Friday, January 28, 2011

We are so Fortunate to have wonderful friends, and Gluten Free Cupcakes

Gluten Free Cupcake tower from Bobby's 1st birthday

Our family is so fortunate to have some very amazing friends who want to take care of Ceci and I and make us feel so special and loved.  We have had the good fortune of celebrating birthdays of our friends children lately and I was fully prepared to provide food and cake items for Ceci and I to eat at the parties.  I have been shut down on all accounts by some wonderful women who want to take care of us, it's been so nice to go to parties and not have to bring our own food.

At the beginning of the year we attended Joseph's birthday where his Mom, Bonnie went out of her way to find a bakery with gluten free cake and bought a few slices for Ceci and I to have at the party.  It was delicious it had layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mouse, and was coated with a rich chocolate gouache.  So good, but I think it was a bit rich for Ceci, no problem, more for me!  I think she was more excited about getting a cup of lemonade with her lunch anyway.  It was really nice to have a special piece of cake that I didn't have to bring to the party.

Last week we were invited to another birthday party for Bobby, and were told not to bring any food at all for ourselves.  I was unable to go to the party but Tim was happy to take Ceci and go celebrate the occasion.  Tim told me that Bobby's Mom, Jaime, made a huge pan of gluten free baked ziti, one of Ceci's favorite foods.  Ceci proceeded to consume two large portions all by herself, and probably would have tried to eat the entire pan if Tim hadn't kept an eye on her.  Jaime also made a beautiful cupcake tower of all gluten free cupcakes!  She used Cherrybrook Kitchen's Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix for the cupcakes, which are also peanut free, a very happy thing for us.  The cake was nice, not to sweet which is perfect for a cake.  Jaime isn't quite sure of the brand of frosting she used, but that isn't the most important part.  The most important part is that Ceci LOVED them and has been talking about the beautiful cupcakes ever since and how much she liked eating the sprinkles.

We are so lucky to have friends who want to take care of us, work hard to build their awareness of gluten free food, and provide us with safe yummy things to eat.  I remember my mom bringing things to school and parties for me to eat because there was no other way.  We live in a very happy time, and are beyond fortunate to have the friends we do.  I can only hope that other people out there with celiac/gluten intolerance are so lucky, it's a wonderful feeling!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gluten Free Bisquick Pancakes

Mickey Mouse Head Pancakes
We have been consuming a large amount of Gluten Free Bisquick around here lately, biscuits, dumplings, cakes, and pancakes.  One night we decided to have breakfast for dinner, including pancakes, which is very rare in this house.  My husband would be more than happy to sit down to a huge steak with potatoes on the side every night, I can't eat like that, and neither can Ceci.  We got creative one night and decided to make pancakes, and it couldn't have been easier with Gluten Free Bisquick.  Since Ceci hasn't really had pancakes before, we eat a lot of gluten free waffles, I decided to make the pancakes into a fun shape she would like to eat.  It worked really well, along with some home made blueberry jam she ate 3 that night.  I would have eaten a whole batch myself if I didn't have to share, they are light and fluffy, sweet and simple.

I think she was pretty excited to get a Mickey Mouse Pancake!
I kept it simple and followed the recipe on the box, which is unreasonably easy and quick.  I tried to find it online and link it here, but for some reason it was pretty difficult to find the plain pancake recipe, even on the Betty Crocker website.  So here it is from the box

Gluten Free Bisquick Pancakes

1   Cup Bisquick Gluten Free mix
1   Cup Milk
2   Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1   Egg

STIR  ingredients until blended.
POUR slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls onto hot greased griddle
COOK until edges are dry.  Turn; cook until golden.

makes 10 pancakes

I think we will be eating more breakfast for dinner around this house in the coming months.  I'll have to work on my pancake shapes though, Ceci might get tired of mickey heads pretty quick, maybe hearts aren't too difficult.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten Free Bierocks

Gluten Free Bierocks (German meat pies)

Before I met my husband, in his bachelor days he used to throw huge New Year's Eve Parties, he tells stories of people getting locked out of the house over night in the snow, someone sleeping on the stereo cabinet, countless tales of horrifying hook ups (won't detail those here, we do need to discuss food later and I don't want people losing their appetite.)  Suffice to say it was a huge sloppy mess of a party for a few years in there.  Then he met me, and had to change his life because I do not enjoy cleaning up other people's messes (besides my child's), you want to party like that get a hotel room and tip the maid!  Over the last few years the parties have toned themselves down anyway without me laying down the law.  Last year was our first year having kids at the party and in October I started worrying about keeping several toddlers up till midnight, I started brainstorming.  I realized that New Year's Eve is celebrated around the globe, why are we locked into celebrating it at 12:00am EST.  So last year we started a new tradition of celebrating the midnight of a different country so that we can still toast, spend time with our friends, and get the kiddos in bed at a decent hour.

Last year we celebrated Italian New Year's Eve, with (admittedly Americanized) Italian food, and a toast at 6:00pm EST.  We had a great time and all our friends told us they loved it for all the reasons we did, particularly getting kids to bed on time.  So we realized we had a hit on our hands, and we are fortunate that a good portion of Europe is in the same time zone so we can pick a new country every year and have a new theme.

This year we decided on a German theme, and for a while couldn't figure out what to serve beyond beer, brauts, and sauerkraut.  Then I started remembering a dish that my dad used to talk about from his childhood.  I recall him talking a lot about eating Bierocks that his "Little Grandma" used to make for his family when he was a kid.  Now that Dad eats gluten free, and Little Grandma is long gone he hasn't had a Bierock in years.  I thought it would be a great idea if I could test run a Bierocks recipe while we were out visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, in preparation for this year's New Year's festivities.  Plus Dad would be able to tell me how close the Bierocks were to the real thing, and if I needed to research a new recipe.

We scoured several cookbooks, and even asked around to find out if Little Grandma's recipe was ever written down anywhere.  No luck on Little Grandma's version, but we did find a suitable stand in.  Fortunately my parents keep a huge barrel of Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour, so it was less work for me to convert over the recipe.  It's certainly not a simple recipe, in fact I would suggest that you plan on starting to make these about three days before you want to eat them.  It is not only a long process because it's a yeast dough, but it is incredibly labor intensive, I needed a nap halfway through making them, but it was worth it.

Two days before New Year's Eve I was here at home making a full batch of Bierocks, and opted to mix my own flours.  What a disaster!  It was as if changing out the flours made a totally different product, the original recipe called for 10-11 cups of wheat flour.  I think I used at least that if not more of different gf flours, my whole kitchen was covered in a fine layer of tapioca starch that took two days to clean.  And the final product of Bierocks looked like they were made out of dried play dough.  They tasted really good, but I was not at all happy with the dough portion.  As a result I will provide my first recipe which was a huge hit, Dad loved them and said I got it right, I was so excited!

Cute little dough purse full of yummy meat and cabbage.

Gluten Free Bierocks

2   Cups Bob's Red Mill GF AP Baking Flour
1   Tbs Xanthan Gum
1 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/4  Cup Sugar
1   tsp Salt

1 1/4  Cup Water
1/2     Cup Milk
1/4     Cup Butter

1   Egg

1 lb   Ground Beef
1  medium Onion (chopped)
1  tsp Salt
1/2  tsp White Pepper
1 lb bag Coleslaw Mix (without dressing)


  • Mix Dry ingredients and set aside
  • In a sauce pan, heat water, milk and butter just until butter melts.  Remove from heat and let cool to 120-130 degrees (F).  Combine with flour mix and add egg
  • Using Kitchenaid (or other heavy duty mixer) blend on low speed until moistened, then beat on medium for 3 minutes.
  • By hand gradually stir in enough extra flour to make a firm dough.
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 min.
  • Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease top.  Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm place till doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down and let rise again until almost doubled, re-wet tea towel and cover again.


  • Start making filling while dough is rising so you will be ready to assemble when after dough is rolled out.
  • Brown Beef and onion in a large pan, add salt and pepper
  • Pour in bag of cabbage, and cover pot until cabbage softens and wilts
  • Spoon 1/3 - 1/4 Cup of filling onto each dough square
  • Bring the four corners up over filling and pinch together and seal
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 30 min
One batch all ready for the oven.  My folding and sealing process needs a little practice

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bean Soup

Here is a post from Dad, we are playing with googledocs, it was really easy to cut and paste it into a blog post. I wish I were there to dig into this amazing bowl of bean soup, I would even bring over a loaf of warm bread for sopping up all the yummy broth. I can almost smell the crock pot bubbling with all that deliciousness inside, and it would be perfect to make here toady with this pending snow storm. This recipe has some of our favorite family ingredients Bacon from a local Butcher/smokehouse, and Bobs Redmill 13 Bean soup mix, feel free to alter it with things that are local to you. Hmmm... I'm thinking right now this would be nice with a little bit of fresh kale wilted in the last couple of minutes to make a one pot meal. Guess I know what I'm making for dinner next week.

Bean Soup

3 cups mixed Dry Beans (“Bobs Redmill 13 Bean” is excellent)
1 16oz can of chicken broth
6 Stalks celery (fine chopped)
1 cup carrots (fine chopped)
½  Onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons GF Soy sauce
2 teaspoons  Kitchen Bouquet
1 Tablespoon Ham Base
Meat  (Use What you have available , If you use beef, exchange ham base for beef)
  6 strips bacon chopped (Vogets Preferably)
  Ham Hock if desired
  Ham cubed as desired
  Sausage as desired

Soak Beans overnight. Drain and Rinse

Brown bacon in Fry pan,  Add onion, carrots, Celery ,garlic, ½ of soy sauce, and ½ of kitchen bouquet, Saute till mostly tender.

Add all ingredients into large Crock Pot, add water to cover Beans, Cook till done
(about 5 hours on high)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal

Ceci has a new favorite breakfast, Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal.  We ate it at my parent's house a few weeks ago while visiting and she gobbled it up every morning.  I had avoided buying it in the past because I thought it was expensive, about $3-4, compared to a box of cream of rice for less than $2.  I found out from eating it at my parents that it only takes a 1/4 cup to make a huge bowl, and if I make a half portion for Ceci I only needed to use 2 Tablespoons.

This morning I finally opened the bag I bought for our house and made one portion from 1/4 cup of dry cereal.  We put some frozen blueberries in, and Ceci dug right into my bowl with me.  Usually I scoop 1/3 of my bowl out into a small bowl for her, but today we "share all togethers."  (I love her cute speech pattern.)

It has a great taste to it, somewhat reminiscent of their polenta, which makes sense because there is corn in it along with Brown Rice, Buckwheat, and Sorghum.  It's rich and hearty, I really felt full until lunch, which seems like a miracle in and of it self.  I did add a little milk before we ate it to thin it out a little bit, it was almost solid after microwaving it.  I'm so glad to find another healthy gluten free product that Ceci will eat without an argument or me having to sit there and spoon food into her mouth begging and pleading.

Our Recipe

1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
1   Cup Water

Serving Suggestion:

2  Tbs Milk
1/3  Cup Frozen Blueberries

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Favorite Appliance, Cuisinart Stick Blender

For our family Christmas presents with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, we draw names and buy the person a gift, it has been fun the last couple of years, takes the pressure off shopping for several people, and allows me to be somewhat creative or thoughtful in my gifts (I hope they think so anyway).  This year my dad drew me and got me the Cuisinart Stick Blender.  I'm not sure if this is really a present for me or Ceci, prior to Christmas I had started her eating smoothies everyday as a way to fill her with fruits and had been making them in the blender.  This Stick Blender streamlined my blender process beyond belief!  It comes with a large plastic cup that I dump all my smoothie ingredients into, put the Stick Blender in on top, sink it into the liquid and hit the on button.  Within less than a minute the ingredients are pulverized into a delicious drink that Ceci asks for several times a day.  It's also so simple to clean because it's stainless steel.

Now that it's so easy to make Ceci her smoothies, I've started adding veggies and veggie juice to be sure she is actually getting some in her diet.  If you have read some of my other posts, this kid is a picky eater, if you even put one veggie on her plate she will kindly pick it up, hand it to you, and say "No Thanks You." I've managed to hide some veggies in Spaghetti sauce, but how often can i really feed her spaghetti sauce?  I guess if it were up to her, everyday, but that's not realistic to me.  Here on Long Island in winter the produce selection becomes horrifying so we started buying frozen fruit and making smoothies to help her get lots of yummy things for her tummy.  After I realized she loved them we bought Bolthouse Carrot Juice to add in, and this week I was inspired by G-free Mom's De-tox January posts of Green smoothies, and added Brussels sprouts to Ceci's smoothie.  She drank it right up, no questions asked!

I can't wait to start using this Stick Blender for all sorts of other things, soups maybe?  There are lots of other suggestions in the book and it comes with fun accessories, like a tiny food processor and a whisk.  I tried the whisk to froth milk for lattes it was a bit messy but worked out eventually.  I've used this everyday since I opened it, and am not really sure how I lived without it.  Plus clean up is so easy, I do like the food processor for some things, but it is a pain to clean 5 different parts, the Stick Blender is easy to clean because it's only the one attachment and the cup if you choose to use it.

Thanks for the great present Dad!  So glad Ceci is eating such yummy things, I guess I should mention I have been eating the smoothies too, it's nice to feel full for so long and know that it's all good food in there.