Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gluten Free Pantry muffins

This morning I made muffins for everyone. I used Gluten Free Pantry's muffin mix. I added fresh bluberries and orange zest. I made them with olive oil and soymilk. They were yummy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Almond Cake a l'Orange

Tonight I tried another recipe from Gluten-Free French Deserts and Baked Goods by Valerie Cupillard. It turned out really well. We put a little apricot preserves on it, but I would like to have had orange marmalade. I couldn't find any at the store that didn't have corn syrup in it. I think it would be really good with it though.
1/3 C vegetable margarine
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C finely ground blanched almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 C white rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp orange zest
Melt margarine. Stir in sugar, almonds, and vanilla. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Then mix in the flour, baking powder, and zest. Pour into an oiled bread pan and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to 425. Bake for 13 more minutes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

more enchilada casserole

I made enchilada casserole with corn tortillas, pinto beans, green chile, enchilada sauce, and cashew "cheese." They were pretty good. Ray scarfed them down. They need less "cheese" and more sauce and beans. I think they'd be really good with potatoes, too.

The kids made onigiri today at the bento party. I made a tofu salad, and even the kids who aren't used to our "weird" food (the ones who tried it anyway) liked it. We got our onigiri molds in the mail today, and the kids had fun with them. I really liked them, too. I kind of thought they'd be a pain, but they're really great.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

scratch cookies!!! finally

I tried a recipe from Wheat-free Recipes & Menus by Carol Fenster tonight for chocolate chip cookies. These are the first scratch cookies I've made since going gluten-free. They were pretty darn good. I'm going to have to check this cookbook out. Someone gave me this recipe. I have eight children in my house tonight (four of which are mine and four of which aren't), and they have all eaten the cookies and asked for seconds and thirds. I'd say that's a "thumbs up." Trey liked them, too. This picture is of the second batch I cooked. The first batch looked better, but the kidlets ate them up before I could get a picture! I made these a little bigger, and they really should have been smaller. They were a little more gooey than the first ones.

Here's how I made them:
1 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill all-purpose GF flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 extra large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in vanilla and egg. Mix remaining dry ingredients together and beat into everything else. Now stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto greased pan and bake for 12 minutes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cat in the Hat bento

I made my first "theme" bento. It's a "Children's Book" theme - Cat in the Hat. It's not great, but it's a start! Here it is.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Green" smoothie

I love my Blend-Tec blender. I think I could blend a tire with that thing. It wouldn't be very tasty though, so I stick to edible things! One of the healthier things I make is our morning "green" smoothie. Trey really likes them, and so does Olivia. The older two will drink them, but they prefer peanut butter/banana smoothies. Here is what I put in them:
about 2-3 C spinach
1 1/2 C water
4 dates
1 large banana
1 scoop ground flax
1 scoop probiotic powder (for both of these I use the scoop that came with them)
I blend that up really well, then I add:
1 C frozen blueberries
1 C frozen raspberries (or other frozen fruit)
Blend really well and enjoy! This amount is enough for Trey and I to share, and sometimes Olivia has some, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

WaterCourse Foods

For father's day, we went downtown to our favorite restaurant - WaterCourse Foods. We've been going to WaterCourse Foods for ten years, since right after it opened. When we first started going, you could walk in on a Saturday morning and sit right down. It got to where you could wait an hour to get a seat on a Saturday morning. Recently, they moved to a larger place a couple of miles away. We went to their new place for the first time Sunday morning.

The atmosphere of the new place was a little more trendy and a little less hippie. It was nice. I sort of prefer the old place, but at least this place was bigger, and we only had to wait 30 minutes for a table.

It was the first time that I'd been to WaterCourse Foods since going completely gluten free, so I was hoping they'd have a good gf selection. While we were waiting for a table, we bought one of their gluten free muffins, and it was really good.

I was pleased to see that they had a few gluten free items on the menu. I hope they'll add some more options. Their other restaurant, City O' City, has a lot of gluten free options. They had gluten free onion rings which was really cool. We ordered "frings," french fries and onion rings. They were really good. We ended up ordering a second order.

Trey ordered the special. It was called the "Big Rig," and it was chicken fried seitan with scrambled tofu and home fries. He said it was really good. It's not gluten free though.

The three older kids ordered the kid's taco meal - a tempeh taco, rice and beans. I tasted Olivia's and it was okay. I ordered the chilequitos. It was pretty good. I'd love to give them a great review, but I'll have to go back again. The food was good, but I'm used to their food being AWESOME! Unfortunately, what I normally get has gluten in it. I've never tasted anything there that I didn't like though. I was disappointed in their scrambled tofu. I swear they changed it. Maybe we just caught the on a bad day because it wasn't as good as it used to be.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Crayon Juice

A year and a half ago, for Christmas, my husband and children got me a juicer. I love it. The kids and I love to make "crayon juice" with it. We juice carrots and oranges and mix them together. Yummy! We call it crayon juice because it looks like we juiced an orange crayon! LOL.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Waffles, graham crackers, cookies, noodles and beer

Dinner was a little boring. I just cooked some potatoes, garbanzos, and frozen green beans with jarred dopiaza sauce and served it over basmati rice with turmeric. So, I thought I'd talk about some gluten free products that I've tried.

First, we tried Van's gluten free, vegan mini waffles. We were at Whole Foods, and my daughter saw them and asked if we could try them. I said sure. Yesterday morning, we all decided to have breakfast in bed and watch The Sound of Music. We put them in the toaster, put peanut butter on them, and enjoyed. They were pretty good. I think I'm going to use them for miniature pb & j's for the kids' bento lunches.

Outside the Breadbox is a gluten free baking company in Colorado Springs. They make gluten free, dairy free graham crackers that are really yummy. They're not as crumbly as regular graham crackers. They have a very similar taste though. I made a graham cracker crust with them once, and it turned out really good. It wasn't as light as a normal graham cracker crust - definitely heartier, but I liked the taste of it. My parents like these graham crackers, too. Actually, I just bought two packages of them to send them on Monday.

We went back to City O' City last night and bought pizzas to take to the drive in theater with us. This time, I bought us some cookies. The first picture is of a coconutty/chocolate cookie called a scout cookie that was really good. It was chewy and thick. All of the cookies were not only gluten free but vegan as well.

I bought a chocolate chip, lemon poppy seed, and sugar cookie. The chocolate chip cookies was kind of weird tasting. I liked the other two. Trey didn't really like the sugar cookie. The lemon poppy seed tasted good, but it fell apart really easily.

I have been trying to special order these noodles from Whole Foods, but apparently I have some bad noodle karma or something. Eden Selected Buckwheat Soba noodles are made from only buckwheat. Most soba noodles have buckwheat and wheat. I have this package of noodles that my parents sent me. I guess I'm going to have to take the package in to Whole Foods and show it to them, so they can order me the correct thing. I went by today - again - to get the noodles that I was told were there. They ordered the wrong thing! Gah. I really want to be mad at them, but darn it, they were so nice, and they gave me a $10 gift card for all my trouble. It just takes the steam out of my ranting. *sigh*

I have a recipe for buckwheat crepes that calls for beer. Beer has gluten in it, so I had to go online and find a gluten-free beer and where to buy it. Bard's Tale Beer is made from sorghum, so it's gluten free. I had to call six different liquor stores from the website to find one who had a valid phone number and knew what I was talking about. Trey went and got it for me. I'm not a big drinker, but now that I'm a part of team gluten free, I figured that I might as well "take one for the team." So, I popped one open, and it's not bad. It's a little sweeter than regular beer, but it tastes pretty good.

Frozen vegan deserts

So, what goes better with summer break that frozen deserts? We went to the store and bought an assortment of soy "ice creams." We had a limited variety, but still a pretty good variety considering it was Safeway! The funny thing is that we don't eat a lot of "ice cream!" The one that we already had - vanilla fudge swirl - we've had for probably a month! Oh well, we had fun, and here are our results.

Rice Dream strawberry - very hard, not bad taste, but has kind of a weird taste. Not as gritty as it used to be (haven't had Rice Dream in a while), but not creamy at all.

Soy Dream Butter Pecan - nice flavor, mildly creamy, very hard - overall, our family favorite.

Whole Soy & Co. Creme Caramel (frozen soy yogurt) - very, very hard, icy, really sweet, nice caramel flavor

Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag - not nearly as good as I remember it. It was hard, a little creamy, overwhelming fudgy taste, "beany" aftertaste

Rice Dream Chocolate Caramel Chai - Really, really hard, not creamy, weird taste, overwhelming chai taste. Overall, our family's least favorite.

Purely Decadent Turtle Trails - first soft one we tried, not really creamy, the "turtles" are really yummy, nice flavor, "beany" aftertaste. My oldest daughter didn't like it at all.

Soy Dream Vanilla Fudge Swirl - hard, strong "beany" aftertaste, nice fudgy flavor.

So, for what it's worth - there you have it! None of us thought any of the seven even remotely compared with Tofutti. Everyone has their own tastes though, so please feel free to add your own reviews!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Whole Foods sucks/Tofutti rocks

Okay, Whole Foods doesn't completely suck, they have really friendly employees, but I'm really pissed at them. First, I special ordered a case of Eden Foods buckwheat soba noodles. They called me yesterday to tell me they were in. I stopped by tonight to pick them up, but they couldn't find them. I was at Whole Foods tonight for almost an hour. The chick who came to tell me that, "Sorry ma'am, but we can't find them" tells me that I should call when a manager is in and talk to him. Well, that won't really do me a whole lot of good because it was a manager who called me to tell me they were in! I asked her what exactly I needed to do to make sure someone would be able to find them the next time I came in because I wasn't too keen on making a special trip across town - again - with gas at $4 a gallon. Gah!

Second, Whole Foods has decided to stop carrying Tofutti "ice cream." What the heck?!?! There is exactly one - yes, that's right, ONE - type of vegan "ice cream" that is any good, and that would be Tofutti. There is exactly ONE vegan "ice cream" that is creamy, and that would be Tofutti. So, these buttheads decide to stop carrying it?!?! I am so angry. I left my name, and they are going to call me. I'm going to get everyone I know to call and complain and hopefully we can get them to carry the one and only good vegan "ice cream" again. They, of course, sell their own brand, which is as hard as a brick, but creamy Tofutti they stop carrying. Ridiculous.

Tonight we had "brinner," so nothing really to report. I took a picture of last night's dinner though to add to my "food porn" collection. Trey has really been missing hot dog buns. We've found one type of veggie hot dogs that are gluten free, but we've yet to find a good hot dog bun. When I was at Vitamin Cottage yesterday I saw that Outside the Breadbox makes a hot dog bun. I decided to buy a pack, so we could try them. As much as I would like to write a good review about them, I just can't. They didn't have a bad taste, but they were really hard and dry and fell apart as soon as I cut them open and put stuff in them. This deejay on the radio was talking about having a hot dog in a lettuce leaf. She was doing it because she was on a low carb diet, but it actually sounds like a good idea. I think I'll try that next time. I had my veggie dog with ketchup, mustard, dill relish (because sweet just sucks), sauerkraut, hot peppers, tomatoes, and celery salt. I also made french fries with cashew cheese, and giardineira.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vegan, gluten free mac and cheese

Our dinner tonight was fabulous! We have finally figured out a gluten-free, vegan "mac and cheese." We bought Mrs. Leeper's gluten-free animal pasta, and then added a cashew "cheese" sauce. I got the base recipe from a fellow veggie blogger. Here's my version:
3 C raw cashews (rinse well)
1 1/4 C water
1/3 C lemon juice
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 C nutritional yeast
7 cloves of garlic
1 jar (4 oz) pimientos
Blend in high powered blender until smooth.
Mix the sauce in with the pasta. We put Rawmesan on top of it. We had steamed broccoli and green salad with it. The kids wanted us to have a "restaurant" tonight, so they served us, set the table, helped make the food, and even made us an appetizer. Beth Ann made the appetizer. I'm not sure how she came up with this, but she heats up two corn tortillas, spreads some vegan mayo, BBQ sauce, Tapatio, and Cholula on it.

She made a tortilla for Louis with vegan mayo on it. He loves it!

One of our servers!

I also made another yummy vinaigrette for lunch today.
1 tsp flax oil
3 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fig vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp thyme
Shake and serve.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Veggie-Flax Burgers

Tonight's dinner was a big hit with the kiddos. I made sauteed chard with garlic and lemon juice, mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, veggie burgers, and gluten free golden gravy. I wasn't very sure about the burgers when I was making them, but they tasted pretty good. My family really liked them though. Ray ate three of them! Trey said he definitely wanted me to make them again. Success! The original recipe came from Delicious Living. This version is doubled and slightly different but not much.
1 1/2 cans (8 oz) artichoke hearts packed in brine not oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 C chopped green onions
6 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
6 tbsp flax meal
4 tbsp raw tahini
lots of black pepper
1 C cooked rice (the original recipe called for brown rice, but when I went to cook that - I didn't have any brown rice. The basmati I had worked well though.)
Pulse in a food processor until well blended (I had to do mine in two batches because there was so much). Form patties and cook in a little oil. The heat needs to be fairly low because they need to cook a few minutes on each side. I used an ice cream scoop to make the patties, and they came out a good size.

My gravy has been a work in progress since we went gluten free. Everyone really liked tonight's version. It had Earth Balance, onion powder, garlic powder, "chicken" broth powder, soymilk, dried parsley, salt, a little chili powder, and brown rice flour. The thing about making gravy with brown rice flour is that it is a sweet flour. Adding the chili powder took care of the sweet taste though. Also, the rice flour takes a while to thicken up. You don't want to add more though because then it will get way too thick. You just have to be patient with it.

yummy balsamic vinaigrette

I made a yummy balsamic vinaigrette for my salad this afternoon.
3 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp flax oil
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp basil

fruit kabobs

After a long day yesterday, we had a light dinner and lots of desert! LOL. We had a salad with tofu, guacamole, and tortilla chips for dinner.

For desert, we made fruit kabobs with some melted chocolate on them. Then we had Whole Foods 365 Brand vanilla soy cream with chocolate and Soyatoo "whipped cream." The soy cream wasn't too bad. We tried to get Tofutti, but the Whole Foods we were at didn't have it. It's really the only soy ice cream that is good. It's fabulous. When I've bought ice cream, I bought the good stuff - the creamy stuff. The cheap stuff just isn't very good, and I don't buy it. The soy cream reminded me of that stuff. It was better than Soy Dream or Soy Delicious, but it just didn't come close to Tofutti. I don't even know why stores sell the other kinds. Tofutti is the best! It was a fun desert though.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

City O' City

Where do I start? This place is freaking awesome!!! There used to be a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Denver near the capitol building called The Watercourse. We've been going there since the summer of 1998. We drove downtown to the People's Fair today, and...IT WAS GONE!!!!! The horror - I was devastated. After we parked, I made us walk by just so I could make sure that it was actually *gasp* GONE! Sure enough, there was a new restaurant in its place called City O' City. I was on the street lamenting the unfairness of life, when a lady - my favorite new absolute stranger - told me that The Watercourse had only moved, and this new place was owned by the same people! Cool. Of course, we had to go in and see what they served.

It was basically a pizzeria. They had salads, hummus and flatbread, and some other things. I was bummed because it didn't look like they had hardly anything that was gluten free. The guy at the front then informed me that all of their pizzas can be made gluten free! GLUTEN FREE!!! We found a place we could get vegan, gluten-free pizza. How freaking cool is that?

The atmosphere at City, O' City is very similar to The Watercourse - very Bohemian, which I, of course, love!

First, we ordered the hummus with gluten free flat bread. In retrospect, we could have been happy with just the pizza, but I was just so darn excited to be able to order practically anything off the menu that we went overboard! LOL. The hummus was great, and the flatbread was pretty good, too.

Next came the pizza! It was fabulous. The six of us couldn't agree, so we ordered a small "cheese" pizza for Livi and Ray and a large pizza with tempeh bacon, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomatoes. The "cheese" was a cashew ricotta. The pizza smelled fabulous, and it tasted even better. I was in heaven! Imagine - a place where you can buy vegan, gluten free pizza?!?! I'm still tripping about it.

To top off the coolness, they have vegan, gluten-free desserts! I have no idea if they're any good because we were too stuffed to try any. We're going to go back soon though and try them. This restaurant is AWESOME, and I highly recommend it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vegetarian Sushi

Tonight we had one of my favorite meals - vegetarian sushi. The kids all love it, too. They each helped make their own roll. Apparently next time I'm going to have to make an extra batch because we finished it, and my son was looking for more! I made mine with sushi rice, nori, black sesame seeds, wasabi, carrots, cucumber, avocado, and red pepper. The new wasabi that I got is very sharp! I added some to my Bragg Liquid Aminos for dipping, and I think I might leave that off next time. It had quite a bite. Here's how we made them. First, get all the ingredients together.

Lay out a sheet of nori, spread out the rice on 2/3 of the nori, and spread a line of wasabi on the rice.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the rice and then pile the chopped vegetables in the middle.

Wet the nori that doesn't have rice on it, and then roll up the sushi.

Slice the sushi roll and serve!

I made a broccoli stir fry with an orange chile sauce that I got from another blog. Here is my version which is slightly different:
Zest from one large navel orange
Juice from two large navel oranges
2 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 1/2 tsp chile paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp arrowroot powder
Mix together and pour over stir fry during last few minutes of cooking.

Here's our dinner - yum!