Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meals- getting to be routine now

We've been gluten and casein free for nearly a year. At first I was very overwhelmed but we've settled in to a routine with our favorite meals on the menu at least once or twice a month now, so it is much easier. My challenge now is to come up with something new to put on this blog!Tonight's supper will be chili and cornbread muffins. I challenge myself each time I make chili to sneak in just a few more veggies. So far I'm getting away with it! (I added these sauteed onions, garlic and peppers to tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, browned hamburger, chili beans and some Penzey's Chili 3000 seasoning.)

Most of our meals are pretty boring, I guess. A few nights ago we had baked chicken thighs, potatoes roasted with olive oil and Penzey's Fox Point Seasoning (♥ it!) and some veggies. We usually drink water, lemonade or FlaxMilk with meals.

I baked extra chicken that night so I could make our favorite chicken pizzas the next night. I try to plan ahead like that. I also try to make dessert once in a while, too.
FYI- The new King Arthur Flour gluten free chocolate cake mix is awesome!

Junk food lunch- aka The GFCF Corndog!

Junk food. We're eating healthier these days but my kids are still kids and some days a hot dog, something on a stick, or something deep fried just sounds too good to resist. So why not have all three at once? Hot dogs on a stick and deep fried with batter.

Aka The GFCF Corndog.

I refuse to buy nitrate / nitrite loaded, crap filled hot dogs anymore. This kind was $6 so I bought one package and told the kids they could each have one and negotiate with me later for any leftovers. The cost of our healthier way of eating has certainly helped with portion control!

I didn't buy GF hot dog buns ($$) and I didn't feel like baking any today, so I made corn batter using this recipe with a few changes. (*I used my homemade GF flour blend, I didn't have unflavored gelatin so I left that out, and I used almond milk instead of whole milk.)

My 14 year old son said that these were the best corndogs EVER. He's only had hot dogs a handful of times in the past year so it might have been nostalgia talking, but they were pretty good!
Remember all those odd plates I received for Christmas? Here are some of them featuring our junk food lunch!
It was like going to the state fair in the middle of winter!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I spend some time in the kitchen every weekend preparing food to get us through the week. This morning I made a double batch of calzones using this recipe. We each had one for lunch and I'm freezing the rest.
As the recipe directs, mix dry ingredients and put in mixer bowl. Then add water with proofed yeast (below).
Mix. Please excuse the dirty mixer. I've been busy this morning! It's clean now.
The recipe suggests rolling all the dough out and cutting circles out for each calzone. I just took 1/2 cup of dough at a time and patted each one out individually.
I made pizza sauce (tomato paste, water, olive oil, fresh garlic & Penzeys Pizza Seasoning) and gathered some toppings.
I've been paying a little more for pepperoni in order to avoid added nitrates / nitrites. The Applegate brand is really good and the kids like them because they are big!
Assemble and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The ones marked with "P" are just pepperoni. The others all have veggies added. I made a double batch and ended up for 14 calzones.
They are really good and folding the dough over solves the awkwardness of having cheese free pizza. It doesn't look so naked!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Making the flour blend

As anyone who has made gluten free baked goods knows, the first step is finding / making a good flour blend. I use Silvana's GF Flour Blend from the Cooking For Isaiah cookbook. (I won't post the recipe here because you need to buy the book. It is the first book I'd recommend for anyone going GFCF.) I modify the recipe slightly and use some brown rice flour in place of some of the white rice flour for increased nutritional value.
My godchild gave me this large glass container for Christmas and it works great for storing the flour blend. I make smaller batches by shaking them in a smaller container with a tight fitting lid and then transfer them to this jar. It is a messy process but when the jar is full I can bake lots of pizza crusts, cookies and other goodies.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hazardous chicken

Ever had chicken so juicy that it was actually a hazard?
I rubbed olive oil and a salt / pepper / herb mixture on this bird before roasting it in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes with potatoes, carrots and onions. The house smelled amazing and when our sixteen year old son (known here as Venti) bit into a leg, he was squirted in the eye.
Next time we'll wear safety goggles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crockpot Swiss Steak

We purchased a half beef from a local farmer a few months ago and among the hamburger, roasts and t-bone steaks (oh yeah) are several packages of mechanically tenderized round or sirloin steaks called cube steak. Last night we had Swiss Steak made from a few of these packaged cube steaks. Here's the recipe. It's worth makin'. Mmmm.

Brown the steaks in some olive oil for a few minutes on each side. Place browned steaks in crock pot.
Meanwhile, gather these ingredients... (diced tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, fresh garlic, onions, beef broth, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaves and seasoning- I used my favorite Bouquet Garni from Penzeys.)

Add a little more olive oil to the pan you browned the steaks in and sautee the onions until tender, then add garlic and mushrooms.

Add 2 cans of tomatoes, 2 T Worchestershire sauce, 1 cup beef broth, bay leaves and seasoning and pour over the steaks in the crock pot.

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours and serve with rice or potatoes. (We had rice.)

Roasted veggies

Steamed or boiled veggies are low in calories but oh, soooo boring. I prefer my veggies roasted in a HOT oven with a little olive oil and sea salt. This week we've had roasted asparagus with salmon and rice...
...and roasted cauliflower and broccoli with BBQ boneless chicken thighs and tator tots. (Ore Ida tator tots are gluten free.)

Java is kind of a strange kid. On both of the nights mentioned above, she wiped out the leftover veggies as her bedtime snack!

Friday, January 6, 2012


I posted earlier today about a meal we have at least 2-3 times a month. Chicken pizzas. This post is about another regular meal in the Coffee household.


I used to buy prepackaged taco seasonings but I don't anymore because of all the nasty preservatives they contain. Now I either make my own or use Penzey's Fajita seasoning & Rojo Taco Seasoning. It is better for us and it tastes better!

We use Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas fried in olive oil and load on the toppings: fresh salsa, chopped spinach leaves (instead of less nutritious iceberg lettuce), avocado, and refried beans. They are so flavorful that you won't even miss the cheese!

Chicken Pizzas

It has been almost a year since we eliminated gluten and casein from our family's diet. I remember one of my first thoughts was, "What am I going to do about pizza? My kids love pizza night!"

One of the first pizzas I tried making was one I used to make with a regular wheat flour crust. Chicken Thai pizza. It was easy to adapt to GFCF because it didn't involve cheese. I just needed to find a good pizza crust recipe. It didn't take long before I found it! Now we have pizzas at least 2-3 times a month.This is Bean's favorite. Chicken garlic pizza. Whenever I make chicken, I make up extra for pizza night and I always make extra pizza crusts to freeze ahead. That makes pizza night much easier.

For the garlic sauce, I make a roux with olive oil or ghee, GF flour blend, fresh garlic, adding chicken broth and a milk substitute (usually coconut) until it is the right consistency. I throw in some cut up cooked chicken and then spread the mixture on the pizza crust. Sprinkle with seasoning and bake for 8-10 minutes. No cheese needed!

The rest of the family prefers the Chicken Thai pizza. I stock up on this gluten free Thai peanut sauce whenever I find it on sale so I always have some on hand. I usually add about a tablespoon of natural peanut butter to this sauce and spread it on the baked GF crust and then coat the chicken with the mixture. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Take out of oven, top with chopped green onions, shredded carrots and cilantro and serve immediately.

I know I've posted these pizza recipes before but good meals need to be repeated often. ☺

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hot and sweet

I am a coffee girl. As my email signature states, "My bloodtype is coffee". But alas, I am getting old and I don't sleep well if I've had coffee after lunch anymore.

So I make sure to finish the whole pot before noon.

In the summer that seems to be all I need as far as hot beverages go, but winter is different. I'd like to have a hot mug of something next to me all day. And since my recent vanilla bean blessing I have discovered something wonderful....

Tea! Not just any tea, but tea with a touch of vanilla sweetness!

The powder in the jar is Very Vanilla Sugar. You can make vanilla sugar by simply putting a vanilla bean in a container of sugar for a few weeks, but I didn't want to wait a few weeks. I've always been a bit impatient. I blame the morning pot of coffee. Anyway, this recipe calls for a bean to be pureed in a blender with granulated sugar. The blender turns it into powdery fine vanilla sugar instantly!

You should have seen me when I tried to taste some of the sugar that remained in the blender after I emptied it into the jar pictured above. I tipped it up, put my mouth on the rim and tapped the bottom of the blender, causing the sugary powder to cover my face. I looked like Charlie Sheen on a Saturday night before his recent detox. But it was soooo good.

The other sweetener pictured above is honey from our local food co-op. I split a few vanilla beans down the middle and stuck them inside the jar so I can have vanilla honey in my decaffeinated tea, too!

I drink my coffee black and I'm trying to limit sugar in general but sometimes I need something hot and sweet. And if my hubby isn't around, at least I can have my tea! (He's going to blush when I let him read this. ♥ )

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ringing in the new year

We rang in the new year with an evening meal consisting entirely of snack foods. The kids loved it. (They, and we, also went to bed long before the new year!)

As you can see from the nutritional info on Lay's Potato Chips and Dutch Gourmet thick cut chips, they are a good snack option for special occasions. So is Angie's Kettle Corn, one of our favorite munchies. Java made dip for the veggies and Bean made dip for the chips. Both were made from our favorite dairy free sour cream, fresh garlic and seasonings. I made GFCF Chex mix and Puppy Chow (made with Enjoy Life chocolate chips) and we had pop, a rare treat.

We ate the leftovers for lunch. Our first supper of the new year will be a winter staple, chili. I browned 2 lbs of ground beef and added these ingredients...
The local food co-op recently had a sale on organic canned beans so I stocked up since they were almost the same price as non-organic. I had sweet peppers left over from our veggie tray last night so I threw those in along with a jalapeno and my favorite chili seasoning from Penzeys.
Bean saw me cutting up all the veggies for the chili and commented that it looked good. A year ago even the smell would have kept him out of the kitchen and eating it would have been out of the question. I can't believe how much his sensory processing issues settled down by our diet change.

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