Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger – Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

This is my fist time participating in Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger, which was hosted by Sea of Book Of Yum .  I’ve seen other gluten-free bloggers posting about Adopt A Gluten Free Blogger each month, but never really knew what it was.  However, this month I got really excited about it because I had been adopted!! Shirley from Gluten Free Easily adopted me – I was so excited (I’m a dork I know), but this was my first adoption. Seeing as I was adopted, I decided I needed to adopt someone too so I picked Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. I absolutely adore and admire Heidi and hope to meet her in person someday.  She has been a fantastic help, resource and encouragement to me in my own journey of being Gluten-Free.  Every time I have tried her recipes I have never been disappointed.  I can e-mail her anytime to ask silly questions – like today I had to ask her if I needed to add xanthan gum or not to the recipe and then realized that the all purpose flour mixture I was using already had it in there -duh, Jenny!  Heidi is always willing to help, share ideas and make suggestions.

I think I found Heidi’s blog about a year a go and instantly fell in love with her blog and recipes and I continually go to her blog for ideas.  For my fist time participating I really wanted to look at all of her recipes and try something new.  I was so torn by several of her recipes, especially her new Allergy Free Pasta Dough, but instead I decided on a soup and a dessert.  It is getting a bit chilly here and fall is here in full force.  The leaves are starting to change color, pumpkins and apples are in abundance and it is time to take out the sweaters, scarves and start having fires at night.  I truly love this time of year and I love the food that goes along with it.

Soups have always been big in my family.  My dad is a hunter and carpenter so he was always outside either working or trying to hunt for our dinners.  (I just want to clarify my dad and other family members do not hunt for sport, it was a means of survival). During this time of year he would come home from work or hunting and my mom would have a huge got of soup or stew going. Even my first cooking memory is learning to make chicken soup with my grandmother. So I decided to choose one of Heidi’s soups and the recipe that I kept going back to is her Sausage and Bean Ragout and the only two substitution I made to the recipe was I left out the onions because Bryan is allergic to them and I used a different gluten-free pasta.  And I have to be honest, I was so caught up in football that I read the recipe wrong and instead of adding one cup of the gluten-free pasta I added the whole bag of it! Whoops – so I just added a bit more chicken stock, basil and some garlic powder and it tasted great (it tasted the same as it tasted before my whole mess up).  This soup is fantastic!! Bryan loved it and we now have plenty of left overs – enough to share with our neighbors! I’ll defiantly be making this again.

The very tasty finished product

Ground beef and hot sausage

Ground beef and hot sausage, browned

Next, add the garlic – and lots of it!

Add the broth, tomatoes, beans and basil

Simmer (and sneak a taste or two, it’s so good)

Add the 1 CUP of pasta not 1 BAG of pasta😉

Next up, lots of fresh baby spinach leaves

Wilt the spinach and serve!

The second recipe I decided to make was Heidi’s Old Fashioned Raspberry Bars– Bryan loves raspberries so when I saw this recipe I knew automatically that these had to be made.  This recipe is extremely easy and super yummy.  However I wish I had some home-made raspberry preserves to use, but instead I had store-bought.  It still tasted great…Heidi also suggested using other fruit preserves such as apricot or marmalade.  I think next time I might try maybe strawberry preserve but again, these will be made again.  These bars are super yummy

Half of the crumb mixture pressed into the bottom of the pan

Add the raspberry preserves

Add the second half on top, press lightly and bake

Thanks to Heidi for all sharing all of her wonderful recipes, stories, knowledge and wisdom to all of us – you truly are an inspiration! .  If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you really should, she is a wonderful lady and as I like to call her Wonder Woman!  Check out some other Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger posts at Book Of Yum.

Applesauce and then some

It was a great weekend.  Saturday I got to spend a bit of time with my cousin Dianne who is getting married in a few weeks.  We went and checked out her wedding and ceremony site – The Aldrich Mansion in Warwick, RI. I loved being able to see the place before the wedding to scope out some great photo spots (I’m her wedding photographer!).  Then Bryan bought me two more pieces for my Le Creuset collection.

Before moving up to Rhode Island I found two Le Creuset pie dishes (cobalt blue that match my free Le Creuset tea-pot!) which had never been used by his mum so she gave them to me! A few weeks ago when we were at T.J. Maxx we found a bunch of Le Creuset pieces in cobalt and apple green (those are our kitchen colors – sadly though Le Creuset doesn’t make the apple green anymore so it is very hard to find pieces) so he bought me an apple green utensil holder and a cobalt baking dish.  On Saturday he bought me four apple green ramekins and an apple green baking dish. I truly love being able to find such amazing products for so little. Then yesterday Bryan and I went apple picking and we came home with about 10lbs of macintosh and cortland apples – my two favorites for baking.

I’ll be making him some mini-apple pies this weekend in medium-sized ramekins and using the pre-made pie crusts from the store.  For myself some more apple crisp sounds pretty good, I’m telling you its my weakness.  I wanted to try something different though, I wanted to make something I have never made before so I decided to try my hand at making apple sauce…in my 1970’s crock pot that Bryan’s mum gave us when we moved.

I don’t think I ever realized how easy it was to make applesauce, especially if you have a crock pot.  I need to put this crock pot to use more often, especially now that the cool weather is approaching.  I’m thinking chili sometime soon would be good!

Applesauce

5 medium to large apples – I used a mix of macintosh and cortland

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup honey (or you could use agave)

1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (all depends on how much you like the cinnamon flavor in your applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel, core and dice the apples in large pieces – discard the peels and cores.  Add all ingredients to crock pot and set on low for about 4-5 hours.  Apples will become extremely soft/mushy.  Mash apples with a fork or potato masher and enjoy!  Keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

Extremely easy to make, throw it all in the pot and come back in a few hours for some very tasty (if I do say so myself) applesauce! Best part – it is naturally gluten-free:)

Now for the “And then some” part of the title of this post

By now many if not all of you have probably heard of  The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef’s new cookbook “The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef – A love story and 100 tempting recipes“.  If you haven’t well what are you waiting for?? Check out these amazing reviews (and many of them if not all are doing give aways of the book also!).  I haven’t bought my copy yet but it is on my Amazon Wish list!! I can’t even begin to explain the mouth-watering reviews that I have read, but they all talk about the bread recipe that is in the new book and I am dying to try it.  Please check out the reviews/giveaways below:

Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

Ginger Lemon Girl

Celiac in the City

Celiacs in the House

So go, read, drool and enter for your chance to win a copy of this book…if you don’t win then go and buy it!

And on another side note, I would like to thank the wonderful people at Small Appliances for my amazingly wonderful new Coffee and Espresso Machine!  I’ve had some major coffee pot issues lately, my french press broke (shed a tear) and then when we moved in my dad gave me back “my” (it wasn’t mine, no idea where this pot came from but I gave mine away when I moved to California) old coffee pot.  So when my french press broke I started using that one.  It worked fine at first even though the top of the carafe was broken and I bought the wrong filters until one day it just decided it wouldn’t drip down any longer.  I had to take hot water, put the cup under it and hold up the part that makes it drip – seriously.  I posted on twitter that my half working pot had completely broke and the extremely kind and generous people at Small Appliances contacted me and offered me a new coffee pot.  I seriously thought it was a joke and if it wasn’t I was expecting some little four cup mr. coffee.  Instead they sent me the Krups Coffee/Espresso machine below!  I can’t thank them enough for their generosity!  So if you are in the need of any  appliances check them out!

Gluten Free Churros

First off this is not my recipe it belongs to the wonderful Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom (aka Super Mom – in my mind!).

I can’t remember exactly how we started talking about Churros last night but Bryan was saying how much he loved them but hated that you could really only get them at amusement parks and such.  A light bulb went off in my head and remembered that Heidi had posted a Churro recipe not that long ago.  I went to her page, found the recipe and realized I had everything I needed to make them.  Well I had everything I needed ingredients wise, but the tools, not so much.  I don’t own any pastry bags and or tips but I figured I could do it anyway.  So here I go with my flour blend my sister sent me from Australia (The mixture already has guar gum in it and it worked pretty darn well!! – Thanks Sara).  I followed the directions per Heidi’s blog (see below).  However, instead of using a pastry bag and star tip I used a large freezer zip lock bag and just cut one of the corners.  The first cut was a bit small so I just made it a little bit bigger…better to cut a smaller hole first instead of a bigger one and realizing it was too big and having to use another zip lock bag all together.

I piped my little Churros onto a silplat lined baking sheet (I didn’t have any wax paper). Heated my oil over medium-high heat (I also don’t have a thermometer!). Mixed my cinnamon and sugar mixture in a shallow dish, placed my first batch of Churros into the pan with the hot oil and watched them carefully (again didn’t know the temp with out a thermometer) and turned them once they became a nice deep golden brown on the first side, about two minutes.  When the Churros were completely cooked, I removed them from the oil and drained them slightly on a paper towel lined baking sheet then added them to the cinnamon sugar mixture to be coated – surprisingly the mixture stuck very well even though the Churros weren’t piped out with the star tip!  I continued this process until all the Churros were fried and coated.

Gluten Free Churros – Recipe from Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

1 cup Water

1/3 cup Butter (I used Smart Balance, so dairy-free Earth Balance will work just as well)

2 Tbs. packed Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (if you use a different GF flour blend, be sure to include Xanthan Gum)

1 Egg

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Oil for Frying

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 tsp. ground Cinnamon

  • In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to boiling over medium heat
  • Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  • Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes.
  • Add egg and vanilla, beating well with a wooden spoon.
  • Transfer mixture to a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. (Note: I first tried this with a disposable pastry bag and the thick dough blew a hole in the side of the bag.  I would recommend using a real pastry bag or even a Freezer Ziploc bag.  For the Star Tip, I used a 1M Star Tip, these can also be found at craft stores).
  • Line a baking sheet waxed paper.
  • Pipe 4×1-inch logs onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees F.
  • Fry a few logs at a time in deep hot oil about 2 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Keep warm in a 300 degree F oven while cooking remaining churros.
  • In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • Roll warm churros in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat.
  • Serve warm.

Makes about 20 churros.

This recipe is great…really easy to make and the taste is awesome!!  Thanks again Heidi for posting this recipe (along with everything else on your blog).

Faces of Celiac Disease

Another Gluten Free Blogger – Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom posted this on Facebook yesterday…when you have a chance please check out this video and her blog!

I was diagnosed almost two years ago now with Celiac Disease. “Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.”  The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but it’s often inherited. If someone in your immediate family has it, chances are 5 to 15 percent that you may as well.”

Since I was about ten years old (if not younger) I always had problems with being sick especially after eating.  Around that time I was diagnosed with being lactose intolerant.  For many years I went dairy free but still was getting sick…ALL THE TIME.  Little did I or my doctors realize that it wasn’t the dairy making me sick, it was everything I would eat with it.   At fifteen years old I was diagnosed with both IBS and Fibromyalgia.  The Fibromyalgia was very uncommon for someone my age at the time and still is.  The IBS was no surprise because many of my family member either have that or  Crohn’s Disease.

After twenty six years of eating pretty much anything I wanted: Pasta, Breads, Pizza, Chinese Food, Soy Sauce etc it was a hard change for me to switch my lifestyle to be completely gluten free.  I’m not going to lie its a challenge, but honestly having a good attitude about it, a great support system of friends (none of which are gluten free but made every effort to cook/bake gluten free so I can enjoy it also) and being forced to be creative with my cooking (hence my blog name) it hasn’t been that bad.  There are a few days where I miss the texture of real Italian/French bread but besides that, the joy and feeling of not being sick all the time is truly amazing.  I can enjoy almost all the food I truly love with out fear of getting sick.  I cook at home most of the time and have learned to recreate my favorite gluten filled meals to be gluten free with all the taste that one could hope for.  These past two years have been a journey for sure and I’m sure all the years to come will be even better.  I have an amazing boyfriend who is willing to eat gluten free meals (he can go out and get real food, but at home it will be all gluten free).  He is extremely well at looking out for me and reading labels on products.   I’m very thankful for him.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and I would strongly encourage you to get tested if you have symptoms of Celiac Disease (especially if someone in your family has Celiac!-hint hint to my family members)

Thanks Heidi for posting this.

A few of my favorite blogs

I Blog Gluten Free

I love finding new recipes, trying them out and altering them (if not gluten free).  I own too many cooking magazines and cookbooks (to some peoples standards, but not mine).  I read cookbooks like some people read novels.  I love them.  Now, with technology I find myself reading tons and tons of blogs.  Getting new ideas, new recipes to try and of course continually learning more and more about this gluten free world.

Here are a few of my favorite blogs (you can also find these and a few more on the blog roll tab)

101 Cookbooks

Heidi has some amazing recipes on here, and plenty of gluten free options! Here is a little blurb from her site:

Hi there, my name is Heidi Swanson. 101 Cookbooks is my recipe journal. It’s where I write about the recipes that intersect my life, travels, and everyday interests. Often the recipes are from my cookbook collection, sometimes not – they might come from a friend, or I might write about a recipe I created myself.

I focus primarily on natural, whole foods and ingredients – vegetarian recipes that are good for you and for the planet. Welcome!

Elana’s Pantry

After finding out I had celiac disease this is the first blog/site that I came across and it is by far one of my favorite ones.  I am continually going here for idea, trying her recipes and sharing it with others.  I find Elana’s knowledge and creativity amazing.  (I still need to buy her cookbook!!) Here is a little blurb from her site:

In my 20’s I studied ayurvedic cooking. When my son and I were diagnosed with celiac disease, this three-year study came in handy. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder triggered by eating gluten. Out of necessity my cooking took on an entirely new dimension as we both went on a gluten-free diet.

Unwilling to cook two separate meals each night for my family, I needed to make gluten-free food that tasted like regular food. Would I be able to do this well enough to convince my husband to come home for dinner?

I threw myself into this culinary challenge and my husband, a tough critic, held nothing back. With much trial and many errors, I developed a gluten-free repertoire that tastes delicious. Friends and family now ask for my recipes, even those who are not on restricted diets!

While my cooking might not be complex, I appreciate that my food brings people together –those who eat regular food and those who can’t –to break bread in the warmth of my kitchen. I love to make food that is not only good for you, but actually tastes good. This has become a passion for me.

If you are interested in buying her cookbook you can get it on AMAZON

Four Chickens

I absolutely love this blog.  Jeanne has some tasty tasty recipes.  I’ve made her doughnuts and her scones…both are wicked good!  I’m very excited to try her new puff pastry recipe hopefully in the near future.  You should defiantly check out her blog and recipes.  Here is a little blurb from her site:

I have 1 daughter, 1 husband, 5 chickens, 1 organic garden in a constant state of disrepair, 100 million books, 10 million skeins of yarn, 5 million cookbooks, 2 million projects in progress rolling around the house, and 1 PhD in theatre history/theory.

I am gluten-intolerant. I also have a life-threatening allergy to wheat. My daughter has a life-threatening peanut allergy. This combo platter keeps life interesting, to say the least.

I make fabulous gluten-free baked goods and it’s my goal to help others do the same.

Adventures Of A Gluten Free Mom

This is my latest obsession.  I was drooling looking at all of her recipes tonight.  I came across Heidi’s blog the other day because she had posted a link on my Creative Cooking GF Facebook page.  I can’t seem to get enough of her site right now. Sadly I don’t have a little blurb from her page about her.

I hope you take some time and check these out and the others listed on the blog roll tab.