Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Multi colored cupcakes - no artificial food coloring

For Cameron's 6th birthday party he wanted multi colored cupcakes like the traditional Funfetti© cake mixes. Since those are out on many levels I set out to make my own. And while I was at it I figured why not make each color a different flavor? They were a hit at the party and Cameron was able to have fun cupcakes that wouldn't bother him.

Multi Colored Cupcakes
What you need:
3 eggs or egg replacer (I used EnerG) 
2 cups sugar (I used organic)
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free flour mix of choice (make sure it has xanthum gum or guar gum)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini 
natural food colors (I use these)

If using egg replacer, combine with water according to directions and let sit. 
Combine in a mixer bowl, the eggs or egg replacer, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift together the flour mix, baking soda and salt. Add the sifter flour mix to the mixer bowl and stir until combined. Add in the zucchini and mix well. If using frozen zucchini, let thaw and add both the zucchini and the extra water from the zucchini. Divide the batter into three or four bowl, one for each color. Natural red does not work well for this but the other colors work. Add the natural food coloring to each bowl until desired color is reached. Oil three or four 8x8 pans and add one color to each pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out colors and let cool. Once cooled cut into bit size pieces and set aside. 
My Birthday Boy!
To make colored cupcakes make another recipe of the above cake but don't add the food coloring. Line 24 muffin tins with papers and add enough batter to each liner to cover the bottom. Add in the cooked and cooled colored cake bites and top with remaining batter. Bake 18 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make sure when you toothpick them that you don't hit a already cooked color piece. Remove from pans and let cool completely before icing. 

Finished Cake

Monday, November 12, 2012

Orgran is GMO free

I have recently figured out that my kids react to GMO corn the same way they do gluten. This has lead me to cut out GMO's and contacting companies to find out what they use. I wanted to share the recent reply I received from Orgran. While I have not tried their products yet, I ordered several of them to try and I will let you know how they are.
Here is their reply.

Thank-you for your email and interest into the Orgran range of gluten free products.
All of Orgran products are GMO free. We used to have GMO free statement on all of Orgran products. However, due to the requirement on some of the countries that we exported our products to, we had to remove the GMO free statement from our packaging.

For your reference I have copied below some additional information regarding our range.

Currently we have over 80 gluten free lines ranging from the best tasting pasta available (Rice & Corn), pancake mixes, bread mixes, flour mixes, fruit bars, falafel mix, canned spaghetti, biscuits, snacks and more.

The entire range of Orgran products are:
Wheat free
Gluten free
Dairy/lactose and casein free
Yeast free
Egg free
Contain no animal derivatives

GMO free

ORGRAN products consist of a very comprehensive range of foods specifically developed for dietetic requirements such as coeliacs, allergies, diabetics, athletes and the health conscious consumer.

In accordance with the ORGRAN philosophy and stringent quality guidelines we do not use or store GM ingredients, artificial additives, food preservatives, stabilizers, flavour enhancers, dairy, animal derived ingredients or wheat.

As specialised producers we adhere to strictest international standards and in order to maintain purity status of our dietetic products we do not process wheat or gluten containing cereals or additive derivatives on our premises. 

I hope this is helpful, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any additional information.

Thank-you again for your interest in Orgran

Best Regards,
Jeffrey Wangsadipura
Senior Quality Assurance Officer
Email: * jeffrey@orgran.com

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple sandwiches

Are you looking for a fun and easy lunch or snack? Here is a fun idea that I found on pinterest.

Apple Sandwiches
What you need:
Peanut Butter or Sun Butter
Mini dairy free chocolate chips, dried fruit or other fillers

Slice the apple into slices and core. Or if you have an apple corer, core the apple first and then slice. Spread your nut butter or sun butter on apple slices and top with the filling of choice. My kids found these to make an amazing lunch and loved eating them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Beef Freezer Cooking

A few people want to know what my 2 freezer cooking groups do and what we cook.When we cook we pick a common ingredient this time it was beef but we have also done chicken, pork, breakfast, sides and sweet treats. We pick 3 to 4 meals and double them so we each have 6 to 8 meals per family.

This month we cooked

Ground Beef Stroganoff

Meatballs/Meatloaf (I use gluten free crackers and each person picks how they want their meal)

Slow Cooker French Dip

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef (Use gluten free soy sauce)

Remember that we double each recipe per person.

The night before I browned the ground beef for the stroganoff and prepped all the onions in the food processor. The next day one person finished making the stroganoff using olive oil instead of the fat. While she was doing that I started on the Mongolian beef and the third person started the French dips. We did our french dips in our slow cookers and had the dip cook all day to eat that night. Then we froze the leftovers for another meal later. Then as I finished the Mongolia beef the other two started on the meatballs/meatloaf. (Use gluten free crackers) We love this recipe because it works well as both meatballs and meatloaf. We bake them at 375* until done, this depends on the thickness of your meatloaf and how big your meatballs are. We then did dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and we home to fill our freezers. It is a small way to start filling your freezer for nights that you don't know what to cook.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vanilla Apple Sauce

This is a new twist on regular apple sauce. The vanilla bean adds a wonderful subtle taste that makes this recipe so refreshing. Do you see the vanilla flecks?

Vanilla Apple Sauce

What you need:
8-9 apples (I used several different ones)
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups water

Peel, core and chop your apples. I had my kids chopping apples with a butter knife which is why I started with 9 apples. Mix your chopped apples with the lemon juice and add to a medium to large pot. To the apples add the water and sugar, stir to help dissolve the sugar. Split your vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds. Add both the split pod and the seeds to your apples.
Bring the apple mixture to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to low. Simmer the apples for 10 to 15 minutes or until the apples are soft. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Doughnuts

Doughnuts are something my whole family loves but the gluten free doughnuts the stores offer leave something to desire. I did buy myself doughnut pans in both regular and mini doughnuts and the long ones are on my wishlist. The ingredients used in these doughnuts make them perfect breakfast food along with a glass of cultured coconut milk. 

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Zucchini Doughnuts
adapted from BruCrew

What you need:
1/2 cup dairy free butter softened
2/3 brown sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1 6oz carton dairy free yogurt (I used vanilla almond yogurt)
1 cup zucchini, shredded
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Shortbread cookie mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup dairy free mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the salt, applesauce, yogurt, milk, and zucchini and continue to combine. Sift together the cookie mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Slowly add to the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. 
Spoon the doughnut butter into a large ziplock bag and cut one tip off. Fill the doughnut pan cavities at least 3/4 full. Bake at 375* for 10-12 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve top with powder sugar or dairy free whipped cream, try this one or use this, with fresh fruit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Corn Free Candy Corn

Ever since the Halloween candy has hit the shelves my kids have been begging me to make candy corn. It was not as hard as I thought it would be and turned out to be fun. The pictures will also show why I love the orange and yellow food coloring from Natural Candy Store. The colors are so vibrant and real looking and they taste so much better than the store bought stuff.

Corn Free Candy Corn
Adapted from Alton Brown

What you need:
4 1/2 ounces powdered sugar
1/2 ounce powdered milk (I use DariFree which you can find here)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
1/3 cup corn free corn syrup
2 1/2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons dairy free butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
orange and yellow food coloring

I did mine just like Alton Brown did except for using natural food coloring. Follow his directions here. I also took tiny cookie cutters and used them to cut out solid colored bit sized candies. After I cut and shaped my candies they were still a bit sticky. I decided to place them in my dehydrator for a few hours on the lowest setting. They firmed up on the outside but are still nice and soft on the inside. Since they had a few hours in the dehydrator they can be stacked together to store.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

DIY: Corn Free Corn syrup

I know that my title sounds a bit funny but you can make a corn syrup substitute so you don't have to use corn syrup. Why would you want to do that? So you can make candy corn! We have eliminated non-organic and GMO corn from my kids diet because they react to it similar to how they react to gluten. This means no corn syrup and Cameron really wanted me to make candy corn, which needs corn syrup.
I looked at many different substitutes and I did not want my candy to have a dark tint to them. This lead me to make my own corn syrup. It is not hard to make and it works perfectly to make candy corn.

Corn Free Corn Syrup

What you need:
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt and a pinch

Combine sugar, water and salt together in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Place the lid on the pan and cook at a simmer for 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes clip a candy thermometer on and cook till 240 degrees. Let cool slightly and store in a glass jar. Please be very careful as this is very hot stuff that will burn if you are not careful! I used most of the recipe making candy corn. The longer it sits the more it will form sugar crystals but warming the syrup will even the syrup back out. 
Yes, I know it's not the best picture but you get the idea.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gluten and Dairy Halloween Candy

It's October! I am going to try to be more here the month of October and give you lots of neat ideas and recipes for gluten and dairy free Halloween treats. I'm starting off with a company today that I have worked with in the past and I love the selection they have. The Natural Candy Store has a great selection of gluten and dairy free candy that you can swap out the candy they get trick-or-treating. Out here camping they do three weekends of trick-or-treating plus we go out for Halloween. That is a ton of candy that my kids gather. They have no problem handing the candy back out to other trick-or-treaters but a few pieces of candy are nice to have. There are several different candies that I ordered this year to trade out along with some candy I can buy at my local health stores. We don't do many sweets but when all the other kids are having something special it is nice to be part of that group.

Here are some candies that I love from them.

 Gummi Jack o Lanterns they are corn free too!
Sour Worms
Gummy Spooky Spiders
Natural Candy Mix suckers, gummy worms and gum

I also order my food coloring from them and I have not had a problem with any colors. In fact I prefer the natural food colors over the ones I can buy locally because the colors are more true colors.


Now I have a challenge for you. I know we all like to get free stuff and as soon as my Facebook page hits 200 likes I will give away an awesome gift box full of gluten free yummies! The faster we reach this goal the more items will go into the box. Help me reach this goal by sharing with your friends and family please.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caden's Little Einstein Birthday

Today is my baby's birthday. He turns three and for his cake he wanted Little Einstein. If you don't know who they are check them out here. I started with the cake recipe from Living Without which can be found here. I made it just like the recipe said but in the last step I added some natural orange food coloring because Caden wanted an orange colored cake. It turned out great, a bit dense but still tasted great.

Happy Birthday Caden!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fast Friday - DIY Steam Bags

I love my local farmers market! I don't know about you but I have a local farmer who is organic and when we stopped in last Wednesday they had both pears and potatoes. Around here organic potatoes are hard to find so I bought a box of them. A few weeks ago there was a post on Facebook that was a link to make your own freezer bag potatoes. The link that was posted was this one and I followed the instructions given but with organic potatoes! I am so excited to try these come winter when it is even harder to find organic potatoes.When you go to use them just poke a vent hole in the bag when you warm them.

Steam Bag Potatoes
What you need:

potatoes (organic if possible)
Seal a Meal (or another similar system)


Yes, Caden helped me take the picture.
Peel, cube and boil till almost done. You want to be able to stick a fork into them but still holding their shape. Drain and let cool so it is easier to bag. Place desired amount of potatoes in bag depending on how big of serving you want. I did both large and small bags for just family and holiday meals. Label and freeze for later!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Souper Sunday - Sweet Slow Cooker Chili

I know I have been MIA for a while but it will be worth it. I've been taking some family time and trying to get my pain levels back down where I can cook again. Here is a treat for you to enjoy and it is the start of more fall recipes to come your way.
I received Rudi's new tortilla shells and while they are great as tortilla shells, I wanted to make something different with the too. What I love about their shells is when you warm them the shells puff. Like real tortilla shells! You don't even have to warm them to eat them! I am in the process of trying to convince local stores to carry them so I can have more to experiment with. The recipe that I converted to gluten free was a new one for me but it will be a dish that we will keep making.

Sweet Slow Cooker Chili
adapted from Food Network

What you need:
1-2 lbs of stew meat
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 (12oz) gluten free beer or soda (I used cream soda)
1 (14-16oz) jar salsa (I used a mild sweet salsa)
4 Rudi's Fiesta tortilla shells, torn into bite size pieces
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 cans beans (I used one kidney bean and one black bean)
4 cups broth (veggie, chicken or beef)

Add oil to the bottom of a large pot and brown the stew meat. Sprinkle salt onto meat while browning each side of the meat. Remove the meat and place into slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high heat for 8 hours or until meat is tender. Give a final stir and taste for additional spices before serving. The tortilla shells dissolve into the chili and help thicken the chili.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Souper Sunday - Gluten and Dairy Free Northwoods Chicken Soup

During the month of September I am going to post easy but yummy soups. Today's soup was a favorite of my cooking group and was often in our cooking rotation. This was before my family went gluten and dairy free. As fall is approaching I'm in the mood for soup again and this soup was one I wanted to try again. I am pleased with the results and while it doesn't have the original 1 1/2 cups of half and half, it is still creamy. With using tapioca starch the soup almost gels when cool but if you heat it back up again it will be creamy again. I have not tried freezing the soup like the original one because it did not last long enough. Cameron loved the soup and if I get him to eat and like new foods it is worth sharing. There are some people who do not like the texture of the wild rice and if they are in your family you can use brown rice instead.

Northwoods Wild Rice Soup
adapted from Food.com

What you need:
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup butter substitute
6 Tablespoons tapioca starch
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
10 oz chicken broth
1 1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups dairy free milk (I used coconut)
2 cups cooked wild rice

In one bowl combine tapioca starch, salt, thyme and paprika. Also have milk, chicken broth and worcestershire sauce together and ready to add to the roux you make. Melt the butter in a large pot and add onion and celery. Saute until the onion and celery is tender. Stir in the bowl of tapioca starch and spices and cook for about a minute, until it starts to thicken. Add in milk and chicken broth and stir, stir, stir! It will thicken into a gel for a second but keep stirring and it will smooth out. Add in chicken, bacon and wild rice and cook till thickened. Enjoy!
If you freeze it let me know how it is please.
Cameron asked for another bowl before bed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Filled Cupcakes

I don't know about your family but my boys long for things they see others eating. Cameron has been asking since before we were gluten free if I would make filled cupcakes. So, yesterday while he was in school I decided to try to make some. I was almost late picking him up from school but when he leaned why he was so excited to try one. The cupcake recipe is based off of this one from Elena's Pantry but I used what I had on hand.

Chocolate Filled Cupcakes
What you need for cupcakes:
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/4 cup dairy free butter substitute
1/3 cup sugar

What you need for the filling:
MimiCream Healthy Top
1 tsp vanilla
powder sugar to taste

What you need for the chocolate top:
1/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
1 tsp coconut cream

Put the Healthy Top into the fridge and a metal mixing bowl into the freezer. Mix together the dry ingredients until combined. Add in the eggs, butter substitute and sugar mixing after each addition. Line 6 muffin tins with liners and add the batter to them. Bake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and making filling.

Remove the mixing bowl out of the freezer and the Healthy Top from the fridge. Add the Healthy Top to the mixing bowl and whip on high speed till thick. Add the vanilla and powder sugar if desired and whip till combined.

When the cupcakes are cooled take a sharp knife and hallow out the center leaving a plug for the middle. I ran my knife around in a circle and then at an angle to pop the middle out. Fill each cupcake with 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp of the healthy top filling and add saved cupcake piece back into the middle. When all six are filled combine the chocolate chips and coconut cream in a small dish. Melt in the microwave 15 seconds at a time till melted and smooth. Frost each cupcake with the chocolate making sure the filling does not show. Add a few spoonfuls of the Healthy Top mixture to a zip top bag and clip the corner off to make a pastry bag. Pipe the swirl design onto the top of each cupcake. You can practice on wax paper before you pipe the cupcakes. Enjoy!
I think these would be a hit at school!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Misc. Monday - Grapes

When I made the butterflies for the school snack I was unsure how many grapes I would need to fill the bags. Needless to say I had more grapes than I needed and after Caden sat on them I needed to use them up. We decided to can them as I only buy US grapes and in the winter they can be hard to find. I'm even going to see if I can use canned grapes in 24 hour salad. They are super easy to do and when I can't find US grapes this winter we will still be eating grapes!

Canning grapes
What you need:

Ripe grapes (2lbs per quart)
light or medium syrup*
pint or half pint jars

Ladle a 1/4 cup syrup into half pints or 1/2 cup syrup into pints. Fill with grapes leaving 1/2 inch head space. Finish filling with syrup, remove air bubbles, clean rims and place caps on. The grapes process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. 

Light syrup is 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups of water
Medium syrup is 3 1/4 cups sugar to 5 cups of water

Directions: Combine sugar and water together in an appropriate size pot and heat until sugar is dissolved.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fast Friday - Butterfly Snack Bag

 I thought that this had posted on Friday but I guess that it didn't. So here it is a bit late. Sorry!
I had a hard decision to make on what to bring for the first full day of school snack for Cameron's class. I wanted something fun, healthy and I wanted Cameron to have the same snack as everyone else on the first day of school. Plus I figured if I brought in a healthy snack it would set the bar for all the other parents who are bringing in snack this week and next. I looked all across the internet and while there were many cute ideas, but only one I had time for. Cameron came home from school and said that it was a hit and the empty butterfly bags came home from school with each student.

Butterfly Snack Bags
What you need:
snack size zip top bags
pipe cleaners
assorted fruits and veggies

Fill half of one snack bag with desired treat. Fold pipe cleaner in half and bunch up the pipe cleaner and twist to make a butterfly shape. Fill the other half of the bag with another treat. It really is as simple as that!
So cute!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - First Day of School

Today was a big day in our house. My oldest son Cameron started school today! Being a mom to a child with food allergies makes it hard to let go. I get a big nervous about sending him to an environment where there is all his allergens present on a daily basis. Deep breath. I'm sure we will get through this and his teacher has been great with working with me to make sure he is safe. He's really excited about going to school and I'm not about to squash his excitement with my worry. While we don't have lunch at school this year I am always looking for lunch ideas. I have put together a list of gluten free lunches for both you and me.

Angela at Angela's Kitchen has a great series about filling your freezer in four weeks. I love her lunch ideas and they can be found here.

Gluten Freeville has a list of 100 ideas for lunch which can be found here.

Wise Bread has ideas and recipes for 20 gluten lunches here.

What is your easy go to lunch during the school year? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Misc. Monday - Turkey Dog Food

I have been missing for a few days as I have been fighting a RSD flare. We took it easy this weekend a just did a small batch of dog food. We love having it already done on busy nights and setting back jars for this winter.

Turkey Dog Food
What you need:
6 lbs ground turkey
4 lbs mixed veggies
5 to 6 cups of water

Mix together the turkey, veggies and water together in a large bowl. (I do not cook the turkey before hand.) Fill the half pints to the bottom ring, about half an inch, wipe clean and top with lids.
Process 10lbs for 75 minutes
Yield 38 1/2 pints

Yes, I turned labeling jars into writing practice.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Campers Doughnuts

This is a post that I am very excited to share with you. When Angela from Angela's Kitchen and I started talking about the Gluten Free Camping Series I knew I had to make doughnuts. Camper doughnuts are a staple for most camping trips and I have fond memories of making them as a child. The basic gluten filled campers doughnuts are simple and use canned biscuit dough, which is then fried in oil. Since there is no pre-made gluten and dairy free biscuit dough I had to figure out from scratch.
Before we start a few notes on cooking with oil over an open fire.
1. Have a tight fitting lid close by.
2. Don't wear lose clothing and have your hair pulled back.
3. Make sure you have everything you need before you start.

Make doughnut shape with wet hands.

Long tongs are key for flipping over the campfire.
Blueberry Lemon Campers Doughnuts
What you need:
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit & Baking Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbs oil
1 cup dairy free milk with 4 Tbs lemon juice (let sit 5 minutes)
2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup mashed blueberries
1 cup whole blueberries
Bowl of water to dip your hand in.

Combine the baking mix and sugar together and make sure to break any lumps up. Add the egg, oil, orange extract, milk and mashed blueberries to the baking mix and stir to combine. Gently fold in the remaining blueberries.
For frying in oil
Heat 2 or 3 inches of oil in a large dutch oven either over a fire or camping stove. Test the oil to see if it is hot enough by dropping in a small ball of dough. You want the dough to float in the oil and sizzle not sink to the bottom. Fry till golden brown on either side using a fork or wood skewer to flip. Remove from oil when golden brown and set on a plate with paper towels to drain. You can also place them in a bag with either powder sugar or cinnamon and sugar and shake to cover.
You can also leave out the blueberries and make lemon doughnuts that turn out just as good as the blueberry ones.
If you don't want to fry the doughnuts you can bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes turning the doughnut pan half way through.

They are even yummy baked!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Misc. Monday - Ice Cream Cones!!

I teased you all a while back with a picture of a homemade ice cream cone that is gluten and dairy free. After much work and tweaking I am ready to share it with you. These cones are crunchy even the next morning and have such a light flavor you can't tell that they are gluten free. My neighbors who are not gluten free ask for them if I make dairy free ice cream and they are so good I was doing a happy dance last night. It was the first ice cream cone I had eaten in over a year since going gluten free and I was in heaven eating it last night. My kids loved waking up and finding them filled with fruit for breakfast and still just as crisp as they were when I made them.

Gluten and Dairy Free Ice Cream Cones
What you need:

1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose flour  
1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut flour
4 T butter or butter substitute melted
1 tsp Almond extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


You can leave them flat too!
Sift together the all purpose flour, hazelnut flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add the butter, eggs and almond extract. Mix to combine. Preheat your waffle cone maker (I have this one) according to the directions. Place a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half in the middle of the waffle cone maker and close the lid. Cook the waffles for one minute or until they are lightly brown. I have a pair of salad tongs that are flat which I use to pick up the edge of the waffle cone. Use the provided cone and roll the waffle cone into a cone shape using the table or counter to help. When cooled store in an air tight bag and take as much air as possible out of the bag. You can then serve them with ice cream, fruit or make them into camping cones. What are you going to try first?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fast Friday - Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Yesterday was my dad's birthday and his favorite cake is chocolate angel food cake. I did lots of internet searching and found this one from Lynn's Recipe Adventures. It turned out great except for the mistake I made. I assumed that the measuring spoon in the sugar container was a 1/4 cup but it was a 1/3 cup. So mine had a bit more sugar in it that it was suppose to but I couldn't tell the difference. I made dairy free chocolate whipped cream to go with it and it was a hit!

Dairy Free Chocolate "Whipped Cream"
What you need:
1 16oz Healthy Top by MimicCreme
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon coco powder
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chill the box of Healthy Top for 1/2 an hour before starting. Empty the box of Healthy Top into the bowl of a stand mixer and add vanilla extract. Sift together the coco powder and powder sugar and add to the bowl. Using the whisk attachment beat mixture till soft peaks form. This will take several minutes on high speed. Refrigerate until cake is cool. Frost the cake with the chocolate whipped cream. 

And now for the winner of the canning book! It is number 13 Shannon!! Congrats! Contact me to the e-mail address under the contact me tab with your full name, address and phone number and the book will be on the way!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

This past weekend while we were busy canning corn and soup, we also had tomato sauce going. How? In the slow cooker of course. I'm not one for standing over the stove for hours stirring a pot while it reduces down. I look for short cuts and the slow cooker is the key to this one.

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
What you need:
4 lbs tomatoes
1 medium zucchini
2 bell peppers
1 medium onion
1 bunch basil (top part of one plant)
3 cloves garlic

Cube the tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and onions in large pieces and place in slow cooker. Rough chop the garlic and add it to the slow cooker as well. Place the basil on top and cover with the lid. Cook on high overnight. The next morning run it through a food mill and place back into the slow cooker. Leave the lid half off and cook on low until your desired thickness is reached. When the thickness is reached taste and add salt, pepper and other spices as desired. I took some and made pizza sauce and left the rest as pasta sauce. When it was cooked down mine filled 2 pints. You can keep them in the fridge or hot water bath them for 35 minutes.

Don't forget there is still a few days to enter the giveaway! You can enter it here!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Misc. Monday - Dog Food

Buddy and his dog food
We have a black and tan dachshund named Buddy who is just over a year old and lives for my boys. Buddy is a special dog as he is also gluten and dairy free. He is fed this way for several reasons, one of which is the reason that my kids feed him. Yes, they wash their hands but there still is that chance of them being cross contaminated. Another reason being the fact that Buddy loves to give kisses! We have discovered that kisses from other dogs can cause gluten exposure which is not a fun few days.
Not very pretty in the jar.
This past spring Buddy stopped eating his dry dog food, which was not like him. We tried a few sample for a more expensive dog food which he seemed to like, but soon after we bough the new dog food there was a recall on it. We looked and looked for another grain free dog food but we could not find one that did not have a recall on it. This is when we decided to make our own.
A few notes about homemade dog food.
Buddy is fed daily a dog multivitamin which I find at our local health food store.
Buddy gets snacks of raw veggies.
Dogs fed wet food will overeat because the food is there. This is why portions are important.
Buddy gets one 1/2 pint a day because he is under 20 pounds and active.

Beef Dog Food
What you need:
1 pound ground beef
2 pounds ground heart (my meat locker ground for me)
2 pounds ground liver (or other meat)
1-2 pounds of veggies frozen
water or broth
no more than 2 1/2 pounds cooked rice (We did not add rice to save on jar space. It is added when fed.) 

Combine meat, veggies and water/broth together and mix. Pack into hot jars, wipe tops and put rings and bands on. Process at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes. This will make 19 half pints without the rice added. With the rice added it would be around 29 half pints.
The best part about this is you can mix and match meats and veggies to use what is on hand. Just make sure they are veggies that your dog can have!

Licking them clean!

Don't forget that I have a giveaway going on right now! Click here to enter. Remember for each entry you need to leave a separate comment on the blog!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fast Friday - Cantaloupe Jam

I can. There is no question about it but I have a new book in my collection which is food in jars by Marisa McClellan. What I love about her book is that it is small batches. Which is perfect for those who are starting out canning. The recipes can easily be done in a larger amount, which is what I did when I canned all the peaches. I used her peach jam recipe and it was my new favorite way to eat peaches. I had so many different ideas of where to start when I looked at the book because it is written to be used year round. With canning our own dog food we can year round but now I have easy ideas that I can make whenever I want.
The cantaloupe jam that I am writing about I made the other night and I knew it was one I would be repeating. I agree with Marisa that it does almost taste like a Creamsicle and it is something I will be making again and again this summer. I love this book so much that I am going to give a copy away to one lucky reader! The details are below but first the recipe.

Cantaloupe Jam
What you need:
2 1/2 cups chopped peeled cantaloupe
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tabelspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 3oz pack of liquid pectin

Combine cantaloupe, sugar and vanilla bean in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes over high heat. Add the lemon zest, juice and pectin and return to a vigorous boil. Boil for another 3 to 4 minutes until the bubbles look thick. Remove the vanilla bean or you will be filling jars and come across it! Ladle into 3 half pint jars, wipe the top clean and apply lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Before you soak the pot clean, scrape and lick clean. At least that is what we do in my house!

Now for the good stuff! How to enter to win a copy of the book.
One entry:
Look through the preview of the book here and tell me what you would want to try first.
One entry:
Subscribe to my e-mail so you don't miss anything. Leave a comment saying you did so.
One entry:
Like me on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you did.
One entry:
Share the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment saying you did.

The contest will run through August 3rd and I will use a random number generator to pick the winner. Go!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wonderful Wed - Gluten and Dairy Free Camping

It is time again for another installment of camping gluten and dairy free. Today's idea and recipes are brought to you by Angela of Angela's Kitchen. She shows us all how to make foil packets, which is something that I love to use while camping and at home (throw them on the grill!) She has great pictures and recipe ideas that show how to make your own foil packets and steps you need to take to make sure they come out right. No one likes burnt and raw food together! I can't wait to Ranch Chicken Casserole or the hobo meals! Go check it out here!

Monday, July 23, 2012

FrannyCakes and RSD

I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Fran Wiley of frannycakes while at the Gluten Free Expo in Chicago. Little did I know that we have more in common than being gluten free. She came out with her dirty secret that she has RSD. If you read my bio you know that I have RSD as well. After reading what frannycakes had to say I wanted to write about my experiences as well.
My series of evens started in Jr. High when I fell over a net in gym class. I was put on crutches and my left knee healed. I had problems on and off with it swelling but never thought much about it. Freshmen year of high school in the fall my knee swelled and the doctor put me on crutches. That was the beginning of the end of normal life. My knee and lower leg got to the point where it was cold, blue and even a sheet touching it would cause pain. The next four months I bounced from doctor to doctor getting no real answers except to tell me to pray that I don't have RSD. I was finally taken to Shriner's Children Hospital in Chicago when I was diagnosed with RSD, what every doctor told me I didn't want to have. At this point I had not walked in almost 6 months and was in extreme pain all the time. I endured extensive physical therapy and started therapeutic horse back ridding. I went into remission eventually and went on with my life living in mild pain.
Fast forward to 2 years ago and I had "Mommy thumb" from picking up my then infant son. We were getting ready to go on vacation and I took the easy way out. Which I knew I was taking a risk because any injury can spread RSD. While we were on vacation the pain started in and has gotten worse since then. I manage my pain with my tens unit, lidocain patches and prescriptions.
When I was in Chicago at the Gluten Free Expo I too was given the advice that a change in my diet or the GAPS diet would cure me. It is not that easy to "cure" RSD. Trust me we all wish it was. I was told when I was 15 that I would be wheelchair bound early in my life. I have fought hard to prevent that and I keep going as long as I can. With having two small boys I take time to make memories with them because I know there will be a point in time where I can't. I did not come here to be a downer but to offer support to a fellow blogger. It is a rough rode that those of us with RSD have but my goal is to live it day by day with the help of the great support system I have.
From https://www.facebook.com/SurvivingChronicPain

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fast Friday - Bread Sticks

This is an easy one that I love to grab when I need a meal in a hurry. I even use frozen pizza crust if I really want to cheat. My kids love these as much as I do! I forgot to grab a picture before we all started mowing down on them! So there are a few missing bread sticks. As I am posting this Caden is yelling, "Yum! Pizza! I found Pizza!"

Cheesy Bread Sticks

What you need:
2-3 Tablespoons of butter substitute
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Dairy free cheese (I use Daiya)
Nutritional yeast (I love this stuff!)
Other toppings (pepperoni, onions, olives, etc) 

Melt the butter substitute and stir in the garlic salt. Spread the garlic butter mixture onto the pizza crust and sprinkle on the nutritional yeast if using. Cover the pizza dough with the non-dairy cheese and any other toppings desired. Bake according to directions for the pizza crust. When done cut into strips and serve. We eat them as they are but they would also be good dipped into some warm pizza sauce.

What is your go to easy meal?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Orange Brownies

This summer Angela from Angela's Kitchen and myself have been doing a gluten free camping series. I have also teamed up with Bob's Red Mill to work on a camping series with them as well. (I camp all summer so this is what we really eat!) Today's recipe/technique is a bit different but is tons of fun. We are going to bake our brownies in an orange. Yep an orange and it really turns out yummy.

Orange Campfire Brownies
What you need:
1 Bob's Red Mill gluten free brownie mix
3/4 cup warm water
2 tsp orange extract
1 egg
3/4 cup melted butter
12 - 14 oranges

Cut the top off an orange and run a knife around the inside edge of the orange. You want to get most of the orange out because that is what we bake in. There will be some left in the bottom that you can't easily get out and that is alright. You can also try a grapefruit spoon but it works about as well as the knife does. After you have the orange hollowed out place the lid back on the top and repeat with the rest of the oranges. When all the oranges have been hollowed out make the brownie batter as directed on the package, substituting the orange extract for the vanilla. Fill each orange almost full with the brownie batter and tap gently to help batter settle in. Top with the top slice of orange peel and wrap with foil, making sure to keep the orange upright. Next place the oranges around the coals of the fire and turn every 2 1/2 to 5 minutes depending on the heat of your fire. They bake 12-20 minutes depending on the heat of your fire. They will still look wet on top of the brownie but that is from the orange top. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy!

They were voted as yummy.