Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Arsenic found in rice?!

I saw a news clip on arsenic in rice recently and then received an email from a gluten free blogger about it.  She linked to consumer reports, who has apparently done a lot of recent researching and data collecting on this...I don't use rice flour in much of my baking anymore, but do use brown rice pasta, and eat rice often since we eat a lot of Spanish and Asian ethnic dishes...

Reading the portions on infants and pregnant women freaked me out a bit, let me tell ya.  Especially since I have had leftover spaghetti with brown rice pasta for breakfast and lunch today...(what can I say; I'm pregnant!)  Also, some of the highest levels of arsenic were found in infant rice cereal!  What?!

Also, I found it interesting that the especially high levels of arsenic were found in soils that used to be farmed in cotton, since I live in a cotton growing community.  Apparently, arsenic used to be sprayed on cooton crops to kill the dreaded boll weevil beetles.  Hmm...I once heard that our area has arsenic in the ground and drinking water; could it be from arsenic sprays? 

Here is Kelly Courson's take on it from Celiac Chicks.  She'll be at a special conference about this tomorrow, so I look forward to hearing her report. 

I am posting this here as rice is used in many gluten free processed foods...if nothing else, please scroll down to the two tables at the end, although the entire article is well worth the ten minutes it would take to read. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hello, World!

Being pregnant, I tend to really internalize and while I realize I have never been a regular poster, I get even more sporadic while pregnant.  My brain is busy elsewhere....
A lot of the recipes I post are snack/dessert oriented because I feel like I've got a handle on dinners; desserts are usually the recipes I don't have memorized.  I am going to try to get some more entrees on here, as well as some weekly menus that we have actually used...I've even got a camping menu. 
I really need to get them up here anyway, as this is so much better than a recipe box for storing my recipes--um, aside from monsoon season, when the electricity has a tendency to be out...lol.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

Growing up, my mom used to make something similar to these but I think the main ingredient was powdered sugar and we just do better on natural sweeteners.  These are a quick, easy, fun treat to make with the kids.  Sorry, no pictures.  I meant to take some, but they were gone before the camera came out...this often happens!  I know pictures are nice, but I've just got to face the fact that as a busy mom, sometimes it just doesn't happen.  =)

Peanut Butter Balls
(gluten, dairy, egg, soy, tree nut free, vegan)

1 c. almond flour
1/2. roasted peanut butter (we like maranatha or trader joe's brand--just peanuts and salt)
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. agave nectar
2 tbsp. coconut or grapeseed oil
1 c. finely crushed GF chex cereal OR GF icecream cones (i had some broken cones to use up, yum!)
1/3 enjoy life mini chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine almond flour, peanut butter, tapioca starch, agave nectar, and oil.  Stir well.  Dough should be thick, not sticky.  You may need to add another tbsp or two of tapioca.  Add crushed cereal and chocolate chips.  Roll into balls and place on plate.  Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving, if you can keep your kiddos out!  We also like these frozen.

Variation:  Sub honey for agave and raisins for chocolate chips.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recipes from the cooking class...

I am giving a gluten free cooking class for the ladies in my church this evening.  (Hello, ladies!)  I meant to make handouts with recipes, tips, and such, but what with being pregnant and trying to make two Easter dresses and two ties to match by Sunday, the handouts sort of flew out the window...
So, since most of the recipes are here on my blog, I am just going to link to them and a few other fun, simple recipes that I've got floating around here.

Pizza Crust:  This recipe is extremely versatile!  I have even converted it to cinnamon rolls.  (I need to get that recipe up.)  If you haven't visited Karina's site, Gluten Free Goddess, you should!  She has loads of excellent tips for all things gluten free.

Her pizza crust is the first I found that actually worked for us.
Here is my post on her crust.

Gluten Free Bread:  When we began this journey six years ago, I just gave up on any type of yeast breads/rolls, ect.  I could manage the quick breads but had alot of previous baking knowledge that was actually making it harder to bake gf--it's a whole different chemistry, folks!  We focused on all the good things we could eat and let it go at that.  Ironically, going gluten free expanded our diet.  We eat a much more varied diet than we ever would have had we not had this experience.  I am really grateful for that.
Even 6 years has made a big impact on the availability of quality gluten free products and RECIPES.  It is a lot easier now than it was when we began. 
This is my go-to bread recipe.  I have yet to mess it up, in spite of substitutions, which are typically a cause of failed baking attempts in GF baking.
Here is my review post on it.

Black on Black CakeThis recipe comes from another of my favorite gluten free bloggers, Elana.  Elana has MS and she and one of her sons are also Celiac.  She is mostly Paleo in diet and uses mainly almond flour in her baking.  I have yet to meet a recipe of hers I have not liked.  Her chocolate chip cookies are fabulousBut this cake....Elana's version is actually Black and White, which is very pretty.  We don't eat white chocolate, however, so the Black on Black Cake was born.  Dark chocolate chips for the white chocolate chips are my only substitution.  Elana's recipes are typically simple with few ingredients.  Love that.

A couple of easy recipes:

GF Rice Chex Treats

Skillet Corn Bread

A few other tips:

GF on a Budget

Behold, the BREAD! {a review}

I made all our bread goods from scratch before going gluten free.  And though I don't miss it all the time, I do miss the convenience of toast or sandwiches for quick picnic lunches.  I've bought horrid gf loaves and some good ones, too, but the price was hard to swallow.  Udi's (which is closest to a great taste and gf/cf/egg free) is over 6 bucks a loaf around here!!!  YIKES!  I have tried many different recipes through the last 4 years--bouncing back and forth between hopeful anticipation and despair of ever finding a truly good recipe that met our needs and tastes. 
I think I may have {gasp} finally found one!  YAY!  It is The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen's Vegan sandwich bread.  Yum!  It looks good...it tastes good...it must be, well, good! 

Behold, the Bread!

Gluten Free Rice Chex Treats

Similar to Rice Krispie treats, these are great for a quick summer snack.  We don't make these often, but when we do, they don't last long.  If you use the coconut oil, then these are also dairy free as well.  Sorry no pictures--these were gone long before I remembered the camera!

GF Rice Chex Treats

6 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1-10 oz bag large marshmallows
(walmart, kraft and campfire
are all gluten free)
6-7 c rice Chex gluten free cereal


1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch greased pan. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Make it Yourself: Spaghetti Sauce Two Ways

This "Make it Yourself" series is my version of a series a friend of mine has on her blog.  It's a great idea, and I'm sure she won't mind my adding mine to the bunch...After all, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".  I'll add these as they come to mind, which may or may not be often, lol.
So, how do you like your sauce?  Thick and chunky, full of garden-fresh veggies or thin and simple?  I like both, but I tend towards the veggieful variety of spaghetti sauce.  What better way to incorporate more nutrients into my kids' meals?  You can also blend half to make it less noticeably chunky. (If you are using the optional meat, blend before adding.)
These really are great sauces that I've adapted for my family over the years.  The recipe makes a big batch, enough for 2-4 meals depending on how many you need to feed and what you are using it for.  They freeze well, which is why they're a big batch.  Actually, that developed because of a red sauce lovin' pregnant mama who craved spaghetti {of all things} for weeks on end in her last pregnancy.  It was easier to make the sauce once a week than every time she needed spaghetti.  Shockingly, she came out on the other side with her red sauce love intact.  ;) I hope you enjoy it!  (I apologize for the lack of photos--I made this and fully intended pictures but plum {tomato} forgot.)
EtA:  Gotta add, homemade sauce is SO much better than store bought!  I recently bought a jar of GF sauce just to have on hand--a high quality one that we used to like, and it was so disgusting to us, lol.  Even if you don't end up preferring my version, please, please find a happy home made sauce that works for you--it is so worth it.  There.  Continue on...

Thick and Substantial Chunky Spaghetti Sauce

3/4 c. cold pressed olive oil 
1 small red onion, finely diced
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small zucchinni
4 cloves garlic, diced
1small can chopped olives
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parlsey (fresh herbs are also nice if you've got them!)
2 - 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste plus 2 cups water
2-3 tbsp.  honey (cuts acidity)
a pinch of salt if the olives weren't enough for you ;)
a couple grinds of black pepper (not too much, it'll make it bitter!)
1 1/5 pounds cooked ground beef, turkey or turkey sausage, optional (I like half beef/half turkey)

In a large heavy (non reactive) pot, add olive oil, onion, mushrooms, carrot, and zucchini.  Bring to a medium-high heat and saute until veggies begin to soften. (I use the onions as the main indicator.)  Add garlic and herbs; cook another minute or two.  (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)  Add tomatoes, paste, water, honey, and pepper.  Bring to a nice simmer and turn to low.  Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar.  Stir it occasionally and let it simmer for about an hour.  You can go a bit longer, if desired.  Good Stuff.  I use this for lasagna, spaghetti and other pasta bakes.  Freezes very well.

Creamy Pasta Sauce

2 - 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. cold pressed olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp. honey
a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper (not too much; we don't want bitter sauce here!)
1 tbsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. parsley
chopped olives and mushrooms, optional
1 lb. cooked ground beef or ground turkey (I like half and half)

The Italians may start with fresh tomatoes (and I've done this when I've had the time and garden-fresh paste maters) but I've found the crushed canned tomatoes to work just fine.  This can easily be doubled and frozen in recipe-sized quantities.
In a heavy large pan, add olive oil and garlic.  (Also mushrooms and chopped olives, if using.) Cook about a minute, making sure not to burn.  Add tomatoes, honey, seasonings and the optional meat.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes, uncovered.  Add lid, make sure you are cooking on low and simmer another 20-25 minutes.  If you want this super un-chunky, you can blend after cooking.  This is great for when you want a lighter sauce that will really coat your pasta.  I have also used this as a pizza sauce in a pinch. 

A note:  Please don't skimp on the olive oil.  It gives the depth that makes these sauces so authentic.  And please use real olive oil, lol.  I specify  cold or first pressed because from what I understand, it's the only way to tell that you are actually getting olive oil--if not stated as above on the bottle, you may have olive oil diluted with whatever cheap vegetable oil is available.  Be sure you're getting what you pay for!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Autumn Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

I don't have a picture of this one.  It is, though, one of my favorite salads, so I ought to have a picture.  I like this salad just about anytime.  My aunt introduced this to us.  I just made the dressing a little more healthy....The Orange Vinaigrette I use in the broccoli salad is also the one I use in this salad as well.  {See how resourceful I am?}  Or how versatile this vinaigrette is, perhaps.

12-14 c. mixed greens (baby greens are excellent, otherwise, tear into bite-sized bits)
2 avocadoes, sliced or
2 c. red seedless grapes
6-8 oz. artichoke hearts (make certain they are GF!--I use Trader Joes)
1 small red onions, thinly sliced
1c. toasted walnuts or pecans

Toss ingredients.  Add vinaigrette
You can make this ahead of time, not adding the vinaigrette and avocado until serving.  Actually, I prefer not to toss the dressing in the salad but let each serve themselves; that way, I'm not left with any soggy leftovers.  (My brother once made this ahead of time in the vinaigrette...he learned his lesson, poor guy. Soggy, soggy, soggy...;-))

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunshine Broccoli Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

I think everyone has some version of this salad, but most are laden with mayo (which are mostly made with unhealthy oils--aside from a few brands like Vegenaise and Spectrum).  Here is my Sunshine version.  What gives it this lofty name?  Why because it's a breakfast food at our house, of course!  (How many moms can claim that their children eat broccoli for breakfast and like it?  {grin}  Hey, it has bacon and OJ, so why not???
The vinaigrette is great with any salad as well.   This could easily be made vegan by omitting the turkey bacon and substituting maple syrup or agave nactar for the honey.   I know the photo is not that great--I was in a great hurry to feed ravenous children...

So here's the character list:

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. grapeseed or olive oil (I use grapeseed for breakfast)
1/2 of a large orange or 1/4 c. freshly squeezed OJ
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. onion (minced if you are not using a high-powered blender)
1 tsp. grated orange zest

For the salad:
big bunch of resh broccoli, cut up in small pieces
1/2 lb. turkey bacon, cokked, cooled and crumbled (I prefer Oscar Meyer--it crisps well)
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1/2 c. dried honey sweetened cranberries
1 c. sliced orange

Blend all vinaigrette ingredients except oil on high.  Turning blender to lowest setting (especially if using olive oil, you don't want to bruise it and it'll taste bitter!) and drizzle in oil. 
Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Add dressing and toss well.  Let chill for several hours.  (I make this the night before when I serve it for breakfast.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our Best Bites' Sausage and Egg Overnight Casserole--gf,cf

I really love breakfast.  Anyone else with me on that?  There's just something about coming out of an overnight fast that makes me hungry...
My favorite breakfasts are savory dishes because they don't cause my blood sugar to spike like other yummy things can.  My daughter has now added eggs in once a week (YAY!), so we get to have baked dishes like this more often. 
This is another of those recipes that my family loves for special ocassions like birthdays and Christmas morning.  Mama loves them because the work is done the night before and not with a hungry toddler attached to my hip, hehe.

So here it is.  My version of Our Best Bites Sausage and Egg Overnight Casserole--gf,cf

Here's what you need:

one loaf gluten free bread (home made or store)
1 lb. gf turkey sausage, browned
1/4-1/2 c. green chiles (your preference)
1 dozen eggs
1 can coconut milk (I prefer thai kitchen whole fat)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 c daiya cheese, optional

Grease a 9x13" baking dish.  Cut the bread into 1" cubes.  If you are using any type of cheese, sprinkle it over the bread.  Add sausage on top, then the green chiles.
In a bowl, whisk eggs, seasonings, milk, and hot sauce together.  Pour over the bread/sausage mixture. 
Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until egg is set and is golden brown. 
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.