Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fudge Cookies

If I do say so myself, these cookies are divine! I first made them with a family friend I uses to babysit. He and his sister love to cook and when he came over to help me pack I let him pick out a recipe. I am so glad he picked this one!!

2 packages (12 ounces each) semisweet chocolate chips divided
1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter, cut into chunks
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325*F

2. Combine 1 package chocolate chips and butter in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds: stir. Repeat as necessary until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

3. Beat eggs and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until blended and frothy. Add sugar; beat until thick. Add chocolate mixture; beat until well blended. Add flour blend, cocoa, baking powder, xantham gum and salt( beat until combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips.

4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 325*F. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until cookies are firm. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wore tacks; cool completely.

* makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

Blog Neglection

O my! I feel like a bad parent who should be turned in to social services. Earlier this summer I fell behind on my blog and I kept thinking, well, I'm so far behind it will take a while to catch up so i'll do it this weekend, then it was the next weekend and, well, now it's November.

From here on out this will be a new blog, daily recipes from my family and I!

I will apologize in advance because there will be a short interlude sometime between December 26 and January 2. My husban (yes husband!!) and I will be driving from my parents house in Sparks, NV, to his parents house in Rosenberg, TX and then heading up to our new home (where we will finally live together after 5 years!!!!) in Fayetteville, NC.

First recipe will come this evening... I'm thinking dessert!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Glazed Slamon

Last night we had the most amazing glazed salmon with green beans and wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. It is so simple too!

Purchase an amount of salmon fit for you family, slice lemons lay them on foil and lay the salmon on top. Place on grill for 5-6. Brush the glaze on and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Cut up a head of lettuce into wedges and lightly pour blue cheese dressing on top. We also like to slice up tomatoes and onions and throw those on top.

Pick your favorite vegetable and done!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Project- Banana Smores

Banana Smores

This recipe calls for cinnamon toast crunch however, I think I will either use cinnamon chex mix or i might just use the banana, chocolate, chips and marshmallows and call it good. This sounds amazing!

I will let you all know how it goes!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gluten Free - Corn Free Camping

When people thinking about camping things that often come to mind food wise are hamburgers, hot dogs, smores, chips, etc.

There are two ways to do this.

1. With a BBQ. You can eat the same things as everyone else just make sure if they toast their bread they keep it on the other side of the grill and if you are corn free only eat the burger and bring your own chips.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lesson Learned

Life has been so crazy lately. Between work, helping out friends, hanging out with friends and sleep I haven't been doing much cooking.

An important lesson I learned recently is to read every single ingredient. One of the reasons I've been absent for a while is because I've been passing out every spare minute. I couldn't figure out how I could possibly be so tired when I've been sleeping so much.

A few days ago my mother and I went to the store together and I went to the natural foods section to get more bread. I picked up the same bread I got last time and realized it was in a different spot then it was before. Before it was on the bottom shelf with the other gluten free stuff, this time it was up a few shelves closer to the organic foods. This puzzled me so I began to inspect it. On the front of the bag it says "flourless" but I decided to read the ingredients. I didn't even get to read most of the ingredients before the words "organic wheat gluten" caught my eye. ... Awesome I thought. No wonder I've been feeling so crappy!

I used to be so careful but I got lazy and had started thinking, if it's on top of the gluten free shelf it's gluten free. Do not get lazy. Anytime you are buying a new product read it. No matter what.

On a happy food note Jimmy Johns #16 unwhich with thinny chip and a diet coke.. approx 440 calories. AMAZING! I looked up a salad at wendy's... just for the salad it was about 500. It's amazing how many calories are in "healthy foods". I guess it's all that filler the fast food restaurants talk about. Anyways, lol, so if you're gluten free and calorie conscious jimmy johns is amazing!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's day Homemade Hamburgers

Yesterday all my dad wanted for Father's Day was chilliburgers and fries for dinner. So we all made homemade hamburgers with ground beef mixed with chopped onions and a few spices, and twice fried homemade french fries. For the french fries you cute up 2 potatoes and fry them in oil in small groups for a few minutes, when you take a group out put another in till all are cooked, then start over with the first batch you fried and fry them again. This makes them crunchier. When we were first making fries we fried the potatoes one time for a longer period of time and they were always just a little soggy. To solve that problem, you cook them twice!

We also had watermelon and dill pickles. For those who weren't allergic to everything there was also corn and cantaloup. They do make gluten free buns, however, I find it better to just eat the patty with the lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on it's own. Why add the carbs if it tastes just as good right?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mexican Food Night! (with a little tangent added =P)

So, Mexican food has never been my favorite food but since I'm  often outvoted I've learned to work around my allergies to enjoy it.

Last night my family hosted a dinner for the members of my mother's union group. It was a potluck, more or less, and there was a ton of food. Many people who are gluten free could've enjoyed majority of the stuff there. We had homemade tamales, tacos, nachos, Mexican rice, and much more, but for those with an additional corn allergy, like lucky little me, most of this food is just something pretty to look at.

I was able to stuff myself with pulled pork and tamales. While tamales are wrapped in a corn husk, we made sure to make the insides gluten and corn free so that I could eat most of the meal. It was amazing. There is nothing quite like homemade food. My mom's friend Sarah made the tamales, one of my favorite parts is that she asked if 90 tamales would be enough..... There were 12 people. Haha we are going to be eating tamales forever.

Over the past year the most important thing I've learned is that there's always an option. Last week we went to a BBQ where the only thing they BBQd was pizza. Hello plate full of amazing toppings, strawberries, watermelon and carrots. Let me just say, gluten allergy? perfect excuse to be a fruit hoarder. You know that moment when you're at an event and the fruit looks amazing but it doesn't look as if there's enough for everyone... but part of you doesn't really care? Now I don't have to care haha if anyone asks why I'm taking all the fruit I'm like "Well, you can eat everything here, I can only eat the fruit ssssooo... I win!"

hahaha For a long time I looked at my gluten intolerance as an extreme and unfortunate burden, recently I've realized it is not even close. Not only do I feel so much better (I was so tired of feeling like my insides were going to explode!) but I have been introduced to so many new and interesting foods and people. It's kind of a special bond, being gluten free. You can talk about all the things you eat and the stuff you've tried and the best recipes and wheat alternatives and you get to educate people.

One of the most interesting things to me is when people learn about my "conditions" (as they're so often called) and the reply with "Wow, that sucks, I could never do that", or "What do you eat" or my personal favorite, "O my gosh! I would starve to death I don't know how you do it. Then I get to explain to them all of the things that I can and can not eat. It's always fun for me to watch their faces as the process the information. Sometimes I even make comments to their faces as if that's what they're thinking haha.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Breakfast Time! - Pancakes :)

This morning I had awesome pancakes which I actually made this past weekend and froze in multiple servings for later occasions. They were made from a pancake mix I bought at Raley's and are extremely simple to make (and they taste great!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In N Out of the house all day

My entire life I have been kind of a busy body. I love to have way to many things to do and pride myself on always getting them done. The only problem that arises in this situation is the number of encounters I've had with fast food restaurants.

Before I found out I was gluten free I ate everywhere. My two favorites were McDonald's (yes I was one of those kids) and Port of Subs. O how I miss POS. Nevertheless, when I found out about my gluten intolerance I began looking up restaurants and fast-food restaurants which offered gluten free food. To my surprise, there are a lot of things cooked in gluten in the fast-food/restaurant industry, however, there are some restaurants that pay attention to the growing need for a gluten free alternative. I will have to make a list of them shortly. My friend Lauren's mom is gluten free and they have a great book that lists restaurants all over the country that

If you are one of those people who spends a lot of time eating out of house meals there are a great number of aps and books which provide not only lists of places, but lists of food. One of the most important things I learned is to never be afraid to ask. It amazes me how many restaurants actually do have allergy alert menus. At first I just decided to go the salad route, I figured that was safe, but there are actually a lot of ingredients and dressings that have wheat in them.

Some of my favorite fast-food places are:
  • In-N-Out 
    • I had this today. It is fast and easy and since they make their own fries they are gluten and corn oil free and order a protein style anything and you're good to go. The burger sauce has corn syrup in it though, for anyone who is corn conscious.
  • Carl's JR. (Hardees)
    • They too offer a protein style hamburger called the low-carb burger, and their original fries (not the crisscut :/ are gluten free)

Some of my favorite restaurants/fast-food sit downs:

  • Applebee's
  • BJ's Brewery 
    • BJ's Brewery has made a gluten free pizza that is pretty amazing. I am secretly convince they make it with corn flour but I'd rather not ask lol.  They also have an allergy menu if you request it.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Jimmy Johns
    • Jimmy Johns' "unwich" is a great alternative for those who are gluten free and it still tastes great!
  • Red Robin
    • Being somewhat of a traditional American restaurant it is hard to have an extensive variety of gluten free meals but red robin does a great job at accommodating those who need it. They have an entire book of allergies and what you can and cannot eat and they even recreated their special fry seasoning a year or so ago to make it gluten free!
These are the places I go most often, however, there are ssssooo many more. When I first went gluten free I was afraid I'd have to eat home-cooked only for the rest of my life. It wouldn't be bad but sometimes you just need to get out :) and more and more restaurants are making that easier for allergy alert and gluten intolerant people to do! I'll check back in for a book and ap update soon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sloppy Joes

Who doesn't love Sloppy Joes? They're delicious and provide you with an opportunity and excuse to get messy. Woo!

I believe for an average Sloppy Joe you jsut need to switch out the bun for a gluten free bun to make it gluten free, however, if you are allergic to corn, or just want to make it from scratch here is a great recipe!

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ketchup (all natural doesn't have corn in it)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet with olive oil.
2. Add onion, garlic and spices; cook 1 minute.
3. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and water and simmer until thick, about 15 minutes.
Serve on your choice of bread or roll; good with potato chips :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Salmon-potato Cakes with Mustard Tartar Sauce

Salmon-potato Cakes with Mustard Tartar Sauce.... Haha more like Salmon-potato mash with Mustard Tartar Sauce. Hahaha.My family said they were very good and my  mom is stoked there's leftovers, however, due to an accidental excess of salmon, parsley and lemon juice than the recipe called for the cakes kind of fell apart. I do have to admit that this is a pretty good recipe though. One of the blessings of being gluten free is that I am beginning to eat and like more foods than I ever have.

I paired the cakes with my mother's homemade twice cooked french fries and a green salad with carrots and ranch.

Salmon-potato Cakes with Mustard Tartar Sauce

  • 3 small unpeeled red potatoes (8 ounces), cut into halves
  • 1 cup cooked flaked salmon
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajon seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons coarse grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fill pickle
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Place potatoes in small saucepan and cover with water. bring to a boul; reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; mash with fork.

2. Combine potatoes, salmon, green onions, egg white, 1 tablespoon parsley and seasoning in medium bowl.

3. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently shape salmon mixture into 2 patties (These make large hamburger style patties, you can also split it up into smaller flatter patties. The patty shown is one of these smaller ones. It was a little crispier and held together better than the others). Place in skillet; flatten slightly. Cook 7 minutes or until browned, turning once.

4. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, yogurt mustard, pickle, lemon juice (I put off frying the patties for the salad and preparation of the fries and made this sauce haha I missed and accidentally put the lemon juice in the bowl with the salmon while waiting to cook these) and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley (missed the 1 when reading previously and put 2 tablespoons in the salmon mixture and had to chop more for this sauce) in small bowl. Serve with cakes.

The Bombshell - You're a Celiac

Almost one year ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and it was a life changing moment. So many things were going through my mind as my doctor tried to give me a brief explanation of what this diagnoses meant for me. I am not sure what he said but at that moment, what I heard, was everything you eat has to change.

The thing that made my diagnoses unique is that I was also diagnosed with an allergy to corn, peanuts, cantaloupe and soy. At first I was instructed to remove each of these items from my diet, however, after a few months I was told I could try to reintroduce soy and peanuts since my allergy levels were so low. The problem I still face is corn and gluten. For those who don't know, majority of gluten free foods use corn flour as a substitute for flour, there are many things made with rice, potato and other flours, however, corn is often an addition for texture and taste.

For the first few months, the transition was agonizing. I had withdrawals, even dreams about all the foods I used to eat. I felt confused, pathetic, defeated and hopeless, as if I would never be able to be gluten and corn free. There are so many things that contain gluten and corn it blew my mind. Yogurt, packaged deli meats, hot dogs and sausage, juices, powder for juices, dried fruits, etc. At first it seemed as if everything I picked up had corn in the ingredients. But then it started to get better. It took me a while to realize that it was getting better but one day i was explaining my situation to someone and they were talking about how they didn't think they could do it and I said "It's actually not that bad" and that was when it clicked. The dreams were gone and the withdrawals were gone the only thing that remained was my inability to resist temptation.

I ate most fruit, vegetables and meat (which would've been great if it was in meal form instead of constant snacking form) but when my friends and family and I would go out to eat or go somewhere without a gluten free option I would "cheat" as if it was a diet or something. Up until a few weeks ago I figured "Meh, it hasn't killed me yet, so who cares if I have wheat and corn once in a while?" Well apparently, my body was finally fed up with me and I got really sick. I decided I needed to take this seriously, since it is serious.

About two weeks ago I bought 2 amazing books "The Gluten-Free Bible" and "100 Gluten Free Recipes", and last weekend I began cooking.

"The Gluten-Free Bible" taught me so much about being and eating gluten free.
  • What is Gluten Anyway?
    • Gluten  is a protein that is found naturally in wheat, rye and barley.
      • Fun Fact: Legend has it that gluten was discovered by 7th century Buddhist monks who were trying to find something to replace the texture and savor of meat in their vegetarian diets. They found that when they submerged dough made with wheat flour in water, the starch washed away. What was left behind was a gummy mass with an almost meatlike texture - gluten. Today gluten is still used to make seitan- mock duck and other meat replacement products.
  • Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Wheat Allergies
    • Very specific condition in which exposure to gluten causes the villi (small hairlike projections from the small intestine that absorb nutrients and keep out toxins) to become atrophied.
    • The immune system sees fragments of gluten as toxins and reacts by attacking gluten and villi.
    • Autoimmune disease - occurs when the body attacks itself, mistaking normal healthy tissue for dangerous bacteria or viruses. 
    • It's estimated 1 of every 133 Americans have undiagnosed Celiac disease
    • In 1% of Americans diagnosed with this autoimmune disorder, exposure to even small amounts of gluten can cause intestinal damage and result in symptoms from fatigue to anemia and bone disease.
  • Symptoms - Symptoms for everyone are different. When I was 11 I was diagnosed as lactose and tollernt and by the time I was 16 I didn't eat anything with dairy. I ate soy cheese, no yogurt. I stopped drinking milk at 11 and I thought that was a big change. The years since then I was diagnosed with disorders, conditions, ailments, etc. and I thought I was a disaster. It wasn't until I final spoke up about an abdominal pain did the gears start moving. All through college I had a pain but I didn't want another diagnoses, another ailment, so i ignored it. Finally, last year it was so painful I spoke up and at first I was presented possible3 diagnoses of things such as ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer. When these and more tests came back negative, my doctor decided to do an allergy panel and Celiac test. Surprise! Bad News, you're a Celiac, good news... some of your diagnoses might be false! These are some of the symptoms for Celiac Disease. 
    • Abdominal pain or bloating
    • acid reflux
    • constipation
    • diarrhea
    • esophagitis
    • heartburn
    • irritable bowel syndrome
    • nausea 
    • vomiting
    • weight loss or gain
    • acne
    • anemia
    • anxiety
    • canker sores
    • depression, irritability
    • dermatitis
    • eczema
    • fatigue
    • hair loss
    • inability to concentrate
    • infertility
    • irregular menstrual cycles
    • lactose intolerance
    • migraine headaches
    • muscle cramps
    • nosebleeds
    • respiratory problems
    • sinusitis
    • vitamin deficiencies
This book has so much information. If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I would suggest this book. It also has some great recipes!