Sunday, November 30, 2008


Apple, Pumpkin, & Banana Cream Pies

This past month my 4-year old niece was diagnosed with Celiacs. On a recent shopping trip my sister and I went into a kitchen store and found these mini-pie tins. I had bought the disposable kind but was so excited when we found a good pie tin in a mini size. After doing a little research I found that some called them "pie-lets". Either way, they were cute and perfect for Thanksgiving prep.

In the past I have made a GF oil pat-in-the-pan pie crust. It worked okay, but not great. This year I decided to try Bette Hagman's Vinegar Pastry Crust. I did substitute lard & butter for the shortening and loved it. I use a combination of the two in my regular pie crusts and really like the results so I tried it in this one and it worked wonderfully, the altered recipe is below! I 2/3 the recipe to make the bottom of the pumpkin and both the top & bottom of the apple pie. I then used a 1/3 recipe "Cookie" crust to make the banana Cream Pie. I made the crusts first and then made the fillings.

For the PUMPKIN PIE I made the filling for the regular pumpkin pie and poured some into the GF crust before pouring into the regular crust and then baked them together. Amazingly enough it took about the same amount of time for the "pie-let" to cook as the regular pie. I did have to cover the crust to stop it from getting too brown.

For the APPLE PIE I mixed up 1/2 a Granny Smith Apple and 1/2 a Golden delicious Apple, diced, but next time I will just slice since they shrunk horribly. Then I mixed together about 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg & a 1/4 tsp ginger. Then I mixed the sugar mixture with the apple mixture and dumped it into the bottom of a crust then topped it with the top crust. This baked for about 20-30 minutes at 375-degrees until the top was golden brown. It may take longer.

For BANANA CREAM PIE I also just made my regular Banana Cream Pie with a "Cookie" crust (recipe below) and then put the filling into into both crusts. I baked the cookie crust for about 10 minutes. First slice bananas into the bottom of the crust then add the filling. Serve with Whipping Cream. This is the filling I use. It is enough for a 9" pie crust.
1 pkg banana cream pudding
2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/2-3/4 8-oz pkg cool whip
Mix up pudding according to package directions. Beat in cream cheese. Stir in cool whip.

Here is the Pie crust recipes, if you want photos of the steps for Bette Hagman's pie crust you can check out the Ginger-Lemon Girl:

My version of Bette Hagman's Vinegar Pastry (Revised)
from The Gluten-Free Gormet: Revised Edition
Makes 2-9" crusts or a double-crusted pie.
1 C white rice flour
3/4 C tapioca flour
3/4 C cornstarch
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 C butter
1/4 C lard
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp vinegar
2-3 Tbsp ice water

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cornstarch, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar. Cut in the lard & butter (if you want you can blend these two together with a mixer and refrigerate for about 1 hour). Blend together the beaten egg, vinegar, and cold water. Stir into the flour mixture. Holding back some, until the pastry holds together and forms a ball. (Kneading will not toughen this pastry.)
2. Form two balls and place in a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove and roll one ball at a time between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper that have been dusted with sweet rice (or regular rice) flour. To place in a pie tin: remove top sheet and, using the other for ease of handling, invert the dough and drop into pan. Another method I saw on Good Eats on The Food Network was to put the dough on the bottom of a matching pie plate then place another plate over in like you were going to stack bowls and it drops right in. For a crust to be used later, bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. For a filled pie, follow directions for that pie.

makes enough for a 9" pie -- This is also a great crust for a non-baked cheese cake
1 C flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 C powdered sugar

1 cube butter

1. Mix flour, X gum, & pwd sugar together. Cut in butter, then mix with fingers until it forms a ball. Press into pie plate.
2. You may want to refrigerate for 10-15 minutes if the crust is extra sticky. Otherwise it will "melt" to the bottom of the pan.
3. Cook for 10 minutes on 400-degrees. Allow to cool completely before putting the filling in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rocky Mountain Bean Storm

I made this a few nights ago and have been meaning to post it since. I got this recipe from my good friend Valerie. Apparently, it was a recipe from her college roommate days, and when she got married her husband felt "Hot Bean Dish" was a boring name so he renamed it. It is more of a base recipe and you can modify it how you want.


Rocky Mountain Bean Storm (printer friendly)

1/2 lb Bacon
1 lb Ground Beef*
1/2 C Onion*
1/2 C Ketchup
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp-1/4 C Dijon Mustard
3 cans of different beans, with juices**
4 C cooked rice (brown is especially good)***

1. Fry bacon until crisp. I like to do this in the oven on 350. Line the pan with tin foil for less mess.
2. Brown hamburger and onion and drain.*
3. Add next 6 ingredients and simmer on stove for 1 hour. Or on high in a crock-pot for 4-6.

*If you don't want/have hamburger, substitute 1-2 cans black beans, drained and saute onions in a little olive oil
**Original recipe calls for baked, kidney, & lima. I usually use black, kidney, & pork and beans. My friend uses pinto a lot. This time when I made it I didn't have pork and beans so I used chili beans and it was equally delicious.
***When we ran out of rice (the kids wanted some plain) I ate it over some leftover baked potatoes and it was yum!

Better Bread Recipe

So I ordered new flour and mixed up some new bread mixes. I did 10 so hopefully, they will last through Christmas. Here they are on my flour filled counter. When I need to make bread I will grab one of these, add yeast and wet ingredients and voile have bread!
Such a sense of accomplishment.

Anyway, a while back I posted my bread recipe that I modified from Carol Fenster's Sandwich Bread recipe. Anyway, it turned out to just be a little heavier that we wanted and I wanted to make it a little lighter so here is the new recipe.

Better Sandwich Bread (printer friendly recipe)
makes 1 1-lb loaf or an 8x4" pan
(I usually double this recipe so it makes 2 loaves not just 1 and it works just fine.)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp Sugar, divided (2 tsp & 1 Tbsp+1tsp)
1 C. Warm Water
1 3/4 C Rice Flour Blend
1/2 C Whole Grain Flour Blend
2 Tbsp Almond Meal
1/3 C. Dry milk powder (dairy or non-dairy)
1/2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal
2 tsp Zanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Soy lecithin granules
1 tsp Egg Replacer powder
2 Large whole eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cider vinegar

1.Grease 8x4-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 2 tsp of the sugar in warm water (110-degree F). Let it stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

2. Once foamy, add the remaining ingredients (including remaining sugar). Beat ingredients on low with regular beaters (not dough hooks) until just blended, then beat on high for 2 minutes. Add more water if necessary

3. Pour dough into prepared pan. Let dough rise in a warm place until the middle is slightly above the top of the pan.

4. Preheat the oven to 375-degree F. and bake for 45-50 minutes (we life in the mountains and it is usually closer to 40 minutes so keep an eye on it), until the loaf makes a clicking sound when tapped with your fingernail. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the
pan and finish cooling on wire rack.

5. This is how I take care of the bread. Before it is completely cool -- slightly warm. I slice it then place the sliced loaf in a "food and bread" bag you buy near the tin foil and place it in the freezer. I always put my regular bread in the freezer slightly warm to retain moisture and I have found it to be true with GF bread as well.

Here is the beautiful Loaf. I mounded it in the middle to try to get a more "loaf" like look.
Doesn't it look beautiful!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kathryn's Fruit Salad

This is a recipe my sister got from a roommate in college. It is a family favorite!

Kathryn's Fruit Salad

1 can each: pineapple, mandarin oranges & fruit cocktail
1 red (to give it color) apple, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 banana, slice
2 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 C water
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
whipped cream (opt)

1. Cut up and drain fruit but SAVE THE PINEAPPLE JUICE.
2. Cook water, cornstarch, and pineapple juice together until thick. Add sugar and lemon juice. Pour mixture over fruit (yes, while hot). Cool in fridge. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Family Meals Nov 10-15

This week is pretty simple. I am starting to get in the swing of Christmas so I am planning to make great use out of my crockpot -- THANK YOU CROCKPOT LADY!!!

- Pasta with Salad & Bread (GF Foccacia & Crusty bread dipped in olive oil & herbs)
T - Crockpot Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole from Crockpot365 with Kathryn's Fruit Salad
W - Soup, probably tomato based, I will have to see what kind of mood I am in. My son will to help choose. Right now he want quesadillas and so I have a couple of days to get him to choose something else. If we have quesadillas each week I might go crazy.
Th - Scalloped Potatoes & some meat. I planned to do this last week and ran out of time so we had baked potatoes instead. My daughter still wants scalloped though so hopefully, I will get them done this time. I am probably going to check and see if the crockpot lady has scalloped potatoes. :)
F - Might be going out of town, if not, Tacos
S - Leftovers

Monday, November 3, 2008

Potato Soup

I love soup! I recently looked on the back of my Bob's Red Mill Potato Flour and they had a recipe for soup. Not a very interesting one, but nonetheless got me thinking about Potato Soup. So tonight I set to making up my own version of Potato Soup. I ended up using some smoked paprika and while I list it as optional, I would HIGHLY recommend it. While I have probably made several versions I think this is my favorite to date. This soup It was perfectly creamy, had a wonderful flavor, and looked yummy. SEE ----

Cream of Potato & Veggie Soup (printer friendly recipe)
7 med potatoes, unpeeled*
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 slices of bacon, diced
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 C diced carrots
3 Tbsp potato flour
3 cans evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can corn
1/4 -1/2 tsp smoked paprika, opt
Cheese, opt.

1. Cut the potatoes lengthwise so the potato is quartered. If a larger potato do 2 slices on one side. Then dice it into bite size pieces. Add the diced potatoes & garlic to a large pot and add enough water to barely cover the potatoes. Add chicken Bouillon cubes. Cover & cook until tender.
2. In a separate pan cook the diced bacon until crisp and remove from the pan, leaving the grease. Add the butter and melt. Saute onion & carrots until tender. Add potato flour and stir and cook for a minute. Add bacon. Pour the cans of evaporated milk into pan and stir with a whisk until it is smooth, not necessarily until it has thickened.
3. When potatoes are tender, mash about 1/2 of the potatoes with a potato masher, or something similar and add corn, stir. Add milk mixture and whisk to combine. Heat until boiling and boil for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
4. Serve with cheese, if desired, I prefer it without.

* I have quit peeling potatoes except in rare circumstances. First I am really lazy. Second, when I found out that most of potatoes nutrients are in the skins I decided that it justified my laziness.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars

I just found these on hey, that tastes good! And oh, my they look so divine, I just had to write about them. My daughter is allergic to peanuts, but I might end up making them just for me.

Here is the link! Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars.

Halloween Costumes

Halloween was never a favorite holiday until I had kids and got to help them dress up. This year I was really proud of what we came up with.

For my youngest I used a dress that I made from a Butterick Pattern #3236 over 5 years ago for my oldest daughter when she was my youngest daughter's age. Over the years I have lent it to cousins and friends and was so excited to see another daughter wear it. When I made it my oldest was a little short for the pattern, but I didn't realize it until I had sewn the dress, so I cut it off. The original pattern had an extra row of black lace on the skirt. Little did I know I would have a daughter who would need the extra. For the necklace I used the lace from the dress and hand stiched a Victorian cameo button onto the middle and then safety pined it in the back. For the bow in her hair I cut a piece about 4" x 12-18" (I don't exactly remember it has been too many years) from both the lace and dress fabric. I then folded each in half and layed the lace on top of the fabric with the folds even. I pinned those together and then serged them together. I then used a basting stitch and ran it across the layers next to the serging and gathered them up. Then I rolled them into a flower and hand stiched the edges together. Then I hot glued the flower to a hair clip. When worn next to the bun the edges dissapear and it just looks like a fancy flower. Now just had red lipstick and a beauty mark and you have a flamanco dancer!

A beauty!

My oldest want to be a ballerina, despite many attempts at talking her into something more interesting. It is just too cold here for ballerinas. But she insisted. Since she is tall and super skinny (don't we all want to be like this) I decided to make her leotard. I used McCall's Pattern #MP279. I then got an iron-on from a local craft store to iron on to the top. For the skirt I got 3 yds of some beaded tulle (it looks like glue gun drops) and regular tulle. I then cut to to the length I needed with the folds being on the bottom of the skirt. I then basted the edges together and sewed a seamed up the back leaving about 4" open. I then gathered the top of the skirt and sewed a ribbon to the top. I ended up making 2 seams on the ribbon. One about 5/8" down and then another a little further down to help it lay better. I wish I would have sewn one at the top of the tulle as well to help it lay even better but it worked out pretty well. I then dumped som flower petels into the skirt through the opening in the back and voile add a bun, tights and ballet flats and you have a ballerina. I was so afraid it would turn out boring, but to my suprise I think it turned out rather sophisticated, for a halloween costume.

The "sophisticated" ballerina.

My son and husband are obsessed with rockets and he HAD to be an astronaut. The outfit turned out to be one of the easiest I have done. I found clipart on line by googling "astronaut clipart" and by going to the NASA website. I then printed them out on Black T-Shirt iron-on paper and ironed them onto a gray sweatshirt (he was a Mercury astronaut). For the helmet we found an old football helmet and covered it in tin foil. For the boots, he has both out-grown and out-worn his tennis shoes so I took some silver tissue lame and, using his shoe as a guide, made a boot. I then seamed the back seam and front seam and made a 1/2" casing at the top for 1/4" elastic cut to fit his leg. I threaded the elastic and then hot-glued the bottom of the fabric directly to the shoe above the tread so he could walk safely.

Our "spacey" Space Man


Our family LOVES Quesadillas. We eat them for lunch and dinner and for a simple snack. Often I just pull out everything that can be put in the quesadillas and then everyone gets to pick and choose. Sometimes I just do corn tortillas, but when I do flour I usually do those on a griddle that I don't consider a GF appliance and then I do the corn ones on a pan on the stove. It gets them all done faster and we can enjoy them while they are warm.


If I am in a hurry I just put the cheese & filling between the tortillas and microwave for about 30 seconds. If I have more time (or energy) I will cook them in a pan. For our mixed GF/non-GF family I usually cook the flour tortillas on a griddle and the corn tortillas in a pan on the stove. That way everyone's gets done about the same time.

*Some of our favorite fillings to add to the cheese are:
Pizza (pepperoni and any other pizza toppings)
Mixed veggies
Tomato & basil (fresh is best but canned & dried are good too)
Diced Chicken & basil
Black beans & salsa (sometimes we add corn)

These are our most common, but basically whatever is in the fridge has been made into quesadillas.

Eames Family Menu Nov 3-8

I can't believe it is November! A while back I use to let my 8 & 5 year old choose what we had for dinner once a week each and it made for 2 less days I had to be creative. I quit after a while because I got lazy with planning ahead. However, I have decided to start it back up so the 5-year old has Wednesday and the 8-year old Thursday. I plan to have them help cook it as well. Anyway, here is what we are having for dinner this week.

M - Potato Soup.
T - Pizza -- I want to watch the election and I know I won't want to cook. I will probably make Karissa's on some Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts I got at a local grocery store and order pizza for the rest of us .
W - Quesadillas. We have these a lot for lunch but Andrew wants them for dinner.
Th - Scalloped Potatoes & Meatloaf. The link is to my recipe for scalloped potatoes, I developed it when Karissa couldn't have dairy and liked it so much it is the way I make Scalloped Potatoes. Maybe I will try the milk version, I will have to wait and see.
F - Chili, Salad and Bread
S - Pasta

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Enchilada Casserole

Last night I was in the mood for Enchilada's but not in the mood to go to the effort of rolling. So I made enchilada casserole and it turned out so good I am going to make it often. I have made many versions of this in the past but this one is by far the best!

Enchilada Casserole

3/4 lb Hamburger*
1 small onion*
1/2 tsp Chili powder*
1/2 tsp Cumin*
1/2 tsp Salt*
1/4 tsp Pepper*
1/4 tsp dried Oregano*
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Can Chili Beans, drained slightly
Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream

1. Brown hamburger with onions, chili powder, cumin, salt, & pepper. Add oregano when almost cooked.
2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine both cans of tomatoes with cornstarch and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
3. Combine Hamburger mixture, Refried Beans & chili beans.
4. Preheat oven to 350-degrees
5. In a 9x13 pan layer 1/5 of the sauce in the bottom of the pan and layer the tortillas. Then place 1/3 of the Refried Bean Mixture, 1/5 of the Sauce, and some cheese. Repeat 2 more times so you have 3 layers ending with cheese. Then place another layer of tortillas and add remaining sauce and layer some cheese.
6. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Fresh from the oven
This is a side view of a cut piece. I forgot to take a picture on a clean plate, but you get the idea.

*When I buy hamburger I have started browning it and then adding seasonings (for taco I add the above. or just add salt & pepper) and then freeze it in about 3/4 - 1 lb portions for future use. It makes cooking things a lot faster if they call for browned hamburger.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties

For dinner we ate Black Bean Salsa and I decided I wanted to have some sort of Mexican chicken. This is what I came up with and it was delicious. I used onion & garlic powder because I was lazy. Next time I am going to use fresh.

Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties

1 lb ground chicken
1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 -2 Tbsp oil
Ranch Dressing to taste.

Combine all ingredients but the oil and ranch dressing. Heat oil in a skillet and shape chicken mixture into patties and place in pan. Cook patties thoroughly. Brush Ranch dressing on one side of patty and serve.

Black Bean Salsa

Tonight for dinner we are having Black Bean Salsa and Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties. I got my Black Bean Salsa recipe from my friend, Heather, a few years ago and was a family favorite before we had to deal with being gluten-free, luckily it was naturally so. I have taken it to many different gatherings and have had raves about it. I have adapted it at times when fresh ingredients were not on hand and while the fresh ingredients are ideal, the substitute version is also really good. Here is the Black Bean Salsa recipe, both in its pure form and with the adaptations. The photo of the salsa is with all fresh ingredients.

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans of black beans
1 can corn
3 large tomatoes or 2 cans petite diced*
1 medium onion chopped**
4 Tbsp. cilantro (4 tsp dried)
1 Avocado, chopped (optional)
3-4 T lime juice
2 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar or white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Tostitos Scoops or any other corn chip

Drain and rinse bean, corn, & tomatoes if using canned. Place in a large bowl with onion, avocado and cilantro. In a small bowl mix lime juice, olive oil,vinegar, salt & pepper. Toss dressing over vegetables. Chill before serving. Serve with Scoops or other corn chip.

*For extra kick use Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
**In a pinch you can use about 1/3 C dried minced onions

Isn't it pretty, the avocado really makes it pop, but I didn't have any today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family Menu for Oct 26-Nov 1

Here are our meals for the week

M - Eating out
T - Black Bean Salsa and Mexi-Ranch Chicken Patties
W - Enchiladas -- or Tacos if I don't get the enchiladas made. :)
Th - Sloppy Joes on bread -- Now I just have to make bread. :)
F - Crockpot Pizza Soup once again from one of my favorite blogs -- A Year of Crockpotting
Sat - Chef's Salad with Chicken or ham, boiled eggs, veggies, corn, and anything else that sounds good that night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marinara Sauce

I got this recipe for Marinara Sauce from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. It is a favorite at my house.Last night was the first time I made it from fresh tomatoes thanks to the abundant tomato production in our garden this year. I usually at least 2 x's it for a family since it is originally for 4-side dish servings, plus it uses a whole can of tomato paste. Last night I made Parmesan Zucchini Marinara and 4 x'd it and froze the leftovers.

Marinara Sauce
1 Cup chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green sweet pepper
1/4 C coarsely chopped carrot
1/4 C sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
2 C chopped, peeled tomatoes (3 large) or 1 14-1/2-oz can tomatoes, cut up
1/2 of a 6-oz can (1/3 C) tomato paste
2 tsp snipped fresh basil, or 3/4 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 tsp snipped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp snipped fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 C water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1.In a large skillet cook onion, sweet pepper, carrot, celery, and garlic in hot oil till tender. Stir in fresh or undrained canned tomatoes, tomato paste, hasil, oregano, thyme, sugar, water, salt, & pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover & simmer 30 minutes. If necessary, uncover & simmer 10-15 minutes more or to desired consistency; Stir occasionally.

Here it is on the zucchini. Doesn't it look yummy!

Parmesan Zucchini Marinara

Last night I made a meat-free meal and while the kids were less than thrilled I really liked it. So here it is. I adapted the Zucchini recipe from an idea from a friend, hollygee, on a gluten-free yahoo group. Thanks!

Parmesan Zucchini Marinara
Marinara Sauce (use your own or mine here.)
Large Zucchini, 2-3" wide
1-2 Egg
1/2 C Corn Flour
1/2 C Almond Meal
1/2 C Potato Flour
1/3 C Fresh Parmesan Cheese

1. Make Marinara sauce if you are making it from scratch. Do not do the rest of the recipe until the sauce is cooked.
2. Slice zucchini about 3/4"-1" thick.
3. In a small flat bowl, big enough to fit the zucchini slices, break and slightly beat 1 egg, (add more later if necessary.
4. In a separate flat bowl, big enough to fit the zucchini slices, combine flours.
5. Heat oil, about 1/2" deep in a skillet until it pops when water is flicked at it. I usually get my hands wet and the flick the excess water. I know this probably isn't the safest way, but it is my method for skillet frying.
6. Dip zucchini in egg then in flours until evenly coated and place in skillet. Cook until browned and turn and cook the other side. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
Don't they look pretty.

7. Place a 1/4 slice of provolone cheese on each zucchini.

8. Pour Marinara Sauce over the top of the zucchini and top with Parmesan cheese.

 I 4 x's the recipe and froze the leftover marinara for later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Easy Week Dinners

I just got back in town from Nashville -- so wonderful to see those who were there! Anyway, I have to leave on Friday to go do applesauce at my mom's so I only have 2 days for dinner but here they are anyway.

W - Zucchini Marinara & Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes
Th - Crockpot Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole. It is from one of my favorite websites A Year of Crockpotting. She has used her crockpot everyday this year and gives the recipes and a verdict on how well it turned out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Onion Rings & Fry Sauce

Today was the first snowfall and I decided to start a tradition of onion rings, popcorn, hot chocolate, and (maybe) some fruit. It was so fun to make the onion rings, I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. One thing to note, this is a approximate kind of recipe. The kind where you do as much as looks good. Anyway, here they are:

Onion Rings

2 large onions
1/2-1 C Flour (GF or reg)
1 C slightly runny pancake mix & Ingredients listed for mix measured*
Extra milk or substitute
Bread Crumbs (GF or regular)
Fry Sauce (recipe below) or ketchup

1. Heat oil in a skillet, pan, fryer, etc. to 365-degrees.
2. Slice onions thickly and place in a bowl of water.
3. Pour flour into a bowl large enough to hold the onion slices
4. Mix pancake mix and add a little extra milk to thin it out a bit. It should be runny.
5. Pour bread crumbs into a bowl big enough to hold onion slices.

This is the basic assembly line set-up

6. Fry rings in oil, turning once, until golden brown.

Don't they look yummy already

7. Set on a paper towel lined plate. To keep them warm until all of the rings are cooked place them in a 300-degree oven.

Regular Rings

Gluten Free Rings -- Can't even tell the difference
8. Serve with Fry Sauce or ketchup.
9. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes

*Or use 1-2 cups of your favorite pancake recipe made a little runnier than usual.

Fry Sauce is a Utah/Idaho concoction that I personally find delicious and missed desperately when we lived in Tennessee. It is a mixture of approx equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup. Some people add relish or other things to their sauce. Today I added some chili powder and Old Bay Seasoning.

Family Menu Oct 13-18

It is snowing today and it is finally soup season!

M - Out of town making applesauce
T - Fondue
W - Sally's Potato Leek Soup
Th - Leftovers
F & S - We will be in Nashville -- YEAH!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hawiian Chicken (kind of)

I tried a new kind of chicken to go with the sweet potatoes. It was really good. A friend gave me some "Li Hing" spice. It is sweet and really good.

Hawiian Chicken (kind of)

3 Chicken Breasts cut in half
Li Hing Spice
Brown Sugar

Cook chicken in a skillet until brown on one side. Turn and sprinkle with Li Hing spice and brown sugar. Cook thoroughly.

See how pretty.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Tonight we tried a new recipe from Taste of Home. It was so delicious I just had to share.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 C butter, cubed
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, cooked & crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Scrub and pierce sweet potatoes. Bake at 375-degrees for 1-1/4 hours or until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and discard. Scoop out the pulp, leaving thin shells. In a large bowl, mash the pulp with butter. Stir in the cheese, bacon, salt & pepper. Spoon into potato shells. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Veggies

I must give credit to my friend Valerie who first introduced me to this recipe. It one of my favorite fall dishes. And since we have so much zucchini in our garden I had to make it!

Roasted Veggies
Olive Oil
1 Medium onion,
3-4 Red Potatoes,
2 zucchini (store bought size),
1 Sweet Potato or yam,
1 pkg Onion Soup mix OR sprinkle with season salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and any other seasoning you like.

On a large cookie sheet cover bottom with oil. Dice all the veggies so they are a large bite size and put on pan and stir. Season veggies either with the soup mix or just sprinkle the veggies with the seasons listed above.

Place in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes. ENJOY!


Monterey Chicken

A couple of nights ago we had Monterey Chicken & Roasted Veggies. It was DELICIOUS! A few months back I got some chicken for a great price and decided to use my Kitchen-Aid food grinder and make ground chicken and use it in place of hamburger. I must admit there have been mixed results. However, this turned out delicious!

Monterey Chicken
(makes 5-6 servings)

3/4-1 lb ground chicken
1/2-1 tsp Montreal Chicken Seasoning
2 Tbsp oil, divided
2 Bell Peppers --your choice of color
1 medium onion
Mozzarella Cheese

1. In a bowl combine the chicken and seasoning and set aside.
2. In large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil and saute peppers and onion until soft, Remove from pan.

3. Add 1 Tbsp oil to pan and form chicken patties from chicken mixture and add to pan. Cook throroughly.
4. Place cooked peppers & onions on top of chicken and add cheese. Cover pan and allow cheese to melt. Enjoy!

Doesn't it look yummy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Family Menu for Oct 6-11

Fall is the best time of the year in my opinion and love to cook fall related things. Anyway, here is our menu for the week.

M - Roasted Vegetables (red potatoes, zucchini, sweet potato & onion) & Monterey Chicken
T - Pasta Bake --Cooked pasta, hamburger & or sausage, spaghetti sauce and chunked cream cheese, topped with mozzarella
W - "Gunge" - Rice, hamburger, & peas topped with soy sauce.
Th - Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Some meat (haven't decided yet), and a veggie. Really it is all about the sweet potatoes. A recipe I found in the Taste of Home magazine that sounds divine! The recipe is below.
F- Leftovers
Sat - Tacos

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chinese Tomato Chow Mein

This is a recipe I grew up on. Obviously, if you want it Gluten-free don't add the chow mein noodles. If you like Mexican you can make the Mexican Chow Mein version.

Chinese Tomato Chow Mein (printer friendly version)
2 T cornstarch
2 T Soy sauce
3-4 Tbsp salad oil, divided
1 lb. hamburger
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 green peppers, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tomatoes peeled & cut into wedges or 2 14-oz cans diced
1/2 C bouillon or consomme
Cooked Rice
Chow Mein Noodles (opt.)

In a medium sized bowl combine soy sauce & cornstarch. Brown hamburger in 1 1/2 Tbsp-2 Tbsp oil with onion, salt & pepper. Remove from pan and combine with soy sauce mixture. Cook peppers lightly in remaining oil. Remove from pan and add beef mixture back into the pan and add garlic salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes and bouillon. Cook until the sauce is thick. Serve over rice and top with Chow Mein Noodles if not eating GF. Makes 6 servings.


Mexican Chow Mein

Tonight was Mexican Chow Mein. This is a recipe I made up last year when we had too many mildly spicy peppers. I adapted my Chinese Tomato Chow Mein Recipe to create this.

Mexican Chow Mein
2 Tbsp salsa
2 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried cilantro (1 tsp fresh)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3-4 Tbsp salad oil, divided
1 lb. hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
2 green peppers or other pepper (annaheim, pablano, etc.), sliced
3 Tomatoes peeled & cut into wedges or 2 14-oz cans diced
1/2 C bouillon or consomme
Cooked Rice
Corn Chips

In a small bowl combine salsa, cornstarch, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, &
oregano. Brown hamburger in 1 1/2 Tbsp-2 Tbsp oil with onion, garlic, salt & pepper. Remove from pan and combine with salsa mixture. Cook peppers lightly in remaining oil. Remove from pan and add beef mixture back into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes and bouillon. Cook until the sauce is thick. Serve over rice and top with corn chips. Makes 6 servings.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Menu Sept 29-Oct 4

This week we are getting back to normal so I am actually starting to cook some. Now to get rid of all the leftovers.

Tues-Tomato & Green Pepper Chow Mein
Wed- Pizza Pockets - This is a recipe I kind of made up based on 2 different recipes and my family loves it!
Thurs-Date night -- hopefully. Kids will get leftovers
Fri- Hamburgers
Sat-Out of town, so I don't have to cook.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pear Pie

I made Pear Pie yesterday. The world's Greatest Pie ever. I made 2 "regular" pies and 2 GF pies.

Pear Pie

1 8- or 9-inch single pie crust, uncooked
6-7 medium pears, peeled, cored, & quartered
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
2 -3 Tbsp flour (for GF use 2 T cornstarch)
1 tsp lemon peel (optional)

Combine pears and lemon juice in a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine sugar, flour and peel. Pour into pears and combine. Stir carefully. Pour into prepared pie crust

Crumb Topping
2/3 C flour (rice or wheat)
2/3 C white or brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t mace (optional)
(For GF add 1/4 - 1/5 tsp xanthan gum)
1/3 C butter/margarine

Combine all ingredients but the butter. Cut butter into the mixture. Sprinkle on top of Filling.

Bake at 425-degrees for 10 minutes then on 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes.


Pear-Raspberry Jam

I made my favorite jam yesterday -- Pear-Raspberry. I also ended up making Pear-Raspberry-Strawberry since I ran out of raspberries. Basically, I use frozen raspberries and thaw them then follow the instructions in the Pectin box and use about 3/5 a recipe of cooked raspberry jam and 2/5 a recipe of pear jam. If you need more details here they are, for the example I will use 3/5 & 2/5.

Thaw frozen raspberries. If you are on the ball you would have frozen them in season. If not (like me this year) just buy frozen raspberries and thaw. Mash with a potato masher, food processor, or blender if you so desire so you have 3/5 the raspberries your pectin box calls for in a cooked raspberry recipe. Then peal and core pears and mash them so they are equal to 2/5 the pears called for in a cooked pear recipe.

When they are combined they will look like this

Then cook the jam according to the instructions on the fruit. This is what it looks like at a "rolling boil"
I thought this looked pretty cool!

Pour it in your bottles and process according to the instructions in the box.

Doesn't the jam look pretty. FYI: If you use the "inversion" method. Be sure to turn the jam over after 5 minutes or it sets up and leave the air gap on the bottom as you can see. OOPS!

Family Menu Sept 23-28

While a little late nonetheless here it is. My husband is out of town for the next three days so it will be pretty low key.

T - Sandwiches and Beans & Pears
W - Going out to eat
Th - Tacos
F - I'm not sure I have a Daddy-Daughter Date for church to run and my husband & oldest daughter are going, so it will probably be mac & cheese or something like that for the younger 2.
Sat - Frito Pie -- I really need to get some photos of this on here. When I do I will link to it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

About half done

I must admit that, as a general rule, I do not like to can. However, I do love canning fruit. If only it could be in any month but September. Just too many things to do. But this week my mom brought me almost 4 bushels of pears. In one afternoon & evening we canned 3 of them and 1 bushel of peaches. Thanks MOM!
Don't they look pretty.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cream of Broccoli Soup

The other dish I made tonight was Cream of Broccoli Soup. It tasted delicious.

Doesn't it look yummy!

Cream of Broccoli Soup
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 onion, minced
4 Cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch
1-1/2 lbs fresh or frozen broccoli (I used fresh this time)
1/2 C heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 3-1/2 C broth and bring to a boil. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch to the remaining broth. Whisk into the boiling broth and continue to whisk for about a minute. Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop the broccoli. Add the vegetables to the soup and simmer until tender, 7-10 minutes.
3. If you want you can puree the soup in a food processor or blender. I don't since I like my soup a little chunky. Return the pureed soup to the pot.
4. Stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer (do not boil), then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cabbage Lasagne

Today I had to clean the garden produce out of the fridge to make room for more. Not really complaining, just always amazed how quick it comes ready. So tonight, I made two dinners to use this week. The first is Cabbage Lasagne. Basically, I took a recipe for stuffed cabbage and made lasagne instead.

Doesn't it look pretty.

Here is the Recipe:

Cabbage Lasagne
4-6 Cups cooked Cabbage, cut into bite size pieces*
3/4 lb ground beef (or 1/3 lb ground beef & 1/2 can 14-oz black or kidney beans or just 1 can beans)
1/3 C chopped onion
1 7-1/2 oz can tomatoes, cut up (I use the petite diced tomatoes)
1/2 C water
1/3 C long grain rice
1/2 tsp dried dillweed or thyme, crushed (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 15-oz can tomato sauce (this is the LARGE can= to 2 small cans)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried dillweed or thyme, crushed (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
3/4 C shredded swiss cheese or mozzarella, divided

1. In a large skillet cook meat and onion til meat is brown and onion is tender. Stir in Beans (if using), undrained tomatoes, water, uncooked rice, 1/2 tsp dillweed or thyme, and pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 15-18 minutes or till the rice is tender.
2. While the rice & meat mixture is cooking, in a small bowl stir together tomato sauce, sugar, and 1/2 tsp dillweed or thyme.
3. Once the meat mixture is cooked. Pour 1/3 of sauce into a 2-qt baking dish. Layer 1/2 the meat mixture and 1/4 C cheese on top followed by 1/2 the cooked cabbage. Repeat with 1/3 of the sauce, remaining meat mixture, and 1/4 C cheese, then remaining cabbage. Top with remaining sauce & cheese.
4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 mintues. Enjoy!

*Remove vein in the center if you want.

This is what the inside looks like

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Family Menu Sept 14-20

This week is a little harried -- Birthdays & canning so we are doing it super easy! all meals come ready made gluten-free

Sun: Leftovers
Mon: Hamburgers (with garden produce), Beans
Tues: Crockpot Chicken, Potatoes, & Carrots with peach pie
Wed: Taco Soup, Salad
Thurs: Whatever my son chooses, it is his birthday -- probably pizza -- again, my daughter chose it last week for her birthday
Fri: Gunge (cook rice, hamburger or chicken, and peas, broccoli or your favorite veggie, mix them altogether and top with soy sauce.)
Sat: Leftovers

Friday, September 5, 2008

Birthday #1 Prep

For my daughter's 8th birthday she is having a Candyland party. While a younger child game we are adapting. She couldn't decide what she wanted to do for her party so I told her to look at the cut-up cake designs I have and see if she finds and idea she likes. She liked the flower cart, but we did a theme similar to flowers last year, so we changed it to a candy cart. I am trying to come up with ideas for activities and the like based on the characters from candyland. So far we have gingersnaps (molassas swamp), ice cream (Queen Frostine), candy cart for King Kandy (if real adventurous I will make the cart look like a candy cart castle -- we'll see) making a candyland girl out of foamy and suckers (Princess Lolly), Pin the doornut (doorknob) on Grandma Nut's home, I am probably going to do a photo treasure hunt or obstacle course to get something back from Lord Licorice, I am still thinking on what to do for Mr. Mint and for Plumpy and the gingerbread tree with plum forest. For Jolly the Gumdrop guy I am making Tic-Tac-Toe bags with small pebbles in them.

I started with a 9-patch square, added 1/4" borders on top & sides. Then added the back and front border to bottom. Then I added a lining and sewed them together.

Then I sewed a thin line of velcro to top of each side of the lining. then serged them together to make a bag to hold the pieces.

Now they can play with their "gumdrops".
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I have been making headbands lately.  My daughters are growing their bangs out and we need something to keep them back and barretts are not doing the job.   We had a rubber headband we had bought at the store has been doing a great job, so we used it for a template.

Here are some the the headbands we have made.  If you want to see how I made them you can go here, on the photo with the pattern, if you view full size you can just copy the pattern off the computer screen.  Thanks Meg for the hint!

This is the one I made on the link.

I think this one is my favorite

I used a little more decrative stitch on this one.  I really like it.

This one matches a dress I made for my oldest when she was 4 that fits my younger daughter now that is 2 1/2.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pizza Pockets

For dinner tonight I was looking for something yummy, quick, and that used ingredients on hand -- especially my herb garden.

My basil is going crazy. The Rosemary is on the bottom left, behind it is Thyme, and behind the Basin on the right is Sage -- YUMMMMMM!

So I started looking and came across two recipes by Rachel Ray for taco pockets and Pizza Quesedillas. So I combined the two with a few additions of my own. Plus, as an added bonus it is something that can be both gluten-free and not.

First I browned about 3/4-lbs of hamburger with about 1/4 tsp garlic powder (out of regular garlic tonight), and about 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin, salt and pepper all in olive oil. Doesn't it look yummy already.

Next I added two cans (14.5 oz) of drained, petite diced tomatoes and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. While I broke up about 3/4 C of fresh basil.

Next I assembled the gluten-free version. It was more of a quesedilla. The recipe called for smoked mozzarella which I didn't have so I used Provolone. I put some olive oil in the pan and then I moved both the top and bottom tortillas around the pan on both sides to get them oiled. Then I put the bottom tortilla down in the pan and placed the cheese down and then added the tomato mixture and then topped it with basil.

Then I added a little more slices of cheese to the top to get the top of the quesadilla to "stick".

I then topped it with another tortilla, flipping it over when the cheese was melted on the bottom. I made two of these. When they were done cooking I put them on a plate in the oven on low so they wouldn't get cold while I made the non-gluten-free versions.

Like before I layered the cheese, tomatoes and basil on the tortilla, but this time I used a 12-inch flour tortilla.

I then folded it up so it made and envelope.

I then added a little more olive oil to the pan and cooked it with the folds on the bottom first to keep it closed and then flipped it. Doesn't it look pretty.

My kids loved it -- almost as much as the fresh corn-on-the-cob from the garden. YUM!


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