Friday, June 29, 2012

Fast Friday - Two new ways to use greens

I am a guest blogger over at Modern Alternative Mama with a post about two new ways to use greens. I have a CSA basket and one thing we have been getting is a lot of lettuce, so we needed a new creative way to use it all. Check out my post here and keep an open mind!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fast Friday - Wasp - oops!

I'm going to leave the post under Friday but I realize that it is Thursday. With our summer days running together I really thought today was Friday. Wishful thinking right. Caden turned out all right but if you ask him he will say it still hurts and he is now afraid of every flying bug. Oh well.
As you can guess by the title we had a run in with wasp today. Which means I didn't get everything finished with the ice cream cones. They are coming I promise!
Caden got stung on the arm 2 or 3 times by a wasp today while playing on the slide. It swelled up really fast and as I ran around giving him Benadryl and putting baking soda on it, I was on the phone to a nurse at his doctor's office. The nurse said I did everything right (which is nice to know) and to just keep an eye on him as this was the first time he has ever been stung. The baking soda must have helped as he was soon back using his arm but it scared me to say the least. He is sleeping next to me right now and it looks like the swelling has gone down almost all the way so I think we are in the clear. What has been a scary moment for you?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - campfire pizza and short cut s'mores

As both Angela and I talked about last week, we are doing a camping series on how to camp gluten and dairy free. This week it is Angela's turn and she is doing campfire pizza and short cut s'mores. I love her idea for using cookies instead of the traditional graham cracker! I also think we will have to try the pizza over the campfire this summer. Go check it out here!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Misc. Monday - How does your garden grow?

I love to grow plants. I guess I have a bit of a green thumb except when it comes to herbs. I can't seem to grow them but that is another post. I started from seeds and I wasn't sure those little seedlings would ever grow, but grow they have. Some of them are huge! In order to water them I have a rain barrel sitting to collect the water from the air conditioner. This will be very important in the new few weeks as Illinois is to reach a critical drought by the end of the week. What are you doing to help water your garden?

It is a jungle out there!

All shriveled up, Any idea why?


Why are we molding?

Found this little gem hiding

Anyone know why they are turning yellow?

I love how different heritage tomato leaves look

More strawberry blooms!

This is a surprise

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fast Friday - Cherry Syrup

So, cherries for a change I know. Cameron is cherry obsessed and always has been. The problem for us is most cherry anything has food coloring in it. I set out to make a cherry syrup that I could use in, well anything. Snow cones, pancakes, milk, baking and several other areas that I want a cherry taste. About a week ago I made the strawberry syrup out of Food in Jars cookbook and used that same idea to make cherry syrup.
Cherry Syrup
6 cups pitted cherries
7 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp almond extract
Such a pretty dark color!
Place the cherries and water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is dark red and the cherries are light pink. Pour the mixture through a few layers of cheese cloth; do not squish the cherries or your syrup will be cloudy. Return the strained cherry juice to the pot and the sugar, stir till dissolved. Bring the syrup to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for 20 minutes. When the 20 minutes is done add in the almond extract and remove from heat. Pour into clean hot jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

It makes for really good snow cone syrup too!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Pie Iron's

So Angela from Angela's Kitchen and I are doing a gluten free camping series this summer! We both love to camp and feel that every child should get to experience the joy and fun of traditional camp food. I get to kick it off with pie irons!
 If you were ever a girl scout, boy scout or camped you might know what I am talking about when I said pie irons. If not this is what you have been missing. Pie irons are two plates of metal that hinge together with a cavity on the inside when they are together. It is in this whole that you place all sorts of yummy fillings and play in the coals of a fire. As you would imagine it gets very hot so you need to be careful with them as they will brand anything and kill the grass when you set them down. I should know, I have a scar on my knee from one when I was young girl scout. Lesson learned, don't repeat my mistake!
As dangerous as they sound they are easy to use and lots of fun in the process. My kids love it when I get our pie irons out because they know some good food is coming soon.

Fit several extra foil sheets to change out when needed.
Helpful hints about pie irons
1. Use foil in your pie irons. (It prevents cross contamination but also means you don't have to scrub the clean.)
2. You need a pot holder close as the clasp will get very warm.
3. A good bed of hot coals helps them to cook faster and more even.
4. Have a good imagination and have fun!

Now for the good stuff, recipes

Gather what you need.
Pie Iron Pizza's
This one is a classic so I wanted to make it gluten and dairy free for my kids
What you need:
gluten and dairy free bread (I used Udi's at room temp)
pizza sauce (read the label)
Dairy free cheese (I used Daiya)
Pizza toppings of your choice (olives, peperoni, peppers, onions, etc)

All the pizza yummies piled in.
Make sure you have a nice bed of coals ready and line your pie irons with foil. Butter two slices of bread and place one slice butter side down on the foil. Now top your bread with the pizza sauce, cheese and any other toppings that you want. Place the second slice of bread butter side up on top of your pizza toppings and close the lid. Latch the pie iron closed and place directly on the coals.

Depending on how hot your coals are it will take about a minute per side. You will want to check it for how brown and toasty you like your bread to be.

Nice hot red coals.


 Breakfast Pie Irons

What you need:
Precooked frozen gluten free sausage links
Hash-browns (I used soaked dehydrated ones)


Sausage in first
Make a wall to hold your eggs.
Line your pie iron with foil and oil both parts of the pie iron. Place the frozen sausage links in the bottom followed by the eggs. It will take some wiggling or building a wall with hash-browns to get the eggs to stay where you want them to. Top the eggs with hash-browns and close the pie iron. Start with the sausage side down in the fire, it will need the most time to warm up and brown. Flip to the other side after a minute or two. This one will take some back and forth flipping and checking to make sure it is done.

Hamburger and hash-browns

What you need:
Hash-browns (I used soaked dehydrated ones again)

Pat the hamburger into a thin patty that fits into the pie iron. Top with hash-browns and oil the foil that is going to touch the potatoes. Start on the hamburger side but change to the hash-brown side to ensure you don't overcook the hamburger. It will taste almost like a steak when it is done.

Pie Iron Pies (This is the best!)

What you need:
Gluten and Dairy free bread (I used Udi's again.)
Pie filling of choice (Try this one.)
Dairy free butter substitute of choice

Look at the filling ooze
Butter your bread and place one slice butter side down in your pie iron. Place your pie filling of choice on top of the bread and top with the other slice of bread butter side up. Place your pie iron in the fire and cook till golden brown. You can top with powder sugar if you want also or eat them as is. The best part about them is the butter makes an almost fried crust to the bread.

Pie Iron Pancakes

What you need:
Pancake batter

Add a small amount of oil to the bottom of your pie iron and add enough pancake batter to cover the bottom. Use a paper towel to oil the other side and close the pie iron. Keep it level over the coals and let cook for about a minute before turning. You want to give it time to set up and flip it fast or it will bunch up. Top with your favorite fruit or syrup!

Other ideas to make in pie irons
Taco meat in between bread
French toast
Scrambled eggs
Toast with egg in the middle
Sandwich meats
Muffin Mix

Have fun and go crazy with your choice of fillings! What are you going to try first?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Misc. Monday - Canning Cherries

I'm back!! I finally got Blogger back working again. (Yes I know it is Tuesday but we are going to pretend it is still Monday.) I will get all the promised yummies to you on schedule providing no more tech issues. Now, on to the good stuff.
My mom is the youngest of 7 kids and when her mom passed on one of the things I asked for was my grandma's canning stuff. I was looking through the book the other night and came across a really simple recipe to can cherries. My kids love cherries so when they were on sale this past week I knew what I had to do. I decided to can the cherries in a simple simple syrup instead of making pie filling because I will use them more than pie filling. It really doesn't taste that long to make and we even canned them in our camper last night.

Simple Syrup (Medium)
2 cups sugar
1 quart water

Heat the mixture till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot. Do not let this boil or reduce down.

Canning Cherries
I cold or raw packed my cherries which means that I did not cook them before they went into the jars.
There really isn't a recipe for canning cherries but more of a method of how to can them.
I pitted my cherries before I put them in jars so I don't have to worry about the pits when I use them.

Once your cherries are pitted pack them into clean hot jars and wipe the rim clean. Top with a new hot canning lid and hand tighten the ring. Process 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. They look so pretty when they are all finished and I know we will enjoy them this winter when we can't get fresh cherries.

What is your favorite food to can?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm still here

There are several of us bloggers that can't get on to post, edit our post or see any post that we have saved. I am on my phone posting this but I can't do all the great post I had planned. Hang in there and I will get the waffle cone recipe to you as soon as I can post longer post again. Besides the cones I have pie irons for gluten free camping as well as cherry syrup with no food coloring. Is anyone else having problems?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Misc. Monday - Strawberry Vinaigrette

I know, another strawberry recipe but strawberry season is almost done here in Illinois and I need to get my fill in. I love vinegar based salad dressings, so I set out to make my own. This way I could control what goes in but more important what I don't want in my dressing. This recipe is based off of this one by Taste of Home.
Strawberry vinaigrette
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
4 cups white wine vinegar (I used regular vinegar because it was what I had)
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1 1/3 cup sugar
Puree strawberries and combine with vinegar and lemon peel. Crush the basil till you can smell it. You can use a mortar, wood spoon or an empty spice bottle to crush the basil. Stir the basil into the strawberry mixture.
Place in covered jars and store in a cool dark place for three days. You need to stir the mix once each day during the three days.
On the third day strain the strawberry vinegar through cheese cloth, I squished lightly even though it tells you not to. You no longer need the strawberry and basil solids, so you can throw them away.
Bring the strawberry vinegar to 180 degrees over medium heat. This is where I added in the sugar and stirred to dissolve the sugar. The amount of sugar will depend on how tart or sweet you like your dressing.
I then filled my jars and processed them in boiling water for 10 minutes. (Well, mine was a bit more as we are potty training and I forgot they were on the stove.)
I have so many ideas of where I can use my new strawberry vinaigrette. What would you try it on?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fast Friday - Pizza Popcorn

This is a fast and easy snack the we eat all the time. I like the added fact that it is whole grain, good for them and it fills them up before bed. Each recipe makes enough for one person, so plan ahead if you are going to share.

Pizza Popcorn
3 Tablespoons unpoped popcorn
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon pizza seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Oil to coat

Place your 3 tablespoons of popcorn in a brown paper lunch bag. (I know high tech right)
Roll the top of the bag a few time and place bag in microwave on the popcorn setting. You will have to watch it because of the small amount to make sure it does not burn.
When it is done poping spray a small amount of cooking spray on the popcorn and dump in seasonings. Refold the bag and shake until everything is evenly covered.
What is you favorite popcorn topping?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Gluten and Dairy Free Breakfast Cookies

I love cookies. Who doesn't? So I set out to make some breakfast cookies because what could be better than starting your day off with a cookie? I wanted my cookie to be full of fruit and oatmeal to keep me going till lunch. This is what I came up with.

Breakfast Cookies
1 Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1/2 to 2/3 cup oil (make it a good quality oil)
1 1/3 cup Gluten free oats (either quick cooking or rolled oats work)
2   Tablespoons molasses
3   teaspoons vanilla
2 to 4 Tablespoons milk substitute of choice (or water)
2   eggs
1   cup dried fruit
Mix together your gluten free oats, oil, molasses, vanilla and milk. The amount of oil and milk depends on how your oats look. You want the mixture to cover your oats with a little extra and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.

See the extra liquid on top.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
While your oat mixture is soaking mix your eggs together till frothy. Combine with the cookie mix and the oat mixture. It will be a very sticky batter when mixed. Then stir in one cup of dried fruit. You can use any combination of raisins, dates, cranberries, currants or anything else you have on hand.

 Spoon the mixture onto your parchment paper lined pans.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. You want them to be set and brown when they are done. Let the cookies set for about 5 minutes before trying to move them to the cooling rack.
These cookies freeze great and my once a month cooking group has made these in the past. I pack them two at a time (depending on the size) and then place the packs into a bigger gallon size bag. When you need a quick bite to eat in the morning put the cookies in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
So, are you going to let your kids have a cookie for breakfast now?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fast friday - kale chips

We have a CSA this year and part of us getting a box each week is we decided that we would try everything once. This past Tuesday we received kale and I knew what I wanted to do with it, kale chips. I know that I have made them in the past but this time I decided to make them in my new dehydrator. They turned out fast, crunchy and I didn't burn any of them! The plus side is that they are so crunchy and yummy that the bunch is gone before you are ready for it to be gone.

Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale
sea salt
nutritional yest
good cold pressed oil

Wash and dry kale either in towels of in salad spinner.
Break into small pieces removing the hard stems in the process.
Place kale in a single layer on your dehydrator sheets.
Set the temp to 145 degrees and let your kale go for an hour.
In my dehydrator it only took an hour. If your chips are not to your liking you can drop the temp to 115 degrees and let them go for another hour.

This is the first time I used my dehydrator, what is your favorite food to dehydrate?