laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Simple and Impressive


For a fantastic dinner, first you start with…

One very delicious margarita.

Next you get the main course going…

Yes, it did taste as good as it looks!

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lb)

2 tbs butter, melted

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs worcestershire sauce

2 tbs orange muscat wine (you can use 2 tbs frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed)

1. Heat oven to 375. Brush whole chicken with butter; sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, pepper, and half of the ginger (1/2 tsp). Place chicken in shallow roasting pan. 2. Roast chicken uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the other half of the ginger (1/2 tsp), brown sugar, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, and the orange wine. (Don’t forget a sip for yourself, you know, just taste testing.) 3. Remove chicken from oven. Brush mixture over chicken. 4. Return to oven; roast uncovered 20 minutes. Brush remaining mixture over chicken and squash; cover loosely with foil, and roast 30 minutes longer. (Until thermometer reads 180 and legs move easily when lifted or twisted.)

While the main course is going, you get some sides together:

Really yummy ears of corn.

And…

Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Strawberries. Served with an incredibly delicious cream cheese fruit dip.

And it was fantastic! We’d had so many grey days that I need a meal to make me feel like it was summer- and this did the trick! And I loved it so much that I’ve decided not to wait until Thursday to share it!

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Monkey Bread Madness


Do to my love of all things Pinterest, I have an ever growing list of foods I want to make. Well, after looking through my fridge, I decided on pizza… and then I remembered this. Monkey breadish pizza. (Seriously, the pictures are so good it’s no wonder they’re on pinterest for the rest of us to drool over!)

Looks fantastic, right? Photo Credit: Confections of a Foodie Bride. (You can go there for the original recipe too.)

In the morning, Big E had called one of his uncles asking him if he could come over and play. So just as I was gathering up things for dinner making, I got a phone call asking if I’d mind some visitors for dinner time. And we were so happy they could join us.

photo credit: Biggest E

I will admit that this took a little longer to make than I originally expected. With some organization -or an extra pair of hands- it could be done a lot more seamlessly. Overall, I did find this a great way to use up some leftovers! The original recipe used cubes of mozzarella, and pepperoni. I had neither. I did have shredded mozzerella, bacon, and chicken… all just sitting in my fridge, begging to be used before they went bad.

First things first, though… the pizza dough.

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

Combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and xantham gum in a large bowl. In another bowl, blend the water, olive oil, and vinegar and whisk to mix. Pour the liquid ingredients of the flour mixture. Stir hard, briefly, to make a smooth, soft batter. Occasionally, I have to add a little more flour to get the batter so that it holds it’s shape. If more flour is necessary, I use tapioca flour, and add it in a tbs at a time.

Step Two

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded/chopped chicken
  • 1/4-1/2 package bacon
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, for dipping

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit. Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan  with garlic butter. Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten- trying to stay consistent with the size. Top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese (I used shredded but you could certainly use cubes. Might be easier to seal with cubes instead of shredded.), chicken, and bacon. Wrap the dough around the toppings, pinching well to seal. Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan. Repeat until all of the dough is used. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is very brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Not a terrific picture, but you get the idea.

These were so good… super filled. And they went fast.

Ok, so I have a confession- the photos, and story, are actually from December… but for some reason I never posted. So, today seemed like perfect day to get back in the foodie saddle! Because a)it’s cold and grey out today, which makes me think about warm, yummy food. And b) my 3 little ones are all cuddled in a blanket together on the couch. Their being so sweet I’m a little worried they’re plotting something. Seriously, they’re all snuggled in, sharing a blanket and pillow. Giving each other hugs and occasional kisses on each others’ cheeks. So I’m going to be spending time soaking all this sweetness in.)

*I just wanted to add that I made this recipe again tonight and it was even better than I remembered. Biggest and Miss helped me, and I’m not sure if they added more water/oil or what, but I did end up adding about a full cup extra of GF all-purpose flour before I could actually get it to be the consistency I needed. But they weren’t too dense or too floury or anything. They were perfect. That said… after hubby helped himself to them right out of the pan (hence no new, great photos), I discovered the bottom layer ones were not cooked through all the way- they were still a little doughy, so I threw them in for about 5 more minutes. I just didn’t want anyone trying this out and feel like I sold ‘em a bag of worms! (Because that would be just gross)

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Cream Cheese Delight


Hubbyman was home early today, and since I stayed up late and got caught up on household things…today I could do what I want. Relatively. We played games, we cuddled, we read books. And then they requested “girl cheese” (grilled cheese) and toast with cinnamon.  It’s been months since I’ve made bread and so I decided today was the day for it! I used a recipe I found on Our Best Bites last August. (I blogged about it, but it went largely unnoticed.) They’re still rising, but I can tell you they’re going to be equally as fabulous this time!

I turned the rolls into bread…and it was fabulous!

Last time I made the frosting pink for Miss E since lots of times she gets left when it comes to deserts. This time I couldn’t bear to let the “filling” go to waste (since I’d forgotten to halve it, due to not making a full batch), but I still wanted it to be kind of glazed (versus frosted) so I added a good amount of milk, and then a little powdered sugar. Which also helped it to be not quite so rich since it already had the rich filling.) Perfect. Delicious. Even better than the first time around!

If you want to try them, go here for the full recipe! Or go to my link for my version of them (their recipe makes them rolls- I turned them into bread and used the extra dough to make a few of the cream cheese delights. Just enough to enjoy without them going bad as lots of desserts do in our home.) Oh, and the recipes are easy and other than the time for letting them rise, they take hardly any time!

I know, I normally (ie. when I remember) do recipes on Thursdays, but I decided these were too yummy to wait! That and my *&$#% keyboard has yet to be replaced.)

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Simply Organized


Ok, so this isn’t a foodie post (sorry!) and I do promise to do more of those. Especially as summer comes around! But today was grey and rainy. Which left me with kids jumping off furniture and onto each other.  So we sat down with puzzles. If you have kids, they have puzzles. Ours have 14 of them.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a huge number, but when you think of it in terms of how many individual puzzle pieces you’re left with- it’s a lot. And when they all get dumped out all over the place, it can be downright overwhelming.

I once blogged about it, but there were no pictures, and not a lot of description, and since we’ve spent the afternoon doing puzzles, I decided to share with you my puzzling system!

Take a puzzle: the board and the pieces.

Turn them all over and write a coordinating number (or letter) on the back!

Boxes get destroyed quickly, so I put them in zip-locks, marked with the corresponding number!

This is awesome on many fronts! First of all, it’s no longer a huge headache to figure out which puzzle goes with what board, or puzzle pieces. And hello, number recognition!? My kids can (5, 3, and 20 months) can look at the back of the puzzle piece and find the bag with the corresponding marking. Teaching, cleaning, organization all in one? You know I love that!

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Simply Comforting


I’ve seen a lot of other blogs recently featuring their favorite comfort foods. I even did a chicken noodle soup one. While this one isn’t so terribly different. It’s good enough that you’re going to want to try it. And for a limited time only, I will offer you two recipes for the price of one.

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings and how to make your own, homemade version of bisquick.

One of my favorite cooking companions. My sweet little Sous Chef!

Bacon Chicken and Dumplings (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

3 slices of bacon

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts diced*

3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp poultry seasoning

salt and pepper (to taste)

1 can whole kernel corn (drained and rinsed)

2 cups half-and-half**

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1 cup milk

*I used 4 because I wanted it extra chicken-y, and of course the eternal problem where hubbyman doesn’t like soup.

**I used whole milk (because that’s what I had).

***You could add in more vegetables. If I’d of thought about it, I would’ve at least added some of the carrots sitting in my fridge.

1. Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over med-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside; reserve bacon drippings in skillet. (I didn’t have any bacon thawed, but I thought it sounded so good. I did have some bacon drippings, so I did use that. But I will be using the bacon next time.)

2. Add potatoes, onion, and chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth; season with poultry seasoning (here’s what my poultry seasoning has in it: marjoram, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, and savory), salt, and pepper. Stir in corn, and simmer everything together for about 15 minutes.  *

3. Pour in milk (or half-and-half) and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon. In a med. bowl, combine biscuit mix with milk and mix well (dough should be thick). Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce head and simmer for 10 minutes (uncovered) and then another 10 (covered). Avoid stirring while it’s simmers, or the dumplings could break apart.

*It was during this time (the 15 min simmer) that I whipped up the homemade version of bisquick, so by the time the simmer was done, so was the mix.

(image credit: AllRecipes.com) I couldn't find my camera so I didn't get any pictures. But it looked and tasted wonderful!

Homemade Bisquick Mix

 6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted *

3 tbs baking powder

1 tbs salt

1/2 cup cold butter

*I used Tom Sawyer all-purpose gluten free flour (it’s my favorite) but I’m hoping to come up with my own blend

1. In a med. bowl, measure and sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a wire whisk to make sure it’s blended thoroughly.

2. With a pastry cutter (or something similar – I actually used a cheese grater to “grate” the butter), cut in butter until it’s fully incorporated.

3. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 months.

You can use this in place of bisquick. We’ve made pancakes, snickerdoodles (My Aunt said she actully preferred my gluten free version!), and biscuits out of the mix. It’s fantastic. And, in my opinion, even better than the box. Also- it’s way cheaper. So there you have it folks!

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Simply Sick


The last time I was sick (and of course a couple of the kids were as well), all I could think of was how I wanted some good, old fashioned, homemade chicken noodle soup. Of course, the last thing I wanted to do while I was sick was to make anything. And being gluten free, we can’t really just grab any old can. And the can of gluten-free, chicken noodle soup at the grocery store is over 4 dollars. For one little can. If I were desperate, I might pay that. But under normal circumstances, no way. That’s ridiculous.

So this last week,  my MissE had a day where we worried she was getting sick. I figured it was perfect timing to try my hand at making some soup! Even if she wasn’t sick; I could at least freeze some, so there’d always be some on hand for if when someone got sick. As any parent can tell you, when your kid is sick, you don’t get a lot of free time. Usually they’re in arms, or on lap, or both. Even when sleeping. So as I looked through countless recipes, I knew I needed something I could throw together quickly and relatively easily. Enter my beloved crock pot. (You know I recently read a “de-cluttering” article, and they actually said to *whispers* throw away your crock pot, because nobody ever uses them! *gasp* Oh the blasphemy! *More whispering* Don’t work ‘crock, I’ll never let you goeither of you.) I love crock pot recipes, they’re easy, they’re time saving, they’re not a don’t-stand-there-and-watch-the-water-boil-or-it-never-will type of recipe. Which for me, is terrific.

So in true form, I scanned through about 20 different crock pot chicken noodle recipes… and then did something of my own accord. (I just can’t help it! And you shouldn’t either! Why should you waste timing making something how someone else would prefer it? No way! Make it how YOU would!)

In the crock pot

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (do this to taste. I might have used more as we like pepper in this house.)

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp garlic salt (my garlic salt has parsley in it. If you don’t have garlic salt, just add salt to taste.)

4 chicken breasts

at least 3 cups noodles, uncooked. (I really wanted to make my super yummy, taste like the chicken noodle soup noodles, but I didn’t have eggs. So I just used a -whole- bag of rice noodles. They worked perfectly.)

In crock pot/slow-cooker (whatever terminology you prefer),  combine chicken broth and stock, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, basic, garlic salt/salt/lowry’s (again, whatever you have/prefer). Place chicken on top of vegetables. Cover crock pot with lid and cook either on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours (I used this option, and prefer this option, because I don’t normally decide on dinner until just before lunch).

After cooking, take chicken out and put it on a cutting board. Also take out and toss the bay leaves. Add the noodles to the crock pot and put the lid back on and cook on low for about 20 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, shred the chicken (with a fork!). Return chicken to soup and serve!

*NOTE: You can also add celery, but I don’t love it in my soup (and my kids deem celery only acceptable with peanut butter on it) and I didn’t have any, so I went with what I did!  You can also use a whole -roasting- chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds). If you do, then you’ll want to remove the skin and fat and bones before shredding (obviously. I know you know this, but I’m sayin’ it anyway.) And after that you’ll want to skim fat from the soup and discard that. With the chicken breasts I used, they were very lean to begin with, so I didn’t really have the fat to skim off the top.  And you can of course use your favorite egg noodle that’s gluten-filled. And about the broth/stock. Hubbyman is not into soup. He always looks dejected whenever he looks in the pot and finds it filled with soup. Which is unfortunate considering that my girl and I love soup. And the little boys are always at least willing to eat it. So sometimes I just go ahead and make soup, even though hubby won’t be thrilled with dinner. Some recipes called for 8 cups of water (if you were cooking with a whole chicken) and some called for 4 cups water and 4 cups chicken broth. I wanted the stock for both the flavor and the consistency. And it turned out perfectly.

Hubbyman is not a huge soup fan. So I made his less soup-ish and mine more so!

 

Both hubbyman and I determined that this was the best chicken soup we’d ever had. So, so yummy. There was enough for leftovers and to freeze. It was still hot so I put it in the freezer container and put in the fridge until it was cooled through before freezing (nothing worse than freezer burn!). And it got eaten. By my non-soup-loving husband. I should note that with the stock it does change consistency after being cooled. (plus that and the rice noodles started to fall apart, just a little) So then it was more like another one of my favorite- chicken and dumplings. Either way, it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again. Especially since hubbyman gave him approval to add this to the list of regulars. So easy, so good. It’s a win for me!

mine (more broth-y)

with garlic biscuits

less broth-y

 

 

 

 

 

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I Scream Simple!


Our family is not huge on sweets. Cookies we’ll eat, but cakes, pies, and anything else in the dessert family, tends to go stale before it gets finished. Every year we would order a big DQ Cake for hubbyman’s birthday. It’s his favorite. Last year I got him a tiny one that he and I shared after kids had gone to bed. This year we’re more conscious about US not eating things with wheat/gluten in it, so I needed a new plan. Thankfully, I have a firm and devout love of cookbooks. And the only books I’ve read the last couple of months have been my new cookbooks, and so I was well versed in which cookbook would work. And in true fashion- I combined my favorites! From two of my favorite cookbooks!

That's right, it has a bite out of it. Because it's so yummy, I couldn't even wait to take the picture before taking a bite!

Big E insisted Daddy would want blue sprinkles on his cake, and the M&Ms frozen in the ice cream middle layer, added a nice splash of color!  

The basis of this cake, I got from the Babycakes Covers the Classics (Gluten Free, Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles -just typing that makes me want to go eat make some snickerdoodles!). The photos of all her baking is amazing. If I could get all my baker-y to look that picturesque, I could die happy.

However, pretty much the only thing about this recipe that I stuck to, was that it has cake with ice cream in the middle. But it was my jumping off point. 

One of my other favorites is my Gluten-Free Cupcakes book.  (This is my go to for desserts to make and desserts to bring anywhere. They are quick, they are easy, and they don’t contain a million different ingredients.) Elena Amsterdam has quickly become on of my favorite cookbook goddesses! She also blogs: Elena’s Pantry.

One of my favorite cupcakes to make is Red Velvet. I usually leave out the red, because let’s face it, that doesn’t change the taste. And food dyes really aren’t great for you. And (here’s the truth) I ran out of my red dye that’s natural and made from vegetables, and they’re pretty much always out of it at the natural food store. Anyhow, it’s yummy, it’s moist, and it’s easy. So I made two of them.

My Favorite Red Velvet Recipe

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

4 lg eggs

2 Tbs grapeseed oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 Tbs red food coloring, made from vegetable dye (Or like a million drops of the fake kind. Although technically I think it calls for 35.)

This recipe is traditionally used for cupcakes, but I used it to make Big E’s Cat in the Hat cake a few weeks ago, so I already know it works as a cake! (A bit thin, but still really yummy. And perfect for a layered cake!)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray pans. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking soda.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and food coloring (if you choose to use any). Blend the wet ingredients into the dry with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined (Truth= I used a spatula and that worked just fine).

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pan for an hour.

I did this x2. Gluten free measures a little differently, so recipes generally work better if you make two batches, rather than just double. So I made it twice (that way I didn’t have to dirty 2 more bowls).

ICE CREAM CENTER

1/2 pint (I think I actually used about 3/4, but whatever) ice cream. I used vanilla, because that’s what I had in the fridge, but you can use whatever sounds good to you. Raspberry or strawberry would probably pair really well with the red velvet! Ok, after softening the ice cream, transfer ice cream to a medium bowl and fold in whatever you want. The original recipe used cookies. I used M&Ms and white/milk chocolate swirl chips. It was a fantastic decision.

Now make sure the cakes have thoroughly cooled. I thought mine had, but they were still just warm enough that they  made my ice cream layer melt a little more than I would have liked.  In a pie pan, or spring form, line with wax paper or plastic wrap. I cheated. I just used my silicone pie pan. It worked swimmingly. (And fit better in my freezer.) So put the bottom cake down and spread the ice cream on top. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Place remaining cake on top of ice cream. Frost (I used a really yummy whipped cream cheese frosting!) and freeze (covered) for at least 4 hours.  It is just so yummy. I’m not a big chocolate person, but I do love this! Hope you will too… you know, once a year, on your birthday. Or lunch every day for a week. Your pick.

So there you have it, I scream! You Scream! We all scream for simply ice cream cake! (Right?!)

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Simply Crafty


What do you do when you don’t feel like doing the things you should do? Yesterday, I found myself not wanting to get out of bed. And I just didn’t have it in me to do anything. So I decided to do the one thing that was sure to make the day go quickly and be filled with smiles and laughter. Crafts. Messy, funny, make the kitchen a distaster crafts. I’d found a bunch of things I wanted to try for Valentine’s Day, as well as hubbyman’s birthday (tomorrow! And today is his last day in his 20′s, so tomorrow’s a big day!)… so I got out the paints. I made a tablecloth out of newspapers and got out the poster board. Projects I wanted to try didn’t turn out quite as I anticipated, but an accidental one turned out so great I plan to frame them!

Here’s one I wanted to make for Grandparents:

(clicking the photo will bring you to its origin. All credit goes to meetthedubiens.com)

Looks easy and cute, right? Just put some finger paint on their arm and hand, and use their fingers to make the hearts…

As you can see, it didn’t turn out exactly like my muse. Turns out it’s a little hard to get the 3 and under crown to get their little fingers to fully cooperate in the heart making.

But, doing these did lead me to something I thought was cool, and repeat-worthy, even if it was on accident.

I am totally going to frame one from each of the kids. I had them each do three or four so that we’d get lots of good choices. Littlest probably had to do ten before I could get him to stop trying to grab the paper when I’d take his hand off. It started as an accident when I was trying to make the Valentine’s trees, and they’d gotten another color of paint on his hand and on the plate that I’d squirted the finger paint onto. And the result was so cool, it demanded repeats. I had red, yellow, green, and blue tubes of finger paint. I simply squirt a small amount of each onto a paper plate, stick in the kid’s arm, rub around a bit, followed by the attached hand… and put it to paper. And frame. And look upon with fondness for years to come, Easy peasy. (while children point it out to their friends saying, Parents get attached to/save the weirdest crap.)

These were inspired by the fact we were already covered in paint from painting a poster board Birthday Card for the hubbyman. Today he turns 30 and may be mourning his youth. I think the fact that he still has great hair evens things out. Either way, we love him and wish him the happiest of birthdays! (If you visit my facebook page you can see their sweet/funny birthday video for their daddy.)

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Kidtastic!


Ok, so some of you may remember this year’s Christmas cookies, or my first Gluten Free Christmas cookie experiment. Thankfully there were only a couple of batches that went to the birds (literally). If you are gluten free, then you know sometimes cooking gluten free is a bit of an experiment. Especially if you’re like me and tend to make up your own recipes. Thankfully, in the last year, there’s only been one meal that I would consider inedible. And hubbyman still ate it. After the first cookie flop and my heart sinking to my toes (it’s a yearly tradition that I have done since being a little girl.). I mean like real disappointment. Not only are Christmas sugar cookies a tradition, but the kids and I love to make them during other times of the year. Dinosaurs and trains are not just for Christmas! So I needed to figure out how to make them work! I opened a million and two windows of baking gluten free tips and read and read and read… and picked a couple things and decided to go from there. Thankfully, the next batch turned out perfect. I’m not sure what exactly made them go from flop to perfection, but I am so glad they did! So, if you’ve been looking for a fun cooking expedition to go on with your kids- this is it my friends! If your household does wheat/gluten then by all means use any old sugar cookie recipe! If you’ve been looking for a good gluten free recipe- here you go!

trains, turtles, strawberries, bears, snowflakes... there were some actual Christmasy ones in there too

Ok, let me preface this by saying that these do take up some time, say an afternoon, or an evening. That said, they are not difficult to make. Really, the kids have so much fun with the cut outs and decorating… we made three batches this year!

my sous chefs!

SUGAR COOKIES

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

  • Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, and the egg. (With an electric mixer or by hand) And then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for an hour. I put away all the ingredients and did kitchen clean up, by the time I was done and the oven was hot, it’d been an hour!
  • Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease cookie sheet. (I used a spray)
  • Divide dough into sections. I just grabbed a size that looked like a snowball to me (apparently I really am a northern girl). I kept the rest of the dough in the freezer. Roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. And then cookie cutter time! Sprinkle with granulated sugar or leave plain to frost and decorate!
  • Bake 7 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool. (They must cool before frosting!)
  • Repeat!

Note: It really seemed to make a difference that I kept the dough in the freezer in between batches. Especially after being rolled out and cut, the dough then gets really soft and squishy and you don’t want the flat sheets of flop that I made- so keep ‘em cold!

soooo many cookies

 

If you’re needing a frosting recipe, all I do is take about a cup of powdered sugar and add one tablespoon of milk. (That was really technical, I know.) Mix. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too runny and more milk if it’s too thick. You can always add food coloring as well. And then decorate with sprinkles or whatever your heart desires- before the frosting sets!

*Sorry the pictures are not terrific… my lens was dirty and I didn’t know until it was too late! Hubbyman cleaned it, so here’s hoping for some better pictures in 2012!

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I Make Donuts. Call Me WonderMom.


So…. I’m pretty behind in posts in general, I know. And food posts, I’m sure I’m behind by like a month. Whoops. I have another confession- this is not going to be one either. Well, not completely. Even though I haven’t been doing posts about food, we still have been cooking, and even eating. Shocking, right? Really, there’s been lots of foodie stuff going on here… for Christmas I got a pasta extruder (you have no idea how happy this made me!).

I’ve made lots of yummy pastas, some new pasta sauces (including a pink garlic sauce- so good), sugar cookie cut outs galore, and donuts. I bought a specialty cookbook (for gluten free) specifically because it had a donut recipe in it. And I’ve been looking longingly at the donut making machines over the holidays… and then, during some post-holiday shopping, I found a set that had two donut trays. One for your regular circle donuts, and one for long john style donuts!! I was practically giddy. Ok, there’s no practically, I was giddy. You see, January marks one year of us being gluten free. It feels like it’s been much longer, but a year it’s definitely been. And we have come a long way since those first weeks. We were given a lot of discouraging advice, encouraging advice, and a lot of mixed signals. Thankfully, we were able to weed out the good and the bad and trudge on through. We did have some things going for us already. We already ate little to no processed foods, and I was already making/cooking most things… so I ordered some all-purpose GF flour on-line (because you can get it WAY cheaper and in bigger quantities) and just kept on cooking as usual. I really lucked out. This all-purpose mix is still by far my favorite. We thought it might be a fluke that the first brand we tried was so awesome, but I have not been impressed with any other brand we’ve tried.  While we still have our areas that we could improve upon (I need to make and freeze more pasta sheets on a regular basis, so they’re always available in a pinch. I also need to get back into making bread on a regular basis.), but we have certainly come a long way. We now know so much more about the little changes we can make to keep gluten out of the house and home and tummies. We have found new family favorites and ventured into foods we never otherwise would have. Plus, we feel better! We made “Mexican pizzas” (tostadas), we have sandwiches made out of waffles (the kids’ absolute favorite), we make our own pasta, we make our own sauces, we double our recipes so that we can freeze half for an easy/quick meal another night, and we do lots of experiments!

You know what the best part is? Knowing that one year ago, we were trying everything we could think of to help our sweet little girl. Who had awful tummy issues from midnight exorcism-style vomiting, to much less pleasant potty issues that I’ll save you from the details, to hives attacking her face with each and every meal. We’d gone a year trying to figure out what was causing the hives, we’d thrown out processed foods, stayed away from anything with preservatives or food coloring, gave up tomatoes and anything with citric acid… to no avail. In fact, her hives were getting worse. They were no longer just showing up around her mouth with a meal, they were staying on her sweet little face all the time, and spreading to her neck with meals. Now I know there is some controversy in the needing to be tested. But in order to do that she’d have to continue eating gluten for 2 solid months and then undergo a big-deal time of invasion to her body, which is is teeny-tiny. And the test often comes out with a false negative. Yeah, I’m not down for that. Especially, when after being gluten free for only a month, her hives went away. And they haven’t been back. And we’ve been able to add back in some of the foods that we avoided previously. Like tomatoes. Hello, ketchup! She was so excited to be able to have the ketchup that her brother shovels onto just about every food. (Except rice, because apparently that’s gross. But ketchup and anything else is totally acceptable. And I mean anything else.) Really, to me, my daughter feeling better (you know it’s a big deal when you could tell a 3 year old that she can’t have the cookie being offered because it’s one that will make her tummy hurt, and she just says, so what can I have? without getting upset at all. Or when offered something she’ll ask, will this make my tummy hurt? She feels that much better, and that’s sayin’ something.) And the diet change has caused us to look more closely into the things we’re eating and to become more intentional with the things we eat along with where they come from. Plus, now I make my own donuts. My life is now complete.

See that, a real, homemade (by me!) donut... Gluten free, and it's vegan too!

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