Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Moist, Delicious, Fudgy Brownies

I know what you are thinking, moist and gluten free, is that really possible.  Well it is.  My best baking recipes have come from regular recipes that I have adapted and this is no exception.  This one comes from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and is one of my 2 go-to recipes for brownies.  Last night we had some GF company who also had a daughter with a dairy allergy so I made this version since it is the easiest to make dairy-free.  One of these days I'll post my other one.  I love making brownies, they mix up quick and in about 40 minutes you have warm, fresh from the oven brownies.  Try them!

Moist, Delicious, Fudgy Brownies (printer friendly)
1/2 C + 2 T dairy free margarine, or butter
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C GF flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 C chopped nuts, opt

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease an 8x8 pan and set aside.
2. In a microwave safe mixing bowl add margarine and chocolate.  Melt in the microwave until butter is very soft, but not liquidy - about 30 seconds then stir and another 30 seconds.
3. Add sugar and mix, then add eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour and xanthan gum and add to chocolate mixture and mix until no flour streaks remain.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs on it.  Allow to cool (if you can wait that long) and enjoy.  The original recipe says it makes 24 brownies, but that is just too small of brownies for me so I just cut it into 16.  Enjoy what you want and then individually freeze the remaining brownies for later.  YUM!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Old Fashioned to Modern

As most everyone knows we recently moved into a new home, which I love.  However some of the decorating was very much not my style.  For the living room, the glaring problem was the window treatments which were a little old fashioned for my taste.
This is actually the dining room on the other end of the living room, but I couldn't find a "before" LR photo.  Notice the lovely lace curtains and antiqued gold rod.  Two things that would be lovely in someone elses home but doesn't work for mine. 

The biggest obstacle for me was the rods, They were in excellent condition, but I didn't like how they looked.  I mentioned this to my sister who suggested "spray paint them, If it looks bad you are out nothing."  It just so happened I had spray paint in the color I wanted so I immediately set to the task of painting.  First I had to find someplace to stick the rods so they would stay stood up.  I realized I still had the styrofoam the lamps for our LR came in so I used that along with wrapping some of my husbands large screwdrivers with painters tape and propped them up in the foam.
I should note, I did not ask my husband to use the screwdrivers, I was too afraid he would say no.

Then I stuck the rods on the screwdrivers, and for one of them that didn't have an open end and was the inner rod, I stuck the end that would go in the other half of the rod into the foam itself.  I also stuck all the finials (sp??) into the foam to spray as well.
Aren't they nice and shiny and golden??  Notice one of the finials did not want to come off so it got sprayed while attached.
I must admit I really love the shape of this finial that is for the Dining Room

Next I took some brown spray paint and sprayed them all, being careful not to spray too heavily at one time in one place so the paint didn't run.  And about 1 hour later, voile!

Painted rods and

finials - this is the LR finial

All I had left to do was to hang the curtains I bought at Target on the "new" rods and suddenly I had a room that felt like me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tin Foil Dinners A La Casserole Style

One of my favorite parts of camping is tin foil dinners (also called Hobo dinners).  Basically you put meat, potatoes,carrots and onions inside heavy duty tin foil and cook it on the coals of the fire.  DELICIOUS!  While this isn't quite the same (how can you compete with the fire cooked taste) it is pretty delicious, insanely easy, naturally GF and everyone in my family LOVES it!  Now that I think about it, why don't I make this every night?  I know the measurements are so incredibly exact, but that is why it is easy.  The butter was a new addition thanks to the idea from Pioneer Woman's Potato Bundles.  Which, if you haven't tried, DO, tomorrow, after you make this today.

Tin Foil Dinners A La Casserole Style (printer friendly version)
Hamburger (1/8-1/4 lb per person)
Onion (your choice, I did 1 small for 5/6 people)
Potatoes (1 per person)
Carrots (1 per person)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Rosemary (opt)
Butter (opt - I did 2 T for 5/6 people)

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.  Grease a casserole dish (choose a size based on your family's size).
2. Mold the hamburger into patties, 1 per person  (or more if you want).  Lay the patties on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Slice 1/2 the onion and sprinkle over the meat.  Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Next slice the potatoes, about 1/4"
I had to show you my Idaho potatoes.  With these you only need 1 for every 2 people, I have some that are 1 for every 3 people. It is hard to find these in the store, they are for restaurants, chips, french fries, etc.  I love being from Idaho.
Layer potatoes over the meat

4. Next, peel and slice the carrots.  Don't slice too thin or they will burn.  No smaller than about 3/8" Then layer on top of potatoes along with slicing the remaining onion and layering it and, if using, cut the butter in pieces and spread over the casserole.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. If desired, lay a few sprigs of rosemary over the top
I so wish this was from MY herb garden.  But alas, that is in Utah.  I now need to grow one here in New Mexico.
6. Bake for 1 hour.  When done remove rosemary sprigs and serve.

We have a variety of ways of  eating this.  There is the basic

Then there is the ketchuped

My way is with ketchup and mustard on the meat and the veggies plain.  My daughter dips everything in ketchup.  And my baby . . .
He likes his purred with a little ketchup.

FYI: Occasionally you get a potato with a brown spot in the middle
this is called "hollow heart."  Just cut it out and throw it away and enjoy the potato.  It will be delicious.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My 6 year old has been on strike (until 2 days ago) from all versions of tomatoes except the sauce on pizza.  Consequently, I haven't made a whole lot of pasta lately.  I'm just not in the mood for the fight.  Anyway, the other night (before the break in the strike) I really wanted pasta, and so I started cooking the hamburger with a small onion and some garlic and got the pots (one for GF pasta and one for regular pasta) on to boil.  In the middle of the process I decided I really didn't want the fight after all and had to change directions.  So I decided to make a fettuccine sauce with the hamburger.  Or at least a mozzarella white sauce.  It turned out relatively well.  I just wish I had had whole milk or some cream and some mushrooms and it would have been better.  Otherwise, it was a pretty good hack job.

Strogaccine (printer friendly)
1 lb pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 lb hamburger
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper, or to taste
1 can mushrooms-pieces and stems, drained or 1 C fresh
4 C milk, divided*
3 T cornstarch
1/2  tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 C shredded mozzarella
1/4 C Parmesan cheese

1. In a deep skillet cook hamburger, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper until the meat is browned.

2. Add the mushrooms and toss for a minute or so. Add 3 C milk*, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Bring to a light boil, stirring occasionally.  Stir cornstarch into remaining milk* and stir until mixed then slowly add to sauce while stirring.  Bring to a light boil and let cook for 1 minute.  Add cheese and stir until fully melted.
 3. Serve over pasta with more Parmesan cheese, if desired.

*or 1 C cream and 3 C milk.  Add the cornstarch to the cream.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mexican Turkey Lasagna

I have made a version of this before, but the photo was awful despite the fact that the food was yummy!  This is basically the same idea, but with ground turkey, and only refried beans.  Ground Turkey is my new favorite meat.  Growing up my mom would make it and I never liked it.  I don't know if my taste has changed or the turkey has, but ever since a friend (Thanks Heidi!) made us turkey burgers I have been in love!  I made some burgers last night that were delicious, but they were gone before I got a photo.  Guess I will have to make them again.  Too bad.  Perhaps tonight?  Anyway, if you haven't had much ground turkey you should try this I think you will like it.

Mexican Turkey Lasagna (printer friendly)
1 T olive oil
1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1 lg clove garlic, minced
2 C refried beans*
2 T chili powder*
2 tsp cumin*
1/2 tsp dried oregano*
2 tsp dried cilantro*
Salt and Pepper, to taste.
1/8-1/4 C water
6-8 corn tortillas
Cheddar cheese
La Victoria, green Enchilada Sauce
Lettuce (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)
Tomatoes (optional)
Guacamole (optional)
Olives (optional)

1. Grease an 11x7 casserole dish.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and swirl.  Add turkey, then chop onion and mince garlic and then add to turkey.  Cook turkey until nicely browned.  Add 1/8 C water. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Add refried beans and combine.*  Add more water if meat/bean mixture seems overly dry, however, don't let it get soupy. 
4. Pour about 2 Tbsp of enchilada sauce
Although fuzzy and messy, this sauce is gluten free and delicious!

in the bottom of the pan.  place 2 tortillas
 My new favorite corn tortillas from Trader Joe's "Made from fresh ground corn, no dry cornmeal used"  YUM!

in the bottom of the pan

and pour 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the tortillas.

Pour 1/2 of the meat/bean mixture over the tortillas
Sprinkle with a handful of cheddar cheese. Repeat the tortillas, sauce, meat/bean layer and cheese.  Finally, layer 2 more tortillas the remaining sauce and cheese.
5. Cover with greased tin foil to prevent the cheese from sticking

6. Bake for 30 minutes on 350-degrees.  Allow to set for 5 minutes after removing from the oven
7. Serve topped with lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, tomatoes, olives, and or anything else that sounds delicious!  Sadly, I only had lettuce and sour cream.



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