Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Fondue

For the past few years it's been a tradition for our family to fondue on Christmas Eve. I sort of demanded it, actually, when I was Great With Child and nobody had the will to tell me no. And I figured if we turned it into a tradition, it would be fine that we never use the fondue pots any other day of the year. It's a holiday gig now and rationalizes spending the money on the equipment.

Which by the way is not at all fancy. We have two of these Rival pots for the oil and cheese, and then we use a small crockpot for the chocolate. They work fine. The cords are really short though, so we have a multi-plug extension cord to run behind the table and connect everything. Otherwise the pots are way too close to the edge for little kids to be safe.

So. We have three pots going. One is for hot oil. This year we used high-heat safflower oil. The type doesn't really matter as long as you get one that can handle heat. And after awhile the kitchen is going to smell like you're burning things anyway, if you do this for a long time...

We use bites of chicken and steak in the oil, and also mushrooms. We make a tempura batter to dip the stuff in first so they end up with a nice crunchy coating. Ours is this one. If you're not gluten free, you can google a different kind.

For the cheese, we've tried a couple different ones. I think our favorite so far is a variation of Tyler Florence's recipe. Of course, I don't have any of the fancy ingredients it calls for. I always leave out the kirsch, and this year I did half white wine and half chicken broth because I didn't have enough wine.
  • 1/2 pound imported Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cherry brandy, such as kirsch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Assorted dippers
Yeah, this year I threw in minced garlic instead of rubbing the pot with a clove, didn't have any lemon juice, used about 1/3 wine and 2/3 chicken broth, left out the kirsch, and put in a shot of real mustard instead of dry.

Does that even resemble Tyler's recipe anymore?

With the cheese, I like dipping the meats and mushrooms in it, and we also had bread cubes. If your people like broccoli or cauliflower that would be good too. My people don't touch those things.

The chocolate fondue is a six pack of Hershey bars, broken up and melted in the crockpot with a half a cup of whipping cream. Light cream or half and half if you're feeling especially virtuous. So easy, and oh so delicious.

With that, we set out marshmallows, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, mandarin oranges, and sometimes pretzels or angel food cake cubes.

It's a little different every year, just depending on who is going to be there and what fruits are on sale and all that good stuff. It takes forever to do, but it's SO much fun!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Sides and Yummies

This poor little blog needs a kick in the pants for sure! Maybe we can all post some holiday Thanksgiving/ Christmas/ Hanukkah whatever type dishes? What does your family love?

This year for the daycare feast we're making:
Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Confetti Corn
Cornbread Dressing
Lime Jello Salad
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Pineapple Casserole
Pumpkin Pudding (basically pie with no crust)

What sounds good? Want recipes?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beach House Breakfast Lasagna

This is not my recipe at all- I always wonder if I should post things that I make if I have nothing to do with their origins. :) But I was saying on facebook how good it was and some people asked for the recipe, so I am posting it. It's Jennifer Cinquepalmi's, from her gluten free cookbook that I pink puffy heart....

  • 16 thin slices bread (I used Pamela's bread mix in the bread machine, but obviously if you don't have those issues you can do this much more easily. It called for day-old bread, but mine was hot and straight from the machine and it did fine.)
  • 1 lb ham, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 16 slices Swiss cheese
  • 16 slices American cheese (I used 10 swiss and about 15 cheddar. You just really can't go wrong with cheese though.)
Make 2 layers of these things just like you were making lasagna in a 13 x 9.

Then mix:
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard (I couldn't find mine so I put a big shot of French's in there. Yum.)
I also added a bunch of chopped onion because I am of the opinion that most everything tastes better with onion in it. But that's just me.

Pour the wet mixture all over the dry stuff and stick it in the fridge awhile, preferably overnight. In the morning, take it out and let it sit out up to 2 hours to get to room temperature, then bake for about 30 minutes at 350 till brown and bubbly.

It is very, very delicious. My kids both ate 2 plates. I will say, though, that most of the daycare kids thought it was weird. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Buttercream Frosting

Everyone thinks that this is my recipe and that I am fabulous for creating such greatness. But no. It is not mine. It is Betty's. Regardless, you should use it because this frosting is far superior to the stuff you buy in the store and it's super easy to make.

3 Cups powdered sugar
1/3 Cup stick butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 TBS milk

Mix sugar and butter. Add vanilla and milk, and food coloring if you like. Beat well.

Frosts a 9X13 or fills and frosts one 8 or 9 inch two layer cake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strawberry muffins

I found a recipe for strawberry muffins on the inside of a Stonyfield Farms yogurt container. They looked reasonably healthy and we had all of the ingredients on hand, so Gabby and I tried them out. What I liked about the recipe was that it contained whole wheat flour, not too much sugar, plain yogurt in place of the oil, but still some butter for flavor. I really liked the texture that resulted from the yogurt...the muffins were moist, but not greasy. I thought the flavor was ok but a little flat, and I also wanted to reduce the amount of white flour in the muffins. I tweaked the recipe and made them again with my adjustments, and I thought they turned out fantastic.

Now, if you are used to the storebought muffins that are practically cupcakes, these might be a bit too fibrous for your liking. But if you like a whole-grainy, less sweet muffin that is nutritious enough for breakfast and not just snacks, you will love it! Not to mention, the recipe is simple enough to throw together that it makes for a fun afternoon with a toddler who is always asking, "MOM! Can I halp yooooooooo? I wan halp!" while leaning with all their weight on the Kitchen Tower that is parked right outside the kitchen.

Here is my adjusted (perfected) recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons milled flax seed
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farms lowfat...which is where I got the recipe)
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 a stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups chopped strawberries (blueberries are good too!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with papers or use cooking spray. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla. Toss the fruit into the dry mix, then pour the yogurt mixture in and stir just until combined. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Yields 12 muffins.

The changes I made:

The original recipe called for 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour. Instead of using the full cup of white, I used a half cup, plus a third cup of oat bran and 3 tablespoons of flaxseed. I use that ratio a lot...if something calls for 2 cups of flour, I use 1 cup of whole wheat, and the other cup is the white/oat bran/flax combo.

The original recipe did not contain salt, cinnamon, or nutmeg...those were all my additions because I thought the muffins lacked flavor. The cinnamon and nutmeg turned out to be just enough to give them some taste, but not so much to give them a "spiced" flavor. If I ever decide to sub apples or shredded carrot/zucchini for the fruit, I would up it to 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp nutmeg, since I think those things would be good in a spicier muffin. Maybe throw a half teaspoon of ground cloves or allspice as well.

The original recipe contained 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda but no powder. And the muffins turned out a little on the flat side. I looked at some other tried and true muffin recipes I had, and most contained baking powder. So the second time I used a teaspoon of each and liked the results.

The original recipe just called for a cup of fruit, and I used a cup and a half. Just because I like a lot of "stuff" in my muffins.

Try 'em out, see what you think!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fried Cheese

Interestingly (and unfortunately), we are pretty sure my husband is going to have to go gluten free as well. He's been working out of town a lot for the past eighteen months and having mysterious sicknesses between being home and going out again. He feels better now that he's home, but gets sick to his stomach when he goes out with his buddies and eats. Very suspect. We'll be getting him tested before too long, but since we already know our son has 2 copies of the gene, 1 is definitely from him... how did we get so "lucky"?

Anyway. He has different cravings and must-haves in the way of what we GOTTA find that tastes good gluten free. Since he's been home, he's been experimenting with our fryer. I almost never drag it out because it's a bit of a pain and not so healthy, but OH MY the things he's been making lately taste so good. He watches Food Network and revamps things that look interesting to be gf for us.


Our latest favorite is Guy Fieri. He does Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and also Guy's Big Bite. Lots of cool recipes on both shows. And he's the spokesman for TGI Fridays now, and let me just say, that was my favorite restaurant before I went GF and it would be so fabulous for them to develop a menu I could actually eat off.

I'm taking a really long time to get to the fried cheese part, huh? Well, nobody's posted here for awhile, so take what you can get.

So. Guy Fieri makes fried cheese. Here is the recipe. We of course had to adjust it some to suit us, but that's where we started. We have been searching high and low for gluten free won ton wrappers with no luck, but we did find some Vietnamese rice paper that works pretty well, so we use that instead. Also we used GF bread crumbs. I forget what kind they were- he picked them up at Whole Foods though. And Oscar Mayer rotisserie chicken breast instead of salami.

They are crazy good. And now that I know the rice paper will work for holding stuff inside and breading, I really want to try a fried candy bar. But right now we'll stick with cheese. Equally good with marinara or ranch. mmmmm.......

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ahoy there you mateys!

Cap'n Josh and some of his first mates!
Here's the Pirate pinata we converted from a soccer ball (gotta get creative with our China resources).
Here's the cake!

I am very proud of the cake I made for Josh's birthday.

For the Pirate cake, I used one store bought chocolate cake mix, chocolate icing, and white icing colored yellow and blue. I make a 9 inch cake and a loaf cake (put most into the loaf cake) and then cut the side of the front of the cake to make the bow. I used rolos on the side for the cannons, and little dove chocolate bars on the side of the boat. You can't see it, but I used one dove bar as the plank on the other side of the cake. I used chopsticks for the sails and red card stock for the sails. I used pretzels and green airheads for the palm trees, but I would use toy ones if you have them because the airheads did not stay stiff. I would refrigerate it after it is all together to keep the frosting in tact. I had fun with the party, because we also did pirate mustaches for the boy, face designs for the girls, gave out bandanas, eye patches and earrings to the girls. Also, I make a treasure map with a bunch of "x's" on it and we hit their party treat at the end of the party.
The only snafu was Coby choking and turning blue when Josh was opening gifts. Fortunately, Jeff was able to find out he wasn't choking and then administered a couple of quick CPR breaths and he was back. As Jeff rushed him to the doctor, Josh just casually mentioned "Oh, Coby is just jealous of all my great presents". Sounds like something you would hear from a little boy whose spiritual love language is receiving gifts! Needless to say, this will be a party these 5 - 7 year olds will not quickly forget!

If you have questions on how to do it, please let me know.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Oh. My. Word. I have missed you, chicken pot pie. Things with cream sauce and flaky pastry have been the hardest to recreate on my own. I finally found a couple of recipes to cobble together and the results have been fabulous. And it's GLUTEN FREE!!!! Not dairy free, but I'm sure you could change it up if you needed to. Plus, if you don't have to be gluten free, you could just get a can of whop biscuits and throw those on the top to make it even quicker.

{you know, whop biscuits? The ones in the can that you have to whop on the counter to open?}

I wish I could say I made this up, but it's pretty basically Bette Hagman's recipe from her Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods. I change it up a tiny bit, but not really enough to say it's my own recipe.

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup diced cooked chicken
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup minced onion (i always chop a whole onion. onion is our friend.)
1/2 cup frozen peas (i use a can of those lesoeur peas with mushrooms and pearl onions- it adds a nice touch.)
3 tablespoons GF mix (or flour)
2-3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Oven at 350.

prepare chicken and set aside. In my case, that means open the can and flake it with a fork.

put the chicken stock in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil; add the carrots, celery and onions and cook for 15 minutes. Add peas and chicken and cook 5 minutes longer.

Mix the flour to a thin paste with the water. Use it to thicken stock and cook on low 1-2 minutes. Add cream and season with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish or individual ramekins (which I haven't tried but OH the cuteness!) and top with globs of biscuit dough. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

I ALWAYS double this recipe and put it in a 13x9.

Topping (gluten free):
Her recipe says to use her biscuit recipe, obviously. I don't. My mom spent her last snow day from school baking batch after batch of gf biscuits, tweaking 1/2 teaspoon here and there of various things to find the perfect recipe. I don't know what it started out as, but now it's hers and it is GOOD. So that's what I use instead.

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup potato starch
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk

Oven at 375 if you're making actual biscuits with this recipe, otherwise I just throw the dough in blobs on top of the pot pie stuff and use the 350.

In food processor, blend all ingredients except milk. When everything is blended, add the milk and blend till smooth. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes to make 8-9 biscuits.

I always have to at least triple this when I make biscuits for breakfast. A double batch works nicely for a double batch of potpie filling.

My daycare baby is highly enamored of the pot pie.

Here's one serving, ready to eat.

Side view of the casserole dish as it comes out of the oven. I'm not sure if I was trying to be artsy or what- now I'm looking at it and thinking it's kind of weird.

But I guess from the top, all you can see is huge fluffy biscuits, so it's good to have a side view to show off the sauce. :)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Authentic fried rice

One of my favorite and very American friendly dishes that I have learned how to make is Fried Rice (Chao Fan). The one I will be demonstrating here is a Ji Dan Chao Fan (Egg fried rice) which many people eat for breakfast.

In America, we call our three meals of the day breakfast, lunch and dinner. In China, they are called zao fan, wu fan, and wan fan which literally means morning rice, noon rice and evening rice. Yes, rice is a big part of eating here!

Start with some cooked rice. Cut up some veggies.
Warm up some vegetable oil (I have shown our Chinese oil in case you go to the Chinese grocery store and want to get the authentic stuff)

Let the egg cook for a while (like you would an omelet).

Then break it up and cook like you would scrambled eggs.

Cook the carrot with a little oil and a little soy sauce (you can use gluten free soy sauce or omit).

Mix in the rice.

Then mix in the egg and chives.

See this chicken boullion, it works nice to sprinkle in the fried rice and/or to cook the veggies or in many other chinese dishes. Pick some up if you go by the Chinese market. It works better than cubed boullion in my opinion!

An instant meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner awaits you! Add salt as you like!


Cooked rice
2 eggs (stirred up)
soy sauce (take out for gluten free option)
salt (to taste)
cut up veggies (in this case carrots and chives, you can do whatever you like)
vegetable oil
OPTIONAL (cut up meat such as chicken, pork, little pieces of ham, or shrimp)
Warm up a little oil in a wok or other large skillet. Let the egg simmer a while, then break it up and cook like scrambled eggs. Take out of the pan. Make sure you have just a little bit of oil and cook the carrots and/or other vegetables until a little soft. Do not cook chives, though. Stir in rice, egg, and chives and you are done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taco Soup

This recipe is:

-Super easy
-Nut free
-Can be made in the crockpot to simmer all day
-Can be made on the stovetop and is ready as soon as it's hot
-Makes a lot (6-8 servings)
-Good for giving to a family
-Ingredients can be added/substituted
-Tastes good!

You can make this and take this to a friend as a hot meal or as a freezer meal. If you are making it to be ready to eat, a great vessel for traveling is a large mason jar. The lid is tight so it won't spill and there should be enough soup for a family of four. You'll even have some left for your own family. It has enough veggies that you don't need to bring an additional salad, but you can take some tortilla chips or cornbread, some shredded cheddar cheese and/or sour cream.

To make as a freezer meal for your family or someone else, just brown the meat and add the other ingredients. Transfer to ziplock quart size freezer bags. Lay bags flat on a cookie sheet and place in freezer till frozen. Once frozen, put it together with a package of shredded cheese in a gallon size bag. Label with the contents and date. Then you or someone you love will have a hearty meal ready and waiting for a busy day.

*One more tip: When you chop onions for any recipe, chop the entire onion and save the extra in a ziplock bag and freeze. Then you have saved a little produce and some tears the next time you make a recipe needing chopped onions. Even if I only have a little extra, I just add it to a bag I already have in the freezer.


16 oz. can chili beans
16 oz. kidney beans
16 oz. can black beans
8 oz. can tomato sauce
15 oz. can diced stewed tomatoes
16 oz. can whole corn
16 oz. creamed corn
pkg. taco seasoning
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 sm. can chopped green chilies

Open but do not drain any of the liquid in the cans.
Brown the ground beef in a pan with chopped onion. Drain and return to pot.
Add all remaining ingredients to a crock pot or dutch oven.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cuban Bean Soup

This recipe is one of my favorites. It takes a lot of time to make just because of the bean-soaking and the simmering, but it's not too terribly labor intensive. It makes a huge pot and I usually freeze some of it for later.

Although it's called "soup", it's a lot thicker than that, and I always make a ton of rice to eat it with. We usually call it beans and rice, because it's not really very soupy at all. Just tasty.

1 pound white beans (I've used pinto too and that's fine)
2 cubes each beef and chicken bouillon
4 slices bacon
1/2 slice ham steak, cubed
2 small green peppers (I usually use one)
4 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 can tomato sauce
4-6 packets Goya Culantro y Achiote spice (this stuff is in an orange box in the Mexican food aisle. I used to have to go to a mexican market to get it but it's gotten pretty mainstream. It's BRIGHT orange spice.)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cooking wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar

Soak beans overnight and rinse. Then cook with two quarts of water and the bouillon cubes. Bring to boiling, lower heat, and simmer till beans are done. (It usually takes at least two hours.)

Make Sofrito:
Slice and dice ham and bacon. Saute with diced peppers, onion, and garlic. Fry till soft. Add tomato sauce and Goya spice, salt, pepper, cumin, and wine. Simmer uncovered 15 minutes and then add to beans.

Cook, covered, for at least 90 minutes. Before serving, add oil and vinegar. Serve with lots of rice.

Good for most allergies- dairy free, nut free, gluten free as long as you are careful what brand of bouillon you use. It's really flavorful but not spicy- my kids will eat it. Good stuff all around.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sweet smell of...butterflies?

I have taken attempt #2 at a homemade decorated cake and here it is. This is a cake that I made for my friend Mabel's baby shower. Mabel has 2 sons and is now expecting a baby girl. She's in bible study with me in Shanghai.
I can't take all the credit. I used a site that is amazing to get some ideas which is: Being that I take the easy road and since I have a tiny oven where I live right now, I did what I thought was easiest and made a sheet cake. Took out 4 little triangles on the left, right, top and bottom middle of the cake and made those into flowers. I used a white Betty Crocker cake mix and 2 tubs of Betty Crocker frosting and colored the frosting myself. Borrowed 2 cake decorators from my friend Ginny for the green and purple designs you see on the cake. I used the green on the outside of the cake to visually make the butterfly design more obvious. The butterfly fabric you see under the cake will be made into some pajama bottoms for my niece, Ally, but worked out nicely for the presentation of this butterfly cake for the shower.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Introducing myself

It occurred to me that I haven't done an introduction for myself. My name is Mary Beth and I am a friend of Kelli's. We met at church and were in a Sunday School class together for several years, but now I have found myself in Shanghai, China with my husband and 3 boys. I wouldn't say I am a great cook, but I do cook whereas many of my friends do not. I also do like to do some of everything: Cajun (since I am from Louisiana), New England type dishes or more mainstream Americana (since my mom is from Massachusetts), Tex-Mex (since I have most recently lived in and have a home in Texas), and now Chinese food (since I am here now!). I love all food, even though it doesn't always love me. I especially love having people over for dinner, pot-lucks, cook-outs. Maybe it is my Louisiana upbringing, but having a party or any celebration means having food! I also really, really love salads and would love to make a cookbook of just salads if I am ever given that opportunity to do so. I love all food, not just what I mentioned before, but also: Italian, Indian, Thai (which I do have a friend here from Bangkok who is an amazing cook and promises to show me the ropes), Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc, etc. I am way into crock-pot recipes since we have to do just about everything from scratch here in China and that is actually a good thing because it is forcing me to cook more!

However, I do desperately need a Homemade Gourmet injection of some Tortilla Soup mix soon, Kel are you hearing me? - I may get my brother to get a pantry size from me before he comes here in late May!

I also do some baking.

I guess you could say there isn't much I won't do food wise except for some of the Chinese dishes of dog, duck tongue, cow brain or other things of which I can't tell what they are!

I don't have any allergies or gluten problems, so Kelli or others, if something is gluten-free, can you tell me and I can modify to say something is gluten-free or what-not? I have enjoyed getting the recipes so far and am glad I can do some contributing.....

PS - Yes, I am planning to do some authentic Chinese recipes, but not too authentic or you all may not like them! :-)

Take care,
Mary Beth

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easy Jambalaya

This is a staple dish in my family. I actually do not know if my dad makes his jambalya like this, but this is an easy way to make it for supper. I do not ever measure so, I'm sorry.

You will need:

  • yellow onions
  • green onions (I use frozen seasoning mix or Creole Seasoning Mix)
  • garlic
  • rice (2 cups)
  • chicken stock
  • water
  • oil
  • flour
  • salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper (I use Tony's but some people don't like it)
  • chicken or pork (I use bonelss, skinless chicken breasts most of the time)
  • link sausage cut into bite size pieces
  • cast iron skillet or dutch oven- must have a lid
  1. First, coat your chicken pieces in flour.
  2. Put some oil in the bottom of the skillet- coat the bottom
  3. Brown the chicken in the oil
  4. Take out chicken and put to the side. You may want to cut them up after they are not too hot.
  5. There will be some little bits of flour + oil that is crunchy-like, that is ok
  6. Now, sautee your veggies and garlic but don't burn it!
  7. Using your spatula, pick up the little crunchy bits and mix them all with your veggies.
  8. Add some chicken stock to help you pick up those little bits- just a glug or two.
  9. Next you can add your chicken pieces and sausage.
  10. Add 2 cups of rice
  11. After all of that, add water until all of the rice and meat are covered. I use some chicken stock and some water.
  12. Finally, add your Tony's (or salt, peppers, whatever).
  13. Put the lid on and turn the heat to medium for about 20 minutes.
  14. After that, stir (it's not easy to do) and fluff your rice- if you still have too much liquid- cook on low for a little longer. If your rice is still too crunchy- add some more chicken stock and cook for a little longer.

**Serve with white beans and cole slaw for a real south LA treat**

I am TERRIBLE at writing these things. I know that my recipe is not well written at all. I can answer questions though, if you have them.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How 'bout some shark?

I wanted to share this cake that I made for my son's 5th birthday last year. I made it out of a sheet cake (Betty Crocker white cake) and one tub of white frosting (it looks off-white here), some icing colored red, some blue sprinkles and gummy candy for eyes and mini marshmellows for the teeth. As you can see, the pinata was inspiration for it. I am sharing this because I am about to embark on a butterfly cake next week for one of the girls in my bible study who is about to have a baby girl. Anyone have any ideas about how to do that? Don't spend too much time on it, I am probably just going to do a sheet cake yet again and see if I can use the cut out pieces to make a little butterfly, too.

Also, I have been thinking about this. Would anyone want some real, authentic chinese recipes? I have been wanting to get some from my ayi, Tian Mei that helps in our house and didn't know if that would be of interest.
Another question: do you call it icing or frosting? I call it both :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

I got this recipe from my college roommate, Amy. I added a few things, partially because I can never just leave well enough alone when it comes to a recipe, and partially because I had a few things I needed to use up.

The recipe can go in a 9x13 baking dish, but like I usually do, I split it into two 8x8 that I baked last night, and one that I froze for later. Since Gabby only eats about a quarter cup, the three of us can eat an 8x8 for two nights.
  • 4 cups cooked, cubed chicken (I just used 4 chicken breasts and didn't measure...I boiled them with salt, pepper, and some crushed garlic cloves)
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (reduced fat works fine)
  • 1 16-oz container of sour cream (reduced fat works fine)
  • 1 tub of mushrooms, diced (my addition)
  • 1 small onion, diced (my addition)
  • 1 can of water chestnuts, diced (my addition)
  • 3/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds (Amy's recipe calls for 1/2 cup but as a rule I almost ALWAYS add extra nuts to any recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 1 sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers (reduced fat works fine)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, OR a few tablespoons of olive oil (optional)

Saute onions and mushrooms in a little olive oil until onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Drain any liquid released from the mushrooms. In a large bowl, mix the soup and sour cream together, and then mix in the chicken, mushrooms & onions, water chestnuts, almonds, and poppyseeds. Spread mixture into a baking dish/dishes lightly coated with cooking spray. Mix cracker crumbs with butter or olive oil and spread over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly.

We ate it served over brown rice cooked in chicken broth, with steamed broccoli on the side. All three of us liked it...even David, who is normally not a fan of creamy-based casseroles.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tilapia and Almonds

This is from my friend, Shea. It sounds delicious! Let me know if you try it!

1) Grind raw almonds into a powder (I used a coffee grinder) and mix with lots of shredded parmesan. Set aside. 2) Sprinkle garlic salt on fish. 3) Dust tilapia filets in flour. 4) Dip in beaten egg. 5) Roll in your almond mixture. 6) Pan saute in butter - yes - butter!! (ok, I mixed half butter and half olive oil). 7) Saute about 5 mins on each side and then check for doneness when the fish flakes with a fork.

Served with spinach salad, steamed rice, and green beens stir fried in olive oil with a splash of sesame oil and with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grasshopper brownies

Easy easy!! I made this recipe when I had to bring a dessert to a holiday party at our 2 year old's daycare. This is the perfect thing to make when you feel too guilty to just pick something up at the store, don't have enough time to whip up something from scratch, and you want something that isn't too typical but will still be a crowd pleaser.

  • 1 family size box of brownie mix, plus additional ingredients (eggs, oil) as specified on the box
  • 10-oz bag of Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips (found by the chocolate chips...or you could chop up 10 oz of regular Andes mints)
  • Peppermint extract (make sure it is PEPPERMINT and not just MINT...unspecified mint could be spearmint, which is NOT going to work).
  • 1 tub of chocolate frosting

Prepare the brownie batter as the package directs. Stir in the entire bag of Andes baking pieces. Bake as directed.

Add one teaspoon of peppermint extract to the tub of frosting, and stir to combine. Frost brownies when cool.

And there you have it, grasshopper brownies. Doctored-up stuff from a box...just call me Sandra Lee!

(sidenote...ugh- not a Sandra Lee fan over here. But this recipe IS very "semi-homemade-y")

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paw-Paw's Killer Sweet and Hot Pickles

I love pickles. And I'm willing to eat them lots of ways (in a box, with a fox...) but these are my absolute favorite. I eat them straight out of a bowl as a snack. In fact, when I was pregnant with my daughter I ate SO MANY that this conversation ensued:

my father in law: "baby girl, don't you think you should slow down on those pickles?"
me: "no. your granddaughter loves them and they're healthy!"
fil: "honey. you've had EIGHTY SEVEN."
me: (shamed) "seriously?"
fil: "no. but you should really stop eating them."

I really thought I might have eaten that many. I'm glad he wasn't actually counting.

So I got the recipe, which is my husband's grandfather's as far as I know, and it's written in his handwriting, which I love. Get your grandparents to give you recipe cards that they actually write out- I LOVE going into my recipe box and getting handwritten love from somebody who's not around to hug anymore.

I don't make them very often, but last time we went to visit this was waiting for me in the fridge, with my NAME on it so everybody else would keep their grubby mitts off:

And yes, that is a half gallon jar, why do you ask? So what if I've eaten almost the whole thing in less than two weeks?

Paw-Paw's recipe:
1 gallon sliced dill pickles
4 pounds sugar (yes, POUNDS)
1 bottle tabasco sauce (I use a small one because I am a pansy, but you can adjust this to taste)

Drain liquid from pickles, reserving 2 cups.
Bring liquid to a boil. Add 4 POUNDS sugar, stir till dissolved, add tabasco. Stir well and add pickles back in.

If you're making a smaller recipe, basically it's a quart of pickles for every pound of sugar.

When I got these out the other day, my sister's husband ate some and said "wow. These are REALLY sweet. And not that hot." And then he kept eating them and soon his throat was on fire. They sneak up on you. At first you're lulled into complacency by the sugar and then the tabasco bites you.

My two year old asked for one today. I told him they were spicy but he insisted on tasting a "bee-ko". He ate it. He liked it. He had another. And another. And then number four...

He's now on his second string cheese to cool off his mouth and I may have turned him off pickles forever. Good. More for me.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Aaaaccckkk! I haven't posted a recipe in AGES. Sorry folks! If you already read my main blog, you have seen this one...I'm just copying it over to temporarily assuage my guilt for being a slacker over here. But it's a good one! Plus with this cold weather we are having here this weekend, it seems fitting.

Shepherd's pie isn't difficult, but definitely involved enough that I want to get several meals out of it. This will make one full 9x13 or two 8x8 it will serve at least 8. I make it in two small pans, one of which will feed our little trio for two nights. The other goes into the freezer for later.

I consider this to be "my" recipe. I combined bits from Michael Chiarello, Nigella Lawson, and Rachael Ray, and made even more changes after that to fit our tastes.

3 lbs potatoes (your favorite for mashing...I like Yukon Gold)
3 tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 lbs ground meat (I prefer half lamb/half beef, but you can use all beef if you are weird about lamb. I am normally weird about lamb but I can do it in this dish if it is mixed with beef).
1 chopped onion
3-4 chopped and peeled carrots
1 tub mushrooms, chopped
2 cups frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
beef boullion cube
1 tablespoon worcestershire

Mashed Potatoes: If you have a favorite mashed potato recipe, you can just use that. Or, you can make these. Just DON'T use instant or you'll destroy the whole dish. Peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in heavily salted water (use a handful of salt) for about 12 minutes or until cooked. Drain water and return to pot. Mash with yogurt and cream cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While potatoes are cooking, make the filling: Brown the beef/lamb in a little olive oil over medium high heat. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper. After cooking for about 4 minutes, add the onion, carrot, and mushrooms. Season again with salt and pepper. Drain meat if needed. While meat and veggies cook...

Prepare gravy: Heat butter and flour in a medium saucepan and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, wine, boullion, worcestershire, and all the herbs and spices. Cook a few minutes, until thickened. Add gravy to meat mixture and stir in the peas.

Divide filling into two 8x8 baking dishes, or one 9x13. Spoon potatoes over filling and spread evenly. Take a fork and rake across the potatoes in long straight lines. It looks a little messy, but this creates lots of little grooves that will get brown and toasty. Besides, it is supposed to be a rustic dish! Dot the top with bits of butter, about 1 to 2 tablespoons on each dish (if using two).

If freezing one dish, stop here. Freeze for up to 2 or 3 months, defrost in the refrigerator for 2 days prior to eating, and bake like normal. You will never know it wasn't made fresh. When ready to bake, bake at 400 degrees for about 3o minutes...until heated through and the top is golden brown.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Easy Beef Enchiladas

This recipe was passed down by Kelli, whose friend had made it for her just after she had her first baby. It has been a regular around our house for some time. I have made a few changes since I got the original recipe.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

-1 1/2 lbs ground beef
-1 small onion, chopped
-1/2 to one package taco seasoning, plus 1/4 cup water (or taco sauce and no water, which is really good in this recipe, but I can't remember how much I used, maybe 1/2 cup?)
-1 can Rotel drained (I use the original rotel and rinse it off with some water so that it's not too spicy for my daughter. I found the mild to be too mild for our taste)
-1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom if that's all you have)
-8 oz sour cream
-Corn tortillas
-2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger and onion (sometimes I add a clove of crushed garlic). Drain.

Return to pan and add taco seasoning and rotel. Mix well and heat through.

Scoop a big spoonful into tortilla and roll, placing seam side down on a greased 9X13 pan. Repeat until the pan is full.

Mix the soup and sour cream together, and smear over tortillas. Cover with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Uncover and bake another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

This can be made ahead and heated up during the week or to give to a family.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hot Crab Dip

Where did everybody go? Let's get some new recipes up! :)

This is my sister-in-law Jamey's famous crab dip. I don't eat seafood anymore, but when I did, I shoveled this stuff into my face, and usually I don't even LIKE crab. She brings it to most family gatherings and there's never any left. It's easy and yummy!

1 can crab
8 oz. cream cheese
2T onion
1T milk
1 tsp. horseradish (we use extra)
3T butter
1/4 tsp. salt

Saute onion in butter, add crab meat, then add horseradish, softened cream cheese, salt & milk. Mix well.

Put in baking dish and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes

Thursday, January 29, 2009

BBQ Cups

Hi everyone! I just finished making BBQ cups for dinner, and they were so yummy! Very fast and easy to make. I got this recipe from a lady at my church. Here you go!

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
BBQ sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion - I usually leave this out, but that's just me
1 can of biscuits
grated cheese

Brown meat and onions and drain. Add enough barbecue sauce to cover. Preheat oven according to directions on biscuits. Grease the muffin pan and put biscuits in to create cups. Spoon BBQ mixture in cups and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake according to biscuit directions.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Friendship Soup

It's cold here! We need some more soup! I made this for lunch today so I am reposting it. If you read my daycare blog, you've seen it before.

Here's a soup recipe that every kid in my house except for one has loved for the last four years. Even if they don't like the individual ingredients, there's something about the way it comes together that makes it palatable for everybody. I first got this recipe mixed in a jar for a Christmas present, and it's incredibly easy to recreate if you want to give it as a gift.

In a jar or cutesy container:
1/2 cup split green peas
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules (in a pinch I've used cubes, and it takes about 10 to get the same flavor. Knorr's and Herb-Ox are gluten free, Wyler's is not.)
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/4 cup dried onion (or slice real if you're making it fresh)
2 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup rice

in a little separate baggie in the top of the jar, put 1/2 cup small macaroni. I've used orzo, tiny stars, and that bitty alphabet pasta. The kind in the mexican food aisle that's about 20 cents works great.

Add a tag that says you need to add 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained, 3 quarts water, and 28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained.

Put everything except the macaroni in a big pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Then add the macaroni, cover, and simmer 15 more minutes.

It makes a ton, is really thick and hearty and healthy, and is even better the second day. It's really good with club crackers (my favorite way to eat it!) or cornbread or just by itself.
Here's the first round of bowls ready to serve- everybody loves it~! Most kids eat at least three bowls of it.
And here's how much I had left, I put the tomatoes in there as a size guide. That's a really big Tupperware container, we have enough for probably 2 more meals. It freezes well too.

Now that I have to be gluten free, I leave out the barley and the macaroni, and just add more of the other ingredients. It tastes a little different, but not so much that people complain, which equals success around here. I also usually put a little fresh Parmesan cheese on top now- it adds a tiny bit of that sharp nutty flavor that I lose by taking out the barley. But if I didn't, it would be dairy free as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The newbie

Hi everyone! I'm the newbie on the block. My name is Dedra. I have a wonderful husband, Doyen and 2 kiddos - Addison is almost 2 and Jaron is almost 4 months. We don't have any dietary restrictions, but Addison is pretty picky lately. And I am not so crazy for most veggies... I am working full-time right now so time is precious. I love trying new recipes, BUT it has to be fast, with few ingredients and taste good!

I feel like I get stuck in a rut making the same old things so I am looking forward to trying new things and sharing some as well. I already made the baked potato soup a few posts back. It was AWESOME! That will definitely get repeated around here. I'll be back soon with a recipe for Barbecue cups!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Combo Meal Skillet

One of the things I miss about being gluten and dairy free is that I can never just order something off the menu. If I do get a burger(no bun) it is normally in a place where I can't eat sides. One day last month I really wanted a burger and some fries. I didn't have any but I threw a few things together and WOW!

I started with an onion and some hamburger and some seasoned salt. While that was frying those up I checked my freezer for fries that I wished were there but I knew were not and I found tater tots. Score!

I knew I didn't have time to bake or fry them so I nuked them for a few minutes and threw them in the skillet and squished them up with the meat and onion. (We made it again at my sister's house and fried the tots and left them whole and that was great, too.) After that I put in ketchup, mustard and mayo to make a slurry of deliciousness.

The first time I made this I added dill pickle relish and I loved it but my husband said the pickles made it weird so now I put pickles and fresh tomato on top and serve it with gluten free rolls.
The great thing about this is that you can make it how you like it. I'm sure it would be great with bacon or cheese or even piled on a big gluteny bun! It is quick and easy and it really does taste like fast food.


hamburger, onion, seasoned salt, tater tots, ketchup, mustard,mayo, tomato, pickle or WHATEVER you like!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Warm spinach and tomato salad

Ohhhhhhh, this is so good. I could eat a huge bowl of this salad for dinner with nothing else, and be happy. This is a copycat of my favorite salad at Buca di Beppo. I found a few different versions online, and I played around with the quantities until I got something that tastes as good as the original. I think it is a great salad to go along with Italian food, a steak, chicken, or anything, really.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 small red onion, cut into strips
3 roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
5-6 ounces baby spinach
1/3 cup spiced or candied pecans, chopped
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

In a small bowl, combing vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Whisk in olive oil. Pour dressing in a saute' pan and add the onions. Heat on medium until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and let dressing cool slightly. Put spinach and tomatoes in a large bowl or platter. Pour dressing and onions over spinach. Top with pecans and goat cheese. The flavor combination of the sweet pecans and onions, the tangy goat cheese and vinegar...mmmmmmmmm.

Note: The salad should really only be warm enough for it to not be cold...not enough that the spinach wilts. The first time I made it, the dressing was too hot when I poured it on the spinach, which instantly wilted and shriveled down to nothing. I ended up with spinach and dressing soup. So with the dressing, it is better to err on the side of too cool rather than too warm.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seasoned Salmon

I am not a fish kind of girl. My husband keeps asking me to learn how to make salmon and I just can't get interested. I just got this recipe in an email from my friend who lives on Cape Cod and I figure if anybody knows how to make good fish, she's the one. I have not actually made it yet, but I trust her, and I'm putting it up partially as a reminder that I need to buy some salmon and try it! It sounds easy enough.

  • Salmon fillet (any size, skin off)
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Old Bay Seasoning (I've never bought this and have no idea what it tastes like but I know they sell it over by the fresh fish case.)
  • Brown Sugar

Put your Salmon fillet in a shallow pan (cut it to fit if necessary)
Use fork to pierce a few holes in fillet
Drizzle LIGHTLY with olive oil and spread the oil around with your hands
Top fillet with cracked black pepper (as you like for flavor, I did a crank of the handle per 2" square or so)
Sprinkle top of fillet with Old Bay Seasoning (decorate top but don't coat it)
Sprinkle top of fillet with brown sugar (again, decorate top lightly but don't coat it, some clumps are ok)
Broil in oven for 15 min (I had a 2lb fillet) or until it flakes at thickest part
Let me know if you try this and what you think- I'm still scared of cooking fish! :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crock pot ribs

Tonight was my first experience making ribs in the crock pot, and I CANNOT BELIEVE I have lived for 32 years without having done this before. I love ribs, but I never make them at home; I assumed they would be complicated and that they wouldn't turn out good anyway since I am not an expert BBQ-er. I was wrong!

This recipe is simple...ANYONE could make this. The ribs were delicious, and falling off the bone. Credit goes to my co-worker Vonda for the recipe. We were in the office on Friday afternoon (hard at work, of course) discussing meal ideas and crock pot usage, and she told us all how she makes her ribs. Here it is...

1 slab baby back ribs

BBQ sauce (I used a bottle of Famous Dave's Original and thought it was great- but use whatever you like)

Salt and Pepper

Seasoning (I used KC Masterpiece Steak has salt, pepper, brown sugar, garlic, onion, paprika, and a few other things. Anything moderately close to this would work, and I am sure there are tons of similar seasoning mixes out there. This was my addition...Vonda just uses salt and pepper, so you could leave it out entirely).

1. Cut the ribs into sections that will fit into the crock pot. I cut my slab into thirds.
2. Season both sides liberally with salt, pepper, and seasoning mix.
3. Place on a baking sheet and broil for a few minutes on each side until a nice crust forms.
4. Brush both sides lightly with BBQ sauce and put in the crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
5. Remove ribs carefully (meat will be soft) and put on a baking sheet. Coat liberally with more BBQ sauce and put them back under the broiler for a few minutes so the sauce "cooks on" a bit.

And that's it! They were GOOD...and I got many compliments from my husband. We ate the ribs with roasted potato wedges and a spinach salad. The spinach salad needs some fine tuning, but I will be posting that recipe too as soon as I have it perfected!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

I love these because they're so easily adaptable. I made them Thanksgiving weekend when we were all tired of the standard holiday dinner leftovers, and we had a whole bunch of my husband's family over. I made three pans of them ahead of time and tweaked each one to be a little different in spiciness and added stuff. Everybody liked them and kept commenting on how they couldn't believe they were gluten free. People tend to think that every single thing that is gluten free is going to be foreign and weird. Not so. Eating at home is pretty easy and tasty most of the time.

I started with this recipe from Allrecipes, but it doesn't end up being exactly like that in my kitchen, so here's what I do.

The basic filling:
  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
If the kids are going to eat it, sometimes I stop with this. Usually I add more though, since that filling doesn't resemble actual Mexican food at all. It's good with some taco seasoning or cumin added in, or some Rotel, or my favorite, Homemade Gourmet Taco Soup mix. I've also added tomatoes, green chilies, extra cheese, whatever my little heart fancies. That's the beauty of an enchilada. No two are the same and they're really hard to mess up.

If you want them to be gluten free, use corn tortillas. I think the white corn ones taste better. If not, feel free to use flour if you like those best, although I'm told that enchilada purists demand corn, because it's a burrito if you use flour? I'm unclear on that. Anyway, get some tortillas and wrap those puppies up. The recipe calls for 8, but I almost always get at least 10 out of one batch of filling.

  • 3 cups shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
That's all it called for, and I have trouble obtaining my desired consistency, so I usually end up adding some chicken broth or more sour cream or half and half or whatever I have in the fridge.

Pour that over, and then add fun toppings. Tomatoes and sliced black olives are my favorite, but you can get creative and put whatever. Jalapenos, for those of you with spicier, non-wurss palates than mine? Sky's the limit there.

Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 and devour.

These are good to make ahead and refrigerate or freeze for later too.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

This is a recipe that I've been using for years. I don't remember where I first found it, but if you search you can find it on the web. It's basically a loaded baked potato in soup form. Unless your like us and reduce the milk, in which case it's like a loaded baked potato in a bowl.

I peel half of the potatoes and leave the skins on the other half. I cut them into chunks and boil them instead of baking them. I've tried it both ways and couldn't taste the difference, but the baked potatoes were much more labor intensive.

Turkey bacon works great in this recipe, as does low fat sour cream, cheese and milk. I only make this once or twice a year, so I go all out and use real butter, whole milk, the works. It's so yummy and makes a ton (so you can share with a neighbor or friend). It's perfect for a cold winter's night. Serve with crusty french or sourdough bread.

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large baking potatoes, baked, cooled, peeled and cubed, about 4 cups
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 to 12 strips bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled (just use the entire package)
1 1/4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

-In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour; stir until smooth and bubbly.
-Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened.
-Add potatoes and onions. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until soup begins to bubble.
-Reduce heat; simmer gently for 10 minutes.
-Add remaining ingredients; stir until cheese is melted.
-Serve baked potato soup immediately. Can be refrigerated for several days. Add a little extra milk when reheating.

This baked potato soup recipe serves 6 to 8.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Multigrain pancake mix

In our house, we LOVE having a pancake breakfast on Sunday mornings. I have been on a quest for a while to create my own multigrain pancake mix. Usually I buy this stuff, but I figured I could make my own version that would be cheaper, yummier, and just as nutritious. After testing the recipe, David said they tasted better than the storebought mix.

Here are the measurements for making a large amount of mix:

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup milled flaxseed
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (use less if using table salt)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

This makes about 10 cups of mix. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (flaxseed and wheat germ need to be refrigerated, and whole wheat flour goes bad faster than white flour).

To make pancake batter:

1 and 1/4 cups of mix makes enough pancakes for the 3 of us. For every 1 and 1/4 cups of mix, add:

1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil or melted butter

Do not over-mix...combine until just blended (and still a little lumpy). If the mixture is too thick or too loose, add a little bit of milk or additional dry mix to get the right consistency.

If you don't want to commit to 10 cups of pancake mix until you try it, here is the scaled-down version to make one recipe...

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons oat bran
1 tablespoon milled flaxseed
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Add the same wet ingredients as listed above.

They definitely have that multigrainy taste, so if you are not a fan of whole wheat and grains, they may not be for you. We try to eat whole wheat versions of everything (bread, pasta, crackers, etc.) when available, so the pancakes are perfect for us.

The wheat germ has lots of vitamin E, folic acid, complex carbohydrates, and protein. Milled flaxseed contains Omega-3's, protein, and fiber. Oat bran and whole wheat flour are both high in protein and fiber, and oat bran is high in soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol. Plus there's enough white flour that you won't end up with cardboard discs. If I have any over-ripe bananas at the end of the week, I like to mash one up and add it to the batter along with some nuts or mini chocolate chips...YUMMY.

Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

Before I went dairy free I LOVED mint chocolate chip ice cream. I have yet to find it in the dairy free variety. Leaving the ice cream part aside even most chocolate is made with milk fat so it a challenge to find anything I can just buy and eat that satisfies my mint/chocolate craving. So I got a little creative. I once saw a recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine that called for chai tea bags. You rip open the bag and use the tea in the cookies! Thus was born the idea for my Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins!

I start with a box of gluten free muffin mix. I pretty much follow the directions on the box. Two eggs, 6 tablespoons oil (butter) and a cup of rice milk (milk). Here comes the brilliant part! Instead of vanilla I add mint extract, 2 bags of herbal peppermint tea and 5-10 drops of green food coloring depending on how green you want them to be. Throw in some chocolate chips and you have the perfect gluten free, dairy free Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins!

The ingredients:

muffin mix

2 eggs

6 Tbs oil

1 cup rice milk

1/2 tsp mint extract

2 peppermint tea bags

green food coloring

Chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life that are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and nut free)

I was going to take pictures of the batter because it looks and smells JUST like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream but my camera battery died. :( I pulled some out of my remote control while the muffins were baking.

The finished product:

They also freeze really well if you need a quick snack, breakfast or dessert.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Corn Dip

This is my favorite dip in the whole world. I never make it unless I'm having a crowd over, because I will sit down and eat the entire bowl like a starving wolf otherwise. I tell myself I'm not gonna, and then I DO.

In fact, my sister KatieBug may or may not have eaten a corn dip sandwich when she ran out of Fritos. I'm just sayin'.

Karly over at Buns in my Oven asked me to post this, because I made her hot corn dip the other night, and I told her while it was very tasty, I still liked my cold one better. She wants to know what's in this one because she can't imagine something better. :) I love when there is a variety of stuff that is SO GOOD.

Usually I am a stickler for following directions, but I have lost my original recipe and I've made this so many times that now I just throw stuff in there. I'll do the best I can with amounts, but it's cold dip. If you have a little more or less of something in there, it's not going to matter.

Okay. You will need: (and now I NEED, and wish I had this stuff in the house so I could take pictures for the blog shove it in my piehole...)

  • 1 can Mexicorn, undrained (the canned corn with the green and red peppers in it- I think it's by Green Giant)
  • 1 can of regular corn, drained, the same size as the Mexicorn
  • green onions, chopped, however much you like. I add a bunch of the tops for color.
  • sour cream
  • mayonnaise
  • jalapenos
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese (I remember the measurement because you put in the whole bag!)
  • salt
  • pepper
Mix all that, put it in a bowl, and enjoy the love. It's better if you can keep your hands off it for at least a few hours and let it chill. I think it's best with Fritos Scoops, but it's also doable with ruffles or chopped veggies or a spoon.

I want to say it was originally 3/4 cup of both sour cream and mayo, but usually I put in an 8 ounce container of sour cream and then eyeball a big spoonful of mayo. It just depends on how thick and creamy you want it. And I am a big pansy when it comes to jalapenos- I'm pretty sure the recipe called for a whole jar of slices, and I usually put in about three, chopped very small, and maybe a splash of juice from the jar. If you like it real hot, obviously you should put more.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Diet Coke Cake

This is not my mama's sweet potato crunch like I promised but I just had to share with ya'll. As I've said before (and I guess I should again), I'm dieting. I'm also a world-class craver. I start to crave something and I GOTTA HAVE IT.

Anywho, I have been reeealllly wanting cake lately. I remember reading somewhere (possibly here )(she rocks) awhile ago about Diet Coke chocolate cake, where you use a can of Diet Coke with a box of dry cake mix. I didn't remember if that was ALL so, I looked it up and found a few different message boards that said that same thing. I decided to give it a try.

I bought a box of Pillsbury Devil Food cake (which is certainly not gluten-free, sorry) and a can of DC. I also got some Cool Whip Lite to use as the topping. It really serves no purpose to go through all the trouble of using Diet Coke when you top it off with a can of icing. I wanted it but I held back.

I remember reading that some people found the cake to be a little dry. Now, maybe this is because they didn't use any type of topping, I don't know. I decided to play it safe and I added about (see I told you, Loni, I'm not that great with the measurements- I'll try harder in the future) a cup of 60 calorie Jell*o pudding. It's maybe two containers of these. I dumped the dry cake mix in a bowl, poured in 8 ounces of DC and mixed for a little bit. Then, I dumped in the pudding.

I am not a baker. I have never made anything bake-y from scratch so I don't know anything about all this but it was VERY hard to mix. I think that is because it's the Devil Food cake, but maybe not. I also don't have a mixer so I used a regular old spoon. So, I mixed the three ingredients and poured (scooped) it into a 13 x 9 dish. I then had to spppppprrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeaaaddddddd it out with the spoon. It was not easy to work with- very thick.

I baked as directed and when I checked it, to my complete surprise, it rose and became CAKE, actual cake. Then, I tasted it and was so thrilled because it was de-lish! Blue had to piss on my parade by saying, "But where is the icing?" He's looking all over the kitchen like a fool. I told him that we were too fat for it, that we were eating with Cool Whip Lite because the cake was diet. He said that he wanted the icing. He can be a butt like that.

I ate it with the Cool Whip Lite and it was great. Even without the topping really, it's moist (a word I loathe) and chocolaty and just YUM-O. You will be amazed.

Recapping the "recipe"-

* 1 box of dry cake mix
* 8 ounces of diet cola
* 1 cup of fat free pudding (optional)
Mix all together and bake as directed
Top with Cool Whip Lite

I've read that chocolate cake and Diet Coke go well (that is what I used) but also, yellow cake or lemon cake with Diet Sprite or 7up. You can use whatever kind of Diet soda and cake mix- use your imagination- Diet Cherry Coke would be good too.

**Sorry I didn't take any of my bad pictures of the cake/cake making. I didn't think I was going to write about it until after it was all over.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Award winning chili

I didn't win the award, but my little sister Teri won an informal chili-cookoff at a friend's house with this recipe. It's a quick and easy recipe, yet tastes better than any mix or chili starter I have tried.

It is the best kind of recipe...easy to make, easy to double, and extra can be frozen for future weeknight meals. I always make a double batch and freeze half. When it is cold and wintery outside, it will be quite delightful to warm some up for a no-cook meal after work. I serve it with brown rice and a little bit of shredded cheese when I am trying to be respectable...fritos and a whole lotta cheese when I'm not.

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 can chili beans (I use Bush's mild)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven. Add onion and peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, and add the ground beef and garlic. Season again with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir it into the meat. Add green chiles, tomatoes, and beans. Stir, and simmer on low for at least 10 minutes...longer if you have time. I simmer mine uncovered because I like it thicker. Check for seasoning before serving, and simmer a few minutes longer if you end up adding more salt and pepper.

If you like it spicy, it is really good with a minced chipotle pepper and a little bit of the adobo sauce it comes packed in. But since Gabby eats it too, I leave out the chipotle and jalapeno (I still use the green chiles).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome! 5

HI! I am so excited about Can you Eat This!! I am KatieBug, Kelli's little sister, and as she mentioned we are a mess. Allergies abound. Our entire house (including me, my Love, Bubby~6, FireCracker~5, CreamPuff~3 and Peanut~6 months) is gluten free. I am also dairy free and we just found out CreamPuff is allergic to fish and shellfish. So when Kel had the great idea to start a recipe blog I was all over it! I could really use some fresh ideas.

Needless to say we read labels like crazy and can't usually eat food that other people prepare. We also don't eat out much except the occasional double cheeseburger no bun (and no cheese for me) so I cook a lot. I feed my kids by the food program so as long as it has a protein, a carb, and 2 fruits and/0r veggies we call it a meal. Sometimes it gets very.....creative. :)

I really like to cook and am getting to the point I will eat just about anything that is safe because my standards are so low. Kelli and I joke about how often we say "Not bad!" about foods we try. I do a lot of tweaking to recipes just because there are so many ingredients we can't have. Sometimes it turns out great and I pat myself on the back and bring the tasty foods to my friends so they eat the food that was prepared by a culinary genius. Other times I take one bite and put the whole thing in the disposal. You will not be finding those recipes on this blog.

I love to take pictures. I probably won't do a step by step how-to picture post very often but if I think a recipe is good enough to blog about there will be at least one picture. Sometimes I take pictures of my food just because. For me if there is no picture it didn't happen.

I can't wait to see what we can do here!!

Alphabetical List of Recipes

Authentic Fried Rice
Award-Winning Chili
Baked Potato Soup
BBQ Cups
BLT Pasta Salad
Beach House Breakfast Lasagna
Bolognese Risotto
Breakfast Casserole
Buttercream Frosting
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Chick-Fil-a-ish Nuggets
Chicken Pot Pie
Combo Meal Skillet
Corn Dip
Cornbread Skillet Supper
Cottage Cheese Salad
Creamy Crockpot Chicken
Crockpot Ribs
Cuban Bean Soup
Diet Coke Cake
Easy Beef Enchiladas
Easy Jambalaya
Flawless Sesame Chicken
Fried Cheese
Friendship Soup
Gluten Free Cornbread 
Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Gram's Cornbread Dressing
Grandma's Potato Salad
Grasshopper Brownies
Hot Crab Dip
Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins
Multigrain Pancake Mix
Paw-Paw's Sweet and Hot Pickles
Poppyseed Chicken Casserole
Roast and Use of Leftovers
Savory Corn Griddle Cakes
Seasoned Salmon
Shepherd's Pie
Spaghetti Casserole
Squash and Corn Soup
Strawberry Muffins
Taco Soup
Tilapia and Almonds
Warm Spinach and Tomato Salad