Weekly Menu Plan -January 17, 2010

Is January really half over?  Where has the time gone?  It has really warmed up here in Ohio this week.  Hope it has where you are, too.  Monday night we went out to dinner at Columbus Fish Market to celebrate my birthday with my Dad, step mom & little sister.  The dinner was so good – I had Chilean sea bass, steamed veggies, salad (with dates & pine nuts) and raspberry sorbet.  I really enjoy eating at the CFM because they have an extensive gluten-free menu and are well versed on the diet.  You can see another post on CFM here.  I loved the sea bass so much that I checked Whole Foods for it on Wednesday & was astounded by the price.  Are you sitting down?  $21.99/pound!  OUCH!  I guess it would be one thing for a special occasion and if I knew how to prepare it without screwing it up, but I just can’t go there.  Speaking of birthdays, I got the Yaktrax that I so desired from my Dad & family!  I am so excited to try them out!  Figures it warms up & the snow disappears when I finally have the gear to use outside.  Well, if that is all it takes to keep the snow away…..LOL!  Wishful thinking on my part. 

Esther at Lilac Kitchen is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap and her ingredient choice is: parsnips.  Wow, I have never made parsnips, but they have piqued my interest after seeing several other bloggers making fries out of them. I love fries in any shape or form, so I just may grab some parsnips & give them a try this week.  I have made sweet potato fries, butternut squash fries, yucca fries & rutabaga fries.    I am interested in seeing what the other bloggers do with parsnips. 

Sunday – Tilapia (perhaps coconut or teriyaki), baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli & carrots & salad

Monday- Turkey Burgers, butternut squash fries, asparagus & salad

Tuesday- Spaghetti & marinara, brown rice pasta, zucchini & salad

Wednesday- Breakfast for dinner (omelets, sweet potato fries & fruit salad)

Thursday- Bourbon Chicken (I am trying out tofu, too), coconut baked rice, green beans & salad

Friday- Baked Chicken Fingers, mashed potatoes, veggies & salad

Saturday-Leftovers

 

Baked Goods

Bread

Muffins of some sort

 

Make sure to stop by Orgjunkie for lots more menu ideas. 

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I got some very exciting news today.  I can’t share yet, but I will in the next few days.  Stay tuned!! 

Columbus peeps – Raisin Rack will now be carrying Everybody Eats products!  Review to come later this week! 

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If you would like to help out those suffering in Haiti, there are several ways to do this.  You can “Dress down for Haiti“.  Lauren, at Celiac teen is collecting recipes from bloggers (gluten-free or not) and putting together an ebook to help raise money for those in need.  And lastly, onate money right to the Red Cross.  You can do so via their website or by texting “Haiti” to 90999 and $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill.

 

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Favorite Gluten-free Recipes & Products – 2009

I have spent the last few days looking back over the year.  I wanted to put into one post my favorite gluten-free recipes & products of the year.  I hope that you guys enjoy this as much as I did putting it together. 

I love to experiment with food, if you haven’t noticed.  I love to try to recreate old favorites and I love to try new things.  This year I found some products that were so close to their gluten-filled counterparts.  One of these products is La Tortilla Factory Teff Wraps.  These wraps are awesome.  They don’t crack!  I have used them for sandwich wraps, burritos, chimichangas etc.  They hold up.  Another product is Udi’s Gluten-free Bread.  This stuff is the best gluten-free bread I have ever tasted, hands down.  Their other products are amazing as well – love the pizza crust!  I am very excited that my local health food store, Raisin Rack, will be carrying their stuff soon.  Bob’s Red Mill has a great gluten-free pizza mix out now.  It has quickly become one of our favorites here at home.  I especially like it Buffalo Chicken style. 

Some companies are making it increasingly easier to eat gluten-free.  I think main one that comes to my mind is General Mills.  This year they have really expanded the gluten-free cereal market to include a number of Chex cereals.  They also have the new Betty Crocker line of gluten-free baking mixes.  General Mills has started to use “gluten-free” on the back of their labels a lot more, making things even easier.  I just recently noticed the gluten-free Progresso Soups are now labeled as such. 

Gluten-free pizza used to be hard to find.  Not only was it hard to find a good crust to make or buy, but it was virtually impossible to find a restaurant that made gluten-free pizza.  This year there have been huge breakthroughs on this front.  First, there was Uno’s Chicago Grill implementing their gluten-free crust in all of their locations, nationwide.  Then, we discovered Boston’s Gourmet Pizza.  Boston’s has a larger choice of toppings and the crust stands up a little better than Uno’s.  Finally, we hit the jackpot – Z Pizza.  Z Pizza has an amazing selection of gluten-free pizzas & toppings, not to mention salad, gluten-free beer and gluten-free cookies.  I think that is is my favorite place to eat gluten-free pizza out. 

Moving along to recipes.  Below I have listed some of my favorites from 2009.  I have many more favorites posted throughout my blog from years past. 

Some of my favorite recipes are:

Lemon Bundt Cake w/ Lemon Icing

Cheesy Stuffed Shells

Pistachio Cheesecake

Catholic Potatoes

POM Wonderful Cranberry Sauce

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Blueberry Chia Muffins

Cocoa Coconut Chili

Marinutta Sauce

Coconut Baked Brown Rice

Glazed Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Baked Ziti

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf

Pumpkin Cornbread

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cake

Pumpkin Raisin Scones (vegan, too)

Almond Cranberry Bites

 

Now, one last thing.  A reader contacted me with this nice note about the Chocolate Covered Oreo Cake and sent along a picture to show me hers. 

Kimberly,

I made the “oreo” cake for my step-daughter’s birthday last Saturday and OMG it was sooooooooo good!

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing the recipe!

Tracey

christmas season 016 oreo cake 

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Tracey, thank you for sharing!!  I am so glad that you guys enjoyed the cake!  I would love to try this with a carrot cake!  YUM!! 

 

 

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Product Review: Better Batter Flour

Naomi & her staff at Better Batter were kind enough to send me some free samples of Better Batter Flour and Better Batter Pancake & Baking Mix.  I will review the Pancake & Baking Mix in another post.  I want to concentrate now on the flour mix.  The samples came to me in just the nick of time.  I had begun to prepare a batch of chocolate chip cookies for Aaron’s boss and discovered that I was out of flour.  Normally when I make cookies for his boss, I don’t make them gluten-free.  I usually keep a bag of flour on hand for times like this.  When I went to grab the flour, it was gone.  Aaron had tossed it out thinking it was “old”.  I then remembered that I had just received the Better Batter flour mix and decided that I would use that.  What better way to test a product than to serve to someone who doesn’t eat gluten-free & begs for my chocolate chip cookies? 

The chocolate chip cookies are the Better Batter cookies.

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I couldn’t wait to taste these cookies.  They smelled like heaven while baking.  The kids were gathering in the kitchen like sharks around their prey.  The result? ” Freakin’ amazing”, to quote Jon.  I had to agree.  Hannah said they were like heaven.  I tried them right out of the oven, then warm, then cold.  Really, they just kept getting better.  I have made this recipe many times with other flour mixes and while they are still pretty darn good, I was very impressed by the Better Batter Flour.  The true test was yet to come – Aaron’s boss. 

Aaron gave the cookies to his boss the next day and didn’t tell him they were gluten-free until after he took a bite.  He didn’t realize they were gluten-free until Aaron told him!  Success! 

Better Batter Flour is a little more expensive than some of the other GF flour mixes out there, but the end result is worth it and it does already have xanthan gum in the mix, so you can save a little money by not having to buy it to add to your baking. 

I also used the mix to make Gingersnaps.  Again, fantastic!  Exact same texture as non-GF gingersnaps. 

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Do you like french fries?  We love them here.  Usually I make them myself buy cutting up either regular or sweet potatoes, spritzing with olive oil, seasoning & baking in the oven.  However, in these times, sometimes dinners are rushed.  McCain Potatoes has a gluten-free list on their site.  My kids love the Smiles & Tasti Taters.

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Another company that I have recently found gluten-free information on is Welch’s.  Welch’s says that all of their products are gluten-free. 

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I will post my review on Better Batter Pancake & Baking Mix once I have a chance to give it a try.  I am looking forward to making some fun stuff with it!  Perhaps some banana bread!  :)

 

Weekly Menu Plan – Last Week of the Year

Phew….last week was so busy!  It was nice to just relax & lay low over the weekend.  This week should be relaxing for the most part, too.  We don’t typically go out on New Year’s Eve.  Heck, I don’t know the last time I stayed up until midnight! LOL!  The kids are still out of school this week & we only have 2 extracurricular activities going on, so dinners should be fairly straight forward.

The GF CF Cookbook is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap.  The ingredient of the week is leftover ham.  We don’t have anymore leftover ham, but we did and we used it in a varieties of ways.  Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, ham & cheese omelettes and salad with chopped up ham in it. 

 

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, baked sweet potatoes, green beans & salad.

Monday – Tacos, black  beans, corn & salad

Tuesday-Baked Ziti, zucchini & salad

Wednesday-Salmon, red quinoa, mixed veggies & salad

Thursday – Filet Mignon, baked potato, asparagus & salad

Friday – Pork & Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, broccoli & salad

Saturday – Pizza or leftovers

 

Baked Goods

Pamela’s Bread

Banana Bread (have some bananas that need rescued STAT!)

 

Here are a couple pictures from our Christmas.  Someone lost her 2nd front tooth on Christmas Eve!  All she wants for Christmas is her 2 front teeth!

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My sister, Kelly, Greg & Noah

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Hope you all had a great holiday! Do you have any New Year’s Eve plans?

 

Weekly Menu Plan – The Busiest Week of the Year – December 21, 2009

Is it over yet?  Seriously, I just want to sit down & read my book!  LOL!  Also, as much as I can’t believe that I am saying this, I think I am done with the Christmas music.  I love it, don’t get me wrong, but when they start playing it right after Halloween, the novelty wears out before Christmas.  I won’t ever tire of watching Elf, though.  Seriously, love that movie & think that it is Will Farrell’s best role ever.  There couldn’t be a more perfect Elf. 

So, what is on the menu this week.  Thursday night, Christmas Eve, we are hosting dinner for family at our house.  There will be plenty of yummy treats, including many, many cookies to go around.  Dinner will be Perfect Pork Tenderloin and Ham served along with a salad, roasted vegetables and rolls of some kind.  Appetizers will be shrimp cocktail, the now demanded Buffalo Chicken Dip and a vegetable tray to balance things out.  Wine will be a flowing, as will some fun mixed cocktails involving some Stoli’s vodka.  Christmas day dinner will be at my Dad’s house.  He is roasting a turkey with all the fixings, gluten-free, of course.  I will be bringing the dessert – a gingerbread cake.  Breakfast on Christmas morning is usually whatever you can get your hands on in between the opening of the mountain of gifts.  Sometimes I pull out pumpkin bread or muffins from the freezer.  This year I have a couple of gluten-free mixes that I have been sent to sample that I may make. 

Cheryl at Gluten-free Goodness is hosting this week’s gluten-free menu swap.  The theme is Christmas/Hanukkah/Winter Solstice.  Make sure to stop by & say “Hi” and check out all the great menus.

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans, Salad

Monday – Filet Mignon, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus & Salad

Tuesday – Spaghetti & Meatballs, Broccoli & Salad

Wednesday -Salmon, Basmati Brown Rice, Roasted Zucchini & Salad

Thursday – Christmas Eve Feast

Friday – Christmas Dinner Feast

Saturday – Do we have to eat today?  LOL!  Leftovers, most likely

 

Baked Goods

Bread

Coffee Cake (from mix that I was sent to sample)

Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake

A couple more cookies (yes, I am tired of cookies & my freezer is exploding!)

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In case you missed it, I hit a huge milestone this past weekend – I ran 1,000 miles this year!

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Don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots more great menu ideas. 

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In case you have missed them…..more recipes are shared on my Examiner site

 

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Cookie-A-Day- Day 12: Thumbprint Cookies

One of my all-time favorites, the Thumbprint Cookie.  I loved to make these as a child.  I loved to press my thumb down into the middle of the cookie.  Filling a warm cookie with jelly or jam and a glass of ice cold milk made the best bedtime snack. 

This year I am adding a healthy twist to the Thumbprint Cookies – I am replacing the walnuts (not that they aren’t healthy) with flaxseed meal.  I saw a recipe on Eating Well called “Fig & Flax Thumbprint Cookies”, so I decided to add the flax twist to my own. 

Here is my traditional recipe:

Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (gluten-free flour mix – Bette Hagman’s)
1 or 2 tsps xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts
Your favorite jellies / jams

Heat oven to 350. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Work in flour, xanthan gum, and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough by teaspoonfuls into 1 inch balls.

Beat egg whites slightly. Dip each ball into egg white, then roll in chopped nuts. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press thumb deeply into center of each. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet; cool. Fill thumbprints with jelly / jam before serving.

 

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the updated version!  :) 

 

Cookie-A-Day- Day 11: Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

These cookies caught my eye when I was browsing the Cooking Light website.  Jon loves lemon cookies, bars, cake, etc.  He was thrilled when he left for school this morning that I was making these today.  These turned out really good.  They have a unique texture due to the cornmeal in them.  The lemon flavor is slight, but pairs well with the ginger.  A nice after dinner treat! 

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  • 1  cup  gluten-free flour mix – I used Carol’s Sorghum Mix (about 4 1/2 ounces, which was less than a cup)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/3  cup  yellow cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 3/4  cup  plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  tablespoon grated lemon rind (one lemon made a little less than 1 TBSP)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through ground ginger); stir with a whisk. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Scrape sides of the bowl occasionally. Add egg; beat well. Beat in grated lemon rind. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and beat at medium-low speed just until blended.

3. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons batter 2 inches apart onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes (I checked mine at 10 and they were done) or until lightly browned and almost firm. Remove from oven. Cool on pans for 2 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 55 /per cookie (based on 36 cookies)

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If you want to help support & raise money for Celiac, make sure to use #healthytummy in any tweets you do through 12/16.  There is more info here.

 

Cookie-A-Day – Day 10: Gingerbread People

Well, after the last 3 cookie recipes being flops, I finally had a success!  It is about stinkin’ time!  Since I was feeling a little insecure about my baking, I decided to use a recipe from Carol Fenster’s 1,000 Gluten-free Recipes to make these cookies.  Carol’s recipes have always worked very well for me, so I went back to the tried & true.  I was not disappointed!  I wish I could share the recipe with you, but it is copyrighted.  You can probably get the cookbook from your library & try some of the recipes out if you are unsure of the purchase, but let me tell you that this is one amazing cookbook (no, I am not getting paid to say that).  The pizza crust that I raved about here is also one of Carol’s recipes.  :) 

Look…..they worked!

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The army:

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Once the cookies cooled, I whipped up a quick frosting/icing & we got busy. 

Frosting

1-2 cups powdered sugar (depends on how much frosting you want to make)

1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla (again, depends on how much sugar you use; start with less & taste – you can always add more)

1-3 TBSP milk (start with 1 TBSP, stir and add more milk until you get the desired consistency)

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My little helper – concentrating so hard:

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Jon’s handiwork:

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Up tomorrow: Lemon Cornmeal Cookies – YUM!  I can’t wait.  I am well stocked with parchment paper, so I hope to avoid future disasters!

In case you missed any of the earlier days of “Cookie-A-Day”

Day 1 – Russian Teacakes

Day 2 – Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin

Day 3 – Dark Chocolate Snowstorms

Day 4 – Pecan Shortbread

Day 5 – Spritz Cookies

Day 6 – Gingersnaps

Day 7 – Almond Cranberry Bites

Day 8 – Peanut Butter Cookies

Day 9 – Festive Candy Cookies

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Looking for fudge recipes?  Check out my Remarkable Fudge & Peanut Butter Fudge recipes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Menu Plan – December 13, 2009

This week has been full of baking disasters – 3 to be exact.  I posted about 1 of them here, the other 2 happened on Saturday.  Saturday I set out to make Sugar Cut-outs and Shortbread.  The cut outs all stuck to my non-stick cookie sheet.  I suspect that my running out of parchment paper & opting to carry on was a mistake.  Live & learn.  I did try the last 5 cookies on foil sprayed with Pam and they worked much better.  So, it wasn’t the recipe as much as it was the method that I chose to bake them – cutting corners because I ran out of the parchment.  Note to self: stick dough back in fridge & go to the store next time.  ;)  Now, the shortbread.  Not sure what happened there.  I took a recipe from Real Simple (ha ha….that makes me laugh seeing as this was far from simple for me…LOL) and converted it to gluten-free.  Normally I have no trouble converting recipes, but this just did not work.  It looked very pretty in the pan, but upon removing it, it crumbled.  LOL!  I have more cookie crumbs in my freezer than I know what to do with!  The shortbread & the sugar cut-outs both taste amazing, they just aren’t pretty.  I have renewed faith this morning, though, and am planning on making Gingerbread Cookies with Hannah.  Wish me luck!  I am going with this saying- “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” 

Onto the menu plan for the week.  No more talk of failures.  Heather of Celiac Family is hosting the gluten-free menu swap this week & the ingredient of the week is cinnamon!  I love cinnamon!  I used cinnamon daily.  I put cinnamon in my coffee with a touch of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze; I sprinkle cinnamon on my apples & pears; I sprinkle cinnamon on my almond & pumpkin butter creations.  One of my favorite recipes that has cinnamon in it is Snickerdoodles

I just got back from the grocery store with some fun produce finds.  I was shocked to find blackberries on sale for $1 again!  Here it is, December, and the blackberries are plentiful!  I also picked up 5 lbs of clementines.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to be eating all 5 lbs alone.  I gave Hannah one for lunch & she didn’t like the “white skin” part.  Jon refused it and I don’t think Aaron likes them either.  Oh well, more for me, right?  I wanted to grab grapes, but not at $2.99/lb.  I was also disappointed at the price of broccoli – $2/head!   While I am enjoying the blackberries & root veggies, I really miss peaches, plums and watermelon. 

 

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken, basmati rice, fresh green beans & salad

Monday -Sweet Thai Salmon, baked sweet potato, asparagus & salad

Tuesday – Mexican Pizza, refried beans, white corn & salad

Wednesday- BBQ Chicken Breast, parmesan potatoes, sugar snap peas & salad

Thursday -Shrimp Scampi Alfredo, brown rice pasta & salad

Friday -Calzones (hoping Shriley at Gluten-free Easily posts her stuffed pizza by then ;) ), veggies & salad

Saturday -Roasted root veggies with chickpeas, marinutta sauce & goat cheese, salad

 

Baked Goods

Bread

Bagels

Brownies

Lots of cookies (hopefully no flops this week)

Candy/fudge

 

As always, don’t forget to check out Orgjunkie for lots of great menu ideas. 

 

I hope you all have a great week!  Here are a couple of the fudge recipes I plan on making this week – Remarkable Fudge & Peanut Butter Fudge.

 

 

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Cookie-A-Day: Day 9 – Festive Candy Cookies

I started out my day yesterday with hopes of changing up my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to make it a little more festive.  I thought that adding Mini M & Ms to the cookies would make them more festive.  I got that butter out when I was making breakfast in the morning to let it soften.  The recipe calls for melted butter, but I have never had success when melting the butter (gluten-free or not gluten-free).  I didn’t get around to mixing the dough until 4:00.  Here is how the first tray turned out:

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After this, I promptly stuck the dough in the fridge to chill, hoping that would help.  Not my luck.  A little better, but still spread way too much.  The next tray came out like that as well.  I quickly abandoned any thoughts of making another tray & pressed the remaining dough into a round Pyrex dish & made a round bar cookie.  It came out wonderfully!

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Here are the cookies – I cut them into thin bars.  They taste amazing, but look horrible!  LOL!

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I was tweeting last night about my flop and Shirley from Gluten-free Easily had a great idea.  She told me to freeze the cookies & use them later for a pie crust!  Brilliant!  I would just need to crush & add butter or oil & press into a pan.  Never throw away your flops – they can be used for something.   These may not make it to the cookie crumb crust – the kids love them!

Tips/Notes

  • The recipe can be found on the link above.  Omit the oats and don’t use melted butter.  Do soften the butter, but only for a hour or 2.
  • This recipe is normally a huge success.  I love the flavor.

I wanted to show that even though “Life gave me lemons, I made lemonade”.  I turned a potentially frustrating & upsetting situation into a joke & laughed about it.  That is all you can do.  Baking is about trial & error, just like a lot of things in life.  It isn’t just gluten-free baking that is like that, either, though it does seem to require a little more patience at times.  There have been times over the past 4 years that I have thrown in the towel and said I wouldn’t bake again, but I did.  I am glad I did.  It may just be the flour mix or the temperature in the oven.  Or, you may never figure out what the problem was.  Just don’t stop trying.  :)

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Buddy the Elf showed up again today.  He was hanging from our pot rack in the kitchen!

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Hannah got a big kick out of that! :)

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Did you catch Dr. Oz’s show on Celiac Disease yesterday?  I thought the first 15 – 20 minutes were very informative.  The animation & details about symptoms were just what needed to be shown & said to get the word out to those who may be suffering.  I was a little disappointed when the conversation turned to the gluten-free diet being great for weight loss even if you don’t have Celiac or gluten intolerance.  This seems to lessen the importance of the gluten-free diet for those who really need it.  While it is great to have so much awareness, this shouldn’t be promoted as the newest “fad diet”.  For those who have Celiac, this is the only “cure”.   Cross contamination can make Celiacs sick and cause damage.  I was also curious as to how many people actually lose weight on the gluten-free diet.  I tweeted the question and I received mixed responses.  Some people did lose weight, but others gained.  I gained weight (needed to).  The weight gain most likely comes from the body finally being able to absorb the nutrients that it couldn’t when the villi were damaged. Another very important point that I initially missed – Dr. Oz mentioned trying the GF diet first for a few weeks and then getting tested – don’t do this!  If you remove gluten-from your diet & then go get tested, the results can be skewed.  Get tested first, then remove the gluten.  Dr Oz does have an informative page on his site – lots of good info there.

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Make sure to stop by Diane’s today – The Whole Gang.  She is hosting the Friday Foodie Fix and the secret ingredient is chocolate!  You all know how near & dear to my heart chocolate is.  :)

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