Monday, August 30, 2010

World's Best Mom and Cook Bracelet







My daughter made this bracelet for me at sleep away camp for my birthday which is in July.

Growing up, I hated having a summer birthday because I always missed out celebrating at school and with friends. Now it gets me an extra phone call with my daughter who is at camp and a special, handmade gift.

How lucky am I?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gone Fishing...

Well, I am not actually going fishing but I will be gone completely for a week. A bold experiment in seeing how much I can check out and be with my family on our vacation. I am leaving behind my laptop and not turning on my cell phone. If you need me you will just have to wait a week or so. Hopefully, the world will keep spinning. I did pre-write a few posts which will automatically publish.

Enjoy the last bits of summer and every chance you get. Before you know it we will all be searching for matching gloves and warm socks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Peanut Coleslaw with Lime and Cilantro from Gluten Free Goddess



















I have a million things to do before I leave for a trip tomorrow to Bald Head Island, North Carolina, but I was really inspired to participate in GlutenFreeEasily's Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger for August. Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger was started by Sea at Book of Yum a few years ago and I am thrilled to participate for the first time in this event.

I am adopting Karina at Gluten Free Goddess whose poetic blog inspires me to continue to cook and write in the hopes that I will one day have a blog as fantastic as hers.

Because my refrigerator broke last week, I was searching for a recipe that wouldn't require refrigeration and I stumbled upon Karina's list of Gluten-Free Picnic Recipes that sounded like the right direction given that my fridge was 80 degrees. The Coleslaw Recipe with Peanut Dressing sounded like it would do well at room temperature and I love, love, love Asian inspired food. I had some peanut butter on hand and it seemed like a recipe that needed minimal ingredients so I wouldn't have to buy to many items--which also was appealing given how empty my fridge was. I refrained from buying the red cabbage because of I was leaving the next day and I had no fridge. I know you aren't supposed to alter the recipe but I am hoping that they will forgive me for this slight adaptation. I also chopped up the entire bunch of cilantro. Usually I carefully pick off the leaves, which is kind of a time consuming process. But, because I was in a rush, I used the whole bunch and discovered that you actually don't really need to pick the leaves of the stems.

Chopping the coleslaw reminded me of when I used to have to chop cabbage at Le Bernardin years ago. When I first starting working there I would tell people I was a professional chopper because so much of my job, at times, involved chopping this or that perfectly. The peanut sauce in the coleslaw recipe is both delicious and simple and could be used as a dip or on noodles.

Please check out the original Coleslaw with Peanut Sauce recipe as well as all Karina's wonderful recipes and photographs on Gluten Free Goddess. Karina's post on How To Go G-Free is also an amazing overview of foods that are gluten free. And if you want to participate in the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger for August visit Gluten Free Easily and sign up.

Home Sweet Home Sans Fridge



















After two months of being on the road we are finally home--well, home for three days before a family trip to Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

I love, love, love traveling and being away but I must admit it was nice to be home. I was about to unpack my cooler when I discovered my fridge had broken. AHHHHHH!?!?! It wasn't a little warm or not cold--the fridge was actually 80 degrees. I had bags and bags of stuff to unpack including a cooler full of Udi's bread, Joan's bagels, corn tortillas, pepperoni, Daiya Cheese and Almond Breeze Almond Milk and homemade pickles that all needed to be put away. The good news was I hadn't brought a ton of meat back from Vermont--which would have definitely complicated the already complicated situation.

When we went to buy some ice to keep the food cold, I explained to my kids how they used to call the refrigerator an "icebox" because they would have blocks of ice delivered to keep the food cool. Their big question was--where did the store get the ice??? I am wondering if anyone knows the answer. It's a little bit of an icebox riddle. We are surviving without a fridge by keeping some food on ice and mostly going out to eat for meals. We went to Peter's for brunch and will order Chinese food from Lily and Loo's gluten free menu for dinner. We are pretty lucky to have so many gluten free options nearby. My kids had fun played silverware tic-tac-toe at Peter's--so I included a picture above of our low-tech restaurant fun.

Home Sweet Home sans fridge.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mimiccreme Beverage--Not My Favorite Milk Substitute











"If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" is generally my policy when reviewing gluten free food. If something is gluten free and not that good I try to mostly refrain from saying so because I don't want to put a company under that might be having a bad day. Also, others might like and depend on a product and I don't want to play a part in a particular gluten free food not being available to people who like the product. In the case of Mimiccreme, which I purchased on Amazon in bulk after reading about it on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom, I have to override my policy of not posting negative reviews.

Mimiccreme, an almond/cashew milk beverage which is both gluten free and dairy free is really not a good milk or cream substitute. Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom used it to make chocolate pudding, so maybe the chocolate flavor masked the off taste of the "creme" product. I ordered the almond/cashew creme product because in theory an almond/creme blend would be amazing. Cashews give any product a wonderful buttery flavor and fresh almond milk is wonderful. Which is why I ordered four boxes of this product without ever trying it. How disappointing to find that it had a terrible glue like consistency and off taste. I couldn't drink more than a few sips of it. My sister said "You need to tell them it is inedible" after reading this review. My kids don't seem to mind the taste of Mimiccreme as milk in Envirocrisp Kaola Krisp cereal because the sweetness of the cereal disguises the off taste of the milk so we are using up the four cartons we have of it.

"It's not my favorite" is what I have taught my kids to say when they hate something but don't want to offend anyone who might like something. And in that spirit, I would say Mimiccreme is not my favorite. I prefer the taste of homemade almond milk, Almond Breeze, or So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage to Mimiccreme. Even straight coconut milk watered down is a better choice for our family.

Please share your "NOT MY FAVORITE" products by leaving a comment below.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gluten Free Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are an easy, summer meal that are festive and special. This recipe is adapted from Shirley Phillips' Crab Cake Recipe on the package of Phillips Crab. I used Shar Table Crackers to make bread crumbs. Kids are much more likely to try these if you call them "Crabby Patties" and tell them it is like a fish stick.

1 lb. Phillips Crab Meat
1 egg
2 tsp Worcestire Sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1/4 tsp onion or garlic salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs (Shar Table Crackers ground up in mini cuisinart until fine crumbs)

Combine all ingredients except crab meat. Gently fold in crab meat. Shape into ten 3 inch crab cakes. Pan fry until golden brown in olive oil. Serves 5 people.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finding a Farm Using Pickyourown.org
















To find an orchard or farm near you that you can pick fruits or vegetables at with your family visit pickyourown.org. Picking is such a great way to introduce kids to new fruits or vegetables or enjoy tried and true favorites.

We went blueberry picking over the weekend in Massachusetts at Cider Hill Farm with my family and then made delicious blueberry muffins. It was a great way to celebrate summer as a family and after three years of picking together it is now a family tradition. This year we also picked peaches--which were out of this world. Wherever you are you can find a place to pick your own fruit at pickyourown.org. Even if you don't pick now, it is nice to know where nearby farms are in case you want to pick another time.

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Recipe













This is a great gluten free blueberry muffin recipe to make during blueberry season in July and August. Not only did I want to have another muffin immediately after finishing my first, but I actually wanted to bake another batch right away so in love I was with my new creation. Finely ground cashews in dairy-free baked goods give them a rich buttery flavor. My great blueberry experiment in which I reworked an egg free blueberry muffin recipe I found on foodnetwork.com turned out a terrific gluten free blueberry muffin that rivals any blueberry muffin I have ever tasted. I have posted substitutions at the bottom.

½ cups cashew nuts-ground finely

1½ cups gluten free flour blend
2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon xanthum gum

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup canola oil

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

6 tablespoons coconut milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1& 1/3 cup blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 325º and prepare muffin tray by spraying muffin liners with oil or using a paper towel to grease tray with oil or organic spectrum shortening.

2. Grind ½ cup cashews in a food processor or blender. Add dry ingredients to ground cashews and blend more to combine.

3. Put dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.

3. Mix wet ingredients together separately.

4. Wash blueberries and place on a sheet tray to dry. Toss with 1 Tablespoon of dry ingredients.

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

6. Add blueberries until mixed in. Scoop into 12 prepared muffin tray using an ice cream scooper. Sprinkle with granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar. Bake at 325º for 25-30 minutes.

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For nut free muffins: add ½ cup gluten free flour to replace ½ cup ground cashews

To use regular flour: replace gluten free flour with regular wheat flour and leave out xanthum gum.

For egg free muffins: eliminate eggs and use 2/3 cup milk instead of 6 Tablespoons.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feeding Baby Green Recipe for Chewy Oat Nuggets


















Feeding Baby Green, by Dr. Alan Greene, is a wonderful book to have when you are wondering what to feed your baby who is graduating to solid food. It is both a cookbook as well as a book with advice on how to approach feeding your baby and young child. Here is Feeding Baby Green's recipe for Chewy Oat Nuggets with the variations that I would add to the original to make them more appealing for older kids. The oat nuggets weren't quite sweet enough for my four year old, but they ate them when they were the only dessert option. My husbands advice was to add some chocolate chips to them to make them more popular with the preschool crowd. But they are a great "cookie" for a baby or child. Because there is no sugar in the recipe, you need to use a ripe banana so that the sugar from the banana will sweeten the cookie. I would really suggest anyone with a baby or one year old invest in this great baby book which is light years beyond most baby feeding books. You can read a sample of the book on amazon.com by clicking here.

You can also learn more about "pediatrics. naturally" from dr.green.com, which is great website full of a ton of information about parenting.

FEEDING BABY GREEN CHEWY OAT NUGGETS:

2.5 cups gluten free oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts (use sunflower seeds for pumpkin seeds for babies that haven't begun nuts)
2 cups sliced bananas (4 large bananas)
1/4 cup walnut oil (I prefer coconut oil)

OPTIONAL variations for older kids...
Add:
1/2 cup EnjoyLife mini chocolate chips or
1/4 cup raisins or dried fruit (chopped up in the food processor with the flour) or
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder or
2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put the gluten free oats, salt, cinnamon, and nuts in a food processor and process until the mixture looks like flour. Add bananas and oil. Process until combined.
3. Drop teaspoonful rounds onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gluten Free Morning Glory Muffin Recipe













This gluten free recipe for Morning Glory Muffins is an adaptation of a recipe that was handed out at a Healthy Living cooking class from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book. My sister, who tried the original recipe and my gluten free version said the gluten free muffins were identical to the original recipe--only she felt better eating the gluten free version. These are great to have for breakfast, a snack or dessert. They are chock full of nutrients because they contain 3 cups of grated fruits and vegetables as well as almonds and eggs. The oil keeps these muffins moist for days, but if you want a low fat version, you can substitute applesauce. I used almond flour because to make my muffins a little more kid friendly, but the original recipe called for shaved almonds. With the oil the muffins will keep fresh for 5-6 days. If you use applesauce instead of oil, I would recommend freezing them after a day or two so they don't dry out. They are super fun to make with kids. Below is a picture of us grating the carrots.
  • 1&3/4 gluten free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups peeled, grated carrots
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds or almond flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups vegetable oil or applesauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 375º and prepare 12 large size muffin tray or 24 mini muffin tray by lining them with muffin liners and spraying or brushing the liners with oil. Soak the raisins in warm water. Mix gluten free flour, xanthum gum, brown sugar, baking soda and spiced together in a large bowl. Add shredded carrots and apples and coconut and almond flour to the dry ingredients to coat the ingredients in the flour mixture. In the bowl of a mixer or a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until combined. Drain the raisins and mix into the batter. Divide evenly into the muffin trays. Cook for 22 minutes for mini muffins and 25-30 minutes for large muffins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pans before removing them.

Eco Gift Idea: Family Photographs by Jay Ackerman

We purchased a photo shoot with Jay Ackerman at a school auction last year and I was thrilled with the magazine quality photographs he took of our gluten free family with a city backdrop. Unlike most things we buy today that will end up in a landfill, family photographs are treasured for generations making them a great gift--especially for the person who has everything.

I am adding photographs by Jay Ackerman to my list of Top Gift Ideas for 2010 and posting now for people who want to get a head start on the holidays. Jay has a wonderful way of shooting the family portraits early on before everyone is bored and complaining and then he moves on to more fun, spontaneous artistic shots. The shoot ends up being fast and fun for everyone involved. Also, he has a family and friends special running right now if you mention you are a friend of ourGFfamily.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GFCF Grilled Cheese using Daiya Cheese and Udi's Bread













This has been a landmark summer for our gluten free family. It has been over THREE years since we have enjoyed a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. But now, with Udi's bread and Daiya cheese, everyone in our family can enjoy a traditional grilled cheese using these gfcf products.

I first tasted Daiya cheese at Pala Pizza in New York City. It is a tasty, dairy free cheese made from tapioca that actually melts and becomes stringy. And unlike most nut cheeses I have seen, it is actually casein and soy free. They use the mozzarella style cheese at Pala Pizza.

Although I was impressed by the Daiya mozza cheese at Pala, I was even more impressed by the cheddar style shreds when I made a grilled cheese for breakfast.

I had run out of eggs--my normal "go to" breakfast--so I had to think outside my box. I remembered I had some Udi's whole grain bread and some Daiya Vegan Cheese, so I thought I would try making a grilled cheese. IT WAS AMAZING--more for me than for my kids because I grew up eating grilled cheese. But they liked it too!

The nicest part about a GFCF grilled cheese made with Udi's bread and Daiya cheese is that it allows me to offer an equivalent meal for my kids when other kids are having a grilled cheese. My kids won't necessarily choose a grilled cheese, but it makes me SOOOO happy to be able to offer them the possibility of eating what everyone else is eating.
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GFCF Grilled Cheese

1 loaf Udi's wholegrain bread
1 package Daiya Vegan Cheddar Style Shreds
olive oil

1) Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a small frying pan or 2 tablespoons of oil in a larger pan.
2) Place a slice of bread down in the pan. Cover the bread with a layer of Daiya Cheddar Shreds. (Repeat this step to fill pan if you want multiple sandwiches.)
3) Place a second slice of bread over the shreds. Press sandwich down with a spatula every minute or so.
4) Turn sandwich over when the bottom is golden brown.
5) Cook until the other side is golden brown and cheese is melted. You can cover to retain heat and melt cheese if it doesn't melt. Be careful not to burn. Turn over sandwich if cheese hasn't melted by the time the bread has turned golden brown.

Cut in half and serve with a pickle and some chips for an old fashioned grilled cheese experience.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pasta with Kale, Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts













This Pasta with Kale, Raisins and Pine Nuts recipe is fabulous paired with gazpacho. Even people who don't like kale will be go back for seconds if you prepare kale using the method described in Greens Glorious Greens--one of my favorite cookbooks. This recipe is based on Greens, Glorious Green's recipe for Kale with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts which I then added pasta to. I really thought it was one of the tastiest meals I can remember. The nice thing about the Greens Glorious Greens cookbook is that they use oil very sparingly and the recipes are quite simple. It is a great cookbook to get for anyone who likes to cook because the recipes are delicious but it is relatively unknown so an avid cook might not already have it.

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 bunches kale
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup raisins
salt to taste
1 package tinkyada organic gluten free pasta

1. Toast the pine nuts on a sheet tray in a 325º oven until they are golden brown--about 5 minutes.
2. Wash kale and fold leaves in half in order to rip the hard stalk off so that only the leaves remain. Throw away the stalks and coarsely chop the kale leaves in 1/2 inch strips.
3. Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add chopped kale. Cover and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften kale. Stir a few times.
4. Drain kale (you can save the liquid to drink if you want or to make garlic soup.) Rinse and dry pot and heat olive oil in pan. Swirl the olive oil to coat pan. Saute chopped garlic for 15 seconds and then add raisins and cook for 30 seconds until they puff a little but before they burn.
5. Add cooked greens and season with salt.
6. Set aside until pasta is cooked al'dente.
7. Add cooked pasta and toss together over medium heat. You can season with salt and pepper.

Serve with olive oil and goat cheese on the side.