Butternut Squash Fries

I love squash.  I love all kinds of squash.  Butternut is one of my recent favorites.  I had been roasting it in some EVOO, salt & pepper, until I saw on various food blogs…..butternut squash fries!!  Holy YUM!!  Why didn’t I think of that?  I make sweet potato fries all the time, why not butternut squash fries?

Making fries out of butternut squash is simple.  I don’t even peel the squash!  I wash it and cut the bottom off.  Then, I cut into fry-like shapes (or as close as I can get to fry-like).  Toss in extra-virgin olive oil or spray with Pam and season as you like.  I just use sea salt & fresh ground pepper, but cayenne, chili powder & cumin would be tasty, too.

Toss into your preheated oven (375 or 400).  Bake for 20-40 minutes, flipping once & keeping a close eye on.  I showed pics of how they look going into the oven.  I didn’t get an “after” shot.  They went into my belly way too fast!  ;) 

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Super healthy & delicious with burgers, chicken or fish.  I also like leftovers over a salad with other roasted veggies. 

Every Day A Holiday

I have written about Holiday Baking Company 2 separate times, here and here.  Well, I went to the library yesterday and since HBC is right down the street, I stopped in.  I had heard through the grapevine that there were going to be selling Take & Bake Pizza and I wanted in on that!  Lisa, the proprietor, informed me that the Take & Bake Pizza will be available starting on Thursday (July 16, 2009).  Also, next week (July 21, 2009 – July 25, 2009) they will be having a “Christmas in July” sale!  They will be sampling & selling all kinds of Christmas cookies, gingerbread & fruit cakes!  I will definitely be stopping by for that! 

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In lieu of the Take & Bake, I bought a pre-baked pizza crust, multi-grain dinner rolls & and some mini cappuccino chip muffins.  I love trying new GF goodies! 

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I came home & Jon got down  on his hands & knees and begged me to make pizza for lunch.  Okay, twist my arm.  I heated the oven to 350 and spread the pizza crust with some Three Cheese Prego sauce & sprinkled some mozzarella & provolone cheese on top.  I baked it for about 12-14 minutes, checking frequently.  Jon loved the pizza, as did I!  The crust is got a little crisp to it, which is not easy to accomplish gluten-free.  The spices in the crust were perfect.  Jon had leftover cold pizza for dinner last night and said it tasted just like Donato’s!  That is a huge compliment coming from my son. 

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The multi-grain dinner rolls were fantastic!  I had one with my dinner last night at room temp, un-toasted and no spread and it was wonderful.  It didn’t need anything.  Great texture & flavor.  Jon had 2 today…I split & toasted them in my toaster oven (which I think I broke, by the way) and then topped with Prego again and more mozzarella & made mini-pizzas.  Jon loved them!  We have them set to use for mini pulled pork sandwiches tonight.  :)

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We have had the cappuccino chip muffins before and they did not disappoint. 

Thanks again, Lisa, for all of your hard work.  We gluten-free customers really appreciate it! 

Make sure to check out my new Examiner article on Gluten-free Christmas in July in Columbus. 

Pamela’s + Flax

I have said many times on this blog that I swear by Pamela’s gluten-free bread.  I can order it on Amazon, through the subscribe & save program; I can mindlessly put all the ingredients together in my Zojirushi bread maker & walk away.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  A couple months back I emailed Pamela’s to see if I could add a TBSP or 2 of flaxseed meal to the mix to boost the nutrition & fiber a bit.  I received this message back:

“Good morning Kim!

Well, first let me thank you for your interest in our products! I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy our delicious Gluten-free Bread Mix! You can certainly add 1-2 TBSP of flax seed meal. I would watch for the “stickiness” of the mix; if the mix is too sticky, it will not rise and bake properly so you may want to add an additional 2-3 TBSP of water to counteract the “dry” flax seed meal.

Again, thank you Kim, and I hope you have a great day!

Warmest regards,

Megan Warlick

Pamela’s Products-Customer Service”

Well, I had forgotten about it (imagine that…me, forget something?) until I went to make bread this morning and I pulled out the email & made it with the flaxseed meal.  Here is what I did, it was really hard.  I added:

2 TBSP Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal

3 TBSP water (in addition to the water the recipe already calls for)

I was kidding when I said it was hard.  That was it!  The bread doesn’t look any different really, except for a few more specks of brown throughout (which Jon asked about and I blew it off!  hehe!).  Still tastes amazing and has a little extra added nutrition.  I’ll take that where I can get it! 

Raspberry + Coconut = YUM

Last week I reviewed the Gluten-Free Every Day Cookbook by Robert Landolphi.  I listed some recipes that I was super excited to try out and I have found a keeper, folks.  Raspberry Coconut Bars.  I made these bars on Sunday afternoon. 

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The directions are well written and the method is very easy.  The kitchen smelled absolutely heavenly.  The one downfall?  You must let these cool before cutting!  Talk about torture! 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp salt

6 TBSPS cold butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup raspberry preserves

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter (I used Pam) and 8 x 11 inch baking pan.  Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet & toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven & let cool completely.

In a food processor, combine the flours, walnuts, sugars, xanthan gum & salt.  Whirl to blend.  Add the butter and process until a fine meal forms.  Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl & stir in the toasted coconut.  Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture & reserve for the topping. 

Press the remaining flour mixture firmly and evenly onto the bottom and sides of the prepared pan to form a crust.  Spread the raspberry preserves evenly on top of the dough and sprinkle with the reserved flour mixture.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven & let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 24 bars. 

**Note: I used Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix in place of the flours because I ran out of brown rice flour & didn’t realize it until after I started.  I also omitted the xanthan gum because Pamela’s has guar gum in it. 

The result is simply amazing!  My Dad, who isn’t a fan of coconut loved these!  I had to give more than half away because I knew that I would make quick work of the whole pan myself otherwise.  I did freeze a few and they are awesome cold as well!  :) 

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Menu Plan ~ July 12, 2009

Baseball is officially over.  We only have swimming & ice skating now.  Seems like a breeze to me!  LOL!  This week I only have Regan (my little sister that I watch; she is 7)…Emma (the 2 year old I watch) is on vacation.  I promised Jon, Hannah & Regan that we would do some “big” kid activities this week since we don’t have to worry about little Emma.  They are super excited.  On the agenda are multiple pool days, Magic Mountain Family Fun Center and maybe some bowling or a movie if the weather gets rainy or too cold.  I see one tired Mom by the end of the week!  LOL!  Our evenings are pretty free this week, with the exception of ice skating.  Mary, my mother-in-law, is taken care of this week for dinners, as her sister is in town staying with her. 

Sunday ~ Rotisserie Chicken (can’t beat $4.97 for a chicken!), roasted veggies & salad

Monday ~ Burgers, sweet potato fries, green beans & salad

Tuesday ~ Grilled chicken, quinoa & chickpea salad, broccoli & salad

Wednesday ~ BBQ Pulled Pork, baked potatoes, cole slaw & salad

Thursday~ Spaghetti & meat sauce, asparagus, salad & foccacia bread

Friday~ Homemade pizza, zucchini & salad

Saturday~ leftovers

Baked Goods

Raspberry-Coconut Bars (from the cookbook that I reviewed)

Betty Crocker Yellow Cake mix

Pamela’s Bread

Angela at Angela’s Kitchen is hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap this week.  Angela chose cabbage at the ingredient of the week.  I love cabbage in all shapes & form.  Sauerkraut, fried cabbage, stuffed cabbage (especially my dear Grandma’s) & cole slaw.  I have cole slaw on the menu for Wednesday to go with BBQ pulled pork.  In the South, apparently they put cole slaw on their pulled pork sandwiches.  I hadn’t ever seen anything like that until my sister, who lives in Atlanta, told me about this last year.  I have since tried it and now love it! 

Also, don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots more menu ideas.

Oh, I have 2 new articles up on the Examiner, too!  Support groups in Columbus and a Fundraiser for research for Celiac Disease.  Thanks for peeking!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Before I went to bed last night, Jon asked if I could make pancakes for breakfast.  I told him that I would think about it.  I decided when I woke up to go ahead & make them, as it had been a while since we had them.  I used Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, which I buy in bulk on Amazon.  It is much cheaper to buy in bulk and if you sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, you always get free shipping and an additional 15% off.  You choose the frequency in which the products are sent and can change that at any point in time.  There is no cost to join the program.  Okay, enough about Amazon, onto the pancakes! 

Today I decided to make “special” pancakes.  I followed the directions on Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, but doubled the recipe so that I could freeze some & Jon can reheat them in the microwave or toaster during the week.  I used:

2 cups of Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

2 large eggs

1.5 cups of water

2 TBSP oil

2 TBSP P.B. Loco Premium Peanut Butter with Jungle Banana

Nestle’s Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (I sprinkled these on each pancake after I poured the batter in the pan)

Yield:  12 good size pancakes

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Here is the Peanut Butter that I used:

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Jon’s plate, topped with his favorite syrup, Aunt Jemima:

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He declared these pancakes the best EVER!!  This was after he asked me if I used the “banana PB“.  He had some the other day on toast & said he didn’t like it, so I told him that I hadn’t used the banana PB this AM.  Ooops!  Little white lie.  After he kept raving about them, I went ahead & told him.  He couldn’t believe it.  At first he was mad, but I told him that he would not have had an open mind if he had known I used the P.B. Loco PB, he would have made up his mind that he didn’t like them.  I used the P.B. Loco PB because it is much creamy than the Skippy Natural that I have on hand; it mixed very well with the pancake batter.  He said they were still the best ever!  He is looking forward to the leftover breakfast pancakes this week. 

A Different Take on Mexican Pizzas

I like to change up my food so I don’t get bored.  My kids don’t appreciate that so much, neither does Aaron.  What I have been doing lately is when I make them a “traditional” dish, I will often make small changes to my meal to create some variety.  I have also been eating a lot less meat lately.  No, I am not becoming a “vegetarian”, I like my chicken & steak (filet) too much.  However, on a day-to-day basis, my stomach & body tend to feel much better the less meat I eat.  My non-meat sources of  protein come from nut butters, eggs (mostly egg whites with an occasional yolk thrown in), tuna, salmon, beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, northern, black-eyed peas), nuts & cheese.  I do some soy, but not a lot.  I mainly do edamame if I do any soy.  I drink almond milk, not cow’s milk (due to lactose intolerance, but cheese is okay with Lactaid).  Anyway, I digress.  Tonight I made Mexican pizzas with refried beans, ground turkey taco meat & cheese for the family and did mine up a little different.

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My Mexican pizza consisted of the following:

  • black beans (drained & rinsed) mixed with a touch of sriracha
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • avocado
  • chopped tomatoes
  • plain Greek Fage
  • Frank’s Red Hot

They were amazing!!  YUM!!  Also, instead of using store made tostada shells, I took 2 soft corn tortillas & placed them on an oven sheet @ 350 for about 10 minutes on one side & 3-4 minutes on the other side.  The I topped with the bean mixture & goat cheese and popped back in the oven to get all melty.  YUM!  Oh, another exciting find?  Trader Joe’s frozen avocado halves!  Genius!  I am the only one in my house that will eat avocado and they turn brown after I cut them open no matter what I do!  Very frustrating & expensive!!  These halves are perfect!  I used a half and split it between my pizzas.  Perfect!!  No waste! 

New Toy

As I mentioned in this post, I am training for a half marathon in October.  I usually run at the gym on the treadmill, but I occasionally run outside and now that my long runs are getting longer, not only do I need fuel to keep me going, but I need something to track my running.  I had wanted a Garmin Forerunner, but couldn’t justify that cost.  I already have a Polar Heart Rate Monitor, so another couple hundred dollars to track mileage/distance didn’t make sense.  Enter new Nike shoes & Nike gift card.  The new running shoes I bought last month were Nikes and my credit cards rewards came in the form of a Nike gift card.  I bought a Nike+ iPod Sports Kit for $29.99!

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The sensor (on the right), slips in a little slot under the insert in my shoe.  The receiver slips right into your iPod nano or, if you have an itouch, it has a built in sensor!  I had no idea my itouch could do that! 

I used the Nike+ for the first time Friday for my long run.  It said I was running much faster than I thought I was and than what the treadmill was telling me.  I know that treadmills are notoriously wrong when it comes to distance, calories & such, so I don’t put a lot of stock in that.  I had to calibrate the Nike+ today to get the most accurate results.  I ran 1 mile (at a “normal” pace) in 8 min 50 sec.  That is what the calibration was based on.  Now, when I run, the results should be much more accurate. 

Some of my favorite things about this new toy are:

  • Voice comes on to update you on distance ran, distance left (can be turned off)
  • Push a button & it tells you your pace
  • You can custom design workouts, distances or do open-ended workouts
  • You can upload your data to Nike+ website & keep track of your training
  • You can set goals & compete with others on the Nike+ website

For $29.99, this was a great purchase.  I really look forward to using this in my race next week & for training on my longer runs.  Another bonus to the Nike+ over the Garmin is that you don’t need GPS for it to work.  The Garmins won’t work inside (treadmills) or sometimes have issues picking up signals from the satellite. 

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Product Review: Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls

Yes, I am reviewing yet another Trader Joe’s product.  What can I say?  I probably should own part of TJ’s by now, wouldn’t you think?  LOL!  I first spotted the Crunchy Curls when I was at TJ’s about a month ago.  They are a curly snack made from lentils & potatoes!  How about that?! 

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These curls are very crunchy and have a great taste.  They are not spicy in the least.  They are great to dip!  I can think of many things you could dip these into:

  • Flavored Hummus
  • Balela (again, Trader Joe’s & gluten-free)
  • Salsa
  • Red Pepper, eggplant & garlic spread (TJ’s)
  • Peanut or almond butter (okay, that might be a stretch, but you know how I love my nut butters)

They have  great nutritional stats, too!  In one serving, 31 curls, there are 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat (.5 sat), 4 grams of fiber & 3 grams of protein.  Not bad for a “crunchy snack”.  Another great product from Trader Joe’s!  BTW, I promise TJ’s is not paying me to say good stuff about their products.  ;) 

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So, next time you reach for a snack, grab these and you won’t have to feel guilty!

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Polenta Provencale

I love Trader Joe’s.  Really, I find something new to try there every time I go.  I love that their labeling is so clear.  I love that they have a list of their gluten-free items.  I love their prices.  I love their 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy.  The 2 times that I have had an issue with any of their products (once, a bunch of rice cakes in the bag I bought were crumbled and another time the French rolls had mold on them after 1 day), they replaced them, no questions, no receipt.  I had just wanted to mention the issues to them, I really hadn’t been looking for a replacement. 

Okay, now down to business.   On my last trip to TJ’s, I picked up this fantastic looking dish…..Polenta Provencale, from the freezer section.  I fully expected to see some kind of gluten (and if not gluten, onions), but much to my surprise, it was gluten & onion free!!  That makes this product “Kim friendly”.   I decided that I was going to have this for dinner last night and tossed in some leftover roasted veggies & maple chicken sausage (another Trader Joe’s product) when it was done cooking. 

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From the back of the bag:

Trader Joe’s Polenta Provencale dares to ask the question, “Must polenta be Italian?”  Geographic locations aside, we believe in liberation of polenta, in its freedom to representation to the cuisines of the world.  Thus, Polenta Provencale combines polenta with fresh spinach leaves, peas, tomatoes, cream & herbs de Provence to create a dish that’s an inspired fusion of old world traditions and new world flavors.  Bon appetit!  Buon gusto!  Enjoy!

This dish was super easy to prepare.  I place the frozen meal in a preheated frying pan over medium to med-high heat.  I let the mixture cook for 5-7 minutes, as directed on the package.  Once that was heated, I tossed in my chicken sausage & roasted veggies just to warm through.

In the pan, before adding the sausage:

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This dish was awesome!  Would I expect anything less from TJ’s?  There was a little spicy kick to it, but not too much.  I paired my combo with a nice big salad for a satisfying meal.

Here is the back of the package for nutritional info/ingredients:

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If you see this at your Trader Joe’s, it is definitely worth trying out & buying again.  Nice to keep on hand for those nights when meals have to be quick!

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