Thursday, March 31, 2011

GFCF cake in the freezer

GFCF chocolate cake with pecan coconut frosting is one of our favorite treats.

We've made it several times.
We try to keep some in the freezer to pack in lunches.
But we sometimes sneak a container out for a bedtime snack. Mmmm, mmmm, good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Polenta taco dish

I decided to make polenta today instead of always buying those funky tubes of it. It turns out that polenta is beyond easy to make. Just add one part corn grits to 3 parts boiling water (add slowly so it doesn't get lumpy!) and then simmer until it gets thick. It took maybe 15-20 minutes to totally thicken.
This is what it looked like when it was done.
I pressed it in a greased baking dish...
...and added hamburger seasoned with GFCF taco seasoning. Then I topped it with some GFCF salsa.
And, more for effect than taste, I sprinkled it with our vegan fake cheese.
I will bake it for about 30 minutes before serving and have some taco toppings (cilantro, olives, lettuce, onions, etc...) for people to use as they'd like. I can't wait for supper!

Monday, March 28, 2011

That, my friends, is a hamburger!

I was craving a hamburger today. A real wrap your hands around, ketchup running down your face, bun so high you can barely get your mouth around it - hamburger.

Gluten free hamburger buns at the grocery store are very expensive and not very appealing in appearance. I didn't even want to taste them. I had to learn to make my own or go without so I tried my hand at making some today. Gluten free dough doesn't hold it's shape well so I made little tinfoil baking cups and sprayed them with non-stick spray.
Then I filled the cups with the bread recipe I've been using.
After they proofed in a warm moist oven for about an hour, I brushed them with egg white and sprinkled a few sesame seeds on top.
They baked for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Then I took them out of the baking tins and let the buns cool.

The egg whites gave them a nice sheen and helped them brown up all pretty like.
I put together a burger with a slice of tomato, some lettuce, bacon, ketchup and mustard and I wrapped my hands around the bountiful burger. Ketchup ran down my face and I smiled.

That, my friends, is a hamburger.

Now I'm cooking with ghee!

I had never cooked with (or even heard of) ghee before we started on our GFCF plan. I thought butter was the bees knees until I tried this clarified butter. Now I'm hooked. Ghee doesn't need to be refrigerated so this jar stays in the cupboard by my stove. I use it to sautee veggies or to cook eggs, polenta, etc... Yesterday I sauteed onions and mushrooms to use to top and give an adult touch to the more kid friendly GFCF pasta dish.
The pasta dish was leftover rice penne pasta, sauce and meatballs that I cut up and mixed together for a quick after-church lunch.
Supper was an arm roast with a delicious rub of spices on it, baked potatoes with our fake sour cream, asparagus (per Java's request) and fruit. This plan can be difficult at times when we think fondly back on some of our former favorites (bread, cheese, milk chocolate...) but, as you can see, we aren't suffering. ☺

Saturday, March 26, 2011

GF- check. CF- FAIL

I am going to start this post by writing about all the things I did right today, because although GFCF needs to be an all or nothing deal and I feel awful about my mistake, I just had one GFCF screw up. It was my first real blunder since we started this gluten and casein free journey.

But I'll focus on the positives first. I did all these things right today! I...

...restocked my freezer with homemade GFCF meatballs

...baked GFCF bread

...baked GFCF chocolate and vanilla cakes (a few pieces for dessert, the rest for the freezer for lunches)

...made some delicious GFCF ice cream to go with our chocolate cake

...and made some awesome pizza crusts using this recipe using Pamela's GF bread mix!

Venti wasn't home. He was probably out eating real pizza somewhere. StarBUCK and I made a larger pizza to share and Bean and Java each had a personal sized one.

Now here's the screw up.

We needed more GFCF "cheese" so Java went with me to the grocery store. We went to our little health food section and looked for the Daiya cheese alternative for our pizza. That's when I saw the other cheese alternative that is pictured. Rice Shreds. They looked more like real cheese than the Daiya and the bag said "Soy free, gourmet melt, Lactose & Gluten Free".

Lactose free does not mean casein free. I KNOW this and I KNOW how important it is to read labels carefully...but I got all excited at the thought of some better tasting cheese and I bought it without further investigation.

Bean started loading up his pizza. Pepperoni, a cut up meatball...

...and the new "cheese". He tasted it and told me that it was " real cheese!"

I put some on our pizza, too. The Rice Shreds are on the right and the Daiya is on the left. The Rice Shreds looked and tasted more like real mozzarella. I was almost as excited as Bean!

I dished up a piece from each side of the pizza and tried them. The Rice Shreds were definitely my favorite.

Then I read the label to see what they put in this stuff to make it so good. Casein was listed as the second ingredient!


GF- check.

Thankfully Java had elected to have hers without cheese.
At least dessert was fully GFCF. It was delicious, too! Chocolate cake and Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Coconut Pecan frosting...

...served with amazing homemade coconut and almond milk ice cream.

So I screwed up. I hope it doesn't set Bean back too far.
Lesson learned. *Always read the label!*

Friday, March 25, 2011

Canned soup and a GF app

Java went to the health food store with me today and she learned how to look for their gluten free label on the shelves. She was very excited about helping me find products.

"Mom, look! We can have chicken noodle soup!"

Java misses soup. Canned soup. Her favorites were chicken noodle and tomato.

I've made lots of homemade soups but I agreed with Java that it would be nice to have a can on hand for a quick lunch. Java asked if I could buy a can of this chicken and rice noodle soup to try it.

She ate the whole thing when we got home.

I downloaded an app on my phone today that scans the UPC symbols of products and lets you know if they are gluten free. We're also casein free so I still need to read labels carefully but at least one step of the process is easier!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GFCF Bread Crumbs

I made my own gluten free bread crumbs when I made meatballs a few weeks ago but I decided to buy a few packages of already prepared GF bread crumbs to have on hand for nights I am not quite as well prepared.

I've used these Schar GF bread crumbs twice now and both times the results were delicious!

The first time was a few nights ago when I made breaded pork chops. Last night I made chicken strips.

I just added a few seasonings to the bread crumbs, dipped the chicken in egg and then in the seasoned breading. (The recipe is on the package.) I baked the chicken strips for about 30 minutes with a little olive oil in the baking dish.

Easy peasy...and really good, too!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I wanted to clean up some leftovers in the refrigerator tonight and I needed a fairly quick meal. Polenta to the rescue!
In case you're not familiar with it, polenta is that funky yellow roll in the front of the picture. It's made from cornmeal. I had never eaten it before we went GFCF but we've had it a few times now, prepared a few different ways, and I like it.
Tonight I cut it into slices and put it in a greased baking dish.

Then I topped some with pizza sauce and some with salsa.

I put pepperoni on some and leftover taco meat on some.

I added olives and 2 kinds of Daiya "cheese" and put it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. I topped a few with cilantro after baking. Everyone had something they liked.

The kids like to take plain pieces of gluten free chocolate cake in their lunches and I didn't have any more pieces of cake in the freezer so it was time to bake again. We each had a piece with some fresh strawberries after supper. A great ending to a good, simple meal.

I scream for non-dairy ice cream

We're craving dairy. Ice cream, specifically.

It used to be an occasional bedtime treat but the GFCF store-bought stuff is pretty expensive. We thought we'd just have to do without...until I found recipes like this one for coconut milk vanilla ice cream! This is the coconut milk we used. Don't be afraid if you notice it is separated and hardened when you open it. That's what it does. Just heat it up in a double boiler (or a monkey rigged double boiler like I use) and it will get all nice and smooth. The only other ingredients are egg yolks and vanilla. (Add those according to the recipe directions.)
Meet our newest appliance. The Cuisinart Ice-21. The inner "freezer bowl" has been in the deep freeze for 24 hours. It's colder than a polar bear's toenails.

Bean wanted to add his favorite chocolate chips. These chips are not cheap so we only added about 1/4 cup.

It was fun to watch the milky ingredients freeze!

The results were nummy and very rich. Bean compared it to the local frozen custard shop he loves to visit in the summer time.
Java asked if we could make chocolate next. She isn't really a vanilla girl.

But we managed to clean the bowl!

I just had a small scoop as I'm trying to lose some weight (almost 20 lbs so far!). It was just enough to satisfy that dairy craving. I think this new appliance is going to get a workout in the warmer months to come!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

GFCF Mac & Cheese

I was hesitant to make it.

Mac & Cheese.

The kids love mac & cheese and I was afraid they'd hate the GFCF version. But they've been I gave it a shot.

Daiya (GFCF) "cheese", vegan "butter", almond milk, and quinoa pasta. You don't get much healthier pasta than quinoa pasta. But would healthy and vegan pass the kid test?

Yes!! They actually fought over the last spoonful!

Here's the recipe:
1 box gluten free pasta cooked according to package
1/4 cup almond milk
4 oz. Daiya "cheddar cheese"
2 T. Earth Balance "butter"
Salt and pepper to taste


Just because we eliminated gluten (the protein in wheat) and casein (the protein in milk) from our diet, do not think we've gone totally healthy around here. This morning the kids wanted donuts so I did a few internet searches and found this recipe.

After mixing the batter it is important to let it proof. I put it under a cloth with some boiling water for just the right amount of humidity and warmth.
Now it is time to shape the donuts. Gluten free dough is different than working with wheat dough. To put it plainly, it's gloppier. It won't cut out and shape like dough that has gluten, so in order to shape the donuts you'll need to pipe the dough out of a gallon sized baggie. (Spray the inside of the bag with a GF cooking spray for the best results.) Pipe each one onto a piece of parchment paper. (I never used to buy parchment paper but I've gone through several rolls since going GFCF.)

Now the donuts need to proof. Your oven is the perfect place for this. (Confucius say, "Woman raising children with FASD have no time to clean oven before raising donut.")

Just heat the oven for a few minutes and then turn it off again. Place the steaming hot water at the bottom of the warmed oven and put the donuts in. Close the door and give the yeast a little privacy to do it's thing. (It takes about 20 minutes.)

Carefully turn each piece of parchment paper over and slide the donut dough into hot oil.

Fry, baby, fry.

The kids did the sugarin'. Along with plenty of finger lickin'.

We won't make these often, but they were the perfect remedy for a diet weary donut craving.

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