Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gluten free mac and cheese from scratch

Gluten Free Mac and Cheese from Scratch

1 cup quinoa noodles (Look for the green-blue box in your organic section!)
2/3 cup shredded cheddar + a little more for sprinkling later
2/3 cup shredded muenster cheese
1/8 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp gluten free flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Boil your quinoa noodles until done.  Shred your cheeses.  The starchy stuff that they put in pre-shredded cheeses may ruin your mac and cheese, so I like to shred mine fresh.  In a small bowl whisk milk, egg, salt, and flour.  When your noodles are done, drain, but don't rinse them.  Return noodles to pot.  Put back on the stove and pour in milk/egg mixture, stirring the whole time so as not to make scrambled eggs.  Add your cheeses and continue to stir until all of the cheeses are melted and well mixed.  Grease an oven-safe pan and spread your mac and cheese in it.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheddar on top when you take it out of the oven.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Chili

Although it's crock pot season, it took me a while to realize it.  A friend made this awesome chili for the superbowl and I have made it twice since then!  I even made it for Valentine's Day because we wouldn't get home until after a soccer game.  I have altered the recipe from the original.  It's a great thing to come home after work at 6:00 and not have to START dinner, but be able to eat after a few easy steps!   Also, your house is going to smell like home cooking!  I think this is a really healthy alternative to the traditional ground-beef chili.

My Crockpot Chicken Chili Recipe
2-3 large chicken breasts
2 16 oz. jars of salsa.  (I have done fresh pico and regular salsa, just get two of what's on sale!)
1 small can green chilis
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 can Mexican style corn
1 can black beans

Serve with sour cream and shredded pepper jack or cheddar.  

I'm not much of a morning person, so I put this all in the pot the night before, then in the morning just took it out of the fridge and threw it on my crock pot on low for the whole day.   Put all of the top ingredients in for the whole day of simmering.  When you get home, remove the chicken breasts and put them on a plate.  Using two forks, separate the chicken into nice thin strings then return them to the pot.  It will just fall apart for you!  Add the drained can of Mexican style corn and a drained can of beans to your crock pot.  Throw it up to high and once it starts bubbling again, serve the chili with sour cream and shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese.  It goes great with tortilla chips too!  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp
Bitmann's Apple Crisp recipe is my go-to recipe when we have apples on hand.  I use gluten free oats and Jules gluten free flour to make it okay for me to eat.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dirt Balls

Remember dirt cake?  Why not take dirt cake and cover it with chocolate?  This was my Valentine's Day treat for my chocolate-lover.  These were so sloppy to make, I probably won't make it a regular thing.  They were delicious, though!  In fact I caught someone sneaking them from the fridge a few times when he thought I wasn't looking.

Dirt Cake
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
2.5 cups milk
1 package cool whip
For a richer version add 1/2 package softened cream cheese
For a richer version add 4 Tbsp softened butter
1 package gluten free oreos  (I like Kinnikinnick's K-toos, but Glutino makes some too)

Start by making the puddings with the milk in your mixer.  After 3 minutes, add cool whip.  Be sure your cream cheese and butter are very soft and add it to the pudding.  Mix while you crush the oreos and add to the mixture. 

Separate into ~1 Tbsp+ balls, freeze them on a silpat (or nonstick cookie sheet) for about 30 minutes, then dunk them into melted chocolate chips and refrigerate them until treat time.  

Dirt Ball. 
Dirt Balls.
Dirt ball.
Luckily, there was lots of leftover dirt. 

Dave got me this adorable ducky tea steeper for Valentine's Day!  His little holder is on the right.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


#7 on my 30-During-30 list is to master making three types of cheeses.  Well, mastery is far away, my friends, but here was my first attempt at mozzarella at home.  I followed these directions, which made successful batch at a friend's house a while back:  It's not true mozzarella recipe, in that my cheese making book says proper mozzarella is about a 6-hour process, but I think I'll try mastering the cheater version for now out of the interest of realism. 

Non-ultra-pasteurized whole milk, citric acid, rennet, a thermometer, a half an hour, and I made mozzarella cheese.  Adjustments for next time:  buy a gallon of milk, not a half gallon.  I swear that half gallon looked really big until I got it home and realized I had to cut everything in half.  I found some milk that had been pasteurized at 142 degrees and had a cream top from Whole Foods called Kolona Super Natural.  We got liquid vegetable rennet at our beer brewing store a while back and I honestly found citric acid in our closet in our bath-bomb making kit.  Don't worry, it was food-grade.  I found a thermometer in our cupboard that looks like a meat thermometer, but went lower to a lower temperature.  I'm pretty sure it was far from accurate.  It took about three minutes to go from cold milk to 90 degrees with my new Cuisinart pots.  As meteorologists, we have a gazillion thermometers around the house.  Next time I'll use one that works.  Lastly, I made this last night at 8:00pm and wasn't about to eat it at that hour, so I put it in a tupperware for today.  Um, dumb move.  Next time I'll add a last step where I make a cold brine solution to cool down the cheese, keep it from getting hard, and store it properly. 
Cut, reheated curd.
Home made mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil.
You wouldn't believe the guilt complex that I have right now.  After buying a share of community-supported-agriculture last year and getting local organic veggies every week, I feel pangs of guilt every time I buy out of season vegetables.  Oh the carbon footprint!  I had to tell myself that I don't want to die of scurvy and I need to start buying fresh veggies again.   

Caprese salad complete with olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Peanut butter chocolate pretzels

I'm still having some lighting issues with my food photography, mostly because I'm too lazy to find the white balance portion of the menu, and my lighting is really yellow, but I wanted to share this recipe with you.  We made these at a friend's house (Thanks, M!) and then I did it again at home.  They are so addicting!  The peanut butter portion just melts in your mouth, the Glutino Pretzels add a little salt, and the chocolate, well, chocolate doesn't need explaining.  These are fresh out of the freezer, which is just a way to set the chocolate, so they are a little dewy. 

I borrowed the recipe from twotinykitchens who borrowed from Foodaphilia :

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar (maybe more)
3/4 cup brown sugar (maybe more)
1 bag  semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a fork or whisk, or in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine. 
Use a teaspoon measure to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.
Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.  Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

I used my silpat to prevent sticking and cleaning.
Look for this red bag of gluten free pretzels at your grocery store!  Most gluten-eaters can't tell the difference. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monster Cookies

I have blogged about these before, but they are my staple cookie.  I got the recipe from my gluten free oats bag a few years ago.  Now I just buy Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats because they are available at my grocery store. 

Here's the recipe that I use:
Monster Cookies
¼ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp gf vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
3 cups Gluten Free rolled Oats®
6 ounces of gf chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350ยบ.
Beat sugar, brown sugar and butter until creamy.  Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda and mix well.  Add peanut butter and mix.  Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts.  Place teaspoon full of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around edges.

I love using my Kitchen Aid mixer for these cookies. 

I use an ice cream scoop to create my cookie balls.
I'll put all of the cookie dough into balls, back six of them, then freeze the rest to make fresh baked cookies whenever we want.

I use my silpat for everything!  No need for cooking spray, no need to clean the pan, just rinse off the silpat when you're done. 

Crunchy outside, soft and gooey inside.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

30 During 30 List

30 During 30 List*
  1. Read Pride and Prejudice
  2. Run the Bolder Boulder (a 10 km road race)
  3. Climb a new 14er
  4. Play 30 different board games (we own 15, not sure I can pull off 30)
  5. Grow 30 plants (herbs and veggies)
  6. Can 30 pints of veggies
  7. Master the making of 3 different types of cheeses
  8. Try 30 different ciders or gluten free beers or meads, including home brews
  9. Donate hair to locks of love or a similar organization
  10. Travel abroad (if this is impossible this year, then at least visit somewhere new)
  11. Try 30 new gluten free recipes
  12. Learn to use the DSLR camera and take 30 fabulous pictures
  13. See 30 different types of birds (and keep track of which)
  14. Ski once.  
  15. Train to be able to do 30 push ups in a row
  16. Pay $30 for a Denver Voice from my favorite homeless man
  17. Donate blood
  18. Master making gluten free ravioli from scratch
  19. Compost
  20. Finish a quilting project.  
  21. Bike 30 miles
  22. Write 30 unique blog posts
  23. Learn to knit and knit a blanket
  24. Play in a softball game or sing Karoke, two things that make me very, very nervous
  25. Take 3 camping trips and learn how to use the camping stoves
  26. Sing in a choir
  27. Learn to play a song on the guitar
  28. Read 30 books
  29. Complete a puzzle with more than 3,000 pieces
  30. Master 3 piano songs

A few alternates:  publish and article (career), send out Christmas cards this year, play soccer, snowshoe

*Friends and fellow bloggers NavyGirl and A created 30-before-30 lists of fun things they wanted to complete before their 30th birthdays.  I ran out of time to do this before my birthday, but I almost think it's for the better.  The young, active part of my life didn't end the moment I turned 30 this week.  It really is the perfect time to start a list! 

I like lists.  I make a lot of them:  to do lists, grocery lists, list of goals and ideas, books to read, movies to watch.  After a great birthday celebration to ring in a new decade, I sat down and started making a list in a blank journal I got for Christmas.  The list includes a few fun things I'd like to accomplish this year outside of my career.  Some of them make me nervous, which is probably good.  Some are inspiring, some will push me to do something rather than taking a night off to rot relax on the couch. 

It reminds me a little bit of Julie and Julia, where Julie spends a year making all of Julia Child's recipes and blogging about them.  I am a little worried that my year will turn into silly tally-marking and scheduling to accomplish it all, when I could just be living life, but you know what?  I'm the kind of person who needs to be pushed because it's easy for me to sit on my butt and come up with ten lectures that need preparing before I'll allow myself to go to the gym.  Anyway, I didn't really make any rules for my list except to keep away from career goals.  Some things I've done before, some I haven't, some I haven't done in a very long time.  Some involve the number 30 (per Dave's suggestion), or a variation of it, some don't.  Some overlap (recipes, books, blogging), but I think it still works. 

My goal is for this list to push me to live it up and do a few things I've always wanted to do.  Any suggestions for substitutions?  What do YOU want to do this year?  Anyone want to take on a **your age** during **your age** challenge with me?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Best Birthday Present!

Me with my new pots!

Dave got me brand new pots and pans for my birthday!  He couldn't wait until my actual birthday due to excitement, so I got them a few days early, which was pretty fun since we were stuck inside for a day due to two feet of snow.  Our old collection consisted of three hand-me-downs and a new frying pan whose handle was so heavy, it didn't sit on the stove, but at an angle.  These new pots are pretty high tech!  They have some neat heating technology that we both geeked out on for a while.  What a cool gift for a gal that loves to cook!


Friday, February 3, 2012


I got a chance to practice my cake decorating this week on some chocolate cupcakes.  I made purple and blue/green frosting, put them in the same bag, and tried all different tips.