Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pfsh... Salted Caramel. I Can Do Better

I have been toying with the idea of chocolate chip cookies with soy sauce in them and not figuring it out right.

Today it hit me! The big craze on salted caramel lately? Why not caramel with soy sauce?!!?

Since we are gluten free of course I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead.

One cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon Braggs plus enough Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk to make 1 cup liquid

Line an 8" square pan with parchment. Combine all ingredients in tall sided saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium high, stir constantly until candy thermometer indicates 245•F

Pour into prepared pan. Cool one hour on counter and another hour in fridge.

Cut into 3/4" squares and wrap pieces in parchment or waxed paper.

The house smells a-mazing! Some of my neighbors made a pit stop while trick or treating (we are the 'trick or beer' house) and I think they wanted my caramel too!

Tricks & Treats

I am promising myself I will make SOME sort of treat after work!  Dinner will be easy.  Just throwing some rice and edamame in the rice cooker and making a peanut sauce for the boys (will post that recipe tonite).

I am not really in the mood for anything this week (coffee and Coke aren't even appealing).

Maybe it will be milkshakes or maybe it will be Very Vanilla Pudding.  Something that doesn't need a babysitter since I will be answering the doorbell and comforting my kitty who will freak out when the bells rings... over and over and over!

Happy Halloween!  Hope it is boo-eautiful!    

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scooter Approved Spicy Stewed Garden Tomatoes

I am making vegetable soup today! Len introduced me to Alexia frozen diced carrots. Treasure Island carries them. I've never seen them and couldn't even find them on Alexia's website!

I thought Big D would enjoy something with a bit more flavor to add to his soup. Admittedly, my soup is a little bland for normal people!

6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 green pepper cored and diced
Red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Margarine

Put everything in medium sauce pan. Bring gently to boil increasing heat as tomatoes give out some juices and margarine is melted. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until peppers are tender.

Finish with fresh basil, oregano or both!

Kisses? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Kisses

Another classic redo to take me back to easier days. Halloween was all about the peanut butter cups for me. (OK and the little Pal bubble gum but that's another story.)

A trio Trader Joe's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips are snug in a pillow of chewy peanut butter cookie. These have excellent texture despite their GF roots.

My daughter has successful made these with cashew butter! We have baked with Sunbutter but it turns everything green when baked with. Cashew butter is difficult to find around here but stock up when we see it.

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon maple syrup (that is my brown sugar replacement)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg replacer egg
1-3/4 cup GF baking mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate chips - large, no minis
Little more sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 and line cookie sheets with parchment.

Beat together margarine, sugar, sugar mixed with maple syrup and peanut butter. Add egg replacer egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.

Form into 3/4" balls, roll in sugar and place on parchment lined cookie sheet about an 1-1/2" apart.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. Push 3 chocolate chips in center of cookie straight from the oven. Cool on pan 2 minutes.

I put foil on my counters to cool cookies. My mom used to transfer them onto big, industrial sized jelly roll pans to cool.

Baking cookies is not as relaxing as bread making but it does have its own benefits.

Cookies were a HUGE part of my childhood. All our teachers couldn't wait for the big tray of Christmas cookies from my mom. I am the youngest of 4 so it was known you would be getting cookies if one of us was in your class!

We had a sort of 3 season room that was cold in the winter. My mom would have tables set up in there LOADED with tins and Tupperware and pans of cookies. Torrali, crescent, peanut butter bars, chocolate crinkles, pizzelle, anise toasted, chewy wreaths made with marshmallow and corn flakes, fudgy chocolate rum, fig filled cucchidati... I'm sure I am missing some! We would brave the cold and sneak out into that room, our feet shocked on the cold concrete step, and steal our favorites!

I sometimes feel I am cheating my kids by not being able to keep these traditions. But we all enjoy working and experimenting in the kitchen here and make our own memories. Even failed recipes make us laugh!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I've Always Liked Being Short-Bread Cookies

Not too sweet. A little hard exterior. Sounds like me! Add a little chocolate and you can't resist its charms.

1 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg replacer egg
2-1/2 cups GF baking mix
2 cups chocolate chips, divided

Beat margarine and sugar until light. Add egg replacer egg and mix. Gradually add GF baking mix. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread in ungreased 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 33 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over hot shortbread. Spread them around when they have melted a bit. Put pan on wire rack and cool completely.

I cannot tell you how good the kitchen smells while this bakes.

'Ho Yeah!'- Peggy Hill

Saw my Jennie!

Hung out with Jen today! Went to Treasure Island for the first time. It was pretty terrific! Lots of options for gluten free, ethnic foods, HUGE and awesome produce. So nice to pick your own baby potatoes from a basket instead of getting a plastic bag full of questionable stages of a potatoes life potatoes. All fresh and appealing!

She made Angelic Cake too. It is such a treat when anyone makes me something. Leave it to Len to make me feel so happy. That's my baby!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cat in the kitchen...

Scooter says "Whats cookin'?"

Making Halloween Our Own

I am already sure to make the Leonard's Crispy Sunbutter Bars (except with peanut butter) for Halloween since they taste like Butterfingers in every way but I am also going to make this recipe tweeted by Nadia G.

We are going to Family Weekend at U of C tomorrow.  No plans to get in on any scheduled activities but we will be hitting a Treasure Island to shop. I have never been to one and Len says it is AWESOME!  Lots of GF options for way cheaper than any place else.  We will stock up on groceries and eat these cute rice balls.  Check them out!  I will post my photos later and/or if this recipe was a bust.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Angelic Cake

Try this cake using Silk Pumpkin Soymilk instead of Very Vanilla!  Just makes you feel like a holiday!

3 cups GF baking mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine, room temperature
2 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1-1/2 cups Silk Pumpkin Soymilk

Preheat oven to 325.

Lightly butter a Bundt pan and lightly flour. 

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until completely moistened.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour or until center is done.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Fruit would be nice (if we could eat any).  Warm chocolate sauce too would be yummy.  But I just like to pick it up with my hands and eat it plain.  It is that good.

Half a recipe make a shorter cake but still is good stuff.  I know baking with different flours can be costly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lentils & Fire Roasted Tomatoes

What day is it? Yes. Monday! And we know what that means... Spice up some legumes, get some rice going in my rice cooker, and fire up the grill!

My daughter recently discovered canned lentils. I am trying them today too. She says they are good and a bit faster than cooking them! This is OK for black or green but I would always cook red lentils myself. They have a very different texture than other varieties.

One 14 ounce can of lentils
2 tablespoons margarine

Super fine ground mustard seed
Coriander works here too

Melt margarine in small non-stick fry pan. Remove from heat while you add the spices. Add the spices, return to heat and stir constantly until a little toasted. The spices thicken the margarine and it will turn slightly golden. Add the lentils and heat through.

Heat up your gas, charcoal, or indoor grill. Put those whole tomatoes on and cook until skins split and darken. They kind of dance around a bit! I am using red and yellow tomatoes from our garden.

Peel and rough chop the tomatoes and either add to the lentils
or give them a little splash of balsamic and eat them on the side instead if you prefer.

Serve over rice or with flatbread.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Don't Be Afraid to Just Wing It Wings

15 chicken wings


Make as spicy as you like them! These are the spices I used.

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil
Red pepper flakes

In a gallon size zip top freezer bag combine all marinade ingredients. Put in the wings, zip the top and coat all the pieces of chicken. Put in the fridge turning the bag over a few times over the course of a day.

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil and parchment.

Open the zip top bag, add about 3/4 cup of GF baking mix to the marinated chicken. Zip the top closed again and toss around to coat chicken.

Arrange on baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour. After removing from oven, use a basting brush and use the drippings to brush over wings.

I served with stove top Yukon Gold fried potatoes and cooked carrots.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Double Delicious Chocolate Cookies

Does anyone NOT like chocolate? Not many people I know! The only person I know not a fan of chocolate is my nephew.

My dad and his wife were babysitting him once and he was eating chocolate chip cookies. He went back for more. After he left, my dad found all the chocolate chips he picked out of the cookies in the rug in the bathroom!

So funny, yet so sad for wasted chocolate!

Preheat oven to 375 and line two cookies sheets with parchment.

2-1/4 cup GF baking mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup margarine, softened
1 and 3/4 cup sugar divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg replacer egg
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

In mixer, combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. (I use this combo in place of brown sugar. If you have and can have brown sugar you can use 1 cup here.) Add 3/4 cup more sugar and margarine. Beat until light. Add egg replacer egg and mix well.

Add dry ingredients except for chocolate chips. Mix well to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. If dough appears too loose add a little more GF baking mix.

Drop by rounded teaspoons on lined cookie sheets. I like to make these on the bigger side since they whole pint is it indulge! You probably won't want more than one at a time. They are super sweet... even to me!

Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on pan 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cook completely.

HERE'S A TIP: since GF baking goes wrong sometimes, I usually bake two tester cookies first. If they spread too much, I can add more GF baking mix without wasting all the dough!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stony Scone-y

Len made some double chocolate scones today...  and sent me a picture too!  It is one of those "Is this a dessert?  Is this a breakfast?"  Oh!  Who the hell cares!  They are good anytime!

1 cup GF baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 vanilla soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.  Whisk together the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips).  With pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the margarine until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Slowly add the soymilk until dry ingredients are completely moistened.  Spoon onto lined cookie sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

These are super moist and even taste good the next day, which is not always the case with gluten free baked goods.  

We mostly think "eat it all now 'cuz it won't be good tomorrow" but it is nice to have a treat the next day too.  When you want something specific to eat and you can't just go out and buy it,  it can feel like you live in your kitchen.  Since my kitchen is kinda cute, I don't mind...  usually!  

The worst is when you think a recipe is going to be so so good and your stomach is growling and the kitchen smells wonderful and whatever it is even LOOKS perfect, and it really sucks.  Mostly, things taste just fine but the texture is off.  A beautiful looking and smelling cake turns to ((POOF)), crumbly air when you try to cut into it. Or those damn waffles are hollow and stick to the iron (which is still in the basement and NOT making an appearance ever again).  Or the brownies are just greasy globs of goop.  Brownies are another thing I have given up on.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Married 20 years today.  I don't know where the time has gone.  I remember watching D from across the teller windows at the bank where we met figuring out how to talk to him. Man, were we young!  Those were fun days...

I remember when we lost our car at an R.E.M. concert, hanging out at Panzer and Jules' house, dodging cicada's around their gazebo, watching Star Trek, playing softball on the bank team, adopting my first cat, Puddy, going to burritoville at midnight, Sunday football at my mom's, Candlelight Bowling...  and a ton other fun things we did before marriage.

I remember swimming on the roof of our honeymoon hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, traveling a long way on a bus to get some cowboy boots.  And yes...  our other car is a pickup truck!

Then came the kids, more cats, lifelong friends... Feeding the giraffes and Cereal City with Nenanator and Nik and neighborhood Friday Happy Hour with Jane and Leon and playing games and New Years Eve with Laurie and Dave.

We had some awesome vacations to Disney World with my family.  Spent a few over nights with D's family having a blast with the nieces and nephews.  We went to Nashville twice and actually stayed at the Opryland Hotel which is an amazing place.  And  yes, our other car is still a pickup truck!

Not to mention the injuries, illnesses, pilgrimage trips, scares, heartaches, losses, and struggles. We are still standing. Our bodies may hurt more but still standing!

I am not a fan of going out these days but I just gotta make myself do it because when I do, I always have fun!  It doesn't have to cost much or be a big deal.  Going to find that happy medium since that is what life is all about really.

Here we go for another 20!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Variations on a Meatloaf #2

Meatloaf can be gluten free and better for you by adding some legumes! We call this the Mexican Meatloaf around here.

Another favorite of the meat eaters!

1 lb ground beef
3/4 can of refried beans
Minced onion
Black pepper
Chili powder

Mix it all in a bowl, shape and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. They usually eat this one with rice, olives, Daiya Cheese.

Variations on a Meatloaf #1

I'm having veggies for dinner again but I am making one of the 2 meatloaf recipes I use. I won't give precise measurements of spices since it really is a personal thing. I do not eat meat OR spices so I do this completely by aroma and distant memories of my life before food was a tormentor of mine.

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup mashed potato flakes (365 brand at Whole Foods)
Minced onion
Black Pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon GF soy sauce (Braggs)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil

Mix everything BUT the meat in medium bowl to make a paste. Add the meat and blend together with a fork. Shape into loaf and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chocolate Comfort Pudding

I know that when you think of pudding, you think cold dessert, right? Well, I think there is nothing like chocolate pudding when it's still warm.

Serve it in a mug and keep your hands toasty. It can calm a scratchy throat too. And it just plain tastes good!

1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
2-2/3 cup Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk
2 tablespoons margarine

In medium saucepan whisk to combine tapioca starch, sugar, chocolate chips and salt. Add Soymilk.

Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until thick. Remove from heat and add the margarine.

Transfer to air tight container or serving bowls, mugs, etc. Store in refrigerator.

This makes a decent portion for 4.

This photo is from Len's Stony kitchen!

Spicy Black Beans & Grilled Leeks

Long live Meatless Monday! Today the boys are having black beans and grilled leeks from the garden. Simple, cheap, but tasty!

Mix together:

One can black beans
1/4 teaspoon each of garlic, cumin, chili powder
Dash each of cinnamon, black pepper
Heat until warm

Mix together:

2 tablespoons oil
Leeks or green onions, cleaned and dried
Coarse ground Salt

Grill the leeks until you get some good grill marks and until wilted. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve the beans and leeks on rice or even on mixed greens. Add some olives or cheese too!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Visitor today

Len is coming over today for Spud-Tastic Doughnut Holes, gnocchi with Gettin Sauced Carrot Sauce and Focaccia!

She will be leaving with a full tummy and a few bags full of stuff to take back. Food, winter coats, etc. quarters for laundry, confetti for Rocky Horror...

Can't wait to see her and can't wait to eat doughnuts!

G'ma is stopping over too to give me the thumbs up on these doughnuts tasting like hers.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mon Ami Gabi

GF Shallow Frites did not disappoint! Next time, two orders.

Aack! Going out to dinner

My hubby and I are going OUT to dinner for our 20th anniversary. I have not eaten anything at or from a restaurant in years and years. Mon Ami Gabi says I can get gluten free shallow fretes. Will make sure they are also vegan/no cross contaminated with milk and I may just eat them!

Lettuce Entertain You places are very serious and helpful when it comes to allergies and special needs. Our reservation is a bit on the early side too which may make the kitchen less hectic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Late Night Pancakes @ Stony Island UPDATE Photo Added

My daughter chatted me that my regular pancake recipe is not on the blog! She has been using this as a cookbook since she has gone off to school. So there might not be any pics since I did not make these tonight but I have been making these for at least 14 years! She may send me pix then I'll add them!

So, Leonard, have fun making brinner for the house... even if I think it's a bit late!

2 cups GF baking mix
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups Very Vanilla Soymilk
1/3 cup melted margarine

Combine dry ingredients. Add margarine and 3/4 of the Soymilk. Slightly whisk. If too dry and thick add more milk. Too much milk will make them thin and flat. Eeww. Flat pancakes no fun!

Cook on preheated 375 griddle. If you want chocolate chips, sprinkle them over top after pouring batter on griddle.

Len made hers with chocolate chips and coconut! I usually make half plain and half with chocolate chips.

Get some Trader Joe's Maple Syrup (the one that comes in a tall glass wine-type bottle) and pour it on. BEST MAPLE SYRUP EVER.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gonna cave into rice cakes soon...

Laying off the rice cakes has not helped one tiny little bit! I think I will cave and pack them for lunch tomorrow. I just don't want carrots for lunch everyday... I seriously notice no improvement.

Columbus Day Cannellini Spinach Pesto

Trying to stay true to Meatless Monday's around here!  The boys won't even miss it tonight.  They really aren't that dependent upon it.  They both like legumes...  A LOT.  They appreciate good flavors and spices more than what those flavors and spices are attached to.  Since I had the day off today, thanks to my man Christopher Columbus, I feel extra domestic... except for the fact that I have been watching Jersey Shore all day! We are still acclimating to the first few chilly days in Chicago and this is a comfort food that will stick to their ribs a bit.  I used to make this recipe back in the day when I was eating more types of foods.

One 10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
One 14 oz can of cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and divided
12 large leaves of fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic
A few red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine half the can of beans with the remainder of the ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.    

The reserved beans should be placed on top of the pesto that's on top of whatever pasta you are serving.  It looks so pretty!  We happened to have ONE last red pepper in the garden that gives that little pop of red which goes well with the green and white of the pesto in honor, again, to Columbus.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Spud-tastic Doughnut Holes

I made a half recipe of these since a whole recipe calls for 6 cups of flour!  6 cups of GF baking mix can run me close to $15 and while I want to eat doughnuts, I can't justify that for a random Saturday afternoon.  Besides, half a recipe got me 32 doughnut holes.  I think that is perfect!  They taste best same day so no need for any left over!

I love the way the cinnamon sugar melts on the roof of  your mouth while the doughnut crust is a crispy.

I am listing the whole recipe here for the sake of making it easier to read/write.

1 package of yeast
1 cup Silk Very Vanilla 
1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes (just potatoes), slightly cooled
2 tablespoons Coca Cola
2 egg replacer eggs of your choice
1/3 cup margarine, melted
3 cups of sugar, divided
4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
6 cups GF baking mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Deep fryer or however you deep fry things.  

I got 32 doughnut holes.

I realize not everyone can deep fry on their deck in their pajamas like I do!  But, if you can, I highly recommend it.  No deep fry smell hanging around in the kitchen and trapped in your hair and clothes.  When I fry on the deck, it smells like the carnival without the screaming children, scary people, and over priced activities.  I use a Fry Daddy and a spider.  The basket that came with the Fry Daddy kind of sucks.  Everything sticks to the bottom of it!  I put things in and take them out of the fryer with my spider.

Put the yeast in your mixer bowl.  Heat soymilk to 115 degrees. Add the Coke and stir slightly.  Add that to the yeast and stir to combine.  Add the warm potatoes, egg replacer, and melted margarine and stir to combine.

Add 3 cups of GF baking mix, 2 cups of sugar, baking powder, baking soda nutmeg and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Slowly add more baking mix until dough pulls away from sides or bowl.  It should be soft and slightly sticky.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Plug in your Fry Daddy and set temperature to 375.  Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a freezer bag.

Line two large baking sheets/jelly roll pans with parchment.  Take rounded teaspoons of dough and roll into doughnut holes.  Line them upon the parchment lined pans.  Fry a few at a time (6-8) for 3-4 minutes or until they float.

Drain on paper towels. Get those warm doughnuts in the freezer bag and shake to coat in cinnamon sugar a few at a time.  I let them drain only as long as it takes me to get the next batch loaded in the fryer, just like when I make churro bites.

Day 2 - No rice cakes

Day 2 no rice cakes.  I still felt pretty lousy yesterday.  I am going to keep it up for an entire week.

I am going to call my mom today and see if she has the mashed potato doughnut recipe she used to make when she was a baker.  I can't seem to get it looking right when I try to re-create it on my own.  I am hoping to just modify her recipe and a have warm, crispy, and spicy sweet treat for breakfast tomorrow.

It has finally cooled off in Chicago!  Doughnuts and coffee sound so good to me right now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sack Lunch Carrots with a CA-POW

I can't seem to escape the same stomach pain day after day after day after day...

I am going to quit the rice cakes and peanut butter lunch (and sometimes breakfast and sometimes dinner). I am hoping it helps! If not, I may have to break down and try the meds my GI wants me on. I am just not ready to do that.

The rice cakes aren't doing anything nutritional for me except to be an avenue for protein in the form of peanut butter.

I'm going to go the veg route and a peanut butter sauce instead. I used carrots today but have used edamame in the past.

1 lb cooked carrots
2 tablespoons cooking liquid from carrots
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Dash of ginger
Dash of garlic
Black Pepper to taste

Cook and drain carrots reserving some liquid. Gently fold in remaining ingredients. Season to taste. (I like mine heavy on the Braggs!)

If you like it a little spicy, add some red pepper flakes.

Tomorrow is day one without rice cakes!