Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gluten Free Mini Pies

I was craving pie the other day and so I decided to try my hand at making a gluten free version.  I had also been concerned about whether or not I would get to eat dessert at Thanksgiving or not.  I decided to go for a mini version of a pie for 2 reasons: 1.) higher crust ration and 2.) ease of eating and storing.




This recipe makes 9 to 12 mini pies using a muffin pan.  I used a drinking glass to cut the pie shells.  The pie shown here is peach.

Gluten Free Mini Pie Recipe:

Filling:

Any of your favorite gluten free pie filling.  Many brands are gluten free, so just read the label.  A couple of examples are Comstock and Musselmans.

Crust:

1 cup almond flour ( I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup butter - chunked
2 Tablespoons of cold water (you may need to add more, just watch your dough and see - add a Tablespoon at a time until the correct consistency)
Cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste (optional)

Directions:

1.) Add dry ingredients to your food processor and pulse to mix
2.) Add in butter and pulse until the texture is crumbly.
3.) Add water to bind the dough together
4.) Sprinkle flour on flat surface and roll out dough.
5.) Use a drinking class that is floured or greased to cut circles.  You may need to re-roll scraps until you get the right number of crusts.
6.) Grease muffin pan and place crusts in the bottom of each section.  You want the crusts to go up the sides a little bit to hold the filling.  The dough is really forgiving, so if you need to patch holes, cracks, or thin spots go ahead and use scraps to patch the crusts.  This will not make the crust tough.
7.) Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes until it starts getting golden brown (but not quite done)
8.) Remove muffin pan from the oven and add filling to the crusts.  If you are using a pie filling with large pieces of fruit (ie. peaches), put them in the food processor for a few pulses first.  You want the filling to fit in the crusts, but not be mush.
9.) I sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar at the point, but its optional.
10.) Bake the final product for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (10 is normally enough)

These pies should slide right out of the molds, or you should be able to scoop them out with a spoon.  These are best served fresh, but do hold up well for later.

This recipe was developed by using this recipe from the All day I Dream About Food blog.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy for the Gluten Free Crowd

Last night I made Breakfast for Dinner.  Our normal "go-to" breakfast is pancakes/waffles, bacon, and eggs, but I wanted something different.  Tonight I wanted to try biscuits and gravy.  My husband was skeptical.  In fact, he told me to cook him something separate because he didnt think they would be edible.  Boy did I surprise him!

*Sorry there are no pictures in this post.  I was too hungry to think about taking pictures.

Biscuits (This is very similar to the recipe provided by the Betty Crocker Website)

2 Cups gluten free Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

Add the salt to the Bisquick. Using a fork, work the shortening into the Bisquick mix until the texture of the Bisquick changes.  Stir in the milk and eggs.  This makes 10 nice sized biscuits.  Separate the dough out onto a greased cookie sheet.  I recommend using surgical gloves that you have sprayed with PAM as the dough is very sticky.  Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden on top.

Gravy

2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup of oil or bacon/sausage grease (use however much you want.  I just used all the drippings from my bacon)
Milk (I eyeball this so I dont really know how much - probably 2 to 3 cups)
Pepper and salt to taste

Toast the flour in a skillet.  Be careful because I found that the GF flour burns more quickly than standard flour.  Add in your grease and stir until combined.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add in the milk.  Stir until combined.  Add in salt and pepper.  Cook until thickened.  (adjust thickness by adding more milk if needed)  This yielded enough for 5 or 6 biscuits (if you like to slather on the gravy like I do).

*Notes: These biscuits are really good, but dont expect them to taste like homemade buttermilk biscuits, because they aren't.  My next foray into biscuits will be to try a buttermilk version.  The gravy needs work, but is very good.  I think this gravy would be awesome with sausage crumbles in it.  Next time I will also add more salt and pepper than I did this time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gluten Free: a beginner's guide

I started my Gluten Free journey in June of this year, after educating myself about my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and ways I could reduce my symptoms and make myself healthier.

I wont go into a lot about my illness, because I have posted about it before, but I will say that since going gluten free, I have been healthier.  Prior to changing my diet, I was sick a lot and when I had a cold or something similar it hung around for weeks.  Since my change in diet, I have not been sick once.  My headaches have mostly disappeared and I have not had a cold or sinus infection.  The one exception to this was the one time I ate macaroni and cheese (even though I knew better).

Enough of that.  This post is not about my health.  This post is about the resources I have found that make eating gluten free easier.

Before going gluten free myself, I had heard a little about the diet, but I really hadn't paid that much attention.  Therefore making the change was a huge task.  I educated myself about how my body reacted to gluten (mine is an immune response), what gluten actually was, what types of foods I was going to have to give up, and where I could find information about gluten free alternatives.

This post is what I wish I had found on day 1.  No its not a fancy list with eloquent reasons why or introductions to each link, but you know what? I'm not a fancy person.  I like facts, and I dont like fluff.  So here is a list.  A simple (and by not means all inclusive) list of websites, blogs, etc. that I have found useful in the last several months of my gluten free journey.  I hope it helps.

Informational Resources about Gluten and Hashimoto's :

Discussion Boards about Gluten and/or Hashimoto's:

Websites and Web Resources:

Gluten Free Blogs (My favorites):

Other Resources:
  • Living Gluten-Free for Dummies (Book)
  • Gluten-Free Made Easy As 1, 2, 3 (Book)
  • The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide (Book)
  • 2012/2013 Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide (Book)
  • Find Me Gluten Free (App)
  • Is That Gluten Free? (App)

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  This year I have reverted back to my old staple costume, a black cat.  Yes, I know its not very original, but I forgot about putting together something until the last minute.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Our Family's Favorite Pork Roast - Gluten Free

Gluten Free Pork Roast
  • Pork Tenderloin or your favorite cut
  • 1lb carrots - cut in 1in pieces 
  • 8 to 10 medium red potatoes - cut in 2in pieces
  • 1 large pkg of mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 an onion chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 4 Peperoncini peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
  • Orrington Farms Brown Gravy Mix - 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 2 Teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 a stick of butter (cold)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare gravy mix as instructed with chicken stock (instead of water) and add flour.  Put vegetables in bottom of crockpot and top with raw meat.  Add gravy mixture, seasonings, peppers, and butter.  Top with bacon.  
Cook for 6 to 8 hours on high in large crockpot.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Subscription Box Review: Bark Box (August)

I started getting Barkbox last year when it was offered through Groupon.  Barkbox is a subscription service for dogs that ranges in price from $19-$29 based on the number of months you subscribe.  Each month your dog gets a box in the mail, based on its size, that includes treats, toys, accessories, and pet care items.



We have two dogs of our own, both around 25lbs, as well as my brother-in-law's pit bull who is 60lbs.  We subscribe to the medium weight box and for the most part all dogs are happy with the selections in the box.  This month we received 1 toy, 3 bags of treats, and a food topper.  This month our box was worth $49.20.

The dogs have learned that every month they get a Barkbox and when they see the package they get super excited and start begging and trying to get into the box.

The Aussie Natural's neoprene dolphin was a huge hit!  All three dogs love this toy and since it arrived they it has been their favorite.  Of the treat/food items included, all were enjoyed by our dogs, but their favorites have been the Barkworthies Bully Flakes and the Plato duck treats.

You can tell by these pictures that our dogs are loving every minute of the unboxing (excuse the messy floor).



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Prized


Prized
Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars







View all my reviews

Welcome, Lucy!

"Aunt" Ashley holding Lucy
"Aunt" Ashley holding Lucy with Dad naping in the background
So my best friend and cousin by marriage, Whitney was blessed with the birth of her third child on Saturday August 24th. This day happen's to be Whitney's birthday so she received an extra special gift this year. I was excited to be there to see Lucy in the hospital only a few hours after she was born (I was also present for each of her brothers' hospital welcomes).
Whitney and Lucy

Friday, August 23, 2013

Remembering a High School Tradition: Mum Corsages

I wondered why my husband never knew what I was talking about when I mentioned Homecoming Mums! I didnt realize this is mainly a Texas tradition. I never had a date give me one, but my dad had me one made for the first Homecoming Dance I attended in high school. I had never seen the men's mums worn on the arm. In my town, men were given stuffed animals wearing the corsages for the Sadie Hawkins dance. Some of my friends took their mums to the actual dance, but I just used mine for pictures and left it at home. It was too big to wear comfortably, although I know many peers who wore mums to the dance that were much much bigger than mine. I now want to go find a picture of me and my mum.....wonder if I still have those pictures somewhere. This is a fun article that took me down memory lane: http://jezebel.com/5965232/inside-the-weird-texas-tradition-of-enormous-homecoming-corsages/ (Hopefully pictures to come at a later date)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My First Vlog

I have been enamored with youtube videos lately, so I have a wild hair to try creating them myself.  This is my first video and its pretty terrible, but I hope to plan out future videos so that they are better. My thoughts are to use my new vlog to review gluten free food items and as well as talk about things that interest me (much like I do on this blog).  Essentially, my vlog will be a companion to my blog here.


Edit: I have since deleted the vlog I made that was included in this post. I think I will restrict my vloging to videos that are more like video slideshows for now. I just wasnt comfortable with the video of myself (edit added: 8/23/13).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gluten Free Goodness is Trial and Error

So I have been gluten free for over 3 months now and I have to say that I must be lucky because I hear horror stories about all the terrible products out there.  So far I have tried several gluten free brands and products and have been very pleased for the most part.

I would like to share my experiences with these brands for two reasons: 1.) I hope that this will help others on their gluten free journey and 2.) so I can remember these items in the future.  None of these companies have contacted me for an endorsement and the only "gift" I have received has been some coupons that I requested because I love the items and wanted to purchase more.

Products I have Tried:


  • Wow Cookies (Chocolate Chip): I loved these cookies!  They were soft and almost tasted like cookie dough.  

  • Pamela's Mini Cookies (Chocolate Chip and Extreme Chocolate): These cookies were crunchy and a little smaller than the Wow cookies, but there are more in a bag.  These cookies were delicious!  I will say that the Extreme Chocolate tasted like it was a darker chocolate, but I generally dislike dark chocolate and I loved these cookies.

  • Annie's Berry Patch Fruit Snacks: I didnt like these at all.  The texture was too gooey and they were so sweet that I couldnt taste the flavor.

  • GoPicnic Ready to Eat Meals (Turkey Pepperoni): These lunchable type meals were amazing!  I ate everything in my meal and it was enough to satisfy me for lunch.  These are definitely kid friendly because I had a 7 year old friend of my sneaking bits out of my lunch! (More detailed review of a variety of flavor s coming soon)

  • EnviroKidz (Lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle Bar): These were ok.  I bought these for breakfast and I will eat them and probably buy them again, but I dont love them.  They taste like a peanut butter rice crispy treat, which to me is more dessert than breakfast.

  • Amy's (Gluten Free Non Dairy Burrito, Garden Vegetable Lasagna, Indian Palak Paneer): I love Amy's products!  Not all of her products are gluten free, but she does have a large selection and all the packages are very clearly marked.  I ate the burritos with salsa and I couldnt tell the difference between these and a regular frozen burrito.  The lasagna was good, but I prefer more cheese on my lasagna than was in this dish.  The portion was good, but the noodles were a little odd (im still getting used to gluten free noodles).  My favorite frozen dinner is the Palak Paneer.  In fact, it was one of my favorites before even switching to a gluten free diet.  If you love spinach, you will love this frozen dinner!  I contacted Amy's via email to rave about their products and they sent me a ton of coupons, so never be afraid to ask for them!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
I will post more Gluten Free favorites as I try new things!  What are your favorite gluten free products?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Gluten Free Dinner - Tilapia and Zucchini


Tilapia, Sushi Rice, and Zucchini with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Serves 2 (plus extra rice)
389 Calories per service

Sushi Rice (Village Harvest Koshihikari sushi rice) - Serving size is 1 Cup cooked rice

Rinse 1 cup dry rice and soak in 1 1/4 cup of cold water for 30 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth and some Mrs. Dash seasoning
Simmer for 20 minutes (adding liquid as needed)

Tilapia and Zucchini with Sun Dried Tomatoes - Serving size is half of the contents of the skillet

Heat 1 teaspoon of EVOO in a nonstick skillet.
Add 2 tilapia frozen filets (I use the Sams Club ones).
Cut 1 small zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut into 1" pieces and add to the skillet.
Add 2 tablespoons chopped garlic.
Toss in  1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes.
Flip tilapia over after a minutes or two and season with Mrs. Dash.
Add 1/4 cup chicken broth and cover.
Cook 5 to 10 minutes based on thickness of fish (check for doneness).
Season with salt and pepper.


Hashimoto's and going Gluten Free

In March of 2012 I was in a car accident that caused me to my left wrist (my dominant hand).  I suffered a lot of pain, shock, panic attacks, and gained back all the weight I had lost in 2011 (25lbs).

 In May of 2012 I was diagnosed with low thyroid function by my GP.  My most obvious symptom was chronic exhaustion, but looking back I had dry skin, dandruff, trouble focusing, and (after reviewing medical records a year later) reduc.d vision.

I was getting married in October of 2012, but I kept gaining weight, no matter what I ate or did.  It was so frustrating.  By the time we got married I had gained 40 lbs from the time I bought my wedding dress in January.  I still get sad every time I think about it, because it barely fit and it wasnt nearly as perfect looking on my oversized body.  Thats what happens when you go from a size 8 to a size 12.


Picture 1 is the day I bought my dress in January 2012 and Picture 2 is my wedding day in October 2012

After working with my GP for a year, I still didn't' feel like myself.  I didn't feel like I needed 20 hours of sleep in a 24 hour day anymore, but I was still exhausted all the time and I was still gaining weight.  In March of 2013 I started seeing an Endocrinologist.  He ran some tests and did a sonogram of my thyroid and diagnosed me with Hashimoto's.  Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks your thyroid, causing low thyroid function (although some Hashi's patients fluctuate from hypo to hyper).

I am now taking Levothyroxine at .150 micrograms 6 days a week.  I still have hypothyroid symptoms, but the Endo says my bloodwork is "in the normal range."

I have talked to a lot of people who have thyroid problems and many say that they never felt "right" even after years of medication.  I have talked to people who have weight problems all their lives.  I have read and read and read (I am a librarian after all) and I have learned alot, but mostly I have learned that thyroid patients are all different and Endos are all different, so it takes a lot of work to find the right lifestyle balance and a doctor that will work with you for optimal results.

My current doctor, Dr. Boehm, is not my ideal doctor.  I have seen him twice and I know I need to look for someone else to treat me.  I keep gaining weight and he refuses to discuss my weight, diet, and health with me.

Since my wedding in October I have gone up another clothing size and I now wear a size 14.  I am unhappy at my size and I have started using MyFitnessPal to watch my calories and try to lose weight.  I know it will be a struggle.

I have read that some Hashi's patients need to take in significantly fewer calories than the standard person working at weight loss and need to exercise 3 times as much for similar results as a non-Hashi's patient (like everything, some people disagree).  Lots of what I have read focuses on the importance of a gluten free diet for thyroid patients.

I started working towards a gluten free diet on May 28th and to date have only miss-stepped 3 times that I know of.  So far the hardest part has been the lack of cakes and cookies (which I don't need anyway, but I am addicted too) and easy to prepare meals without having to cook from scratch.  I did make a trip to Little Rock (45 min from my home) to shop at a health food store and I was able to pick up a few ready to eat items.

This is going to be an interesting journey...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Keeping Up with Social Media and Technology

I always say I am going to post a new blog, tweet a new  tweet, edit my website, etc and it rarely happens.

In today's digital world there are so many ways to participate and be active, but the more technologies  apps, etc that are launched, the harder it is to maintain your online presence.  There are plenty of tools out there that claim to make it easier....but they are just one more thing to remember.

Today I am working to update my website which is sad and pathetic because I probably last updated it a year ago. ...So today I am updating my personal website.