Thinking about Donuts…MMM DONUTS

Mother Nature either has a twisted sense of humor or she figures we here in the Northeast had it a little too easy and it is high time for a reality check. It is freaking snowing again..seriously?  This weekend I am not quite so prepared for snowmageddon and did not buy out Whole Foods and my local chain…

So seeing that we have the potential for another nasty storm here tomorrow..and I find being snowed in exhausting! So the question is what to make? Tonight I tried a honey mustard pretzel chicken recipe that I originally saw on pinterest (I am admitting that I am a pinterest addict..I love the food porn people post) and then I followed the link to a site called cinnamon spice and everything nice. My chicken did not come out quite so pretty..maybe it has something to do with the gluten free pretzels not playing nice with the food processor….Imageso this was my attempt at the honey mustard chicken recipe..it actually tastes much better than it looks. The chicken is lathered in honey mustard sauce before it dipped in the pretzels and then the remaining honey mustard goes on top…next time I think a ziploc bag and a rolling pin will crumble the pretzels much better than my food processor and I will play with the honey mustard seasoning as well..this is definitely a recipe that has potential…

So moving on to tomorrow..let me start by telling you that I am not a huge fan of donuts. I worked for a few years at a local coffee shop near my house and we served about as many donuts as we did coffee. Those were the days when each store employed a baker who came in during the middle of the night and made the donuts and the worker bees like me often came in early and “finished” the donuts before the morning rush. We filled jelly, frosting, custard, lemon, and apple..put frosting, sugar, powdered sugar and glaze on others then put them in paper lined baskets into their designated spots out front. The smell of grease and frosting permeated my hair and clothes while I worked there and yeah I was no longer a fan. That was until we traveled (many years later I might add) down below the Mason-Dixon line and I had my first Krispy Kreme glazed donut right out of the oven…it was so good it was sinful. My poor kid was sitting there looking at me like JERK, you are eating that yummy look thing and I am sitting here with a juice box and an apple. SO last week on Pinterest I came across a pin of Krispy Kreme looking donuts and more importantly …a recipe here is a link to a picture of these gorgeous looking donuts

http://www.leannebakes.com/2010/05/glazed-and-cinnamon-sugar-coated-donuts.html

I am thinking these donuts are my Sunday Gluten free project…I am thinking if I am snowed in, we might as well enjoy it

Cake Pops …the Sequel..

ImageRemember last year when I called called cake pops evil? Well pretty much my opinion of them has not differed, I just have a better understanding of how much time and effort those deceptively ratchet balls of cake require..

So once again, my daughter is in charge of bringing in treats for the entire class to celebrate a classmate’s birthday, but this time there was a wrench thrown in ..this kid is loaded with allergies. Easy for someone like me used to doing GF? AH no. See I had a theme in mind..pink, black and white for a sweet sixteen. I bought out the Wilton section at the craft store, I mean how can colored sugar pose a threat to anyone but diabetics? Yeah…about that..WRONG again. Wilton products in small print on the sides of their products states “processed on equipment that handles nuts, tree nuts and wheat products”…ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? 

Time for plan B or maybe even plan C…

Even the food coloring was not deemed safe so what to do? Luckily there is a specialty cake decorating shop 2 towns over from where I live and I figured what the heck it would not hurt to check them out. I have not been in this store in years and wondering with all the baking and decorating I do why haven’t I been there? I was in luck that the place was very quiet and the manager was able to chat, the store actually has its own line of sugar, sprinkles and melting chocolate that is packaged in house and nut/gluten free..my rear end saved once again. Like all good things there was always a catch..the color choices are limited, but not so much that I was forced to abandon my color scheme. Really was a swift kick in the pocketbook to buy all the same items again just nut free. 

The thing with cake pops is they are easy enough to whip up..I made the cake batter, put some of the batter into a mini whoopie pie pan, put the rest into a ziploc bag, snipped a little hole on the end..voila instant squeeze bottle for the cake pop maker and cook your cakes. Once they cool down you really must pop them into the freezer. Today I tried both frosting and chocolate melts …and the chocolate melts are much easier to work.

And while I have all 3 of you who read this held captive I want to ask..what is wrong with me that I am stuck making cake pops for other people’s kids on “holidays”? Last year it was mother’s day..this year it is valentine’s day ..and I still need to go home and make cookies ( I am waiting for this daughter to be done with her 2.5 hour dance class as I type ..) 

Here a few of the pops that got created today..my inspiration was something I saw on pinterest..looked easy enough..AH YEAH ..No….please ignore the dirty stove , there was a whole lotta cooking going onImageJust ignore the

Crackers

ImageYou know things in life we take for granted? Oh come on you know what I am talking about…simple things like family, home and yeah food. There are things we have all eaten or had that we cherish or just do not enjoy, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for example. We have all had a PBJ on white bread with the crusts cut off and most people think of it as a fond childhood memory..me not so much since I am not a fan of peanut butter, never have been probably never will be..but I have downed my fair share of PBJ, with grape jelly or better yet with Fluff. Well if I happened to have a peanut allergy that PBJ would be something I never experienced…well same thing goes for kids who are Gluten Free. My younger daughter has never really experienced a diet with gluten since she was diagnosed very young.  There are a lot of things my daughter has missed out on as a result of her celiac disease…things I have taken for granted as part of my diet (many in limited quantities) from my earliest memories..things like Oreos and Pepperidge Farms Goldfish. I am a huge fan of goldfish, those little crackers can make me happy in small quantities , are an easy snack to toss in the lunch box..ok let’s face it they are just yummy in any flavor. My daughter, she has never had them and until recently it never occurred to me that maybe some soul out there created a recipe for someone like me.

I scoped out the gluten free blogs and found a few new ones. There is one called gluten free on a shoestring that really looked promising. In order to get the recipe for the author’s gluten free version of goldfish crackers I got suckered into buying her cookbook. That is $9.99 I really did not want to waste…so I got the recipe, and with my food processor and silicone baking mat set out to make goldfish..or something small enough to be a cheese cracker. Let me just say that using velveeta and salt in a recipe together is not something I recommend..WAY too salty. Going to admit the first batch was nothing shy of nasty..I even used the flour blend the site author uses and the result was not great…so back tot he drawing board I went..I found a recipe for homemade goldfish crackers that uses traditional flour and decided to combine the gluten free recipe and this one. This time I used real shredded cheddar cheese and butter vs shortening and velveeta  as well as Cup4CUp flour, and the first batch tasted way better..but they were not exactly crispy in the middle. This was actually the same issue I had with the first batch. So what to do to remedy this?

Real cheese and butter helped to improve the taste, I am not 100% positive that the true CUP4CUP flour was a factor, but I am not sure it hurt the recipe either. The key was to refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes and to roll it out as thinly as possible before cutting the shapes out. as soon as I get the recipe absolutely perfect I will post it here. I do not have a little goldfish cookie cutter so I used little stars that are actually fondant cutters and baked until nice and crisp about 14 minutes.

I have a way to go with my recipe, every batch is getting better and my daughter and her friends are willing victims..i mean taste testers..

New Ideas Brewing

ImageI  to confess that I am of a mindset that change is good..so why is it that I am terrified of making changes in my own life? Well here is it is.. I am going to confess that I getting ready to catch my breath and make a big change. For years, I have been tinkering in my kitchen, making gluten free goodies, adapting recipes and finding ways to make sure my daughters experience every culinary delight  despite their gluten free necessity. I am always willing to share what I know with newbies and moms who hear put your child on a gluten free diet and think well now what. So now I am considering taking it a step further.

I am thinking about making a little business out of this venture..making crackers, bagels, and other goodies that are gluten free..taste pretty good and easy enough to create out of my kitchen for now. My services will also be available in the greater Boston and Providence areas to help anyone new to this get started..I just have to remember what the heck the password is for verizon so I can set up a new email address and get things rolling..I look forward to starting a new chapter in life even if means jumping off the high dive…

 

Oh and a little edit here..the picture above is from an experiment I tried via Pinterest..I found a recipe on a friend’s board for pepperoni and sausage pizza bites and thought I can do this..in the end these turned out to be a savory cupcake with chicken and cheese and turned into more of an alfredo/savory cupcake that passed the adult taste test but was an epic fail in the kid department..here is the non gluten free recipe link http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/02/sausage-pepperoni-pizza-puffs.html

I substituted cup4cup flour

Snowed in

ImageAs we in the Northeast  kept hearing about the fast approaching storm supplies in the local groceries stores began to dwindle fast and furious. Staples like milk, bread and eggs were kind of running low, but really those things did not bother me …I was more concerned about finding gluten free staples and what to cook Friday in case the power was gone by Saturday. I needed foods that could be easily put in a container and stored in snow if necessary and easily heated up on a gas cooktop.

I decided to make a baked chicken, some chili and a beef stew. Sounds pretty daunting to do all 3 on one day, but honestly, I was lucky that school was cancelled, the governor banned people from driving and there really is only so much storm coverage a person can watch before even I needed a break.

The easy thing to do was prep the chicken, I long ago found my go to recipe for baked chicken..I use a mortar and pestle and combine 2 cloves of garlic, a handful of kosher salt, a teaspoon of pepper or more ( I like more) a few sprigs of thyme leaves off the stem, some paprika and olive oil and make a paste to lather all over the chicken inside and out and put it in a baking dish and back into the fridge to dry the skin out (makes for a super crispy skin) and before I bake the chicken I stuff the cavity with half of a lemon, 2 smashed garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme and bake first bake at 425 for 30 minutes and then turn it down to 375 until a thermometer reads 180. SO that was easy.. then it was on to the beef stew and then everyone’s favorite (well in my house) chili..

Once upon a time when I was still figuring out how to cook, my mother in law gave me guidance on how to cook chili, she browned some hamburger with garlic salt and then added a few seasonings, whole California Tomatoes, tomato sauce and we had chili…well I started having babies, and then those babies started getting busy and I thought I did not have the time to figure out seasoning etc..so I started buying the chili starter seasoning packets and browning a little meat, add packet, open cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce and dinner is served. well here is the thing…a lot of those quick and easy packets have wheat stabilizers and flour in them. That is ok when you do not have an issue with gluten .. but once the little one was diagnosed with celiac well using the packet was out the window..so to come up with my own recipe that took into account my mother in law and then add my own spin on it.

I also decided to make some beef stew, comfort food at its best! The trick to a delicious gluten free beef stew is to use the slow cooker and to find a  very good recipe. I also find using a decent all purpose gluten free flour (1/4 cup for about 2 lbs cut up stew beef) seasoned with garlic powder, salt, pepper and put into a large ziploc bag works really well..kind of like a shake and bake technique. The rest is all about putting the ingredients like vegetables, a little red wine and seasonings into the crockpot along with some beef stock and the meat..put on low and let it cook for about 8-9 hours.

Of course there were some left over potatoes and veggies and I figured why let them go to waste so I was even able to crank out some home fries and a chicken soup ..Today I was able to make a non gluten free wonton soup from my leftovers…I think the rest of the week we might visiting the new takeout restaurant near my daughter’s school (Gluten Free take out oh yeah)

So the blizzard did come and we were snowed in..however we never lost power for a significant amount of time. We were well prepared and well fed for a couple of days..I swear I gained at least 5 lbs from the food alone. I am not really looking forward to spending quality time in my kitchen for a few days.

So for now happy eating and here is to hoping you are not snowed in