Thursday, March 31, 2011

An April Fool's Day Dinner

Mmmmm cake, scrumptious cake, delicious cake, tasty cake. Now who here wouldn't love a big fat slice of cake for dinner: I know a certain toddler in my house that would not only raise her hand, but her legs, other arm, and little eyebrows to have cake for dinner. Well, I figured, it's only ONE day and why not let her eat cake until her little belly is full for one meal?  Now before all of you start sending me condolences for dealing with a sugar high child before bedtime on the 1st of April, let me whisper in your ear a little secret ;) It's a meatloaf cake hehehe. Yep, tasty homecooked meatloaf with rich and creamy mashed taters.

The construction is relatively easy. First assemble 3 pounds ground beef or turkey burger and blend together the following:

1 medium onion diced
2 celery stalks diced or 1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup cooked quinoa or 1 cup gluten free oats
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you like it a bit salty ;)

Preheat your oven to 350.

Then blend it all together with your hands to distribute the ingredients well.

Next spoon then spread half of the meatloaf in a round cake pan. Try to get it as flat and even as you can then bake the meatloaf in the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes. As the pan is half the height of a regular loaf pan, you won't need to bake it nearly as long.

Once the meatloaf is baked, remove from oven (like you wouldn't have known to take it out already hehehehe), then carefully remove it with two spatulas onto a plate, then place meatloaf in the freezer. Then repeat the process with the remaining meatloaf mixture. Place other loaf into the freezer and allow to chill.

Now prepare yourself about 2 cups worth of mashed potatoes.

When both meatloaves are cooked and chilled (for about 20 minutes) cut the edges so they are even and straight. Then place the first loaf top side down (so the bottom edge is on top as it's flatter and will have a better crisper edge). Then get about 1/4 cups worth of ketchup and spread an even layer. Then place the remaining loaf topside down (just like you would a cake, duh, I know).

Next, spread the mashed taters on the "Cake Loaf" with a rubber spatula. I just have to mention, I loved using mashed potatoes as icing. They behave MUCH better than regular icing, it was almost like using molding clay.

When your cake is iced to perfection, it's time to embellish your lovely cake with whatever tickles your pickle. I used grape tomatoes sliced in half and edamame. Really though, use your noggin and have fun with it!

That's all folks! Enjoy and have a wonderful prank filled April Fools :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Peruvian Arroz Con Pollo Verde

Happy Wednesday Blog Readers :)

I have a tasty easy one dish filling dinner recipe for y'all. It's a little twist on the classic Peruvian Arroz Con Pollo. Keeping with the "green theme" I figured it would be a fun recipe to share with you. Now for this recipe you will need a BIG skillet. I mean a GINORMOUS pan. So rummage through your pots and pans and find the biggest and deepest pan you have.

Now in that skillet, warm up about 1/4 cup oil (I prefer olive, but any sort of oil will do). Once the oil is hot, add 3 whole chicken legs (skin removed) then season both sides with salt and pepper. Cover and sear chicken on each side. Roughly 3-4 minutes on each side on high/medium heat.

Next, dice up 1 red bell pepper and 1 medium sized red onion. Then blend 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup gluten free chicken broth.

Now take a pretty interesting looking picture of the blended cilantro and broth...just for picture's sake ;)

Then line up your pureed cilantro, chopped bell pepper, and onion for another picture opportunity hehehe.

Now when your picture taking shenanigans are over, the chicken should be ready now. Lower heat to medium and carefully uncover (the oil may be angry and splattery...if that's even a word). Now add 1 heaping tablespoon of the bottled garlic stuff (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 5ish crushed garlic cloves), bell pepper, and onion. Allow to cook until the veggies are tender (about 5 minutes) stirring periodically.

While the veggies are cooking, stir the cilantro mixture in with 1/2 cup cooking sherry. Now, the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup beer. Now you glutenites, go ahead and use your favorite beer. If you want to pop the $$ for gluten free beer, go ahead. Honestly, the cooking sherry works fine too. Then mix in the beer cilantro blend 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir it around to mix it nicely. Now, pour in the liquid into the pan and bring to a boil.

Next rinse up 3 cups of plain ol' white rice. When the liquid is boiling, pour in the rice and do your best to make sure the rice is only in the liquid and not resting on the chicken. Reduce heat to a simmer (about medium/low heat), cover, then cook for about 20-25 minutes. You want the bottom of the rice to be slightly overcooked. Now, IF you have 1 cup frozen peas, go a head and add them when you stir in the rice. Unfortunately I totally spaced it when making this dinner lol! So my Arroz con Pollo Verde is missing a green element :( I know, sad....anyway, I hope you have a chance to try this recipe and enjoy it. Have a great middle of the week day!


1/4 cup olive oil
3 whole chicken legs skinned removed
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 chicken broth
1 red bell pepper diced
1 medium red onion diced
1 heaping tablespoon bottled garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 5 crushed garlic cloves)
1/2 cup gluten free beer or cooking sherry
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rinsed white rice
1 cup frozen peas

Heat oil in a large deep skillet. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper on each side. Cover and sear chicken on each side on high/medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, blend together cilantro and chicken broth. After chicken is cooked, lower heat to medium and add garlic, onions, and bell pepper to the pan. Allow to cook until vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes). While veggies are cooking, mix together cilantro with gluten free beer or sherry, then stir in chicken broth and salt. Pour in liquid mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Then stir in rice and frozen peas. Scrape any rice off of the chicken and make sure it is all immersed in the liquid. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, then simmer for 20-25 minutes.

I am linking this up to the Gluten Free Homemaker's Gluten Free Wednesdays

Friday, March 25, 2011

Much Ado About Cabbage

 Cabbage Cabbage Cabbage

Well, St. Patrick's day has come and gone, but one thing remains. All that left over CABBAGE! So, what DO you do with all that leftover leafy somewhat green and sometimes spicy plant? Well, one of our favorite recipes in our home is Cabbage Patch Stew. With just a few simple staples and whatever veggies you might have lurking in your refrigerator drawers.

To make this soup, you need a few items, one of which is MOST important. Rotel Tomatoes. There is a mild variety for the less adventurous tastebuds. Otherwise, the regular spicy and most wonderful can is what I recommend :)

Now once you decide what type of Rotel Tomatoes to use, rustle up 6 frozen chicken tenderloins. Or you can use 12 oz chicken breast. Either will do :) Then toss them in a large pot with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Now take two of these....

And dice em up....

Then take 1 medium onion and do the same. Then toss the celery and onion in the pot with the chicken. Cover and let cook on medium until veggies are tender. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

When your chicken is cooked and onion and celery are tender pour in 1 can diced tomatoes, Rotel tomatoes, 3 cups chicken broth (gluten free of course), 1/3 cup ketchup, and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, then cover.

While your soup is simmering, steam up 3 cups of diced cabbage. Now although steaming the cabbage is not a necessary step, I don't like my cabbage turning into a mushy mess in my soup. I like a bit of crunch.

When the cabbage is nice and tender, stir into your soup. Now drain and rinse one can of kidney beans and stir into your soup. Now, I happened to acquire 25lbs of Anasazi Beans so for this batch I cooked up a small batch of them to add to my soup.

After your soup has simmered for a few more minutes serve up, garnish with a little sour cream or cheese and your set!!!

Recipe for Cabbage Patch Stew

12 ounces chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 celery stalks diced
1 small onion diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups chopped cabbage (steamed)
1 can rinsed kidney beans

In a large pot warm up the olive oil then add the chicken tenders. After allowing them to cook slightly on medium/high heat (about 2 minutes on each side) add the celery and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. Cut up chicken into 1 inch pieces then stir in Rotel tomatoes, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, ketchup, and oregano. Bring soup to a boil cover then lower heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, steam cabbage. When the cabbage is tender add it to the soup along with the drained cans of kidney beans. Simmer for another few minutes then serve.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Key Lime Gluten Free Bundt Cake

Well, it is still March and yes, it's another green recipe. I am still having fun making green themed foods and yes, if you couldn't tell, I am still enjoying St. Patty's day. I am not sure why I enjoy it so much, it's not like I'm a full blooded Irish Lassie, but I do have a bit O' the green in my blood. I just think it's a fun holiday and I really do enjoy coming up with fun green ideas for my family. My mom was always so good about making each holiday or event memorable and I hope to do the same with my little girl.

For St. Patrick's day, we had a dinner at my husband's Grandmother's house. It was of COURSE green themed. I brought the Arroz Verde and a Key Lime Bundt cake, a new recipe I de-glutified. Now, if you are not a key lime fan, then walk away. This cake is infused inside and out with the essence of this little green citrus. We at our house just call them limons as they were prevalant in Peru where my husband lived for 2 years and we just follow his suit ;)

Anyway I hope you get a chance to try this cake out. It's very fresh and full of flavor. If you don't have key limes, you can use fresh or bottled lime juice.

Here is the recipe for y'all

Gluten Free Key Lime Bundt Cake

2 cups sugar
zest of 3 key limes
1 cup butter room temp
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 1/4 cup finely ground brown or white rice flour
1 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 1/4 cup tapioca flour
a little less than 2 teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups cream or half and half

Sugar Bath
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons
1/4 cup key lime juice

Cream Cheese Glaze
8 ounces cream cheese room temp
1 tablespoon butter room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 3 key limes and 1/2 lemon (lemon zest is optional but it will ad a lovely flavor)
11/4 cups to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

To start, make the cake batter by mixing together sugar and key lime zest. Allow to rest for 2 minutes or so to allow the lime oils to infuse with the sugar. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour (using sweet rice flour) a bundt pan. After 2 minutes, sift together dry ingredients and set aside. On low/medium speed, blend in eggs and yolks to sugar/zest mix. Now increase speed to medium and alternate dry ingredients and cream until completely mixed. Pour into the bundt pan then place in the center of the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Now while your cake is baking, make the sugar bath by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on moderate high heat then allow to boil for 5-7 minutes.

Next beat together all cream cheese icing ingredients. After sugar bath has cooked, add 1-2 tablespoons to the icing. This will thin out the icing to allow it to be poured over the cake and add some extra tasty key lime flavor :)

That's it! Now I know there is a laundry list of ingredients, but it is one tasty cake that is full of flavor and yumminess. I won't say however, how many times I screwed up my practice rounds lol! Because it was an "untested" gluten free recipe and I was bringing it to my "gluten loving family" potluck, I wanted to make sure it was a goodun. The first time I accidentally swapped the baking soda with the powder measurements....then the next time I accidentally used STONE ground brown rice flour instead of fine ground. Thankfully after a few ummm....fails....the final was most definitely delish and a fun cake to bring to a family dinner.

Thanks for reading everyone :) have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yee Haw

I thought I would take a break from the cooking shenanigans and post some pictures from yesterday's adventure. My horse and I competed in the first Extreme Cowboy race of the season. Boy, what a rootin tootin good time it was.

Now to be honest, I really didn't feel prepared or ready at all for the race. I've been working so  much with my colt Pistol that poor Smokey really hasn't had much riding time other than to pony around the colt. Plus, our Utah weather has been SO icky. It's either raining or snowing...not your nice fluffy pretty snow. I'm talking about the wet, heavy, sloshy stuff. Frankly since getting a cold or flu is not in my agenda, I have been keeping my keester indoors. I was however, able to get my muddy mess of a horse cleaned up and his hooves trimmed this week so at least the HORSE would look good.

Well....whether I was ready or not, race day came. I of course couldn't sleep that night and was up at 4am. Which gave me some time to spend brushing Smokey down, picking up my house, and packing what we might need while out on the course. Thankfully it did NOT rain on us despite the weather man's warnings. It WAS quite chilly and we had 40-50 mile an hour winds. Eeeek. Thank goodness for leather chinks and carhartt jackets :)

The race was a blast. I couldn't be prouder of my little grey horse. He is such a champ. I swear he enjoys the races as much as I do and he KNOWS when it's our time to go. Honestly, I don't even have to get after him for any obstacle. I just point his nose to what we need to accomplish and he goes after it :) Now for those of you who are not familiar with the cowboy races, you have roughly 20 obstacles over a huge course of 40 acres. It's a timed event but each obstacle is individually judged so you need to keep your horsemanship skills in check. It really is SUCH a thrill. Anyway, enough chatter, here are some pictures from yesterday's race.

Seeeeeeeee how pretty he CAN be when he's not covered in 2 inches of mud???

Smoke doing his best "barrel horse" impression while warming up.

The first obstacle where you had to weave in and out of the flags. It was so windy the first flag blew off.

Just a shot of some of the obstacles.

Yee haw! I just love my little grey horse :)

Coming around the bend on the water obstacle.

Ok....please ignore the utterly terrified look on my face. I was a little bit skeered to hit this jump coming out of the water. Smoke was a champ and sailed over it :)

Loose dirt hill.

Ya, ok, I was feeling pretty nerdy here after the race because I totally ditzed out and missed 3 obstacles lol!!

But lookey, SEE, I really tried not to miss anything, but the darned wind blew my poor map to pieces when I was trying to check it :(

So I didn't place or win this race since I missed the obstacles. It WAS however an absolute riot of a time. Smokey and I really enjoyed our day yesterday and today we are BOTH going to take it easy. I can't wait for the next race :) Thanks for indulging me and reading about my little horsey adventure :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Monster Cookies

Anyone out there fans of monster cookies? I am not sure how you could NOT be. I mean, you can throw just about anything in them and they are scrumptious. Thats the magic of monster cookies, nuts, chocolate candies, raisins, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dried fruit, you get the drift. I mean, you could practically call these cookies Kitchen Sink cookies :) Today's monster cookies include white and chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Yum.

This is another one of those naturally gluten free recipes where you don't need to really make any substitutions. Aren't these type recipes the best?

They are so darned easy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.

 For the cookies, cream together 2 eggs and 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar (now I have omitted the white sugar in the past and the cookies still turned out great). Now add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Then add in 6oz of gluten free peanut blending well. Now it's time for the fun stuff. I added 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. You really can add just about whatever goodies you like in whatever measurments. The last step is to stir in 2 1/4 cups gluten free oats. That's it. Now scoop out the cookie dough in Tablespoon measurements and roll them into balls and place them on the greased cookie sheet. Bake them at 350 for 8-9 minutes (try not to overbake them).

That's it :) I hope you all enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arroz Verde

Just as promised, here is a GREEN recipe. Yes, it IS a rice recipe but it's such a fun dish to whip up around the four leaf clover holiday. It's easy and a nice change to the regular ol' side of white rice. Also, most of the ingredients you will have in your house. Easy stuff, I'm tellin ya.

Ok, so begin with a blender and 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1 cup fresh spinach, and 1 1/4 cup gluten free chicken broth.

Give it a good blending then add 1 1/4 cup milk.

Now puree the milk in with the broth/greens mixture until nice and smooth.

Now take 1 1/2 cups white rice and rinse it well.

Now in a rice saucepan, warm up 2 tablespoons olive oil, then add the rice, 1/2 cup minced onion, and 1 teaspoon bottled garlic (or 1 garlic clove or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder). Stir rice mixture constantly on medium/high heat to toast the rice.

Now dash in about 1/4 teaspoon salt to the rice mixture continuing to stir well. When rice is starting to brown slightly and starts to get a toasted smell carefully pour in the broth/milk/greens mixture stirring well. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20-30 minutes.

After 20-30 minutes remove pan from heat but do not remove the lid. Allow rice to steam while cooling for about 10 minutes.

Dash with additional salt if desired and serve :)

Seeeeeee green rice, Arroz Verde  :)

Arroz Verde

1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 cup fresh spinach
1 1/4 cup gluten free chicken broth
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup white rice
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon bottled garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 minced garlic clove
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

In a blender, puree spinach, cilantro, and chicken broth. Add milk and blend again then set aside. In a medium rice pot or saucepan warm up olive oil then add the rice, minced onion and garlic. Stir rice mixture constantly on medium/high heat to toast the rice. Sprinkle in salt and continue stirring rice allowing it to brown slightly. When rice starts to have a toasted smell and starts to brown, slowly pour in broth/milk/greens mixture. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. When rice is done cooking, remove pan from heat and do not remove lid. Allow rice to steam while cooling for about 7-10 minutes. Then rice is ready for serving :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Applesauce

Hi guys! I am on a make from scratch homemade kick. I totally lucked out with apples being on sale, so I figured I would make some applesauce for the family. It's one of our favorite treats around our house. We cook it up with the "gluten eating" daughter and husband's oatmeal, I use it in baking, and it's always a tasty snack.

To make your own applesauce start out with a bunch of apples. I know....big surprise eh?

Now peel and core 8 cups worth.

So I have to tell ya, I bought myself an auto peeler/slicer contraption at a black Friday sale for $10. It is one of my most favoritest gizmo's in my kitchen. I had to show you the remnants of my peeling frenzy ;)

Now toss the apples and 1 1/2 cups water in either a slow cooker or a saucepan. Now it's up to you, but I really like the taste of slowcooked apples. Plus, it makes your house taste SO darned GOOD! So here are your cooking times. If using a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until apples are very tender. If using a slowcooker, place ingredients inside then cook on high for about 5-6 hours. When apples are cooked, transfer into a blender and lightly pulse a few times to break up any chunks.

Now if you like spice, add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the apples while cooking.If you like spicy and sweet, add 1/2 cup sugar or splenda along with the cinnamon. You can actually use any sweetener in any amount to your taste. It's completely up to you.


Homemade Applesauce

8 cups peeled and cored apples
1 1/2 cups water
*optional* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar or splenda, or any amount of sweetener to your taste.

Place ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until apples are tender.Or place ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours.Pour into a blender and pulse a few times to break up any chunks. This recipe will make 4 cups of applesauce.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homemade Almond Milk

Did you all know you can make your own almond milk at home? Enjoy a cold, creamy, satisfying glass for a fraction of the cost AND without any artificial flavorings or ingredients? Now I myself am not a huge milk drinker, bovine or the almond kind. I do however make almond milk for my grandparents. My poor grandma has been taken off milk and she is REALLY missing it. So lately I have been making sure her refrigerator is stocked. I figured it would be a good opportunity to share how to make it at home yourself.

To start you only need raw almonds, a big bowl, and some water.

Now....I am not a crazy plant lady.....I PROMISE hehehehe.

I really do need to find the ginormous white poinsettia a home other than the corner of my kitchen table.

Ok, enough plant talk. Place 2 cups of raw almonds in the large glass bowl and add enough water to completely cover them. Allow them to soak overnight or at least 6 hours. After soaking drain the almonds should be nice and swollen.

Next place in a blender, half of the almonds and 3 cups filtered water. Blend for at least 45 seconds or more. You want the almonds blended into a pulp.

Now pour the liquid through a fine colander to strain out the pulp from the milk.

To maximize the amount of milk, scoop out the pulp and place in a cheesecloth. Then squeeze any remaining liquid from the pulp. Now repeat process with remaining water and almonds.

This is what you will be left with. A big pile O' pulp. You can do whatever you want with this. You can spread it out to dry on a cookie sheet then use a coffee grinder to make some almond meal flour, or add the pulp to baked goods for some extra crunch and fiber, or toss in the trash.

That's all there is to making your own almond milk at home. You can also use this recipe to make vanilla almond milk. Just add either 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans along with your favorite sweetener (agave, honey, stevia, splenda, or soaked dates) if using dates, use about 4-6 that have been soaked along with the almonds then just blend them along with the almonds and water.

Isn't that pretty?

Here is the recipe breakdown:

2 cups raw almonds
Enough water to cover almonds
6 cups filtered water
*optional* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans then sweetener of your choice to taste to make vanilla almond milk.

Place almonds in a glass bowl and add enough water to cover them completely. Allow to soak overnight or at least 6 hours until almonds are swollen.
After almonds have soaked overnight, drain water and rinse.
Place half of the almonds and three cups filtered water in a good quality blender. Blend for at least 45 seconds or longer until there are no large pieces of almonds. Pour into a cheesecloth or a fine colander to drain milk from the almond pulp. This will make 1 1/2 quarts of almond milk.
Repeat process with remaining almonds and water.