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning – a few shakes per bottle of soy sauce


Mix marinade ingredients. Add meat. Allow to soak, covered overnight (give or take a bit depending on how strongly flavored you want the jerky). If you have a food saver, you can seal the meat and marinade in one of the containers and soak for about 20 minutes.


Lay meat on drying racks. Use the jerky setting of a dehydrator and dry for 6 hours or so (it all depends on how thick the meat was sliced and how dry you want it). You’ll need to check it to see. Best if stored in the freezer, especially if there was a lot of fat in the meat.

Enjoy.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

New (to me) GF chips

While shopping at our local grocery store one day, Andy announces he's tired of Mission Tortilla Chips, and asks what else I can have. Now, I don't eat any of the Lay's stuff except the Stax (dedicated lines), because I have been glutened on at least 2 separate occasions from their tortilla chips. Two times, and I leave that product alone.
So we started looking at the chips, and reading the labels. I pick up a bag of Xochitl chips, and read the ingredients list, then see it says "no gluten" on the side. I am always excited to see those words (except when they don't belong - i.e., liar, liar pants on fire). After putting the bag in my cart, I realized it says "no gluten" twice on the front! These are thin chips.
We also found that Calidad chips (in a big yellow bag) say "gluten-free" right under the ingredient list. (They are actually part of Mission Foods.) These are a thicker chip, and are saltier than the Xochitl (at least the ones I had). They are both good chips, but a whole lot different.

In other chip news, I bought a new kind of RiceWorks brown rice chip at Costco the other day. It is Salsa Fresca. Us Texans like our salsa. They're a bit spicy, and covered in dehydrated vegetables (how much better can they get?). Carter says "mmm." They have other flavors, including Sea Salt, but I have only found (and tried) the Sweet Chili (also good).

At the local GIG meeting, we always have a raffle (products - often donated by the manufacturer, memberships, sometimes books). This month, some of our products were from Arico Foods. I won some Cassava Chips, the flavor Ginger on Fire (Hey, Ging, you should try these). These are a little sweet, and a little spicy. Carter spit them out - he would probably prefer the Sea Salt Mist.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

C is for Cookie

That's Good Enough For Me!
I have a riddle for you. What do you get when you tell your sugar-crazed husband to put small drops of dough on the cookie sheet? Answer:That's right. One really huge cookie. Actually, three; three really huge cookies. I should have gotten 72 cookies out of that doubled batch, but instead, I got 3. I had to take a pizza cutter to them.

Yesterday was our annual cookie exchange at the North Texas GIG meeting. There were some excellent cookies. (But, as usual, there were some that were less than desirable.) But we had a good time, and ate a few too many cookies. Just look at that spread!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Taco Soup

One of my favorite soups of all time - Taco Soup. I got this recipe from Terri on the Delphi Celiac Forum. Yum.

Taco Soup

1 & 1/2 lb. hamburger meat
2 Tbs. minced onion flakes
2 cups water
1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
1 can pinto beans
1 can corn
1 package McCormick's taco seasoning mix

Brown ground beef and add onion flakes in a soup pot. Put other ingredients in. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve in large bowls with Mission Corn Tortilla Strips and a healthy covering of shredded cheddar cheese. VERY good and VERY easy to make.

Easy Bean and Ham Soup

Mom asked me to get her 2 packages of beans while I was at the store the other day, and then she asked me to soak the beans for her (since she was coming in the early morning to watch my kids yesterday). So I soaked 2 packages of beans. That's a lot of beans. So she made some soup for me in my Crockpot.

Easy Bean and Ham Soup

1 package of dried Great Northern beans (about a pound), soaked overnight
Some ham (I had a package of ham steaks - about a pound; or leftover ham)
Some carrots (I had some matchstick carrots left in the fridge - easy route, no shredding)
oh, and some water - kinda important :)

Cook in the Crockpot on high for about 5 hours (give or take). You'll want to taste it and see if it needs salt (depends on how salty your ham was). If you leave it on low for another couple of hours, you get mush (which some people like). We like to eat ours with some shredded mozzarella.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Donna and Heather

Though rather late, I wanted to post about meeting Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. I had previously met them at the National GIG Education Conference in Virginia, in June. We had them speak to us at our local GIG meeting on November 3rd. They are currently working on their fourth gluten-free cookbook! Check them out at www.bestbreadrecipes.com.
I had the privilege of having lunch with them and Betty Barfield (our branch president) at Carino's. They now have a gluten-free menu. I had a wonderful lunch of roasted garlic potato soup, jalapeƱo garlic tilapia, and sauteed green beans. As wonderful as the meal was, the company was even better. These two ladies are so vibrant and fun. The picture is Heather, me, and Donna. We'll see you at the next GIG conference in Dallas, Donna and Heather!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Quesadillas

Got leftovers? Need some ideas to use them up? Well, here's one for you: Turkey Quesadillas. Quick, easy, yummy, and it uses up stuff taking up space in your fridge.
Mom brought us some turkey and ham leftovers (at Braden's request). So we chopped up some turkey, stuck it on a corn tortilla with some cheese and another tortilla, and heated them up in a skillet. They were really good. We mostly had dark meat and used cheddar, but I had mozzarella with the only white meat in the container (this was my favorite). I'm not sure what happened, but there was only a tiny bit of salsa left in the whole house! That's okay, these were excellent with the leftover cranberry-orange relish. I had entertained the idea of putting corn in with the meat and cheese, but was afraid of a pint-sized mutiny.

Eight Biscuits


How can something so small consume such large amounts of food? Yes, Braden ate eight biscuits. (Say that 10 times fast). Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.

I think that says it all.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

All's quite on the western front. The guests have departed, the baby and husband are sleeping, and the older boy is playing quietly by himself. The only noise is the click-clacking of my keyboard.

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner! Andy's parents came over and shared our feast, and we had a fun time. Even though we weren't able to do as we had planned and go visit my brother (and the rest of my family), it was still a wonderful day.

Duck was the meat of the day. I was the only one at the table who had ever had duck before (once, a long time ago). I cooked it per the package instructions, and it came with an orange glaze (that I had verified as gluten-free with the manufacturer). Everybody liked it, but it's probably not something we ever need to do again. It is really a fatty meat, and doesn't serve a lot. We had small portions (which was good for us), and even had some leftover.

Cranberry-orange relish accompanied the duck. Basically, you chop up a bag of fresh cranberries in a food processor, and add sugar to taste (I probably used about a half cup, maybe a whole cup - I was just pouring it as I needed, lol). Cut up 2 oranges and stir into the cranberries. The sugar will cause the cranberries to juice as they sit, so if you want it real juicy, then make it ahead. If not, make it right before the meal. You can add chopped walnuts, but I couldn't find any in my freezer this morning.

The Slow-Cooked Sage Dressing was excellent, of course. We also had steamed corn, and a mixture of brown rice, steamed broccoli, and a Ragu cheese sauce. It was supposed to have been the cheddar one, but apparently we had used the last one up, so it was creamy parmesan or something like that. That part didn't make it into the picture.

The Grand Finale was apple pie, with a streusel topping. It was so good, that when I went downstairs to get my camera (to put pictures on this post), I ended up sneaking a tiny slice. So great was our feast, that no one, not even Andy, wanted ice cream (quite a feat in and of itself).

I'm so thankful for my wonderful family, who loves and supports me, and all that God has given me.
I hope you all had a fabulous Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Steak Nachos

What do you do with leftover steak? Why, nachos, of course. I had been chopping my onions and celery for tomorrow's stuffing (because I'll get it in the crock pot in the morning), and decided to cut up last night's steak leftovers. I let the meat sit in a bowl of apple juice for about an hour and a half - I think it made it a bit softer. Chips, meat, cheddar, some lettuce and salsa - yummy.
We have a tendency to let the leftovers sit in the fridge until they must be thrown out. Good thing I was paying attention when my brain was speaking today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Gloriousness That Is Pancakes

Ah, I love breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, after all.
Well, I just have to say, y'all are in for a real treat when Roben Ryberg's new cookbook comes out in April. I should know - I've made probably 50 of the recipes. We love these pancakes (and I'm sure the waffles will grace my blog soon - probably Christmas, as one of my non-gf brothers has requested them for Christmas morning). A shameless plug for a friend? You bet. But I only do it because it's the truth.

Monday, November 19, 2007

15 Large Apples?

I've prepared for naught.
Thanksgiving was going to be great fun. That was before my two boys got pneumonia and my hubby and I got bronchitis. Even though we're all on antibiotics now, we don't want to chance getting everyone sick, especially since one SIL is pregnant, and the other one and my 2 brothers all have finals coming up.
Do I really need a crockpot full of stuffing for the four of us (and I doubt Braden will eat it)? And what about those 15 gigantic granny smith apples destined for pie-hood?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookies for Newbies

This is an old standby for peanut butter cookies for us gluten-freers. But I am not kidding, this actually makes the best peanut butter cookies. The other firefighters always have Andy make these. They call him Keebler, and they tell him to go Keeble (it's their verb for make cookies).

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Place drops of dough on cookie sheet (size is up to you). Use a fork to make crisscross patterns (this is easy to do without sticking if you will keep your fork in a glass of ice water when not using it). Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. Watch them, so you will know when it's best to take them out. When they start to brown, and just barely give off a smell of burning peanut butter, then they are done. Let cool partially on cookie sheet, then twist to remove, and put on cooling rack.

Additions:
Chocolate chips go great in these cookies, without having to change anything else. You can also use 1/2 chunky and 1/2 creamy peanut butter. In the past, I have made "trail mix" cookies using half chunky peanut butter (and half creamy), and adding some chocolate chips and raisins.

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake

Ah, cheesecake. How I love thee - let me count the ways... Sometimes, you want cheesecake NOW! And sometimes, you want to control the fat and calories a little more. This recipe is fast and easy. You can even do it without any gluten-free specialty ingredients if you want.

No-Bake Cheesecake

1 crumb or nut crust
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese (can be low-fat - I think even fat-free works)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tub of Cool Whip (can be low-fat of fat-free)

Beat together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Scoop into crust. Chill and serve.


Crumb Crust:

A crumb crust is really easy. Just use enough crumbs from your favorite gf cookies or gf cornflakes (you may need a little sugar if you use cornflakes) to cover the pie plate, and enough melted butter to stick it all together. Obviously, I don't generally measure this stuff. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, so it will stay together better. You can skip the crust part if you want and just sprinkle the cookies on top.
My favorite way to make the crust is using about 1/2 Health Valley Rice Bran crackers (they taste like graham crackers, but way different texture), and half pecans. You can also use just pecans and butter for this crust, and it is still superb.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

This recipe comes from another lady in my support group, Linda. I made this once when we had company. They were really good. I'm pretty sure I used the Terra Red Bliss potato chips, and didn't add the Italian seasoning (because the chips are already seasoned). If you need a quick, easy appetizer, this is it. Be forewarned, a single teenager (or hubby) can devour an entire recipe.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks
6 Pack of individually wrapped Mozzarella cheese sticks
1 medium egg, beaten
1 bag GF Potato Chips
1 Tbsp. GF Italian Seasoning (McCormick brand)
1 Tbsp. corn starch
Preheat oven to 400. Crush potato chips to a very fine consistency (can use a blender). Add Italian seasoning & cornstarch. Put dry mixture in a separate flat pan. One at a time, coat cheese stick with egg & put in dry mixture. You can dip and coat once or twice depending on your preference.
Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Put cheese sticks at least 1" apart and bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve plain or with your favorite GF marinara sauce or Ranch Dressing. Serves 6. If fixing for a group just double to the quantity needed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Verdict is In

The pie was a success! Dad came over and tasted it. The filling was still a little tart, but we all decided we liked it that way. I think I will make the crust a little thicker next time, as Dad likes crusty pies. I've gotten the rest into the freezer and will thaw it tomorrow to make sure that will work for T-Day. My first pie, and it turned out great! Thanks Roben, for your help.

Slow-Cooked Sage Dressing

This recipe came from Theresa, a woman in my local support group. I've never liked stuffing before, but I really like this. I'm a little embarrassed to say that my mom polished off the leftovers of this the year before, in record-breaking time.

Slow-Cooked Sage Dressing

14 – 15 cups gluten-free bread (Soft White Bread from Celiac.com)

3 cups chopped celery

1 ½ cups chopped onion

1 ½ - 2 teaspoons rubbed sage

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 ¼ cups butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon rosemary (optional)

Combine bread, celery, onion, sage, salt and paper (and rosemary); mix well. Add butter and toss. Spoon into a 5-qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 – 5 hours, stirring once. Yield: about 12 servings.

Note: if it seems dry after about 3 hours, add a little chicken broth.

Easy Crustless Pecan Pie

This will be one of Mom's contributions to Turkey Day Dinner. She has been making this pecan pie for years, even years before I went gluten-free. She just doesn't like crust. I don't know where it originally came from, but this recipe is so easy, and so good.

Easy Crustless Pecan Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
6 eggs
2 Tbs margarine
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans

Mix all ingredients in pie dish. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.



Thanksgiving Preparations

To prepare for Thanksgiving, I will be posting a series of some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from years past, along with a few new ones. I will also be adding some hints along the way, about traveling gluten-free. I am not what you would deem a "seasoned traveler," but I have a few tricks up my sleeves. I will be having T-Day at my brother and sister-in-law's house. They have requested "fluffy wheat rolls" from my mom, but the sacrilege stops there. I will be bringing mixes I've prepared for things like cornbread and rolls (which they have always loved so much, even taking the leftovers), and frozen pies (I hope) and bread for the stuffing. Luckily, my family likes their vegetables unadulterated, so I don't have to deal with that kind of mess. But since I will be traveling from the Fort Worth area up to the home of the Sooners, I will need to have everything well-prepared. I'd better get working.

Adventures in Pie Making

Apple Pie. That's our quest for today. I want to make a scrumptious apple pie for my dad. I must admit, I have been quite apprehensive about making pie, but it really was not that hard at all. I combined a few recipes to get what I think I want. I'll take you through my journey. Please keep in mind that this was my very first foray into the pie making world - I can't recall even making a gluten one (though I probably helped my mom make one when I was little).

I made up a pie crust recipe. This one is from Roben Ryberg's upcoming book. Sorry, I cannot give you the recipe; you will just have to wait until April and buy the book like everyone else. I rolled the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, and then stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes, before putting it in the pie plate (and pinching and trimming the edges). I baked it in a 400 degree oven for 9 minutes. Next time, I think I will stick with 7 minutes (or maybe only a few minutes if I do a 2-crust pie), because the extra strips on top did not get as dark.

For the filling, I used 5 granny smith apples. It was a little adventure to affix the apple corer slicer parer, because the lip of my counter top was too thick, and my table edge is rounded. So I used my lazy susan, and hung it over the edge of the counter.

After getting the apples ready, I put them in a bowl with 1/2 cup sugar (because they are tart apples), 2 & 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (because I wanted to keep it apple-y for dad - he's very picky). Then I microwaved the apple mixture for 8 minutes (on high), stirring twice. Then I poured the filling into the pie crust (which had been cooling while I prepared the apples).

While the apples were in the microwave, I rolled out the extra bits of dough, and cut them into strips and chilled. When the filling was in the crust, I laid the strips across the top and sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar mixture (which I always have in the cupboard for cinnamon toast). I baked at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Next time, I think I will bake at 400 until the crust is ready (about 12 minutes).
Voila! Apple pie. This one will get eaten, and I will make the necessary changes to produce the prettiest one I can for Thanksgiving. It will probably be a 2 crust pie - maybe I'll even cut out some shapes with little cookie cutters. After all, my dad did bring me back half a suitcase full of gluten-free food from Trader Joe's.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies

Ah, that orange drink that Mom used to buy when we were kids (in huge containers larger than my head). Brings back memories, doesn't it? Well, did you know that Tang makes some pretty good cookies? I wasn't sure about these the first day, but on the second day, they became quite addictive.

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies

1/2 cup powdered Tang
3/4 cup sugar
1 & 3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup vanilla baking chips
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until well-blended.
Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake about 10 minutes, until tops are lightly browned (or edges start to brown). Cool five minutes and then remove cookies to a wire rack. (It works best if you let the cookies cool enough that you can twist them off the cookie sheet.)
Makes 2 & 1/2 dozen

World's Best Brownies

There is no better way to kick off a gluten-free blog than with a scrumptious brownie recipe. Hide the scale for a few days, or better yet, get yourself to a Zumba class right away.
These originally came from the Hershey website. The secret is homemade goodness.

Supreme Chocolate Saucepan Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup gf flour mix (rice/potato/tapioca mix works great)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cocoa; stir to blend. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda; stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan and begin to slightly crack; do not underbake. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 24 brownies.


You may want to make these the day before, especially if you are taking them somewhere. The chocolate chips need a long time to re-harden. If you don't, they are still extremely good, although pretty messy (and very hard to eat off a napkin).