Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
First of all, let me begin by saying I truly love my Pampered Chef Quick Stir pitcher. There. Brazen plug for favorite product? Check. It especially comes in handy when making this lemonade, as it helps to squish the lemons and juice them and also acts as a natural strainer for the lemon pieces and most of the seeds, if some happen to make it into your lemonade. This is not a completely scientific process, and, to be quite honest, everyone likes their drinks a little differently, so this may not suit your taste. But for a non-lemonade lover to make this three times in one week and drink most of it, I think that says something.
1. Fill a pitcher half full with cold, cold water.
2. Add 2/3 cup of sugar
3. Add 1/3 + 2T bottled lemon juice
4. Slice 1 lemon and remove as many seeds as you can. Add to the pitcher.
5. Stir (or plunge, if you have the quick stir pitcher) and try to mash the lemons a little to get the pulp out and release the oils from the lemon's zest for extra flavor.
6. Drink with ice cubes, if desired.
As I said, not too scientific, and you fully have the freedom to add more or less sugar, depending on how tart you like your lemonade. If you are a super tart person I would slice two lemons and add 1/2 cup of lemon juice. But play around with it. You may find a new favorite!Sam and I actually had a great time together coming up with this little recipe, even though I was skeptical and had a "mercy drink" of our first concoction, it ended up being refreshing and yummy at the same time. These are the best parts of goofing off in the kitchen! You go in to appease your kid and end up loving what you make.
And if you are hosting a party for a crowd, this is an economical option: lemons are only about 50 cents each, sugar and water are usually available in every home, and it's easy to double or triple the recipe if needed. And if you run out? Head to the kitchen and make another quick batch. Your guests won't even know you've gone missing. We are so drinking this at Wyatt's baptism in July this year...
(Post script: I forgot to mention...take the lemons out when you are going to put it into the fridge after you've gotten it the way you like it. The lemons will continue to leach out their lemony flavor and by tomorrow your lemonade will taste like pure lemon peel. So leave them in for the party, but once you are ready to store it for later, take the lemon slices out and throw them away. MA)
Monday, January 25, 2010
6. It's easier to scoop muffin batter using a large ice cream scoop with one of those little things that flicks it out on the underside of the scoop. No lie, I totally had to go and buy one after the class. I'll never drip batter with the underside of a measuring cup again.
Friday, January 22, 2010
So often on this blog I have given this advice: Cook as much of your own food as you can, and you'll feel better. I totally agree with my own advice (of course), but I have to admit that sometimes I have a hard time following my own advice. So many nights I am faced with the 5:00 dinner prep hour and still have yet to decide what to eat or if I even have ingredients to make what sounds good to me. What usually ends up happening is that we either eat breakfast food or fast food, and although those are fine once in a while, it can get really old really fast.
The best thing I can do to eat better and be better prepared for the dinnertime rush is perhaps the simplest: make a list. If I take a few minutes before I go to the grocery store on Saturdays and jot down a quick weekly menu, I can make a more prepared grocery list and be sure to have the ingredients for those dinners I have planned for. I also feel a lot better having a plan for meals because I have a habit of letting the day get away from me and I can look at my meal for the day in the morning and sort of give myself a deadline as to when I need to start cooking dinner. I like to plan based on who is going to be home for dinner and what we have going on that night. Sometimes we need to be done eating by 7, sometimes we don't get home until 7, so I usually plan my slow cookers and quick dinners around that.
I also believe in trying to only go to the grocery store once a week. Sometimes I'll have to run back during the week for something, but I really try not to. For one, I don't have time during the week to shop, for another, I'm really trying to trim my expenses this year since I'm saving up for a grand kitchen remodel that may never happen. Nonetheless, shopping smarter is definitely on the horizon for me in 2010. What are your favorite dinnertime time savers?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
First of all, these wraps are made with two of my favorite gluten free grains: Millet and Teff. What that means is that they have a soft, smooth texture and have a little more elasticity than some of the other wraps I've used.
Secondly, they come in both ivory teff and dark teff versions, which is great for those of us who are visual types. I like the ivory teff because I always want to feel like I'm eating one of those trendy flatbreads everyone's crazy about, but the dark ones remind me of the whole wheat tortillas and wraps I've seen out there, too.
Lastly, the secret trick to making these just about the best gluten free wraps out there is this: Warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then immediately add a spread to the wrap to keep it moist and tender. The taste works well with any and all lunchmeat, and since I've eaten one almost every day for the last two weeks, I can attest to that. Here are some of the combinations I've been able to put together with these wraps: (Caution: nothing that follows will be of a surprise to anyone who has ever eaten a sandwich.)
Spread hummus on wrap and top with salami and havarti cheese
Spread mayonnaise on wrap and top with roasted turkey, lettuce, and tomato
Spread deli mustard on wrap and top with low sodium ham, baby swiss, and spinach leaves
Spread garlic hummus on wrap and top with horseradish roast beef and wisconsin cheddar
Spread a mixture of tamari sauce, ginger salad dressing and Miracle Whip on a wrap and fill with veggies like cucumber, carrots, lettuce, and bean sprouts for an asian flavor
As you can see, I just went to my deli counter and tried a whole bunch of different meats and cheeses. I even added veggies to some of those wraps, which I must say is an extra stretch of healthiness at lunchtime for me. You probably have some more super gourmet ways you love to eat wraps, and I would love to hear about them. Anyone out there love Reubens? I don't even know what is in a Reuben but I've always wanted to try it. How about a tuna version? Relish or not? Let me know what your favorite way to top a wrap is in the comments section. I found these at my Draper Harmon's store. Can't find these in your local store? You can order them from glutenfree.com and pay a little bit of shipping, they'll come right to your door. There's only six in a package, so order a few and keep them in your refrigerator for maximum shelf life.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
When I wrote this post about all of my favorite Christmas presents, I forgot to mention this one: A gift from my fabulous and generous mother that counts for Christmas, birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, Fourth of July, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween for the whole year. The Nutrimill. What I love about this grain mill is that you can adjust the coarseness of your flour, which makes creative types like me feel like they have control over the final product. That and it's the same mill JoLayna has, and she always picks the best stuff. I haven't used it as much as I wanted to yet, so I got it out the other day and thought I'd try to make up a little something. I decided to grind some millet, which has the most vitamins of any grain, and is a food complete with amino acids and everything. First I put in 1/2 cup of millet grain, and ground it on the finest setting. I ended up with just over 3/4 cup of freshly ground millet flour. Then I went on ahead and made some brownies a la Margo, which means they have a little special extra ingredient.
Gluten Free Brownies
1 stick butter
1/3 cup Hershey baking cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups gluten free flour (try millet, amaranth, or teff for kicks)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line 12 muffin tins with paper liners. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the cocoa. Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
The white chocolate chips just give the brownies a little extra oomph and crunch inside. They also make it EXTRA chocolatey, which, let's face it, is the reason the brownie was invented. The Bronski's also have a great Brownie recipe in their book, Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking. Check it out if you get the chance.
Monday, January 18, 2010
David told me about all nine of the grains he uses in his gluten free mix, including corn, millet, rice, sorghum, teff, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, and flax. He mills them a little coarsely so the pancakes turn out having a great whole grain texture and crunch. I made some of these yesterday and they were so delicious I wanted to tell y'all about them as soon as possible. David also showed me the aluminum bag he sells the mix in, which keeps the flax as fresh as possible for as long as possible. You can store it in the refrigerator for even longer shelf life. Here's the kicker: he told me he will even make up special batches for people who want certain ingredients removed, like salt or one of the grains if they are allergic to them. How's that for going the extra mile? For those of you who are lucky enough to live in Utah, Tree Street Grains Gluten Free Pancake Mix is available at all Harmon's stores. If you live outside of utah or just like to shop online, you can order some by emailing David directly at email@example.com. Support a local Utah business and buy some today! Even if you live in New Hampshire!
Monday, January 11, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
Don't get me wrong. I am in no way telling people to go ahead and eat a little gluten. No sir. If that's the one thing I learned from my years of restricted thinking, it's that you HAVE to be vigilant with your ingredients. However, my attitude towards food is completely different now than it was seven and a half years ago. Now, instead of pining away for a recipe that I can't eat anymore, I jump into the kitchen and experiment, not afraid of bad results. And there have been plenty of bad results, believe me. I have also had plenty of successes. And life is good. I have learned that you have to try the bad to find the good and never give up on finding that substitute for a long lost ingredient you used to love and crave. And sometimes, I have found things I like better than the original, believe it or not.