Comfort Food

A few weeks ago I found out that I needed to have a tooth pulled. Blah! I had a crown come loose and the root underneath was cracked & split. I had my appointment scheduled for this morning and it went very smoothly. The oral surgeon was great and even hooked me up with some Vicodin for the pain! Yeah! LOL! So tonight’s menu and tomorrow was all about comfort food. Food that I didn’t have to put much effort into chewing and to just make me feel good. For the main course I made homemade Macaroni & Cheese. I used a recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook with some modifications. It came out wonderful! The kids weren’t super crazy about it, but they are used to Velveeta or Kraft Mac & Cheese. Here are some pictures:

With Bush’s Baked Beans, topped with some grape tomatoes:

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

2.5 – 3 cups uncooked pasta (I used Trader Joe’s)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup GF flour (I used sorghum)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp ground mustard
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin’s is GF)
2 cups milk
2 – 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 – 16 ounces, depending on how cheesy you want your macaroni & cheese; I use 2% milk fat cheese from Kraft)
Bread Crumbs

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook macaroni as directed on package.
3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat; Stir in Milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
4. Drain Macaroni. Gently stir macaroni into cheese sauce. Pour into greased (I use Pam) 2-quart casserole. Top with breadcrumbs and spray top with Pam. Bake uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 5 (1 cup servings). Calories: 463 if you use 2 cups of cheese; 595 if you use 4 cups of cheese.

For dessert we had an amazingly wonderful chocolate treat. A friend from a forum that I frequent posted this recipe this afternoon and I knew I had to try it. Not only was it chocolate, my fav, but it screamed “comfort food” to me. The recipe is called “Dangerous Chocolate Cake In-A-Mug”.

Some pics of it in the mug still:

On a plate with some Edy’s Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Delectable, scrumptious, all of the above.

Dangerous Chocolate Cake In-A-Mug**Recipe Courtesy of Courtney (Aug 02 Playgroup)

1 coffee mug
4 Tbsp. flour (I used a GF mix of rice, potato & tapioca; no xanthan gum)
4 Tbsp. Sugar (I lowered this to 3 TBSP)
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Milk
3 Tbsp. Oil
Small splash of vanilla
3 Tbsp. Chocolate chips, necessary :)

Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well with a fork.
Add egg, mix thoroughly.
Pour in milk and oil and vanilla, mix well.
Add chips, if using.

Put mug in microwave, and cook for three minutes on 1000 watts.
Cake will rise over top of mug–do not be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little; tip onto a plate if desired.
Eat!

Chocolate Chewies

No, I don’t have a recipe for these. Yes, I wish that I did. Wow. That is all I really have to say. Are these cookies good b/c they are chocolate? Maybe. Chocolate is one of my favorite foods (okay, you caught me, it is my favorite). Are they good b/c they are chewy? Maybe. Maybe it is the combination of the chocolate, crunchy outside and chewy inside that does it. It is like heaven on your tongue. So comforting and soothing. I picked up these babies at Whole Paycheck, oh, I mean Whole Foods, yesterday. I saw them last time I was there, but already had some cookies/cake at home to work on. Then someone on the Yahoo Silly Yaks group mentioned them and I remembered that I really, really wanted to give them a try. I made a point to stop in and grab some the next time I was in the area. They are $4.99/pound and totally worth every. single. penny. The ingredients are simple: powdered sugar, chocolate chips, egg whites, cocoa powder and sea salt.

Here is a picture of the yummy goodness:

So, if any cooking wizards know how to make these, please, share. :) Not that I can’t keep buying them, b/c I will, but I like to bake, so it would be nice to make them at home too.

UPDATE:
I have found a recipe online for Chocolate Chewies, actually called Carlton’s Chocolate Chewies. This looks like it very well could be the recipe. This one calls for pecans, but you could leave those out as noted at the end and just use the chocolate chips. It also has vanilla, which couldnt’ hurt. I hope to try to make these this weekend or early next week. Here is the recipe:

Carlton’s Chocolate Chewies
{ Yield: About 4 dozen cookies }

2 cups whole pecans
3 large egg whites
2-1⁄4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 7 to 9 minutes, until darker in color and aromatic. Remove from the oven, transfer to a bowl, let cool, and coarsely chop.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large bowl, briskly whisk the egg whites until foamy, about 30 seconds. Stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa, salt, vanilla, and pecans. Using a 1-inch-diameter scoop, drop spoonfuls of dough 11⁄2 inches apart on the prepared pans. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until set and shiny, with zigzag cracks on top. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pans for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container or 3 weeks tightly wrapped and frozen.

Rather sweet variation
This cookie is amazingly adaptable and can handle up to two additional ingredients. I have tried numerous add-ins. My favorites are 1 cup quartered dried cherries, 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Nut haters can leave out the pecans, substitute one or two of the add-ins, and make the cookies as directed above.

tip: To skip the hassle of separating egg whites from yolks, especially if you have no plans to use the leftover yolks, look in the dairy case of your local natural foods store for small containers of pure egg whites. One egg white equals about 1⁄8 cup. Do not use egg substitute, which is formulated with added fat to simulate an egg without cholesterol.

I will share my results once I have baked them. :)

A Birthday Celebration!

Yesterday was Aaron’s birthday! He turned 37. I am sure he will appreciate my sharing that information with you. ;) I planned on surprising him for dinner. I asked his Mom to call and ask us to meet them for dinner at The Columbus Fish Market. We would agree to meet at 6:30 PM and then she and FIL would take the kids and head back to our house. Aaron and I would then head to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for a nice meal, just the two of us. We have only eaten there once before and it was before I had to start eating gluten-free. I asked if they had a GF menu and they brought out a list of things that contained gluten, so I had to avoid those items. Aaron ordered a Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon and Steamed Broccoli. I ordered the Vine Ripened Tomatoes & Buffalo Mozzerella Salad (you can see the picture by clicking on the icon next to it on the menu), it was amazing! For my entree, I had marinated Portobello mushrooms on garlic mashed potatoes, with grilled asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes and sizzling lemon butter. Very, very good. We enjoyed some nice, uninterrupted conversation. We came home after dinner for some homemade GF cherry pie! I made the pie from the Whole Foods Bakehouse Frozen Pie Crust. I had plans to use a second bottom crust for the top, but the pie crust had other plans. ;) It fell apart as I turned it over, so I decided to fashion it into a lattice-top pie crust. It really isn’t the prettiest, I really had to make due with what I had at that point. It tasted really good, so that is what counts, huh? Here are some pictures of it:

So, as you can see, I had to make it work. ;) Oh and for the filling I just used Comstock Cherry Pie Filling. I have never made a cherry pie before, so I thought I bought the cherries and was going to make my own filling, but I was surprised! LOL! Oh well, less work for me!

The kids were not about eating the cherry pie, that is fine, more for us! We had it paired with some Edy’s Slow Churned Vanilla Bean Ice Cream….YUM!!

A great birthday celebration! Happy b-day baby!

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