Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gluten free~ Casein Free One Year Anniversary!

Happy one year of being
Gluten~ Casein Free to our family!!!!!

A year already?! I can remember how daunting it felt to even think about going GFCF. I had failed once why not twice? But I have not. There have been a few infractions  (cough, cough, Jeff!) but nothing serious. We are seeing improvement with our 2 youngest in skills and behavior and overall our health is a lot better. :0)

I am so proud that WE  have reached this milestone. It would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of our oldest daughter Heather; Sarah Elizabeth for being a great cheerleader encouraging Joseph to try new things; Emily as my eagle eye label reader; Jeff for trying even though you never wanted to lose eating meat daily and processed foods and Joseph for eating just about anything that I served you. Even though you don't like veggies have been secretly eating them up a storm. Finally, I thank my readers. You have encouraged me to share recipes and develop a passion I never knew I would have, cooking and writing.

I look forward to this next year, exploring new foods and dishes. Getting to know our local farmers and markets. Attending cooking classes. Cooking with Emily in the kitchen and serving yummy healthy food to my family. 
May your table always be bountiful.

P.S Over the last few days, I have been looking at the recipes I have posted trying to decide what to serve in honor of this great achievement. I decided on Ginger Black Beans and Pasta. I thought it was appropriate since it was my first post in seriously blogging and being GFCF.

Ginger Black Beans and Pasta

2 tsp seame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions. minced (I used what ever onion I have on hand)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 C diced combination yellow/red bell combined with yummy salsa.
2 Cups black beans, rinsed
pinch of cinnamon
2 Cups of of rice spaghetti

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, green onions, and ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the peppers and stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add black beans and cinnamon. Decrease heat to simmer. Cook 1-3 minutes.

Serve over quinoa pasta.

A simple spinach salad topped with walnuts, strawberries as a side dish. We use oil and vinegar for dressing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easter Bunny and baskets

Spring is in the air! With spring comes the celebration of Easter and Passover. For those of you who celebrate with the Easter Bunny or give candy at Passover , now is the time to be goody shopping. As always you need to read the labels. Companies change their "recipe" from time to time without trying to educate the masses.

I have been researching candy, just to make sure there were not any changes from Halloween. The website gfcf diet intervention  has a good comprehensive list. Here is a good place to find a  dairy-free bunnies list.

I do not know about you, but I have been decreasing the amount of sugar and adding more gifts. What kind of things do put in your basket?

I forgot that PEEPS are gf/cf! My youngest daughter and son both love them. I admit I love them as well. I stab a few holes in the package and forget about them. They are great stale. My youngin's love to use them for s'mores. I recently found gfcf graham crackers. Sprinkle a little Enjoy Life chocolate chips and slip then in to the microwave. Yum!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Root Beer Cake

Picture from blog: Hey, that tastes good!

From the moment I saw this picture for Root Beer Cake I knew that I was destine to make it! I hesitated until I knew that I would have more than our family to share with. 
Emily is a chocoholic and I am addicted to sweets~ horrible to be diabetic.

I would like to think what enticed me to make this cake was to satisfy my sweet tooth craving and Emily wanting to make a cake or I have been looking for something fun to make with Emily and a new go to recipe for potlucks. But the truth be told I just had a hankerin' to  make this cake. It looked so moist and the icing divine. I found looking at this picture made me want a glass of milk and a slice of cake!

OMGolly! This is one of the BEST GF/CF cake I have  EVER eatin. It was so easy to make. I did make a few modification but you could follow the recipe to a "T" and still come out with a phenomenal outcome. :0)
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family!
May your table be bountiful~ blair

Chocolate root beer cake

2 c root beer (be careful because not all rootbeer is gf)
1 c cocoa powder (unsweetened) * I used 1/2 c
1/2 c butter, cubed
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 c rice flour mix * SEE BELOW
1 1/4 t baking soda
scant 1/2 t xanthan gum
1 t salt * I used no salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325, and butter and *(rice) flour a 10" bundt or tube pan . *
In a small saucepan, combine the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted, then add the sugars and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside. Combine the flour mix, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt in a small bowl. Beat the eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in the cocoa-root beer mixture. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined, don't over mix it. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack while you make the frosting

* When I make a chocolate cake or brownies I either use the dry ingredients to "flour" my pan. You could also use unsweetened cocoa powder.

* I used 2 nine inch pans to bake this cake. Cooking time was 20 minutes.
2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

Next time I think I will not used brown rice flour. Makes things to grainy. But I do love the nutty flavor it gives.

Chocolate root beer frosting

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 c butter, softened
2/3 c cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 t salt
1/4 c root beer
2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Beat the butter and the cocoa powder together with a mixer, then beat in the rest of the ingredients, until smooth. Spread over the top of the (cooled) cake, and served. I garnished the cake with strawberries.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's cookin?

Don't you just hate it when it is 5 pm everyone is asking what's for dinner? While you are wondering the same thing, they turn around and ask YOU!

For years I fought meal planning. I thought it was a waste of time and effort spending hours making plans. When I tried it would never failed that SOMETHING would mess it up. Then a dear friend shared her meal plan. I thought she was crazy. It was such a simple plan. I tried it and holy cow it worked! My kids thought it was great. One of older daughters friend would even scope out the menu to decide when to spend the night so she could have french toast for breakfast! :0) Love you Gwynne <3

Oh, and if I deviated from this schedule, there was heck to pay from the kids! They liked knowing what to expect. We were not GF/CF at this point in our lives so processed foods made for quick meals.

Emily's creation: GF pumpkin, flax seed and pomegranate bread.
Sunday: cereal
Monday: muffins
Tuesday: french toast w/bacon
Wednesday: eggs w/bagels
Thursday: cereal
Friday: french toast w/bacon
Saturday: eggs, bacon, biscuits
(or we would go to our favorite stand by Tudor Biscuits~ or~ First Watch
Turkey meatball soup.

Sunday: leftover soup from night before
Monday: sandwiches w/chips
Tuesday: spaghetti
Wednesday: clean out the fridge
Thursday: chicken nuggets or fish sticks w/fries
Friday: sandwiches
Saturday: kids choice
Bakes acorn squash.
Who knew squash was so amazing?!
I still look at this photo in disbelieve
 we eat like this all the time now!
Asparagus and mushrooms.

Sunday:Beef or pork
Monday: casserole
Tuesday: chicken
Wednesday:  dinner at Church
Thursday: spaghetti
Friday: eat out or order in
Saturday: hamburgers/hot dogs
Check out our great photos traveling cross country!

So what happened to this great plan? Our sons health became compromised and we moved.
We lived at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House for 3 months followed by a month stay in a hotel. When we finally found a condo, we were only there for about 2 weeks before we had 2 go back to WV for a month. We took 2 weeks to drive cross country back to Seattle after we closed up our WV house. When we were on the road, that was the easiest meal planning ever...pb&j, fruit and water for lunch, what ever breakfast was offered by the hotel and dinner was what ever we could find near our motel. By the time we returned we had to jump in quickly with life including dr. visits, therapy and tons of hospital visits.

Wow, I am tired of just thinking about all that craziness. After we came back to Seattle, meal planning would have made a huge difference as would have pre-made meals stashed in the freezer. I still could not get it back on track but baby I'm back! Our family is eating SO MUCH healthier these days. I look back at all the carbs we ate and it is any wonder any of us could fit through the door! For the most part our whole family now eats gluten/casein free w/no processed foods. Jeff and I cook from scratch most every meals. I am so proud. I wish I had listened to my girlfriend Debbie Davis Graff years ago. She tried to bring me out into the "light" years ago but I balked at her. She was eating great before it was "cool" to be eat local and organic. :0)
Typical dinner setting. Check out the sprouts jar. :0)

So what does our meal plan look like today? Much to my husbands dismay we eat meat maybe twice a week now aside from eggs with him eating occasionally tuna and the kids salmon. Fish prices are out of this world. I wish that we could incorporate more into our diets but that would be like putting premium gas in my van....too rich for my kitchen.

I can taste these sweet strawberries.
This was my 1st attempt at a GF coffee cake. I was so proud!

Sunday: muffins, scones or coffee cake w/fruit
Monday: porridge w/flax seed, honey and bananas (oatmeal, quinoa or rice cereal) or hard boiled eggs
Tuesday: french toast w/fruit
Wednesday: eggs w/veggies and black beans
Thursday: pancakes w/fruit
Friday: french toast w/bacon 
Saturday: kids choice (lately this has been flax seed banana waffles) 

Can you believe my kids request things like this to eat. yum!
CF potato casserole
homemade hummus!
Sunday: clean out the fridge  
Monday: leftovers from Sunday night dinner
Tuesday: pasta  or humus, with veggies and brown rice
Wednesday: sandwiches w/fruit
Thursday: leftovers 
Friday: soup w/sandwiches
Saturday: kids choice

Cabinet soup
potato soup
GF/CF eggplant and polenta lasagna 
Sunday: main meal of the week (Jeff cooks) usually chicken w/starch
Monday: veggie soup
Tuesday: stir fry w/rice or quinoa
Wednesday:  veggie dish, black beans
Thursday: pasta
Friday/Saturday: potato bar, taco, pizza, black bean, portabella or hamburgers.
Lookie at all those vegetables on his plate.

Our meals do vary but I try really hard to stay on this schedule. With every afternoon driving 45 miles  with 2 hour therapy sessions for the younger kids this has been a life saver. (add another 20 miles for classes) When it is baseball/soccer season I try to cook as much in the morning as possible and then pack the cooler. Having this schedule has also helped my husband. He is so great to cook in the afternoon when he gets up. (He works midnights) he use to think this meal plan was umm a bit controlling or obsessive. Sometimes he deviates from the schedule, but he sees how wonderful it works. Especially when our son has been hospitalized, or ends up going to the hospital. I always try to cook extra to sock away in the freezer but it never works. :0( Someday!
stuffed peppers with rice

I ran across this creative menu/recipe/shopping list holder. But sadly  Mine is printed on white paper tucked in a sheet protector located in our family notebook. I wish that I was more organized. All in all I think I have a good system for our family. I would love to hear how you plan your meals, shop and save $$.

So, the next time someone asks what for dinner...will you have an answer or will you call take out?!
My your table be bountiful~ blair