Tuesday Tricks…. or Treats?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

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It’s easy to get stuck thinking that snacks have to be some form of cheese and cracker, or fancy dip. Or excessively sweet Halloween candy. But just take a moment and look at this avocado eating child. I mean child eating an avocado .

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A fresh banana, pear, peach, plum, apple, carrot, celery and peanut-butter, apples and peanut butter. All of these delicious foods can be eaten as snacks. Just look at these bright happy strawberries

20171102_184555_Burst01This time of year is hard because sugar is so readily available, and your kids go out to get a bunch of it for free! Who says no to free sweets?? Am I right?

No matter what is in your home, you can still have delicious sweets from good wholesome fruits and veggies. Veggies by themselves aren’t all that sweet, but they can be delicious! Just look at this peppered tomato slice, it’s deceptively delicious!

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Monday Muffins

When you’ve got carrots and want them for breakfast what do you do? Make Muffins!!! So that’s what I did this morning! Look at these beauties! First from the oven and then from the microwave!

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They rose well and smelled delicious! I decided I needed to tweak the recipe so that it made an even dozen instead of just 8. This is the base mix I created for the muffins:

MUFFIN FLOUR BASE MIX

1 ⅓ Cup Potato Starch
⅔ Cup Oat Flour
⅔ Cup Millet Flour
Scant ⅔ Cup sorghum flour
3 ½ tsps Baking Powder
2 tsps Xanthan Gum
½ tsps Salt

The second batch also smelled really good! So much so that they attracted my mom while they were cooking with dairy free butter and jam in hand!

20171030_124050Our Green Smoothie Girl loved them! So did her cousin! And mother did too!

many praisesHappy MiMi

 What happens when you make 2 batches of muffins in one morning? Your flour gets low. So I decided to make my flour today too. It’s really not that hard especially with the vita mix. Although if you’re really picky about how grainy your food is, you’ll want a really good sifter and you’ll need to run it a few times. I’m not that picky, but I did take some photos after sifting my millet flour really well. (Really nicely sifted home made flours make a delicious pound cake, which I’ll have to write about one another post) Here are some photos of my flour making process. The order of the following pictures is oats, brown and white rice and them millet flour.

oat flour makingBrown n White Rice flour making Millet flour making

In the midst of making flour my dear mother and I were discussing pies. The topic of Mincemeat pie came up. Mom loves it, but I had never had it. So she went to the pantry to retrieve a bottle of mincemeat pie filling. While she was away I couldn’t stop the memories of my sweet grandmother whom we called Nonnie.

20171103_000117She would always have something new for us to try be it rabbit meat or squid. We started calling new food experiences Nonnie moments. So I smiled and shut my eyes as a small spoon of mincemeat pie filling was put into my mouth.

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It’s not too bad. It tastes like molasses and raisins mostly. I can see how it could be used and a nice sweet treat from time to time. Especially if you’re not to big into sugar all that often.

We did learn by the end of the day that the muffins dry out really bad, really fast. So if you’re looking for moist muffins, eat them warm! At least until I fix the recipe. Enjoy!

 

Muffins
Yields 12
A wonderful muffin
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups muffin flour mix
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
  4. 1/2 cup applesauce
  5. 3 eggs
  6. Optional: Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins before baking
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tin
  3. Mix all ingredients together very well
  4. Spoon into muffin tin (until about 2/3 full)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes
  6. Enjoy!
Variations
  1. Cinnamon Carrot: Add 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 3/4 cup finely grated carrots then bake as directions indicate.
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Balance in life is hard

My day started at 5:15 am, just 4 hours after I managed to fall asleep. I threw on some lip-sense, had a quick bowl of cheerios while packing the diaper bag with almond milk, water, corn puffs and cheerios. Then I woke my husband, got my wee baby in the car seat and headed off to Primary Children’s Hospital. She’s fine by the way, she just needed a cyst removed from the back of her head. Here are some cute pictures of her playing while we waited for the surgery.

Waiting with melodyTo pass what I was sure was going to be many hours I played Pokemon Go. I was wrong about the wait time, the surgery went very well, she recovered nicely. She really hated the IV in her foot, before they decided she could have it removed she played with a roller-bottle of DoTerras Frankincense. She loves twisting caps! Once the IV was removed she calmed down a lot. We were heading home by 10:30.

My husband took the baby downstairs to nap after we got home and I made some lunch. A cheese and meat tortilla melt. Then my dear sweet 4 year old wanted someone to play with, but her cousins were not interested. To add to this scene the baby wasn’t napping, she was wide awake and happy as can be!  I put on the baby carrier and my daughters and I went out to play outside. My 4 year old is friendly and never misses an opportunity to introduce herself to new people. Because of her tenacity when our new neighbors finish moving in she will have 3 new friends to play with! She inspires me every day to be more friendly.

After our brief walk we decided to collect some pine cones and make these awesome pine cone spiders! Pipe cleaners, googly eyes and hot glue can do some fun things to pine cones!

Spider FunAfter a bit of photo fun as we attached the spiders to our giant web we decided to play in a pile of leaves, Auntie Jen even joined us. We had the idea to make a video, I think we would have called it Attack of the Leaf Monster! But after searching for several minutes we discovered the cameras needed to charge. So no movie was made, just lots of fun memories!

Then it was time for me to take my husband to work. My 4 yr old wanted to come so I let her. We stopped for a bit at the store to grab some dinner ingredients and then rushed home to cook! Auntie Jen and I had a blast decorating the table.

Dinner Halloween20171027_165801Sorry the photos are too blurry to read the labels on the food. We had Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Pork Loin, Roasted Garlic and Herbs Pork Loin, Sunflower Bacon Crunch Salad and Tri-Color Grapes.  After dinner Auntie Jen my girls and I all got to go to the dinosaur park trek or treat carnival! It was a blast!

Dino funMy 4 year old was having trouble sleeping so after letting her put the books her sister took of the shelf away I tucked her back into bed and cuddled for a bit. She came up with a brilliant plan (her words not mine) “Mommy why don’t you finish cleaning the living room and when I wake up I will be so surprised!” I kissed her forehead and left to clean because how can you refuse a thought like that?

At 11:12 pm I went to go pick up my husband from work. Once at home I pondered this thought: balance in ones life isn’t something you achieve once and then have forever, it’s a continuous effort of thought, focus, success and failure. One well balanced day at the beginning of the week does not mean the whole week will be balanced. Even though today was a great day the first two meals I ate were not the best for me, I felt it all day. I didn’t make time to read an enlightening book and I didn’t take time to take the bathroom trash out. (It needs to be done really bad) I spent time with my happy children and made lovely memories that I will cherish for a long time, but no new gluten-free recipes were created. Was today a failure just because I missed those cooking, cleaning and self growth experiences? No. Because a balanced day does not mean getting to everything on my “I want to do it” list. Some times a balanced day is doing just a bit but being so filled by it that the other items on your list can wait until tomorrow. A balanced day is difficult, a balanced week is easier and a balanced month…  Well that comes one week at a time.

Summer, Fall, Seasons All!

This Summer & Fall have been so full of life! I’ve cooked several successful meals that I just haven’t had time lately to blog! I had a baby, made new friends and have had such a good time being a mom that I have been slacking on my blog desires!

Well, be prepared for more updates! I’m going to post a new recipe each Thursday! And I’m going to start adding a video to our youtube channel bi-weekly!

Let’s make some food memories!

Gluten & Dairy Free and Grateful for it.

This morning has found me watching my daughter (she’s 3 now) eat the oatmeal she asked for, along with a bowl full of walnuts. I thought about these past 3 years since I discovered we were both sensitive to dairy and gluten. We can eat them if we choose, but the results are pain, discomfort to the bowls, head-aches and rashes. It’s not very fun.

My adorable daughter has always been my biggest strength for avoiding the foods that hurt us both. However now that she’s not nursing I’m not as great as I could be, I have days when I seem to have no resistance to the things I ate and enjoyed as a kid. But my little girl will never have these problems. When the kids of the household are asked what they want for a snack they often say things like, “cookies” “donuts” “animal crackers” “graham crackers” and “ice cream” but ask my daughter what she wants for a snack and she’ll think about it for a minute before saying things like “Apricot logs” “Green Smoothie!” “Walnuts” or “Oatmeal”. She will occasionally ask for “fruit snacks” “grapes” or “Bananas”

I am so grateful for this food handicap, because it has blessed my daughter with a sense of food that is good for her and food that isn’t in a way she seems to understand. There are days it breaks my heart because all the other kids get cookies and ice-cream and she’s stuck with fruit and gluten free pretzels, but she never seems to mind. She gets a treat same as them and she loves it.

I am also grateful for this challenge in my life because without it I wouldn’t be nearly as adventurous in the kitchen. I love being a ‘mad scientist’ and throwing ingredients into a pot and saying to myself “Well….. I hope this works.” Which is actually how I cook a lot lately, trying new things is fun and rewarding when it works and still fun but disappointing when it flops.

Everyone has challenges that stress certain parts of their lives. I am grateful for my food challenges because I have learned and grown so much since discovering them, and my daughter is growing strong eating foods that are good for her and because of this she won’t get addicted to a lot of the junk foods that her cousins are already hooked on and I can’t imagine a better life for my little green smoothie baby than a healthy, happy one.

Happy July everyone!

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Let them have bread!! … Soup?

This post could easily be called, the importance of xanthan gum. But I like calling it bread soup better.

I was making my bread this morning and I used the stand mixer, (my first time doing such a thing with this recipe) and everything was going great! I got 5 minutes of child-care in, than went to go check on the bread in the mixer. I was shocked, it looked like soup! I couldn’t figure it out, I had done everything just the way I always did. The flours, starches and liquids were all in proper proportion. What had the mixer done to my bread?!?!

Turns out, soup is what you get when you forget to add xanthan gum to my bread recipe. I added the xanthan gum and everything actually firmed up, looked like dough and baked two wonderful loafs of bread for me. 

I wish I had pictures of my soup, or my loafs, but I haven’t been diligently photographing much of anything lately, so I forgot. 

Best of luck in your New Year Gluten-Free kitchen adventures!

Berry Good Pie Crust!

I LOVE THIS PIE CRUST!!!

I had to let that out. I’ve been really nervous about making pie crust because I’ve heard that it’s really difficult to make a good gluten free one. But I did it!! I feel so awesome!! The trick is letting it rest in the fridge for an hour, otherwise it’s way to difficult to handle. Just look at this!

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 It’s a glorious Mini Pie!!!
I was almost certain this would work so well, but just look at these pictures of the process of working with the dough!

 

I’m using a pastry cloth and a rolling pin cover, and little plastic measuring things to help me get the thickness right.

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Doesn’t that just look delicious!! I did discover a few tricks while making them, You have to be very careful in how you pick up the dough press after cutting the dough. If you allow it to fold in the middle it will damage the dough press and make the pie leak out the back. The trick to picking up the dough press is to pick it up by the center pins. Like the one pictured below. Also if you put in too much filling the dough won’t crimp together. 

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A fun tidbit, you don’t just have to use a sweet filling, you can totally fill this pie crust with savory foods too. Like this…20151028_160621                                                      … This fajita pie was a favorite at dinner. 

Pie Crust
Super yummy pie crust that has some crunch!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour or Millet Flour
  2. 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
  3. 1/4 cup Amaranth Flour
  4. 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1/2 cup Butter
  7. 2 Beaten Egg Yolks
  8. 1 TBS Cold Water
  9. 1/4 cup Sugar
Instructions
  1. Stir together the flours, sugar, xanthan gum and baking powder.
  2. Cut in the butter until dough is crumbly.
  3. Add the beaten egg yolks and the cold water.
  4. Mix really well.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 1 hour (This is a super important step! Please don't skip it, it does matter!)
  6. Spread some Sorghum flour on a clean flat surface (Or on your pastry mat and rolling pin cover), roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch (you can go a little thinner for thin pie crust)
  7. You can use a dough press and make 6 mini pies, or you can make 1 8 inch pie.
  8. Once filled with your picked filling bake at 375 degrees: for mini pies bake for 20 minutes, for a regular pie bake for 50 minutes.
Notes
  1. You can make a savory pie! We added fajita fix-ins and it was really, really good!
  2. The second time I made these I didn't have enough Brown Rice Flour, so I used Millet Flour, it turned out just as well!
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Oh my Burrito!!

I have missed burritos. A lot. So when I saw some rice paper at the store I thought, hey maybe I can make a burrito with a rice paper!

What do you need before you have a burrito?  You need cheese, salsa, olives and re-fried beans. Dairy doesn’t sit well with me, but I love cheese. Cashew Cheese has become a favorite around my table.

 20150513_161135Take some raw cashews and soak them for at least 2 hours. Drain them and put them in your food processor or blender with nutritional yeast (for the cheesy flavor), garlic powder, black pepper, salt, apple cider vinegar and some lemon juice and blend it all together.

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 You’ll end up getting a smoother cheese using a high power blender like a vita-mix, but a food processor works just as well if you don’t mind having less creamy spreadable cheese.

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This is the rice paper I used. You place the paper in warm water for 10 seconds, place it on a plate, add all the toppings you desire, wrap it up then roll it in brown rice flower.

Here is a photo walk through of the process I went through.

 

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I double wrapped them because Just one layer was a flimsy shield for all my burrito fill-ins. Rolling the first layer in brown rice flower, helps with transparency. Without rolling them in brown rice flower, you can see all the filling, and it just feels weird not to have a wrapping on burrito innards.

20150513_16233620150513_16234120150513_16210220150513_16242920150513_16243920150513_172852 I baked them in the oven for several minutes. I wish  I had written down exactly what I did the first time because I haven’t been able to replicate the crispiness I had with my first batch.

 

Still, it’s a great meal as my toddler can testify.

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