Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frugal Picture Frame Idea

I made this fun frame for my sister Rae. It says, “Sister: a very useful thing.”

If you’re a fan of the Tintin comic books, you may remember that Tintin once said, “Concussion: a very useful thing.” That’s where this saying comes from.

I decoupaged letters I cut out from the newspaper onto a bright pink frame. I love decoupaging; it’s so fun to do and almost always ends up looking great!

And of course you could always use a more *normal* saying. Rae and I are both a bit weird, so I like it that my gift reflects our oddity.

I was really happy with the way this gift came together. It was a thoughtful and frugal idea, if I may say so myself!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chocolate Peppermint Pie - Easily Gluten Free

Tonight Tim and I are going to visit some really good friends of ours. They’re like my second family, really. One of the girls, Bekka, has Celiac disease, so it’s easy for me to eat at their house.

I’m bringing along a gluten free Chocolate Peppermint Pie. I used Glutino chocolate dream cookies for the crust. It looks so good, I can’t wait to try it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Raspberry Cranberry Pie - Gluten Free

I made another Raspberry Cranberry pie, for Christmas this time instead of Thanksgiving. I paid more attention to what I was doing so I now have an actual recipe, albeit a simple one.

Raspberry Cranberry Pie

30 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
18 oz cranberries
Sugar to taste
¼ cup minute tapioca
½ cup tapioca flour
Two pie crusts

Combine the berries and add sugar to your preference of sweetness. Mix in the minute tapioca. Let stand in the fridge over night or longer.

Prepare the pie crusts. Mix the tapioca flour into the filling and pour into the bottom crust. Cover with the top crust and follow the crust’s baking directions.

And there you go!

I always have a little extra crust, so I made two little pie tartlets for some gluten free friends from church. I hope they enjoy them!

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chicken Rice Casserole - crock pot

This dish isn’t Christmas-y at all, but it’s a tasty and simple dinner recipe!

Chicken Rice Casserole in the crock pot

2 Chicken breasts
2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups gluten free chicken broth
2 cups water
S and P to taste
Shredded cheese – optional

Put the rice and chicken in the crock pot and cover with broth, water, and S and P. Cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Sprinkle with cheese about 30 minutes before it’s done if you wish. We didn’t do that this time, so you won’t see cheese in the picture. I put some parsley on the chicken, so that's why it's greenish.

It’s really that simple, and really that good! As long as you use gluten free chicken broth, it’s naturally gluten free.

Christmas Cookies!

When my friend Morgan told me she was going to do some gluten free Christmas cookie baking, I directed her to Carrie’s gluten free cookie roundup at GingerLemonGirl. Once I browsed through the plethora of cookie recipes, I decided that I needed to do a gluten free cookie baking day, too.

I have a friend from my church who was diagnosed with Celiacs two weeks ago. So I invited her over and we baked cookies all morning and afternoon last Saturday!

We made Chocolate Chip Cookies (of course!), Cranberry Orange Cookies (since I have a love affair with cranberries), and Sugar Cookies.

I’ll definitely be saving these recipes to use again. The cookies were so scrumptious!

On a side note; yes the sugar cookies are a donkey and a pig. Unfortunately I don’t have any “Christmasy” cookie cutters, just barn yard animals. But, I figured there were probably donkeys and pigs in the stable when Jesus was born, so it works!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chicken Black Bean Soup

I learned a very good lesson this week, one that many of you probably have known for years.

I found out that dried beans don’t fully cook in a soup in the crock pot for 8 hours on low.

I made Chicken Black Bean crock pot soup on Wednesday. Even without the beans being fully cooked, it still was quite tasty. I’ll definitely make this soup again, but not in the crock pot next time. I think it’ll turn out better on the stove. Or maybe a combination of crock pot and stove.

Here’s what’s in it:

16 oz. dried black beans

1-2 chicken breasts

28 oz diced tomatoes and juice

4 cups gluten free chicken broth

2 onions, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

16 oz frozen corn

Coriander to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

I just threw everything in the crock pot (minus frozen corn), and turned it on low all day. Next time I think I’ll cook everything except the corn and beans in the crock pot, cook the beans on the stove, and then add the beans and corn just before I serve it. That way the beans won’t be crunchy, which is always a plus!

I work with an elementary girls group at my church on Wednesday nights. This past Wednesday we were supposed to dress up like Christmas. Here’s what I came up with:

I’m a Christmas tree! I had on brown pants (which you can’t really see) to be the tree trunk, green to be the boughs, ornaments hung up with care, and an angel on top!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekly Menu - Gluten Free

Thanks to Diane for the breakfast burrito idea. We’ve used up quite a few of our tortillas on those, and, boy, are they yummy!

I survived my crazy busy week, and now I’m on to a calmer and more relaxed week. Of course I’m trying to do Christmas shopping and baking, and trying to get caught up on the housework that was put on the back burner last week (laundry, anyone?), but for the most part, it should be a nice week.

That doesn’t take into consideration the fact that I’m sure I’ll be staying super late at work since open enrollment is closing and the enrollment forms can’t enter themselves… That would be stellar if they could!

I’m going to try a few new recipes that have been floating around in my head, so I’ll actually have food stuff to put up here on my blog.

Here’s what I have planned for a naturally gluten free menu:

  • Monday – Burgers and rice
  • Tuesday – Rice noodles
  • Wednesday – Chicken black bean crock pot soup (recipe to come later this week)
  • Thursday – Tomato soup and sandwiches
  • Friday – Chicken nuggets and mashed sweet potatoes
  • Saturday lunch – Chicken and rice casserole (again, recipe to come later this week)
  • Saturday dinner – Split pea chowder
  • Sunday – Cobb salads

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekly Menu

I'm playing with the symphony this weekend for their Holiday Pops concert, so I'll be at rehearsals Tuesday and Thursday. That means that I need something quick and easy for dinner on those two nights.

We also have a ton of tortillas left over from when we had salsa chicken last week. So, I need some creative ways to use them up.
  • Monday -Bean burritos
  • Tuesday - Tortilla pizzas
  • Wednesday - Chili
  • Thursday - Chili again, I think
  • Friday - Cheesy chicken rice casserole
  • Saturday lunch - Egg sandwiches
  • Saturday dinner - Eat out, I think, since I have a 2:00 show and a 7:30 show. Not much time left for cooking!
I sometimes feel a little anxious about eating out before a show. I prefer to eat something that I know will not make me *sick*. Maybe I'll come up with something to throw in the crock pot Saturday morning. That way I won't have to cook in between shows, and I'll get to eat at home.

Do you have any creative ways of using up corn tortillas before they go stale?

Cranberry Raspberry Pie - Gluten Free

Here's another picture of my cranberry raspberry pie. I was so happy with the way the filling held together. It didn't get at all soggy.

Thanks to Blondin for taking this photo!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blue Cheese - Gluten Free?

Gluten Free Kay asked me about the blue cheese that I had on Thanksgiving. I served Amablu blue cheese. I emailed Amablu to ask if their cheese was gluten free and received a response in 18 minutes. Here’s what Beth at Amablu said:

“That is a very common question and I’m glad you asked. Our Amablu products, including our blue cheese, gorgonzola and our award winning St. Pete’s Select blue cheese are all gluten free. We are careful to purchase our Penicillium roqueforttii from manufacturers that culture without the use of wheat or rye breads.

We here at Faribault Dairy take pride in making handmade, all natural, award winning cheese and ultimately strive for you, the consumer to have a pleasurable palate experience. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

I hope you enjoy your blue cheese experience.”

I have a fond connection with Amablu. My grandfather worked in the sand caves in Faribault making blue cheese many years ago. They shut down the caves for a while, and then recently the Faribault Dairy company bought them and began production again.

My sister and I have very thin skin, so you can easily see our veins beneath it. We like to say that we have blue cheese coursing through our veins. When people ask how we can eat moldy cheese, we say, “It’s in our blood!” We follow in the footsteps of our grandpa!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner - Yum!!!

Well, Thanksgiving is all over with. We had a great time with family and lots o' food. Here are a few pictures from our meal.

We had cheese and crackers and deviled eggs for appetizer. Tim and I were really looking forward to the special cheeses. We had creamy havarti, dill havarti, Dubliner, Gruyere, and blue. Of course, most blues are started on wheat bread, so be careful about eating blue cheese.

Then we started the meal out with a fresh julienne veggie salad with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette and popovers. I used the popover recipe from the Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. They didn’t “pop” a lot, but they tasted just like their glutenful partners.

We got out our china for this special meal. I just love the look of our accent plates!

The main course consisted of too much food. We had a beef roast with lots of onions, mashed garlic sweet potatoes...

green bean casserole...

Carrie’s sweet corn pudding, cranberry salad...

and cranberry sauce.

Then, much later in the day, we had our dessert: raspberry cranberry pie and chocolate pie. Can you tell that we like cranberries in my family?

For breakfast this morning we had fruit soup (a family tradition) and a Swedish coffee cake from the Gluten Free Gourmet Makes Comfort Food that really turned out great! I’ll definitely be making that recipe again!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too. And don’t forget to give thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

Sorry I’ve been *absent* recently. I have so much to do to get ready for Thanksgiving!

My mom, sister, and great-aunt are coming down tomorrow to stay through Friday. I’m glad I’ll have a bunch of extra hands to help in the kitchen!

I’m so excited for our Thanksgiving meal! We’re already prepping some of the food and I just want to eat it all right now!

Here’s what we’re having…

Cheese and crackers
Deviled eggs

Julienne veggie salad with raspberry vinaigrette
Pot roast (I know, I know, it’s not turkey, but it’s still so good!)
Garlic mashed sweet potatoes
Green bean hot dish
Carrie’s sweet corn pudding
Pineapple salad
Cranberry sauce

Cranberry raspberry pie (with this pie crust recipe)
Dark chocolate pie
Ice cream

Oh, I’m getting hungry just typing this out.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that my family members have unusual diets. I don’t eat gluten, my sister’s a vegetarian and doesn’t eat tomatoes or peppers, and my mom doesn’t eat wheat, potatoes, and corn. It’s a challenge to cook for all of us, but I think I have enough here to satisfy everyone.

I’ll post some pictures and recipes later this week.

My Thanksgiving guests will be leaving Friday afternoon, and then my cousins and two of their friends will be coming Friday evening to stay through Sunday. I’m pretty sure I won’t have too much blogging time; I’ll be having way too much fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I’m getting excited for Thanksgiving. We’re having my Mom, sister Rae, and Great-aunt Cheryl down for a few days. They’ll be here the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so I’m going to put them all to work in the kitchen helping me prepare the big meal! I’ll be glad to have the help!

I really enjoy planning out a special Thanksgiving meal. I’ll post our menu and food pictures next week. I should tell you that we’re going to have a raspberry cranberry pie to whet your appetite!

Tim and I have been setting aside some extra money each week to help fund our Thanksgiving meal; we couldn’t afford such an elaborate meal on just our $50.00/week grocery budget.

It’s nice to have the extra money in cash so that we know how much to spend and don’t over spend. And it’s nice that it doesn’t all have to come out of our checking account in one fell swoop.

Here are just a few things I’m thankful for:

My family and in-laws
My church and pastors
My friends
My job
My home

Really, this list could go on and on.

Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicken Soup Variation

I had a semi-failed experiment last week. I had a great idea, but looking back, I should have realized that it wouldn’t play out quite like I intended it.

I thought that I should make sweet potato dumplings to go in my chicken veggie soup. So I made some mashed sweet potatoes and dropped them into the boiling soup by spoonfuls.

Of course, they dissolved!

The end result was still very good. The sweet potatoes thickened up the broth and made it a little creamy.

Sometimes “failed” experiments can end up with good results!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I made a huge crockpot full of chili on Monday. Chili is so easily gluten free! Here’s what I put in it:

Beef broth
Tomato sauce
Diced tomatoes
Ground turkey
Black beans
Chili powder
(And a little Franks to my individual serving, of course!)

It’s a little thinner than most chilis, but I like that it’s full of veggies.

And the turnips are a nice substitute for potatoes. You can hardly tell the difference!

The corn bread that I made was actually the recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook. I subbed a mixture of sorghum, brown rice, and white rice flours. It turned out crumbly, but so good! I think I’m going to use that recipe from now on.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yummy Fruit!

We had a few dollars left over in our food budget this week, and since Wal-Mart had pomegranates on sale for $1.88, I thought I’d get one.

It was quite juicy and flavorful, although after I finished getting the seeds out of it, I was full of red juice!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soup Menu

I’m still recovering from my wisdom teeth removal. I’m brushing and rinsing 4 to 6 times a day, as recommended.

I mixed together water and tea tree oil to make a mouthwash, since tea tree oil has always helped me heal super quickly! It does taste pretty gross, though.

We’re sticking with soups this week because of the afore mentioned reason, and since it’s in the 30’s outside, if we’re lucky. It went from very nice out to very cold in just a few days!

Sunday dinner – tomato soup
Monday – chili with corn bread
Tuesday – chicken veggie soup
Wednesday – chili served over mashed sweet potatoes
Thursday – chicken veggie rice soup
Friday – split pea chowder
Saturday lunch – spaghetti
Saturday dinner – small steaks

Soups are such a nice way to warm up on a cold day. Another nice way to warm up would be a hot water bottle, but I can’t find one to purchase anywhere! I’ve mentioned before that our microwave died months and months ago, and we never replaced it. Apparently the only hot packs that you can buy now are one you have to heat in the microwave. I’d love to put a hot pack on my cheeks to help the swelling in my jaw go down, but I think I’m out of luck until I come up with a microwave-less alternative.

Let me know if you have any ideas!

Check out Gluten Free Goodness for some great gluten free menus.

There's more menus at Org Junkie, as well!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Frito Bars!

Here’s that frito bar recipe I promised. I made them for our election party on Tuesday, and they were just about finished off. Luckily I saved one for a picture!

I’m sure I got this recipe from somewhere, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online, so sorry I’m not giving credit for it.

Frito Bars

10.5 to 12 oz. bag of frito corn chips
1 cup white Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
Chocolate chips to top, at least 1 cup

Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Crunch up the chips in the bag and spread them in the bottom of the pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring the Karo syrup to a boil. Add the sugar and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. (Don’t you love dissolving sugar in sugar!) Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter.

Pour over the chips and mix together. Melt the chocolate chips and spread over the top of the bars. Cool, and enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Thanks for the well wishes everyone. I survived my wisdom teeth surgery. I had a pretty hard time coming out of the anesthesia, like I went under at 8:15 am and didn't fully recover until 8:00 pm, and that was after throwing up 13 times!

Needless to say, I had a pretty miserable day yesterday. Tim was so sweet; he stayed home with me all day and helped me in every way possible. He's the best!

I'm feeling a TON better today. I'm still not up to par, of course, but I'm on the way. I've still got dry sockets and infections to worry about.

I hope to post about my favorite Frito Bars tomorrow!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Menu, Again

I'm having my wisdom teeth out on Thursday. Not really so fun. But it definitely affects our menu for this week. I'm not planning on having a ton of food on Thursday and Friday. I'll probably just stick with jello and split pea soup.

So Tim's in charge of cooking whatever he wants to eat. That makes menu planning a little bit easier.

Here's what we've got in the works:
  • Monday - Veggie Beef soup, leftover from last week
  • Tuesday - Election Party at a friend's house, Go McCain/Palin!
  • Wednesday - Squash, and something with 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • Thursday - Tim - Mac'n'Cheese, Sarah - Jello
  • Friday - Split Pea soup, if I'm up to it
  • Saturday lunch - Sunday school Barn Party
  • Saturday dinner - Something with the other 1/2 lb of ground turkey

How's that for a specific menu? It's at least a rough outline. I don't really know what to expect when I have my teeth out, so we'll just roll with the punches this week.

I like having a menu with naturally gluten free foods like squash, soups, and meat. Of course Tim get's the special treat of having "real" mac'n'cheese since I'm not sharing it with him; and by real I mean Kraft (obviously anti-gluten free)!

As usual, you can find tasty menus at Org Junkie.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pie Crust

Thanks to Tenille for posting about this great pie recipe! (Or, should I say "Awesome")

I’m planning on making a raspberry cranberry pie for Thanksgiving, but I hadn’t found a pie crust that I liked yet. I tried this one out a few weeks ago, and it was very good!

I made it with a top crust just because I like it that way. I'm sure the crumb crust would be nice too.

I definitely would recommend it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was browsing through my old high school yearbook today. Thinking back on those days, I realize how many things I did wrong, how many bad attitudes I had, how many opportunities to touch other peoples’ lives I let slide by.

Now don’t get me wrong; I was a good kid. I was one of the six valedictorians out of my class of 350. I was involved in music (of course). I was in the concert band (playing French horn), the symphonic band (playing percussion), jazz band on and off, pit orchestra, marching band, pep band, chamber orchestra on and off, concert choir, and chamber singers. I even managed our football team for a season.

I think that in high school I was just focusing on all of the wrong things. I always wanted a boyfriend, and now I’m desperately glad that I didn’t have one. I always wanted to be “popular;” well, that’s not really true. I enjoyed being a bit of an oddball, actually. I think what I mean is, I wanted to be accepted.

I was so blessed to have a great group of friends. They helped me get through a rough time in my life with their faithful support and their unconditional acceptance. Without their friendship, I don’t think I would have made it through half as well as I did.

I just know that if I was able to do high school over again with the attitudes I’ve developed and with the life experience I have now, I would have done a much better job.

Oh, and while I made my bread tonight I listened to PFR’s album “Them”. Another *totally high school* flashback.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dinners and a Movie

We had Tim’s family staying with us this past weekend. We had planned on having brats for lunch, but that fell through, so we get to have them for dinner a few times this week! I think we’ll also take some in our lunches tomorrow.

My in-laws all wanted to eat at Panera, even though I told them that it’s fairly difficult for me to eat there. I ended up having a salad (no chicken or dressing, please) and a hot chocolate with soy milk.

Then later Saturday afternoon we went to the cinema. We saw “Eagle Eye,” which ended up being quite good. It has one of my favorite actresses on it: Michelle Monaghan. Unfortunately I got “motion sick” and had to go sit in the lobby and eat ice chips for the last half of the movie, but I’d like to see it again once it comes out on DVD. I’ll do a lot better with it on a small screen.

Here’s our menu for the week, including lots o’ brats.
  • Monday – spaghetti
  • Tuesday – brats and rice
  • Wednesday – tomato soup and grilled cheese
  • Thursday – brats and squash
  • Friday – crepes
  • Saturday lunch – sandwiches
  • Saturday dinner – out, I think

Check out Org Junkie for over 350 menus!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Another quick and easy meal that I made last week was goulash. I don’t have a real recipe for this, so the measurements are just guesses.

  • 16 oz. Tinkyada pasta, or other gluten free pasta, cooked
  • ½ lb. ground turkey (easier on the budget than a full pound of ground beef)
  • Diced onion
  • Tomato sauce
  • Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses

Cook the ground turkey and onions together. Add the tomato sauce and heat until warm. Add some S & P if desired. Add hot sauce (like Frank's) if you want; I always do!

Stir in the cooked pasta and some parmesan. Sprinkle mozzarella on the top and place under the broiler until the cheese melts.

I usually make this in my all metal stockpot so it can go straight into the oven.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

I made some quick and easy meals last week, and yet I was a putz and didn’t blog about any of them!

Here’s how I made my chicken soup.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup
  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Gluten free chicken broth
  • Frozen veggies, like corn, peas, etc.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dill and any other seasoning that you like.

Put the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle seasonings on top of them. Then add the raw, uncooked veggies and pour in the broth, enough to cover the meat and veggies. Cook all day on low. Add the frozen veggies about 30 minutes before serving. Take out the chicken and shread/cube it, and add it back in the soup.

You could also add cooked rice just before serving. Or turn it into chicken dumpling soup with a little gluten free Bisquick-type mix. That’s what we did one morning for breakfast and it was yummy! Some of our friends think we’re crazy, but we like having soup for breakfast.

*I was just browsing other gluten free sites and found out that Diana recently made a crock pot chicken soup, too. Check out hers over here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Conductor Video

Bernstein – West Side Story, Finale from Jason Weinberger on Vimeo.

This is totally random, but check out this cool video of the conductor I play under. I love how expressive his face is!

I just did a concert with the Symphony yesterday. It was mostly Latin music, and, of course, Hoe-Down by Copland. It was a fun concert!

I Need Help!!!

The last two loaves of bread that I made stuck to the bottom of my loaf pan. I have a non-stick loaf pan that isn’t scratched at all, and I always generously grease it with shortening.

But still, my last two loaves had their bottoms ripped off as I tried to get them out of the pan.

You can imagine how frustrated that made me!

Do you have a tip for making your bread not stick? Do you think I need to buy a new loaf pan even though mine isn’t scratched? Should I grease it with something else?

I’d appreciate any advice! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekly Menu

Better late than never, right?

  • Tuesday - Cheeseburger bake
  • Wednesday - Chicken veggie soup
  • Thursday - Goulash
  • Friday - Pancakes and eggs
  • Saturday lunch - Chicken and rice
  • Saturday dinner - French toast

I can't believe that I haven't posted my goulash recipe yet. I'll put it up later this week.

Check out Org Junkie for more menu ideas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy

Last week I used the leftover sauce from my alfredo pie to make a sort of Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast. Although we had reservations at first, both Tim and I really liked it!

I just mixed the alfredo sauce with some cooked ground turkey, warmed it up, and poured it over biscuits. It was a great way to start the day!

I used Mrs.P's Yeast Rolls recipe, although next time I think I'll put in a but more flour. It was quite sticky!

(Sorry for the blurry picture; I don’t know what happened.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Box O' Snacks

Look at all of these tasty gluten free snacks that my kind Mother sent to us!

What fun it was to open up an unexpected package of treats. Apparently there are some pretty cool stores out in Washington, since I’ve never seen these brands in Iowa.

I especially like the Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs, chipotle tomato flavored. Also, Pamela’s Organic Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk cookies were to die for! Those were gone in about three days.

We took the rest of these snacks (not the gravy mixes or soap bar, of course) on our weekend trip. Together with the caramel corn, we were eating good! At least snack-wise, haha.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Caramel Corn

Since we're going on a trip this weekend, we made a batch of caramel corn for a snack. We used this recipe here, but made just a half recipe.

Apparently we took it too literally when it said to boil for five minutes without stirring. It burned a bit on the bottom of the sauce, so next time I think we’ll stir occasionally.

Other than that, it turned out pretty good!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chicken Alfredo Pie

I made a Chicken Alfredo Pie for my friends who just had the baby, and I made an extra one for Tim and me!

It’s quite similar to my spaghetti pie, but with chicken instead of beef and with alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, although I’m thinking those changes are pretty self-evident!

My spaghetti pie recipe calls for 8-10 oz. pasta, but I've been doing less recently and it's been working better. I now do about 6 oz. cooked rice noodles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Frugal Baby Gift Idea

This is completely off the topic of gluten free, but it is a frugal idea.

My friends just had a baby girl last week. She is just a gem, so cute and small. They named her a good Old Testament name: Hannah.

Since I took Hebrew in college, I made her a name placard with Hannah written out in Hebrew, a Bible verse from Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel, and a little picture of a girl. What do you think of it?

It only cost me $1.50 for the frame and time. I think it’s pretty neat, but I love the Hebrew language. It’s read from right to left, and it’s so beautiful written and spoken.

Even if you don’t know Hebrew, you could make a name placard with the meaning of the baby’s name, a Bible verse to go along with the name’s meaning, and a picture.

In my Adult Sunday School (the young married group), it’s good to have a frugal baby gift idea, because people keep having babies! We’re expecting one more this month, one in November, and one in February. That’s all I know about for now, but I’m sure there’ll be more!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Menu

Here’s our weekly menu:
  • Monday – Chicken Alfredo pie
  • Tuesday – Tomato soup and sandwich
  • Wednesday – Pizza
  • Thursday – Barbeque chicken
  • Friday – On the road
  • Saturday lunch – Sandwiches
  • Saturday dinner – Somewhere in Chicago

We are going to Dubuque, IA, on Friday and then heading to Chicago on Saturday. I have a friend in school there, so I’m looking forward to visiting with her!

Traveling can be hard to do gluten free, but it’s more difficult on the “dining out” budget for me. This weekend we’ll probably do fast food on Friday for dinner, pack a lunch for Saturday, eat out somewhere nice for Saturday dinner, and then have breakfast and lunch at our friend’s house on Sunday. Hopefully we’ll make it home in time for dinner.

Check out Org Junkie for her yummy Thanksgiving menu. I guess in Canada it comes earlier!

Hope over to Gluten Free Goodness to get some more gluten free menus.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pepperoni Pasta

After being inspired by a link I found on Org Junkie, I made this pepperoni pasta.

I sautéed some onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil with 3 cloves of crushed garlic. Once they were tender I added a cup of Carrie’s cream soup base, a can of mushrooms, and some turkey pepperoni. Of course I added salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Then I tossed in 8 oz. of cooked Tinkyada brown rice pasta.

I added some parmesan cheese and Frank’s Red Hot just before I ate it. It was so simple and naturally gluten free. We’re definitely having it again!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yummy Gluten Free Brownies

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix (or sift) together:
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl, mix together:
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt together:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter

Slowly pour the melted chocolate/butter into the eggs while beating on low with an electric mixer.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on medium until combined. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan and smooth flat with a spatula. The batter will be quite thick.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

I created this recipe for my mom. She doesn’t eat wheat, potatoes, tapioca, or sorghum, along with a bunch of other foods. And since she doesn’t keep xanthan gum in her pantry, wheat-free baking is a challenge for her.

She called me a few weeks ago and asked if I had a good gluten free brownie recipe. I pulled out my trusty Bette Hagman cookbook, but her brownie recipe called for potato starch, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum. So that was out of the question!

Hopefully this recipe will work for you Mom. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken Nuggets

We had chicken nuggets tonight (instead of yesterday) for dinner. I followed this recipe here that I found on Gluten Free Frugal’s website.

The nuggets turned out really good. They do look a bit unusual, but the second you bite into them, you know you’ve found a keeper!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly Menu

I'm following Carrie's lead and using some cream soups this week. I think we have some fun meals planned; we’re trying to get out of the rut of having the same boring meals over and over.

I also have some of Carrie’s ice cream in my freezer right now, although I made it chocolate chip instead of cinnamon!

I’m going to be posting my brownie recipe sometime this week; it just depends on when I have time to make them, so check back often!

Check out Kimberly at Living Free for a great gluten free menu round up.

And, as usual, you can find anything and everything over at Org Junkie's menu round up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Evening

We just got back from a fun evening with friends. We had great food and a great time playing card games.

They made us steaks on the grill which were so YUM! We also had mashed potatoes with Velveeta, sour cream, garlic salt, and butter. I’m definitely going to have to try making those at home. I never would have thought to put Velveeta in mashed potatoes.

We played the card game Hand and Foot. Tim and Darci were on a team and they kind of killed Doug and I. Then we played Liverpool Rummy. It was our first time playing, and we truly enjoyed it. I especially did, since I won! It must have been beginner’s luck.

Now off to bed for me; it’s way past my bedtime!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Buffalo Beef

We had this last Monday (like last week’s Monday), and it was pretty good.

To make the sauce, I just mixed together some Herb Ox (gluten free) beef broth and some Frank’s Red Hot sauce (also gluten free). I thickened it with some water and rice flour.

I just love anything buffalo. I seem to crave the really vinegary sauces, like Frank's. I wonder if I have some deficiency in my diet that would cause me to crave vinegar? My friends all think it’s pretty weird, which it is.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grocery Trip

Both Tim and I have been down for the count these past few days. My cold hit on Saturday and Tim's came to fruition on Monday.

Now this isn’t just a sniffly nose – sneezy thing. No; in addition to that, there’s the fever, the body aches, the sore throat, and a few other things just for fun. We’ve both been pretty miserable.

Which means... Chinese food delivered for dinner on Monday and leftover Chinese food for dinner on Tuesday.

I actually went to work today, so on my way home I stopped to pick up two movies from the Family Video ("Head Over Heels" and "28 Days"), and I also stopped by the grocery store and got this:

Yup, that’s ice cream, bananas, and a steak. It’s weird what you crave when you’re sick!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

High Five

We're out-of-state today for a wedding, so I'm just going to give a quick "high five" to Frank's Red Hot sauce.

I love this sauce! It has a really great flavor, and a good zing to it, too.

Not only is the "high five" for making such a great sauce gluten free (and MSG free and kosher, by the way), but specifically for stating it's gluten free-ness on the questions page!

I love it when it's easy to confirm that something is gluten free.

Thanks Frank!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Baking Bread

Well, I promised my bread recipe, so here it is. I've adapted it a bit since I posted about it here.

Dry ingredients:
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup dry milk powder
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 tablespoon pectin
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon gelatin

Wet ingredients:
2 eggs
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons gluten free apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups and 2 tablespoons water

1 ½ teaspoons bread machine/quick rise yeast

Mix together all of the dry ingredients (excluding yeast).

Beat the eggs, and then add the olive oil and vinegar and beat again.

Pour the egg mixture into the bread machine pan.

Add the water to the pan.

Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet. Make a little well in the dry ingredients and pour the yeast in it.

Set your Breadman TR875 to the gluten free setting, lock the pan in place, and hit start. I use a little spatula to scrape around the edges of the pan a couple times in the first few minutes.

After the kneading cycle (20 minutes) scoop the dough into a greased bread pan. I’ve found it quite important to shape the loaf in the bread pan.

Cover and set to rise in a warm place. After it’s about doubled in size, put it in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes.

Check for doneness with a thermometer. It should read between 200 and 210 degrees in the middle of the loaf. A huge "THANK YOU" to Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl (AKA Gluten Free Baking Goddess) for tipping me off to this thermometer trick. It really helps to figure out when the bread is done. In fact, Carrie has a great post that you should check out that's all about baking bread.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

This makes great toast (I’m having some right now) and it makes a nice sandwich, too!

Like I've mentioned before, I measure out the dry ingredients for two loaves and keep one for the next time I need it!