Meal Plan Monday ~ October 27, 2008

Another busy week ahead. Hockey practice, ice skating, hockey games and I am having surgery on Friday, hopefully in the AM. It is an outpatient procedure, so I hope to be home before the kids get home from school. I have to have my left sub-mandibular salivary gland removed b/c I have a small cyst on it. Apparently the only way to tell if the cyst is malignant or not is to remove it. Nice. Anyway, enough about that. My focus this week is just on getting through the week. Tonight, Sunday, we had leftovers. :) There is no “main” ingredient this week. I am planning on 2 desserts/baked goods to have made before Friday. That way I have treats, along with candy from Halloween, to snack on while recovering. ;)

Sunday ~Leftovers (pork loin roast, creamy pumpkin brown rice & veggies)

Monday ~ Salmon (most likely grilled), sweet potatoes (probably baked), steamed green beans & salad

Tuesday ~ Filet Mignon on the grill, baked potatoes, sauteed zucchini & salad

Wednesday ~ Eating out after skating & hockey

Thursday ~ Roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies & salad

Friday ~ Whatever my Mom makes or gets take out, maybe Pei Wei.

Saturday ~ My Mom is making her homemade beef pot pie, gluten-free. I can’t wait!!! :)

Baked goods for the week:

Pumpkin Raisin Bread
Homemade Chocolate Pudding (recipe by GingerLemonGirl)
Pumpkin Pudidng (this is a Jell-O mix that I came across…..you all know I am a sucker for pumpkin!)

Menu Plan Monday ~ October 12, 2008 – October 18,2008

Okay, so my plan really starts on Sunday, so it really should be called “Menu Plan Sunday”. It just sounds so much better when you say “Menu Plan Monday”. Don’t you think? Whatever. Hockey is ramping up, fall is here, the busy season is among us. This usually means Mom runs around like a chicken with her head cut off. Jon had his first set of 2 scrimmages this morning beginning at 7:40 AM. Yes, I said AM. Yes, it is Sunday. 7:40 is actually not early when you are talking about hockey and ice time schedules. You want early? How about having to be at the rink at 5:30 AM? Thank goodness the rink is 5 minutes from our house and that is where we usually play or have practice.

Jon goes Wednesday morning to get this current cast off. Thank God. If you have any idea how bad hockey equipment smells, then you know what his cast smells like. No, I am not getting my nose up real close like and smelling it. I can smell it from the other side of the room. Okay, so it isn’t that bad. But, if you sit close enough to him on the couch you can detect an odd odor coming from his area. Hopefully he won’t have to get a new cast. That will all really depend on what the x-rays show. At the very least, if he does have to get a new cast, at least it won’t stink right away. Give him a few weeks to stink it up really good.

Somehow this chatter isn’t getting me any closer to my menu plan. Sorry. The 2 glasses of Cabernet I had probably aren’t helping matters. They did help me relax. :) So, simple is my theme this week. No complicated or “new” menu items. Can’t handle it this week. Will I bake? Proabably b/c I have to get my sweet fix and I ran out of my Trader Joe’s Chocolate Meringue Cookies and TJ’s is too far away. Also, my Edy’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin Ice Cream is almost gone. Yeah, I could get more. Wal-Mart up the street carries it. Do I really need it? Ask me tomorrow. Today my sweet treat was a Heath Bar. YUM! I haven’t had one since last Halloween. I had the full-size baby too! I considered having half after lunch and then half after dinner and then reasoned with myself that I deserved the whole thing (went to the gym this AM) and that if I ate all the calories right then after lunch, I had a better chance of burning them off the rest of the day. Like my reasoning? Works for me.

Here we go:

Sunday ~ Burgers (with mushroom, bacon & cheddar), sweet potato fries, broccoli & salad

Monday ~ Grilled Garlic & Dill Salmon, brown rice or quinoa, roasted brussel sprouts for moi, mixed veggies for the picky ones

Tuesday ~ Grilled BBQ Chicken Breasts, spaghetti squash, sauteed snow peas in sesame oil & salad

Wednesday ~ out with Inlaws for FIL’s b-day

Thursday ~ Apricot Glazed Pork Loin, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Salad

Friday ~ Homemade Pizza with Fenster’s Crust (topped with veggies for me & pepperoni for the kids & DH), steamed carrots & salad.

Saturday ~ Sweet & Sour Chicken with broccoli & brown rice.

Baked Goodies

Work on creating a Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread or Muffin
Chocolate Crinkles
Some kind of Coffee Cake for Jon
bagels from Pamela’s Mix
Pamela’s Bread (baking right now..YUM)

Don’t forget to check out GF Goodness for more GF menu plans. Thanks Cheryl for hosting. :) Also, you can check out Org Junkie for even more menu plans, GF and not GF.

What Do You Eat?

This is usually the first thing out of peoples mouths when I tell them that I can’t eat any gluten. Actually, it is more like the 2nd thing, after they ask what exactly gluten is. I don’t usually run around telling everyone I meet that I can’t have gluten. It most often comes up in conversations pertaining to my son when his friend’s parents want to have him over or take him out to eat. Talk about a way to scare off new friends in a hurry! LOL! It has also come up at restaurants when servers or managers get curious and ask what I eat since I can’t have bread and pasta. I love to educate people on Celiac and the gluten-free diet. The more people that know about it, I feel, the better off all of us who have to follow a gluten-free diet will be. Not only that, but for those who ask about symptoms and how we figured out we had Celiac, they are now more aware of the disease and if it might be something that effects them or their friends & family. Now, my husband does not share my love of educating the public on Celiac and the gluten-free diet. He rolls his eyes and smiles (a little fake-like) when he detects me going into my spiel to the server, manager or parent of Jon’s friend. What can I say, I am passionate about things that involve myself or my family, and I like to help people.

Anyway, back to the question. What do you eat? When I first started my blog, I came up with a list of favorites for Jon & I. This shares more of the foods we use to replace the gluten-filled ones we can’t have. It doesn’t really show what we eat day-to-day. So, I thought that I would share a menu and some photos of what I eat day-to-day.

First up, breakfast. Breakfast for me is usually the same every day. What can I say, I am a creature of habit and I don’t like change. I typically have 2 brown rice cakes topped with either Skippy Natural Peanut Butter or Almond butter and some kind of 100% fruit spread. This picture shows me also having a bowl of fresh fruit with it, I have stopped that b/c the fruit was bothering my stomach for some reason. I now have 2-3 egg whites and grape tomatoes topped with fresh basil.

Jon usually has pancakes or cinnamon toast. Here are a picture of some pancakes. I usually make these once a week and package into individual ziplocks, 3 per bag, and freeze.

Snacks for me are usually one in the AM and one in the late afternoon. I usually eat every 3 hours or so. 3 bigger meals and 2 snacks. I find this helps keep my blood sugar stable and I don’t end up absolutely starving by my next meal. I also find that I need the energy to keep going. I usually go to the gym 6 days a week and I have to keep refueling throughout the day. Snacks vary day-to-day. I like cereal (Rice Chex, Envirokidz Gluten-Free Cereals, GF Oatmeal), Lara Bars, Cheese & Crackers (Diamond Nut Thins and Laughing Cow Swiss is my fav) or Enjoy Life Snack Bars. Jon will have cereal, Lara Bars, cookies, Nabisco Fruit Snacks or Carnation Instant Breakfast.

Cream Hill Estates GF Oats with Enjoy Life Granola & Blueberries

Lunches also vary day-to-day, but most times consist of sandwiches, veggies, salads and maybe some chips of some sort. If we have leftovers, sometimes I will eat those. I make my sandwiches on Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread most of the time. If I have bagels or GF French Rolls from Trader Joe’s, I will use those for melts or a bigger sandwich. Here is an example of what I had yesterday. I made a sandwich on Pamela’s Bread with cream cheese, Hillshire Farm Ultra Thin sliced Cracked Pepper Turkey and fresh spinach; on the side I had a veggie medley of okra, zucchini, yellow squash & grape tomatoes; I also sliced up a garden tomato and topped with fresh grated parmesan and fresh basil and completed my meal with some Smart Puffs, Wisconsin Cheddar, made by Robert’s American Gourmet.

Afternoon snacks are much like the ones in the AM. Sometimes I will get a non-fat Latte from Starbucks or Caribou as my “snack”. Like now, they have the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Dinners obviously vary day to day. There are so many options out there that I never get bored and often find myself faced with too many choices and recipes when I do my weekly meal planning. I try to plan out meals on Sundays (watch for the weekly posts on Mondays) and then go shopping for the week. I start by seeing what meats I have in my freezer or what meats are on sale and build my menu around those. This helps me from buying too much food or letting things go bad b/c I forget they are there. We eat lots of brown rice (jasmine, short grain and basmati), potatoes (baked, mashed, sweet, roasted) and veggies. I make corn bread, foccacia or rolls to go with our meals if needed. I try to serve a meat or meat substitute, 1 -2 veggies and/or rice/potato. One staple that doesn’t change is salad. I will eat a salad with dinner 9 times out of 10. It is a great way to get a good 2-3 servings of fresh veggies for me and I love them! I use spinach mixed with other darker salad greens or romaine and add in all kinds of fresh veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes or grape tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, cucumber, green beans, black beans and occasionally cheese. I switch up my dressings to keep it interesting. I really like Kraft’s Light French dressing. I also use T. Marzetti’s Light Honey French (YUM), Kraft’s Light Ranch, Balsamic Vinaigrette and Ken’s Steakhouse Raspberry Walnut Spray. Here is a shot of a typical salad with the Light French dressing:

Desserts are not every night treats, but we do have something several times per week. I like Trader Joe’s Meringue Cookies or Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Creams (Pumpkin is a current fav). If I have been a baking fool, we will eat those goodies for dessert.

So, as can be seen here, there is plenty for those who have to follow a gluten-free diet to eat. I don’t miss many (read: any) meals. When I was first on the gluten-free diet, I easily got discouraged and frustrated when it came to eating and found myself eating the same thing every day….brown rice, black beans, cheese and tortilla chips. I quickly realized that I couldn’t live on that forever and embraced the opportunity to concentrate on all of the foods I could have. :)

Applesauce Cookies

When I was growing up my Grandmother (this time, my Mom’s Mother), always used to make applesauce/spice cookies. They were awesome. I woke up thinking about these last week and had to track down the recipe. I emailed my Grandma to ask if she had it, she didn’t. However, my Mom did! She had the cookbook that the recipe came from. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, the 1969 edition. All I had to do was modify the recipe to make it gluten-free. I did just that. The cookies smelled amazing while they were cooking. In addition, I used my homemade applesauce that I made a huge batch of last week. I really think that just added to the wonderful flavor of these cookies. These cookies really said “fall” to me. The flavors were everything representative of the season. The recipe for the frosting that Betty Crocker suggests is not the one I used. I actually used the Cinnamon Icing that I used for my pumpkin cookies the other day. All of my taste testers have raved about these. They aren’t the prettiest cookies, but who cares when they taste so good?!? They didn’t want to flatten out when they baked, so next time I will probably shape them a little flatter before putting them in the oven. The texture and moisture level was perfect, so I don’t see altering the recipe to try to alter the shape.

Some pictures:

Before baking:

After baking, before frosting:

After frosting, ready to be eaten:

Applesauce Cookies

**Applesauce Cookies – from Betty Crocker cookbook 1969

½ cup softened butter or margarine
¾ cup applesauce
2 ¾ cup flour (I used Gluten Free Pantry’s All-Purpose mix that includes guar gum, so didn’t add any xanthan gum; make sure to add this if you don’t have it in your mix already)
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs

Heat oven to 375. Mix butter and applesauce. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched – 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool. Frost with Caramel Frosting if desired. About 6 dozen cookies – 70 calories each. (BTW, this made no where near 6 dozen, more like 2-3 dozen)

Caramel Frosting
**This is the recipe for frosting that Betty Crocker Suggests; I did not use this one
½ cup margarine or butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Heat margarine in 1-quart saucepan until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir over low heat 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Place pan of frosting in bowl of cold water; beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 tsp at a time. Frosts a 13 x 9 inch cake or fills and frost two 8 or 9 inch cake layers.

Cinnamon Frosting
**This is the icing/frosting that I used

2 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until icing is the right consistency to ice cookies. You can half this recipe if you want less icing.

Enjoy!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I admit that I have been a PB & chocolate freak lately. I don’t really know what my deal is, but I can’t get enough PB & chocolate. I have been eating the Nature’s Path Envirokidz Leapin Lemurs daily as a snack. I also happened upon the Envirokidz Peanut Choco Drizzle Bars, which I can’t seem to get enough of either. So when I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, I couldn’t resist making them. I saw the recipe on the Yahoo Group that I belong to called Silly Yaks. It was posted by a woman named Donna S. Here is a picture of the cookies on my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes Plate (fitting since buckeyes are made out of PB & chocolate ;) ):

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these b/c the kids in my house won’t eat nuts unless they are well disguised)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and use an ungreased cookie sheet.

Combine peanut butter, sugar and eggs and mix well. I used my Kitchen Aid since it’s a heavy mixture. Then add the chips and nuts and that’s it!! Drop by rounded tablespoon and place cookies about 2 inches apart. Cook 10-12 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet a few minutes than transfer to wire rack

**A couple of notes. I followed the recipe as written except for omitting the nuts. The dough seems to get oily fairly quickly, so you need to get them on the cookie sheet and in the oven and not let them set at room temperature too long. Maybe you can place in the fridge while the other batches bake. I only bake 1 sheet at a time, so I probably should have placed the dough in the fridge.

The kids loved these. Jon said he still likes my regualar Chocolate Chip Cookies best, but Hannah couldn’t stop talking about these. They are very good and definitely satisfy that craving for PB & chocolate together. :)

Menu Plan for September 7, 2008 – September 13, 2008

I have been in such a baking mood lately and I can’t seem to stop. It is becoming a problem b/c we can’t eat the stuff fast enough! LOL! I am going to have to slow down or start to freeze at least half of my projects. Jon is not objecting in the least. This week I have Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on the plan to bake (they have no flour in them!). I found the recipe on the forum at Celiac.com. When I make it and share it here, I will have to go back and look to see who posted it. For breakfast this week Jon will be eating Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread and maybe pancakes. I have a few new things I want to try for pancakes, including some pumpkin/oatmeal combos. Onto the plan:

Sunday ~ Outback Steakhouse after seeing the Sound of Music

Monday ~ Homemade Lasagna, steamed green beans, salad & foccacia bread

Tuesday ~ grilled BBQ chicken breast, cheesy chili potatoes, broccoli & salad

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger in Paradise after ice skating. This is getting a little old. I can’t believe I said that. I need to change up what I am ordering. I usually get salmon. Perhaps a bacon cheeseburger & fries or a grilled skirt steak salad this week.

Thursday ~ Blackened salmon, steamed brown jasmine rice, broccoli, salad & french rolls

Friday ~ Crockpot Pot Roast, potatoes & carrots with salad & french rolls.

Saturday ~ Grilled burgers on GF Buns (another new recipe from the Silly Yak group that I am going to try), sweet potato fries (homemade for the first time, usually I buy Alexia frozen), steamed veggies and salad.

I also want to give homemade Pesto a try in the very near future. I love basil and have seen some good recipes lately for Pesto. Not sure anyone in my house will eat it besides me, so I need to either make a small amount or make sure it keeps well in the fridge for at least a little while. I will get some more descriptions and recipes of things up this week as we go along, if they work out, that is. I am due for a flop any day now! LOL!!

Buckeyes and Baking

Phew…..Ohio State skated by. I was a little worried at halftime today. We really didn’t sit and watch the game start to finish, but it was on when I was eating out for lunch and we saw the halftime score before heading home. So, I started my baking and watching the game. My baking must have been the magic ticket, as the Bucks started to come back. ;) Just kidding. I have been wanting to try this recipe from Cooking Light for Walnut Cake with Praline Frosting for a while, so that is on the list to bake today. Also, I have a couple of very ripe bananas, so I made a banana bread for Jon to eat for breakfast this week. I tweaked it a little for fall and added some pumpkin to it….YUM! Speaking of fall, I am getting super excited for pie baking (especially thanks to Whole Foods Bakehouse GF Frozen Pie Crusts; I passed these puppies off to very picky relatives last year with rave reviews), cookie baking and fudge making. Oh, the fudge, can’t wait for the fudge. Not only is there chocolate fudge, but peanut butter too. I can’t decide which I love more. These are recipes that my Grandmother (Dad’s Mom) used to make and when I eat them, I am reminded of her. It makes me smile. :) I am seriously going to have to step up the cardio at the gym come the end of October through my birthday (Jan. 9th for those who are curious), as it will be a 3-month long eating fest.

On to the goods. First I made the banana bread. This recipe was one I found on the forums at Celiac.com and was posted by Sue. Her SIL gave her the recipe and she converted it to a GF recipe and it was a hit! I have made some changes to it. I used Pamela’s baking mix for most of my quick breads & cakes and I didn’t have 1 1/2 cups of bananas, so I used half bananas, half pumpkin. I also used shaved semi-sweet chocolate on top instead of choc olate chips because the last time I put chocolate chips on top, they made my bread sink in those areas. The shaved semi-sweet chocolate seemed to work much better. Jon almost fell out of his chair he loved this so much. The combination of the pumpkin & banana makes this so moist. A lot of times I will add butter to my plain banana nut bread when I eat it, there is no need for anything at all on this bread. Here are some pics and the recipe for the bread:

Banana/Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, pre-baking, pre-chocolate shavings

Banana/Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, pre-baking, after chocolate shavings

Banana/Pumpkin/Chocolate Chip Bread after baking:


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups rice flour (Or Pamela’s Baking Mix)
1 tsp. baking soda ( only add 3/4 tsp if using Pamela’s)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder (don’t add any if using Pamela’s)
5 TBSP butter (softened)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium) **I did 3/4 cup bananas, 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream **I used whole milk b/c like a dumb a$$ I bought buttermilk, not heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided **I used about 2/3 cup and did the Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar shaved on top
1/2 tsp. xantham gum (omit if using Pamela’s)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 9×5 inch loaf pan with crisco, set aside

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; stir to mix well.

3. Place butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugars; beat in egg
and egg whites. Reduce speed to low; beat in bananas. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 2
additions alternately with heavy cream. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

4. Spoon batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 chocolate chips (**or chocolate shavings). Bake 55 to 60 minutes
or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack; remove
from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Now, onto the Walnut Cake with Praline Frosting. OMG…this cake was truly TDF (to die for). I can’t believe I found the recipe in Cooking Light, of all places. The kids loved it. I can’t say that I blame them. So moist, so sweet, so yummy!! The only thing that I would change next time is to put it in a smaller pan (they call for a 13 x 9 pan, I would almost use and 8 x 11 if you have one), the cake is thinner than the pictures in Cooking Light show, but still super yummy. This is perfect for fall, perfect for company, or just for yourself if you feel like having a treat.

Walnut Cake with Praline Frosting

9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups) **I used Pamela’s Baking Mix
2 tsp Xanthan Gum (I didn’t use this b/c I used Pamela’s and it has guar gum in it)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
7 TBSP butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk
6 TBSP chopped walnuts, toasted
Cooking Spray

Frosting:
½ cup packed brown sugar
6 TBSP 1% low-fat milk, divided
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP light corn syrup
Dash of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda and ½ tsp salt, stirring well with a whisk.
3. Place 7 TBSP butter, 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar in a mixing bowl; beat at a med-high speed with a mixer until light & fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in egg white. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning & ending with flour mixture. Fold in 6TBSP walnuts. Scrape batter in a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray.
4. Bake at 350 for 28 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
5. To prepare frosting, place ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup milk, 2 TBSP butter, corn syrup and dash of salt in a saucepan over med-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 2 minutes. Scrape brown sugar mixture into a bowl. Add remaining 2 TBSP milk and powdered sugar; beat with a mixer at high speed 2 minutes or until slightly cooled and thick. Beat in ½ tsp vanilla. Spread frosting in an even layer over cooled cake; sprinkle with 2 TBSP chopped walnuts. Let the cake stand until the frosting sets; cut into squares. Yield: 16 servings. Calories: 306; Fat 9 g; Protein 4 g; Carb 52 g.

Walnut Cake Pre-baking

Walnut Cake After baking, pre-frosting

Walnut Cake Frosted (still in pan)

Walnut Cake & Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread on my plate:

I am going to post another post with our main course in it. It was a pretty quick go-to meal for Chicken Fettucine Alfredo. YUM! We finished off that meal with the cake & bread.

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