A bucket of cookies for a Gluten Free/Nut Free Sweet 16 …I am shocked they stayed on the stick
A bucket of cookies for a Gluten Free/Nut Free Sweet 16 …I am shocked they stayed on the stick
Remember 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 onJust ignore the
You 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..
I 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
left over potatoes, chopped up, seasoned with salt,pepper, and a little paprika..cooked in boiling water for about 7 minutes and cooled…then placed in a skillet with some chopped onions and butter until they are crispy brown and either served right away or tossed in pan and into the the oven..an easy GF side to go with eggs, steak, ham or use in a hash..by the way these were gone within 15 minutes of being done..and no I did not eat them all by myself
As 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
Warm and Spicy chili simmering on the stove while a storm raged outside.
This soup was adapted from a food.com recipe and was pretty simple to make..sautéed onion, butter, 1/4 c gluten free all purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup from Williams Sonoma) 2 c half and half, 2 cups chicken stock, frozen broccoli florets, and 6 oz cheese …and salt and pepper to taste. A nice way to clean out my fridge and freezer
I am going to confess that I am not a huge football fan. I like the game well enough to sit down and watch our local team play, but once we were eliminated form the playoffs, yeah I was done. I also can not stand the constant coverage on game day that talks about everything irrelevant to some interesting game day facts..play the damn game already and stop talking about it!
Still, the boys in my house are going to watch the game and I guess I have to feed them. So I decided to have a clean out the fridge day and conjure up some gluten free meals/goodies to keep everyone satisfied and out of my hair…you know so I can go on Pinterest, get ideas from others who are far more creative than I can ever dream to be…
I started the day off and made guacamole thanks to Ina Garten, got even more ambitious and decided to skip opening up a jar of Tostitos and make my own salsa (which is incredibly easy and I have no clue why I do not do this more often ..and then it dawns on me that not only I am incredibly busy, but i am seriously lazy/unmotivated) and somehow after reading the awesome Joanne at Fifteeenspatulas.com I got the crazy notion to make copy her and make Huevos Rancheros. I am going to admit this was the first time I have ever made this recipe in any form and it was also the first time eating it..yeah I am that chicken when it comes to trying new foods/recipes. Usually things sound good when I look at them or read them but the actual trying tends to go by the wayside. Today I decided what the heck, it is time to take the plunge, and the results were pretty darn good.
Right now simmering on the stove is a pot of gluten-free broccoli cheese soup. I am hoping the darn thing comes out well. Here is the issue, usually if I make something like the filling for chicken pot pie using gluten-free flour (and I have tried every gluten-free flour I can think of) it comes out great, usually it is a little thick and then it gets watery. I am not sure if the flour is the culprit or if I get nervous and add too much extra liquid..but so far so good with the soup.
i will post a picture of the soup soon
Spicy Gluten Free Sunday Brunch that was inspired by Joanne from Fifteenspatulas.com my new go to blog for food ideas and inspiration! What is fantastic here is all the ingredients are Gluten Free, fresh, possibly in your pantry and an easy way to spice up a brunch or Sunday Morning Breakfast in. My version uses homemade guacamole I happened to make for Superbowl Sunday, some fresh salsa , mashed black beans, and shredded pepper jack cheese