Category Archives: General

Another salad? Ho Hum … I wanna be done

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Another GF Salad Lunch

Another GF Salad Lunch

Okay – so just a word of warning:  this blog post is definitely a whoa-is-me whining post.  So feel free to move on if you have never had a day like I’ve been having lately.

I’m done.

I’m done having Celiac Disease.

Are you?

Well, okay. I just wish I were done.  Today is one of those days.  I’m hungry.  More hungry that my salad and pear are going to satisfy.  More hungry than my now longer-than-expected workday is going to handle.  And I hate it.

I hate the daily reaching in to grab some fish crackers for the Littles and wishing I could just as easily grab a snack for myself (crackers, peanut butter toast, etc) that I either didn’t have to make from scratch or would bust the budget.  After all, our grocery money only goes as far as yours and I want us to have as many fresh fruit and veg that it can handle rather than carbs anyway.

Yes, I can and do make crackers, muffins, toast, bread, etc for myself.  It tastes a hell of a lot better than the stuff I can pay for. Really.  And I know exactly what is in it.  Always an added bonus, right?

But this week I am tired.  Final exams were last week (I moaned about the papers/projects I am grading on Facebook) and grades are due i two days.  I’m practically done.  That’s not the problem.  But I’m tired – dog-dead-wrung out tired.  Grading, planning, etc and sticking to my absolute time-for-the-Littles each night to read, bathe, play and laugh together = all of that has worn me out.  Doesn’t matter that I’ve gone to bed earlier than usually (if you count 10PM as earlier – it is… earlier than my normal 11-11:30 when grades are due!).

Does tired make me more resentful of having Celiac Disease or just the minor amount of time required to PLAN and PREPARE for said hunger meltdowns or carb-needs?  Yes.

And this would be why – when people ask – why it is SUCH a pain in the butt to go “grab something” for lunch.  It’s not because it’s not always possible, because yes, I can go grab a bag of GF chips or carrots or whatever from the grocer.  (And no, I can’t run out to get something to eat while teaching.  We have 20 minute long lunch periods during which I eat at my desk and work – see photo above.)  It’s because of simple this:  sometimes it sucks not to be able “just to grab anything” convenient.

Simply that.

And I’m not about to go demand that people feed me correctly or safely.

I’m not about to go whining my way through the GF product chain about the need for better (and cheaper!) crackers or bread.

I’m just going to suck it up today and put on my big-girl pants.

And then tonight I am going to back the biggest batch of pumpkin muffins that ever existed on the planet.  By God, I will.

And I might just eat them all.  Unless these two little stinkers get their hands on them.  They are the reason why the last two batches got demolished in record time too.

TheLittles

Grrrrrrumble!!!
Hope you are having a successful and happy GF Day today to help make up for the crab-pants I appear to be wearing.  
:S
Kate

PS.  It does not help in the least bit that my next two classes are starting a unit about food in Spanish class. Really.  Today is out to ruin me, I swear.  Or… I might just eat my arm off before I get to the kids for pick up after work today.  That outta be pretty.

Last minute cinnamon rolls

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Last minute cinnamon rolls

Made just in time for coffee and a playdate.

Winter break from work was FULL!  We were super busy with the “have-to-do” doctor appointments, dental visits, etc but even better was the fact that everyday we had a playdate or outing or event planned with friends.

We even ventured to “Zoo Lights” for the first time (so much more enjoyable with little people in tow).  I am such a wimp that I almost started to cry too.  Okay, not at Zoo Lights, but on the silly school bus “shuttle” ride from the parking lot up to the Zoo.   Good thing it was night-time and no one but myself realized that I was getting weepy at the thought of having the good fortune of being able to ride a school bus with the Littles on their first ever school bus ride! (I know, I’m a dork.  I even took pictures.  Pictures only a mom would love….and post online .  LOL)  I would have to say that the bus ride was one of their favorite things about Zoo Lights too (easy to please kids).  They also love the fact that the aquarium was open.  We spent a long time searching for The Octopod (from the UK cartoon called the “Octonauts” – it’s an obsession here) in the shark tank.

I’ve found a few websites online that show how to make an Octopod out of plastic salad bowls…. that might be a project around here soon as the toys are not yet in the US for sale.  But crafting is totally not on the agenda yet.  Finals are coming up and I have HUGE pile of papers needing to be grades.  Egad.  I hate grading. :S

One late morning play date during break, I had time to make something scrumptious.  I didn’t really have a plan but  I ended up making a small batch (seen above it fed two adults and three toddlers) of cinnamon rolls to go along with our coffee.  Our guests were of the gluten-eating variety and I’m fairly certain these were the first gluten-free goodies she & he had eaten.  I don’t think this recipe is perfect.  In fact, I’m posting it just to show you a recipe in the works.

This is what I like about this recipe:

  • quick
  • easy
  • not totally bready
  • tasty

This is what I want to work on with it:

  • maybe a little more bready?

See the problem? LOL!

I think because I’m making cinnamon rolls that it should match the idea that most people have:  heavy on the bready side.  But honestly, I rather liked these little ones.  I didn’t top it with a frosting or drizzle as I think there was plenty of sugar with just the cinnamon-sugar mix and crunchy bottom for my tastes.  The little-size meant that they were quite friendly to a late morning coffee treat and a snack for little people.  (I admit that I could have devoured this pan by myself without witnesses, but there were people about so I shared.)

Anywho…. what kind of late morning treat do you like?  I adore muffins (more than cupcakes)and I think that is next on my to-be-tackled list.  I want to make a fluffy carrot cake-muffin.  :D  And you?

Here’s this recipe so you can play along.  I wonder how it will evolve for me over time.  It’s one of the last pages in my notebook (the one I use to record recipe development) so I hope it gets a good work out before I figure out how to transfer these ideas into a collection of sorts for myself.

A small batch:  Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Printable recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups GF Flour (I used my blend)
2 T. buttermilk powder – or dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 T. honey

Topping:
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.
  3. Dump on all wet ingredients.
  4. Mix until well blended and there are no lumps.  Dough should come together and be pliable but not super sticky.
  5. Scrap into a ball shape.  Lay two sheets of parchment paper out on the counter.  Dust the top of one with GF flour mix. Shape the ball into a disc with lightly floured hands.  Place the disc onto the lightly floured parchment paper surface.  Dust the top of the disc with a bit more flour.  Top with the remaining parchment paper.  Roll the dough out until it is a large shape that is about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick.  Remove the top parchment paper.
  6. “Frost” the top of the dough with the softened butter evenly.  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Shake/sprinkle the top of the dough with all but 2 Tablespoons (or so) of the mixture.
  7. Roll the dough up into a long tube.  Cut into 6-8 small pieces.  Place on parchment paper into a baking dish.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon sugar mix.
  8. Bake at 350F for 16-23 minutes until baked through – browned on top and will reach a temperature of 195F on a thermometer if you hit the dough and not the molten sugar. :D

What recipes are you working on perfecting in your kitchen?
~Kate

Gluten free weeknight meals & budgeting

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So this blog post should really be a post of the numerous ways the month of September has come and is exiting before my head has been able to wrap itself around it all.  Surely I am not the only mom who finds herself witnessing myself both coming and going in the middle of the dark of night, right?

My new purse is even sporting some tag-along buddies.  I don’t think I go anywhere any more without things packed into my purse that aren’t really mine.  And despite the extra poundage, I wouldn’t really change the rest of it.

Now THIS is a MOM purse

Well, maybe I’d change my sleep schedule:  to bed late (or early) and it takes me forever to fall asleep and up no later than 5AM or we are ALL off late for the day already.  A change with these hours would be helpful, but I honestly don’t see that happening anytime soon.  Teaching doesn’t end with the kids leave… or even when my kids finally crash and go to bed.  (PS…they have been in bed for 45 minutes now… and the Chicklet just asked via the monitor “Hey Mom, what’s my cake going to look like?”  “Your cake?”  “Yes, for my birthday.”  “Babe….your birthday is in May.  It’s September. We have a while to think about it, okay?” = this is the kind of thing that never ends around here….LOL)  Evidence:  apple slices + goofy face photos…despite a few attempts we don’t have ONE photo for BOTH smiling nor BOTH making a goofy face at the same time.  Egad.

Apple slices + goofy faces

So I decided to share my working mom “Sanity Saver” meals.  I’ve been asking and posting here when I thought my world was careening off track, but seldom have I posted when I have done it right (finally) for a month.  I challenged myself this month to get the meals down and stick to them.

Next month, I am challenging myself to:

  • only go to the grocery store every 10 days to 2 weeks
  • STICK to my grocery budget – and SAVE every penny that I don’t spend in an account for a family trip
  • stick to my meal plan (come high water or sleep exhaustion)
  • stick to a reduced (extremely) budget for “eating out”

Seriously.  I’m starting at ZERO here people.  There is only room to grow, right?

Some of you are experts at all of the above (budgeting, time-management, meal-planning, saving (!), etc) but these are things I tend to stick to for a short time and then meander down some random thought-path-etc and I blow it.  We have had TWO four-day vacations/trips in the last EIGHT YEARS of our lives.  (My Love does NOT get time off from work.)  But we’ve had SO much fun on these rapid-paced trips to see family (my parents/his parents) that we want to do it more often.  And now the girls have seen an ad for Disney Land and CarsLand.

Yeap.  My budget better get in gear.  NOW.

Want to follow along on my endeavor?  Care to add your two cents/tips?  I’d love to hear them!

Okay… enough meandering.  Some of you are just here for the list of my weeknight go-to meals.  Take note:  the meals on this list HAD to be able to be prepared and ready to go in under an hour (or toddler + mom meltdown ensures).  Well, here it is:

  1. fajitas (chicken or flank steak)
  2. enchiladas
  3. taco salad
  4. one-pot rice dish (random meat/tofu, rice, veggies – a la jambalaya)
  5. tarragon chicken tenders
  6. Bo-jay-fan (Chinese one-pot chicken/rice/sausage/mushroom)
  7. pork chops and apples
  8. steamed fish + tofu
  9. split pea soup (thank you crock pot)
  10. jambalaya
  11. quinoa salad (a la fried rice/couscous – NOTE couscous is NOT gluten free!)
  12. pasta salad (schars or jovial)
  13. parfait (yogurt + granola)
  14. pancakes (corn ones here) or waffles (to save time, i’ve made “waffles” in a panini pan with pancake batter )
  15. chicken chili
  16. mongolian beef (marinate night before or immediately upon returning home for 45 min at least)
  17. spaghetti (schars, jovial or homemade on the weekend)
  18. lasagna (no boil/lazy method – make ahead, pop in oven)
  19. pot pie (make ahead OR make muffin-sized (lunch/dinner) OR make with crescent roll dough  for last minute)
  20. roasts (pork loin is our favorite as faster than whole chicken, etc)
  21. meatballs and mashed/roasted potatoes
  22. kebabs
  23. tortilla española (potatoes, eggs, onions, seasoning) – leftovers are great lunches too
  24. shrimp and grits
  25. chicken marsala
  26. risotto
  27. lettuce wraps
  28. migas
  29. corned beef (crock pot or reheat after cooking on Sunday), roasted cabbage
  30. curried chicken
  31. beef and broccoli
  32. spicy green beans and tofu
  33. arroz con pollo
  34. baharat chicken or lamb
  35. chowder (Chinese corn, OR salmon/fish, etc – whatever you got and put it in a pot!)
  36. arepa sandwiches
  37. jibaro sandwiches (plantains, flank steak, etc)
  38. burgers (bean or beef) (speedy buns – done in the oven while I grill/cook burger or pao-d-quejo buns – quick too!)
  39. beef stroganoff but served over rice, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower/broccoli in lieu of noodles
  40. teriyaki chicken (or whatever is on hand)
  41. quiche
  42. fried rice
  43. ….leftovers!  (the great list ender…I try to use up leftovers for lunch, but often there is a bit more)

I hope this list helps someone else pull a menu plan together.  My trusty purple spiral bound notebook and I roam the aisles of the grocer trying to make sure I have it all together.  Maybe that will be what I share next?  Ay!  Who knows!

Hopefully now that I am getting my feet under me at school the next blog post won’t be delayed as long as this one has been.  I’m sorry – and THANK YOU for sticking with me.

Happy GF Eating 
~Kate