Edamame & Roasted Corn Succotash

Okay, so I'm on day 15 of my 21 day cleanse and I just had to share this recipe with you! I thought it was going to be weird, but it's not at all. It hit the spot on the warm sunny day we had yesterday. This is straight out of the ultimate reset nutrition guide (except I doubled the recipe). I will be making this again (and again!). Without much adieu, the recipe:

Edamame & Roasted Corn Succotash
(makes 2 servings)

1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 cups water
1.5 cups shelled edamame
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
Himalayan salt (to taste; optional)
Herbal seasoning blend (to taste; optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until caramelized and beginning to brown, but before kernels harden. While corn bakes, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add edamame; cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove corn from oven; cool.

Drain edamame. Set aside. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, bell pepper, and onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, salt (if desired), and seasoning blend (if desired). Mix well.

I served it with a side of wilted kale spritzed with some lemon juice and olive oil.

Marinated Flank Steak

This has been a family favorite since I was a small child. In fact, this was THE meal to request when there was a birthday in the house.

It's so easy to make, and delicious to boot.

I didn't have a meal in mind for this evening, but I did have a flank steak in the fridge just waiting to be used. It was a beautiful day, so I thought one last grilled meal would be a fitting way to bid summer farewell (it's supposed to rain tomorrow!).

Without much ado, here is our tried and true, family favorite recipe for the most amazing flank steak you will ever taste. Don't believe me? Make it, I dare you. ;)

Marinated Flank Steak

Ingredients:
Flank Steak
1/4 Cup Gluten-free soy sauce
3 TBSP Oil
2 TBSP Sesame Seeds
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
2 cloves crushed garlic

Instructions:
Remove fat and "film" and cut the flank steak into serving size pieces (optional) - place in a marinating container.

Mix the soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds, brown sugar and crushed garlic together - pour mixture over the flank steak.

Marinate 5-6 hours (I only marinated 1 hour tonight).

Broil or barbecue (for med-rare I leave it on the grill for 4 minutes per side).

Cut into thin slices against the grain.

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By the way, see those purple fingerling potatoes next to the steak? Well, I must brag a little....I pulled those out of my garden today - they were my first ever harvest of home grown potatoes!!  I just might have a green thumb after all...

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets

I used to think that beets tasted like dirt. My opinion has changed, thanks in part to learning how to cook them in the most delicious (and simple) way. When paired with sweet potatoes, beets are like candy.


I am a fan of quick and easy dishes in the kitchen, so this is one of my favorite go-to side dishes. I made these for Easter, and everyone approved - even the kids!

I use organic sweet potatoes (I buy the orange ones, known as yams) and red beets (I don't think the flavor is near as good when using the yellow beets). I always use different amounts and sizes of beets and sweet potatoes, so I adjust the ingredients up or down depending on how many I'm using. I also don't use measuring spoons. Fewer utensils = less time cleaning up the kitchen! It's hard to go wrong with this recipe.

1. Peel sweet potatoes and beets (save the beet greens for juicing, they are excellent!). NOTE: You might want to wear some gloves, as beets do stain hands. I remove beet juice from my butcher block by spritzing Vinegar on and wiping the surface clean with a sponge.

2. Chop into bite size pieces and toss into a bowl. Cut the sweet potato chunks slightly larger than the beets as beets tend to take a little longer to cook - cutting the beets smaller will even out the baking times so you don't have to worry about starting beets before the sweet potatoes.

3. Drizzle Olive Oil onto the beets and sweets - use enough to lightly coat every piece. I used about 1.5 TBSP for the amount prepared.

4. Sprinkle in some Garlic or Onion Powder. I have used both garlic and onion powder. I prefer the onion powder as it produces a sweeter taste in the end, but they are both good, so experiment! I used about 1/2 tsp for the amount prepared as I don't want to have garlic breath when my husband gets home from work!

5. Grind in Salt and Pepper

6. Stir it up and spread the sweets and beets on a rimmed baking pan

7. Bake at 425 for ~30-45 minutes (stirring once). The larger the chunks are, the longer it will take to cook. They are done when the beets can be easily pierced with a fork.

Enjoy!

Warning: Beets will cause you to stare into the toilet in shock - don't be alarmed, pink poop and pee is to be expected after eating beets. Your kids might think it's cool...

Do you like beets? If you don't think you do, I challenge you to make this - give beets a second chance! Also, I'd love to hear the popular vote - what do you prefer, onion or garlic powder on your sweets and beets??

What we eat: Gluten-Free

When I first eliminated gluten from my diet, I felt deprived. Like utterly and totally deprived of all *good* food in the world. Oh how I loved that soft and fluffy french bread dipped in olive oil w/balsamic vinaigrette... Fly me to Italy and you may see me shed a tear (or 500!) as my husband and I pretty much survived on bread and cheese (and wine, oh my!) when we were there in 2009 (aka before going gluten-free).

Oh the memories...

When others find out that we are a gluten-free household, I'm often met with the response, "What on earth do you eat?!"

I felt the same way in the beginning.

The transition to a gluten-free lifestyle was not easy. It was a journey and it was a journey that I didn't enjoy {like, at all}. I would look at food in the grocery store and say, "I can't have this, I can't have that..." as I stumbled my way through the aisles.

Now, having been gluten-free for over 2 years, I have a totally different perspective! Now I eat real food, and for the most part, I don't find myself questioning the possibility that something I ate had gluten in it {unless I'm eating outside of my own kitchen}.

I'm going to give you a quick run down of what we eat, on a regular basis.

The usual breakfast options:

  • oatmeal (Trader Joe's GF) - I like to use unsweetened coconut milk (also from TJ's) or almond milk instead of milk or water. I also add cinnamon and raisins, the kids love it.
  • eggs (scrambled, omelettes, hard-boiled) - I like to throw in some peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese when I do scrambled eggs or omelettes. I cut the vegetables up nice and small so the kids don't complain too much. ;)
  • protein shake - currently using SFH's chocolate whey protein powder. I use Zico coconut water as a base, add a frozen banana, lots of spinach and sometimes almond butter. There are a gazillion ways to spice up the vanilla or chocolate powders, I like to experiment.
  • pancakes or waffles (The Cravings Place All Purpose Pancake & Waffle Mix) - we only do pancakes/waffles if we're having eggs and the kids only get the pancakes if they eat their eggs. ;) I like this GF mix because it's so simple to make, and the pancakes taste great! I usually add some unsweetened apple sauce to the mix with water, unsweetened coconut milk, or almond milk. I don't measure, I just add liquid until I get the right consistency. Sometimes I add a little vanilla and cinnamon. The pancakes/waffles have the perfect texture - just like those gluten filled ones we used to enjoy.

The typical lunch (note: we usually have fruit and vegetables paired with one of the following items at lunch time):

  • Quinoa - we eat a lot of quinoa. I usually make a quinoa salad with black beans, garbanzo beans, red/orange/yellow peppers and artichokes all mixed in. Our girls love it.
  • Salmon patties (purchased from Costco - WARNING: read the packages, some salmon patties have gluten in them!) - I use my cast iron pan to quickly grill up salmon patties for my kids. Dip a bite of  salmon patty in mayonnaise, and it's even more delicious. We usually pair the salmon with a green vegi (typically steamed broccoli)
  • Sandwiches (Udi's bread is THE best store bought bread) - on days I need to make something quick, my fall back is a good old fashioned PB&J, grilled cheese sandwich or a meat n'cheese sandwich (sometimes I sub hummus for mayonnaise - yum). I love panini's so I usually grill our sandwiches (I have a Cuisinart Griddler - absolutely LOVE it!).

The last-minute dinner:

  • Meat and vegi's. Seriously. We eat a lot of meat and vegetables for dinner. Whether it's shrimp, steak, fish or chicken (my least favorite), we eat it with a vegetable (the usual stuff in our refrigerator: asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, turnips, zucchini, peppers, and whatever else is in season).

This is a quick last-minute kind of meal at our house. I simply cut up a steak or two (or chicken), mix it with a ton of cut up vegi's, drop some olive oil in the bowl, sprinkle on some of Trader Joe's every day seasoning (great way to spice things up!), mix it up, then spread everything on a rimmed baking tray. Bake for ~15 minutes with the temp somewhere around 400-425 degrees (stirring once), and enjoy! SO SIMPLE! 

When I'm being a planner, I like to use meal planning services (my go-to GF menu planning site is gfreecuisine.com). I love that they provide menus that follow seasonally available produce. They also have monthly freezer meals which are quick and easy to prepare, and taste great!

So there you have it. A quick look into a typical day of eating in our gluten-free household.

I will be including more recipes and a deeper look into our food choices in future posts. Also, I will provide a list of our favorite gluten-free snacks {isn't it CrAzY how often kids want snacks???}. And if you want some tips for getting your kids to eat their food (including vegetables!), stay tuned. Dinner time doesn't have to be a war...

Gluten Ingredient Cheat Sheet (printable)

When we were first transitioning to a gluten-free life, I had the hardest time trying to remember the 'banned' ingredient list. Grocery shopping was a bit stressful. Trying to read all of the ingredient lists while toting my toddler and baby through the store was a challenge in itself, but throw in new dietary restrictions, and I was a hot mess.

I didn't have an easy to reference cheat sheet, but I wished I did. I was in 'tired mommy' mode as I balanced life with my newborn and toddler (19 months apart), so I never made a list, I just suffered through those early gluten-free shopping days.  Sometimes, I made mistakes and brought something home that had an ingredient on it that I forgot was another form of gluten.

Well, I finally found some time and was able to make a cheat sheet (it only took me 2.5 years!). This will be useful for you even if you don't need to be on a gluten-free diet. Maybe you will have some gluten-free dinner guests one night and will wonder what you can feed them, or maybe someone you know just found out that they have celiac disease - give them a cheat sheet to help them in their journey!

Without further ado, I give you my 'ingredients to avoid' cheat sheet:

See all those numbers in the "Check with manufacture" list above? Download the PDF (click the link below) and you will see an extra page with more information on why those ingredients may or may not be gluten-free (courtesy of celiac.com).

There are other strange ingredients out there that are 'glutenous' but since they have names like, Hing, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, and Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, I left them off my list. If it has wheat in the name, don't trust it - pretty simple, right?

Going gluten-free promoted a great deal of processed food elimination in our home and it increased my 'whole food' mentality. My rule of thumb is, if something has really strange, hard to pronounce ingredients listed on the package, it's better for my health not to eat it.

Anyway, click the link below to download the PDF. Feel free to use the buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post with the world! :)

DOWNLOAD: Gluten Ingredients to Avoid - Printable

Post this list on your fridge, drop one in your wallet, give one to a friend! I hope you find this list as helpful as I would have back when I was just starting my GF journey. ;)

I am working on making the list in an easy-to-print wallet size (because wouldn't that be cool?). I will post an update with a download link when it's ready.

If you see anything missing from my list that you consider a 'normal' gluten ingredient, drop me a line!

Happy shopping!

(This post is linked up to a blog hop here: Laura's Gluten Free Pantry)

The gluten episodes

Our youngest kiddo, "Little C", went through a rough patch this past summer and we didn't really know what was causing her issues at the time.

She had been a difficult baby. She screamed a lot and was extremely constipated. I eliminated gluten from my diet (I was breastfeeding her) and Little C's bowel movements normalized and her screaming totally went away - our baby became normal.

As time went on, Little C started eating solids and we did our best to keep gluten out of our diet.

Things were going well, until one day, we experienced a totally crazy tantrum from our sweet little girl. Little C was almost 2 when she began having tantrums that seemed too bizarre to blame on the terrible two's.

We didn't know why...

This past summer I hadn't been diligent in taking gluten-free snacks for Little C to eat when she was in the nursery at church and sometimes I assumed everyone knew about her 'allergy'. It wasn't so. There were quite a few times where Little C was given goldfish crackers because someone in her class didn't see her allergy sticker - or I'd simply forgotten to put one on her. The first time she ever had goldfish crackers it was reported that, "She really liked them!!" (as in...she ate a ton).

With Little C's gluten allergy, and mine as well, the side effects aren't immediate and they last for about 2 weeks after we've eaten gluten. Well, 1-3 days after church, Little C would begin having quite crazy, hair-raising screaming fits. Her eyes would go blank (as if nobody was home) and she would belt out the most terrifying scream I've ever heard. This screaming would go on for 30-45 minutes straight. There was no consoling her. She threw herself on the ground if we tried to touch her. Her whole body would go completely stiff if we picked her up. Talking to her was like talking to a wall - there was no reaction, no less screaming, it was like we weren't even there.

It was frightening.

We weren't always sure if she had eaten goldfish at church, and these tantrums seemed like more than a simple allergic reaction. It had been a long time since the days of our  'scrying baby' and it seemed we got a little lax in our food monitoring.

When Little C was having her episodes, the thought of her being autistic was front and center. I started researching, and you know what? Quite a few articles correlated un-diagnosed food sensitivities as being a leading cause of autism.

Wow.

We had always blamed her fits on gluten, but after a while, it started to seem silly to attribute her behavior to food. I felt like everyone else thought I was a loony mom who was making up excuses for my kid's bad behavior. I didn't know what to do. My child had a problem.

It was not easy to figure out the source of Little C's tantrums. Our doctor had us document her food intake, and we kept detailed records of her tantrums (including videos our doc could watch). After a couple months of record keeping, the answer became quite clear.

The research I had read and the words our doctor spoke were reassuring to us that gluten DOES cause our child to behave in a way that seems out of her control. Gluten is the culprit. My daughter has a delayed food sensitivity (this phrase was so foreign to me before all of this).

I wish we knew why Little C's body doesn't agree with gluten, but for now, we will continue to be those annoying parents who hover near the food table at a party, just to make sure our child doesn't sneak up and grab something off-limits to her body.

Also see: Gluten Intolerance Symptoms | My Story

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Does your kid have behavioral issues that are beyond the normal spectrum? Have you ever considered how food might have an impact on mental health? I'd love to hear - share below!

Recipe: Grilled Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Okay, so the weather in the Seattle area has been a bit typical lately (gray clouds and rain), but every day it's not raining, I've been thinking about grilling. And every time I mention that I'm going to grill dinner, my husband begs me to make grilled peppers stuffed with goat cheese. I guess he likes it. It is pretty amazing (if you like peppers and goat cheese).

Of course these are gluten-free, but saying it's dairy free is a stretch. These peppers are filled with cheese.  There is an option to use a cheese alternative, but you still need to use goat cheese.

Prep and cook time: 35 minutes

Feeds: 4-6

2 yellow bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, or cheese alternative, Vegan Gourmet, shredded

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Heat the grill to med-high.

1. Cut the bell peppers lengthwise into halves, discarding the stem ends and membranes.

2. Place 1 inch water in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Drop the peppers in and boil for 2 minutes. Drain, cut side down on paper towels.

3. Combine the goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onions and basil in a bowl and mix well.

4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each bell pepper half.

5. Fold a large piece of foil to make a rectangle tray (big enough to hold the peppers). Arrange the bell pepper halves inside the foil and place another piece of foil over the top and seal both pieces together. Cut slits into the top to allow steam to escape.

76. Arrange the foil packet on the grill and grill for 5-6 minutes or until the bell peppers are crisp-tender and the cheese is melted. To serve, cut into smaller wedges and serve immediately.

NOTE: you can bake these peppers if you don't have a grill. Place the peppers in a baking dish with a little water, Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

*This recipe is straight out of a gfreecuisine.com meal plan I used last year. It's so good, I put it in my 'favorite recipes' binder with 5 stars boldly drawn on. :)

Recipe: Basic White Bread (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

I’ve made this recipe time and again and it’s absolutely the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had (seriously).

I love sourdough and rye breads and had missed them since going gluten-free. My remedy was to add some caraway into my bread and I absolutely love it. If you don’t like caraway, go ahead and leave it out – your bread will still turn out well.

I originally made the Brioche Sandwich Bread recipe posted over at Better Batter, but it left much to be desired, so I decided to experiment. My goal in creating this recipe was to use fewer eggs and to have it taste amazing so that I could have a budget friendly bread in my kitchen (let’s face it, Udi’s is expensive!).

Basic White Sandwich Bread (Gluten-Free)

2 ½ tsp yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tbsp caraway seed (optional)

1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

5 eggs

2 ¾ cups flour (Better Batter GF flour)

½ cup unsalted butter - softened (for dairy-free, use a substitute)

  1. Preheat oven to 170° - 200° (my oven only goes as low as 200!).
  2. Stir the yeast and warm water together (in a kitchen aid mixer if you have one) and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan or get out a 13x4x4 quick release pan (no greasing required)
  4. Add the caraway, vinegar, sugar, salt, eggs and flour to the yeast water in the mixer and beat until smooth.
  5. Add shortening, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer on low.
  6. Beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes after the last tablespoon of shortening has been added.
  7. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth it out (this isn’t your normal looking bread dough, it’s very wet and sticky)
  8. Put the pan in the oven to rise for 1 hour.
  9. When the timer goes off, bring the temp up to 375° and set the timer for 45 minutes.
  10. When done, turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.
  11. Store in a bag in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.

Notes about this recipe:

*The bread takes a long time to rise. It just plain won’t rise for me on the counter. If after an hour in the oven at 170°, it still doesn’t look as big as you think it should be…have no fear, it will rise more when you bring the oven up to baking temperature.

*If you use a USA Pans pan with a lid – DO NOT use the lid for this recipe. Your bread will cave in all over the place if you do and you will be sad to have wasted your ingredients on it (I did this quite a few times as I tried over and over to perfect the recipe with the lid on – it just doesn’t work). Leave the lid off, you won’t be sorry.

*You can use ½ cup shortening (I've tried, Crisco, coconut oil and other non-dairy butter substitutes - they all worked) or ¼ cup shortening with ¼ cup butter or ½ cup butter. Any combo of shortening seems to work for this recipe, so if you have a preference for one thing over the other, try it – it should work just as well.

*Better Batter Gluten-Free flour has xanthan gum in it. This recipe may be compatible with other gluten-free flours, however, you will need to add some xanthan gum if your mix does not contain it (you may have to experiment to find the right measurement).

If you try this recipe out, I’d love to have your feedback (the good and bad). Please come back and let me know how it worked for you.

Enjoy!

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This post is linked up to a weekly blog hop here:  Laura's Gluten Free Pantry

New bread recipe in the works

Just a quick note to say...I made some amazing Gluten-Free bread today - and I made my own recipe (I even wrote it down)! A few more taste tests and if others love it as much as I do, I will be posting the recipe real soon.

 

My goal was to make a lighter and fluffier loaf than the Better Batter Brioche sandwich bread I've been making lately. I also wanted to reduce the cost of my weekly loaf and still keep it super simple to make.

I used some caraway in it and it's totally satisfying my craving for sourdough bread. I'm planning on making it without the caraway tomorrow to make sure it's good plain - I have no doubt it will be. Now if only I could figure out how to get my loaves to quit collapsing in my bread pan when it's cooling (it only collapses when I use the new pan)...  Who knew a brand new high-end 'made in the USA' bread pan could be so hard to figure out??

Quick Tips: Going Gluten-Free

I know that going Gluten-Free can be quite a hard task when you've just been given news about your gluten intolerance.  It's easy to feel lost when you have to reinvent your dietary lifestyle. I hope these quick tips will help as you seek to change your diet.

 

1. Remove all gluten containing products from your house. It's just easier to make the switch by removing the temptation surrounding you. Use this list to help you sort through your pantry. I have more tips hiding in a post here.

2. Shop at Trader Joe's, PCC, Whole Foods or another natural food store - they are bound to have more GF products than a normal grocery store and the prices will be more competitive. Trader Joe's has a wonderful list of all the products they carry that are gluten-free - other stores might have something similar, just ask. This list is SO helpful in figuring out what you can and can't eat. My gluten-free shopping trip stress level went down 10 fold when I discovered their helpful list.

3. Pack a snack. Where ever you go, take a GF snack with you. Here are some Gluten-Free Snack Ideas: KIND PLUS, Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants, thinkThin Protein Bar, Chunky Peanut Butter, Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers

4. Don't trust the waiters at restaurants - do your research before dining out. Google is your friend, use it! Here's a great article about eating out Gluten-Free.

5. Sign up for a Gluten-Free meal planning service: www.gfreecuisine.com or eMeals. Both of these services saved my life. I had no idea how to cook Gluten-Free before I subscribed. I'm not kidding. GF budget meal planning websites with built-in shopping lists have saved me so much stress over the last year. I make amazing meals for my family every night and it's all gluten-free and simple to make (even for someone new to cooking)!

6. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Fruit, vegetables and meat are your new best friends! There are more and more gluten-free products popping up these days, and I'll post a list of my favorites soon...but for now, learn to love the foods on the perimeter of the grocery store.

 

Do you have any good tips to share about going gluten-free? Please comment and let me know what worked for you, I'd love to hear from you! :)

Recipe: Favorite Afternoon Snack (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)

Have you ever tried Roasted Plantain Chips? They are delicious and a great source of potassium and dietary fiber. I stock up on plantain chips when I go to Trader Joe's - It's $1.69 for a 6oz bag and there are (supposedly) 6 servings in a bag. My husband and kids LOVE them (as do I).

I like to spice them up with some guacamole - why not get potassium, fiber, vitamins B, E, and K, all in one snack? I don't make super fancy guacamole, but what I do make is sure satisfying and doesn't require anything not usually stocked in my kitchen! My youngest daughter absolutely refuses to eat avocado served any other way - she LOVES my guacamole (shhh, don't tell her it's avocado she's eating!).

Simply Delicious Guacamole:

1 avocado

1/2 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

cayenne pepper

1-2 garlic cloves minced

Halve and peel your avocado, place in a bowl. Squeeze half a lemon onto your avocado, grind some salt and pepper on, throw a pinch of cayenne pepper in to suit your spicy craving, drop the garlic in, and mash it all together.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Brioche Sandwich Bread (Gluten-Free)

I know I said I'd be posting more frequently in the new year...but so far that hasn't panned out as I just haven't had the energy. I've felt pretty miserable since late November and am still not sure what the issue is (constant nausea & no energy among other things). I'm going in to have more blood work done next week.

Anywho, I did want to share that I've switched from buying Udi's Gluten-Free bread to baking my Gluten-Free bread at home.

I calculated out how much my weekly loaf is costing to bake at home, and I am happy to report that it came in at just about $2.16 (I had to guesstimate on some of the prices of ingredients and this was assuming I was buying some ingredients in bulk). I buy organic free range eggs, so the price would be quite a bit less if I didn't (not that I'm switching back). We had been spending a little more than $10/week on 2 loaves of Udi's GF bread (ouch). Now we're getting away with one loaf each week (because it's a big loaf) and we are happy to be saving money this way! This recipe is so simple.

Brioche Sandwich Bread (from Better Batter)

This bread is wonderfully soft, and it keeps longer than the typical gf bread, because of the generous amount of lecithin supplied by 6 eggs. This is a real bonus for those of us who don’t like to bake as often. It also makes utterly divine French toast.

Don’t be intimidated or put off by the amount of salt called for in the recipe. This bread isn’t salty at all, but the salt helps the texture and keeping quality of the bread immensely.

1 package active dry yeast (2 & 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup warm water (not too hot or you'll kill your yeast - use water that feels neutral to your finger - your body is 98.6, so this is a great way to measure your water temp)

1 1/2 tsp vinegar

2 1/2c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (order in bulk directly from Better Batter for extra savings!)

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp salt

6 whole eggs

8 Tbsp shortening

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 175. Grease a 9×5x3 inch loaf pan.

Stir the yeast into the warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Put the yeast water, vinegar, flour, sugar, honey, salt, and eggs into your electric mixer and beat until very smooth.

Add the shortening, one tablespoon at a time, beating for an additional 3 minutes after the last tablespoon of shortening has been added.

Spoon into your pans and let rise in the oven for 1 hour.

Increase the heat to 375 and bake for 45 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Wrap tightly and freeze, if desired.

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I tried varying the recipe using both butter and coconut oil in place of shortening. Both variations baked just fine, but the coconut oil caused the crust to burn quickly when toasted (and that didn't taste so great). I used salted butter in the butter version...which I probably shouldn't have. The end result tasted really buttery (great for toast, but not so great for some sandwiches). We have opted to keep the recipe as is for our sandwich making needs. Overall, I'm really satisfied with this recipe - and enjoying the savings seen in our weekly grocery shopping!

Have you ever baked Gluten-Free bread?

How To...Transform Your Pantry

Going Gluten-Free (GF) was a difficult task in the beginning. I had NO idea where to start and I felt totally overwhelmed at times. I already had an aversion to the idea of cooking, so I was sure this whole GF thing was not going to help.

Having been there, and done that, I can now provide you some tips which may help you if you are going through the GF transition.

I hope these tips help your switch to Gluten-Free a little less painful.


  • Pull all the gluten filled items out of your pantry. Glance at the labels. If it says: wheat, malt, barley, or  flour - set it aside. For a more comprehensive list of what should be avoided, visit this list at celiac.com. Put all of the gluten containing items in boxes or bags. If you have some people in your house who are not committed to going GF, have them pick out their favorite items and then clear a shelf in the pantry just for the gluten items they can't part with (and make sure the GF person in your house stays away from this shelf!). Give the rest of the food to friends and family (or donate it to a local food bank). Do the same in your refrigerator and freezer.  My husband and oldest daughter are not strictly GF, so I made a shelf in the pantry/fridge and freezer so they could work on consuming those foods.



  •  Always check the labels of your food before using. As you will see in the list of unsafe foods over at celiac.com, there are tons of ingredients to avoid (might want to print that list and keep it on your fridge until you are confident in your GF lifestyle). The initial pantry/fridge/freezer clean-out should allow you to find the biggest offenders, but no doubt you will find something later on that contains an unsafe ingredient - so always check labels - on everything!



  • Transform your whole kitchen. Don't buy any more gluten filled items - it's too hard to have around. If you are eliminating gluten for only one person in a house of 4, it will be frustrating for that person to have adjust to eating GF with all of the wonderful gluten filled treats around. Make GF a lifestyle change for the house, not just a pantry change for the effected - it will be an easier transition on everyone.



  • Find ways to save money on GF food. Shop in bulk size at Amazon's Gluten-Free Store. Use the Subscribe and Save option (a recurring order which you can set at different monthly intervals). This often times will allow you to save up to 30%. We order cereal, crackers, pancake mix and snacks using the subscribe and save option. The greatest part about subscribe and save is that you can cancel your recurring order if you don't want it again. You get free shipping too, so why not try it?



  • When dining out - DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK how food has been prepared and make sure to mention your gluten intolerance! Many restaurants are now catering to the GF lifestyle, but that doesn't mean they really know what they're doing (not all corn tortillas are wheat-free for example - you need to clarify). Servers also don't always know what 'Gluten-Free' means. If this is the case, order a salad and make sure there are no croutons! It's important to your health - don't be ashamed to ask how food has been prepared. You know the consequences, so don't be afraid to ask.



  •  If you are going a dinner event and you don't want to mention your food restrictions, or it's a preset menu, eat a little something before you go. I made the mistake of not eating prior to going to a church event a few weeks back...and I should have known the menu would be spaghetti and bread! Bonus tip: Always carry some GF snacks in your bag - Lara bars are a great thing to have on hand!



  • Menu planning - do it (at least for a little while). I was absolutely lost in my kitchen until I found eMeals and  gfreecuisine.com. eMeals is a meal planning website with a Gluten-Free option. gFreeCuisine is a meal planning website specifically for Gluten-Free. A weekly menu using their recipes is less than $100/week in groceries. You can set the number of servings you want to make and the recipes adjust automatically! I make my meals for 4 people and I always have leftovers for a couple lunches the next day. It's perfect. The recipes are all delicious and the ingredients used are always planned based on what's in season. Did I mention the handy shopping list these sites generate for you based on what meals you selected for the week?? I pick out and print my weekly menu plan each week and the shopping list provided makes it so easy to quickly get what I need to make everything. gFreeCuisine also provides easy snack ideas, drink suggestions, bread recipes, and my favorite - monthly freezer meals, all on the website! I LOVE having a gluten-free meal planning helper. It's well worth the price of the subscription. The meals are all pretty easy to make - GF meal planning websites are my favorite kitchen tool!


And there you have it.

Are you gluten-free? What was the hardest part of going GF for you?

Recipe: Gingerbread Men (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free/Vegan)

We have a fun tradition of decorating gingerbread men at Christmas time. My mom started the tradition when I was young and since having my own children, I decided to keep the tradition alive as I have fond memories of decorating gingerbread men every year with friends and family.

Last year I made wheat flour gingerbread men and was a little sad that I couldn't eat any (I was newly Gluten-Free). This year, I made Gluten-Free gingerbread men, and let me tell you, they are great!

I used coconut oil for these cookies instead of Crisco (my typical shortening standby). Something about the coconut oil (the fat?) makes the dough amazingly easy to work with and the coconut oil has a very subtle flavor - so it compliments the gingerbread. I was shocked at how easy to handle the dough was. There was no crumbling and if I was running short on an area that needed more dough, I'd just drop some scraps on and roll it in - it blends that easily!

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men (Vegan)

1/2 cup coconut oil (can sub regular shortening)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses (do NOT use blackstrap, for milder flavor)
2 Tbsp applesauce
2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions
In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and applesauce. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg in a separate bowl; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll the dough out on wax paper to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Carefully peel up the cookies and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (you can skip the parchment paper if you don't have any - just decrease your baking time to 10-12 minutes total).

Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, until mostly firm (they will firm up as they cool). Slide the parchment paper (with cookies) to a wire cooling rack. Frost or decorate when cool.

*Coconut oil becomes very hard when chilled. If you need to refrigerate the dough, make sure to take it out at least 1 hour before you intend to us it, as it will be very hard and not pliable straight out of the fridge.

Icing

1 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 egg white
1/3 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, adding boiling water last.
  2. Beat on high for 6-10 minutes until frosting forms peaks.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Breakfast Surprise (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)



I needed to make a hot dish for my MOPS meeting this week, and since I'm gluten-free, I set out on a quest to find a recipe I wouldn't be embarrassed to claim. I found it over at The Gluten-Free Dish and boy oh boy, thank you Debbie - this one is a keeper!

I made two pies - one was dairy-free (I had vegan soy cheese on hand) and I used some cheddar in the 2nd. I knew my morning would be rushed, so I prepared almost everything the night before.

Here's what I did the night before: I peeled the sweet potatoes and put them in the food processor. Then I made the crusts and cooked them. While the crusts were cooking, I prepared the turkey bacon. While the turkey bacon was cooking, I mixed up the eggs, whites/yolks, cheese, oregano, basil and parsley. Since I was making two pies, I made two egg mixtures. I put 4 whites in one (in addition to the 4 eggs) and since I had 4 extra yokes on hand, I used them in the other mixture (so 4 eggs, plus 4 yokes). I wrapped some plastic wrap over the bowls of eggs and put them in the fridge.

Then I cut up my cooked bacon into bite sized pieces, pulled the crusts out of the oven, spread the bacon on each crust and sprinkled cheese on top. I finished up by wrapping each pie in saran wrap and put them in the fridge for the night.

In the morning I turned on my oven and took a shower (my oven takes so long to preheat!). Then I poured the egg mixtures in each pie (I put the mixture with extra yolks in the dairy-free version) and stuck them in the oven. Thirty minutes later, the pies were done.

The pies were amazing. What a great use of sweet potatoes!

I highly recommend this recipe to everyone (GF or not!).

*Update* I had extra sweet potatoes when I first made this, so I put them in a Ziploc and laid it flat in the freezer. This morning I broke off a few chunks of sweet potatoes, defrosted them and then made a pie. I followed the recipe, but added red peppers and used some normal bacon (that my husband picked up from a local diner as I hadn't realized I was out of both turkey bacon and sausage). It was so good, my husband had about 3 servings and told me this is what he wants for Christmas brunch with his side of the family. It's that good. :)

Oh, and my husband told me it should be called Sweet Potato Surprise...because the sweet potato crust is a delicious surprise. So here it is...

Sweet Potato Breakfast Surprise

Ingredients:
oil for pan
2 cups grated sweet potatoes (use the food processor - it's fast!)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
3/4 cup cooked light Turkey Maple Sausage, or uncured turkey bacon (cut into bite size pieces)
4 eggs
4 egg whites (works well with just yolks, too)
a hand full of vegan soy cheese/cheddar (optional)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried parsley

Crust:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius).
Coat pie pan with oil
Mix grated potatoes and onion powder.
Press potato mixture evenly over the bottom and sides of the pie pan.
Pour melted "butter" evenly over the potatoes.
Bake for 20 minutes. Watch carefully not to burn.

Filling:
Spread cooked bacon/sausage evenly over the crust.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over the bacon/sausage.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs, egg whites (or yolks), and spices.
Pour egg mixture over the cheese.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is set and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serves: 6

Recipe credit goes to: The Gluten-Free Dish

Recipe: Winter Vegetable Soup (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)

I recently made this soup and it was so good, I want to share it with you! It's gluten-free and dairy-free. This recipe was on my weekly meal plan from gfreecuisine.com. It was really easy to make (bonus!).

Winter Vegetable Soup


Prep time 25 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, cored & chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped

5 1/2 cups GF vegetable broth

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup fresh basil

 

1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.Add apple, squash, carrots, and sweet potato; season with salt and pepper and sauté 5 minutes.

2. Add broth, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Add syrup, cayenne, and nutmeg. Cool slightly.

3. Using a potato masher, mash vegetables in the soup until slightly pureed. Ladle into bowls.

4. Garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired.

PEELING BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Unlike summer squash, the peel of a butternut squash is very thick. You'll need a good, heavy chef's knife to cut through the skin. Cut off both ends and quarter the squash. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel. If you run into those tough bumpy sections, you'll have to cut them off with a knife because the peeler won't go through it.

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We paired this soup with some cheesy artichoke bread (used Udi's whole grain bread). The recipe I used was a little heavy on the sour cream, so I'm not going to share that one. It was good, just not as good as I'd have liked (I want to make it again with a few tweaks - then if it's good, I'll share). You can look up cheesy artichoke bread and just replace the french bread that is usually called for with Udi's and make sure all the other ingredients are gluten-free.

A simply wonderful meal - even the kids liked it!

My Favorite: Gluten-Free Bread

When I started out on this whole gluten-free thing, I was really sad to give up normal bread.

I love bread.

In the beginning, I tried all sorts of gluten-free breads and they were all so disappointing. Seriously. They were either dense, dry and lacking flavor, or dense, moist, ultra crumbly and stinking of tapioca - it was all disgusting.

Until I discovered Udi's. 1558

Udi's Gluten-Free bread is THE best. There's no need to try anything else (unless you love tapioca and want it in your dense, crumbly bread).

Sign up on Udi's website and you will get a $1 off coupon.

I've tried their buns and muffins and they are perhaps my favorite freezer items (the blueberry muffins are such a wonderful treat!).

I like the whole grain bread the best. I use it most frequently for sandwiches and toast. And though the loaves are small, I've found that it's actually the perfect size. My family is now used to smaller sized sandwiches - in fact, it's a great way to have portion control. :)

The bread is on the expensive side at $5/loaf, but honestly? I think it's worth it. You can find it on sale occasionally (I found it at PCC for $4.39 a few weeks back and stocked up my freezer supply).

Speaking of freezers, Udi's bread does really well in the freezer. It thaws out nicely and never gets soggy.

If you are gluten-free - you've got to try Udi's!

Do you have a favorite GF bread? Do you have any advice for saving money on Udi's bread? Please share your experience in the comments!

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Note: I am not affiliated with Udi's - I am writing this review simply because I like and use the product. I hope that by posting my experiences, others will have an easier time transitioning to a Gluten-Free lifestyle.

Recipe: Apple Pie (Gluten-Free)

I love apple pie - that's why I always offer to make it at Thanksgiving time. Selfish? Maybe.

I was a bit worried this year, as I wasn't sure how I'd make my pies gluten-free. Thanks to Better Batter - I was able to quickly find a gluten-free batter recipe using Better Batter as my flour.

I followed the directions as stated and realized there was nothing to be worried about, the recipe was solid and it made a perfect pie crust!

I was running short on patience and didn't make a pretty crust edge...but I don't think it will taste any worse. ;)

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups Better Batter Flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Baking powder
4 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp shortening (we like butter flavored)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp cider vinegar
3 ice cubes
1/2 cup cold water

Instructions
Make sure all of your ingredients are very cold (put in the fridge for about 30 minutes).

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture – the appearance of the mixture should be coarse – pea sized chunks should be present.

In a measuring cup beat together the egg yolk, vinegar, ice cubes, and water. A little at a time pour some of this mixture over your pastry mix . You may use all of the mixture.

Toss with a fork until the pastry just holds together, but is not dry. Knead together lightly a few times — it should look and feel like a normal pie crust.

Roll this immediately out between two layers of plastic wrap -this makes for a perfect crust and easy cleanup. When the pastry is large enough, remove the top layer of plastic and, using the bottom layer to hold the pastry, flip it into the pie plate. Peel off the plastic and crimp the edges. Bake as directed.

Source: http://betterbatter.org/perfect-pie-crust

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For the filling, I used a 5-star recipe on AllRecipes.com.

Quite a few people posted about having won pie contests with this recipe, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I should have read all the comments about making sure to pour the filling on the pies while it was still hot because otherwise it gets thick and doesn't seep into the pie like it should (lesson learned). I kept my pies in the oven for about 20 minutes longer than recommended as I wanted to be sure the filling had time to really get down in there and it seemed to take that much longer for the apples to soften. I wrapped foil around the edges of the pies and then removed the foil for the last 10 minutes.

FILLING



  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (above)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use Better Batter Flour)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced




Directions



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.


Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/detail.aspx


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Update:  It was pretty good! It would have been even better if my filling had been poured on while it was still hot (and thin) so the apples could really cook in it. The bottom apples didn't get much of the filling/flavor, so if you do make this filling - make sure to pour it on while it's hot (maybe even mix your apples in half of it and then pour the rest on top)! Everyone liked it and though I was a bit skeptical of it being a sugar overload, it went really well with vanilla ice cream.