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!