Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bagels are bad

Why is this so hard? I wish I had the self control of the people I read about in gluten free cook books who "never looked back" and quit gluten cold turkey.

Like today, when faced with an amazing cream and blueberry filled croissant I thought to myself "just this once!" but sure enough, not even an hour later while in Mass, I am having intense (INTENSE!) symptoms. It's like every time I eat bread, the symptoms are worse than the last time.

I'm heart broken. This is not fair!!

As I sat in pain and watched my family gorge themselves on bagels and cream cheese after Mass I promised myself that yet again- never again will I eat bread.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Slowcooker Acorn Squash Stew

I love slow cooker meals for when I know I am going to be busy, like grocery shopping day or when I am just feeling lazy- like today.

1lb beef stew meat
1 tablespoon Marjoram
5 cloves of garlic diced
1/2 large red onion chopped
1 acorn squash quartered and cleaned
1/3 cup GF chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the slow cooker to "high" while you prepare the veggies. You always want the slow cooker to start out and cook for at least an hour on high to quickly get food up to a safe temperature. Nobody likes food poisoning :)

Mix all ingredients (except for the Acorn Squash) and place in the slow cooker.

Lay the squash skin side up on top of the stew and your done! [[see photo below]]

How easy was that?!

Cook on high for 3 hours then turn down to low heat for 3 remaining hours.

When ready to serve, scoop the squash out and remove the skin.(careful, it's hot!!)

Place the squash meat in a bowl and ladle the stew on top of it.

This stew is perfect for fall and on a budget! Since the squash is in season I was able to make this quick meal to feed a family of 4 for $7.00 and have enough left over for husband's lunch tomorrow!

Lactose/Gluten Free Chocolate Soufflé

Cooking healthy gourmet on a tight budget is my favorite challenge. To me nothing is more satisfying then taking a traditional recipe and tweaking it to make it healthier, cheaper and no one being able to tell the difference.

So when my darling husband finally caved and allowed me to buy four little soufflé dishes yesterday. I was thrilled to have a new challenge, considering I had never even had a soufflé, let alone made one!

I scoured the Internet for the perfect recipe and I found a chocolate one that I figured I could make "mine" with little affect on the end result.

The recipe called for diced bittersweet chocolate squares- which I had none of- so I used 1/3 cup of Pure Dutch Cocao powder (like literally- we bought this stuff in Belgium last year!!) and whisked in Trader Joe's gluten free/ lactose free creamer until it was a creamy consistency then set a side whilst I got busy making egg whites peak.

The secrete to making egg whites peak is to have them at room temperature and to add a dash of salt. I used a hand held mixer with a whisk attached and beat the eggs on medium for about 10 minutes.

Once the egg whites are stiff its all about technique of "folding." I personally find it easiest to use a spatula and go slow. Very slow.

The best way I can describe how to fold is to scoop out the whites and place them on top of the chocolate mixture-gently. Then "cut" the chocolate while gently flicking your wrist as you bring the chocolate to the top and folding it over the whites. The secret to a fluffy soufflé really is just patience I think.

So after all the mixing, folding, taking pictures and answering stupid questions of "why are you taking pictures of your food" I was ready to pour into the soufflé dishes.

I filled them pretty full and then placed the cups on a stone dish since my metal cookie sheets are cheap and tend to pop in the oven. I didn't want any lopsided deflated desserts after all that hard work.

After a quick bake in the oven my little treasure cups where ready. I must say, all that hard work was worth it. I think they turned out heavenly.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coconut Crepes [[take one]]

I love Crepes. I love Coconut. Put the two together and it sounds like heaven...right?

I dont know what I did wrong. These things where not "Crepes" at all. More like Fluffy, Gooey, Grainy, Delicious Pancakes...good...but Crepes.

Here is the recipe:

1 Cup Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
3 Eggs
Coconut Oil for coating the pan

I love to alter recipes, and I consider myself to be a fairly advanced cook (hell, I made a Souffle today people- so I figured, what would be the big deal substituting a few ingredients in the above recipe for more budget friendly ingredients that I already had in my pantry. After all, I wanted crepes NOW, not after a Trip to Trader Joes.

 So here is the recipe I used with my alterations:

1 Cup Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
2 Eggs
Butter for Coating the pan

So I'm thinking I messed up in several places...not enough eggs one and two, using real butter to coat the pan instead of the high heat stable coconut oil. I'm learning people. Dont judge me!

After this breakfast fail I researched coconut flour properties and I learned that coconut flour is a slow cook-er (yes, I just made up that word) so when I lathered up my stainless steal skillet (on medium heat) with butter, poured on the coconut batter, and waited for it to 'bubble' and behave like a regular crepe I got impatient. Its hard to wait 10 minutes to flip one crepe at a time, when you have a hungry husband and toddler pacing and fussing in the kitchen about how "nangey" (Toddler speak for hungry) they I cranked up the heat on that bad boy, burnt the butter, flipped the soggy crepe and crossed my fingers that they would be too hungry to notice it was all crumbly.

I love my husband. That man eats anything I put in front of him- usually with little fuss.

He ate two burnt, soggy-crumbly Coconut "crepes" smothered in Strawberry sauce like a champ. He even had the smarts to tell me "Mmm..yeah, honey- its good" before he promptly put his plate away before he could be awarded seconds.

Get your TOMS on, its time for SPARKCON!

Yesterday we went to Raleigh,NC to check out downtown and stumbled upon "sparkcon" which is sort of a College Street Art Fair with interpretive dancing, live music, art displays and various other things to make you feel completely out of touch with what all the "cool" young people are doing.

I came armed with my GF snack bag and an apple, but that still did not prepaired me for the scent of Funnel Cakes wafting thorugh the crowd. I swear, I can smell that junk a mile away- so since I am stupid and seem to have the memory of a goldfish, I had my sweet husband buy me a little piece of deep fried heaven. I plopped down on the street corner to indulge in my sin. Only three bits in and the cramps started...but "too late now...I'm half way there" I thought to myself as I finished off my half of the cake and quickly pushed the twinges of pain out if my mind.

Sure enough, that night, I'm skipping dinner and laying on the couch moaning and thinking guilt deflecting thoughts of "why didn't you stop me!!!" as I watch my husband clear off the table from dinner.

Carb addiction is a serious problem.

In the beginning

I don't have Celiacs desease. I don't even officially have a gluten intolerance diganoises. All I know is that I feel like complete and total junk when I eat grain products.

I have been this way most of my life.

I remember as a child being force fed caster oil and being told I would develop hemorods because I spent too much time in the bathroom. I remember picking off the breading on my chicken nuggets, refusing hamburger buns and cringing at the sight of French Toast just to be told "you're weird."

In high school I swore off bread completely and with the new "Adkins diet" craze gaining steam it made life easier (and not so odd in North Texas) to avoid grain products. I managed to maintain a healthy weight, grow my nails out, finally get 'regular' and everything was awesome in life- until I got pregnant for the first time. I was informed by my dr that the baby "needed" grain products to grow properly, so being young, uneducated and below the poverty line, I scarfed up all the bread products that WIC and the Food Stamp program could throw at me.

During the pregnancy, I quickly gained 60+ pounds and felt miserable. Finally on Thanksgiving Day, 2003, tipping the scales at 198lb- I gave birth to my sweet first born son, "M."

Fast forward trough a divorce, weird auto immune liver disease diagnose, photosensitive allergy development, a new marriage, secondary infertility, the birth of another son, a heart crushng miss-carriage, tertiary infertility and about 40lbs I can't shake and you have me here now.

You've found me at a good time. I'm going home, back to my roots (no, I've not 'gone country')

I am going back gluten free, and here is my story.