Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Betty Crocker Hershey's Gluten Free Cookies and Cream Frosting and Smores!

Ok, so I do love to bake and it seems as though we have had many reasons to whip up desserts around here lately. My favorite cake mix is the King Arthur gluten free chocolate. I make these, frequently, when I'm bringing a dessert to share with others. While I love baking, I am not the best with frosting. Often, I make my own, and it's good, but sometimes I am just in a hurry and I want to pick up something that is ready to use. Imagine my delight when I saw these new flavors from Betty Crocker that were labled gluten free? Additionally, they do not add dairy to the ingredients, which is a bonus for us. I was further pleased that the fat was not a hydrogenated oil, as if often found on frosting labels. It is palm shortening. These frosting containers come with a topper of crumbles to sprinkle on the cakes. The base ingredients for the crumbles are rice and tapioca. I am so pleased for this quick option that is sure to be fun for kids. My own daughter has very limited exposure to cookies n creme, but I can attest that the frosting does taste like that cream filling. The cookie crunch is a nice touch.
So, while homemade butter cream is still a tastier choice, enjoy this quick fix for the times you are in a hurry.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blueberry Lover - A Blueberry Crisp gluten free dairy free SCD option

 Ok, be warned, this is a blueberry crisp for true blueberry lovers. If you are imagining those diner style crisps with a burst of sugar and granular explosion upon first bite...this is not that. This is a subtle sweetness, bit of crunch, but primarily, blueberry overload for those of us who just love blueberries. Now that we have that all cleared up, and you're still with me, enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients (with SCD variation):
  • 5 Cups blueberries
  • 1 C gluten free oats (For SCD version, use ground nuts or nut flour of choice)
  • 1/2 Cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup (for SCD version, use honey)
  • 1/3 Cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon water (for SCD version, omit)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (for SCD version use honey)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tapioca pearls (for SCD version, omit)
Pour your rinsed blueberries into a 9x13 cake dish. In a bowl, mix 1 C oats, 1/2 C almond flour, 1/3 C pecans, 1/2 tsp salt. Add coconut oil and mix. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and mix. Set aside.
In second, smaller bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup with 1 Tablespoon water. Pour that 3 Tablespoon liquid mix over blueberries and stir around.  Sprinkle the tapioca pearls among the blueberries  as shown in photo. This will help thicken the liquid as it cooks and then cools.
Top with oat/nut mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, covered.  Remove cover and bake additional 20 minutes.

Let cool before serving. This is a subtle flavor and a very yummy blueberry overload for those times of year when blueberries are calling to you.

Variations: Want more topping? I know, everybody does. You can double the recipe for the topping to make this a more traditional crisp. Just cut your serving size down to help compensate. Also, consider cutting the berries back to 2 cups and adding 3 cups chopped peaches.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lime Garlic Skirt Steak, Cuban Mojo, Cilantro Slaw gluten free dairy free

Click Here for Cookbook linkLunch at our house was delightful today thanks to my husband. He marinated a tri tip steak (flank or skirt works as well) in garlic and lime juice per the recipe found in the Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking book by Kelli and Peter Bronski. I have been asked many times, over the years, what is my favorite gluten free cookbook. While I do have a favorite basic cookbook that focuses on the foundations of healthy eating (The Garden of Eating Diet by Rachel Mastez), my favorite gluten free specific cookbook has been this Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking for the past 5+ years. The recipes span the globe with a variety of taste profiles while managing to maintain usability in an average American kitchen. The staples are great, the gluten free flour mix is very good, and everything I make from this book is a winner.
The lunch we had today included this simple steak recipe, which is primarily lime juice and garlic marinade. The topping of Cuban Mojo is a mixture of green bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, and more lime juice. We found that this combination was delightful with a Coleslaw recipe found in the book that features cilantro.
While I love these, our family made a couple minor modifications.  For one, we would cut the salt back to 1/2 tsp on the Cuban Mojo and we would add the juice of 2 limes to the coleslaw. Such a great flavor combination!
I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book (click book image, or here), and try the above as well as the German potato salad, the scones, and the apple crisp. Those are my favorites!
Also, this would be a terrific meal to serve leftover for a lunch salad that would pack nicely cold and topped with tomatoes! School starts soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gluten Free Dairy Free School Lunches

Lively Lunchboxes - That kids will eat!

As a mother of young children, I know how it is to be on the go and in need of some quick foods from time to time. In addition, we want a healthy diet to be a positive experience for our children so that they are encouraged to stick to it as they grow older.

Sending school children off with gluten and dairy free lunches may sound like a challenge, but here is a great link to help you get started. Click here to see more of Bean's Gluten Free, Dairy Free lunches. In addition, you'll notice her lunches are free of artificial dyes or coloring agents. Furthermore, many if not all of the lunches can be made without soy and egg, if needed. Enjoy!

Pictured: This lunch includes a fresh fajita salad, utilizing leftovers from the night prior. Bean likes cabbage and cilantro in place of lettuce, but you can use whatever you like! Sides include carrots, Pirate Booty, all natural fruit roll up and Honest Kids juice.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Japanese Noodle Soup - gluten free dairy free vegetarian option

 These kids love soup! It's summer, and the house is full so this seemed a perfect time to push along some veggies in a fun vehicle. My kids love Ponyo and we referred to this as our Ponyo supper (minus the ham that she gets so excited over in the movie).
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sheets Nori or Lavar, sliced
  • 4oz spinach, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 pack organic firm tofu, chopped into small cubes
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cooled and sliced in half
  • 2 packages rice stick noodles (3 wedges of dried noodles per pack)
  • 8 cups veggie broth (I used Edward and Sons gluten free veggie broth cubes)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (omit for vegetarian option)
  • 2 tsp tamari gluten free soy sauce
  • additional tamari or salt to taste
Eggs: Have your eggs cooked first. Consider cooking more for egg salad the next day. You can bring to boil  for 1 minute, rolling boil, then turn off heat. Leave eggs covered for 15 minutes. Cool in ice bath and peel.

Soup: With all veggies chopped and ready, the rest goes quickly. 
In a large pot, bring water to near boil and turn off heat. Add rice stick noodles and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. You can use any other noodle of choice, and follow package cooking instruction.
While noodles sit, heat veggie stock in separate large pot and add all veggies and tofu as well as tamari and fish sauce. Heat stock and veggies for the 10 minutes, covered, over medium heat.

Dish one serving of noodles into each bowl, then top with veggie and broth.  Add egg and enjoy!
The kids all enjoyed eating this dish, and some tried using chopsticks for the noodles. A fun soup that would be a great addition to a lunch thermos.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Better Tuna Salad - gluten free dairy free with variations for vegetarians

Tuna salad. It's a mush that goes on bread, mayo and canned fish, right? Well, not around here. This method adds a burst of flavor that will please any palate. First, if you're using tuna, I recommend looking for chunk light tuna in water (no broth added). Wild caught, dolphin friendly is best. 3 small cans can easily feed 4-6 people when added to this recipe.

If tuna is not your favorite option, consider using sardines for a great boost of Omega 3 and protein (chill this to cut the strong scent of sardine). You can also use chicken, turkey, eggs, or even a vegetarian option through the use of ground up steamed tempeh. All of these work great. Concerned about mercury levels in fish? Check the ever changing FDA guidelines here, and be sure you are purchasing wild caught sources from reputable companies.

  • 3 small cans chunk light tuna in water - no added broth (or other protein of choice)
  • 5 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 small dill pickles, diced
  • 1 green onion stalk, cleaned and chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayo of choice (homemade is fantastic, but you can use any type you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • dash of salt
Stir ingredients together and serve over celery, lettuce leaves or bread of choice. We often top a bed of greens with this tuna, or we wrap it in small butter or Romain lettuce, taco style.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Baked Scotch Eggs - gluten free dairy free

Well, here is a food I never thought I would eat, let alone bake, but my mind has been changed. My husband baked these for us one Sunday morning, and they were such a treat. I loved the crunchy coating, and I especially loved that they were not fried. I always assumed this was a friend food, which put it on my "no thanks" list. So, what you see in the photo is the before baking photo followed by the end product.
To make Scotch eggs gluten free, start by hard boiling your eggs.  My process is bring to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat, yet keep covered for 15 minutes. Drain, chill, and peel.
He did this step the day prior.

  • 7 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
  • 1 raw egg for egg wash
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour based coating such as the Hodgson Mill gluten free seasoned coating (or other of choice)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free corn flake crumbs such as pictured above (or other of choice)
  • 1lb raw sausage (gluten free of choice)
Method: Wrap each egg in raw sausage, by hand. This is a little messy, but a required step. We used full fat pork sausage, but I would prefer a turkey sausage to cut back on how rich the end product was. Dip hard boiled egg in gluten free flour coating. Dip that in the raw egg wash, then roll to coat once. Next, roll in corn flake coating. Place eggs on parchment paper on baking dish and bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.

One of these is very filling and I think it would be a fantastic father's day item for breakfast in bed, with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sludge Smoothie - No, really, it's GOOD! Gluten free dairy free

 Don't be scared of the end look of this smoothie because the taste will win you over! Here is a great way to combine raw greens with your fruits and delight in a near pudding treat. I could see putting this in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, and eating it with a spoon, or thinning it by adding ice to create a different texture all together. Don't confuse my love for this insanely thick and creamy texture as is, though.  Here is how you make it. First, get your VitaMix ready (or high powder blender).
  • 1 fresh mango, 
  • 1 small fresh banana, 
  • 1 Cup frozen strawberries, 
  • juice from 1/2 small lemon
  • Spinach to fill (not packed, just dropped in)
as pictured.
 Next, pour
  • orange juice to cover banana layer.
  • Vanilla Almond Milk to cover the strawberry layer
Ready? Blend! You can see the final color is reminiscent of swamp green, which may not create a favorable visual response, but give it a taste and you'll see why this is so fantastic. I had a little extra, so I froze them into Popsicle for the kids. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May is Ehlers Danlos and Arthritis Awareness Month - food?

It's Awareness Time! Truth be told, we are always aware of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as it plagues the life of our child with a long list of symptoms. The worst symptom she is dealing with is recurring shoulder dislocations. We have a wonderful medical team of specialists to help us through these trying times, but there is no cure for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. My hope is that there will be more permanent solutions and earlier identification to help people with this condition.

Now, this food related blog may seem an odd place to post about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Arthritis, but there is an important connection. As the EDNF shares with us, there are many gastrointestinal tract complications that can accompany EDS such as:
  • hernia
  • diverticula
  • delayed gastric emptying
  • GERD
  • adominal pain
  • IBS and more
In our family, we discovered that our own bodies had strong negative response to certain foods and we find a combination of other foods can also cause upset.  We are a touchy tummy group. My daughter is diagnosed with Celiac, whereas I discovered my offending foods through trial and error as a teenager with an ulcer and chronic relfux. I can't help but to wonder, now, if EDS was the chicken, or the egg, in our quest to understand our tummies.

As for arthritis, it has been reported that a diet based on low inflammation protocol has been helpful for those suffering with this condition. Dr. Terry Wahls, known well for her work in defeating Multiple Sclerosis through dietary intervention, has a  wonderful low inflammation protocol. Is it a coincidence that low inflammation diets typically avoid gluten and dairy? Not at all. These difficult to digest proteins can be swapped out for a wider variety of alternatives. Just like with fruits and veggies, it is important to get variety in our grains and protein sources in order to attain a balance of minerals and nutrients.

So, while we are educating ourselves on new topics, and health in general, it's worth spending a bit of time boosting up those colorful fruits, veggies, and easy to digest grain alternatives such as buckwheat. We can look to reduce sugars and refined grains and look for lean pasture raised meats and omega 3 rich fish. This approach can be very helpful for a variety of health concerns, not unlike the ones mentioned above. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

3 minute mango sorbet - dairy free, gluten free

This is a simple and healthy Ice Cream alternative. The main catch is that you need a very powerful blender, such as a VitaMix. With the Vita Mix, I just add frozen mango cubes and a small amount of vanilla almond milk. I use the tamper to push the fruit down and blend it, quickly. In less than 3 minutes, we have sorbet. This is even tastier with a little honey or sugar added in, but we had no trouble enjoying ours without added sweeteners. Next time, I am thinking some banana would be a great touch! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chicken, Rice, Cucumber salad- gluten free dairy free

What we set out to make, and what we ended up with were two different things, entirely, but the result was great. Grilled chicken tenders seasoned with a basic Chicken Shawarma recipe, (just the first part, not the sauce) but using a Masala Curry powder. This created a fabulous Indian spiced grilled chicken. The cucumber salad was lightly tossed in oil and parsley. The rice is dressed with  a lemon olive oil and white wine sauce. To make the dressing, mix 6 tablespoons olive oil with juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon of white wine. Mix in salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Wisk well. We enjoyed this meal so much, that we did a repeat the next day. Click here for my hummus recipe (which accompanies this meal very nicely). Enjoy!