Wednesday, April 30, 2008
"Why are you telling me this?" you might ask. I'm telling you this as a way to explain today's post title: "Really Good Bars." Depending on where you live, you would call bars cookies, or treats, or some other ridiculous name. In the North country, we tell it like it is. When it comes out of a rectangular pan, and it's retangular or square in shape, it's a bar. That's just the way it is.
I work with our AWANA kids program at church, and this week we were celebrating everyone's birthday by having everyone bring treats to share. I brought the afore mentioned "Really Good Bars." Here's what I put in 'em.
10 oz. marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
6 cups Cocoa Pebbles
extra mini marshmallows
Melt the 10 oz. marshmallows and butter. Mix with the cereal in a 9 x 13 pan. Add mini M&M's and extra mini marshmallows and mix. Spread out flat in the pan using a lightly greased baggie. They should look like this:
I must say, they were a hit!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
- Sunday lunch - Burgers on the grill
- Sunday dinner - Salsa Chicken
- Monday - Salsa Chicken Soup
- Tuesday - Stir Fry
- Wednesday - Rice Casserole
- Thursday - Chicken on the grill
- Friday - Spaghetti Pie
Thanks to Gluten Free Frugal for the Salsa Chicken recipe! We're excited to try it!
Check out more menu plans here.
We spent about $51.00 at Wal-Mart and about $22.00 at Hy-Vee. That included fixings for S'mores since we're planning on having friends over for a bonfire sometime soon.
Check out this post over at Money Saving Mom for a great deal on organic tomatoes. We got four cans tonight and are planning on stocking up the next few times we go!
Friday, April 25, 2008
She also said that they have had customers who brought in their own crust and Pizza Hut would top it and bake it for them. I'll have to try that sometime when I'm not with a large group.
I'd better go put my pizza in the oven since we're meeting at 6:00!
There are two major areas of the kitchen that can become cross-contaminated with gluten: food and cookware/appliances. Let's start with food.
Anything that is used repeatedly over a period of time should be considered for gluten contamination. Common items are butter/spreads, peanut butter, jelly, and mayo. If a knife is used to spread jelly on a piece of wheat toast and is then put back into the jar to get more jelly, the whole jar is contaminated. Label all gluten free spreads clearly.
If you have wheat bread in your house, be careful where crumbs fall. Be conscious of what gets dipped in the salsa jar and the ranch dip. Watch out for kids with messy hands reaching into the chip bag.
Establish a cupboard that is for gluten free food only. Or, if the majority, but not all, of your household eats gf, have a special cupboard only for gluten-containing snacks. Always consider cross contamination. Once it's a habit, it won't have to rule your life.
Anything porous, like a cutting board, should not be shared by gluten-containing and gluten free foods. Never share a toaster with wheat bread. Be careful of baking pans with foods burned onto them. Even the smallest particle of gluten can cause problems.
If you're just switching to eating gluten free, but very discriminatory about what pans and dishes you keep. Evaluate each dish individually, but don't get overwhelmed. You may only have to get a new toaster, cutting board for gf use only, and a few storage containers. Have you ever heated up wheat spaghetti in a plastic bowl and had the tomato sauce scar the bowl? If so, throw that bowl out. As a side note, it's not healthy to be microwaving in plactic anyway.
This is a brief treatise on the gluten free kitchen. Once you establish a routine, this aspect of eating gluten free will become easier and easier. Do not be overwhelmed or discouraged. Take heart! With a little vigilance and an adventurous spirit, you'll get settled into this new lifestyle with ease!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Doesn't that look good? It was really tasty. Growing up with gluten, I used to love it when we would have a Bisquick cheeseburger bake. I missed it when I went gluten free.
Then I found a great recipe in Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy." Sorry, again I won't give you the full recipe. But I will say that it is very easy. A few months ago I made up the "Bisquick-type" mix, and whenever I want this meal, I just whip it together!
I put ground turkey, onions, and frozen veggies in mine. The recipe calls for adding milk and eggs to the mix. Unfortunately this time I was all out of milk and only had a few leftover egg yolks. Luckily I always have milk powder around for gluten free baking, and I actually had powdered egg whites as well. So I tried using those instead.
The bake turned out just fine, surprisingly enough!
Remember now; tomorrow is Gluten Free Friday, and I'll be continuing my basics series.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
He'd pulled the pizza out of the oven, cooked the last of our sweet corn, and made salads complete with onions, cheese, and dressing. Really, am I the luckiest girl or what?!
Here's a close up of the pizza. I use a yeast crust recipe from Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-free Gourmet, Second Edition." Since it's published, I can't share the recipe here, but I can tell you, it's the best gf pizza crust I've found so far. I've tried different mixes and different recipes; this one is just my favorite. It's so good, Tim will eat it, too!
(And, yes, that is corn on the pizza!)
The movie talked about intelligent design theory vs. Darwinism/evolution theory. It presented both sides of the debate (well, if you watch the movie, you'll see that there really isn't a debate), and had interviews with many prominent scientists. It discussed how Darwinism is intimately married to atheism, and how intelligent design is not rooted in religion.
The second law of thermodynamics states that if left to itself, Entropy always increases (thanks Rae). Entropy is the randomness of molecules. So, if left alone, molecules will always become more random. How, then, did molecules billions of years ago ignore this law and create life? (I'm digressing rapidly now.)
Back to the movie: I did like it; I thought it was well done, albeit a bit bizarre in format from time to time. Go see it; it could be an eye-opener.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
After adding ground turkey, onions, and a bunch of seasonings, here's the end result:
Tim and I both declared it yummy!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I heated up some tomato sauce and frozen peas and corn. I added sour cream once it was hot, and drizzled it over gf penne pasta. Of course I had to top it with some shredded cheddar cheese. I showed this picture to Tim and he was jealous!
Shannon was the presenter, and my-oh-my is she fit! She teaches exercise classes at a local gym 6 to 7 days a week (in addidtion to working full time with Tim's company) and spends anywhere from $50 to $125 on vitamins and supplements a month! She is in her 50's and could pass for a 30 year old. I'm not sure, but I got the vibe that she is not married and does not have kids. She says that you can't put a price on your health, and I agree; but you also can't put on a price on time with your family.
She gave some good encouragement for regular exercise and healthy eating. After talking through the Health and Wellness program, we got to eat! I did have a light supper before I went, of course, but she had brought some black bean corn chips and salsa that I could eat.
Luckily the meeting only went until 7:30, so Tim and I went home, parked our bottoms on the couch to watch "Entrapment," and ate popcorn!
Friday, April 18, 2008
Be a Label Reader.
The obvious food to aviod is wheat. But there is gluten in other grains as well: rye, barley, triticale, and bran (which I think makes a cool boy's name). Don't eat anything that is made from these grains, such as most breads, pastas, and baked goods.
A few no-no's that aren't so obvious are malt and pretty much all premade soups, whether a dry mix or canned. Be sure to check broth and boullion ingredients as well. Also be careful with processed meats and sauces, including soy sauce and marinades.
Some ingredients that may contain gluten are:
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- mono- and di-glycerides
- modified food starch
- caramel color
I read labels all the time at the store. After a while I just know which products I can eat and which I can't, but I still check from time to time since ingredients can change. If an ingredient seems iffy, call the manufacturer to be sure. Please be careful; it's better to be safe than sorry.
Don't be discouaged about *all the foods* you can't eat; focus on everything you can! There really is so much more you can eat that it makes the "list" of avoidables pale in comparison.
Next Friday I'll post the second installment of Gluten Free Friday. See ya there!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Please tune in tomorrow for the first installment of:
Gluten Free Friday!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I usually just bring a little something for myself, but I hate mentioning it to the hostess because she then feels like she has to provide a special menu for me. I don't mind bringing my own food, but I do get uncomfortable with the attention it draws.
Yesterday I played three youth concerts with my local symphony. We had concerts at 9:30, 11:00, and 1:00. The surrounding school districts bussed some of their students to our concert hall, and between all the concerts we played for well over 4000 kids. The symphony did provide us with lunch. I packed my own, of course, but did partake of the fresh fruit they served. I had packed an egg salad sandwich. As I didn't want to draw attention to myself or explain my food choices to everyone and their brother, I just ate my sandwich backstage by myself. I think that if I had had a sandwich that didn't have such a distinct smell, I would have been more bold.
If you play an instrument, think about different ways you could earn money with that talent. Can you teach lessons? Can you play with a small group (quartet, quintet, etc.) and get gigs like weddings and parties? Can you join a large group in your area, like a symphony, orchestra, or city band that pays per gig? You could call around to see if any activities directors at nursing homes would pay you to play for their residents. You could contact hospitals and shopping centers to see if you could perform there and put out a little tip jar.
I love music; I love making music; I love sharing music. Think outside of the box to see if your passion could make you a little extra income.
Monday, April 14, 2008
We started our menu tonight. Here's what we are going to have:
- Monday - Salad and Popcorn
- Tuesday - Stirfry and Rice
- Wednesday - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
- Thursday - Black Beans and Rice
- Friday - Pasta and Cheese
- Saturday Lunch - Cheeseburger Bake
- Saturday Dinner - Pizza
- Sunday - Famous Dave's, to use up the rest of our gift card
Tonight we put chicken, eggs, and pickles on our salads. Whenever I go to Subway, I always have them put pickles on my salad, but I'd never tried it at home until tonight. Both Tim and I liked it. We topped them with shredded cheese and had a good meal!
Check out more menus here.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
I just hope I'm feeling well enough to play at the variety show tomorrow; I'm really looking forward to it!
I play it with two mallets in each hand so I can play up to four notes simultaneously. It's a very unique and beautiful sounding instrument!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
We've reached the end of our weekly menu. That means that tonight was leftover night! We had tortilla pizzas again. Yum! Along with our pizzas, we had leftover baked beans and rice. It was kind of a random meal, but we try to put off grocery shopping for a few days to save money. We just eat whatever's in the fridge or the cupboards for a few days. Tonight's dinner was quite filling, albeit bizarre.
Even if you don't eat gluten free, tortilla pizzas are a good, frugal lunch or dinner choice. It's just a tortilla with some tomato sauce, pizza toppings, and cheese on it. Then we bake them at 350 for about 10 minutes and then turn on the broiler for just a few minutes. They crisp up nicely under the broiler.
I think tomorrow we'll have something with chicken since we have three chicken breasts in the freezer. I just keep forgetting to pull them out to defrost. Our microwave died a few months back and instead of replacing it, we got a toaster oven. So I have to defrost them the old fashion way: on the kitchen counter.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Oddly enough, yesterday I was struck with the same apple fritter mega-craving again. I decided to not wait a week and a half this time before indulging, so I made up a batch this afternoon. They are extremely tasty and pretty easy to make, too. Here's my recipe:
1 cup gf baking mix (I use Bette Hagman's Gourment Blend)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 medium apple, finely chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Sift together the first 4 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk and egg; beat with an electric mixer until batter is smooth. Fold in the apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot oil at approximately 370 degrees and at least 2 inches deep. Fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels on a cooling rack and then roll in the powdered sugar. Serve warm.
I made them a little bit too big this time, I think. But, that doesn't affect the taste!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
So, if you are struggling with eating gf, please hang in there; it really does get better!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I mixed the turkey with fresh chopped garlic (a whole bulb) and about 1 and a half chopped onions. My husband then added about 3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce and formed it into 8 quarter pound patties. He then got out his grilling weapons and headed out to the porch.
A half an hour later, we were sitting around our small kitchen table eating when my friend Travis turned to me and asked why I wasn't taking a picture of dinner. I told him that I figured burgers on the grill were just too normal to post about. The concensus around the table, though, was that these turkey burgers were astonishingly good. I do think that their greatness was owed all to Tim's faithful addition of the worcestershire sauce.
When I was at Wal-Mart, I was worried that turkey burgers on the grill just wouldn't be the same as real hamburgers. And they weren't the same; they were better!
Milk Chocolate Bubble Cake
Your favorite biscuit or yeast roll batter
16 Hershey's Kisses
1/4 Butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a regular-sized loaf pan. Wrap each Kiss in some of the biscuit batter and form it into a ball. Roll each ball in the melted butter, and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar. Arrange the balls in the loaf pan in three long rows. If using a yeast recipe, allow to rise. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Enjoy warm!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Like I said yesterday, we have some friends staying for the weekend. Tim put them to work earlier picking up sticks in our yard. Now one of them is outside mowing up the leaves that we didn't rake up last fall. Whoops! We raked up our backyard, and then we had a big ice storm, so that put a damper on raking our front yard.
Well, I've got to go make my Milk Chocolate Bubble Cake. Eat your hearts out; it's gluten free and all for me! Actually, I will share it with my friends, and if I get any comments requesting pictures of it or the recipe, I just might share. We'll see.
Friday, April 4, 2008
I started dinner with some super scrumptious buffalo wings with their "medium" buffalo sauce. It was still pretty spicy, but oh so vinegary just like I like it! Kirk had read the sauce label for me yesterday, so I knew it was safe. For my entree I had the Grilled Chicken Breast "sandwich" with no bun and no seasoning. Again, I had the medium buffalo sauce. Along with my side salad (substituted for fries for an extra $1), it was a good meal. I really enjoyed my night out.
Now I know that I want this blog to focus on eating gf on a budget. Going out to eat twice in a week is not a regular occurance for us. We did have a gift card that covered Famous Dave's, so that was "frugal." Tonight we wanted to go out since we have company over. I'll try to post more fragal-ly next week!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Wednesdays are crazy days for us. My husband gets home around 5:45 and we have to be at church by 6:30. I try to have dinner ready and waiting, we scarf it down, and then head off to church.
Tonight we had Chicken Egg Drop Soup. Last week I made a huge pot of Chicken Rice Soup. I just used chicken broth from ALDI, which is exceptionally tasty by the way, some fresh carrots, celery, and onions, and frozen corn. After I simmered the fresh veggies in the broth until they started to get tender, I added the frozen corn and some chicken I had baked up earlier. I added cooked rice at the last minute. After bringing some to two different friends, we still had a lot left!
Today I brought the leftover soup up to a boil and slowly poured in 2 beaten eggs while stirring. And, voila! We have Egg Drop Soup! I made up some grilled cheese (yummy), and served the soup and sandwich with corn chips, apples, and veronica dip.
2 parts sour cream
1 part brown sugar
Mix the sour cream and brown sugar together until creamy. Serve with fruit slices or pour over fruit to make creamy fruit salad.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
- Wednesday - Chicken Egg Drop Soup and Grilled Sandwiches
- Thursday - Taco Salad
- Friday - Eat out at Buffalo Wild Wings (Yeah!)
- Saturday lunch - Spaghetti (aka rice noodles) with Meat Sauce
- Saturday dinner - Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole
- Sunday - Mac'n'Cheese for Tim and Rice Noodles for me
- Monday - Tortilla Pepperoni Pizzas
- Tuesday - Veggie Stirfry
Of course, this menu can be fairly fluid in nature. We try to stick to it, but at times we'll deviate. We shopped at ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Wal-Mart. We spent a total of just over $60. That included luandy detergent, rice flour, and a few extra snacks.
We might go grocery shopping again next Tuesday, or else we'll just eat from the cupboard until the weekend. I'll share some pictures of our meals throughout the week.
I asked our waitress, DeNicca, about the gluten free options. She was very nice and told me that she'd have the manager look them up for me. A few minutes later the manager came out and gave me a print out of some of the menu items with their ingredient lists and common allergens. He said that when I put in my order, he would go back to the kitchen to ensure that it was gluten free for me. I thought that was a very nice gesture on his part.
I ordered the baked chicken with corn on the cob and fries. Of course, to be truly gluten free, I probably should not have ordered fries. I just couldn't resist myself, though. I love those thick cut fries! Luckily they don't seem to bother me.
All in all, my hubby and I had a great experience at Famous Dave's. The food was great and the staff were helpful and polite.