Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Creamy Chicken Stuffed Crescents


We really want some Chicken Crescents
Max and his girlfriend/playmate Chola

So my boyfriend just pointed out that these are actually croissants...but I still call them Crescents. He just told me to write "They're Crescents when they are gluten free". Back before my Celiac diagnosis we would make an amazing dinner where my boyfriend would make a "filling" out of cream cheese, spinach, garlic, and baked chicken. You would then stuff Pillsbury Croissants with this "filling" and make purses. Bake until golden brown. Uhhh...so good. They are actually the first meal that boyfriend prepared for me. Awwwww

So yesterday I looked up recipes for Croissants. I decided that I wouldn't look up Gluten Free recipes. Instead I was just going to use my beloved Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose as a substitute in a traditional recipe. I found a recipe that looked pretty simple, but it does have to be prepared the night before. So I made this dough last night and then let it sit in my fridge until tonight.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup Crisco (I used All Natural Shortening from my Co-op)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs (I used Free Range Local Eggs)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used Raw sugar)
  • 4 cups Beth's GF All Purpose Flour
Directions (Prepare the night before)

  1. Put Crisco and salt in glass measuring cup.
  2. add the 1 cup boiling water
  3. stir till dissolved and becomes lukewarm
  4. dissolve yeast in the warm water
  5. beat the eggs with the sugar until well beaten
  6. add the lukewarm crisco mixture and the dissolved yeast
  7. add 2 cups flour, mix in well, then add the remaining flour, mix well
  8. add sufficient flour to make a 'kneadable' dough, and then knead lightly till well mixed
  9. put into a bowl (covered) overnight in the fridge
  10. Cut the dough in half
  11. Roll out one half to 1/4 inch thickness (You will need to keep your rolling surface floured)
  12. Cut in to 4x4 squares
Spread with soft butter - - You are now ready to make purses



To make the filling you will first need to bake 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Lightly season with salt and pepper. While the chicken is baking, take one package of frozen spinach and place in a microwaveable bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. Place two packages of Organic cream cheese in a big mixing bowl. Take the hot spinach, squeeze out water, and place on top of cream cheese. The heat from the spinach will help the cream cheese mix easier. Add anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup fresh chopped raw garlic. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it and add to the mixture. Mix well.


Next you will plop about 1/4 to 1/2 cup filling into the squares of dough. The dough will need a bit of stretching and scratch repair as you make the "purses". You want each purse to be very full.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 375. I was able to make 8 purses with half of my dough. Bake until brown and crisp. They don't quite reach "golden" status. I feel like I'm always saying this, BUT my oven is really wonky. So I baked mine for about 10 minutes and kept checking my bottoms. My oven burns SUPER hot on the bottom, so once my bottom was crisp, I turned the oven on Broil and finished up the tops. Remember, your filling is cooked already, so you only have to worry about the dough.
The finished product! SOOOO GOOD. I was actually really impressed. Yeah, it's not Pillsbury, but it is still AWESOME! We eat ours with Jellied Cranberry Sauce. I know it sounds strange, but it's really not the best bite without it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chocolate Nesting Cupcakes


This weekend I've been doing a bit of nesting. It seems like this is the first weekend in a long time where I haven't had to work, or it hasn't been someone's birthday, and I haven't had to go out of town. I technically did work on Saturday but I had the night off and all day off on Sunday.

Saturday night I decided to try a bit of baking. I had a taste for something chocolate, but I didn't feel like dirtying the kitchen too much. So instead of starting from scratch, I decided to make my Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate Mix.
The interesting thing about this mix is that you only have to mix in water and oil. It doesn't call for butter or eggs. I think they are trying to appeal to all food allergies, but I kind of miss the butter. I followed the directions on the box and they turned out pretty good. My oven is still really wonky so they cooked fairly fast and slanted to one side, but I don't mind those aesthetics.

The icing was also Cherrybrook premade icing. When I first opened the jar I thought it may have dried out. This did not look like typical premade icings. It looked more like fudge. But then I read the label and it said that you needed to stir first. Which did help but it was still a bit fudgey.
I had some time to spare, so I had the idea to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. I wanted to make them look like chocolate icecream cones. And while I was successful in making them look like soft serve...you won't see any pictures here. (Because they really looked less like icecream and more like a pile of....)

So improvised and let the cupcakes get warm again in the oven and then let the icing melt over them. So they ended up looking like mini molten lave cakes. They were really tasty. The cupcakes tasted exactly like the cake that you get in hot fudge cake sundaes. (Which I love)
Even thought they weren't "lovely" enough to warrant a professional photo shoot with nice lighting and a nicer camera, they were still tasty. I ended up leaving the rest in the cupcake tray and freezing them all individually overnight. This morning I put them in groups of frozen threes into baggies and stuck them back into the freezer. That way the next time I have a taste for a hot fudge cake sundae, I'll just pop one in the oven for five minutes.

Expect a post soon about a sundae...I would have one tonight but there's no vanilla icecream in the house!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wild Weather


Last night was supposed to be a pretty hectic night. I actually was planning on having a Lara Bar for dinner on my way downtown to walk in Light the Night. A co-worker had gotten me involved and her determination inspired me to join the team. She's an awesome girl with a ton of willpower and she's great at getting me motivated to walk more. Plus she's been super supportive of me since I found out I had Celiac's Disease. She made gluten free turkey sausage balls for a party once!! (And they were Dee-lish-us, maybe I can convince her to share the recipe)

However, last night turned out to be a super awesome, super COZY night. A sub-tropical storm hit my little coastal town yesterday morning and stayed on throughout the night. We had a TON of rain dumped and the wind was anywhere from 30-40 mph. So even though the walk is rain or shine, they decided to cancel it due to wind and flooding and move the more "festive" parts of the walk indoors. They were still going to have free food (which I couldn't eat) and lots of survivors and such. Needless to say I was bummed. I was really looking forward to walking with my friend and one of my very best friends works for the Society and she was going to walk as well. But the Society was still able to raise money and reach their goal. We'll have to walk another time.

So I flaked on the entire event at the hotel. I have had a pretty busy week and hadn't really had a night at home. Plus I have been itching to cook lasgana ever since I found Tinkyada Lasagna noodles when I visited my sister in Charlotte. So, with the help of a friend, I made Gluten Free Pepperoni Lasagna. YUMMMMMMM.My friend cooked the lasagna noodles while I was finishing up work. She said they were super simple to cook. A few of them tore, but for the most part, they stayed intact. The first layer was a smattering of Bove's Vodka Sauce. Then three noodles, Organic Valley Ricotta, Hormel Pepperoni, and lastly Mozzarella. Repeat 3 times. Top off with cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It wasn't until halfway through that we realized you need to cook it covered, so ours was only covered for half. But it didn't change it in the least. I have a pretty wonky stove, in that the top doesn't really heat that much, so covering isn't totally necessary.

The lasagna was AWESOME. Tinkyada noodles are really good. You would never know they are gluten free. And I love the pepperoni with the salty cheese, like a pizza! Plus the best part is there was plenty for lunch today! So we ate our lasagna and watched Wheel of Fortune. Cozy and dry.

Then my boyfriend and I watched My Name is Earl and The Office, we were so excited for new episodes!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crock Pot Sandwiches



I love coming home and having supper waiting. Crock Pots make this so simple, but my boyfriend and I aren't super comfortable leaving them on all day when we aren't home. We have a pretty curious puppy as you may have noticed from the Chicken Pad Thai post. So Crock Pot dinners don't happen as often as I would like but yesterday was one of those very special days!

My boyfriend works from home most days but will have to go in to the office a few times a week. So yesterday he volunteered himself to make a crock pot meal because he didn't have to go in to the office. He already had a meal in mind. Our friends Mack and Amy make an amazing crock pot sandwich with beef and pepperoncinis and my boyfriend had a taste for it! So he gave it a try.
YUM! So good. They're pretty simple. Get a cut of beef. We used Chuck Roast. Pop it frozen or thawed (we did frozen) in your crock pot. Then dump a jar of pepperoncinis and a jar of sweet peppers on top and cook for around 7-8 hours. Too good! Serve it up on a gluten free roll with a nice cheese (we used White American). My boyfriend puts mayo on his, but I'm not a mayo person. Plus, if you get a side of beef big enough, you can have it for lunch again the next day! I guarantee you'll still be craving it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Hate Gluten


At my job, getting information for educational signs.

My job is a mish mash of a bunch of different responsibilities. Mostly I make signs....My job title is Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator but I am also the Demo Coordinator. But having the three together is a bit much. I love my job and I'm constantly learning more and more about the organic and natural foods system. BUT this past Friday I really hated my job. Well, I guess I really hated gluten.

Living with Celiac Disease has been an easy road so far. Not easy in the sense of dining out, but I have really enjoyed experimenting with new foods and recipes. And while the occassional whine for a Corona Light may contradict me, it really hasn't been that bad. That is until last Friday.

I was charged with doing a demo at my co-op of Bove's Vodka Sauce. Yum Yum. It is so good. This was going to be an active demo, so my beloved demonstrator Laurel was coming in to give me a hand. I was in the process of heating the sauce when she hands me an ultra-soft, ultra-gluteny loaf of sourdough bread to pair with the sauce for sampling. "Okay, Okay," I thought, "I can handle this." As cut through chunks to make bite size pieces, I was amazed at how soft it was. I guess it's been a few months since I actually had "regular" bread in my hands. It was SO SOFT. Ugh. Torture #1. But whatever, I didn't pop any in my mouth. I handled it.

Enter Torture #2. Laurel then suggests that we also offer some Alexia Mozzarella Sticks with the sample. (Cry a single tear) So I then had to bake these delish-us mozzarella sticks, smell them bake and crisp, and THEN cut them in to bite-size chunks of melting, oozing mozz for folks to sample.

I did not pop even ONE single bite into my mouth. I am not a willpower person, so I'm not quite sure where I mustered some up from, but I did. Somehow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looks can be deceiving

So I meant to post this like a week ago but kept forgetting to load it off my smaller camera.

Last week I was in a hurry for supper. I got home from work at 4:45 and needed to babysit for a new mom at 5:30. I had bought a few convenience foods just for this type of situation and I decided to be brave and try one. I chose the NEW Glutino Gluten Free Chicken Pad Thai. The box looked really tempting and I LOVED pad thai before I was diagnosed with Celiac's. I'm a pretty big fan of cilantro.
This is how it looked straight out of the microwave. Not too appetizing. So I thought maybe deplating it would make it better.


Not much better. This is my lower quality camera...but it looks nothing like the box! The noodles were gummy, the sauce was bland, and the chicken was rubbery. Blech.
However, my dog Max did seem really interested!


At first he tried nonchalantly gazing at the plate. But that proved to not workout so he tried a closer more pitiful pout. Then he went for what I call the peek-a-boo pout which can sometimes work, but I try really hard not to give in to him on table scraps. Much like his Mommy he has a very sensitive digestive system.

Max's Patented Peek-a-boo Pout

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Snack Time Salsa


**The following recipe is not my own! It is my friend Bekah's and she deserves full credit! Her recipe is copyrighted so make it up, but when you repost on how delicious it is (because you will) make sure you give her credit! Bekah Smith is the B-O-M-B!!**

My friend Bekah is having a baby. On Sunday she had a baby shower here in our coastal town. Unfortunately I was at my sister's baby shower so I missed it! I knew the food would be awesome, so I told my friend Jessica to bring me anything left over! Bekah is one of the owner's of The Little Dipper fondue which I have talked about in another post and they were hosting the shower at Kristen's, another owner of The Little Dipper. They are both amazing chefs and have the BEST tastebuds! Jessica gave me the low down on the food yesterday and mentioned Bekah's Famous Salsa. Today she brought some in. DELISH!! Too good!

I ate it right at my computer on top of a pile of paperwork. There was no time to clear the top! This salsa tastes just like a pizza, with little bits of feta and italian spices. We called Bekah to get the recipe and the entire phone conversation was shrouded in secrecy. She gave me a few hints, but here's what I dissected.

Instead of using fresh tomatoes, use canned tomatoes that are in italian seasoning. Muir Glen carries one with Italian Herbs. Then add black beans, corn, white onion, avocado, feta cheese, and garlic. I would let the batch sit overnight so that all the flavors can marinade. It's perfect for a snack and it tastes like a pizza! I must have pizza on the brain!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pizza Night Take 3


As I've said in earlier posts, I am constantly searching for the perfect gluten free pizza. Pizza was one of my favorite meals before my Celiac diagnosis and the craving gets pretty strong.
This past weekend I was in Charlotte for my sister's baby shower. In addition to the aforementioned donuts, I also found a gluten free pizza dough at Earth Fare.

However, this was not a pizza dough mix. Nor was it a pizza ready made crust. This was a gooshy, pliable pizza dough BALL. The company is Gillian Foods, which I had never seen. I was very anxious to try it.

So my first dinner back was pepperoni pizza...homemade! My boyfriend Parrish worked as a pizza thrower in high school, so I left the dough shaping to him. The dough wasn't as "wet" as other...glutenous doughs, but it wasn't as dry as bag mixes. We topped it with Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce, Organic Valley Mozzarella Cheese, and Hormel Pepperoni Slices. Yum!

It turned out pretty good. It's no Pizza Hut thin crust, but it's the best I've had so far. Next time I'll try brushing the crust edges with olive oil to crisp it up a bit, but overall it was a pretty good dinner! Served with a glass of red wine, even better!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I love You Kinnikinnick!!



I'm in Charlotte this weekend visting with my sister and her husband. My sister's baby shower is Sunday so it's a pretty busy visit. Lots of planning and Party City trips. I haven't had any exciting gluten-free meals here. Just salads...




However, we did make time to go visit Earth Fare. I'm pretty loyal to my co-op, but it is fun to visit new stores. We don't have an Earth Fare in my little coastal town, but I'd always heard the stores were impressive. And it was! What a neat store! I racked up on gluten free goodies! I found a pizza dough ball in the frozen section...but more about that later! This post is dedicated to Kinnikinnick.




Vanilla Glazed Sugar Donuts. I have read many posts about the Cinnamon Sugar donuts and they are great! So I bought the vanilla to try. YUMMMM So good! As someone who lives not even 10 miles from a Krispy Kreme, I would say that my standards are pretty high! I love how you nuke it in the microwave. YUM YUM YUM But, beware the hot glaze. I burnt my finger! They warn about this on the package, but it smelled to good, I had to taste it!


But the donuts are not even the best news. Just moments ago, I went online to find a picture of the product for this blog and on Kinnikinnick's website I found.....SMOREABLE Graham Crackers!! Oh boy! I might buy these offline!! Has anyone tried them? I love smores and graham crackers. And graham cracker crusts! Hopefully I'll be able to try these soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Itty Bitty Frozen Pizza



My co-op often carries some random gluten free products around the store. I think they like to bring things in to see how they'll sell. Most often I get to give them my two cents and that is often "GROSS!".
In the freezer section I noticed a new itty bitty frozen cheese pizza. I feel like all of us "gluten-free eaters" are in a constant search for a good tasting pizza, loaf of bread, and bagel! Amy's pizza with rice crust is pretty good, but that rice crust pizza is so sweet. I would say that that pizza has become just edible for me, not craveable.
The itty bitty frozen pizza was by a company called "Foods by George". I had tried their English Muffin and it was pretty good, but never anything else. The little pizzas were $2 bucks, so I gave them a try.
Yummy. They're pretty good. On the record, my oven is wonky, so most things come out pretty good at first and then the second time I let them cook longer and they're even better. This pizza was no exception. You have to let the crust take a long time to get brown on the edges. The directions say to cook for 10-12 minutes but I think more like 15 minutes. I would also suggest broiling the top of the cheese to get it nice and bubbly. This cheese is really good too. A slightly salty mozzarella. Yummmm...tiny food.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies


DEE-LISH-US!

I was scanning the internet looking for something to make for Tropical Storm Hanna "survival". I had an idea that I wanted to make peanut butter cookies, but after my scone/sugar cookie debacle I really didn't want to try a "gluten free" recipe. I bought a case of the Beth's All-purpose Gluten Free Flour, so I had the idea to just use it as a direct substitute in a recipe.

I found this great blog called Cafe Johnsonia. In this blog there was a recipe for peanut butter cookies that looked pretty simple. (My sister later told me that she has a recipe for peanut butter cookies that doesn't call for flour!) I love the way the recipe is organized. With the steps and the ingredients being together.

Peanut Butter Cookies
(adapted from a Better Homes and Garden recipe)

Sift together:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together using an electric mixer:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening

Add:

1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural style)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat until well combined and creamy. Gradually add the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Shape dough into 1" balls. (I used my small ice cream scoop which produces a slightly larger ball.) Roll the balls in granulated sugar (I didn't for all of them and they were just fine.) and place on an ungreased baking sheet about 2" apart. Press tops of cookies down with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake for 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway though to ensure even baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for one minute and remove to a rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 6 dozen (or so--depending on the size of the dough balls and how much dough you eat.)

They were awesome!! So good and once again, Beth's Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour didn't let me down! Tropical Storm Hanna was not bad at all! I did lose power for a little over 12 hours but my power was restored sooner than most, so I'm thankful!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hurricane Party....I mean Preparing


As a Southern girl I have weathered out my fair share of Hurricanes. Living on the coast the past 7 years, has left me really feeling like a local. I know when to evacuate and when it's safe to ride it out. Tomorrow night I will be riding out Tropical Storm Hanna...possibly Hurricane Hanna if she can get her act together. It really won't be a terrible storm hopefully, but they are predicting it to bulls-eye my coastal town. And hopefully I won't be posting in a week to tell you that I'm packing me, my boyfriend, my dog, and my TV in my car and evacuating for Ike.

I always ride the storm out with some friends and spend the day before making some Hurricane snacks. Plus it's always good to be prepared for the power to go out and the roads to get blocked. So what better way to be prepared than with some cupcakes and vodka soaked watermelon?

So tonight I'm going to try out a recipe that I have for Peanut Butter Cookies, using Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (aka the love of my life). I'll post the recipe if it turns out. Other than that I would usually make some cheese biscuits but those are out of the question. Anyone have any ideas of gluten free items I can make that could sit out of refrigeration if needed?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sloppy April's


I found this recipe in a Crock Pot cookbook back when I was still eating gluten and loved it! Last night was my friend's birthday and she made the request for her birthday dinner. We call them Sloppy April's. They're basically a cheeseburger, so the only substitute needed was a different bun. I used the Sami's Millet and Flax buns. You also will need to check your condiments and make sure they are gluten free.

Brown 2 pounds of hamburger meat and then drain. Put the browned meat in a crock pot. I have a big guy crock pot, but the recipe doesn't specify a particular size. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped onion (depending on how much you like) and then add 4 tbsp. ketchup and 4 tbsp. mustard. I really just squirt 4 large blobs of each condiment on top of the browned meat, precision is not necessary in this recipe. Then you mix it all together and evenly spread the mixture in your crock pot. Lastly take sliced cheese (any flavor you prefer) and cover the meat with slices. It's cool if some pieces overlap. Then it just cooks for 3 hours. You'll begin to really smell it in the second hour. MMMMMmmm. When it's finished the cheese will be a little browned at the edges of the crock pot and the meat mixture underneath will be super gooshy.

I'm thinking that next time I might experiment with adding different sorts of ingredients. Maybe some red peppers or topping it with a smoked cheddar.