Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Spaghetti Squash

I remember the first time my mom made spaghetti squash. She tried to get us kids all excited that a squash could be spaghetti too. We'd have none of it at first. Finally she said that was the only thing she made for dinner, so we may as well try it. With some tomato sauce on top, it wasn't that bad - it's pretty mild and doesn't have a big squash flavor. Now I'm a big fan. These days I like mine drizzled with olive oil, then sprinkled with salt and pepper and maybe some herbs, then finally topped with chopped walnuts and grape tomatoes.

The usual method for cooking spaghetti squash is in the oven, but since our oven is broken I decided to steam it on the stove top. This takes much less time and it's possible, if the squash is your main dish, to get dinner on the table in under half an hour.

As far as choosing a squash, it just needs to feel heavy, just the way you'd choose a cantaloupe. A small squash will make a meal for two with some french bread and soup or salad on the side.

Spaghetti Squash
Wash outside of squash. Halve lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon.

Place squash halves in double boiler cut side down. Steam 15 - 20 minutes or until fork just pierces skin and goes through squash with only the tiniest bit of resistance. You want the squash to be crisp tender, not mushy, so be careful to not overcook it.

Remove squash to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, take a fork and scrape the flesh from the skin - the flesh will come away in long strands like spaghetti.


Place squash strands in a separate bowl. Dress squash however you like - with a dollop of spaghetti sauce or pesto or whatever suits your fancy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

GFCF Sandbox Cake


This recipe was recently featured in a Penzey's catalog. You can find the original recipe, which is called Cinnamon Supper Cupcakes, here. I like the name Sandbox Cake better - the kids think it's cute. I made this in a baking dish and served it as a coffeecake. It turned out so good that not even the crumbs lasted long.

1 cup GF flour blend
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt


1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. canola oil

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup rice milk



Topping

1 tbsp. soft dairy fee, soy free margarine

3 tbsp. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish, set aside.


Sift together the flour blend through the salt, set aside.


Stir together the sugar and the canola oil. Add the egg and beat well. Add the vanilla and rice milk and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake about 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and spread the margarine evenly over the top while still hot. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the cake. Let cool slightly. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spice Rubbed Grilled Steak

This is a simple spicy rub for steak, but it would work well with pork too. I found this recipe in a South Beach Diet cookbook and tweaked it slightly. You can kick up the heat by adding ground chipotle pepper in addition to the cayenne pepper. I like this with a simple cucumber and tomato salad and brown rice on the side.

2 lbs steak (flank, tenderloin, or a similar lean cut)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper, or equal amounts of both
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
fresh cilantro for garnish, if desired

Place steaks in a large ziplock bag. Combine the oil through the black pepper and pour over the steaks. Seal the bag, then toss to coat meat. Marinate in the refrigerator up to several hours, turning once or twice.

Remove steaks from bag, discarding leftover marinade. Grill steaks over hot coals (or medium-high heat for gas grills) about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. For flanks steak, let meat rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. Serve warm.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nut Free Crumb Topping

I made this topping for a fruit pie made with a no roll pie crust, but it is an all purpose crumb topping that would also be good on anything that calls for a crumb or streusel topping. This particular topping, unlike my other All Purpose Crumb Topping recipe, has no nuts. It makes just enough to cover a deep dish pie with no waste.

1 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 tbsp. dairy free, soy free margarine or ghee

In a medium bowl, blend the flour, sugars and cinnamon or nutmeg well with a fork. Add the margarine or ghee and blend very well with your fork until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Top as desired.

Another No Roll Pie Crust Recipe

This is a great recipe for sweet pies (I have another No Roll Pie Crust recipe for savory pies). It's great for those times when you really want to make a pie but don't have the time or energy to roll out your pie crusts. This will fill a deep dish pie plate with just a smidge left over. I made it with All Purpose Millet and Sorghum Blend - the millet is sweet and the end result is slightly crumbly when you cut it with a fork, which I liked, and which works well with a crumb topping (with nuts or nut free). It even goes from pie plate to dish without falling apart! I'm pretty sure other flour blends would work well too, such as All Purpose Sorghum. I'm pretty happy with how this pie crust recipe turns out!

1 1/3 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup palm shortening
1 egg, beaten

In a medium bowl, cut the margarine into the flour blend with a pastry blender or tines of a fork until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Add the egg and mix well. Place mixture into a deep dish pie plate, pressing the bottom and up the sides evenly with your fingers. Flute edges with the tines of a fork, if desired. Bake crust according to your pie recipe.

Another Multi-Grain Flour Blend

I like this blend best in pizza crust and sandwich bread.

1 cups brown rice flour
1 cups sorghum flour
3/4 cups potato starch
3/4 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup corn flour

Sift together all ingredients until well-blended. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Baked Eggs with Basil


This breakfast casserole makes a nice dish for brunch. I threw basil and pepperoni into it, but spinach, ham or tomatoes would be good as well.

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup pepperoni, sliced into strips

1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into strips

12 large eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

dash pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.


In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add pepperoni and cook another minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat.


Whisk together the eggs in a large bowl. Add the onion and pepperoni mixture, basil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake about 30 minutes, or until eggs are puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before slicing into squares to serve.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GFCF Spice Cookie Bars

This recipe comes from a Penzey's catalog of spices. I love Penzey's - their spices are great - if only they'd make their soup bases without wheat or soy! I made these bars for the kids but the adults couldn't keep away from them. So they didn't last long. Which is good.


1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
scant 1/2 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cups GF flour blend
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Bring the raisins or cranberries and the water to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool until lukewarm.

Sift together the flour through the cloves, set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the oil, applesauce, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat until well blended. Fold in the raisins or cranberries and walnuts if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Chicken and Bean Burrito Filling

I found this recipe on the back of a package of phyllo dough. Don't worry, I made it sans phyllo dough. I modified it slightly, and I thought it was really good. I'm not sure whether this is because I was hungry and made it after cooking glutenous foods I couldn't eat for my sister-in-law for 10 hours straight, or whether it was totally fabulous in its own right. But I will definitely make it again - it's easy to throw together, fast and likely to please the kids. You can enjoy it rolled up in a rice tortilla but it'd be good with chips or crackers too.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 can refried beans, stirred
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until soft. Add the tomato and garlic and cook until the tomoato just softens. Add the chicken, refried beans, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper and stir to blend well. Heat through and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve warm as you like, but seriously it's good plain and eaten with a spoon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash

While the girls and I were on vacation at DH's parent's house, his mom bought a butternut squash and put it on the counter. I eyed it for a few days and when she didn't do anything with it, I claimed it. (See what happens when you invite family over for a month? They abscond with your veggies!) I decided to roast a chicken with butternut instead of the usual potatoes and it was very good. There were only a few leftovers, which I turned into soup. I mashed the leftover butternut before adding it to the broth, which gave the soup a nice creamy quality. And that was good too! For roasting the chicken and vegetabes, I used this Whole Foods recipe here as my guide.

1 (5 - 6) pound whole chicken
1 lemon, halved
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1 small butternut squash
3 small yellow onions, quartered
2 cups chicken broth
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry (discard gizzards). Place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken, tossing the rinds into the cavity. Place one sprig of rosemary in the cavity with the lemon rinds.

Peel the butternut and scoop out the seeds. Chop into large pieces. Arrange the butternut and the onion around the chicken in the pan. Pour the chicken broth over vegetables. Drizzle the chicken and vegetables with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Take the remaining sprig of rosemary and remove the leaves. Chop the leaves and scatter them on the chicken and the veggies.
Cover with tin foil and roast for 30 minutes. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Remove the tin foil and continue roasting the chicken for another 1 1/2 hours, periodically basting with the chicken broth in the bottom of the pan, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees (it will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven to reach 180 degrees) and the vegetables are cooked through.

Let the chicken rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it to a carving board. Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables and pan juices on the side.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homemade Baking Powder (Corn Free)

Did you know that cornstarch is added to the baking powder you buy at the grocery store? It's added to powdered sugar too. The starch absorbs moisture and keeps the mixture from reacting before you need it in storage. The addition of cornstarch proved consternating as I am trying to eliminate corn from my diet, but then I found out that making your own baking powder is very easy. I don't know about powdered sugar yet - I'll tackle that one later.

Tapioca starch or potato starch can easily be substituted for cornstarch when making and storing your own baking powder. The ratio should be 2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda and 1 part starch flour. For example, to make 1/2 cup of baking powder:

1/4 cup cream of tartar
2 tbsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. tapioca starch
Sift together and store in an airtight container in a dry place.

If however you just need to use a small amount of baking powder immediately, the starch can be omitted. For example:

1 tsp. baking powder = 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar plus 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder = 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar plus 3/8 tsp. baking soda

Don't let corn take you down. Now get baking!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vegetable Beef Soup with Rice

Summer is fast coming to a close and school will be in session in just two weeks. It's hard to feel sad about this, even after returning from vacation. The start of school is the signal that autumn is just around the corner, and autumn is my favorite time of year. I love everything about autumn...the colors, the smells, the foods, the nip in the air. There's something about it that makes me feel more alive. So I made this soup to welcome autumn into my kitchen ...to me this soup looks, feels and tastes like the beginning of autumn. I'm glad it's almost here.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped red pepper or carrot (or both)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups beef broth (plus more if needed)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup brown rice

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion through the garlic and cook until the onion is just soft. Add the beef and stir to brown. Add the oregano through the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve hot.