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. 

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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Review: Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour

I finally used my

Better Batter

(gluten-free flour) in some chocolate chip cookies last night. 

They turned out fantastic and now I can say, this flour mixture is awesome!

I made the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips and where the recipe called for flour I simply used the same amount of Better Batter flour in place of traditional flour.

The cookies taste just like they did in my good old glutenized flour days. The batter looked totally normal and it even tasted normal - that's not something I can say of other GF flour mixtures I've used!

This is actually bad news for me....

Now that I've successfully used this flour as a 1:1 replacement, I'll be baking more treats. And that equals more calories and sugar in my diet. I'm actually a sugar-aholic...

My next project will be to make a Gluten-Free apple pie using

Better Batter

flour for the crust.

I. Can't. Wait.

Oh, and for the record...I've had 3 cookies already today and it's only 12:20pm.

I better go to the gym or something...this could be dangerous!

What GF flour mixtures have you tried? Please let me know if you have any GF secrets - I would love to hear from you!

_________________

For the record: I am not affiliated with Better Batter. I like the product and hope my short review helps others who might be looking for gluten-free flour options.

Gluten-Free Menu Planning

I'm going to talk about fixing dinner. Why? Because most everyone likes eating! Food brings people together. Food is comfort. Food is good.

But I suck at it.

I've always been a bit timid in the kitchen. It comes naturally for my mom, why not me? Even after all those years of cooking and sewing 4-H - I get so nervous at the thought of people coming over for dinner - it seriously freaks me out. "What will I make? I don't know how to cook!" In general, I have creative moments, but in the kitchen? Forget about it! I'm too scared of screwing up. Fear of failure? Totally.

Maybe it's because I know so many others around me are so good in the kitchen (my sister-in-laws are both amazing in the kitchen), I just don't feel like I can compete. Not that it's a competition, but really...in my head, I look at what they do in the kitchen and feel totally overwhelmed because I don't even know where to begin.

I have cookbooks. So many cookbooks. My husband threatens to make a bonfire out of them because I don't use them. Okay, so he doesn't want to actually light them on fire (that would be a total waste of money, the better option - sell them!), but he does quite regularly ask me if I can get rid of all the cookbooks because after all, it's all on the internet anyway... My response is always the same, "No way, I'm going to use those cookbooks someday!"

So in an effort to fix my cooking insecurities, I found a website that does all the meal planning and grocery list generating for me! It's amazing. And gluten-free (there are even dairy-free and vegan options if you're into that)!

www.gfreecuisine.com

Every week there's a new set of recipes to add to your weekly menu plan and usually, every single recipe sounds delicious. They are quick (20-30 minute recipes), easy to make, fresh, in-season meals and so far, I've only made 1 or 2 that we didn't really care for (and I've used the menu plans for at least 3 months straight, so that's a pretty good ratio IMO). And the shopping list is great, I order most of my groceries from Amazon Fresh, so it's been  easy-peasy.

There's even a monthly freezer meal menu plan! We had a TLT (but it was on a Thursday) in August and I made my first freezer meal ever (in fact, we made 4 freezer meals that night!). It was really cool to have my man working in the kitchen with me (sexy even).

Menu planning with

Gfree

has been incredibly helpful. I've gained a ton of kitchen confidence, and am almost ready to start my meal planning by using my own cookbooks (and recipes from the interwebs)! The last few times I've cooked for guests, I've actually enjoyed the process and stopped stressing out about it so much (I still carry a little stress when cooking for others, but in general, it's way less than days of past).

FIXING food is getting easier!

Do you meal plan? Share your tricks with me! I need all the help I can get. ;) 

Note: I am not affiliated with Gfree - I just use and like the service and highly recommend it.

Halloween candy count - what's gluten free?

We went trick or treating tonight. It's an event that I'm not entirely convinced is really something we should do. It just seems strange that we celebrate haunted things and dress up - I did it as a kid, so it must be okay, right?

Now that I have kids, I'm questioning the holiday (just like I'm sure my own parents did). What's the point of it? Shouldn't I know the point by now? Dressing up, knocking on doors, saying "trick or treat" and getting candy - is that all there is to it? Are we just going with the flow? Does anyone have a good definition of what Halloween is to the average American family??

As a rule, er no, as a lifestyle choice, we don't give our kids candy. I'm pretty sure Hailey had no idea what it was until we went to a family event and someone thought they'd be the

cool Uncle

. She was fine without refined sugar in her life. I was fine with it too (let's be honest here, I'm the one that has an addiction to sugar!).

All that aside....we went trick or treating with friends tonight and it was a good time. The kids loved it. It was cold out, but it was so cute watching them go to the doors, knock. and say in those cute little voices, "TRICK OR TREAT!".

But oh the candy. They wanted to eat it all as soon as we got back to the house! A couple of us are gluten-free, so we immediately grabbed the candy buckets and started sorting. Being that I'm an avid candy-a-holic, I had a pretty good idea of what was okay (and to be honest, I wasn't being all that strict since Hailey doesn't appear to have an issue with gluten). But this reminded me once again, that sooner than later, I will need to be diligent in the candy sorting task as Charlotte will need all the help I can give her to ensure that she doesn't get an accidental dosing of gluten.

That said, here are a couple of helpful resources you can use to figure out what candy is safe for the gluten-free:

Are you sure your Halloween candy is Gluten-Free?

Gluten-Free Candy (as of October 2011)

What's your take on Halloween? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring (a book)

Why didn't anyone tell me about this sooner?

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

is my favorite gluten-free book at the moment. My friend gave it to me for my birthday and I think was one of the most thoughtful gifts I've received in a while.

Not only does it have recipes that look amazing, the tricks and tips for saving money while being gluten-free are priceless!

If you know someone who's gluten-free and want to get a gift for them - BUY this book - it's sure to be a hit!