Menu Plan Monday – March 29, 2010

The host for the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week is Gluten Free Goodness.  The theme is Cheep and Easy Foods which is pretty much all I make during the week.  We eat mainly whole foods, and do all our baking from scratch which keeps the cost down tremendously.  As the big kids are also helping with the cooking now (one time a week one of them makes dinner – yay!), the easy part is a must when you are teaching or learning different cooking techniques.  You don’t have to make dinner too complicated to get a great meal when you are using fresh, whole ingredients, thank goodness!  This week my menu is pretty chicken heavy, as our local free range chicken is on sale.

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

For more menu ideas head over to Laura’s for Menu Plan Monday.

Monday:  Mom subs in library/Boy Scouts

Pepper Steak over rice (brown jasmine, presoaked) and salad

Tuesday: Mom in school library/no piano this week/make cookie dough, chill

Mushroom Herb Chicken with broccoli

Wednesday: No dance this week/youth group/bake cookies

Tangy brown sugar-mustard chicken and mixed veggies

Thursday: Decorate cookies, freeze/bake mini carrot cupcakes

Chicken Escarole Soup with GF French Bread

Friday: Dye eggs/Decorate carrot cupcakes, freeze

Thai Chicken Pizza and salad

Saturday: finish prepping for Easter/make Easter Story Cookies with kids/set frozen cinnamon rolls and hot cross buns to thaw in fridge for morning

Omelettes and salad

Sunday: Easter/bake cinnamon rolls and hot cross buns for breakfast with homemade apple turkey sausage and fruit.

Apricot and herb glazed ham, salad, roasted spring veggies, fresh fruit, gf cardamon orange twists, rosemary-apricot rolls, mini carrot cupcake, brown sugar cookies, Easter Story cookies.

Gluten Free-zer Friday – Hot Cross Buns

Today is my dear friend Cari’s birthday.  In honor of Cari, my girl’s have declared it “Pink Day” where they are wearing all pink, and painting their toenails hot pink.  We will also be making some brownies to celebrate Cari’s love of chocolate.  We miss you, Cari.

I’ll bring you a Carmel Macchiato…

Pink Princess Find a Cure Women's V-Neck T-Shirt

I know we hear a lot about breast cancer awareness in October, but here on Cari’s birthday, I would like to encourage you to remember those who are touched by cancer of all kinds and the struggles they and their families face beyond the health issues.  Please consider the Angel Foundation as a place to share your resources to help families faced with cancer.  Since 2001, Angel Foundation has provided financial assistance for adult cancer patients to meet critical non-medical needs, as well as education and support programs to families in the Twin Cities metro area who have a parent with cancer.

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Now onto Free-zer Food Friday…  Head over to MJ’s for Freezer Food Friday. Then come on back with your gluten free freezer recipe link.  If you have a gluten free freezer recipe to share, let me know in the comments and I will add you to the round up!  Come join in on the fun!

Freezer Food Friday

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Join in on Gluten Free-zer Friday:

1. If you would like to participate in Gluten Free-zer Friday, simply email your post link to your gluten free freezer recipe (angelas_kitchenATcomcastDOTnet) or leave a comment below and I will add you to the roundup.

2. Link back to this post on the post with the recipe you have linked.

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Hot Cross Buns
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3 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoon unflavored geletin (or pectin or agar flakes)
1 cup warm gluten and dairy free unsweetened milk substitute (I use almond or coconut milk)
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar

*3 cups bean flour blend (or 2/3 cup garfava flour, 1/3 cups sorghum flour, 1 cup corn or potato starch, and 1 cup tapioca starch)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 eggs
1/4 cup softened gluten and dairy free margarine, organic shortening or 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3/4 cup dried currants or raisins (I use a mix of golden raisins, chopped dried apricots, chopped dried apples, and chopped dried cherries)
optional, finely grated zest of a lemon (use an organic lemon)
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Egg wash:
1 egg mixed well with 1 tablespoon of milk substitute.
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Icing:
3/4 cup gluten free powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk substitute (or lemon juice or 2 1/2 teaspoons milk substitute and 1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla flavoring)

Put dried fruit into a bowl.  Cover fruit with warm water, just to cover.  Allow to soak until needed in recipe.  Optionally, you can soak the fruit in orange juice for a different flavor.  Sprinkle the gelatin onto the 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl.  Set aside until gelatin has absorbed all the water.  Mix gelatin into the warm milk substitute.  Add yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar with the warm milk substitute and set aside.
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Mix together the bean flour blend, brown sugar, xanthan gum, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and salt in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Blend well.  Add gelatin mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, margarine, and vinegar.  Mix on low until blended, then on high for 3 minutes.  Drain fruit and blot dry.  Stir dried fruit and lemon zest into dough.

Using very wet or oiled hands, divide mix into 24 smooth balls of dough (about 3 Tablespoons dough per ball).  Place dough balls evenly spaced onto a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to raise for about 45 min to an hour until almost doubled in size.  Gently brush buns with egg wash.  With oiled scissors, snip a cross shape 1/4″ deep into each bun.

**Bake buns in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Allow buns to cool on a cooling rack.  Mix icing ingredients together until smooth.  Place in small zip closure bag.  Snip a small corner of the bag to let icing out.  Decorate top of buns by making a cross shape in the snipped indents with the icing mixture on top of buns.
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To freeze after baking: When icing is set, wrap buns well and freeze.
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To freeze before baking: Make recipe up to shaping dough into buns, but before they rise.  Place baking pan into the coldest part of the freezer.  Allow to freeze solid.  Store dough well wrapped until ready to use.  When ready to bake, place frozen buns onto silpat or parchment lined pan, cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to thaw/raise in refrigerator overnight.  Remove pan from refrigerator 1/2 hour before baking.  Brush with egg wash, snip cross shape, bake, etc as directed.
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*I have also used gf millet flour in place of the garfava in this recipe.
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**Note:  When baking breads, I always place another baking pan on the bottom-most rack and add a couple of handfuls of ice cubes to the pan.  I put the bread to be baked on the center rack in the oven, close the oven door, and bake as directed.  This creates a steam oven for your gluten free bread and greatly improves the moisture and crust of the final product.

Menu Plan Monday – March 15, 2010

Hey, there!  I get to host the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week.  Woo!  If you would like a chance to host, drop Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness a line.  She would love to hear from ya!

This week I picked fermented foods as the theme ingredient.  Kim chi, pickled garlic and gingered carrots are all in my fridge right now, waiting to perk up our meals with their tastiness and active beneficial probiotics.  A new batch of coconut yogurt will be made today and this week (being spring break for us) gluten-free sour dough pancakes will be made.  Do you ferment?  Everybody does eat foods that have used the process, such as true soy sauce (timari) or wine (if you drink it).  Even cacao beans must be fermented before they can be turned into rich dark chocolate.  Mmmm…. Fermentation – it’s delicious!

This week is my kid’s spring break, so kid food that is easy on the Mama (hey, I want a spring break, too!).  My big kids will be making a couple of this week’s meals, so those are still in the process of being decided.  One fun thing we are making this week is maple syrup.  My son is tapping the maple trees in the yard and we already have a good gallon or so of sap from a couple of hours on Sunday.  I can’t wait to see what we get for syrup this week.  Even if we just end up with a little syrup, it is turning out to be a fun spring break project for us!

For more menus, check out Menu Plan Monday.  The Gluten Free Menu Swap will be posted right after my menu below.  Come back Friday for Gluten Free-zer Friday.

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

Monday:  Spring break!/orthodontist apt

Taco salad with fermented salsa


Tuesday:  spring break!/teeth extraction for my little one (yuck!  Poor thing…)/piano lessons if my little one is up to it after the dentist…

Sour dough waffles, apples with cinnamon, homemade turkey sausage


Wednesday:  spring break!/dance/youth group

Curried chicken salad, mixed greens, mangos, kim chi (fermented, baby!) and gluten free French bread (I know, I should do something Irish…  but we’ll be doing something for St. Patrick’s day for lunch, I think.)  We ended up having roasted rosemary-thyme sweet potato & potato oven fries, omelette and a salad


Thursday: Spring break!

chicken  & veggie stir-fry, rice

Friday: Spring break!/boy sleepover

My oldest daughter is making dinner – her choice (not decided yet) She made Thai Chicken Pizza, salad and brownies.  It was delicious!  Thanks, honey!

Saturday: dance class for older daughter

My son making dinner – his choice (not decided yet)

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What will be on everyone else’s plate?

Heather at Celiac Family has a busy March, but is still putting together a yummy menu for her family.  Cilantro Lime Shrimp, Parmesan chicken Nuggets, Baked Salmon with a Balsamic Glaze and Southwestern Chicken Salad (all with recipe links – yay!) are on the menu using balsamic vinegar, salsa, and gluten free beer as her fermented foods this week.  She is also making a yummy St. Patrick’s Day meal with Irish Potato Faris which I may need to make for an Irish lunch that day for my kids.  Thanks, Heather!

Winter Olympic Cupcakes & Menu Plan Monday – March 8, 2010

So, we got through the illness last week, then cleaned and cleaned anything that may have had nasty, disgusting germs on it.  By the time Friday rolled around, we were ready to go for my older daughter’s delayed birthday party.  We celebrated with family and Princess Bride cupcakes on her actual birthday, but she wanted something different to have with friends.  Her choice?  Winter olympic cupcakes.

Yep.  Those are snowboards, skis, ice skates, and olympic rings made from homemade fondant on half gluten and dairy free vanilla and half chocolate cupcakes.  They were a lot of fun to make for my sweetie.

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Head over to Laura’s for Menu Plan Monday.  The Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted this week by Asparagus Thin.  She has picked Red Carpet Meals as her theme.  Fun!  but…  I’m afraid the closest I’m getting to anything “Red Carpet” style is if juice gets spilled this week.

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

Monday:  Boy Scouts/Mommy teaches gluten and dairy free class my class was cancled

Beef Empanadas, salad, steamed mixed veggies

Tuesday:  mom volunteer in school library/Piano lessons

Maple chicken and salad

Wednesday:  dance class/youth group

Black Bean Soup, blender corn bread, raw broccoli/cauliflower mix

Thursday:  Caddette Girl Scouts

To be determined later…  Yep, total cop out on the menu plan  ;o)

Friday:  1st Grade Field trip (Yay!!)

To be determined later…  SPRING BREAK IS STARTING!!  WOO!!

Don’t you wish you were me?

Today’s menu plan is on hold until my cutie is feeling better.  It’s hard to plan a menu when you are washing a freeky amount of laundry and cuddling a little girl clutching a plastic bucket.  sigh…

My big kids are now home and debating the relative merits and drawbacks of an anti-gravity hat as opposed to anti-gravity underwear.  Yeah.  Welcome to my world…

February Poll Winner – Chocolate Truffles

This is a nice basic truffle you can add your own flavorings and coatings to make them your own.  I usually just roll them into a ball shape, but to make them even easier, pour the truffle mixture into a pan lined with smooth parchment or plastic wrap.  After they set, lift the firm mixture from the pan using the parchment or plastic wrap to remove the truffles.  With a warm clean knife, slice square, rectangular or diamond shapes.  Serve as is or dust the top lightly with cocoa powder.

You can also use the truffle mix to fill candy molds.  Brush your candy mold with melted tempered chocolate, allow to set, pour in partially cooled truffle mixture (or scoop up firm truffle mixture and stuff shape).  Allow to set, then coat the bottom to the candy with melted tempered chocolate.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Chocolate Truffles

12 oz. gluten and dairy free good quality dark, bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup canned coconut milk (NOT light and not from the carton – those are too thin)

1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla, almond, mint, orange or other flavoring of choice

In a small sauce pan, heat coconut milk until just beginning to bubble around the edges, but do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Add chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Add flavoring and mix well.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then put into refrigerator to chill.

You can shape your truffles at this point for a very dense chocolate truffle, if you choose.

For a fluffier, lighter type of truffle:  When mixture is firm, whip with electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, but do not allow to get soft and runny.  Put back into the refrigerator and chill until firm.

Scoop one to one-and-a-half teaspoons of truffle mixture and roll into a ball.  I find this works best with a cooler kitchen and hands.  Leave plain or roll into your choice of coatings, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, crushed toasted nuts, crushed peppermint candies, finely shredded coconut, etc.  If you would like to dip in tempered chocolate, chill the shaped truffle until firm and cold before dipping in the worm chocolate.

Store in a cool place.

Menu Plan Monday – February 22, 2010

From the Spring '09 Club 56 Fun Night.

Head over to Organized Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.  The Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted this week by Asparagus Thin.  She has chosen radish as the theme ingredient.

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday

My freezer is pretty bare right now, so this week I’ll be working on getting my freezer stocked with some food (and working on my Once a Month Mom Cook Off), so most of my meals are doubled up –  one for the meal and one (or more) for the freezer.  It’s how I do most of my freezer cooking.  I don’t usually double up a meal  everyday of the week, however, as I am this week.  I am just getting a jump start on my freezer filling this week.

Usually, I double up meals for freeze only two or three days a week.  Days that are not very busy, or I know I can pack the slow cooker with an extra meal, or if there is a big sale on an item.   It only takes me a few extra minutes while everything is out for dinner to assemble an extra meal with the same ingredients.  Then, for the other days of the week, I often use freezer meals from past weeks, or the slow cooker to get dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss.  Everyone thinks I must spend all day in the kitchen, but the truth is I really only fully cook dinner a few days a week.  My homemade freezer meals and slow cooker take care of the other days. It saves my sanity and schedule, let me tell ya!

Monday:  after school band play practice/Waligazu

Bake plan:  3 loaves gluten free/dairy free bread (reg loaf, cinnamon swirl, 1 baked like buns for Thursday night) and pumpkin muffins

Easy Taco Bake (one for tonight/one to freeze), salad

Tuesday: middle school spring pictures/mom volunteer in elementary library/after school band play practice/piano lessons

Pizza (make 6 in the morning- 3 for dinner/3 to freeze), salad.  Pack dinner for piano party with gf cupcakes from freezer.

Wednesday: after school band practice/little girl dance class

Beef Empadas (make in morning, most to freeze/some for dinner.  Ham, broccoli, and “cheese” empadas for anti-food girl), salad

Thursday:  Make pancake muffins/opening night of middle school play

Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes (half for dinner/half to freeze), roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, and a salad

Friday: Make banana pancakes for breakfast (freeze extra)

General Tso Chicken with pea pods and broccoli, rice