Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey Day plan

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I know because my husband keeps reminding me that I need to go buy a turkey. I keep telling him I need to clean out the freezer before I go buy a turkey. But I guess I had better get cracking on that!

So this years Thanksgiving menu is starting to look like this.

Crudite and stuff for snacking: I'm thinking I'll keep it simple and low-carb and do carrot and celery sticks with ranch, and maybe some olives.

Turkey and gravy: I'll use the same recipes I used last year. They turned out great.

Cranberry sauce: I'm thinking I'll just open a can this year.

Sweet potatoes: I think I am going to try doing these ahead of time, freezing them and then just heating and topping them.

Mashed potatoes: I'm an Idaho girl, so I can make these with my eyes closed and one arm tied behind my back. (Well maybe not with one arm tied behind my back, they'd be kind of hard to peel!)

Something green: I've been participating in Bountiful Baskets food co-op, so I'll probably cook up whatever green veggie I get in my basket that week. I'm hoping for green beans.

Gluten free stuffing: I'm just going to make a little pan this year, it gets too soggy for leftovers. I'll probably use Annalise Roberts recipe in "Gluten-Free Baking Classics" again.

Some regular stuffing: Dad likes it plain, Mom likes it with onions, celery and mushrooms, so I guess we'll have 3 pans when all is said and done. Sheesh.

Rolls: My kids are off school all of Thanksgiving week, so if I'm going to make gluteny-rolls for Dad and freeze them I'd better do it this week while the monkey is not in the house. Thanksgiving is the one time of year that my husband really misses his mom's rolls. I can always just buy rolls at the bakery on the corner. And I'll make the monkey a batch of gluten free rolls on Thanksgiving.

Gluten free/sugar free banana pudding pie is what the monkey and his brother want for dessert, so I'm thinking cookie crumb crust, bananas and boxed pudding.

Not gluten free peach pie: I have bought pie the last couple of years, but they haven't been very good. So this year, I'm thinking I'll buy a frozen pie crust and fill it with some homemade peach pie filling that I have in my freezer.

And if I get around to it I'll make myself a pumpkin pie, but by the time I all this done, I might just buy one!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gluten Free Parmesan Chicken

The good thing about not blogging for awhile is that I have a nice, fat backlog of recipes I want to post! Here's one of them. I made it just the other night and it's on the menu again this week. This is an easy recipe for Parmesan Chicken, which can be served the traditional way with pasta and tomato sauce and cheese, or more like breaded chicken. I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans and it was a hit. And the leftovers were delicious the next day on sandwiches.

For heaven's sake don't buy gluten free bread crumbs, just save the crusts of your bread, and any gluten free bread that goes stale, in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Then when you need bread crumbs, just break it into pieces and throw it into a food processor or blender to make crumbs. I was surprised by how much parmesan chicken you can make out of 3 medium-sized breasts.

Gluten Free Parmesan Chicken

1 (heaping) cup gluten free bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 eggs
3 chicken breasts, about 1.5 pounds

Pound the chicken with a meat mallet until it is 1/4" thick. This is important or your breading will burn before your chicken cooks. I think that the cleanest way to do this is to stick one or two thawed chicken breasts in a gallon zipper freezer bag. Squeeze out most of the air, so it doesn't pop, and seal it. Then pound away. There's no flying chicken juice!

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan and spices in a shallow bowl. Beat the eggs in another shallow bowl.

Cut the chicken into smaller pieces, about the size of a deck over cards, don't worry if they are not uniform. (If you want chicken "nuggets" do even smaller pieces.)

Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet (I used canola) over medium heat.

With one hand dip a piece of chicken in the eggs, then into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. (This leaves you with a clean hand to turn on the faucet, or use a spatula).

Cook the chicken about 3-minutes on each side, until the breading is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gluten Free Hamburger Helper (kinda)

Alright, sorry, I know I've been gone all summer. I've been dealing with some health issues of my own. But I'm hopefully I'm back in all my flaky gluten-free glory. ;)

So yesterday at the store I noticed that Betty Crocker now has two new GF mixes in the Hamburger Helper line: Chicken Fried Rice and Beef Fried Rice. I thought that was cool, but I knew my family won't eat dehydrated vegetables. And I knew that this week's menu featured a homemade version of Hamburger Helper courtesy of Suzanne McMinn's blog Chickens In The Road. She is brilliant!

She had recipes for several versions, and I made Cheesy Chili Mac. All I did to make it gluten free was to sub out the regular macaroni for gluten free macaroni. (I also used extra lean ground beef.) I should have taken a picture before I served dinner but I didn't realize that my husband and boys would snarf the whole pan. My 7- and 2-year-old both ate two helpings. My husband made fun of it, but ate two big helpings, and my 5-year-old, who doesn't like meat, ate his noodles. Anything the kids eat happily is a keeper. I thought it was tasty, maybe a little meaty, but tasty. And all there was left was a little bit the monkey called dibs on for lunch. I'll definitely be making this again and I'm planning on trying her variations.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Momma Award

I haven't done a Happy Momma Award lately, but last week I found a product that I knew had to win! Thai Kitchen Stir Fry Noodles are gluten free and they are so good! I made Funky Chicken Sesame Noodles and used the Thai Kitchen stir fry noodles instead of the gluteny noodles and WOW! it was so delicious! Me, my husband and the monkey snarfed them down. They were a little exotic for my youngest two boys, so tonight when I made Funky Chicken again, I just tossed some stir fry noodles with parmesan and butter and reheated some meatballs and they were pretty happy with that, too.

I was also excited to see that there are lots of recipes on their web site at, including a section of gluten-free recipes. Plus they are really pretty reasonably priced; I paid $2.19 for a box, and it made a large serving bowl full of noodles, enough for at least 4 very generous portions. Thai Kitchen also has a nice chart showing which products are gluten free or contain common allergens; look on the web site under Allergy Information. They have many other gluten free products that we will probably be trying in the near future! Happy snarfing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gluten Free Cocoa Brownies

OK, so this is SO not health food. But everyody needs brownie once in a while.

I bake pretty much everything I bake out of Annalise Robert's book "Gluten-Free Baking Classics." She has a great brownie recipe made with baking chocolate. Sigh. I have issues with baking chocolate. I grew up eating brownies made from Hershey's Cocoa. I hate trying to melt baking chocolate. I forget to buy it. It gets old in my cupboard. I tried to convert to baking chocolate, I really did. But I found myself buying Betty Crocker's new gluten free brownie mix. I like the convenience of a mix; my family likes the way it tastes. The only thing not to like is that it costs $4 a pop. For an 8x8 pan. Yikes. So, I decided to see if I could convert Annalise's recipe to a cocoa recipe.

You can find charts to convert baking chocolate to cocoa; I used one I found in my old Hershey's recipe book. Tried that. Instead of the baking chocolate, I substituted cocoa, butter, and some sugar. That was WAY too much cocoa and butter. So I cut the butter in half, and cut the cocoa back by about third, added a little flour. This was good but a little on the cakey side. And my husband requested chocolate chips in the brownies, please. So I added chocolate chips, cut the flour to make it fudgier, and calculated the carbs for my dear diabetic son. YIKES! So I cut the sugar back, too. Success. (I will not be eating browies for a week or two, I have had way too many lately!)

Anyway, when I compared my final recipe to the original I was surprised that, in spite of all my fiddling and calculating, they are fairly similar. Anyway, here it is....

Gluten-free Cocoa Brownies
3/4 c. brown rice flour mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
1/2 c. Hershey's baking cocoa
1/2 c. melted butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c. semi-sweet mini morsels

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (including chocolate chips) in a bowl and whisk together to mix. Add wet ingredients and stir until combined. Spray an 8x8 Pyrex pan and spread batter in pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Cool before cutting (if you can wait!). Cut into 16 pieces.

Cut brownies freeze well. If you want to make your own mixes, just measure and combine the dry ingredients and the chocolate morsels in plastic containers. Add the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter when you are ready to bake them.

Note for diabetics 1/16 has 28 g. of carbs! Portion control, people!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My conversation with the guy at Kraft....

Me: Hi, I was just looking at the ingredients on the cheese sauce mix in your original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and I just wanted to confirm that it is gluten free.
Customer Service Guy: Yes, ma'am, it is.
Me: Well, hey, have I got an idea for you! If your cheese sauce is gluten free, get some rice macaroni and throw it in a blue box, and you've got Gluten-Free Kraft Macaroni and Cheese!
Customer Service Guy: Well, thank you for that idea, I'll pass it along to our product development people. Just so you know, ma'am, Kraft has an unsolicited ideas policy. We do not pay for unsolicited ideas, even if they lead to new products.
Me: Yeah, yeah. Don't worry, I'd be happy to buy GF Mac and Cheese from you.

(Seriously! They have got to make so much of that cheese sauce powder that I bet it is on equipment that makes nothing but cheese sauce. How hard could it be? Well, a girl can dream about gluten-free yellow death that doesn't cost $4 a box.)

How gluten free are we?

I decided to write this post sooner than I meant to after Jenna's first comment on my last post. She's right, making two meals is crazy! But while we are pretty gluten free, we are not completely gluten free.

The only celiac in our house is the monkey, the rest of us (mom, dad, and two younger brothers) are not. My big main pantry is gluten free, but I have a small cupboard where I keep: Quaker oatmeal instant packets, generic cheerios and graham crackers for my 18-month-old, a box of goldfish if they are lucky, some pancake mix, and regular spaghetti. I have a shelf where I keep the wheat bread, and I keep the gf bread in the fridge. (We also have two toasters, one exclusively for GF bread. They are on separate counters and the GF one is covered with a cozy in an effort to keep it GF.) My fridge and freezer are mostly gluten free, but if I put anything in there that is not gluten free, I make sure it is well labeled with a permanent marker and wrapped so that it will not crumb all over the place. I also have separate butter, peanut butter, jam, honey, and mayonaisse containers, all well-labeled with a permanent marker.

I always make a gluten-free dinner; the only thing close to an exception is spaghetti, where I make gluten free sauce and meatballs, but both kinds of spaghetti noodles. I'm just careful to dish the monkey up first, and then scoop and plop, so that my serving spoon doesn't contaminate the sauce.

My husband makes his own Quaker oatmeal or wheat toast for breakfast, and packs his lunch before any of the rest of us are even out of bed. (I love him even more for being able to feed himself!) Breakfast for me and the kids is usually simple, fast, and made to order (haha) for each person: bowls of gf or Quaker oatmeal, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, or frozen and reheated oatmeal bars, muffins, or pancakes. I like to make a big batch of GF pancakes, pack them up, make a big batch of regular pancakes, and freeze everything, well-labeled, of course.

I pack the monkey a GF lunch the night before school days. So that leaves the rest of us to eat sandwiches or whatever. If everyone is home, I might make something gluten free for lunch or serve leftovers. Or just make separate sandwiches for everyone.

I have pretty much given up baking anything that is not gluten free (just those dang rolls at Thanksgiving!) and I make our treats gluten free. If for some reason I have a non-gluten free treat for the little boys, I make sure I have a GF treat for the monkey that is as good or better.

As for contamination, I try to keep a clean kitchen and to make sure I prepare his food on clean surfaces. It's been a long time since he's acted like I "glutened" him. And I don't worry about him cheating; he did it once and it made him sick and he's never tried again. So far his doctor has said his blood tests have come back showing that he isn't being exposed to gluten.

When he was diagnosed and we were trying to decide whether or not to go completely gluten free I read Danna Korn's book about raising celiac kids. In her discussion of the issue, she says the world is not gluten free; but the safest and most controlled environment to learn how to deal with a non-gluten free world is at home. I tend to agree with her. The monkey has had diabetes for years, celiac for about a year and a half, and I feel strongly that not only do I have a responsibility to keep him healthy, but a responsibility to teach him how to keep himself healthy. I have no idea what he will do in life, I doubt he wants to take me to college with him, and I don't know if or who he will marry and if she can deal with his dietary issues, so my best option for dealing with those unknowns is to teach and train him to be capable of taking care of himself. (Shopping, cooking, baking GF, counting carbs, reading labels, figuring insulin doses, getting exercise, running his insulin pump, etc. etc. etc.)

How gluten free is your house? Is it for convenience, economics, or to prevent contamination?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gluten Free and Frugal?

Eating gluten free can be expensive. But when you have to eat gluten free, you have to eat gluten free, and not sticking to the diet can have its own costs. So what's a gluten free cook to do in this lousy economy? Here are some ideas.

Bake it yourself. Yes, it takes time. Yes, not all GF recipes are reliable. Yes, those little bags of gluten-free flour and xanthum gum are expensive. BUT, in the end it is almost always cheaper to make your own gluten-free baked goods than it is to buy them. For example, I figure it costs me $2.71 (actually more like $2.40 lately, because I got an extra discount on my last case of millet) to bake a 1-lb loaf of gluten free bread. The cheapest (and yuckiest -- those tasteless white, vacuum-packed bricks with a 1-year shelf life) loaves of GF bread start at $4 a loaf. When I looked them up on the Internet, Bob's Red Mill bread mix is $5.19, Pamela's bread mix runs $5.89, and Gluten-Free Pantry mix is $5.99 a loaf, but you probably add at least another 50 cents to each in eggs and oil. So find yourself a dependable, yummy recipe and start baking. I recommend Annalise Robert's "Gluten Free Baking Classics." Check out her introduction section for ideas on making more time to bake and streamlining the process.

You don't have to buy all your groceries at the natural foods store. My point is that you can buy plenty of gluten free items from any old grocery store. There's no reason to pay the "boutique grocery" mark-up on items that you can get at Walmart or Smiths. I'm sure there are lots of groceries with GF products, but I buy most of my groceries at Walmart, Smiths and Sam's Club, and then I fill in the GF products I can't buy at those stores from Sunflower Farmer's Market, a great and economical grocery/natural foods store. (I feel fortunate to live close to Sunflower, many natural foods stores are much pricier.) So buy your dairy products, your fruits and vegetables, your meats, and any mainstream product that is labeled gluten free or has a clear label from the cheapest source. (Not to mention that I keep finding more and more gluten-free products at Walmart, and Smith's has a pretty nice little gluten-free section.)

Buy in bulk if it is cheaper. Sunflower Farmer's Market does not carry millet flour, the main ingredient in my preferred flour mix. But they will order it by the case for me. And when I do buy a case they give me a 10 percent discount. (Actually, sometimes they have given me more than 10 percent off.) If you buy in bulk make sure you store your flours properly so they don't go bad before you get them used up.

If you buy on the Internet, don't forget to figure the shipping into your cost. I have not been able to find gluten-free oats in the store, so I order them online from After fiddling with their shipping calculator, I realized that the shipping price was the same for 3 large bags, as it was for 1 bag. I regularly order 3 bags per order to cut my shipping costs. I also took advantage of a free shipping offer they had before Christmas, because even though I wasn't low on oats, I knew I'd be able to use up a second order before they went bad.

Try house brand or generic products. Walmart does a pretty good job labeling their Great Value brand for allergens and gluten. Sam's Club is adding more and more Member's Mark products that are labeled gluten free. Many generic products are as good or better than name brands, and can cost much less than what the name brands cost. (For example, a gallon of 2 percent milk from the local dairy cost $4.28 the last time I checked, while the 2 percent Great Value milk cost $2.18.) If a generic comes labeled gluten-free, or has a clear label, and tastes just as good, why pay more? (I don't always chose generic; if the generic does not have a clear label, or a name brand product is labeled gluten free, or simply tastes better, I'll buy the name brand.)And frankly, part of the price difference on a name brand is because you are paying for them to advertise to you!

Buy produce in season. For heaven's sakes, when oranges are cheap, don't buy grapes that are $3.99 a pound!

Frozen or canned produce might be a better buy. I used to buy fresh broccoli, until I finally realized that it'd been trucked from somewhere, sat on the shelf at the grocery store, sat in my fridge for a few days until I found the enthusiasm to wash it and cut it up, and while it might not have gone bad, it certainly had been sitting around losing vitamins for quite a while. Once I realized this I started buying bulk frozen broccoli from Sam's Club. It's always handy, it's frozen shortly after it's picked and retains its nutritional value and I only cook what I need so I don't waste it. Plus, I DON'T have to wash it and cut it up! That said ...

Think before you pay for convenience
It's cheaper to wash and chop your own lettuce, peel your own carrots, make your own mixes, and portion out serving-sized portions, than it is to pay someone else to do it.

If you can find coupons for gluten-free products or a sale on gluten-free products stock up. I've never been super enthusiastic about coupons, mostly because they are usually for processed foods that are full of gluten or sugar, but my friend Britt recently introduced me to a web site called Grocery Smarts. They match up what's on sale at your store with the coupons from your Sunday paper, and printable coupons on the web. It's magic. The other day I noticed that Smith's had Progresso soup on sale 10 for $10, so I checked, and sure enough there was a printable manufacturers coupon. With multiple coupons (I was able to print two off of each computer) I ended up buying 12 cans of their GF soups for 67 cents each, I normally pay $1.50 a can. Here's a link to, but there are other sites that have this same service.

Eat lots of meals based on carbs that are naturally gluten free. At our house we eat lots of rice, lots of potatoes, and lots of corn tortillas and beans. They are cheap and naturally gluten free.

Drink water. It good for you and the cheapest drink around.

Watch your portion control. Eating a proper portion of meat or protein (usually 6 oz. per day for an adult) means that you probably don't need to buy a giant chicken breast or a whole steak for each person. While you are at it watch your milk consumption, three 1-cup servings of lean dairy are what is usually recommended. But most milk drinkers I know drink big glasses (more than a 1 cup serving). If you drink more than a 8 oz. of milk at each meal, you are already getting more than 3 servings of dairy, even before you count cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. Bringing your dairy consumption in line with recommendations is healthy and can save you money in the milk aisle. For more information on proper portion size and a healthy diet check here And of course, eat more vegetables, fruits and gluten-free whole grains!

The whole family might not need to be gluten free. I know this is controversial and it is certainly a decision that each family will have to make for itself. But in the end the fact is that GF food is usually pricier than regular food and the more people you feed GF, the more it will cost you. Yes, you do have to be careful about contamination, but it's doable. (I'll address how and why my family deals with this issue in another post.)

How do you keep costs down?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gluten-free German Pancakes

OK, so I was the Beakfast Queen this morning. Every once in a while I get a hankering for German Pancakes. So this morning I tried making it gluten-free, and it actually turned out pretty good. It didn't puff up the way wheat German Pancakes do. But wheat German Pancakes fall almost immediately and the taste and texture of the GF version was very close to post-fall wheat German Pancakes. My boys gobbled it down; we demolished a 13x9x2 pan between the four of us. (My 18-month-old ate a quarter of the pan!)

German Pancakes
6 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. Brown Rice flour mix (see below)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in a 13x9x2 pan and stick it in the oven to melt. Combine eggs, milk, brown rice flour mix, salt, and xanthum gum in a blender and mix on high until no lumps remain and it is light and lemon yellow. Pour batter into the pan and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot with pancake syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream and fruit.

The flour I used is Annalise Roberts' Brown Rice Flour mix from her book "Gluten-free Baking Classics." It is brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour. For the Brown Rice Flour Mix recipe you can visit her website.

Note for diabetics: I figured 32g of carbohydrates for 1/4 of the pan, plus carbs for your toppings.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gluten-free Hawaiian Haystacks

OK, if you've never eaten Hawaiian Haystacks, I know they sound crazy. But, trust me, they are delicious. Plus I love to serve them because I just put the toppings out in bowls, and people can decide what they want, and EVERYONE ends up happy.

Hawaiian Haystacks (6 servings or so)

3-4 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 cups of chicken broth
3 T. cornstarch
2 c. Japanese rice

shredded cheddar cheese
thawed frozen peas
chopped celery
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onions
drained pineapple tidbits
shredded coconut
salted peanuts or cashews

Cook chicken breasts in chicken broth in crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken from crockpot. Turn crockpot to high and keep lid on it. Mix cornstarch with a little cold water and then whisk into the broth. Put the lid back on the crockpot. Shred the chicken and return to the crockpot for half hour or so, or until the broth has thickened. (OK, you don't have to do this in the crockpot, you just need to end up with shredded chicken in chicken gravy.)

While the gravy is thickening, cook the rice with 2 2/3 cups water (or according to package directions). Bring it to a boil, cover it and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. (If you don't have Japanese rice, long-grain white rice, or even brown rice works just fine.)

Place a scoop of rice in a bowl, and top with a generous ladle of chicken and gravy. Top with your favorite toppings. Back in the day, before my son was diagnosed with celiac disease we would also top them with La Choy chow mein noodles. When I figure out how to make GF chow mein noodles, I'll let you know.... ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Mother-in-law's Sloppy Joes

I have been making this recipe since, well, ever since I married my husband. It not only is gluten-free, it tastes better than any packet or canned Sloppy Joe mix I've ever had. I serve them on hamburger buns made from Annalise Roberts' book "Gluten Free Baking Classics." (This is the best GF cookbook, by the way!) My mother-in-law makes it in an electric skillet, but I've made this on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.

Sloppy Joes

2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 c. catsup
1 11.5 oz can of tomato juice (if you use a slow cooker, you might need another can)
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 diced onion or 4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. Splenda (or brown sugar or a mix of brown sugar and Splenda)

Brown the burger in the skillet with the onion. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and mix it into the mixture. QUICKIE STOVETOP VERSION: Cut juice to 1 cup, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until it thickens up. ELECTRIC SKILLET: Use whole can of juice, and simmer for 1-2 hours. SLOWCOOKER: Use one can juice and cook on low for 2-4 hours, OR use a can and a half and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Note for diabetics: This is a little hard to count the carbs on, I figure 10 servings at 6g of carbs using all Splenda and Heinz catsup. Catsup varies wildly on its carb counts from brand to brand. If you use brown sugar it obviously increases the carb count.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gluten Free Slowcooker Blog

I was given a new Crockpot for Christmas by my MIL, and I love it. We share our church with another congregation and this is our year for the late session. By the time I gather up my kiddies and husband and visit a little, it's at least 4:30 when we get home. So I have been trying to use my Crockpot every Sunday. I love it, I love it. It is so nice to come home to a house that smells delicious and a dinner that is already made.

So far I've made a pot roast, shredded pork tacos and beef stew, but as I browsed the little cookbook that came with my Crockpot, I was bummed that so many of the recipes are not gluten-free (add a can of cream of mushroom soup...). I was just thinking "Hmmm, I wish I had more GF slowcooker recipes, "when I remembered that my friend Alison had told me about a slowcooker blog she liked. I looked it up and started reading and suddenly realized that the WHOLE BLOG was gluten free! (I can hear "Synchronicity" by The Police playing somewhere in the background.)

Anyway, the blog is "A Year of Slowcooking: A New Year's Resolution to Use the Slowcooker Every Day in 2008" by Stephanie O'Dea. I haven't cooked anything off her blog, yet, but you can be sure I'm gonna! Here's a link

Sunday, January 24, 2010

GF Shredded Pork Tacos

This turned out great! I actually made it last Sunday and have been trying to get it posted all week, BUT PEOPLE KEEP INTERRUPTING ME! Imagine that!

Gluten-free Shredded Pork Tacos
3-4 pound pork roast
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 c. mild green taco sauce (I used La Victoria)
1 c. water
1 package low sodium taco seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

If you are not using the taco seasoning, combine spices in a small bowl. Trim roast of visible fat. I used a shoulder roast, but next time I think I'll use a loin roast, just because it is leaner. Place ingredients in a large crockpot, sprinkling the spices over the top of the meat, and cook on high for 6 hours, or until it is so tender that you can shred it. Drain drippings into a gravy separator, and wait for the fat to separate from the drippings. Shred the meat, then stir in enough of your drippings to season and moisten the meat. Serve on corn or other gluten-free tortillas, topped with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.

Some people at my house can't deal with tomato, onion or pepper chunks in their food, so I make "Unchunky" Spanish Rice. You can probably find a GF mix for Spanish Rice, but this is tasty and pretty easy.

Gluten Free "Unchunky" Spanish Rice
1 tsp. onion powder
4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 T. olive oil
2 c. rice
3 c. chicken broth
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/2 c. mild green taco sauce (La Victoria again)

Combine spices in small bowl. Saute rice in oil until it starts to brown. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, and taco sauce. Give it a good stir, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cover your pan. Cook for 20 minutes and then stir before serving.

Refried Beans Without the Refry from
I love this recipe, it is simple and delicious. I use a small can of mild green chiles instead of the jalapeno, and chop up the onion. It makes a lot of beans, and I divide it into 1 cup portions and freeze them in freezer bags. Then when I want to use them I just put a "bean brick" in a bowl and use the frozen vegetable setting on my microwave to heat them up.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Momma Award

This Happy Momma Award goes to Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries! (The prize is a shout out to all my gluten free buddies that I think this product is great!)

We were never huge consumers of fast food. My oldest son was diagnosed with diabetes at age 16 months, and fast food and diabetes are better left unmixed. BUT, every one needs a treat now and then, so we used to hit a fast food place once a month or so. Then came celiac disease. Most fast food is no longer an option, and while we do hit In-N-Out Burger once in a while for a protein burger and fries, we eat even less fast food than we used to eat. BUT, (again with the big but!) I think every diet has a little room for fries. These are my favorite frozen fries. They taste good, they bake up crispy and YES, they are labeled gluten free! (I did my little happy dance in the freezer section when I saw that!) Actually Ore-Ida has quite a few products that are labeled gluten-free: here's a link to their web site. Pass the ketchup, please!

Here's a link to Ore-Ida's web site listing their gluten-free products.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gluten-free Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

I think breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to pull off at my house, for several reasons. It's got to be fast on school days, it's got to be something that my son will eat, it's got to be something that won't mess up his blood sugar (like cold cereal!), and it needs to be reasonably healthy. Shortly after he was diagnosed we started buying oatmeal from GlutenFreeOats.Com. and for a long time he ate regular oatmeal, happily, several days a week. But then he just got tired of it. So I started looking around for alternatives and I came up with this recipe. It's my version of baked oatmeal. I cook it the night before, slice it into bars and wrap them up, and then just warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so. It isn't overloaded with sugar, and it has lots of fiber and some fat in it, so it burns nice and slow and doesn't mess up his blood sugar, and he really likes it. It makes a cake-like bar that isn't overly sugary, but reminds me of oatmeal cookies.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Makes 6 bars

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. gluten-free old-fashioned oatmeal

3 T. sugar

3 T. Splenda
1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. chopped nuts
1/4 c. raisins
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 8" pan. Let it sit for a few minutes while you are preheating your oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. It is delicious warm, but it slices better if you let it cool.

This is a very flexible recipe. If you can find GF quick oats, they make a slightly cakier version. You can use all Splenda or all sugar. You can also use any variety of dried fruit, the nuts are optional. I like it cinnamony, but you can reduce it to 1/2 tsp. or try other seasonings like nutmeg. Happy Breakfast!

Note for diabetics: Slice it into 6 bars, and it has 25 g of carbs per bar.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Momma Award

This is the first Happy Momma award; I hope to make it a weekly post. The only prize is a shout out to all my gluten-free blog friends that I think this product is great! Why call it the Happy Momma award and not the Happy Monkey Award? Because one of the qualifications for this award is that when I find it I get so excited I do a little dance of joy!

So without further ado, the winner of the first Happy Momma Award is Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers!

When my friend Rachelle told me she had bought yummy gluten-free crackers at Sam's Club, I didn't really believe her (sorry Rachelle!). But when I walked into Sam's Club and saw the giant stack of cracker boxes, I started to get really happy! And when I took the box home and opened it and saw how many crackers you get in a box I got even happier! And when I tasted them and had the gluten-free monkey do a taste test, I stayed happy! We had a great time this weekend trying out various cracker toppings! (Clockwise from top, chicken salad, hummus, olive spread, and guacomole.)

They cost me $7.16 for the box, which contained two 10 oz. bags of crackers. Great price! I always feel really ripped off paying $4 for a 6 oz box of gluten-free crackers.

They are 100 percent whole grain, oven baked, cholesterol free, and low sodium. They are certified GF by the GFCO. (Ingredients: Brown Rice Meal, Sesame Seeds, Potato Starch, Quinoa Seeds, Safflower Oil, Flax Seeds, Amaranth Seeds, Tamari Soy Sauce Powder, Corn Maltodextrin and Salt.) They also contain 280 mg of Omega-3 per serving.

And they really do taste good! These thin crunchy crackers taste less "ricey" than most rice crackers, and they taste slightly nutty, and vaguely like sesame and soy sauce. (Sorry, I'm not a good flavor describer!) I'm not a celiac and I like them, and my oldest, celiac son and youngest son liked them -- the middle one doesn't like anything) and I really wouldn't hesitate to serve them to any one.

If you'd like your own Crunchmaster crackers, try your local Sam's Club or you can contact the maker at or 1-888-574-7737.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I'm back and I'm resolving to be a better blogger. Well, at least on my GF blog. I'm actually closing down my family blog (sorry, Grandma, but you know as well as I do that I haven't updated since June!) and my birding blog (fun, but a lot of work!). I have some new recipes and ideas and I'm excited for the new year. We had a fun, gluten-free holiday season and we hope you did, too!