Sorry

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  It’s been a busy week of packing things up for the big move.  But don’t worry I”ll be posting in the next few days about my awesome box of samples from Canyon Bakehouse!!  I’ll just start by saying…they are AMAZING!

Gluten Free Products from General Mills

General Mills now offers over 250 Gluten Free Products!!!  Check out the list at Live Gluten Freely

Mighty Tasty Muffins (Bob’s Red Mill)

I’m excited for winter to be here. Although I have a completely different idea of what winter should be vs. what it is here in Monterey. I want it to be cold, with snow, scarves, fires etc. I get some of that here but there is no snow. After living here for four and a half years I truly miss living back east during this time of year. Its not very Christmasy here. People put lights up but its just not the same with palm trees. Am I the only one that feels this way?

Every year thought I am lucky enough to head back home for Christmas. I get my snow and cold air with a nice warm fire going for a good few weeks. This year though I get to spend Christmas with Bryan and our families for almost three weeks. I am very much looking forward to being in New York City and especially Boston!! Nothing says winter and Christmas like the East Coast to me. The big trees all lit up, Christmas lights all over, snow, hot chocolate, first night etc…

On chilly mornings I want something fulfilling for breakfast…a nice warm muffin with a little butter or honey on it sounded really good today. Its a bit chilly here lately, nothing compared to back home (even though I’ve come accustomed to the weather here). The only bad thing about this time of year is being sick! I try so hard not to get a cold but I feel a cold coming on so I’m bundled up, making some tasty veggie soup with brown rice and some Mighty Tasty Muffins for breakfast this week. I tried one and they are as their name says…Mighty Tasty!

Mighty Tasty Muffins (Bob’s Red Mill)

Adapted from Special Diet Solutions by Carol Fenster, PhD.
Ingredients

Directions
Preheat oven to 350�F. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Let sit for 15 minutes while the cereal softens. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid and stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into grease muffins tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are firm. Makes 12 muffins.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Servings Size: 1 Muffin

Calories 120, Calories from Fat 10, Total Fat 1g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 180mg, Total Carbohydrate 26g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 12g and Protein 3g.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

gf2584Cheese cake is so good, but the idea of a whole cheese cake is to tempting for one person. I would be tempted to eat the WHOLE thing! A while ago I made some crust-less cheesecake cupcakes and they turned out pretty good so I thought, why not make cheesecake cupcakes again, but with pumpkin and gingersnap crust. Talk about the perfect little fall treat. These would be great for Thanksgiving instead of the typical Pumpkin Pie. Little individual cheesecakes for everyone, especially the kids.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 cups of gluten free gingersnap crumbs (I use Trader Joe’s)

6 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 8oz packages of cream cheese – softened

1 cup sugar

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tins with paper liners. I only have one regular cupcake tin and an mini cupcake tin, so I used both.

Crust:

Crumble the ginger snaps either in a plastic ziplock back with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and butter to the crumbled ginger snaps in a medium bowl and mix until all crumbs are moist.

Scoop about one table spoon into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down (I used the bottom of one of my spice jars…it fits perfectly for the regular tins, for the mini tin I used the back of my coffee scoop).

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, let cool in pan on wire rack.

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Filling:

In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth, add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt. Mix well. Add one egg at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.

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Scoop the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners. I used the same coffee scoop that I used to press the crust into the bottom to do this. It was the perfect size – three scoops for the regular tin and 1 1/2 – 2 for the mini ones.

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For the regular tins bake for 40 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through. For the mini tins bake for 30 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through.Cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours.

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Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or candied pecans if you wish. I hope you enjoy these tasty little treats!

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Simply…Gluten Free Photo Contest and Scan Pan Giveaway! (Please visit Carol of Simply…Gluten Free‘s blog for so many great recipes and ideas!)

Green Bean Salad w/ Lemon Rosemary Mini-Muffins

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I’m trying to eat a little healthier.  Trying to be good about not eating rice or potatoes with every meal.  Cutting back on some of the more starchy foods and eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts in my diet.  I even bought a few bags of nuts and some dried fruit to make my own trail mix instead of going for the sweets when I want to much on something.  My weakness is peanut butter cups and snickers…and this time of year with Halloween right around the corner they are on sale, I’m fighting the urge to buy some.

I’ve been on a salad kick this past week, I can’t seem to get enough of them.  I had a nice hearty salad for dinner last night and another one for lunch today and why stop here….I had one again tonight for dinner!  No lettuce in this one though, just some veggies and cheese.

Green Bean Salad

1 pound of green beans

5 mushroom caps (white button, crimini, what ever you have on hand) sliced

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 inch of goat cheese log, crumbled

1/4 cup olive oil

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 garlic clove minced

Boil green beans and mushrooms until tender, about 4-5 minutes in lightly salted water.  While the green beans are cooking, slice the tomatoes and crumble the goat cheese.  Toast the pine nuts in a small sautee pan, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. When green beans and mushrooms are done, drain and run under cold water

In a medium bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined.  Add the green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and pine nuts.  Mix well and top with crumbled goat cheese.

I served these along side Elana’s Pantry’s Lemon Rosemary Mini-Muffins!  Such a great combination.  These little muffins are awesome, give them a try some time.

Apple Pie

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Today is almost the perfect Fall day….almost. If only my leaves would change colors… The wind is blowing, its nice and chilly, I bought a perfect little pumpkin and made my first gluten free apple pie!! I usually LOVE and only make apple crisps but I didn’t have any gluten free oats so I thought I would try my hand a a pie.

I found the recipe below online and made a few adjustments when making it. My adjustments will be marked with an *

Awesome Gluten Free Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

Pastry Crust Makes Two Crusts

Apple Filling

  • 7 medium apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced. Use mildly sweet to tart very crisp apple (such as Granny Smith, Braeburn, Cortlands)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

*I used 4 medium/large Granny Smith Apples*

Crumble Topping

*I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup gluten free flour and cut the butter and nutmeg down a bit also*

Directions

  1. ***Pastry Crust Instructions***.
  2. In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, xanthan gum and cornstarch.
  3. Then add the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Remove dough from bowl and knead and fold on a surface dusted with GF flour until well well combined.
  5. Divide into two pieces and wrap in plastic wrap, place one in the refrigerator to chill and place the other in the freezer for later use.
  6. –Go ahead and make Apple Filling while the Pastry Crust is chilling.
  7. After approx 20 minutes, remove dough from refrigerator and roll into a ball.
  8. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly GF floured surface until it is the thickness of a normal pie crust.
  9. Place crust in a 9 inch glass pie dish that is lightly sprayed with non stick spray.
  10. Using a fork poke a bunch of holes in the sides and bottom of the crust.
  11. ***Apple Filling Instructions***.
  12. In a large bowl mix apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  13. Set aside and let the juices mix.
  14. ***Crumble Topping Instructions***.
  15. In small bowl mix together brown sugar, GF flour and nutmeg.
  16. Next mix in the chilled butter and cut it in with a fork or other tool until you have a course crumbly mixture.
  17. ***Assembling your Pie***.
  18. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  19. Spoon apples into your pie crust, mounding in the middle and pouring the sugary juices over top. (*I didn’t use all the liquid, about half and it came out a bit soupy*)
  20. Sprinkle your Crumble Topping all over the top (use it all).
  21. Use tin foil to cover edges of crust as it will burn easily.
  22. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, topping will be lightly browned and filling will be bubbly.
  23. Let cool for at least an hour before serving.

The perfect desert for a tasty fall dinner (boneless pork chops, with fresh chunky apple sauce and mashed potatoes-yummmm)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

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I’m going to give P.F Chang’s a run for their money with this chicken. (ok maybe only in my mind). I love P.F.’s Spicy Chicken but this one I made tonight has got a good kick of heat to it.

Last week at the Farmer’s market I found some Thai Chili’s and have been trying to think of ideas of what to make with them. I plan to make some pad thai with tofu later this week. I wanted to create something by playing with the spice and contrasting it with sweet. And out came my Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Chicken (*Edited on 1/13/10)

2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless

1/4 cup corn starch

4 tablespoon veggie oil

Salt and Pepper *

Sauce:

1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half honey and half agave)

3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) *Dried or fresh chili peppers work well in this recipe

2 Tablespoons of Water

2 Tablespoons of Olive or Canola Oil.

Mix honey, Thai chili peppers, and water. Set aside.  Right before adding to the pan heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok

Cut up chicken in bit size pieces. In a medium bowl add the corn starch, salt, pepper  and chicken. Coat well and shake off any excess corn starch. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.

In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.

For a vegan option, used firm tofu that has been drained and 1/2 cup of agave nectar in placement of chicken and honey.

We love this recipe.

Pumpkin Spice-Walnut Pancakes

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The past few days here have been abnormally hot….about in the 90’s which is pretty rare around here.  Except yesterday that is…it was slightly chilly, very over cast and almost fall type weather.  I wanted something filling for breakfast, not cereal.  I was  going to try and make a flour blend that I could use for pancakes but realized I needed to order some more flours to do that and saw that I had half a package of Trader Joe’s GF Pancake mix left so I decided to make those.

I am not one for plain pancakes.  I love chocolate chips in mine.  I didn’t have any yesterday so I looked around to see what I had and could incorporate into my pancakes.  I found some cinnamon, some nutmeg, some pumpkin pie spice and some walnuts.

1/2 package of Trader Joe’s GF Pancake mix (follow directions on the back of package)

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup chopped walnut pieces (Trader Joe’s)

Prepare Pancake mix as the package says.  Stir in the pumpkin pie spice.  In a large pre-heated skillet with a little bit of non-stick spray drop in about 3 pancakes (about 1/4 cup each of batter…or however large/small you like them).  Then they start to bubble add walnuts and then flip over to cook on the other side.

Pancakes should only be flipped once.  When you see the bubbles start to form you know that is almost time to flip.  The bottom should then be a nice golden brown.

You can make all of the pancakes at once and either refrigerate or freeze them.  Or you can make what you would like and then save the batter for a day or two in the refrigerator.  I made all of mine at once and just put them in the toaster this morning to have again.  Very tasty.

Pasta-less Lasagna

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(Updated November 2010)

When I was little every year for my birthday we would have lasagna and I loved it so much. Mostly loved it with out meat but on the occasion meat was ok . I haven’t had lasagna in such a long time and the other day Lisa was talking to me about a recipe she made with squash instead of noodles. It sounded pretty tasty so I thought I would give it a try.

This recipe is awesome! So tasty and has a little bit of crunch from the squash. I used a Trader Joe’s sauce with a little bit of spice to it.

“Lasagna”

2 medium-large yellow squash

1/2 cups ricotta cheese (you can use skim ricotta to make it a bit lighter)

1 cup frozen spinach, chopped (after its been thawed and drained well)

1/2 cup Pasta Sauce (I prefer homemade, but jar sauce is perfectly fine)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the squash in 1/4 inch pieces.  Lay them on a paper towel, salt to draw out the extra water/moisture from the squash.

In a bowl mix the spinach and ricotta, season with salt and pepper.

In a baking dish (I used a small 2qt baking dish, for a larger lasagna double the recipe and use a larger baking dish) layer the bottom of the pan with a small amount of sauce. Place the first player of squash down to cover the bottom of the pan (you may have to cut a few pieces to make it fit), evenly spread out the ricotta and spinach mixture, top with sauce. Repeat. You should get about three layers out of these ingredients. Sprinkle with some grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese or top with sliced/shredded mozzarella.

(This can also be done with eggplant or zucchini, again after slicing place on a paper towel and salt to draw out excess water).

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (or until mozzarella is golden brown)

Thanks Lisa!!!

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(http://www.dietdessertndogs.com/2010/11/04/a-gluten-free-holiday-i-staying-healthy-over-the-holidays-with-coconut-raspberry-truffle-cups/)

Sweet Potato Fries

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You know those nights where all you want is a cheese burger and fries?? Well tonight was one of them…minus the cheese burger. At last weeks farmer’s market I picked up two sweet potatoes and figured, why not make fries out of them tonight.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium – large sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

enough olive oil to coat the fries

Peel and cut sweet potatoes in 1/4 inch pieces (try to get them as even in size as possible so they cook evenly) In a small bowl combine the garlic, salt, pepper and paprika. In a large bowl coat them with oil, season with the seasoning mixture. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coated “fries” on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a 450 degree oven, turning once.

Let cool and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce or ketchup.

I’ve had sweet potato fries before with different kinds of dipping sauces, all different and all very tasty. I’ve had a few may based sauces, and normally I wouldn’t even think to dip a fry in mayo. I actually don’t eat much mayo anymore but happened to have some in the fridge so I thought I would try and make one myself:

Sweet Potato Fry Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup fat free mayo

1 tbl spoon fresh lemon juice

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

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Gluten Free Eating in Monterey, CA

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Its been a little over a year since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I’m continually learning new things. I’m always on the hunt for new recipes, ideas, and places to eat. Eating out is by far the hardest part of being Gluten Free. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to cook. I love to experiment and try new things but there are those days where I would much rather just grab something quick to eat.

When I was first diagnosed I did a bunch of research online and found these amazing little cards called Triumph Dining Cards. These are amazing! They come in 10 languages and I always keep the “American Cuisine” in my wallet. I figured these not only would be good with eating out but also for future travel.

I’ve used these cards quite a bit. I used it last weekend when eating at a Thai restaurant in San Francisco (Khan Toke Thai House). Not only does it help you with picking foods but it also helps the wait staff and chef understand what you can and more importantly can’t eat.

Over the past year I have found a few places that are not specifically Gluten Free, however they are very accommodating. I thought I would take a few minutes to share these places with you.

Chinese:

P.F. Changs – Del Monte Center, Monterey, CA

They have a specific Gluten Free menu, its small but has a good selection. Their Chang’s Spicy Chicken is by far my favorite!

Full MoonAlvarado Street, Monterey, CA

A small family run restaurant in down town Monterey. They are very accommodating for me. I have brought them large bottles of gluten free soy sauce and they cook all of my food with it. All of their food is cooked to order (except maybe the spareribs which are pre-marinaded). I eat there often (to the point they know me by name and my “usual” orders) so when I first found out they had another customer with Celiac Disease and offered to cook my food with their soy sauce, so I have in turn offered that they can use my soy sauce for any one else with Celiac.

If you have any questions they are very friendly and honest people. I’ve never had to worry about any cross contamination there either.

Sushi:

Ocean Sushi – Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA

Who doesn’t love sushi?! (ok a lot of people, I know) Again, nothing is specifically Gluten Free, however sushi has some great options … AvoEbi Roll (shrimp, avocado), Philadelphia Roll (salmon, cream cheese and JPN cucumber) and Edamame are great choices. There is not extra sauces or tempura to worry about. They don’t provide gluten free soy sauce but I’ve been known to bring my own and they are fine with that. I’ve talked with a few of the staff about Celiac and they are very accommodating to Gluten Free eaters.

Mexican:

Chipotle Mexican Grill – Del Monte Center, Monterey, CA

Here you have to be a little more careful of cross contamination, but I’ve eaten there plenty with out getting sick. On their website you can read all of the ingredients in their marinades, sauces, salsas etc.

As I try more places I’ll update on here, but these are some of my favorites…next up Siamese Bay

Frittata

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Today I made my first frittata. I looked in my Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking cook book to get the basic idea of how to make a frittata and just ran with it. I looked to see what I had, pancetta, fresh spinach, baby potatoes, onion, garlic and rosemary and just used all of it. I have to say it came out pretty darn good.

I like many other cooks don’t always measure. I learned that from my grandmother. It was always a pinch of this, a dash of that. Many times I find it hard to actually follow a recipe, I tend to read them, get the basic idea and adapt them. So if these amounts are not accurate, I’m sorry.

Frittata

1 package of diced pancetta

1 small onion diced

1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh spinach leaves chopped

4 small potatoes – cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

6 eggs

two cloves of garlic minced

2 sprigs of rosemary chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp pepper

1/2 cup parmsean cheese

Turn oven to 350 degrees

In a small skillet sautee the pancetta until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. In the same pan sautee the onions until lightly browned (3-5 minutes). In a 10 inch sautee pan add the oil and cubed potatoes. Cook until softened and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the onions and pancetta to them, keep on low heat. Sautee the spinach and garlic in the pan you used for the onions and pancetta. Add to the potatoes

While the potatoes cook beat the eggs, rosemary and cream in a medium bowl. After the spinach and garlic has been added to the potatoes, add in the beaten egg mixture. Cook over low heat until eggs have set and the top is still loose.

Sprinkle with cheese and put in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until set and lightly browned on top. Take out of oven, cool for a few minutes. Loosen the frittata by running a rubber spatula around the edges of the pan. Transfer to a plate and slice like you would a pie to serve.

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Donuts – Gluten Free

I have a love for Dunkin Donuts,  Not just their coffee but their donuts are great (well so aren’t N&J’s for all you people in Oxford).  I miss Dunkin’s and we don’t have any out here in California.  So when I go home for Christmas, its one of the first things I want.  To the point I know just where they are at Logan Airport.  Sick huh?  They now sell the coffee in bags out here at some places but its not the same.  So when I make it home I stock up by buying  a few bags to bring with me.   Since finding out about having celiac disease they donuts are out of the question now.

I was talking to my boyfriend this morning about running out of coffee and how I wish I could have a donut.  He lives in the land of Dunkin’s, aka the East Coast.  So I went on a search today to find a recipe to try out.  I read a few of them and decided I would try one found on a blog called Four Chickens.

Not thinking I had all the different flours to make the mixture I emailed Jeanne to see if another option would work and she responded right away.  It would work, however I ended up having all the right flours so I followed her recipe.  So I set off to make donuts and let me tell you, they are AMAZING!!  You can’t even tell they are Gluten Free.

I don’t have cookie cutters or a candy thermometer so I improvised.  I used a drinking glass for the large circles and a top of a water bottle for the holes.  I heated the oil and just tested it with the first donut.

Please check out her website and recipes.  Thanks again Jeanne!!

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NY Times -8/14/09

There was a great article in the New York Times:  Patient Money – The Expense of Eating With Celiac Diseas

When you have a sec, check it out.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

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Tomato and Goat- Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

(from Everyday Food Magazine # 54 page 132)

1/2 Cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

coarse salt and ground black pepper

3 ounces fresh goat cheese

3 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced crosswise about 1/4 inch thick

In a blender, combine basil, oil, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water.  Blend until smooth, 2-3 minutes.  season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

With a warm knife (wiped clean after each slice) thinly slice cheese.  Arrange tomatoes and goat cheese on a serving plate; drizzle with dressing to taste.