February 24, 2013
Spaghetti Squash CasseroleAunt Helen saves me from having nothing to blog about. I clicked on her blog and scrolled thru some recipes until I found a video of her on a TV show (the recipe is here). This is a really easy recipe (even I should be able to follow it) and can easily be made into a wheat-free version by using corn meal instead of bread crumbs. I think I will have to try it for dinner tonight if I can find spaghetti squash!
December 23, 2012
Prep for Christmas
As we did on Thanksgiving, we will have several people here Christmas - in fact, the usual suspects. So, I have been getting ready for the feast. Today I brushed Missy so her hair doesn't end up in all the food, then vacuumed the whole house and cleaned restrooms. Then, I decided to make wheat-free pie crusts and perhaps the pies to go in them, and suddenly realized I had absolutely zero pie pans. Off to the store I went. I had my choice between Pyrex or ceramic or aluminum foil. I started to get one of each, when I turned the ceramic plate over and noticed it was from China.
After the rash of dicoveries of lead in just about everything from China the last couple of years, I decided I didn't want to find out the hard way that the paint on the ceramic was contaminated. Bonus - the Pyrex and aluminum foil plates were American made! I got two Pyrex pie plates along with a 3-pack of aluminum foil (in case I need to send some home with people).
By the time I was done making two different batches of dough and getting them in the fridge to "rest", then doing the dishes, I decided I wasn't going to be making pies today. since the oven wouldn't be used, I struck up a fire in the woodstove (the sun has kept the house at 66 degrees with the heater only going on once).
So, I decided to share a picture to help you relax.
October 15, 2012
For the last 6 months, I have drastically reduced my wheat intake. I'm not going gluten free, rather close to wheat free. It has done my innards a world of good; I used to be constipated, constantly, like (okay, this may be TMI) I wouldn't go for 3-4 days, on a regular basis (no pun intended). Then, it was hard and painful. Don't talk to me about eating more fiber, I probably consume more fiber than any 3 people you know combined. Whole grains didn't help (of course, that included a lot of whole grain wheat). Also, the current rage, probiotics, didn't help one bit (tried that several years ago for 3 months - absolutely no difference). But, within a week of reducing my wheat intake, I was (and still am) very regular, with soft produce and no pain.
Sure, I have wheat sometimes; frozen pizzas (I only get thin crust now), some items that you don't expect to have wheat (gravies, spice mixes even cans of tuna mixed with peppers), and the occassional sub (homemade sausage, peppers and onions - MM MM MM). If we stop to eat at a sub shop, I usually have them put the meat/vegies in a bowl, and forgo the bread. I occasionally have a piece of cake or pie, but try to plan for it so I don't overload on wheat in one day. I foundseveral Mexican restaraunts make their tortilla chips for nachos out of flour tortillas (hey, I expected corn tortillas), so sometimes I have almost no choice to pick an item with wheat. But, for the most part, I can find a menu item that is wheat free. Oh, and note to self: if going to a vegatarian's wedding, take granola bars as everything there will have pasta in it.
Most granola and granola bars have wheat, so I have become something of an expert at finding those that don't. Unfortunately, most granola bars that are wheat free include chocolate in them. I try to stay away from chocolate as I will just continue to eat until all the bars are gone! Also, these are just the one's I can find at the local Wally World or Shaw's. Those in other areas of the country may have others available to them.
Granol bars that are wheat free:
- Some Adtkins bars
- Some Balance Bars
- All Kind bars
- Enjoy Life (these are gluten free, and not as tasty as I would like so rarely get them).
Granola/Cereal that is wheat free:
- Bob's Red Mill Granola
- Oatmeals - be careful, you would be amazed at how many have wheat in tehm too.
Those are not all gluten free, just wheat free. I have found a fairly quick and easy way to find out if they have wheat instead of perusing the ingredients, is to check at the end of the ingredients list where they list the allergens that are contained. If they don't list wheat (regardless if they list it as being manufactured in a plant that also processes wheat), then I'm good with it. Remember, if you are gluten intollerant, my listings and tips are not for you; other grains than wheat have gluten and any cross contamination from the plant will have adverse affects on you!
I have found pasta that is made from corn, oats, or rice. The best for taste and texture so far is pasta made from a combination of corn and rice by Heartland.
For bread, well, I haven't really tried that hard to find a substitute. I've never eaten that much bread anyway. Although occassionally WS will make us French Toast or pancakes for breakfast. That is one time I go ahead and eat wheat. Pancakes however can be made without wheat, as we attested to this weekend when I made the batter for banana pancakes usting a gluten free recipe. They turned out awesome, and I will share the recipe in the future.
I'm not writing this to convince anyone that they should go wheat free, or even gluten free - just as something that worked for me, for my particular issue.
October 11, 2012
Hard Freeze Harvest
We've had a couple of frosts, but we are due for our first hard freeze Friday night. Even after frost, the tomatoes, peppers and basil have still continued to grow (slowly - and unbeleivable as it seems because of our cold temps). Today I cust down all the good basil left, picked all the peppers, and took the few tomatoes that have started to blush since I picked last Saturday.
The basil was run thru the food processor, mixed with a bit of vinegar first (to try to keep the basil from turning black from oxidizing), then olive oil. It was then divided up in an ice cube tray to freeze.
I decided to do something similar with the peppers, using more vineger to provide acidity, then adding a bit of olive oil - don't try this at home, I'm unsure how it will work, or how safe it is. Since I had quite a few peppers, I filled one ice cube tray, plus a jelly and jam jar. Those jars were vacuum sealed before placing in the freezer.
I'm hoping these processes make using the peppers more convenient and the basil flavor stays more fresh.
August 10, 2012
Greek Style Salad Recipe
For the last several weeks I have been getting Greek Cucumber-Tomato salad from the deli at the store. With tomatoes ripening, plenty of fresh herbs ready for plucking and a ripe zucchini, I decided I should make it fresh instead. I looked at several recipes online, substituted ingredients, and here is what I came up with. Just keep in mind, I rarely measure anything, so ingredients are on a "to taste" or to "visual appeal" basis.
- Tomatoes, diced
- Zucchini, diced - this was substituted for peeled cucumber and it came out nicely
- Spanish onion, sliced (some may prefer red onion - I only had Spanish and it blended in well)
- Black olives, halved
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Fresh basil and oregano, chopped (I have both regular and lemon basil plants, so I used some of each)
- Greek vinaigrette(substitute red wine vinegar and olive oil if desired).
- Black pepper
Add all ingredients to a bowl except the last three items. Drizzle on vinaigrette a small amount at a time (1/8 cup or so) and toss. Add vinaigretteuntil desired consistancey. Add fresh herbs and pepper last, toss lightly, let sit for at least 30 minutes in the fridge for the flavors to blend.
This keeps well for several days in the fridge, so you can make a large batch and savor some each day.
January 02, 2012
Tasty Pork Chops
The Weekend Pundit notes that he uses his George Foreman grill mostly during the summer, when he can't use the outdoor grill.
Even though it is winter, I'm really liking the George Foreman grill. Last night I cooked up pork chops that came out fabulously tasty - thought I would share the recipe (as usual, I started with a supplied recipe, and made it a little differently):
Whisk together, then marinade pork chops in:
- 1/4 C lite Soy Sauce (or low sodium - why can't they make low sodium lite?)
- 2 tsp Ginger
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- Chopped garlic cloves (or I use the canned chopped garlic - about 1 tsp)
Cooked on the GF grill for 8 minutes and voila, it was done.
The pork chops came out with lots of taste, nice and tender, and very juicy. Tonight it will probably be burgers on the GF grill. The middle of the week will probably be chili in the crockpot - it is supposed to be down in the single digits at night, so we will definitely need some rib sticking warmth!
December 05, 2011
Food for the Season
While we were on vacation, we had lots of good food that was homemade. Along that vein, Cop Car directed me to a relative's food blog. She has had TV cooking shows and is an author of a pastry book. I am delighted that she is sharing recipes, and am trying one that uses produce for the fall season. I won't lie, I tweaked a bit to account for what I had on hand (canned squash instead of fresh - presentation suffers; cooked fresh cranberries with sugar instead of canned).
More food goodness was found at WS's family get together. WS's sister had a wonderful stew hearty soup for which she was happy to share the recipe. I, in turn, will share it with you.
Sante Fe Soup
- Brown 1 pund Hamburger, drain and place in crockpot then add rest of ingredients
- 1 Can Corn (do not drain)
- 1 Can Chili Beans
- 1 Can Green Chilis
- 1 Can Rotel (diced tomatoes as far as I can tell)
Heat up in crockpot and simmer at least 1 hour. Add Velveeta Cheese until mixture has desired consistency.
So there are plenty of places to ad lib, but not many ways you can screw it up. I would think using sausage 1/2 pound of meat would be a good change. Adding hotter peppers than the chilis is another place for substitution. Also, there are no sizes of cans. I'm guessing that the corn and beans are 15-16 oz cans. the green chilis are 3.5-4.5 oz cans and the tomatoes 26-28 oz.
Tis the season for eating all kinds of stomache fillingfoods, and you can't go srong with either the Sante Fe Soup or pickings from the Ardant Cook!
February 26, 2011
This morning, I started 16 bean soup (with Ham, of course) in the crockpot.
This evening, I fed the dogs, and gave them the last 2 eggs with their kibble.
My plan was to have cornbread with the ham and bean soup.
This may seem like unorganized rambling, but does anyone see a problem that ties them all together?
If you thought that I needed some eggs to make the corn bread, DING, DING, DING, you win a prize (of no consequence, no color, no smell, no feel, I'll send it by air mail).
So thinking I couldn't have been the first idiot to have given the eggs that were for the corn meal to her dogs, I got on the internet. Although no one fessed up to having fed ingredients meant for their evening meal to their pets, there were plenty of people that had no eggs, had a hankering for corn bread, and were to lazy (broke, out of time, other) to go to the store. here is the recipe I decided to go with, along with my modifications:
- 1 1/2 cups soymilk (I used 2% milk)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar (I cut back to 1 TBL after reading some of the comments)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used 2 TBL of soy flour and the rest of the cup filled with rice flour for a gluten-free bread)
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar or 2 tablespoons other artificial sweetener (I used 1 1/2 TBL of Splenda Baking Mix)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used 2+ TBLS of bacon grease)
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Blend the milk and vinegar (see, you want sour milk) and set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the milk mixture and the oil (grease), and stir until just blended.
- Spread the batter into a nonstick or lightly oil-sprayed 9-inch square baking dish.
- Bake 25-30 minutes (25 for me).
Test for doneness by the toothpick method, in the center.
It came out very good for use with bean soup (or chili). The taste is low key and won't compete with the soup. If you are looking for something that is more toward eating with just a bit of butter on it, up the sugar content and use butter instead of oil or bacon grease.
November 27, 2009
Thanksgiving has come and gone and the fridge is groaning under the load of food still in it.
Monday, WS invited Jimmy over for Thanksgiving, though he usually has several places to go on this day, this year his only choices were too far away. So instead of the small ham and mashed potatoes that I was planning on fixing for the two of us, I had to plan on at least 4 (Jimmy eats for two every day).
The small ham I had previously gotten truly was not enough to feed the three of us, so Tuesday I went to the store and got a turkey breast to make sure we had enough meat. I also decided that a pie was in order along with some dinner rolls. I had sweet potatoes and fresh cranberries already, but was unsure if I would use them.
Wednesday evening I mixed up the green bean casserole so all I would have to do is place it in the oven. I also made a chocolate pecan bourbon pie.
The big day came and while WS raked and mulched leaves, I vacuumed and did some cooking. I woke up thinking that a pumpkin pie was also needed, so I made that while the bread machine was beating up the dough for the rolls. We had 2 bananas that were very ripe, so next I made banana bread. Next the turkey breast went into the oven, then it all came down to timing.
Jimmy arrived in early afternoon and we kept him from starving to death by bringing out a shrimp ring (WS had found it for 1/2 price - nice!), cheese and crackers (WS had cut up the cheese Wednesday night) and chips with onion dip (which WS had also prepared the night before). While we were eating, we watched Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back. Jimmy has only seen the first Star Wars (okay, the 5th in the series, but the first out on the big screen). We had been itching to watch the movies again since going to the concert, so it all worked out.
About 5, I peeled potatoes and started cooking them; while they were cooking, I did up the rolls and got them and the green beans cooking. The last thing was to make up gravy (I decided against sweet potatoes or cranberries). WS cut up the turkey while I was pulling everything out of the oven and mashing the taters.
At half-time the end of the movie (which coincided nicely with the readiness of the food), we piled our plates high with food and started in on the 6th, um 3rd, oh to heck with it, Return of the Jedi. About half way thru the movie, the neighbor came over to chat for a while. After he left, we broke out the deserts which had waited patiently in the back room (everytime I went in there for something, I gained 10 pounds from the wonderful aromas) and watched the rest of the movie. Did I mention that Karen had stopped on her way to her daughter's to drop off a carrot cake? We certainly didn't lack for sweets!
The meal was declared as delicious by everyone. The movie night was a success (although we still have the next 3 movies to go). Jimmy was encouraged to come back for another night of feasting and lightening of the load on the fridge.
Hope everyone else's Thanksgiving was spent with good company and good food. Next up Black Friday and buying an exercise machine to help compensate for all the calories!
November 14, 2009
It's been pumpkin and squash season here for quite a while. I got a pumpkin last week and made up some "cereal" that I take to work and heat up for breakfast instead of my usual oatmeal. As usual when I make up a recipe, I didn't measure anything, but really, I don't think you can really mess this up too much.
- 1 small pumpkin (I used a small, non-sweet, decorative type but you could use a sugar pumpkin). If using a sugar pumpkin, the amount of maple butter might need to be reduced.
- Couple of pats of butter or margerine (don't substitute olive oil for this)
- Maple butter - I used about 2 TBL for the whole pumpkin. You could probably use a bit of maple syrup (the real stuff please) or if on a strict diet some maple flavoring and Splenda (or sugar substitute of choice)
- Dollop of Vanilla
- Dollop of imitation Rum
- Almond slivers
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds. I leave stringies in there, but that is a personal choice.
Place in a baking dish and add about 1" of water.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or so
Remove from the oven and let cool for a bit then scrape the meat out of the hull
Combine all ingredients and stir until the butter and maple butter is melted and everything is well combined.
Eat a bowl of it while it is still warm! This makes 5-6 hearty bowls full.
Make sure to eat leftovers warm - the heat brings out the taste of the vanilla. Some people would be tempted to use pecans instead of almonds. I strongly suggest staying with the almonds - they keep it lighter tasting so it is more appropriate for breakfast or a snack in the afternoon.