Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have a little secret to confess. Don't tell my kids, but I HATE veggies. Not all of them, but most. Spinach? Yuck. Kale? Yuck. Beets? Yuck. And on and on. GASP! I know, I am a mom, I am supposed to push veggies on my kids right? They are healthy for you so you have to eat them.

Since I do know the health benefits I have tried many a veggie and just couldn't choke them down, until I discovered juicing. Last year I had a lymph node in my neck that just wouldn't drain. I wasn't getting anywhere with my doctor so I looked into alternative options. I came across a lymph node health juicing recipe and gave it a try. Within 2 weeks the node was drained and never returned. After the lymph node issue was cleared up, I stopped juicing.

Then, recently, I watched a very inspiring movie on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It was about two men that lose weight and cure a skin ailment through juicing. There is also a woman on the show that cures her migraines by juicing. Since I still struggle with other health issues, I decided to give it a try. In the documentary, the three people exclusively fast on juice. I am not fasting but I am eating a lot less. I try to drink 3-16oz servings of juice daily.

Guess what my favorite recipe has in it? Kale, beets, & carrot!! Who knew??
I am also using this book for other recipes and ideas.  

I will say that in this book they use green beans in one of the recipes. I tried it. It was the first juice recipe that I had to toss out! And I actually like green beans in their solid form!!

I also believe that having a good juicer is the key to success. It should be easy to use, easy to clean, and able to handle green leafy veggies. I am very lucky that my mom is loaning me her Champion Juicer. This is a high quality, powerful juicer that I highly recommend.

The one I am using is slightly older, it has a lovely harvest gold tone to it, but it works as if it was new.

Here is my favorite juicing recipe so far.

Aprox. 4 cups of leafy greens (kale, spinach or beet greens)
2 apples (or 1 apple/1 pear)
2 good size carrots
1 beet
2 stalks of celery
1/2 cucumber
1/4 lemon

Juice everything through the juicer. This should make 2-16 oz. servings. Store in an airtight container in the fridge (I use pint size canning jars) and drink within 12hrs if possible. Juice starts to lose nutrients pretty fast so you don't want to store it for too long.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Baking when it's 80 Degrees!

My 8 year old decided yesterday that it was time for her to bake cookies all by her grown up self. Did she care that it was almost 80 Degrees outside? Nope.

She decided to tackle Gluten-free/Casein free peanut butter cookies, which I had not previously tried.
They were perfect!
I helped her measure her ingredients into bowls and then away she went. She did all the mixing, shaping and baking by herself. Mom was hovering nearby taking pictures and secretly making sure she was safe.
If you have peanut allergies in your house, you should be able to substitute Almond butter or Sunbutter with no problems.

Hannah's GF/CF Peanut butter cookies
Adapted from the 2006 Betty Crocker Cookbook

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup shortening (she used Spectrum shortening)
1/4 cup butter sub (she used Earth Balance that comes in the tub)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (she used xanthan gum)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Additional granulated sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees
In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, butter substitute, and egg with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls about 3 inches apart. Flatten in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in additional granulated sugar
Bake 9-10 minutes or until light brown.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Be careful not to over bake the cookies, they harden as they cool. Also, if you try to remove them from the pan too soon, they will fall apart.

**Special thanks to Hannah's Grandpa King for re-touching all the photos for me!**

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ice cream!

We started this journey of GF/CF eating about six months ago. Since then, we have tried many, many types of non-dairy "ice cream". Some have been store bought. Some were home-made. There was always something we didn't like, sometimes texture related, being more "ice" than "cream". Sometimes they simply didn't taste good. I for one really enjoy the Purely Decadent peanut butter swirl but it is expensive and no one else in the house likes it.

So I was hesitant as I tried yet another home-made recipe. This one was different in that it called for marshmallows. My family loves marshmallows so why not? It is also the least expensive version I have tried.


It's ultra sweet so I toned it down with the dark chocolate syrup and the ice cream hardened in the freezer to the point that I thought it would be like all the others. A quick zap on defrost in the microwave helped it out. The texture remained creamy!
If you want to try the recipe you can find it here
This one got four thumbs up in our house. My daughter has asked that I try to make it with mint and my son is voting for me to use it in a home-made version of an Oreo Brownie Earthquake (his favorite from Dairy Queen). I vote for peanut butter swirl!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blueberry muffins

One of the first recipes I converted to GF/CF was Blueberry muffins. My family ate the first attempts but something seemed a bit off. Over time I realized that the texture wasn't great because I wasn't mixing the batter long enough. The Betty Crocker cookbook teaches you (on the same page as the blueberry muffin recipe!) that if you overmix muffins, they will have a peaked shape. I finally realized that I would rather have a peaked shape but a smoother textured muffin. Let the batter fully mix for at least 30 seconds. It should look like it has a uniform color to it and be smooth.

I love this recipe because I can have the muffins in the oven in 5 minutes, then the muffins bake while I enjoy a cup of coffee and whatever book I am currently reading.
This recipe was adapted from the 2006 Betty Crocker cookbook

Blueberry muffins
Makes 12

3/4 cup milk substitute (I use rice milk)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
2 cups All purpose Gluten free flour
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups with spray oil. In large bowl, beat milk, oil and egg until well mixed. Stir in flour, guar gum, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once. Mix well. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Each muffin has 4 points on the Weight Watchers Plus points system.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thrift Store finds

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a bit of a thrift store junkie. OK, maybe more than a bit! I am in thrift stores ALL the time. You never know what you might find. The trick is to go frequently and to know what you are looking for. If you wander aimlessly, browsing through everything, not only will you be there for hours, you will have a cart full of stuff you don't need.
I was on the search for a programmable bread machine for many months, probably close to a year, before I scored this Zojirushi machine for about $7.00! It works perfectly and has all it's accessories. I was able to download a free copy of the manual on-line.

 Other finds include a muffin top pan for $3.00

A doughnut pan for $4.00.
 I already had one that was gifted to me by my dad, now I can bake a dozen at a time!

My curly fry cutter for $6.00

and my everyday kitchen scale for $3.00

A big point to remember is that if you are gluten free and want to use a kitchen item that has been used, you MUST clean it very thoroughly or you will constantly contaminate whatever you are making. Look for items that don't have nooks and cranny's that dough might have gotten stuck in. The bread pan on my bread machine was of concern. I took the paddle out and soaked the pan and scrubbed it several times.
Also, when you see an item that you want, don't plan to come back for it later. Grab it right then. I am still kicking myself over not getting a flour tortilla maker. I had not priced it before-hand and wasn't willing to pay the $9.00 for it. I came home and looked it up. They start at about $65 new!
By grabbing these items at thrift stores, I have been able to stock some "specialty" baking tools that I otherwise would not have.
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