Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Menu Plan Monday – March 14th, 2011

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Busy week, planning to sleep in our new house next Saturday!  So excited, yet exhausted also.  Here is my tentative menu plan for this week, what I have planned so far anyway.  This week is not day specific, as I am going to be winging it a lot and I’ll do whatever I feel is easiest at the moment.

Teriyaki Beef
Rice
Carrots

Chicken Enchilada casserole

Fajita Beef  with something

Apple Chicken Sausages
Roasted Potatoes
Veggie

Chicken Soup

We will probably end up getting some kind of take out a couple of times. Mellow Mushroom is another restaurant we have had success with.

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Eating Gluten Free in the Midst of Moving

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I think one of the hardest things about living gluten free is when you really need or want to eat out.  Like when you’re in the midst of moving, as we are.  It’s so hard because you can’t easily just run by somewhere and pick something up.  It’s a major ordeal to just go and eat, asking so many questions, checking a website (if possible) for allergen information.  It’s just easier, not mention, cheaper and healthier, to eat at home.  However, there are times when you just can’t face making a meal or you haven’t been to the store.  So, I will share a couple of my fast food experiences. 

Wendy’s:
Baked Potatoes
Salad – check about the dressing
Hamburger/Cheeseburger – no bun
Chili (I haven’t eaten it but my friend who is Celiac has)
Frosty

Burger King:
They have a dedicated french fry fryer at some locations
Cheeseburger no bun

Chick Fil A:
Grilled Chicken no bun
Waffle Fries

These are the places and items we have frequented usually without incident.  Though today, I think we have gotten contaminated with gluten.

Explaining to, preferably, the manager, the importance of the handling of your food and also checking the website or asking if they have a gluten free menu.  Telling them all the important stuff – no bread/breaded items can touch my food, or be cooked where these items have touched.  Please change your gloves so that the gluten on your gloves don’t contaminate my food. 

Sadly, though, even when you take all these measure, it’s possible that you may still get contaminated.  That is always a chance you take when you don’t eat at home or make the food yourself.

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Apple Crisp

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I know not all GF people can eat oats.  But, if you can this is a great, quick and easy dessert.  I use Bob’s Red Mill GF oats.

Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 375°

2-3 cups of Apples
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Sucanat or whatever kind of sugar you have on hand

Mix these together and put in baking dish, I used a cast iron skillet, maybe 10″. 

Combine following ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons GF Oats
2 T chopped pecans
1/4 cup GF Flour
4 Tablespoons sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, fresh ground if possible

Using two knifes, a fork or a pastry blender to cut in:
6 Tablespoons of butter

Then sprinkle over the apple filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

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Making Condiments and Seasonings

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I could not even believe how many food items contain gluten.  Foods you would never even think of can and do contain gluten.  I think as gluten intolerance/allergy/disease become more and more widely recognized this is changing, but still true. 

Because of this, and to save money, I have begun to make Ranch Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette,  Taco Seasoning, Enchilada Sauce, Pizza Sauce.  The great thing is then you know for sure every item you are putting into it.  Also, you can make them healthier than the average product for a reasonable price.

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Pizza Sauce

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This will make approximately 2 pints of sauce.  Tomato products last for a good while in the fridge or you could can the sauce also into 1/2 pints or pints.  You could also freeze the sauce.  If you are going to can this sauce you’ll need to get your jars ready before you start.

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon EACH dried herb:

oregano
basil
rosemary
marjoram
parsley
salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 Tablespoon honey
1 – 20 oz can tomato sauce

Heat  2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. 
Add the onions and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until caramelized, stirring frequently.
Add the dried herbs and garlic, cook 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low and add the tomato sauce and honey, stir well and let cook for about 30-60 minutes, this will give the flavors a chance to meld and for the sauce to thicken.

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Flour Blends

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If you’ve tried to do any gluten free baking at all you know that you really need a good flour blend.  It’s taken a good while but I think that I have two blends that work well for me.  The first blend that I started with was:

1 part brown or white rice flour
1/3 part tapioca starch (or flour)
1/3 part potato starch

I used this blend all the time, but it didn’t always translate well when converting recipes from gluten-full to gluten free.

After a while I found this book, I mentioned before, and discovered their Artisanal Flour blend.
I think that this has been the best blend for me, though I know that there are many other blends, already made, that you can purchase. 

One concern, my friend who has Celiac brought up, is so much consumption of white grains and  starches.  After she said that I saw an article in Living Without Magazine about that too.  So I have really been trying to use more whole grains while still getting a great baked good.

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Roast in the Crockpot

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I do this quite frequently it is super easy and makes great meat.  I have started with my meat frozen and thawed.  If you start with thawed meat it will cook faster.  It is a great feeling to prepare the food in the morning knowing that supper will be ready and waiting.

I put onions, potatoes and carrots in the bottom, meat on top.

Make sure you season your meat well.
Choose a marinade, if you have my cookbook there are two in there.  Then pour your marinade over the top. 

Cook low and slow….8-10 hours.

I used beef chuck roast, but you could use venison or pork.

Also, this can usually make for multiple meals, at least two.  I usually use the roast for one meal and then make Beefy Noodes, Teriyaki Beef  or Beef Stew.

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Menu Plan Monday – March 7th, 2011

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The weeks of this year are just flashing by!  It’s amazing how far into March we already are.  I hope that where you live you are seeing many signs of spring, not like a friend of mine who just had snow!  Though she said that there was snow on the mountain and daffodils in the fields.  So even in the midst of an unexpected winter storm, she too is seeing signs of spring. I love how spring reminds us of the Resurrection and new life in Christ.  I hope you are seeing this in your life as well as in nature.

Monday:
Cheeseburgers with Kinnikinnick Hamburger Buns
Nathan’s Hot Dogs (No buns, I haven’t found a bun that I think is worth the cost)
Oven Baked French Fries and Sweet Potato Fries
Salad

Tuesday:
Coconut Curry Chicken
Coconut Rice
Carrots

Wednesday:
Meatloaf
Baked Potatoes
Veggie

Thursday:
Chicken with Apple Cider Sauce
Apple Cider Green Beans
Roasted Potatoes

Friday:
Teriyaki Beef
Rice
Veggies

Saturday:

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Tortilla chips

Sunday:
Chicken Soup

For more great menu ideas you can go to orgjunkie.com

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Making Pizza

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I’m sure there is a great recipe for GF pizza crust.  I, however, haven’t encountered conquered it yet.  I have had success with Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust.  Though it took me a bit to perfect my technique.  I will share a bit about it.  I took a video of spreading pizza dough.

I use a technique of dipping the spatula in a cup of water and then spread dough, dipping into the water after one or two spreads, as soon as the spatula starts to “stick” to the dough even slightly, you need to re-dip in the water or you’ll tear the dough. I shared before that I make three crusts from one bag.

Here is a picture of all three of the crusts, in the oven, ready for baking.

This is the crusts after they baked.

This is two of the pizzas after baking.

I forgot to set them all together and almost forgot to take a finished
picture!  You may notice the round crust is sitting on a mesh, metal 
sheet.  I had heard at one pizza place that I went to that baking on
this kind of pan will give you a crispier crust.  I forgot about it when
I made the crusts, but switched it after initial baking.  I really
think it did make a difference and I will be working on perfecting this
and share the details with you when I do.

Hope this helps you in your pizza making efforts.

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Getting the most out of a whole chicken

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If you ask anyone who knows me they would tell you I am extremely frugal and practical.  I like to get the best/most use out of everything!  So here are some ways that I use a whole chicken.  Usually I will roast the chicken in the oven with veggies, then I will serve (1)chicken and veggies for dinner.  Then I will remove any leftover chicken from the bone, save it, put the carcass in a huge pot, fill the pot with water and (2)make stock.  Leftover chicken and/or stock can be used to make (3)Chicken Rice Bake Casserole , (4) Chicken & Dumplings, (5) Chicken salad, (6)Topping for Pizza, (7)Chicken Enchilada Casserole, (8)Chicken soup.

I could go on, but that’s quite a few to give you food for thought.  (pun intended) Obviously the size of your chicken and how many people you are feeding will determine how much you can do with one chicken.  Also, if you don’t use the chicken as one of the meals you can make your bird go much, much further.

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