Posts Tagged easy

HEB Gluten Free Products

    HEB is a Texas-based company with headquarters in San Antonio. This organization is very generous in support of The Caring Place (TCP) in Georgetown with their daily donations of bread and support of other TCP programs. They have also been long term suppliers of my most basic gluten-free grocery needs.

    I needed to replenish my Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free cornmeal in order to make several pans of GF cornbread to be served at the Annual Soup Supper to benefit TCP (where Don and I both volunteer). Our nearby HEB on Williams Drive carries a good selection of these products.

    While I was shopping there I decided to check out their brand of pasta that Clara had tried and told me about. I was really curious because Don and I had been on the HEB product taste-testing panel quite some time ago. Also, as a volunteer in The Caring Place food pantry I often hear comments from people trying to manage gluten-free about how expensive it is. This is what I found.

HEB Brand Pasta & Sauce - All Gluten Free

HEB Brand Pasta & Sauce - All Gluten Free

Prices on March 1, 2011:
Gluten Free Fusilli $1.99
Gluten Free Spaghetti $1.99
Garlic & Herb Pasta Sauce labeled Gluten Free $1.89
Traditional Pizza Sauce labeled as allergen: milk $1.50
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Meal $3.58

    I also picked up Udi’s Whole Grain Sandwich Bread while I was there since there were only three slices remaining at home from the previous loaf. Price wise this one is in my ‘luxury item’ category. But it is handy to keep in the freezer for when I don’t have time to put together something else for the carb portion of a meal or snack.

    For staying healthy, whether you must eat gluten-free or not, a balanced diet is always in order. It takes planning ahead so that the right stuff is always available: in the fridge, in the pantry, in the car, wherever. It is critical to prevent a tumble over ‘The Gluten-Free Edge’ that lurks nearby. Given that criteria I can always rationalize a ‘luxury item’ 🙂

Gretchen

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Udi’s Bread Arrives at H-E-B Georgetown!

 
 
Udi's Bread
Udi’s Bread

 

After a long wait and checking back week after week it really is here!

Georgetown 2 – Williams Drive
4500 Williams Drive
Georgetown, TX 78633

    Yesterday, Friday, 01-07-2011, I picked up a few items on the way to my volunteer shift at the local food pantry. I cruised by the frozen bread section just in case and there it was! Udi’s white bread, whole grain bread, and bagels all lined up on the top shelf, left hand corner of the frozen bread section.

    I immediately notified Clara. There is real bread, good bread, when we want it and when we need it. Don can cook French toast for our breakfast without a long lead time and sometimes complex planning.

    Yeah H-E-B and thank you ever so much for following through and making it happen!! 🙂

Gretchen (Mom)

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Pumpkin Pudding Revisited and @TravelingRD

    Last year I wrote about our family tradition of Pumpkin Pudding as a childhood staple when Rita, Jorge, and Teresa were growing up. My children did not like carrots and would not eat other yellow veggies so I created this pumpkin pudding for them to get their vitamin A. It was made from canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, unflavored gelatin, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It became quite popular with many family members.

    For years my younger brother, Jon, received his very own batch of Pumpkin Pudding at Thanksgiving. The recipe was published in The vonRosenberg Family of  Texas Cookbook as I mentioned last year in my Pumpkin Pudding post.  

    Teresa, our dietician, has shared the family recipe for Pumpkin Pudding many times. About 15 years ago she prepared it for pre-school children as a way of introducing pumpkin as a new food. Several years ago it was published as part of a gluten-free article that she wrote. Even now it is on the Dairy MAX website recipe section as Jack-o-lantern Pudding. More recently it has appeared in her guest post at Robinsbite, Kids Food Memories–The Proof is in the Pudding

     Teresa, Being ever mindful of her mission to promote good nutrition, especially in children, has substituted the cup of undiluted evaporated milk with low-fat milk; my taste buds prefer the richer mixture made with evaporated milk 😉

    Teresa’a  nutrition related blog is The Dairy Report.  And you can follow her on Twitter @TravelingRD.

    Even more recently I experimented with a new version inspired by Ricki’s various chia based puddings that she creates over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. This one happened during a clear-out-the-refrigerator frenzy in preparation for Thanksgiving and it was yummy!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding
4 tablespoons whole (or ground) chia seed
1 cup canned (or fresh) pumpkin puree (about 1/2 can)
1 cup coconut milk
Cinnamon to taste
Vanilla
Stevia to taste

Whisk or beat ingredients together until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until set. This is a great for breakfast or as a nourishing snack.

Gretchen (Mom)

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Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food – Crêpes!

Book Signing Event
    Rita and I have enjoyed our gluten-free French gourmet adventures since meeting Alain Braux. After we had prepared his Brownies a la Farine de Coco for a fund raiser we found out about the book signing event at Book People in Austin. So of course we had to be there. Alain still has a trace of French accent so hearing him speak so knowledgeably about nutrition issues is a double treat.

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

    Alain’s first book, How to Lower Your Cholesterol With French Gourmet Food, as well as Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food are available at Amazon and both books are downloadable from Kindle.

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Available at Georgetown Public Library
    I came home to Georgetown with an autographed copy of Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food plus a copy that Alain generously donated to the Georgetown Public Library.

Peoples RX Drug Store Visit
    Rita and I made arrangements to meet with Alain at the Peoples RX Drug Store location in the Westlake section of Austin where he cooks, consults, and advises people regarding nutrition. The store has an awesome selection of wonderful nutritious food in keeping with the philosophy of food as medicine. The refrigerators contain local sourced fermented foods, name brand staples such as Udi’s, and best of all, Alain prepared treats! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful is the Flourless Chocolate Cake prepared from perfect organic ingredients. Several of these cakes were baking while we had a tour of Alain’s kitchen domain. I came home with a slice from the deli case to share with Don, who kept repeating, ‘you have the recipe for this’! Yes, it is in the book. I also bought some fresh fermented daikon radish and sauerkraut.

Crêpes!
    While in the midst of preparing for our family Thanksgiving it seems that I was focused entirely on Alain’s exquisite range of baked goods. Now that the holiday is over and going back over the book again to pick out another recipe I find that somehow I skipped completely over the sections on Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Meat and Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Side Dishes, and Desserts!
    A careful reading of the recipes reveal Alain, the Nutritherapist, at work in the kitchen with the respect he has for the healing power of the ingredients and the care with which they are combined. So then the dilemma: which one to prepare first. There are so many enticing recipes calling my name. However, Don and I had just been talking about pancakes as being a good soft food during his dental surgery recovery and Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes filled with finely minced ham, an over-easy egg and grated cheese might be a good start. And we definitely chose the crepes upon finding all required ingredients were in the house (too often the defining criteria).

Preparing a Crêpe

Preparing a Crêpe

    Don, healing very well, has returned to his usual self-prepared breakfast leaving me obsessed with these savory crêpes! After three batches I have finally started to turn out crêpes that are presentable as well as tasty. It is a matter of getting the batter thin enough and cooking them long enough – they may look done but they are much more flexible and fold nicely when they have cooked a bit longer.

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Alain has given us permission to share his recipe for Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes.
Ingredients:
8 oz buckwheat flour
2 oz garbanzo bean flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper, ground
1 lb (1 pint) soy or almond milk
4 oz eggs (2)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb (1 pint) water

Procedure:
1. Weigh your wet ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl: soy or almond milk, eggs, oil, and mix well together. Weigh your water separately.
2. Weigh the two flours with salt and pepper in your mixer’s bowl. With the whisk attachment, start mixing at low speed.
3. Add the liquid progressively as the machine runs. Adjust the consistency to fairly liquid with the water. Pour into a large ceramic bowl. Let rest covered for at least 1 hour.
4. When ready, heat some olive oil or coconut oil in your frying pan. Depending on the size of your pan, pour enough batter to cover the whole pan while whirling the batter around the pan. Cook until the sides turn light brown and start to detach from the sides of the pan. Flip over and finish cooking. Reserve on a hot plate kept warm. Cook all the crepes until your batter is used up.
5. To serve, place a crepe back into the pan on medium heat, place the ham slice at the bottom, then the egg, then the cheese or you can do ham and cheese only, or use ratatouille as a filling and so on. Your culinary imagination is the limit.

Notes from Alain:
    All over France, you can order your “galettes” with a multitudes of fillings. “La complete” is usually a slice of baked ham, an egg (sunny side up), grated Swiss cheese over it and folded like an envelope. In my region, we like it filled with ratatouille (see recipe in Side Dishes), folded and sprinkled with grated cheese and gratine under a broiler.
    For Casein-free, replace the cheese with Meat and Egg Dishes (pg 253) Swiss-style cheese alternative (see shopping list) and voila!

Note from Gretchen (Mom):
    Professional kitchen equipment is not a requirment. These came out very well with my usual bowl and whisk.

Note from Gretchen (Mom), Rita, and Don:
Yum!

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Sweet Potato Obsession

SOS Kitchen Challenge

SOS Kitchen Challenge

    The SOS Kitchen Challenge ingredient for November is sweet potatoes, another one of my favorites! SOS (i.e. Sweet or Savory) is hosted by the fabulous duo Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs  and Kim at Affairs of Living. Be sure to check out their SOS Kitchen Challenge sites for lots of yummy recipe submissions that are sure to inspire you. It is due to my obsession with this veggie that The Gluten-Free Edge has long had an entire recipe category labeled Sweet Potato.

    I was working on a sweet- potato-coconut-pecan biscuit recipe back in March about the time they went out of season here in Texas. They are still on the to-do-someday-list and Ricki’s Sweet Potato Biscuit post reminded me that I need to get back to that soon (like when they are still in season). 😉

    However, currently the Thanksgiving menu is on my mind along with other events so I am going really simple with something that I used to take along to the office with me back-in-the-day when I was employed as a data consultant.

    What do you do to stay healthy with very little time to spend on yourself? You take it down to the essential elements of food, sleep, and exercise. One of those food elements was the sweet potato, which became my best mid-morning snack. As long as that was tucked in my lunch bag waiting for break time I could easily bypass any confection that came along.

Sweet Potato Obsession
Sweet potatoes (mid-sized)
Vanilla extract (in a dropper bottle)
Almond extract (in a dropper bottle) optional
Cinnamon (in a salt shaker)
Truvia packets

    Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly and trim if necessary. Dry them off and then stab with a sharp knife several times to create steam vents as they can explode otherwise (quite messy to clean up). Place them in your microwave and set the timer for five minutes initially.

Scrubbed, Trimmed, Ready to Cook

Scrubbed, Trimmed, Ready to Cook

    There is a learning curve here as sweet potatoes vary greatly in size, shape, and moisture content and microwaves vary greatly in power. So you must be prepared to keep that little sharp knife on standby to test them every so often until they are tender enough through-and-through to mash up with a fork.

    They are very hot and steamy when they first come out so allow them to cool while you do something else. Then split them down the middle and cross-hatch the insides leaving the skin intact as part of your eventual packaging. Sprinkle with the Truvia granules, cinnamon, and a few drops of vanilla. The vanilla adds the flavor illusion of marshmallows melting on top of a sweet potato casserole. Note: the dropper bottles save on spilling and cleanup – my eye-hand coordination was never reliable.

Baked, Split, Scored, Seasoned

Baked, Split, Scored, Seasoned

    Half of a good sized sweet potato may be enough for your snack or if they are small then pack up a whole one. I kept a saucer, mug, and metal spoon in a desk drawer so I could have a cup of coffee and snack that didn’t taste like it came out of a deli bag.

Finished, Wrapped (and one already gone)

Finished, Wrapped (and one already gone)

Gretchen (Mom)

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A Really Edgy Day

    Today was our scheduled bi-weekly grocery shopping excursion. It was almost an ordinary trip with a few extra items added in anticipation of our family Thanksgiving gathering which we are hosting.
    Earlier this summer as I was reading labels in the pantry I noticed something that I had previously managed to overlook. The red-and-white can of tomato soup listed wheat flour as an ingredient. The room tilted slightly as I went light-headed for a moment.
    This tomato soup is a key ingredient in a New Year’s traditional dish that Don and I have jointly prepared in the 33-going-on-34 years that we have been together. He chops the onions, adds rice and ground meat, mixes and seasons the mixture, steams the cabbage leaves removing them carefully to avoid tearing, and delivers them to the cutting board. There I carefully shave the thick ribs so they don’t break when rolled and I stuff and wrap the rolls. They go ever so carefully into a large oven-proof casserole dish where they are covered with several cans of tomato soup plus a can or so of water. And it cooks in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until it is tender and fragrant.
    It is so tasty that we often decide to have a couple of ‘test runs’ before the New Year and a couple of ‘quality assurance’ batches during February and March.
    Since that inadvertent label discovery incident I have done my very best imitation of an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. But today there were fresh cabbages, now in season, in the produce section and Don said ‘how about stuffed cabbage’? Again I went light-headed and carefully studied the avocado selection while trying to regain some composure.
    Evidently I wasn’t very composed because his reaction was ‘you mean we can’t ever have stuffed cabbage again’?!! Not fair! Headache and navy blue mood were followed by several hours of funky miserable depression.
    We worked through our pizza issues so surely there is a solution to the tomato soup. My great misgiving stems from the fact that we have occasionally tried store brands of tomato soup and it just never worked. Somehow I have to figure out the flavor mystique of this particular soup.

Gretchen (Mom)

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Flax Bread with Variations

   Note: Jessica Meyer at ATX Gluten Free  is featuring Austin area gluten-free bloggers during the month of September. This week it is The Gluten-Free Edge  with Mom and Rita each telling the stories of our gluten-free journeys. As I mentioned back in April, Jessica provides an excellent service by highlighting gluten free options in Austin. In addition she is a personal chef who generously posts some of her tasty gluten-free recipes!

    Rita initially called this flax bread recipe to my attention. It is not the bread from your pre-gluten-free past because you probably never had anything exactly like this. But it is very tasty, satisfying and I keep baking some nearly every week. It goes together as fast as or maybe even faster than cornbread. You can find the original recipe by Kiva Rose at The Medicine Woman’s Roots.

Flax Bread Cooling

Flax Bread Cooling

    The ‘flours’ in this bread are ground flax seeds and nut meal so consequently it has a very coarse texture (fiber is good, right?). I have baked it in muffin top pans, extra-large muffin pans, a pie pan, and even a brownie pan. The batter spreads easily and bakes quickly. In the flat pans it can bake in 12 minutes.

Preparing Flat Flax Bread

Preparing Flat Flax Bread

    It tastes good toasted!

Flat Pieces Fit in the Toaster

Flat Pieces Fit in the Toaster

    The first time I made these with melted Earth Balance for the fat and a whole teaspoon of salt. They were so buttery tasting they brought to mind the old children’s story where the tigers chase each other around in circles for so long that they turn into a puddle of butter.

   So now I use less salt and substitute olive oil as the fat. You can improvise here with your own favorite herbs and spices. I keep thinking about making a sweet version but each time I go right for the savory. The garlic and oregano version reminds me of pre-gluten-free garlic bread. The sage and onion version are wonderful with soup and/or salad. Cumin and chili powder is another combination that I want to try.

    My current favorite is to make them in the Texas size muffin pans where they pop out like perfectly formed biscuits. Then I split one and fill it with a spoon of peanut butter or a small slice of cheddar. If I have time consuming errands on my to-do list I sometimes tuck one of these in my purse for a homemade version of ‘emergency food’.

Biscuit with Melting Cheese

Biscuit with Melting Cheese

Flax Bread with Variations – 6 servings
Dry Mixture:
2/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup nut meal (Bob’s Red Mill almond or hazelnut both give good results)
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2-1 tsp. salt

Seasonings:
1 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. onion powder
OR
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Liquid:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water + 2 Tbsp.

Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add your choice of seasoning or leave plain.

Beat the 2 eggs together with the olive oil and water. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture in the mixing bowl.

Set the oven to 350*F.

Pour the batter into your choice of pan or divide into six muffins of about 1/4 cup batter each.

Bake for 12 minutes for muffins or 15-18 minutes for a small bread pan or pie plate. I usually have one biscuit warm and the rest go in the freezer to use throughout the week.

Remember to drink plenty of liquid!

Mom (Gretchen)

Happy Birthday to Rita’s Aunt Mandie aka my Baby Sister in Bryan, Texas!

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