Monthly Archives: September 2014


Weekly Menu Plan #26 – 2014


GFAlwaysMenuPlanlogoLike I told you last week a friend gave me some eggplant, I had planned to make two dishes, however I grossly underestimated how much the eggplant would reduce when cooked and also after salting it.  Anyway, I will share the recipe i did make with it and all the things that happened in the course of making it.

I am working on mainstreaming my week/schedule and spent some time last week looking for make ahead recipes for breakfast.  I found several things I’m going to try  – Refrigerator Oatmeal (I’ve done this one a couple of times), Breakfast Cups, Breakfast Burritos, Breakfast Bowls, to name some of them.  I think there may be more but I can’t find my list right now.  I will post these as I do them and share the results.  All of these items will be pre-made items that can be pulled directly from fridge and eaten or popped into toaster oven (or microwave, if you have one).  If you have any great ideas for make ahead breakfasts, please tell me about them.


Menu for the week:

Smoky Chipotle Chili Cheese Mac

Chicken, Potato & Green Bean Dish

Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed Potatoes

Honey Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes


Mongolian Beef
Steamed Veggies

Loaded Baked Potato Soup OR Smoky Paprika Chicken Soup


more menu ideas here and  here.


Gluten Free Vintage Cake


Gluten Free Vintage Cake
Gluten Free Vintage Cake

When I saw this recipe on pinterest I knew I had to convert this to GF.  My (and my mom’s) birthday last week was a perfect opportunity to try it.  This cake is so rich you have to eat just small slices.  The original recipe calls for white cake, but I find that GF cakes can be dry and that you need butter and egg yolks to make them more moist and less dry, so opted for yellow cake instead.  Also, I didn’t know this when I made it you need about 1 1/2 recipes of the icing.  It was barely enough for the cake, in my opinion.  I have adjusted my recipe to reflect that.

I made my brownies and cake from scratch, but you could totally use box mixes for this recipe too. If you do use a box cake mix I suggest using my recipe for making box cake mix better.


1 recipe of yellow cake

1 recipe of brownies

2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon water

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe at bottom)

Bake your yellow cake in two 9 inch pans, grease and line with parchment paper.  Let cool.

Two yellow cake layers
Two yellow cake layers

Bake your brownies in a 9 inch cake pan.

Brownie layer topped with chocolate sauce
Brownie layer topped with chocolate sauce

While your brownies bake, melt the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and water over  medium low heat, stir occasionally until chocolate melts, mix well to combine.  Pour this over the warm brownies and let soak in for 30 minutes.  Once the cakes are cooled and the sauce has soaked into brownies you are ready to assemble.

Side note on the brownies:  The brownies my kind of fall apart when you try to remove from pan while still warm, that’s the nature of baked goods, but particularly GF, when it’s not cool.  I just put it on cake plate and then pushed it together to form the round layer.

Place one layer of cake on top of brownie layer.  Ice that layer of cake with about 1/2 cup of cream cheese icing to within 1/2 inch of edge.  Top that with next layer of cake and use the rest of the icing to ice the entire cake.

The first two layers

I will say that my cake leaked a little of the chocolate sauce out the bottom. not much but I think try to make sure that you get the icing all the way down to bottom, I think that will help keep it from seeping.  It didn’t effect the taste of the cake at all.

I wanted to show a picture of the whole cake sliced, but the plate is all smeared with chocolate and isn’t eye appealing.

 A slice of vintage cake
A slice of vintage cake

Cream cheese Icing

6 cups powdered sugar

12 oz cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup butter, softened

6 Tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

Combine cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla and salt.  Mix well until creamy and combined.  Add the powdered sugar in a bit at a time, until smooth and creamy.




Gluten Free Autumn Harvest Chicken (Freezer to Crockpot)


Autumn Harvest Chicken (frozen)
Autumn Harvest Chicken (frozen)

I really must get better at noting where I’ve found a recipe.  I didn’t for this one, I do remember that they were doing it with pork, which I cannot eat.  It sounded so good and like Fall.  Plus, I think it seems so versatile.  You could use chicken, pork or turkey.

I have been working on getting a good list of  freezer to crockpot recipes.  I spent about 1 1/2 hours, including clean up making 6 freezer meals, that averages about 15 minutes per meal for prep.  That’s pretty awesome in my book.  I just added this one to the line up.  The bad part about freezer to crockpot meals are that there are no pictures.  I wish I would have thought to take pictures of the prep, but I didn’t, maybe next time.  I will try to take a picture when I cook it, no guarantees though.  🙂  I went and took this picture in the freezer so I could add it to post.

2 pounds chicken (boneless thighs or breasts), turkey or pork

1/3 cup dark brown sugar (I’d use light if I didn’t have dark on hand)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground sage (I would sub poultry seasoning if I didn’t have sage)
1/2 teaspoon Morton’s Nature Season or favorite all purpose season salt

1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled and sliced thickly (I used Pink Lady Apple and I chunked it up.)
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (I only had one butternut on hand so I split it between the two bags I made)

1 cup apple cider (I used homemade apple juice)

I dumped everything into a gallon freezer bag, sealed it up and just kind of squished it around.  Laid it flat for the freezer.

If I can I will set out the night before, if I forget, which is likely, I will just pull out and let sit on counter or in water till I can break it loose from the bag.

Cook in crockpot low 6-7 hours.

You could forgo the freezing and put directly in crockpot – if you do this I’d just put the spices on the chicken and then put fruit and squash around the chicken.

Remove chicken, let sit five minutes and slice and serve with fruit and squash.



Weekly Menu Plan #25 – 2014




We had a good week last week.  Things went very smoothly with the two new additions to our schedule.  By the end of the (school) year I should have things on an even keel, just in time for summer!  I also had a truly wonderful birthday this year. I made the Vintage Cake I mentioned and hope to post the recipe for that this week.

The downside of last week was that I think I may have glutened myself.  I purchased some sausages.  It was either that or the pork casing.  I threw away the package after I got sick and I can’t find the package on line.  The sausages were amazing. So if you don’t have a problem with gluten and/or pork then you should definitely try them.  They were Guy Fieri Chicken Apple Gouda Sausages.  I got them at Walmart.  I will have to do some more investigation.  Sometimes I get so focused on one allergen that I forget to look for others. Ugh.

I was blessed with some garden fresh eggplant this week and plan to make a couple of new dishes.  Eggplant Lasagna and Baba Ganoush, which is basically using roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas to make hummus.

Menu for the week:

Rosemary Chicken Penne

Bean & Cheese Enchilada

Buttermilk Marinated Chicken

Sweet & Savory Beef  OR Eggplant Lasagna

This will be our first homeschool mom’s meeting of the year
Leftovers maybe

Fish Tacos (fingers crossed, the last 4 times I haven’t pulled it off)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


check out here and here for more great menu plans


Gluten Free Pupusa


I served the pupusa with Spanish rice and romaine with sour cream and salsa on the side.

I think I found this recipe on pinterest.   I titled this post GF, but actually since this is made with masa harina (corn flour) it’s naturally gluten free, but you do need to make sure it’s not processed with gluten.  I use this brand , I thought it was certified GF, though it doesn’t say it on the site.  Make sure that you get flour not meal.  It’s not the same.

A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick, handmade corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend of the following: cheese cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency refried beans, or queso con loroco.


For the tortillas-

Equal parts water and Masa Harina.
Morton’s Season Salt or other seasoning

Mix the water and corn flour together.  I found that I needed a little more water.  I started with 2 cups each. Then added a little more water.  The dough worked better being more wet than dry, but not too wet.  It shouldn’t stick to your hand.


I used an ice cream scoop to make mine.  I scooped out and then flattened with my hand, put filling in with a smaller scoop (or spoon) then carefully fold tortilla around try to close the dough around filling so it doesn’t peek out.


(These were the first ones and you can see where the dough was broken and I didn’t get it around the filling well. I got better with practice and you will too.)


You can use whatever you want, as stated above.  I copied that definition from Google.  I didn’t know the meat was suppose to be ground to a paste.  I used leftover pot roast, shredded and added refried black beans and shredded cheddar.  I didn’t measure the ingredients the meat, maybe a couple of cups and 1 cup of beans a couple handfuls of cheese.


After you fill the pupusas then flatten them to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Heat oil over medium high heat.  I used light olive oil, but next time I think I will use shortening. I think that it will take a higher heat and not leave a flavor.


I cooked these about 5-7 minutes per side.  I wanted them to be a little crispy and golden brown. Plus these are a thicker tortilla with filling so you want to make sure they cook in the center too.



Weekly Menu Plan #24 – 2014


Here we go….this week really kicks up our schedule by several notches.  I have all these ideas in my mind to make things easier and run smoother.  Sadly I’m not doing the best at implementing  them and the ones I’ve tried have not been successful.  I’ll be hanging in there and will hopefully get a good groove going in a week or so.  Obviously meal planning is a big thing for me especially when my schedule is super busy.  I also have a few things in the freezer that I can pull out at the last minute if my planned menu doesn’t work out for whatever reason.  I also plan to start doubling some of my meals and freezing half, for the ones that this will work well for.

What are some of your best management tricks, tools, helps?

This week’s menu:


Pasta – maybe baked ziti I may do spaghetti and meatballs  my girl has been asking for that.  If I pull this off I will double the meatballs and freeze half.

Today is my mom’s (and my) birthday
Not sure what we’ll do for dinner yet.  But I will be making a Vintage Cake and look forward to sharing the recipe with you.

Salmon Patties
Roasted Veggies

Hot Dogs or Cows in Ponchos

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Sides – not sure


Chicken Tortilla Soup

check out here and here for more great menu plans