Monday, April 16, 2007

My salad making assembly line!

I do my grocery shopping on Sunday mornings. When I get home before I put everything away (and have to get it all out again), I make salads for the week. I just go down the line and put lettuce in each and then carrots and then peppers, etc. I put them in the fridge and we are set for the week. Make sure you cover them tightly.

I made tomato soup this weekend

I heated a little bit of olive oil in a sauce pan and added one large onion and 4 cloves of garlic and cooked until soft. I added 3 pint jars of tomato sauce and 1 pint of frozen veggie stock (could use water or chicken broth) and just a little pepper (I didn't add any salt since I add salt when canning). It tasted just a little bitter to me so I squeezed in a little honey. I used my hand blender to blend it all up and lunch was ready! It was so yummy!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Making smarter choices with sweeteners

I don't see myself eliminating all cane sugar from our diet and honestly I wouldn't want to. But I do want to make smarter choices whenever possible. I bought some brown rice syrup to replace corn syrup in recipes. I really really want to totally eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diet. And tonight I made my wonderful barbeque sauce and replaced the brown sugar with maple syrup and it was wonderful. I made both beef ribs and chicken on the grill (so we have plenty of left overs to eat during the week) and they were delicious.

Here is my revised barbeque sauce recipe:

BBQ Sauce

1 cup gfcf ketchup (I use Heinz Organic)
¼ cup vinegar (I used Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar)
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon gfcf soy sauce (I use San-J Organic Tamari Wheat Free Soy Sauce)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch celery salt
Pinch mustard powder

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Store in a glass jar.

Monday, April 09, 2007

GFCF Banana Spice Muffins

I made muffins this weekend instead of bars or cookies.

Here they are coming out of the oven

And here's a closer look

GFCF Banana Spice Muffins

2 cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Mix)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup cf margarine (I used Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk substitute (I used Vance’s Dari Free)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 very ripe bananas, mashed but still chunky

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat muffin pans with non stick spray or use paper liners.
Thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg in medium bowl.
Cream margarine and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then milk substitute and then vanilla. On low speed blend in dry ingredients and bananas just until combined; do not over mix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing evenly.

I was going for smaller child size muffins and I baked them 20 minutes and it made 24. If you want large muffins with tall tops, put into 12 muffin cups and cook 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will be done with toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Some Tasty Homework

My homework assignment this weekend was to make some Magic Mineral Broth

Here it is cooking

And the finished product.

And the recipe:

Magic Mineral Broth
This isn’t just a regular vegetable stock. This pot of yum is high in potassium and numerous trace minerals. Sipping this nutrient-rich stock is like giving your body an internal spa treatment. Use it as a base for all your favorite soups and rice dishes. Don’t be daunted by the ingredient list. Simply chop the ingredients in chunks and throw them in the pots, roots, skins, and all.
6 unpeeled carrots with half the green tops, cut into thirds
2 unpeeled medium yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 leek, both white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
4 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
4 medium red potatoes with skins on, quartered
2 Japanese or Hannah's yams or sweet potatoes with skins on, quartered
1 Garnet yam with skin on, quartered
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 (6-inch by 1- inch) strip of kombu
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice or juniper berries
In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine all ingredients. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some water will evaporate; add more if vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.
Strain the stock using a large coarse-mesh strainer (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath).
Bring to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
Magic Mineral Broth can be frozen up to six months in a variety of air-tight container sizes for every use.
Makes 6 to 7 quarts

This recipe is copywrited by Rebecca Katz and is from here:

It is very tasty by itself, but I plan to start substituting it for chicken broth in many of my recipes.

A couple of new finds this weekend

I went shopping at Fresh and Natural in Shoreview on Saturday and found a couple of new products that are pretty decent.
Finally a GFCF cheerio substitute that tastes decent. I don't know about the other flavors - we only bought this one, but it sure beats the PerkyO's and the other brand we tried.

And Andy begged for Pizza, so we tried this and it wasn't bad - expensive, but not bad. $4.49 for this small pizza. Madwoman Foods is a local company here and all of there products are GF, but not all are CF. I was suspicious of the wheylow they use as a sweetener and investigated it and it turns out it is CF. Here is a link to their website - they do sell over the internet. I don't know that I would buy these all the time, but when the other kids are having pizza..... Did I mention it is a very small pizza? I didn't measure it, but it couldn't have been more than 5 inches across.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I'm taking better care of myself

I'm starting by packing lunches. I spend too much time taking care of everyone else. Many times I skip lunch or run out and get something unhealthy and eat late. This is the third week in a row that I have spent a little bit of time on Sunday making 5 salads for the week. I just put veggies in them and set them in the fridge. I boil up eggs and leave them in the fridge as well. Every morning, I peel an egg and put it in a snack bag along with some cut up lunch meat and put some salad dressing in a small tupperware container. Today I sprinkled some craisins on my salad as well. At lunch time, I transfer it all to a plate and add the egg and meat. It is so yummy, better for me and cheaper than buying out. I also have been baking bars on the weekend and wrapping 5 of them up individually and hiding them to take 1 a day with my lunch. I am still running out in the afternoon for a candy bar - but overall I am doing better - and feeling better.
As Moms, we need to learn that taking care of our families starts with taking care of ourselves.
If you are wondering what's in my salads - it's all organic. I started with baby green salad mix and added cauliflower, brocolli, colored bell peppers, baby carrots (cut up - even baby they are bigger than I like in my salad) and cucumbers. What's in there varies by week. I take a different salad dressing each day so it doesn't get boring. Today I have Kraft Organic Raspberry Vinegrette. I also vary the lunch meat.
I challenge everyone to take better care of themselves. It will pay off with more energy and a healthier you.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

GFCF Indian Rice

This is one of my family's favorite side dishes. I can't believe I haven't posted it before - we have it frequently. It is so flavorful that it works well with brown rice which is so healthy and good for you - but you could make it with white rice - you just won't get the nutrients. The first couple of times I made it I made it with half white and half brown rice - a great way to ease your family into good eating.

GFCF Indian Rice

¼ cup CF margarine (I used Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 ½ cups chicken broth (you can use any broth or even water, but broth gives better flavor)
¼ slivered almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt margarine in pan. Add onion and rice; cook and stir until rice is yellow and onion is tender. Stir in seasonings. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole. Heat chicken broth to boiling and stir into rice mixture. Cover tightly and bake about 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in almonds.

8 servings (1/2 cup each)

Good old fashioned baked beans

I made these in the slow cooker yesterday and they are wonderful. When I was a kid growing up, my Mom used to make great baked beans like this all the time. They are really inexpensive to make and you can't get a taste like them from a can.

Kathi’s Old Fashioned Baked Beans (can also be made in the slow cooker)

1 pound dried navy or great northern beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
2 cups ketchup
6 tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons dark molasses
½ cup soy sauce -make sure it is gf!
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Rinse and pick through the beans. Soak them overnight in a large pot of water.
Rinse the soaked beans well under cold water, and place them in a heavy saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered until tender – an hour or two. Drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook until wilted – about 5 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and stir over medium-low heat until it has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in ketchup, syrup, molasses, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Pour Beans into an oven proof 2 quart casserole dish. Pour sauce over them and mix well.
Cover the casserole and cook in oven at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally for 3 hours.
Uncover, stir and bake uncovered until the sauce is thick and syrupy.

Perfecting the lemon bar

I was on a quest this weekend to create a good tasting GFCF lemon bar. I started with a standard recipe from a recipe book and just substituted GFCF flour and it was pretty blah. It was too sweet and not sour at all. I want to taste lemon in a lemon bar. So I decreased the sugar and increased the lemon juice and added some lemon oil (available from speciality retailers) and it wasn't bad. I'll probably still tweak it some - maybe more lemon and/or less sugar again.

Here's the recipe as it stands now:

GFCF Lemon Squares

1 cup GF flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill GF Mix)
½ CF margarine (I use Crystal Farms Dairy Free)
¼ Powdered Sugar
¼ teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ teaspoon lemon oil (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix thoroughly flour, margarine and powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 building up a slight edge. Bake 20 minutes

Beat remaining ingredients about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust. Bake about 25 minutes longer or just until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Cool and cut into squares. Makes 16 squares.