Green Eggs and Ham Quiche

My version was actually Green Eggs and Sausage, but that doesn’t have the same snazzy ring to it as Green Eggs and Ham!  The only reason I even used sausage is because that is what I had on hand for this final attempt at making a quiche (more of a breakfast casserole) for The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Quiche Challenge.  I have made many a quiche these last few weeks, but they were not well received by my clan.  I think I was getting a little too fancy for them.  The Goat Cheese and Leek quiche I made, received the lowest fanfare (although I liked it!), so an idea came to me to revise the popular school snack my boys have made at their preschool each year during Dr. Seuss week.  I wanted to make a naturally green egg dish to hopefully inspire their teachers that you can make better green eggs, without the synthetic food dye and some added nutrients! 😉

*At the end of this post is a video clip of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity that you might be interested in watching.

Goat Cheese and Leek Quiche with a Pie Crust Made from Garbanzo Beans! 😀

I wish I had more pictures to share of the steps I went through, but Sam decided to play with my camera and accidentally erased everything, including all the photos of my first experiments with my new BFF, Ms. Vitamix!  Yes, I have made a very large “Note to Self: Dump your camera after each photo session!”

Onward and upward as they say…  I found this recipe and used it as my inspiration for this naturally gluten-free version of Green Eggs and Ham Sausage Quiche!  I omitted the pie crust and went with a hash brown crust, simply because it was easier. 😉

For the crust:

4 cups of Frozen Shredded Hash Browns, thawed

1 Tbs. Oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, but Olive, Canola, etc. would work fine)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Toss together the thawed hash browns, oil and seasonings.
  • Press into a 9 x 13 pan.

For the filling:

8 oz. of fresh spinach (I believe I used more, quite possibly double this amount, but I forgot to to weigh it beforehand.  The fresh spinach came in my CSA box, but it wasn’t labeled with the amount, so I just used it all!)

1 cup Smoked Ham (I used lowfat breakfast sausage)

1 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded

10 Eggs (I used fresh, local free-range eggs that I get in my weekly CSA box, it may be in my head, but they taste so much better!)

2 2/3 cups of Milk (I used Skim)

1 cup Heavy Cream (I used Half and Half to lighten it up a bit)

Salt and Pepper to taste (the recipe I used for inspiration called for nutmeg too, but I tend save my nutmeg for pumpkin pie.  Not very evolved of me, I know!)

To make the filling:

  • Add fresh spinach (I did not blanch it, as called for in Nick’s recipe) and eggs to a blender or food processor (I used my Vitamix).  Puree until smooth.
  • Add milk and cream (or substitute) to the spinach/egg mixture and puree until combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

To assemble the Quiche:

  • In the shredded hash brown lined pan, sprinkle with ham (or sausage) and cheese.
  • Pour the spinach/egg custard over the hash brown, ham and cheese layer.
  • Bake at 325º F. for about 55 minutes, then check for doneness.  A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Note: Once the initial quiche was done, there was a Pronounced spinach flavor (remember, I didn’t measure how much spinach I used!).  Once it was done baking, I had to add more cheese, salt and pepper, in order for it to be more palatable for my kiddos.  All I had was sharp cheddar, but it did the trick!!  I added about 1 1/2 cups more of shredded cheese (so much for lightening it up!). 🙂

The boys really liked it and they have been eating a square of it for breakfast each morning this week.  It reheats very well in the microwave.  I will definitely make this again, but I will just be sure to measure out the spinach next time. 😉

Linda is doing a Gluten-Free Cake Challenge for this month and that is more up my alley!  Be sure to check it out for what I am sure will be some very amazing recipes!

Speaking of gluten-free cakes, did you see Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens?  Yummy.

In the spirit of gluten-free awareness month, I want to share a video clip with you of Dr. Rodney Ford talking about eczema and gluten sensitivity.  I posted a little bit about eczema and artificial colorings the other day on my “Funny Oranges” post.  Ron Hoggan, Ed.D., co-author of Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health, left a very informative comment to that post last night (thank you, Ron!), that I encourage you to read.  I have solely focused on reading about celiac disease over the past few years, but am starting to read more on the entire spectrum of gluten-sensitivity, and what I have been learning is mind boggling.  For further reading, check out The Gluten Syndrome.net

Funny Oranges

After I got the Breville Citrus Press and started making fresh squeezed orange juice each morning, I found myself knee deep in orange peels.  Instead of throwing them all away, I wondered if I could use some of them for a fun lunchbox treat.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Gelatin Oranges on Disney’s Family Fun website so I thought I would give it a try.  If you or your child has a beef allergy (gelatin), avoid artificial colorings, etc., keep reading…  this gets much better! 😉

These are relatively easy to make (and super easy if you have the Breville Citrus Press to do the juicing work for you!).

Funny Oranges

  • Just slice oranges in half and scoop out the fruit. Be sure to scrape well and remove all the orange pulp, you will want the inside of the orange to be white.
  • To keep the oranges upright, I used a muffin pan to set the oranges in.
  • Prepare gelatin (or substitute, see below) as indicated on the package.
  • Pour gelatin into the prepared orange halves and refrigerate until set.
  • Slice Orange halves and you will have a fun little treat for snacks or to stick in a lunchbox!

The juicer only does so much, I still had to peel the last bit of orange "stuff" out by hand.

Prop the hollowed out oranges in a muffin pan for support.

Pour prepared gelatin into orange halves.

After reading a few of the comments for the Easy Lunchbox Giveaway, I decided to send in tacos for a cool new lunch. Wish I had re-read the comments before I made them as I would have known NOT to assemble the taco the night before! They were pretty soggy come lunch time the next day, LOL! I always seem to learn the hard way. 😉 If you make a taco lunch, be sure to seperate all the components and let your child assemble their own taco at lunch time... this is "much cooler" anyway as they have their own taco bar!

So there’s that version.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months on artificial colorings, dyes, preservatives, etc. and I’m now of the mind that “less is definitely more!”  Just yesterday, I was reading an article in the May/June 2010 issue of Well Being Journal titled, “ADHD Increase Linked to Modern Diet,” by Jane Hersey, pages 16 – 17.  In the article, Jane sited some research by Sanford C. Newmark, M.D., from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine:

Research has shown a consistent relationship to the intake of artificial colors and/or preservatives on the symptoms of ADHD or hyperactivity.

After describing two large British studies linking food dyes and preservatives with hyperactivity, including one that was published in the Lancet, he concluded,

One can see how the intake of these substances could ‘shift’ in a positive direction the proportion of children diagnosed with ADHD.

The article went on to credit the late Ben Feingold, M.D. for first discovering the link between artificial food additives and hyperactivity.  I just read an article on the Feingold Association website pertaining to ezcema and ADD.  Seems that children with excema are far more likely to develop ADD (Wow, I didn’t know that.  I really encourage you to check out the Feingold Association website, there is some very interesting information on it, that only further demonstrates the negative effects of processed food on our health).  Funny, I had ezcema as a child and was diagnosed with Adult ADD about a year ago.  Luke also suffers from severe ezcema (worse than mine was as a child).  Hmmm…

Another startling fact that was mentioned in the article was the dramatic increase in American consumption of artificial dyes.  Consumption of these dyes has increased almost threefold since the 1980’s, rising from about 6.4  million pounds in 1985 to more than 17.8 million pounds in 2005!!

Last quote from the article that I want to mention, and I think it is very important that all parents think about this:

Newmark pointed out that since more and more families have two working parents, family meals increasingly consist of processed (additive-laden) foods.  “It is hard to know just when a Pop-Tart became an acceptable breakfast, but it often is.  School lunches are abysmal, with an unacceptably high intake of processed foods and [denatured] saturated fats.”

I just looked at my boys after reading the article and thought to myself, “They deserve better.  They have their entire lives ahead of them and I do not want to burden them with health problems (ironically, the very ones I have!), that I can control by simple diet modification.”  That’s right, I am the one who can potentially alter the course of their life and health by taking the time to think about what I am putting into their mouths.  While we already have the benefit of being a gluten-free family (which means we cannot eat most processed foods like Pop-Tarts, but there are obviously still many products like Jello and Koolaid that we can technically have, but probably shouldn’t!).

Needless to say, the rest of my Jello stash went into the trash, as did my remaining Koolaid stash (okay, I’ll admit it…  I was actually the closeted Koolaid drinker! 😉 ).

I have been experimenting with making my own “jello” from natural juice and pectin (the grape turned out to be a kickin’ Grape Jelly without added sugar or HFCS, but it really didn’t taste like Jello.  I have yet to try juice with gelatin, but I have that one on my short list.  I did however, find a really cool new product (new to me anyway) on a recent shopping excursion to my local co-op: Natural Desserts by the NutraDrink Company!!  Check this out from their website:

Natural Desserts’ line of flavored and unflavored Dessert Jels are a truly unique line of gluten free, vegan, dairy free, Kosher dessert jells that are truly indistinguishable from gelatin, yet are manufactured using an exclusive blend of vegetable gums.  Perfect as a simple dessert all by itself, or marvelous for use in the most elaborate mold.

They even have pudding!!  I have yet to find the pudding in my local store, but I am definitely on the hunt. 😀

So, I re-made the oranges with the All-Natural Strawberry flavored Jel Dessert:

This product is still high in sugar, so moderation is key.

We really liked these quite a bit, even though Sam is still hung up on the green Jello. Wonder if I could make a spinach/apple combo juice and just add the unflavored Jel for a natural and healthy green color?? He might disown me... but it's worth a try! 😀

Update: At the suggestion of Deanna, I just submitted this recipe to the May “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” monthly recipe roundup (it’s a Jello theme for May), being hosted by Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes.  This is my first time participating in this monthly event and I am so happy that Deanna mentioned it to me, because it introduced me to a new blog that I am excited to read.  Anyone can participate in this blog carnival, you do not need to be a blogger to join in on the fun!  The “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” blog carnival was created by Naomi Devlin over at “Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried.”  What a fun way to make cooking at home an even more rewarding experience.  It’s like sitting at the kitchen table, swapping gluten-free recipes and the stories behind them, with great friends over a hot cup of coffee.  🙂

Homemade Coffee Creamer

We, like many people, went through a tough time when the economy tanked in 2008.  Since changes in the stock market can affect our income, I’m sure you can imagine just how tight things became around here!  We sought out all sorts of ways to cut costs and a funny thing happened in the process… we really had a lot of fun doing it as a family, and dare I say, we grew even closer as a team!  It makes you really start to think of all the mindless dollars that go out the door each month.  Times were tough, but we wanted to make lemonade out of lemons and still try to enjoy the things we loved, just in a new way!

I began my “homemade odyssey” making my own body scrubs and soaps to give as gifts for the 2008 holiday season.  I did not know how to give “nothing.” At first, I was really embarrassed to give my “piddly” little homemade gifts (if you recall yesterday’s post when I mentioned that the words ‘frugal’ and ‘Heidi’ never appeared in the same sentence, I wasn’t joking.  I love to give gifts and make people happy, but I had a tendency to go overboard in that department!).

I was floored at how well my homemade gifts were received.  It seems as though people liked them BETTER than the high priced body scrubs I used to give my gal pals as gifts!  I had so much fun that first year, that I did it again in 2009, even though I really didn’t have to.  My friends also made me handmade gifts and it felt so good to know that someone cared enough to spend the time making something, just for me.  It has made me really think about how disconnected we have become as a society, in our pursuit of bigger, better, more.  I have been slowly edging myself toward jumping off that runaway train ever since and I cannot say that I have ever been happier, nor my kids for that matter.  I have been guilty in the past of giving them all the latest “it” toys and they never reacted to them (outside of the first 30 minutes before something inevitably broke or disappeared) nearly the way they have reacted when I invite them into the kitchen with me or Mike shows them how to use a drill!

Change is not easy, and I am by no means the “perfect” mother (besides, perfect is boring in my opinion 😀 ), who spends all her time making crafts, doing science experiments, coming up with crazy lunchbox ideas, cooking from scratch… no sirree Bob (so please don’t think I am some “Martha Stewart-Wanna Be” because of a few of the posts I have made, that is just one small slice of my pie, and most of these things I only started doing recently because I was trying to come up with good blog material!). 😉

One small successful change for me, led to another and yet another.  I began my gluten-free journey with an obsession for GF copycat recipes of mainstream processed foods that I grew up on and now I am eating raw Swiss Chard and I even had Broccolini last night!  I went from a shopaholic to a frugal homemade gal.  I went from being a very wasteful person to being a re-user and recyclyer.  I went from putting my kids in 20 different activities and buying them all the name brand clothes and “cool toys,” to spending real time with them. I went from feeling very empty, sad and angry, to being happier than I have ever been in my life, and lost 50 lbs. in the process.  I feel like I finally “get it.”  Had someone told me that even 2 years ago, I would have LAUGHED at them! 😀

So on to the coffee creamer!

This is a recipe that I have been making for about a year now and have received a lot of, “You made that?” comments from unsuspecting guests at my house. My father-in-law, who loves coffee creamer was stunned at how good it was. While I personally like my coffee black, there are times, like after a dinner party, when a flavored coffee hits the spot.  Or during the autumn when I live at Starbucks during Pumpkin Spice Latte season!

I found a recipe on the Frugal Village Forum, posted by “Yankee Mom.” for homemade creamer. I will post a portion of her recipe here so I can give you my side by side tweaks in red, as usual. (I do this because I am NOT an intuitive cook and I need recipes to start with, then I can modify as needed.  So if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!  One just needs to know how.).

Delicious Coffee Creamer
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (I make my own, see below. You can easily make this dairy-free too!).
1 1/2 cups Skim Milk (or dairy substitute).

  • Measure all ingredients into a 32 ounce container (with a cover), seal container and shake vigorously. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

“Yankee Mom” has a few flavoring combination’s on the Frugal Village Forum that you might be interested in, so click on the above link!

Last night, I tried something new to flavor my coffee creamer with… Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia! I added about 5 drops then also added 1/4 tsp. of Cinnamon Extract (see photos below)… yum! Want to know where I first learned about the flavored Liquid Stevia?  From Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut, if you haven’t visited her website… you absolutely must!  You also need to check out Kelly’s post from yesterday (hint: healthy coffee cake!) over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, as part of the “30 Days to a Food Revolution” series.  I am beyond THRILLED that Diane is doing this series, it is so much fun!!  I encourage you to check it out and get on board for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk (I found this recipe on Recipezaar)

1/2 cup Cold Water

1 1/3 cups Nonfat Dry Milk Powder (I have also made this using Vance’s Darifree Milk Powder and Better Than Milk Vanilla Rice Milk Powder, since these are sweet milk powders, I reduced or omitted the added sugar below, adjust to your personal taste).

3/4 cup Sugar (I used 10 packets of Truvia for a natural sugar-free version. Technically, I think the conversion from 3/4 cup of sugar to Truvia is 18 packets, but 10 was sweet enough for me).

1 tsp. Vanilla (I omitted the vanilla since I was going to add it to add the flavoring to the coffee creamer)

1 Tbs. Butter, Earth Balance or Smart Balance (optional, but I added this to round out the taste of the Truvia; this is a new product for me so I am adjusting to it).

  • In a saucepan, combine powdered milk and sugar (or sugar substitute). 
  • Slowly add water, while stirring, into the milk powder/sugar mixture. Continue stirring occasionally over medium-low heat (Click here for microwave directions).
  • Add in optional butter or butter substitute, and vanilla if you choose to use it.
  • Heat through for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly (so it doesn’t scorch) until mixture is thickened.
  • Use this in place of the canned Sweetened Condensed Milk in the above Homemade Coffee Creamer recipe!

Add powdered milk to saucepan,

Add 10 packets of Truvia, or sugar,

Add water,

Whisk to combine,

Add optional butter, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and the milk powder has dissolved.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk!

To make coffee creamer: add 1 1/2 cups milk to the Sweetened Condensed Milk,

Whisk again.

I added about 5 drops of the Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia.

Add 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon Extract (or other flavor extract, to taste).

Pour in a container with lid and refrigerate! Shake before using.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

Homemade Limeade Concentrate

I love Limeade, especially during the hot summer months.  I find it to be even more refreshing than Lemonade or water for that matter. 😀  While I have been learning to reach for water first, or even sparkling water with a spritz of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice (no added sweetener), I still enjoy a cold glass of Limeade on occasion.

I grew up on the Minute Maid Frozen Limeade from Concentrate.  It is very easy to make, but it has high-fructose corn syrup in it and I try to avoid that ingredient at all costs.  Yes, this recipe does have granulated sugar in it and can probably still be improved upon, but for now, I will take this.  Baby steps and moderation is key.

I like making concentrates because, well, it’s convenient.  Being a busy mom, convenience items do come in handy at times, but if they are homemade convenience items, that is even better.  I control what goes in and can eliminate the undesirable ingredients.  And it’s cheap.  That is such a funny thing for me to actually say.  Up until fairly recently, the words ‘Frugal’ and ‘Heidi’ were never part of the same sentence!  Saving money by learning how to make many things on my own, has been seductively addictive! 😉

I found the following recipe on the Cooking for Engineers Website and it is by Michael Chu.  I am going to rewrite it here in a format that is easier for me to refer to in the future.  I like to make my Limeade Concentrate in large batches to reduce how often I need to make it, so I quadruple the recipe.  After doing this a few times, I realized that I am not a fan of juicing by hand, especially in large quantities!  So a bought a really nice electric citrus juicer by Breville, to do the work for me!  I love this juicer so much, that it stays on my counter and we have freshly squeezed orange juice each morning with breakfast.  No more Tropicana.  I also buy mass quantities of limes and lemons at Costco.  I like to juice them up and freeze the pure juice in ice cube trays so if a recipe calls for a little fresh lemon or lime juice, I just grab a cube, thaw and ta-da!  No more yucky lemon or lime “juice” in those little fruit shaped containers!  And no more getting caught unprepared and needing to run to the store at the last minute for a fresh lemon that is called for in a recipe.  The Breville citrus juicer is not inexpensive ($190), so I don’t recommend buying one unless you really plan to use it (and pay cash… living credit card debt-free is an amazing feeling!).

Homemade Limeade Concentrate

1 cup fresh Lime Juice (I use 4 cups, to quadruple)

1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar (I use 6 cups)

1 1/2 cup Water (I use 6 cups)

  • Make a simple syrup, combining the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Add lime juice and stir to incorporate.
  • Now you have Homemade Limeade Concentrate!
  • At this point you can either portion out and freeze for future use (I freeze the concentrate in 2 cup portions because I like to make up a small pitcher at a time), or chill the hot mixture in the refrigerator until cool.
  • When you are ready to use it, simply add 2 cups of cold water to each cup of concentrate that you use.  It does not make a lot, but that is okay… keeps me from drinking too much!

Stir and Enjoy!

I like to make the lime juice first:

This is one AWESOME gadget, worth every hard earned penny, in my opinion!

Just press down on the lever... no carpal tunnel! 😀

The Breville Motorized Citrus Press comes with 2 strainers: a fine strainer if you do not like added pulp or a large strainer if you do like some pulp. AND, (this was the kicker for me because I loathe hand washing), it all comes apart and everything is dishwasher safe, Woo-Hoo! 😀

To make the simple syrup:

Add sugar to a large saucepan,

Add Water,

Stirring occasionally, warm over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Simple Syrup.

Add Lime Juice to the Simple Syrup.

Stir to combine.

Portion and freeze. I always add the directions to my containers, as I have major 'CRS' syndrome and it saves me more time by not having to look it up! 😉

Since I don't have the cardboard containers that store-bought juice concentrates come in; I place my frozen concentrate in a warm water bath to loosen it up so it slides out easier.

Add concentrate to a pitcher,

Add cold water, stir and enjoy!

Sam LOVES this juicer!  I cannot believe how fast he is growing up, he makes his own juice in the morning and his favorite is Blood Orange juice!

I love Wisteria and they are in full bloom at the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque!

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

So have you heard the news yet?

General Mills will be debuting Gluten-Free Bisquick (and a few other items 😉 ) at the Celiac Disease Foundation’s Annual Education Conference and Food Faire in Los Angeles, on May 15, 2010!

I am still speechless (shocking, eh? Don’t worry, it won’t last for long. 😀 ) that this is actually happening so I will direct you over to Anne Steib’s article on Celiac-Disease.com so you can read it in more detail.  Anne is another one of my favorite bloggers, check her out at Gluten-Free Musings, I love her honesty, her spirit and her courage, and I think you will too.

The famous yellow box. I wonder what the gluten-free package will look like??

I grew up on Bisquick.

Bisquick Pancakes, Bisquick Biscuits, Bisquick Strawberry Shortcakes, Bisquick Impossible Pie Casseroles; you name it, my mom made it.  It was one of the products I missed most after my diagnosis 5 years ago (my 5 year diagnosis anniversary is actually this Thursday, April 29, 2010…woo-hoo! 😉 ), as that neon yellow box was an integral part of growing up for me.

Being diagnosed with celiac disease at age 31 meant I would never again eat the foods of my past… mainly, my mom’s “home cooking.”  That actually had a lot to do with my 3 years of “cheating,” before I finally sought help to come to terms with my diagnosis; but I will save that for my “About Me” page I will finally have up next month (it’s been difficult to write because I have evolved so much over the past 10 months that I have been blogging. What I write today, may not be entirely accurate tomorrow!).

I have long since moved beyond the “need” for food nostalgia (note that I didn’t say “want”), but the very idea that the day has come where Bisquick will again be an option (albeit, a GF option), almost moves me to tears.

That being said, I have made many homemade gluten-free versions of Bisquick over the years but the product that I think has come closest, at least in my memory, is Better Batter’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix (I hadn’t been to the Better Batter website in a while, since I buy it in bulk (and am well stocked)… have you seen their new site? Very cool Naomi, I love it!!).

I have been using the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix for a few months now in those old Bisquick recipes from my youth.  One of my all-time favorite Bisquick recipes is the Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake, and the following is the original recipe that my mom always used to make, with my tweaks in red.

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Streusel Topping

1/3 cup Original Bisquick Mix (I used the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix)

1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Tbs. firm Butter or Margarine (I used 1 Tbs. Earth Balance)

Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick Mix (again, I used the Better Batter GF Pancake and Baking Mix)

2/3 cup Milk or Water (I used Skim Milk)

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Egg

  • Heat oven to 375° F.
  • Grease 9-inch round pan.
  • In a small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly, set aside.
  • In a medium Bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until blended.
  • Spread in Pan then sprinkle with streusel topping.
  • Bake 18 – 22 minutes or until golden brown.

I can imagine my mom enjoying this with me, in another life perhaps. 😉

I’ve also decided to launch a new campaign…

My all-time favorite cereal (I am not sure that anyone will even remember this cereal from the 70’s/early 80’s), was actually a cereal made by General Mills, called “Buc-Wheats.”

Now that the 1980’s seemed to have regurgitated all over the department stores and General Mills is a gluten-free super hero… maybe, just maybe, a reincarnated “Buc-Wheats” (that is gluten-free, of course… hey, I am not launching a cereal campaign that I cannot benefit from!).  Just replace the wheat with something else (corn or rice will work fine), replace the malt flavoring with molasses and manufacture in one of their dedicated facilities and we will be good to go! 😀

Oh Lordy Pete…I love those old commercials! 🙂

Two quick things I want mention; if you haven’t heard about the “30 Days to a Food Revolution” being hosted by Diane over at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, it began today with a great post by Shirley Braden of GFE – Gluten Free Easily. Check it out and get involved for a chance to win some great prizes and learn some healthy new recipes! You can also “Like” The W.H.O.L.E. Gang on Facebook (is it just me or does that not roll as well as “become a fan?” 😀

Also, there is something really cool about to start… The Gluten-Free Challenge. If you have a friend or loved one with Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE), why not spend a couple of days walking in their shoes?

I did an EE (Eosinophillic Espophagitis) challenge a few years ago in support of one of Sam’s old playmates who had the disease. I ate nothing but chicken, sweet potatoes and grapes for an entire weekend. It was such an enlightening experience for me to better understand what someone else has to go through each and every day for the rest of their lives… 2 days was nothing in comparison. It really changed my life in the sense that it brought me greater awareness of the challenges other people face and instilled a level of compassion I had never known before. I am now thoughtful about making sure all children that come into my home for a birthday party, play date, etc. are made to feel like a regular kid by being able to eat what everyone else is eating. This is how I really became aware that young kids don’t care about the food itself… they really just want to play and eat what their friends are eating, Sam ate raw sweet potatoes sticks (to mimic carrot sticks) for years, just because his little friend did! 🙂

I am working hard at getting Sam to understand that he is different, but you know what? We all are, and that is what makes life interesting and fun. There are times though, when it feels good to sit at the table with our loved ones and be able to fully enjoy a celebratory meal (like the holidays) without having to watch with an eagle eye for a rogue bread crumb that may land on your plate. When I sit down with my parents, sisters and their families for a meal, I am not fully engaged in them because I can’t be while I am watching to make sure my son and I stay safe.

Of the roughly 1,095 meals a year we all consume, would 6 gluten-free meals be that big of a sacrifice? You might just find a few great new recipes that are naturally gluten-free to add to your mealtime! 🙂

I want to leave you with an excerpt from the Gluten-Free Challenge website that I think sums it quite perfectly:

Why have a Gluten-Free Challenge?

Living gluten-free can feel isolating, but it shouldn’t. We believe that if we invite our gluten-consuming friends and family to join us at the table, we can all enjoy a delicious meal together. Our goal is not to change everyone to a gluten-free diet, but to simply show our gluten-consuming friends and family that they can enjoy our food with us. We believe that everyone who to takes this challenge for their gluten-free loved one, will find that eating together is more enjoyable, easier and less stressful.

Steamed Artichokes with a Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce

So, a couple of weeks ago I got a recipe in my email inbox from another one of my favorite new blogs, “Snack Girl.” I LOVE Lisa’s blog and encourage you to check it out! It is not a gluten-free blog, but many of her recipes are easily adaptable to be gluten-free. She also does a lot of healthy snack product reviews, some are GF, some are not, but you can get some really great ideas either way! If you subscribe to Snack-Girl.com, Lisa will send you a free list of “30 Healthy Snacks for under 100 Calories.” To read more about Lisa, click here.

Anyway, back to the email I received with her latest post (at the time); which was intriguingly titled, “Do NOT Be Afraid of this Vegetable – In Season Now and Yummy.” The title of Lisa’s post proved to be somewhat ironic for our entry into the world of artichokes. While there is indeed no reason to fear the vegetable itself (they are delicious), depending on your taste preferences, you might want to consider proceeding with caution! 😉

But I will get to that in a minute.

The day I received the recipe, also happened to be my CSA box delivery day and inside were four artichokes! What perfect timing because I had honestly NEVER made or consumed a fresh artichoke before! I am however, a big fan of hot, cheesy artichoke dips, but they aren’t exactly what you would call “healthy!” All things in moderation, right?? 😉 Yeah, lets move on…

Artichokes are high in fiber and are a good source of antioxidants, folate, magnesium and potassium; click here to learn more great nutritional information on this fascinating veggie!

Snack Girl’s Recipe for Artichokes with a Lemon Butter Dip <– Visit Lisa’s site for a link to a video tutorial on How to Prepare an Artichoke).

2 medium Artichokes
1 Tbs. Butter (I used something I’ve newly discovered… Organic Valley’s Pasture Butter, which I found at my local Whole Foods. This is a seasonal product and is not available year-round).
1/4 of a Lemon (I used 1/2 of a small Lemon)
1 clove minced Garlic

Prepare Artichoke:

  • Cut stem off at base.
  • Cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke.
  • Place artichokes in microwave-safe bowl, base down, and add 1/2 inch of water to the bowl.
  • Cover and microwave for 8 minutes (depending on your microwave).
  • Let stand for 1-2 minutes before uncovering. Check to see if leaves easily detach from artichoke. If not, place artichokes back in microwave for another minute.

Prepare Sauce:

  • Place butter in small bowl.
  • Squeeze lemon into the bowl and add garlic.
  • Microwave for 10 seconds until butter is melted.

To Eat:

  • Rip leaf off of artichoke and dip in sauce. (Proceed with caution before placing in your mouth, see below, LOL!)
  • Place the leaf with the inside facing up (inside of leaf was facing inside of artichoke).
  • Scrape sauce and artichoke with your teeth.
  • When done with leaves eat the artichoke base – it is the best part!

The above recipe belongs to Lisa at Snack-Girl.com and the following photos are my contribution (just please don’t get mad at me at the end, and if you are eating right now, stop. 😀 ).

I will definitely rub the cut parts with lemon juice next time (watch the video tutorial first!).

If using a microwave, be sure to use a microwave safe dish... don't use plastic! 😉

Now for the Lemon Butter Dipping Sauce:

The Pasture Butter comes in one solid block, so you need to guess-timate how much to cut off.

Then add your fresh lemon juice (really, don't use that stuff in a lemon-shaped squeeze bottle).

See how brown they got? This is why I would recommend doing the lemon rub.

And there you have it… well, almost. I had better share with you why I said to “proceed with caution” before just digging in (warning: this is gross):

Ewww......

So the moral of this story is this: “Do Not Be Afraid Of This Vegetable” BUT “Do Proceed with Caution!” 😀

There is also an important “hidden” lesson here… this is an Organic Artichoke… no chemical pesticides to drive off the occasional “visitors” (it happens)! I am not sure what kind of worm this is (anyone know?) but I found this website that made me a little more thankful for seeing this little guy (before he ended up in my mouth!).

I was going to throw the entire artichoke away but funny thing happened (it’s called a b.o.y.!), Sam wanted to eat the artichoke that had been home to the worm (not the worm itself, thank God). So, I just took off several rows of leaves from the bottom and let him go for it (whatever works, right?).

Ahh, motherhood… never a dull moment! 🙂

Thanks for this recipe Lisa, the lemon butter sauce was AWESOME! We will most definitely be making these again soon.

Gluten-Free Reuben Sandwich

Well, almost. There obviously isn’t any rye bread in this version and I am too lazy to make my own GF Rye-Style bread with added Caraway Seed!  I also added a little bit of pastrami in my variation just because I like it.

Click this link for a little history on the Reuben Sandwich.

I can remember my dad eating these when I was growing up and they just seemed rather unappealing to me, Thousand Island Dressing and Sauerkraut… UFTA! Well, never say never, right? When we became a gluten-free household, Mike and I wanted to make it fun, since we would no longer be eating out all the time; so we like to have themes on occasion and the weekends are usually “Deli Days.” Mike and I each worked at deli’s when we were kids. I worked at one that only served cold sandwiches and Mike worked at one that served hot sandwiches. Hot sandwiches are definitely the way to go! Mike has been teaching me the art of making hot sandwiches and today we made Reuben’s. I am 36 and have never had one before… they are actually pretty good!

I found this article How to Make a Reuben Sandwich, Restaurant Style and used it as a guideline for building my own GF Reuben. I used Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread, Boar’s Head Sauerkraut, to which I added some Caraway Seed for that “rye-like” flavor. I also used Boar’s Head Pastrami and Kroger’s (Private Selection brand) Corned Beef. I found a Finlandia Cheese multi-pack of deli cheese slices last week at Sam’s Club (yes, Finlandia Cheeses are gluten-free, see question #13).

Start by spreading butter (we used Smart Balance) on one side of each slice of bread.

Lay the buttered side of each bread slice facing down on the griddle.

Lay a thin slice of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread (I said this was gluten-free, not "healthy!") 😀

Meanwhile, I sauteed some Sauerkraut in a separate pan. I added about 1/4 tsp. of Caraway Seed for a flavor reminiscent of rye bread.

Saute Corned Beef (and Pastrami if you add it), until warm.

Holy Cow! 710mg of Sodium!!! This is one of the reasons that "Deli Days" are reserved for the weekend! 🙂

Another reason that "Deli Days" are reserved for the weekend! Boar's Head IS worth it though. 🙂

I used just under a Tbs. of Thousand Island Dressing.

This is what happens when you send your husband to the grocery store. This proved to be a good teaching moment for us though...

Check out this label. "Naturally Helps Better Absorb Vitamins A & E." It would be very easy to think this was a smart choice, right? (Cutting my hubby some slack here).

Note: High Fructose Corn Syrup. Also Note: "Gluten-Free" on the label. I think this is the first Unilever product I have seen with the "Gluten-Free" label on the product.

Add Sauteed Corned Beef (and Pastrami) to one of the slices of bread, top with Thousand Island Dressing.

Anyone have a good homemade Thousand Island Dressing Recipe???

Top the meat/dressing side with the Sauerkraut.

Exquisitely Scrumptious... as an occasional treat.

And for dessert, the cake I decorated in my Fondant Class yesterday:

Don’t be fooled by my photograph, take a closer look:

See all the lumps and bumps at the back of the cake? I am NO Martha Stewart that’s for sure! 🙂 But ya know what? Who cares? I had a lot of fun trying on a new hat but I also know that I want a Cricut Cake more than ever!! 🙂 I also found a new fondant that tastes great (for fondant) and is MUCH easier to work with than other mainstream ready-made Rolled Fondants, it’s called Satin Ice and it is GLUTEN-FREE (Dairy-Free and Nut-Free too)!!

Homemade “Safe Cleanser” Recipe from the Dr. Oz Show

I while back I had the Dr. Oz Show on in the background and my ears piped up when I heard “homemade non-toxic cleanser.” I just had to try it.

I have been slowly trying to remove most chemicals from our house but have been resistant to homemade cleaners using vinegar, because I don’t want my house to smell like salad dressing! That was an incorrect assumption on my part because the vinegar aroma is only temporary, once it dries, the smell goes away. I was encouraged to try this recipe because of the peppermint oil that is added to it (added insurance for the no-vinegar smell). I love Dr. Bonners Magic Soap, especially the Peppermint scent (and the Lavender) but it is not what you would call “inexpensive.” I use it as a laundry detergent and I also mop my floors with it. It is a great “degreaser” too and has an added bonus during cold/flu season…it “opens” you up! I don’t plan on discontinuing to use it, but if I can stretch it out… all the better!

The following recipe is from Dr. Oz Show guest, Gary Ginsberg, PhD:

Dr. Ginsberg is a public health toxicologist whose research focuses on the unique susceptibilities of children to environmental toxicants. He evaluates risks and sets standards for contaminants in soil, drinking water, food, air and consumer products.  Over the years he has answered thousands of questions from the general public with this information compiled into his book with Brian Toal What’s Toxic, What’s Not (Berkley Books) and associated website www.whatstoxic.com. He has served on 2 National Academy of Science panels, testified before Congress on toxics issues, and serves on US EPA’s Science Advisory Board. He won the Society of Toxicology’s best risk assessment paper of the year award in 2009. He teaches toxicology and risk assessment at the Yale School of Public Health and the University of Connecticut School of Community Medicine.

Primary Goal: Lets work together to make our kids toxic-free.

Safe Cleanser Recipe:

Mix together:

1 Tbs. of Borax Powder (find it in the laundry aisle of your supermarket)

3 Tbs. of White Vinegar

2 cups of Water

1 tablespoon of Dish Soap (I used Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Scent Liquid Soap)

1 drop of Essential Oil such as peppermint for fragrance (optional) (I used Now Foods Peppermint Oil, which I buy at Whole Foods and also use in my homemade sugar scrubs).

  • Pour it into a spray bottle you bought at the hardware store, give it a shake, and you are ready to clean. For windows, use white vinegar wiped down with newspapers, and to disinfect toys and other kids’ products fill a spray bottle with non-chlorine bleach (3% hydrogen peroxide) and wipe with a paper towel.
  • I mix mine in a large bowl (I usually make a double batch) then I pour back into my empty Dr. Bonner’s bottles and into a spray bottle. I use it to clean my kitchen counters, windows, window sills and even use it to clean my furniture.

Bonus: Cleaning out harsh chemicals is not only better for your health, it’s good for the environment, because you drastically cut back on your plastic use by eliminating all those bottles of mildew cleaner, window washer, bathtub scrub, and more.

Add Borax to a bowl.

Add Distilled White Vinegar.

Add Soap.

Add Essential Oil (I used Peppermint).

Add Water.

Mix well.

Pour into squeeze bottles and/or spray bottles.

I like to re-use my empty Dr. Bonner's squeeze bottles.

It is mind boggling how much money you save just by making this! For me, this has wiped out Windex, Fantastik Kitchen Cleaner and Pledge! No harsh chemicals and it is environmentally friendly by reducing how often I buy store-bought cleaners. I am going to make up some more using the non-chlorine bleach (I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what this was until a minute ago!). I am just going to use the Hydrogen Peroxide I already have on hand and hopefully this will also wipe out future purchases of Lysol, well, at least until cold/flu season comes around again. It’s funny how the lack of harsh chemical smells make you doubt if something is actually “clean!”

Do you have any homemade cleaner recipes that you like? If so, please share! 😀

I want to tie up with some links to other sites that I think you might find useful:

Kim Bouldin, from Gluten-Free Is Life, just posted an article on her Columbus Gluten-Free Examiner page about a Starkist Recall due to undeclared wheat, check it out here. And while you’re there, subscribe to her page (even if you don’t live in Columbus, OH., Kim is ON TOP of all things like this and she is who I turn to for the most up-to-date info (which is why I affectionately refer to her as my “GF CNN!”). Kim is also a contributor for Celiac-Disease.com, LiveGlutenFreely.com, and Gluten Free Works. Just thinking of all she does, makes me tired! 😀 You can “follow” Kim on Twitter to stay on top of all her informative articles. I have personally met Kim and her son Jon, who also has celiac disease. She is a great person and a great warrior for the gluten-free community.

Another featured contributor on Gluten Free Works is Jennifer Harris. She recently posted an article about a Celiac Disease Study that is actively seeking participants. Jennifer is also known as “Jennifer Gluten Free in Georgia” and is a Gluten Free Product Specialist for Return 2 Eden, a natural food store in the Atlanta area. Jennifer is also a Gluten-Free Examiner, and is also the Program Chair for the Atlanta Metro Celiacs! Another fine example of someone who makes me tired just by reading about all they do for the gluten-free community! If you have a Twitter account, I recommend following Jennifer too for great up-to-date information!

Sandra Robins, a.k.a. “Maryland Celiac” on Twitter and the author of “Gluten Free Optimist,” made a post on a “Fantastic Article About Celiac Disease,” an absolute must-read whether you have been “officially” diagnosed with celiac disease or not. I also encourage Doctors, Teachers, Family and Friends of people with celiac disease to read this article on LongIslandPress.com.

Sandra also posted a video with Kids Talking About Celiac Disease and Eating Out Tips. A great video to share with your celiac child, Sam really enjoyed seeing other kids like him. One other very good article (there are many!) that Sandra posted is called 10 Important Facts About Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Free Diet.

There is such a wonderful online celiac and gluten-free community and these women are just a few of the very special people working to make a difference in our community. Thank you Kim, Jennifer and Sandra!

Gluten-Free Eggless Meatballs

Maybe I should have called them “Eggless Meatball Wonders,” or “Guiltless Meatballs,” because there are several nutritious ingredients cleverly hidden inside, and you cannot even tell! 😉

Ever since I started experimenting with “flax eggs,” I have become increasingly impressed with the results in most of my experiments.  So much so, I have found myself buried in excess eggs that I have delivered in my CSA box each week!  That’s okay though, I have some quiche to get working on for the Gluten-Free Quiche Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker!

Flaxseeds are a good source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Magnesium, and Folate (I highly recommend checking out the World’s Healthiest Foods website, there is a lot of great information on it, especially for people like me who do not have a degree in nutrition!).

I was inspired to seek out a recipe for eggless meatballs for a friend who has a child with an egg allergy and I finally settled on a “rough” recipe from another mom’s post on the Spiffy Moms forum.  Tamika’s recipe hooked me because of the oats.  Growing up, my mom always made meatloaf with oats instead of breadcrumbs, which I really like because it is much more moist than the breadcrumb version of meatloaf.  Using Tamika’s ingredients as a guideline, I made my own adaptation which also included shredded carrots and zucchini.  There is a trick to making the shredded veggies work though, which I highly recommend to avoid any “texture” issues!  Once you compile all the ingredients, throw everything in a food processor and pulse until combined.  The oats and veggies get pulverized into microscopic bits and you cannot tell they are in there!  My boys LOVE these!!

Eggless Meatballs

1 lb. Ground Beef or Turkey (I used Ground Bison)

1/2 cup Oats (I used Certified Gluten-Free Oats)

1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (or Dairy-Free Substitute)

1 Flax Egg

2 Tbs. Milk (or Dairy-Free Milk Substitute)

1 tsp. Plain Vivagave Inulin Powder (Adding the fiber supplement is optional. I used Vivagave because it is gluten-free, has zero taste or texture and a full serving size (1 Tbs.) has a whopping 10 grams of fiber!)

Assorted Seasonings (Feel free to experiment but I just used 1 Tbs. dried Italian Seasoning, 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic and a pinch of salt, as I am a low-salt person, so adjust according to your taste preferences. Just keep in mind that whatever sauce you use will have salt and seasonings too).

1/2 cup shredded Carrots

1/2 cup shredded Zucchini

1 – 2 Tbs. Olive Oil for cooking

  • Combine all ingredients (except the olive oil) then put in a food processor and pulse until combined, it will somewhat resemble a paste.
  • Pinch of small pieces and roll to form meatballs.
  • Cook in a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat until cooked through.

I like to make these in large quantities and freeze them.  This way, I can just grab what I need and toss into some pasta sauce as it is cooking for an almost effortless gluten-free meal! 😀

Please forgive my dark photos, we had tinting placed on all our windows last week as the sun is really intense here in the high desert! I am going to have to figure something out, but until then… bare with me 🙂

I start by making the flax egg first:

1 Tbs. Ground Flaxseed.

I added 3 Tbs. Water

You will have a watery mixture at first.

After a minute or two, the watery mixture will congeal and have the texture of an egg white.

i used 1 lb. Ground Bison

Add 1/2 cup Oats

Add 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

This is optional, but I added 1 tsp. Vivagave Inulin Powder for added fiber.

Add the Flax Egg. You can see the texture better in this photo.

Add your desired seasonings.

Add 1/2 cup shredded Carrot.

Add 1/2 cup shredded Zucchini

Add the combined mixture to a food processor and add 2 Tbs. Milk then pulse.

You will have an interesting looking "paste," but don't worry!

Shape meatballs and cooking in a skillet with added olive oil, over medium heat until cooked through.

Click here for a guide to internal cooking temperatures, beef is 160° F., turkey is 165° F. I cannot recommend getting a good cooking thermometer enough! I recently bought a new one at my local Restaurant Supply Store for around $25, and so far I am very impressed (my OXO didn’t last but a few months).

Once the meatballs are done cooking, I drain them on a paper towel. I then place the meatballs on a cookie sheet, uncovered, and place in my deep freezer for a couple of hours until they are frozen solid. I store them in a Freezer Ziploc bag and usually use them within a month (at most). Mike has been enjoying meatball subs again and Sam and Luke like to stick the cupcake picks in the meatballs and just have them for lunch. They are even coming up to me and asking, “Mom, may we please have “appetizers” for lunch?” LOL!

See? No "detectable veggies!"

Sam wanted me to show his creation… the tree is from the Monster Truck Cake I made a few weeks ago and he stuck it in his meatball. Love it!

Rainbow Chard Sauteed with Mushooms

Some time ago, I made a conscious decision to further transform how I eat and to expose my children to more naturally gluten-free foods, like fresh vegetables. It’s amazing how a naturally gluten-free diet is so much easier on your pocketbook! 😀 Fruits and veggies have always been a part of our diet, but probably not enough or definitely the wrong kinds, like canned green beans! The BPA levels found in many in canned goods have been alarming to me.

The biggest problem I have had moving forward, has been my own personal taste preferences. If you have been reading my blog for long, you may recall the Great Brussels Sprouts Caper, or my reference to what I call the “dirt vegetables,” like beets. I am the product of the foods I grew up on, canned or boiled veggies, processed foods like Kraft Mac and Cheese, Chef Boyardee canned “stuff” (really, that’s what my sisters and I called it growing up, “Mom, can we have some canned stuff for lunch?”), bologna, chips, you name it. My mom did make us eat our vegetables mind you, but it was always a struggle to get us to eat them and I have a sneaking suspicion is was because how they were prepared. Those were the days before the internet or the Food Network though and if you do not know that things can be made better, why would it occur to you to try?

The journey to eating better has been a series of baby steps for us, but at least we are moving forward in the right direction. It started out with remaking popular convenience foods at home to be gluten-free (and by default, eliminating most of the chemicals, etc.). This step was valuable for two reasons, most importantly having foods that were familiar from my gluten-days allowed me to finally come to terms with my celiac diagnosis and quit cheating (remember, I do not have the “classic” symptoms of CD, like gastrointestinal issues, to serve as a physical reminder as to why one should not cheat! I presume that is due to the DH, which I strongly believe came first and I know showed up when I was about 15). Anyway, once I achieved the insurmountable goal of acceptance, and started blogging to share the copycat recipes I had discovered, I made many new blogger friends from all walks of life, who have taught me all sorts of great ways to prepare fresh vegetables and most importantly, they have encouraged me to at least try. So… why not? 🙂

A couple of months ago after watching Food, Inc. (Surprise! That movie has given me some sort of fever, I tell you), I discovered this thing called the CSA program. I genuinely had never heard of it before and my curious side took over… I had to try it. Each week, we get a box of fresh, organic, mostly-local produce delivered to our door. When I signed up for my local chapter, Los Poblanos Organics, I had the option to pick one item that I did not want to receive and the rest is whatever is in season. I also had to pay up front, which proved to be a big incentive for actually trying the vegetables that showed up on my doorstep each week.

An interesting thing started to happen, my kids started to look FORWARD to getting their “fruit and veggie present!” I kid you not, if I had purchased any number of the vegetables that we’ve received at the grocery store and simply prepared them… they would have fought me every step of the way (okay, Luke would have. Sam is much more open minded about trying new things… and he LOVES Brussels sprouts!). There is definitely something (at least with my brood) to seeing real vegetables and where they “should” come from, that has opened their minds to actually eating them!! Mike and I are so thrilled with what we have witnessed, we have taken the plunge into gardening!

Anyway, I have fallen head-over-heels for Swiss Chard, click here for some awesome health benefits of eating chard. I even eat it raw/plain (as in no fattening Ranch Dressing), in salads, and on sandwiches (instead of the usual lettuce). I am not sure if I would have always liked it (had I ever had it before a month or so ago), or if this is a result of my taste buds changing after removing many processed foods from my diet. Holy Moley, even Luke likes it!! Sam does too, but he also likes Brussels sprouts, so his opinion doesn’t count, LOL! 😀 One thing that I do with my kids at meal time, rather than force them to clean their plate (which I think can lead to overeating issues later in life), is to enforce my “one bite for each year of your age” rule. Sam must eat 7 (he’s only 6 1/2 but I “round up”) bites of each thing I put on his plate (Luke must have 3 bites) in order to get down from the table and qualify for dessert (which I have been sneaking veggies into!). This does two things for me, one, there is a lot less fighting to get them to try something (since they know they don’t have to eat it all in order to get dessert) and it ensures that they are consistently exposed to the healthy flavors of real foods, taste buds do evolve! Click here for an article on “How to get kids to love leafy greens

One of the first recipes I tried (which left me wanting more) was a “recipe” (it’s really more of a method) that I found on Effortless Eating, the following is Elizabeth’s method, which I will try to break down into recipe format. I added a small twist to it at the end (fresh squeezed lemon juice).

Rainbow Chard Sauteed with Mushrooms

1 “bundle” of Rainbow Chard, leaves stripped from the stem and roughly chopped. Elizabeth also cut and sauteed the stems, which I didn’t do in the photos below but I do now. (If this is a new veggie for you or your child, I definitely recommend chopping into smaller pieces, about 1-inch, to avoid any “texture” issues)

3 fresh Garlic Cloves, minced (I used 4 because I anticipated needing the strong flavor to “hide” the bitter flavor of green leafy vegetables. Not necessary but garlic also has some great health benefits, so go for it! 😀 I recently saw a great blog post on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free about how to make and freeze your own garlic paste! I am all over that great tip!!)

1 small package Fresh Mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed (or however you like to prepare them, click here for more info on cleaning and preparing fresh mushrooms. I left mine whole, but you can also slice them.).

Olive Oil for sauteeing

Salt and Pepper, to taste (Elizabeth also added freshly grated Nutmeg)

Grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste

Fresh Squeeze Lemon Juice (I used the juice of 1/2 Lemon)

  • If you are new to cooking fresh mushrooms, click here for another good guide.
  • Personally, I clean my mushrooms by spritzing them with an organic fruit and veggie wash, then rinse in cold water. Then, I trim the woody ends off of the stems.
  • In a saute pan, set to medium heat, add some olive oil (I used about a tablespoon).
  • If you are using the chard stems, start sauteing these first as they will take longer to soften up. I didn’t use them, so I added the mushrooms first.
  • Once the mushrooms were ready, I added the garlic. I don’t like to add the garlic with the mushrooms in the beginning because the garlic can get bitter if overcooked. This is also where I added a sprinkle of Kosher Salt.
  • Add the leaves of the chard and allow to wilt.
  • Once the chard wilts, add fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese (to taste, I probably add a couple of tablespoons)

So pretty!

After cleaning, I trim the woody ends off of the mushroom stems

Add oil to the pan, Elizabeth even added Macadamia Nut Oil.

Add mushrooms and allow to cook down.

Once the mushrooms were done cooking, I added the garlic. I also now add a splash of liquid, like mushroom broth, to deglaze the pan and add more flavor.

Sprinkle of Kosher Salt. I do not add much because the Parmesan Cheese adds saltiness too.

Add chopped chard leaves and allow to wilt.

This is where I add the lemon juice.

Top with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Did you know that King Arthur Flour now has a gluten-free line of mixes? Check out Kim’s (a.k.a. my “GF CNN”) review over at Gluten-Free Is Life.

I want to try something new today and share with you some of my favorite gluten-free blogs and the recipes I have on my “list” to try!

Like Pound Cake? Check out Jeanne’s post on the Four Chickens blog,  “Coffee Cake Friday: Honey Vanilla Pound Cake, Gluten-Free.” And while you’re there, look at her Gluten-Free Puff Pastry (including a tutorial!).

One of my favorite blogs is “Tasty Eats at Home.” Check out Alta’s Gluten-Free Fried Ice Cream! Yummy… I must make that! Another recipe of Alta’s that I want to try is for her Gluten-Free Churros, I live in New Mexico and Churros are everywhere. Sam used to love them and those have been one of the things he misses most from his gluten days.

Maggie over at She Let Them Eat Cake, made a recent post that included a recipe for homemade (and super healthy) Spaghetti Sauce. Maggie even offers up a lot of great ideas to try in homemade pasta sauce, like sneaking in added veggies. Right up my alley!

Looking for homemade gluten-free pasta inspiration? Check out this post from Shirley over at Gluten-Free Easily! I made GF pasta for the first time back in October to use in a Bob Evan’s Style Chicken and Noodles Recipe, it was surprisingly easy!

One last thing, tomorrow, April 14th, 2010 HSN will be premiering the Cricut Cake! I have been saving up for this for a few months now because I am not a professional cake decorator by any means and I don’t have a gluten-free bakery in my town to buy my boys birthdays cake from! So, I thought I would share:

Starting at 12 am on April 14th creative people everywhere will be able to get Cricut Cake in the world launch at HSN. And we’ll be online to celebrate. If you’ve not attended one of our all-night launch events you’ll want to get online and join. There are plenty of ways to play with us. The Cricut Community will be a fun place as always. We’ll be spending time in the Cricut Cake forums so look for us there. Join the conversation on Twitter. Just tweet in and follow us, www.twitter.com/provocraft. Or, come by our Facebook page and join in the fun www.facebook.com/cricutcake.

Why can’t I make a short post? 🙂