Saturday, December 24, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes

I love scalloped potatoes.  We had them tonight for Christmas Eve dinner along with some ham, green beans, and creamed spinach.  I wouldn't exactly call scalloped potatoes a healthy dish, but they sure are good.  This recipe is adapted from this recipe found online.

1 medium onion, chopped
5 tablespoons butter
5-6 russet potatoes peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoons rice flour 
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste 
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1) In a medium pan saute 2 tablespoons of butter and onions until soft.
2) In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and blend in rice flour. 
3) Whisk in the milk.  Season with salt and pepper
4) Cook sauce on medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally with the whisk.
5) Reduce heat and stir in onions and 1 cup of cheese.
6) Place a third of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased casserole dish.
7) Pour a third of the cheese sauce over the potatoes, making sure they are all covered.
8) Repeat twice: layer of potatoes, layer of cheese sauce, layer of potatoes, layer of cheese sauce.
9) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
10) Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Here's another picture for you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

We made these treats in my high school Family and Consumer Science class (Home Ec.).  You should probably also know that in 7th grade Tech Ed (Wood Tech) Emily Warman and I built a tiny wooden bridge that held more weight than Travis Hulbert's.  No big deal.

Back to these treats.  I'm pretty sure these weren't on our curriculum, but Keri Hart brought them in one day and our teacher said we could make them.  I saved the original recipe and used it to make these today.  They aren't technically buckeyes because the entire ball is covered in chocolate, but you get the point.

This recipes makes about 40.  It's very easy to half if you don't want so many.

1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups peanut butter
3 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispies
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate (depending on your preference)

1) In a large bowl combine the butter, confectioner's sugar, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies.  It's easiest to use your hands for this.

2) Form into tight one inch balls.

3)  Melt chocolate using a double broiler or in the microwave.  Using a fork or spoon, coat the peanut butter balls in chocolate and place on wax paper.  Refrigerate to harden.

That's it.  No baking required.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Ginger Exchange

I took an impromptu trip to Boston last weekend to hang out with some friends from college on Saturday and meet the newest addition to my extended family on Sunday.  It was a great 24 hours because babies are adorable and nothing beats hanging out with old friends in your sweatpants for 5 hours talking about nothing.

Saturday night, after finally managing to put some real clothes on, my friends and I ventured out for sushi.  I had already resigned to eating mine without soy sauce, but when we got to The Ginger Exchange I discovered that not only do they have gluten free soy sauce, but they have an entire gluten free section of their menu.  As always, I was very excited.  So excited that I just had to get the gluten free pad thai instead of sushi.  We also split some gluten free fresh rolls to start.  My friends still got sushi and it looked great.

From my friend at Total Noms.
For those gluten eating and drinking folks, they also have $9 PBR beer towers:

With lots of gluten free options for me, and good sushi, dumplings, and never ending beer for my friends, The Ginger Exchange turned out to be a great place to go.  It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by restaurants you know nothing about.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Cookies - Gluten Free!

I'm pretty excited about these cookies.  I only like frosted sugar cookies once a year and that's during the holidays.  Well folks, here they are.  Gluten free.  And I'll be damned if they aren't just as good as regular frosted sugar cookies.

I came across this recipe on Gluten Is My Bitch.  I think this lady is hilarious.  She came across this recipe from Good Housekeeping.  Wherever it's from, you need these in your life.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups GF flour (I used 2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour and 1 cup brown rice flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Frosting and sprinkles for decorating

1. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces, flatten each piece into a disk, and wrap them in plastic wrap.  Put the disks into the freezer for 30 minutes to harden up a bit.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove dough from the freezer.  On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough to 1/8 inch think.  Using 3-4 inch cookie cutters, cut as many cookies as possible. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Use the excess dough to roll out for more cookies.

4.  Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool before decorating.

5.  Decorate to your heart's content.

I didn't have any cookie cutters on hand so I used the rim of a glass.  It worked just fine.  I was also lacking decorating materials so I used Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting and some nonpareils.  Easy.

These might be my favorite cookies this holiday season.  What are yours?

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

These cookies are intense.  In a peanut butter and chocolate goodness kind of way.  This was my first time making this kind of cookie and it was incredibly easy.  I based it off this recipe on  Oh, and it's naturally gluten free.  #winning

1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
15-20 Hershey Kisses

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl beat together the sugars, peanut butter, and egg.
3. Roll into one inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss into the center of each warm cookie.  Allow to cool before eating.

The Hershey's people, and my friend over at Total Noms, add a lot more stuff into their version of this cookie.  I'd like to try those as well.  Has anyone tried both versions that could enlighten me on which route to take next time?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Greensquare Tavern

Greensquare Tavern was recommended to me by a fellow Celiac.  While they don't have a dedicated gluten free menu, my friend assured me they have plenty of gluten free options.  I finally got around to trying it last night and was quite happy.

When I asked the waitress about their gluten free selections she informed me that everything on the menu is already gluten free or could be made gluten free except the pastas and bread (i.e. hamburger buns).  This was nice to hear.  My brother and I both ordered the steak.  It came with home made french fries and roasted vegetables.  I hadn't had a steak in a long time and it really hit the spot.

The waitress also informed me that the corn bread muffins were gluten free.  This was very exciting until the bread man came around and all the bread was in the same basket.  As a Celiac, I was horrified.  As a fat kid at heart, I still ate the corn bread.  Don't tell the gluten free police.  This is obviously a giant no no for anyone that is extremely sensitive.  I am moderately sensitive and didn't have a reaction, so yay to that.  Someone a bit more vocal would have mentioned to the staff that it is unacceptable.  I opted for silence and a prayer not to get sick.  It worked.

Despite this snafu, I really enjoyed Greensquare Tavern.  Our waitress was nice, the host came over to check in, and the chef even came out at the end to ask how everything was.  Ok ok, this would have been a good time to mention that you can't keep gluten free corn bread in with the regular bread, but I've eaten at plenty of places with gluten free menus and assurances of my safety and still gotten sick, so you really never know.

Has anyone else been here?  How was your experience?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gluten Free Eclairs

This just in: Risotteria now has gluten free eclairs.  And holy crap are they good.

I went to France for a week in high school with my French class.  I ate an eclair (or two) every single day.  Ah the good old days.

Not that you needed one, but these eclairs are yet another reason to head on over to Risotteria.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bob's Red Mill

Bob's Red Mill is my favorite overall company for GF products.  Bob has all types of flour, gluten free oats, and baking mixes galore.  His products are available all over the place making them not only good, but very convenient.  And he looks so nice, how could you not love Bob?

You may have noticed that I use Bob's All Purpose GF Flour Mix for most of my baking.  It has done pretty well by me thus far, but I think I'm just about ready to branch into trying my own flour mixes.  For Christmas this year I have asked my mom to get me all the gluten free flours I'm too cheap to buy myself - which is basically all of them except rice flour.  I finally want to try baking with almond, coconut, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, etc. flours.  Bob has them all.  I'm very excited.

Bob also has gluten free oats for my winter breakfasts.  In case you don't know, oats in of themselves are considered safe for people with celiac to eat, but because they are usually grown on the same fields as wheat in alternating seasons, they are deemed too cross contaminated to eat.  Bob gets his from fields really far away from wheat.

And now for the mixes.  Sometimes you want homemade products but don't know exactly how to make them.  Bob makes it easy with his gluten free pancake, biscuit, bread, corn bread, brownie, cookie, cake, and pizza dough mixes.  I've tried several of them and they are all really good.

So head on over to Whole Foods or your local health food store and stock up on Bob's.  Then let me know which your favorite is.

Pirate's Booty

I love Pirate's Booty.  I loved it pre-gluten free and I love it now.  It's kind of like hippie Smart Food, but damn it's good.  And fun.  As a kid I thought the name Pirate's Booty was hilarious.  Delicious, fun, and gluten free?  What's not to like?

Almond Nut Thins

These are my favorite gluten free crackers at the moment.  I even brought a box home to Vermont over Thanksgiving so I had something to eat with all the cheese at my house.  Blue Diamond, the almond people, have several other flavors of gluten free crackers as well.

What are your favorite gluten free crackers?

Chex Cereal

Corn Chex was one of the few "approved" cereals in my house growing up.  Deprived from the sugary goodness of most breakfast cereals, we spent our mornings eating Cheerio's, Kix, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, and Rice or Corn Chex. Once every few months my brother and I were allowed to pick a sugary cereal and a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Rice Krispies Treats Cereal was devoured within hours.  Honestly though, I liked all those "healthy" cereals and was probably better off for it.

Fortunately for my now gluten free self, Chex has five gluten free varieties: Rice, Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon.  I haven't tried the Chocolate or Cinnamon, but the others are good.  Sometimes I buy myself the Honey Nut Chex and feel slightly rebellious against my sugar free cereal upbringing.  I know, I know, I'm pretty wild in my old age.

One of the great things about Chex is that it's available in most grocery stores so you don't have to go out of your way for cereal.  What's your favorite cereal?