M&M Cookies

Last night we had our first frost of the season! Took the dog out this morning and the cars were all covered and the ground was nice and crunchy – today was a baking day for sure.  In my last post I wrote about living the gluten-free life not only creatively but frugally as well.  Seeing as I am running low on all of my gluten free flours and xanthan gum I was trying to think of something to bake that didn’t require much of those ingredients and was simple to make.  I did some searching online because none of the recipes I have would of worked with what I have in the house.

Bob’s Red Mill has some fantastic recipes on their website and I found a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe by Carol Fenster that sounded pretty dang tasty.  Who doesn’t miss coming home after school and your mom having fresh baked cookies for you?! I know I do.  Seeing as Bryan is at school all day and well, I’m home I thought I would make these for him and seeing as we don’t have any chocolate chips in the house, I decided to use some of his plain M&M’s instead (I have peanut ones, and those are just too darn big for cookies).  These cookies remind me of the ones you would get at the food court in the mall at the cookie stand, crunchy and soft at the same time-they went great with a cup of soy milk!!

M&M Cookies (Chocolate Chip Cookies by Carol Fenster) (GF)

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Stir together the GF baking flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter (room temperature, not melted) with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and egg; scrape sides of bowl frequently. Beat in flour mixture on low speed, mixing thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Shape dough into flat disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet, or roll into balls if dough is hard to work with. Bake 10-12 minutes on center rack of oven or until lightly browned. Cool 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Makes 24 cookies.

P.S. – We’ve got some give aways coming up so keep checking back in the next few days!! Trust me you don’t want to miss these:)

Creatively and Frugally Gluten Free

We’ve all been hit hard with the economy the way that it is and if you are like myself, you’ve been hit a bit harder because I am still out of work.  I wasn’t laid off or anything, I willing left my job and life in California to move back East to be with Bryan.  I don’t regret my decision by any means – I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If I didn’t move in the summer who knows if or when it would have happened.  There were other factors (like our families) into moving when I did but he was the main reason.  Seeing as I left my job, I do not collect unemployment and have no income or health insurance. I spend my days searching and applying for jobs – which is usually about 20 jobs!  I’m not being picky and only applying for certain jobs, I am applying to anything and everything that I remotely qualify, however the call backs are scarce. sparse.  Honestly as depressing and defeating as it is, I keep doing it every day.  I know something will come along, I just hope it happens soon. It is funny because the few responses I have received back say I am over qualified and that is one thing I have never been told in my life, usually it is the opposite because even though I have about 10 years of administrative work under my belt (mostly in Higher Education admissions) I am under qualified because I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (actually any degree for that matter).

I would love to someday have the ability to donate my time with an organization or be a part time food blogger and work part-time, but right now we need me to be working.  I enjoy working (and earning a pay check) actually I miss working.  People keep telling me that once I get a job I’ll be wishing for this time again, and I’m sure I will at some point but I think it might take a while for me to feel that way.

So with being out of work for a total of four months we have learned to not only live the gluten-free life creatively but also frugally!  I am a coupon clipper and at first Bryan would make fun of me for it but I think now he is pretty thankful for my OCD with coupons.  Each week when we get the grocery ads I scour them looking for the good sales.  We normally don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale.  I’m a big fan of the buy one get one items.  We buy more fresh items vs. processed items.

I also try to make as many gluten-free things that I possibly can instead of buying them at the stores such as granola, bread, salad dressings, cookies, ice tea, mochas, cakes and pies.  Sadly however, I am running low on all of my gluten-free flours and my xanthan gum! So I have to be careful until I can afford to order some new ones.  Today I was trying to think of other things I can make at home with the ingredients I have on hand instead of buying.  One thing that came to mind is taco seasoning.  We eat tacos fairly often because it is a quick and easy meal that we both enjoy.  So I did some searching around online to find out what people really put in taco seasoning because the packages are a bit vague listing “spices” – well that is obvious but which ones? Here is what I came up with, and should probably note we really enjoy spicy foods in our house so you might want to adjust this recipe to your level of spice preference.  We tried this tonight and it was really good, if I do say so myself!

CCGF’s Taco Seasoning (GF/OF/DF)

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch (I noticed some people used Potato Starch or Corn Flour)

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (make sure it is gluten-free!)

1 Teaspoon Paprika

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cumin

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (You might want to use only 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t like much spice)

1/2 Teaspoon Chipolte Pepper (You can omit this or use 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Sugar

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl or plastic bag, mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

Tacos:

1lb – 1 1/2lb ground beef or turkey

Taco Seasoning (see above)

2/3 Cup water

Corn tortilla shells -hard or soft

Shredded lettuce (optional)

Shredded cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Avocado (optional)

In a large skillet on medium heat, brown beef and drain off any fat, about 8-10 minutes.  Add taco seasoning stir until well combined then add water.  Simmer over medium heat until sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Serve in taco shells with your favorite toppings.  You can even make nachos with this instead!

Here is to living the gluten-free life creatively and frugally!


Sesame Orange Shrimp

gf1475

Sesame Orange Shrimp

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food, #13 page 76)

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup sesame seeds

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed

1 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free)

1 tablespoon sugar

4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Steamed white rice

~In a large blow, whisk together egg whites, cornstarch, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until frothy. Add shrimp and toss to coat.

~Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two or three batches, cook shrimp until golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes per side; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Add more oil to skillet if necessary for remaining batches.

~Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add orange juice, soy sauce and sugar; boil over high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup, 4-5 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet; add scallions and cook until heated through and coated with sauce, about 1 minute.

~Serve over steamed white rice.