Menu Plan ~ August 31, 2008 ~ September 6, 2008

This past week we were pretty good and only abandoned my menu plan and went out to eat 1 night and that was last night for sushi. YUM!! It was a great dinner. We went to Molly Woo’s again. The food took forever to come out, so the manager came over with a couple of bowls of soup, one wonton, one miso something or other. I thanked him and let him know that while I appreciated the token of appreciation for our patience, we could not eat the soup because we had to eat gluten-free. He said “Oh, you have Celiac, okay.” First, I was shocked that he put 2 & 2 together; I had just said “gluten-free” and he said “Celiac”. Then he offered to buy us dessert on the house. Again, I said I didn’t think there was anything we could have. He suggested the lemon sorbet, I suggested that they could buy me a glass of Pinot Noir and call it even. πŸ˜‰ It was a nice dinner.

So this week’s menu. Nothing too complicated this week. I have a busy week watching kids (2 others, age 13 months and 17 months, in addition to my own). I am starting to pull out some of my fall cooking recipes & dinner plans now that we are going into September. Time to start making pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie….can you tell I love pumpkin??? The baking extravaganza will begin over the next few weeks. I will make sure to share recipes. On to the menu for this week:

Sunday ~ Homemade pizza (see below for recipe/method I use) and broccoli slaw (see recipe below). Take home Cold Stone quarts (Peanut Butter Perfection and Shock-A-Cone (not GF)).

Monday ~ Breakfast for dinner ~ omelets & scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, toast (Pamela’s bread) & fresh fruit

Tuesday ~ Chicken Tenders (from last week that got bumped), sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise after ice skating lessons.

Thursday ~ Marinated Spicy Pork Chops (recipe & pics to follow later in the week), steamed brown rice and green beans.

Friday ~ Crockpot Pot Roast with potatoes & carrots (a fall favorite).

Saturday ~ Burgers on the grill topped with cheese on lettuce buns, baked potatoes & salad.

Here is what I do for my pizza. I follow the recipe on the side of Pamela’s Wheat Free Bread Mix for the pizza crust. I add in basil & oregano to the dough. I dust the pans with cornmeal. After the dough rises for an hour, I brush with EVOO and bake for 10 minutes. Then I top with Prego 3 Cheese Marinara Sauce, mozzerella, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni. I topped mine with some veggies too…tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms. Sometimes I will add zucchini or peppers too. I then baked for another 15-20 minutes. YUM!!! The kids raved about it!! Here are some pics:

Before of the pepperoni & veggie:

Before of the cheese:

After of the pepperoni & veggie:

After of the cheese:

Here is my plate, with the broccoli slaw (recipe to follow):

Broccoli Slaw

1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw (found in produce section)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Helman’s Canola, it is half the fat & calories of normal mayo)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 TBSP white vinegar

Mix all ingedients together and then chill for an hour or so before serving. The kids loved this!! I expected them to complain and reject it immediately, but they didn’t. Must have been the sugar in the dressing!

Just wanted to throw in a “Thank you” to Cheryl at GF Goodness for hosting this week’s menu swap. Lots of great ideas using peppers this week! The cashew cake looks especially yummy!


There are a couple reasons for “WOO HOOS” this AM. First, I woke up to an email from a friend from an ebay forum/group that I belong to who offered to send me some much needed Book Sox!!! She keeps them (what a novel idea…must share that with Jon) and has a couple unused ones as well. That makes me smile and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Thanks Wendi, you ROCK!!

Second “WOOO HOOOO”…whatever was bothering my stomach yesterday has seemed to have gone away. At first I thought I had inadverantly come across some gluten. Then I thought that maybe it was the new Enjoy Life Cinnamon Granola that I had been eating (which, BTW, is awesome) or the Mary’s Gone Crackers that I had tried (also amazing). But I had neither of those things yesterday and stuck to my normal diet and everytime I ate my stomach just ached. I laid down late afternoon and started to feel a little better, to the point I was actually hungry. So, I ate dinner. Bad idea. My stomach was killing me by the time I was done. It was weird. I wasn’t nauseated, no intestinal stuff, just pain in my stomach. I remember feeling like this one other time about 7 or 8 years ago and whatever it was took me a week to get over. I literally had to eat so slowly that it took me over an hour to eat a half of a sandwich. I ended up going to bed very early (around 8:00 PM) and slept fairly well. I got up and didn’t feel too bad. I grabbed a Lara Bar to eat before I hit the gym and ate it very slowly. I had a great work out and have now eaten breakfast too and I feel great! Phew!!! So, hopefully, whatever it was, virus, gluten, who knows, it is gone!

Back to the Enjoy Life Granola for a moment. I bought this the other day b/c it was on sale and I wanted something new to top my GF Oatmeal or just snack on. This stuff is really good! It doesn’t have any oats in it at all. The list of ingredients are as follows:

Brown Rice Flakes; Rice Bran; Evaporated Cane Juice; Brown Rice Syrup; Raisins*; Water; Tapioca Flour; Cinnamon; Gum Arabic; Vanilla; Molasses; Ground Flaxseed; Rosemary Extract.

Jon likes the granola as well, though you can’t get the raisins past him! LOL! He picks those out, but eats the rest. This stuff would be really good on top of vanilla ice cream or yogurt, too. πŸ™‚ So, if you have been thinking about trying this stuff, the Cinnamon Crunch is good. I have yet to try the others. I may give them a try, but don’t see Jon doing the Cranapple or Very Berry. If he won’t eat raisins, I don’t see him eating the dried berries.

Off to the movies today. I am taking Hannah to see Mamma Mia and Jon and his friend will go see something more “manly”.

School Supplies…When Will it End?

I am in school supply he!! today. I think I mentioned before that we got info at the end of last year to purchase a school supply kit for the upcoming school year. We opted to do this as it was supposed to include everything that your student would need. If anything was missing, supplemental supply kits would be available or you could purchase items at the school store. I have used this option in the past and it worked very nicely and kept me from running around to 10 stores like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find the right size Post-It note pad. So we picked up Jon’s supplies the week before school started. I checked the supplemental supply list for his specific team in school and purchased the few supplies that he needed according to the list. There was a school store set up at orientation, so this worked out nicely. So the initial kit was $47. The supplemental supplies were $18. The TI-84 calculator that I bought the other day (note: this was not on the school supply list anywhere) was $80 after rebates. Now Jon comes home and says he needs red pens and book covers (you know those fabric ones that stretch and are called Book Sox). Red pens, no biggie, have some in the drawer. Book Sox, big deal. They are sold out everywhere. Staples did have some left that had skulls & roses all over them, that won’t fly with Jon. They won’t be getting any more in. Looked at Wal-mart, nothing. All sold out. School store, sold out. So last night I decided to just get them online. I was wasting lots of very expensive gasoline driving to every store in our area that would possibly carry Book Sox. I found them online (and in-stock) at $3.99/each. No biggie, I will be done with this ridiculous, time consuming search. I put 3 of them into my cart, then proceed to checkout. I stopped and almost choked on my water when I saw that they wanted to charge me $9.95 to ship 3 Book Sox, that couldn’t come close to weighing a pound even dripping wet!! UGH!!! I desperately searched their site for a website to store option, usually free (at least it is at Wal-mart). No such luck. So, here I sit this morning, still sockless. Aaron says that he will just make Jon’s book covers out of paper bags. That is what we always did. Then we could write all over them and if they ripped, you just made new ones. I am all for that, even have the paper bags in my pantry. However, not sure that Jon is down with that. Is he going to be the only one in school with paper bag book covers? Will he get beat up because his book covers are made from bags that carry our groceries home? Or, do I go back to Staples and get the Book Sox with skulls and roses all over them? Which do you think Jon will choose?

I hope this is the end of unexpected school supplies. Curriculum night was held last night at Jon’s school and I overheard many parents complaining of the additional supply requests that were coming home daily. You would think that the school store would continue to stock these items that the teachers are requesting, but Jon insists there are no book covers/Book Sox there. I think he enjoys seeing me run around in circles.

Gluten-Free Heaven

If you ask someone who follows a gluten-free diet what their definition of gluten-free heaven is, you are likely to get a response that involves a bread/bakery product of some sort. My idea of gluten-free heaven is a bagel like the ones I remember from my pre-gluten-free days. Like the ones you get from Panera Bread…the harder outside “skin” and soft, chewy inside. If you have ever eaten a gluten-free bagel, you know that they are no where close to the “real” thing. I though I had found a pretty good bagel in the Kinnikinnick frozen bagels. They weren’t the “real” thing, but they passed b/c I didn’t really have much other choice. I used them mostly for tuna melts, open-faced. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t find them anymore and I had heard there were production issues. When they reappeared in stores, they had changed…the taste & texture was different and it wasn’t for the better. I was very disappointed. So, I remembered seeing a recipe for bagels on my trusty Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix bag. It didn’t look too difficult, so I decided to give it a try. I made a few modifications, added brushed egg white to the tops of the bagels after boiling and before baking and I sprinkled sea salt on a few after the egg whites. I was hoping for a hot soft pretzel effect. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic these turned out. My bagel was like a big, round hot soft pretzel bagel. I had tears in my eyes. OMG…..BAGELS!!!!! This is what has been missing since I went GF. The taste, the texture. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe that I only ate one. I let the rest cool and then I froze them so that all of their yumminess would be preserved. Now, the dough is a little sticky. I had to oil my hands to shape the dough, but a few minutes of messy hands is SO worth it for the end result.

Before boiling/baking:

After coming out of the oven:

Made into a sandwich with turkey, swiss, dijon mustard & lettuce:

*Recipe courtesy of Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix Bag

1 bag Pamela’s Bread Mix
1 yeast packet (enclosed)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil

Yield: Approximately 7 bagels

1. Combine dry mix, yeast packet, oil & water. (no eggs are used).
2. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.
3. Use 1/2 cup dough for each bagel. Oil hands and place on a greased baking sheet in the form of a bagel (don’t worry about the hole now, we will get to that later).
4. Let dough rise for 1 hour, then poke hole in the center of each bagel. (I took a wooden spoon and sprayed the handle with Pam and then used that to poke my holes).
5. In boiling water, boil bagels for 25 seconds.
6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with egg whites and top with sea salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc if you choose.
7. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes. (I baked for 23 minutes).

ENJOY!!!! Truly, gluten-free heaven.

Oh, and another bonus recipe. The dish pictured with my sandwich is an eggplant parmesan of sorts. I had some tomatoes that I needed to use, so I made a simple marinara and then made this recipe:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Mozzerella Cheese
Paremsan Cheese
Marinara Sauce (I used homemade today, but have used Prego 3 Cheese in the past)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Slice eggplant & zuccini.
3. Spread sauce in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish. Start to layer eggplant & zucchini and cheeses with sauce. Repeat until ingredients are gone.
4. Bake at least 30 minutes. Test the eggplant with a fork, it should be soft. Broil for a couple minutes to brown up the top.

**I have seen a variation of this recipe with ricotta cheese too. That would make it more a meal, suitable for vegetarians.

A Quick Update on Collin

Last week I posted about a little boy who is very sick. Collin has made some great improvement in the past week with his treatment, thankfully. We continue to pray for Collin. You can see the latest update that his Mom has posted by going to this link: Collin’s Page.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I know that lots of people will proably cringe while reading this post or just scroll right on past it. That is fine. I think that with brussel sprouts, you either love them or hate them. There really is no in between. As with a lot of vegetables in this house, I am the only one who will eat them. I usually just steam them and then add S & P. Well, I picked up some fresh brussels the other day and decided to roast them. I cut off the stems, cut in half, tossed in about 1TBSP EVOO and S & P, then spread on a cookie sheet and baked at 375 for about 30 – 40 minutes. Most recipes I looked at online suggested a little bit of a higher temp at 400 for about 30 minutes, but I was also cooking our salmon at the same time and like to cook that at 375. These turned out phenomenal! I really wish that I could have coerced some of the stubborn members of my family to try these. They were the perfect compliment to steamed brown rice and salmon. I always add Frank’s Red Hot to my rice. I love that stuff!!

Oh, and for the curious, my salmon is made like this:

2-3 pieces of salmon, 4-6 ounces each
Garlic Pepper
Lemon Juice

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Sprinkle salmon with spices and splash of lemon juice.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
4. Check salmon to make sure that it is almost done. Turn oven to broil and broil for 2 minutes.

Very simple and very good. You could add butter to the salmon before you cook it. We used to, but I removed it b/c you really don’t need it. The salmon is wonderful without it.

Baked Yams with Lime & Honey

There is nothing I like more than finding a recipe that is naturally gluten-free without having to modify it. Not that it is difficult to modify all recipes to make them gluten-free, but I find it almost comforting to not have to worry about it. Today was the night that I had filet mignon on the menu. I had planned on sweet potatoes, but couldn’t find them at the store. I did find yams, though. I know that now that they are interchangeable, but I didn’t earlier today. See, it really is true that you learn something new every day. πŸ˜‰ So I began to search the net for a recipe for baked yams of some sort. I came across this amazing recipe on Food

Baked Yams with Lime and Honey Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

3 large yams (about 4 pounds) ~ I used 2 large
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons honey ~ I used 4 Tbsp
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature ~ I used 2 Tbsp
Juice of 4 limes ~ I used 3 small limes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt ~ I used 3/4 tsp
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ~ I used 1/4 tsp
Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the yams and place in a baking dish with the water. Bake until the potatoes are soft and the skins puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside to cool slightly (leave the oven on).
Peel the yams and place in a medium baking dish. Add the honey, butter, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and mash well with a potato masher. Cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle the top with sour cream and serve hot.

Here is a picture of it straight out of the oven:

And my plate with filet mignon and green beans:

Now, onto the fun gluten-free beverage…..a Red Bridge beer!! I was never a huge beer drinker before, but tell me I can’t have one and boy, I really want one! LOL! I do like an ice cold beer every now and then, and tonight was “now”. πŸ˜‰

Oh and I can’t forget my plate full of tomato slices. πŸ™‚ I have them coming out my ears, you know, so no meal is complete without them for now.

You need this by when????

Jon comes to me this morning at 7:16 AM and shoves a piece of paper in front of me to sign. It was from his math class. It basically went over policies and how assignments would work. As I got to the bottom, I see that he needs a TI-83 calculator (they run about $80). Yikes! He informs me that he needs it today. WHAT? Do you want me to pull it out of my butt?? Seeing that Staples wasn’t opened yet, and even if it was, I wasn’t rushing right over there for a calculator. Why didn’t he tell me he needed this the other day when he mentioned the form he wanted me to sign? Yes, he was gone all weekend, but we have been over stuff like this in the past with posterboard being requested at 9:00 PM at night for a project due the next day. I told him that he would have to use his old TI calculator today and just let his teacher know that my broom doesn’t work on such short notice, making sure to let the teacher know that the short notice was not her fault, but his. Reluctantly, I went over to Staples later this AM and bought the beloved TI-84 calculator (not the TI-83, b/c it was sold out, of course). According to the GM of Staples, they will need the TI-84 by the time they are juniors in high school (like my son is going to hold onto and not break this in the next 3 years…yeah!). Also, with the rebate offered, it was the same price. That is really the only reason I bought it. He would have had to wait otherwise. Then the checkout girl said the funniest thing to me. She asked if I wished to purchase the extended warranty plan on the calculator. I told her only if it covered the calculator being lost. Obviously, it doesn’t. πŸ˜‰

So when Jon came home today I gave him his new “toy”. I told him that we bought the first one, but if he lost it or broke it, he would be buying any future TI 83 or TI 84 calculators that he was required to have. He seemed fine with it. Let’s see how long he can keep it. I hope that I never have to post about it here again. πŸ˜€

A Successful Dinner Out

So last night we met my Mom and Step Dad for dinner because they were bringing Jon back to us from Dayton. We met at P.F. Chang’s since they have a great gluten-free menu and we had a gift certificate and a free appetizer coupon. We ordered the gluten-free lettuce wraps for an appetizer. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu and made sure to bring out the gluten-free soy sauce for us. The lettuce wraps were amazing. I tried to get a picture, but it didn’t come out. For the main course I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles and Snow Peas with Garlic. Jon ordered Philip’s Better Lemon chicken with no lemon pieces (LOL) and his broccoli on the side. God forbid the broccoli have the sauce on it. Then he says he didn’t like the taste of the broccoli. Well, duh….it is plain, steamed, un-seasoned broccoli. Needless to say, I took the broccoli off of his hands and added it to my dish. For dessert Jon ordered the Flourless Chocolate Dome (sans raspberry sauce, berries & cream ~ Silly boy!). I had a couple bites….YUM!!!

Some pictures:

Singapore Street Noodles:

Jon and his beloved dessert:

By the time dinner was over, Jon was ready to go home to bed. This is my child who never sleeps. He has never been a good sleeper. Never wanted to nap as a young child, always fought going to bed. Well, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe wore him out! He golfed twice, went to the driving range, played putt putt, swam and stayed up way too late. He was worn out by 2 grandparents! LOL! Here he is trying to get some rest after dinner:

We came home and he was in bed before I could even tell him to get ready for bed. There was no arguing. No fighting. No sound. Nothing. I think we may have found a solution to all of our problems. So, Grandma Linda & Grandpa Joe, hope you are up for Jon again this weekend. πŸ˜‰

Weekly Menu Plan for August 25 – August 30, 2008

So last week I did pretty good and only deviated from the plan on one night because pork loin was on sale and we hadn’t had it for a while. Let’s see how I can do this week. We are now back in the swing of things with school. The kids have been 3 days so far. Jon is ready for summer (2009) and Hannah is counting the minutes until she goes in tomorrow. I am also getting ready to make some Pamela’s bread for Jon to take for lunch this week.

Sunday ~ P.F. Chang’s. We are meeting my Mom & Step Dad for dinner. Jon spent the weekend with them in Dayton, so we are meeting them to pick up Jon. Love the lettuce wraps and Singapore Street Noodles.

Monday ~ Salmon, brown rice, steamed green beans and salad. I may make some more Broiled Parmesan tomatoes for myself, Aaron won’t eat them.

Tuesday ~ Filet Mignon, baked sweet potato/yam, steamed broccoli & salad. Jon will eat this, Hannah will not. She will have Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with broccoli and salad.

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger in Paradise for the kids and I. Hannah has ice skating.

Thursady ~ BBQ Baby Back Ribs (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce ~ I will post the recipe below), baked potato, steamed peas and salad.

Friday ~ Chicken Tenders, pan-fried potatoes & corn. I will post the recipe below.

Saturday ~ Homemade pizza (Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix crust) with cheese & turkey pepperoni for the kids and fresh veggies for me. Maybe a margherita style. We will probably have salad along with this.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

2 racks of pork back ribs
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Salt & Pepper

1. Do this step earlier in the day or at least 2-3 hours before you want to grill your ribs. Heat oven to 350. Cut each rack of ribs in half. S & P both sides. In a large, glass pyrex dish, pour some BBQ sauce. Coat each rack of ribs with sauce, don’t be stingy. πŸ˜‰ Place ribs in dish in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil.

2. Bake ribs in oven for 2 hours at 350.

3. Remove ribs and let cool down before placing in fridge or hold aside to place on the grill.

4. Heat up grill.

5. Baste ribs with some more BBQ sauce. Place ribs on grill for just a few minutes a side to finish off cooking.

Chicken Tenders
**Recipe Courtesy of my sister, Kelly. I think she got it from the Bisquick Box

3 chicken breasts (cut crosswise into Β½ inch strips)

2/3 cup of Bisquick (or Pamela’s baking mix)

Β½ cup Parmesan cheese

Β½ tsp salt or garlic salt (I used a seasoned salt – Nature’s Seasoning)

Β½ tsp paprika

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 450. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Mix Bisquick, cheese, salt and paprika in ziplock bag. Dip chicken in egg and then place in bag to coat. Arrange in single layer on cookie sheet and drizzle with butter (I sprayed butter-flavored Pam on it instead). Bake 12-14 minutes, turning over half way through. Chicken strips should be golden brown when finished. Serve with honey mustard and enjoy!

I also make my own Honey Mustard with mayo, spicy brown mustard, a touch of yellow mustard and a drizzle of honey. I don’t use specific measurements, I keep tasting and adding until it tastes how I like it.

Make sure to check out Fresh Ginger, she is hosting the Menu Swap this week. She has lots of great stuff on her menu incorporating eggplant, one of my favs!!