Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Evening of Delicious Food Fails

I came home from work today with an excitement as to what I was to be making this evening.  For dinner I planned a small piece of pork, half a sweet potato, and some coleslaw mix and while that was cooking I was going to make a homemade dark chocolate almond joy recipe found here

While the pork ended up being tasty, when I got home it was not yet defrosted and made me wait longer for dinner.  I decided to smother it in honey mustard dressing, which was not the best idea because it browned much faster than the pork defrosted.  When I went to eat, the pork piece that I chose was less than 1/2 meat and mostly fat.  Yuck.  The sweet potato turned out delicious.  I make the best sweet potato fries if I do say so myself.

Sweet Potato Fries:
Sweet potatoes
Olive Oil

Cut the sweet potato into similar sized fry shapes, and put into a bowl.  Pour olive oil over the top and mix with a spoon to cover the sweet potatoes.  Pour cornstarch, salt, and pepper on top in whatever amounts you prefer.  Mix again with the spoon to coat.  Place the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350 degrees until a fork easily cuts the sweet potato.

I wanted an easy vegetable, so I took a small amount of my coleslaw lunch mix and put the honey mustard dressing on top.  This is not a very good mix, at least with the dressing that I had used.  I ate it, but not very happily.  Now we know.

Now onto dessert!

I had some leftover coconut and some chocolate that had gotten melted out of shape in my car, so what better to make than almond joys!

Go to the gluten free blondie blog for the delicious recipe

I made this according to the recipe except the chocolate and fleur de sel (whatever that is!).  The chocolate that I had was a 90% cocoa brick (my absolute favorite chocolate at the moment).  This unfortunately, was not good for coating the almond joys.  In order to do so, the chocolate needed to be very hot and it caused the coconut mixture to start to seperate.  They do not look like they are supposed to, but boy are they delicious!  And they very quickly melt in your fingers for a delicious snack after dessert as well!

Thai Peanut Coleslaw

There are many adjectives to describe how I feel about graduate school and how graduate school feels about me.  98% of these adjectives lead to increased stress.  Every time I try to take better care of myself something comes up, I no longer have time, and I slip back into my bad habits.  The meals that are most effected end up being breakfast and lunch.  No time to eat breakfast, no time to make lunch and I find myself back in the cafeteria buying chips.  But, things are going to change this time.

This week I have found a very simple to prepare, healthy, delicious, and satisfying salad that I don't get sick of eating everyday because of the sheer deliciousness.  When I buy lettuce I find that it just goes bad in my fridge, what a waste!  So I modified gluten free blondie's thai chicken salad with peanut dressing  (

Thai Peanut Coleslaw:
To make a quick salad mix I put together a bag of broccoli slaw, rainbow slaw, and mung bean sprouts and mixed them up.  Everyday I just pull out this bag and grab a handful of salad to go in my container.  On top of this mix I add a few peanuts.  In a separate container (so the slaw isn't wet) I crumble some tofu and add some of the dressing.

Peanut dressing:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
4 tsp gluten free soy sauce
squirt of sriracha

I make the peanut dressing up in a mason jar in large quantities ahead of time so I can just pour and go.

When lunch time comes around I just mix the two containers together and wa la! Deliciousness!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pasta Craving

I have pasta cravings ALL the time and have all my life. It's pretty much my favorite food. 

Last night I came home to a crockpot of pulled pork that had been cooking all day. So yummy.. but I wanted pasta. Though we have gluten free pasta, I've vowed to stay away from stuff like that, at least for a little while. So what did we have?


Luckily when I was at Trader Joe's this past weekend I brought my husband. Usually this is a mistake because he wants EVERYTHING which really hurts our pocket book and often isn't healthy. This time when his eyes lit up and he suggested a couple of tubes of polenta, I didn't stop him. Thank goodness!!

I sliced the polenta tube the long way, sprinkled the pieces with a bit of parmesan cheese and put them directly on my electric griddle (this thing is easily my favorite kitchen tool right now. It gives everything a non-stick crust without the added oil.)

Then i mixed some Classico tomato sauce with 2 servings of pulled pork and put that on the griddle. We ate this (SOOO DELICIOUS and SOOO satisfied my pasta craving) together with some leftover corn and watermelon.

I LOVE polenta. Now we need to work on successfully making our own.. so far it has been a flop but I hear it is super simple!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fake Carnitas

Tonight I turned our leftover pork tenderloins into quasi carnita tacos. In our house we turn all leftovers into tacos... we love tacos...

Anyway, I cubed the leftover pork and gave it some color by sauteing it in olive oil. The trick is to put it on low heat and leave it alone.  It turned a beautiful light brown. This is nothing special, what's special was the tortillas. 

Now that we aren't eating gluten we couldn't have our usual flour tortillas so I made corn tortillas. I've always used the recipe on the back of the Masa bag and I did the same tonight. They turned out great, but could have been better. They were a little gritty (as usual when we make them) so I think next time we will make the dough ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge so the granules can absorb the water better. 

Making these have never been easier and the trick was using the electric griddle. Usually I press out a tortilla and then have to wait until it's done cooking before pressing the next one. It's such a pain. With the griddle i can press them and put them on the grill as fast as i can make them. It was perfect.

We learned the hard way last year that you have to stack them hot and keep them moist with a paper towel.

I cut up a fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, lime juice, sea salt and jalapeno.  We finished it with watermelon. We'll probably have the same thing two more times this week with different leftover meat... that's how we roll..

I'm Baaaack! (just Diane)

My little family has gone through many changes in the past couple of months. My husband and I have hit our 1 year wedding anniversary, I've gotten a new job in a new town, and we've bought our first home!

After a busy summer of traveling for family reunions and for work, and waiting for wood floors to be installed in 3/4 of our house, we still have all our stuff in boxes in the garage. Needless to say we aren't settled, and I don't see it happening soon since there's still a lot of painting and finishing to do. The wonderful thing is that we are comfortable with the bed being in the office and have set up a living room in the Den. Our house is too big for us now and we will take our time moving into it and not feel like we need to set up and decorate every room.

So in all the confusion in our lives in the past couple of months, our diet has gone out the window. We eat out more than we should which hurts our bank account and our health. I haven't had the time or the energy to cook when we do eat at home so all we eat is junk.

So now we're changing that. Together we can hold each other accountable and hopefully by recording some excellent recipes here, I can have that added accountability.

So the usual question, where does gluten free fit in? No Dr.s can tell me that I am gluten intolerant so I used that as a reason NOT to remain gluten free. Yet I know that I am not absorbing Iron or Vitamin D and my energy level is super low. When I eat gluten I have indigestion and gas, and it's even worse when I eat dairy.

Dusty and I LOOOOVE food. So we have these new rules that must be applied to anything we eat:
  • No gluten allowed
  • Must be loaded with protein
  • Must be loaded with vegetables and fruits
  • Must have limited dairy
  • Must be DELICIOUS 
So where to begin? Last night we grilled a Hormel marinated pork tenderloin. I cut up two farm fresh tomatoes, some watermelon and dusty grilled some fresh corn. It was delicious and refreshing to have so much food value in our meal. Tonight we'll probably have tacos with the leftover pork.

I am so excited about this change, and can't wait to fully utilize my new kitchen!!

Here is this week's inspiration recipe:
Carnitas, Houston Style

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How I live Gluten Free Inexpensively (Part 1)

Living gluten free is not cheap, but we're learning that if done correctly it doesn't have to be done expensively.

So maybe you can't buy those $.33, 1lb bags of pasta anymore but you shouldn't have to pay $7 for a pound of GF pasta! We've kind of let this blog go, recipes every once in a while are great but I'm not often making new recipes anymore, instead its more about the day to day struggles of finding inexpensive food.

Since I brought it up, let's first talk pasta. It's ridiculous when you find yourself paying $3.50 for a package of pasta only to realize when you get home that its only 8oz.!! I feel like I'm being robbed. My favorite meal growing up was fettuccine alfredo, and as much as I mostly embrace the mindset of eating things that are naturally gluten free, I gotta have my pasta. How?

Trader Joe's Rice Pasta: spagetti, penne and rotini. $1.99 for 1 lb every day, regular price no sales or coupons available. But at $1.99 per pound you can't turn that down! It's brown rice pasta, so if you don't like rice pasta then you're out of luck. I'm fairly certain that Mom and Briana also find great pasta deals at Big Lots, but they aren't as consistent as Trader Joe's (stop me if I'm wrong!)

Rice as you know is naturally gluten free and so its a wonderfully inexpensive food to eat. Try to stick with whole grains, like brown rice or wild rice, but also don't forget that there's more than just long grain rice. Experiment with basmati, jasmine, make some risotto or even play around with sushi. Basmati and Jasmine especially have a wonderful different flavor that makes a meal more interesting while keeping cooking simple. Most rice can be found in their brown variety.

Remember that potatoes are gluten free, so scrub up a potato poke it with a knife and put it in the microwave for a few minutes. Finish it off in the oven if you like crispy skin, and you have a baked potato. Remember sour cream CAN have gluten. Use only sour cream with 1 ingredient: cream (or 2 if you want low fat: cream and skim milk).

Chicken CAN have gluten because it is quite common for the manufacturer to inject it with broth that may contain gluten. My local grocery store has a list of which store brand chicken is gluten free, I know for a fact that one isn't so be very careful. If you find a gluten free store brand then you can watch the circulars. Mine all come out Wednesday morning, find out when yours come out. This way I can look out for under $1 a pound.

Our morning routine includes CHEX! Chex can range in price regularly from 2.99  - 3.50. Today I paid $1.50 a box because my store have them on sale for $2 and there is almost always a chex manufacturers coupon available on or or you can check your Sunday paper. We love the honey chex, but they are more expensive. This time we're trying the cinnamon chex, but we love both the corn and rice chex. YUM YUM YUM!

Pretzels. Wait what? Pretzels? Ok, yes they're good but not necessary. Until I discovered Snyder of Hanover's Gluten free pretzels. Incredible! They don't taste any different to me! They're also reasonably price. I've seen them in the regular pretzel section and in the natural foods section if you're looking for them.

Quinoa is my favorite grain, but it can be expensive. Bobs Red Mill (BRM) is at least $10 per pound. RIDICULOUS. In fact a general rule is that you can find most BRM foods for half the price somewhere else. Trader Joe's has QUINOA for $3.99 per lb, same with almond flour (more like meal).

Hormel is god. Ok wait, that's a bit extreme, but Hormel is amazing. For the most part if a product is gluten free it says so near the nutrition information. Their pepperoni is gluten free and since its non-perishable I buy it in bulk when its on sale. Regularly its around 3.99 but right now my grocery store has it on sale for $2 and Hormel has a $.55 coupon on their website. WHAT A DEAL. Also the Hormel Pork tenderloins will often go on sale. The sale I see most often is B1G1, even most of the marinated varieties are gluten free and it says so on the package. DELICIOUS! Hormel Chili is gluten free also, but not all varieties. I believe it is the bean variety that is GF either way if the chili doesn't say gluten free under the ingredient list, it isn't. You can make our favorite taco dip with a can of this, some cream cheese and cheese. Just remember that pre-shredded cheese, cream cheese and tortilla chips may have GLUTEN so be careful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Almond Jam Sandwich Cookies

Well, it is past the holiday season now and I have realized that the twelve days of cookies has not even been close to finished. But I thought I would add some of the recipes that I used for making cookies over the holidays. Sarah and I made these cookies the week before Christmas and they were very tasty and fairly easy to make. We did not store them well though, and they became soft since they were not put in the fridge.

These are very much like the typical thumbprint cookies but with a slight variation. For the jam we used both peach and raspberry but I enjoyed the raspberry much better.

Almond Jam Sandwich Cookies (found in "The Wheat-Free Cook")
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup cornstarch
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (we didn't have any but used vanilla instead, it tasted fine)
1 cup brown rice flour
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup any flavor jam

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper

Combine the almonds and cornstarch in a food processor and grind to a fine meal. Set aside. Add the butter and sugar to the processor and blend until creamy. Add the egg yolk and almond extract and blend until smooth. Add rice four, salt, and almond mixture and process until a ball of dough is formed.

Put the dough onto a sheet of wax paper(the book says plastic wrap but we decided that may be too sticky). Roll half of the dough into 1/8 thick slab and cut out rounds, use something to cut out the middle of half of the rounds so it looks like a donut. Transfer to the baking sheet and make sure you have a donut for each full round. Cook for 10 minutes.

Put a teaspoon of jam on each full round and put a donut ring on top. Don't press too hard or the ring will crack.