Sunday, February 27, 2011

0 Other Food Blogs: Gluten Free/Allergy Free Girl Scout Cookies


(Image to my left owned by Jules Gluten Free) One of my favorite parts of this food blogging experience is exploring the blogs of my peers. I love the ingenuity of my peers, and Jules Gluten Free is such an awesome example of this. For any who crave Girl Scout Cookies like me, but can't eat them due to gluten, here's an awesome adaptation of these cookies. I highly recommend anyone to check them out.

http://blog.julesglutenfree.com/?p=588

0 Gluten Free Product Review: Pasta Noodles

One of my friends suggested I start reviewing gluten free products on my blog, so I decided to take their advice. The first food I want to review and give recommendations on is noodles. For someone who is new to a gluten free diet, giving up pasta can be one of the hardest challenges out there.


So, here are a variety of pasta brands that I have tried, along with my recommendations and tips:

DeBoles Rice Pasta

Ease of Cooking: Simple and quick. After boiling water, you cook the pasta between 5 and 10 minutes, depending upon the type of pasta. The other awesome part is that this pasta can be cooked on the higher end of the suggested cooking time without running a risk of turning mushy. Rating: A

Taste: Overall good, but different from wheat pasta. Does not add any odd taste when combined with sauces. Rating: B


Texture: To me, this is the disappointing part of this noodle brand. The noodles do a very good job at not turning mushy, but has a grainy texture that comes with some rice flours. This makes this type of noodle distinct from traditional wheat noodles, but not in the best way. Rating: C


Tinkyada Pasta


Ease of Cooking: Fairly easy, with two different options of cooking.

  1. Traditional method: Boil water and then add the noodles, boiling for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Recommended method: Boil water, add the noodles for 1-2 minutes, and then cover and remove from heat for 20 minutes. 
Regardless of the method, I recommend stirring once or twice to minimize sticking. Rating: B

Taste: These are the best tasting wheat noodle substitute that I've had. They taste similar enough to wheat noodles to trick wheat-eaters, yet have subtle enough of a difference. Rating: B+

Texture: Best texture of rice noodles that I've ever had. With a minor rinse, they don't have a slimy texture, but don't feel like they're made of rice flour at all. Rating: A

Overall

DeBoles Pasta: Extremely easy to make, hard to overcook, great taste, but the texture is too grainy to trick you into thinking you're eating wheat pasta. Overall Rating: B

Tinkyada Pasta: Has two options for how to cook, both are relatively easy. Has an awesome taste and texture that gives traditional pasta a run for its money. Overall Rating: A

Overall, if you can find Tinkyada in your grocery store, I completely recommend it. If not, DeBoles Pasta comes in a close second. I hope this article comes helpful!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

1 Choose February's Recipe of the Month & Win Amazon Gift!


In January, I started a new feature called "Recipe of the Month" to highlight the top recipe of the past month. As a feature I'd like to expand (which will include reviews of other food blogs), I want to give you, my readers, a voice in it. Fill out the poll below to choose your favorite recipe of the past month by March 1st to choose the next Recipe of the Month.

As added incentive to spark this feature, if you submit your favorite, you'll be entered for the opportunity to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Better yet, if you share this Recipe of the Month poll (via, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) you'll get an additional chance to win.


Choose by March 1st, and I'll present this month's favorite recipe along with the winner.

Thanks everyone, and Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1 Key Lime Pie Ice Cream


Even though it snowed this morning in Virginia, this past weekend we had some amazing 70 degree weather. Because of that, I made some key lime pie ice cream for my roommates to celebrate the ever close coming of warm weather. I adapted this from the key lime pie recipe off the back of a key lime pie juice bottle, replacing the egg with milk and cream. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp key lime juice
14 oz can condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup gluten free graham cracker crumbs

Steps
1. In a bowl combine all ingredients except the crumbs. Pour into an ice cream maker.
2. After about 15 minutes, pour in the crumbs. Let the ice cream continue for another 15 minutes.
3. Server with additional crumbs and fresh whipped cream.

Friday, February 18, 2011

1 Culinary Challenge: Out-of-the-Pantry Stir Fried Rice


First off, Happy Friday everyone! (And congrats to those of you who get a 3 day weekend this week due to President's Day...) A few weeks ago, one of my friends said that they wanted a recipe where they could grab random ingredients from their pantry and fridge to make a meal.

Fried rice and stir fry are two meals that are perfect for using leftovers or random meats or vegetables that you have lying around. The best ingredient to this recipe as an example for this is the rice. I normally cook brown rice the day of and let it sit out to dry, but leftover rice from Chinese take out is perfect for this recipe. Why is that you may ask? Well, its for a variety of reasons:

  • Rice that's lost its moisture is perfect for frying. If it has too much moisture, it'll turn into a gummy, texturally displeasing mess.
  • It's easy. You don't have to do any preparation for the rice aside from pull it out of the fridge.
  • Cost saving. Rice that you may end up wasting or throwing away get reused, and saves you money.
As for the protein and vegetables? I recommend certain vegetables or meats in my recipe, but most of that is due to availability and preference. Don't like beef? Use a protein you like, or use chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu that you already have. Same for the vegetables. If you don't like mushrooms, then exclude them from the recipe. Fried rice is something that you can make the way you like it. That's why I always recommend it to people as an easy and flexible recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Recommended ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, at least half a day old.
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 lb beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • 2-3 carrots (or about 1/4 cup pre-shredded carrots)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, or 1 small one
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/4 lb green beans or snap peas
  • salt and pepper to taste


Steps
1. Preparation. If you aren't using leftover rice, cook rice in either a rice cooker or on the stove top. Leave it out to dry for a half a day (or use a blow dryer to dry out the rice and reduce waiting time). Once your rice is ready, preheat a wok or deep pan on medium high heat. While the pan heats, chop the mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onion, meat, and beans into cubes or 1 inch pieces (if necessary).

Tip: Rather than going back and forth between the garbage can, dedicate a bowl as a "trash bowl." Use a trash bowl to gather any food scraps from when you're chopping, and then throw the contents of the bowl in one trip. It's an uber time saver.
Trash bowl
2. Once everything is prepared, add about a tablespoon to the wok, and  fry the beef until cooked. Remove from the wok. Add another tablespoon of oil and scramble the eggs just until no longer wet. Remove from the wok as well.















3. Add a tbsp of oil, the onions and garlic to the wok, and keep stirring until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the rest of the veggies, 1 tbsp sesame oil and 2 tbsp of soy sauce. Fry until veggies are tender, and remove from the pan.
4. Add another tbsp of oil, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and the rice to the pan. Keep the rice moving for about 5 minutes, then add the meat, eggs, and veggies to the pan. Add pepper, and 2 tbsp of soy sauce to the pan, and mix. Taste, and if you aren't satisfied with the amount of soy, add another tbsp.

5. Enjoy! Happy weekend!

Let me know how you think I did in terms of making a easy, flexible recipe (and if you think it tastes good)!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

0 Quick and Easy: Oven Baked Chicken


A few days ago one of my friends asked for a simple and easy chicken recipe. They don't normally cook often, but want to learn how to cook healthy food. This recipe would go well with any side of vegetables or rice, and is cooked without any added oil.

Ingredients

  • Fresh chicken breasts (4)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • dash of pepper
Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place an oven-safe grill pan into the oven.  Be sure to use oven mitts before touching the pan.
2. In a bowl, mix together everything but the chicken. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the seasoning.
3. With oven mitts on, place the chicken on the pan , and return to oven. Cook for about 12 minutes per side for 1.5 inch thick chicken.
4. Using a meat thermometer, periodically check if chicken is 165F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, cut open chicken and check if juices are clear.
5. Remove from oven, and let sit for 5 minutes.

I hope yall enjoy this quick and easy recipe!

0 Other Food Blogs: Gluten Free/Sugar Free Lemon Raspberry Trifle

In the past few months I've started following ICCK, a really well balanced food blog that has a lot of healthy/special diet recipes. I encourage yall to check it out. Today I'm posting a link to her Gluten Free and Sugar Free Lemon Raspberry Trifle. I thought it looked pretty awesome so I wanted to share it. Enjoy!

Image Property of ICCK

Monday, February 14, 2011

18 Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes



First off, Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Last week I traveled down to Florida for work. As I was there, I probably went to 3 or 4 restaurants that served Red Velvet Cake for dessert. For those who don't know, Red Velvet is a cocoa based cake that gets its color from food dye and the reaction of combining vinegar, buttemilk, and cocoa. I used this whipped cream cheese frosting recipe to frost my cupcakes. I prefer this frosting for red velvet because it has the tang of the cream cheese, but the light airy texture you get from whipping cream. I like to deviate from traditional red velvet cake recipes, and add some cinnamon for subtleness, and some fresh coffee to bring out the rich cocoa flavors. I hope you enjoy!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Bake Time: 16 minutes per muffin tray
Yields: About 18 cupcakes

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1 1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp fresh coffee, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin trays with paper cupcake cups.
2. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet. This ensures a smooth, silky batter.
4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake tins, 2/3 full. Place into the oven and bake for 16 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely.














5. Make the whipped cream frosting (click here for the link to the recipe). Frost the cupcakes with the icing, and enjoy this quick and easy 5 step recipe.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

0 My Own Culinary Challenge: Eating GF on Travel

UPDATE (I moved all the details of my week under the jump break)


Here I am at Saturday, traveling home after a week of working in Florida. I gave myself a Culinary Challenge at the beginning of the week to continue eating gluten free, and to use the tricks in my books to work around the difficulties of eating gluten free in the South without a kitchen. Cliffnotes: 


I had a successful week of eating gluten free out of a hotel, and for those who don't want to read the in depth details of my food endeavors for the past week, here's my advice on achieving what is seemingly impossible:

  • Breakfast tips: Keep it simple and try to eat things you know can't include gluten; fruit, yogurt, bacon, eggs. Avoid oatmeal. Be weary of omelets, they can be made with pancake batter or other ingredients that include gluten. Which leads to the next tip...
  • Don't be afraid. If you're at a restaurant and are unsure whether something is gluten free, ask you waiter. If they give you a weird look when you use the word gluten, ask them if the food includes wheat or flour. 
  • Avoid all battered foods.
  • For lunch, go for items such as salads or grilled fish or chicken. Not only does it avoid gluten, but it won't weigh you down for the rest of the day. 
  • Dinner. Enjoy it, but aim for menus that have vegetables, rice, or proteins that aren't fried. 
  • Blue Bell ice cream. BEST ice cream in the south. Except for flavors like Cookie dough. 



I hope this helps anyone else who has to eat gluten free, but travels for work or vacation. Happy weekend!


For deeper details into the foods I ate this past week, follow the JUMP.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

0 Blog Updated (Again) and January's RotM

Hey everyone!

Last month I started a new feature on this blog called "Recipe of the Month." The recipe for the month is the top or most popular post of the past month. This month's Recipe of the Month is my Gluten Free Stuffed Bell Peppers. Aside from being quite possibly the best main dish I've made, it was also the most popular recipe post of January. Also, I moved the Recipe of the Month out from the main page into a new page that is accessible from the tabs under the title. Direct link here.

Recipe of the Month: February

On another subject, I've once again changed some parts of my blog in an attempt to improve upon it. I've reduced the columns in my blog down to two in order to better make my posts the central focal point of my blog.

I love the new way that the blog looks, and I hope you guys enjoy it as well. Please, share your opinions with me and let me know. Also, if there's any changes or improvements you'd like to see, let me know either in the comments of this post, or Contact Me.

Thanks, and Happy Weekend Everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011

6 Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes


So in the past few weeks, not only have I walked by a few Cinnabon stores (the scent of that store kills me) but one of my coworkers brought in these cinnamon snaps that smelled utterly amazing. That and I worked quite a few longs hours this week, so I decided to make some gluten free cupcakes that tasted like cinnamon rolls. These turned out quite well! I adapted the recipe from this website, and I used a frosting recipe from here. I hope you all enjoy!

Yields: 30 cupcakes
Inactive Baking Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 16 minutes each tray


Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/4 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
Topping and bottom
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Filling
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper cups.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
3. In another medium bowl, using a mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy.
4. By the half cup, beat in the sugar until combined. Once the sugar is beat into the butter, whisk in the eggs one by one. Whisk in the vanilla.
5. To the butter mixture, beat in the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating between the two. (This makes the batter less lumpy.)
6. In two separate bowls, mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping, and the brown sugar and cinnamon together for the filling.












7. Pour some of the sugar cinnamon topping into the bottom of the paper cups, and fill a 1/3 of the way with the cupcake mix. Top with a layer of the brown sugar cinnamon filling, and then fill cups 2/3 full with more batter. Using a toothpick, swirl the contents of the cupcake batter. Top each cup with more of the cinnamon sugar.
8. Place in the oven, and bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cupcakes come out clean.

9. Top with cream cheese frosting once the cupcakes are cooled.