Thursday, November 30, 2006

The little touches....

The little touches can be what makes Thanksgiving fun for the little ones. Sometimes we get so busy with all of the cooking that we forget to put fun things on the table too - even if it is just your family. I collect napkin rings and use them for special meals. I let Andy pick out the ones we use - and if he picks snowmen and there is no snow on the ground yet - that is OK. And if he picks 3 different ones for each of us, that is OK too - just makes it more fun!

GFCF Cranberry Bread

No Thanksgiving meal is complete at my house without cranberry bread. I grew up in Warrens, Wisconsin - the Cranberry Capital of the World and even ran for Cranberry Queen in 1974. The population of Warrens at the time I was growing up there was about 300 and even today I doubt it is over 500. Yet they host the largest Cranberry Festival in the US the last weekend of September every year and thousands and thousands of people flock there. I use the same recipe I have used for years except that I substitute Bob's Red Mill GF mix for the flour. It turned out a little crumbly this year (but still tasted great). Next time I will probably add a little Xantham Gum.
Cranberry Bread

In one bowl sift together:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder

In another bowl, mix:
1 well beaten egg
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Mix with dry ingredients and add:
2 tablespoons hot water
½ cup nuts (chopped)
1½ cups cranberries cut in half

Put in one well greased & floured bread pan (or two smaller loaf pans). Bake one hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from pan as soon as possible. While still steaming and hot wrap in wax paper and foil.
Store in refrigerator at all times for perfect slicing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Green Beans with Carmelized Onions and Almonds

This was our veggie side dish on Thanksgiving. To make it I thawed 2 quarts of green beans that I had frozen from my garden - but you can use commercially frozen beans as well. I drained all of the ice crystals off of them. I sliced 4 medium onions into slices and cooked over medium heat in 2 tablespoons GFCF margarine until nice and brown looking. While they were cooking, I sprinkled them with a pinch of salt and a pinch of brown sugar - not too much. When they were nice and brown looking I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and cooked until the liquid was cooked off. Then I added 1/4 cup of slivered almonds and the green beans. I cooked until heated through. I added another 1/4 cup of slivered almonds on top for crunch. Everyone gobbled these down - even Andy likes onions when they are carmelized.

GFCF Banana Cream Pie

I made this for dessert on Thanksgiving. I used a mix from Miss Roben's for the pie crust and it was not that great - kind of like cardboard. Pie Crust mixes I have used in the past that were great were the graham cracker mix from Miss Roben's and the pie crust mix from the Gluten Free Pantry. The filling is also good just as a pudding. Added Note: Miss Roben's has reformulated their pie crust mix - so don't rule it out yet. They are sending me some to try out. Miss Roben's has great customer service - they want happy customers and it shows.

Banana Cream Pie
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups milk substitute (I used Dari Free)
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons GFCF Margarine (I use Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 bananas, sliced
1 9-inch baked pie shell
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks slightly. Stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks – mix well. Return egg yolk mixture to saucepan and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in margarine and vanilla. Arrange banana slices in bottom of pie shell. Pour hot filling into pie shell. To prevent a “film” from forming on the top as it cools, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the filling. Cool to room temperature and then put in fridge to chill thoroughly. Serve with Soy Whip topping.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And all the GFCF fixings!

I made extra stuffing as well as mashed potatoes and gravy. Here are my recipes:
GFCF Bread Stuffing
Chop up 2 cups of onions and 4 cups of celery (adjust to your own tastes). Melt one cup of margarine, add onions and celery and cook until tender. Dice up 15 cups of soft GFCF bread and place in large bowl. Add celery, onions, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss until well mixed. Gradually add one cup chicken broth until moistness desired. This is enough to stuff a 12 lb bird and have 2 quarts to cook on the side (cook in 350 degree oven until heated through - 20 to 30 minutes).
GFCF Mashed Potatoes
Peel and cube 5 lbs of potatoes. Wash and put in large saucepan with water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt. 1 tablespoon dried minced onions and 4 teaspoons dried minced garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 30 mintues). Drain well. Put in a large bowl with 2 sticks of GFCF margarine and 1 tub of Tofutti Sour Supreme. Beat until Fluffy.
GFCF Chicken Gravy
Mix 1 can of GFCF Chicken Broth with 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 2 cups of water. Heat over medium heat until it thickens and boils. If it is too thick - add more water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

GFCF Turkey

Here is the turkey ready for carving. It was a butterball and I stuffed it with GFCF bread stuffing. It was juicy and wonderful!

A GFCF Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a wonderful and tasty GFCF Thanksgiving. We sure did. This picture shows our entire meal except for the pie - everything was GFCF and tasty.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

GFCF Peanut Butter Cookies

Andy and I made cookies this afternoon. My cookies are on the left and his are on the right. He wanted bigger cookies.
Here is the recipe that I have modified and we love to use:
GFCF Peanut Butter Cookies
½ cup GFCF Margarine (I used Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
½ cup Peanut Butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Blend)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Beat margarine for 30 seconds. Add peanut butter and both sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, baking soda and salt and beat until well combined. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using a fork, make criss cross designs on the cookies. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown around edges. Cool on cookie sheet.

Erewhon Rice Twice Cereal

This cereal is a little different from the usual Rice Krispie type that I buy. It has both rice puffs and the crispies in it - Andy thinks it looks like you have worms in your Rice Krispies (and that is appealing to him!).

Enjoy Life Allergen Free Cookies

These cookies are expensive, but they are soft and tasty. They come in a variety of flavors and are free of the top 8 allergens.

Soy Whip by Soyatoo

Now this was a real find at the store today - fake whipped cream that tastes good! I have tried Hip Whip and a few others in the past - but they were pretty gross. This stuff tastes pretty close to the real deal (especially if you have been gfcf for awhile). The bottom picture is an "ice cream sundae" made with Soy Dream Vanilla, home made raspberry sauce (from raspberries I grew) and Soy Whip on top. Andy ate it all gone and declared me the *best mom in the whole world* for finding this stuff!

Glutino Gluten Free Brown Gravy Mix

I was pretty excited to find this today in the store. For those who are very dairy sensitive, it does say it may contain traces of dairy. I am going to try it on Thanksgiving. I will be sure and post back how it turned out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday is Taco Night at our House

Fridays we pretty much always have Tacos - which is good for two reasons. One, Dan cooks them so I don't have to and two, Andy eats them really well and I don't have to nag him even once to clean his plate.

Tacos were one thing that I thought we would give up forever - but with a few modifications, they are back on our menu. For one thing, I don't trust that there isn't hidden gluten in the seasoning mixes you buy in the store - so I make my own and I also have never been able to find an acceptable grated cheese. So we eat them without cheese.

What we make is really Tostadas for Dan and me, but Andy likes his in a hard taco shell. We use The Turkey Store extra lean ground turkey and we cook it up and season it with my homemade seasonings.

To make our tostadas or tacos, we first put refried beans on the flat tostada shell (or in the curved taco shell) and then we put the meat on. We then top with Tofutti brand sour cream substitute, salsa and lettuce. They taste so good and we don't even miss the cheese.

Here is my recipe for the taco seasoning mix:

Taco Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons instant minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon corn starch
½ teaspoon instant minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin

I make this mix up 6 at a time. I use Tupperware 2 oz. midgets. I just line 6 of them up and do along assembly line adding each ingredient and then moving on to the next.

To use: Brown ground beef (or turkey) in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease (I use extra lean ground turkey so there is no grease to drain). Add ½ cup water and 1 packet of taco seasoning mix. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes filling for 8 to 10 tacos.

If I think of it tonight I will take a picture of our tacos and tostadas so you can see how yummy they look.

Enjoy -

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Change in Kirkman's Toothpaste Gel

If any of you are using the GFCF toothpaste gel from Kirkman's you should be aware that the formula has changed. It is still GFCF - but if you have a child like I do that is resistant to change - you might want to be aware that the taste is different.

When we bought our last tube of it, Andy decided he didn't like it - but since I don't use it myself - I thought Andy was just being Andy and rejecting something that he has always liked. I bought a couple of other types of nonflouride gfcf toothpastes, but he didn't like them either. So I gave told him that he just had to use one of them - no choice and I am pretty firm about things like this.

Well, then I went to Atlanta for a conference at work and was gone for 4 nights and Dan had to help him brush his teeth. He put on quite a stubborn front for Daddy and Dan calls me at the conference all upset. Andy refused to use any toothpaste and what should he do? I told him to pick his battles - Mommy is out of town - it is not going to be the end of the world if he brushes his teeth without toothpaste one or two nights - but Dan was not going to let Andy win on this - we recently put quite a bit of money into Andy's mouth with caps (because we wouldn't do the mercury filled analgram fillings) and Dan does not want the rest of Andy's teeth to rot. They had quite a blow out - but Daddy won and Andy brushed his teeth. When I got home I found a cabinet door pulled off in the bathroom - Andy had pulled in out in his fit and thrown it at his Daddy (didn't hit him). I had quite the talk with him about that not being acceptable behavior and we have kept the cabinet door off for the time being - to remind him to behave. He has been brushing his teeth with no complaints.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a new friend in the UK (Karan) and she asked me if I had noticed any difference in the Kirkman's gel - her son with autism refuses to use it. I wrote back to her and told her that Andy had refused to use it at first but that I hadn't realized that it had changed - I thought Andy was just being Andy (bad mommy - how could I have not noticed?). I suggested that we both e-mail Kirkman's and ask them to change the formula back or make the old formula available to those of us with kids that don't like change.

Before I had a chance to send an e-mail to Kirkman's - she forwarded me her reply from them (boy they are speedy - great customer service there - even if we don't like what they conveyed).
Here is the response:
I spoke with Larry, our chemist, about the toothpast gel. Our old manufacturer has quit making the formula that you had before. We are unable to get the old formula back. The product number has changed. I was not aware that you had not had this formula before when I sent it out to you, or I would have told you about the changes. The new formula is not as sweet as the old formula. I apologize for the inconvenience. Also, we do not have any of the old products anywhere. Thank you very much. Again, I am very sorry.

So if you are currently using Kirkman's you might want to be aware when you order again. Hopefully you won't end up with a damaged bathroom like I did. Although now that we are past that I don't think I would want to go back to the old - he might have the same reaction!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki

We had this for dinner tonight and it is one of Andy's favorite meals. I can even get him to eat brown rice with the sauce from this over the rice. Of course, my fruit loving son loves the meal even more when I serve pineapple chunks with it!

Skillet Chicken Teriyaki

2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds chicken pieces – skin and remove visible fat. I use thighs and legs since they are so cheap
¾ cup pineapple juice (or use any juice)
1/3 gf soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar (Heinz is gf)
½ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons corn starch

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet. Arrange the chicken in the skillet. Fry over medium-high heat until the chicken browns slightly. Turn and brown all sides. Mix all of the rest of the ingredients in a small container and pour into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook covered about 45 minutes (less time if you are using smaller pieces). If the liquid in the pan is too thin – remove the lid and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens up.

Serve over rice.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gold N Plump Gluten Free Products

I have been avoiding most pre-marinated meats since we have gone GFCF thinking the spices may not be gluten free.

Since discovering Jennie-O has some gluten free products I decided to investigate and see if I can find some more products that might be easy for a working mom to make.

Since there are always coupons in the mail for Gold N Plump chicken products, I decided to start there.

Here is what they told me:
Gluten-Free Products include: Seasoned whole birds - Mesquite and Lemon Pepper Premium Selects Marinated breasts, tenders and strips (fresh, tray pack) Whole rotisserie products Please verify when you purchase. Any products containing gluten would list it in the ingredients.

It's not that big of a deal to mariante my own - but sometimes taking that extra step to make the marinate is just too much time. Nice to know I have more options.