Category Archives: Sweet Things

Diary of a Celiac… and it ends with an apple tart/pie…thing

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I don’t think people realize what it means to have Celiac disease.

First and foremost, it is not obsessive once you get the hang of things.  There is no need for panic.

Second, it does make one much more likely to think about food ahead of time far more than your typical person.

Third, when you don’t do the second thing, you will either want to (a) eat your own arm while out and about or (b) kick yourself repeatedly and then (3) eat something less than satisfactory but still within the “safe” range of “food”.

Think of it like a Hurricane Category Scale.  It works something like this:

CATEGORY 1:
Hurricane Definition:  Very dangerous winds, could cause some damage.
Celiac Definition:  Celiac knows hunger will happen and therefore attempts to plan AHEAD to meet the hunger pangs.

CATEGORY 2:
Hurricane Definition:  Extremely dangerous winds, will cause some damage.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry Celiac has insufficient food plan, crabbiness ensues and the plan is adjusted.

CATEGORY 3:
Hurricane Definition:  Devastating damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry Celiac fails to plan and now dreams of eating own arm while driving to next appointment.

CATEGORY 4:
Hurricane Definition:  Catastrophic damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  Hungry.  Crabby.  Can no longer communicate.

CATEGORY 5:
Hurricane Definition:  Catastrophic damage will occur.
Celiac Definition:  You so don’t even want to know….Worst of all:  I have only myself to blame if I fail to plan, *I* fail myself.

Thursday was one of the days of my life that I ended up in a Category Three hunger mode.

My diary for Thursday would read something like this:

5:40AM:  Why in God’s name am I awake?  Oh yes, because I finally fell asleep at 3:15AM (thank you, obnoxious neighbors… but that’s another story), so naturally I should wake up, right?

7:00AM:  Both girls are cuddled up with me reading a book and checking the very cool visual weather apps on the iPad.

8:00AM:  All 3 of the girls are dressed and downstairs.  Dad is off to work.  Girls are eating breakfast and pestering each other.  I am wondering where the coffee scooper is.  Guess I should eat a little Greek yogurt too (thinking the protein will sustain me a little…).

9:30AM:  And we’re off… to the bank, to the gas station, to day care and then to the airport.  (I took pictures for a couple whose newly adopted son just arrived from South Korea.)

3:30PM:  Wait, what?  It’s 3??  Holy hell!  It took forever for that little guy to make it through customs (seriously 2+ hours = unreal).  Way to go, SeaTac for planning the arrival of 8 international flights within an hour.  Oh yea.  Awesome.  But now, I thought I’d be back on the road by 2:45-3.  Attempt to call hubby to check and day care to let her know.  Cell battery is dead.  Wonderful.  Pit stop for car-charger and oh look… a Starbucks.  I contemplate the dangers of buying the “protein” plate and tossing the bread/cracker thing and eating the rest… but I can’t figure out how it is package and whether I would be able to eat anything in it after the bread is tossed?  (Is the bread packed separately or part of the mix?  There in lies the question.)  I am freakin’ hungry.

4:00PM Back on the highway for long drive home (considering traffic and that it is 44 miles to go).  Still hungry.  Seeing signs for McDonald’s, BK, blah…blah…blah… and I’m trying to hold out for dinner.  After all, if I eat now, I’m not going to want dinner but will still be cooking it… BUT if i don’t eat something, I might just have to eat my arm off before too long.

4:25PM  Reach into “secret hiding spot in car” in hopes that I have one remaining pack of nuts or jerky or SOMETHING.  Disappointed to find *nothing* remaining.  Open purse.  Eat tic-tac.  Anger at self ensues.

4:30PM  My Love calls.  Notices I’m “crabby” and responds with “just go get something”.  My “crabbiness” is somewhat restrained as I contemplate shouting “AS IF IT IS THAT EASY” into the Bluetooth.  (PS.  That would so not have been cool, I’m glad I had some reserve brain power in order to hold my tongue.)  Instead, I say… hey honey, what do you say we get pad thai or something tonight.  He responds with “good idea, I was going to suggest the same”.  See.  I do love him. :D

4:50PM  Get kids.  Chat with CH (day care wonder woman).  Stomach growls.  Apparently one tic-tac is not going to cut it.

5:30PM  Husband is home and notices defrosted chicken.  Calls to say “Hey… should we just stay in to eat the chi….”  He is cut-off my raging hunger beasts (there are now three hungry ladies in the car) who say “HEY!  I thought we could get pad thai tonight!”  (And no, I was not alone in my response.  Zoe was gladly louder than I was too.  LOL)

6:30PM  Veggie Summer Roll (rice paper, lettuce, noodles, carrots, etc) in hand with homemade sweet ginger dipping sauce.  My brain returns to normal slowly over the course of the meal.

7:45PM  I think about being able to grad whatever/whenever.  How, with a clear head, I can easily find something to eat – and even problem-solve; but when I’m hungry I totally cannot.  I wished we had the money to start a gluten free food truck with wraps, sandwiches and soups.   Because I really needed that: sandwich, wrap or soup.  Something.  Man, it can be frustrating sometimes.

But as I said, I have no one to blame but myself.  I should have packed something – anything.  A handful of almonds, a wrap sandwich, a little homemade spam musubi in a lunch tin, … etc. .. SOMETHING.  I promise myself as I go to bed that night that I will try to avoid this in the future.

And I know full well it will happen again.

And then I wish for that freakin’ food truck again.

Hmm… if only.

……

Avoid hunger meltdowns.  Make these and pack one for your next outing.  I can’t call them apple turnovers (which usually use puff pastry) because they are not.  This morning it hit me:  these babies are like Hostess Fruit Pies… only minus the chemicals and gluten.  Do you remember those?

Kitchen assistant

Really – we (the girls and I) just tossed these together because they wanted to cook… and I wanted to use the apples up.  I didn’t want another apple pie and I didn’t want to look up my recipes for pie crusts; thus this was born.

Actually, the dough is super pliable.  I really like that.  I rolls easily/nicely between two pieces of parchment paper.  However, it is NOT a flaky crust.  It totally is a Hostess Fruit Pie crust.

I think I will take this dough and play around with rolling in some bread pats or shredded butter (frozen stick = shredded in food processor) to form a flakier crust.  But for now?  This completely fits the bill.  I am holding a tartlet/pie thingy in my hand as I write.  I’m in heaven.

Tomorrow the girls and I will convert this to a savory pie.  I have visions of cheesy goodness (although Zoe is dreaming of peanut butter and jelly within hers and Rory wants laver/seaweed (???!!) in hers).  I guess we will see where this takes us.

If you give it a whirl, please come back and let us know what you did with yours!

AND PS:  Next time, I’ll take pictures of us rolling it out.  Guess I didn’t get those done as I was managing my two kitchen assistants (egad!) and their love of the stand-mixer.  :D

Untitled
Fruit Pie/Tartlets

Crust Recipe
INGREDIENTS:
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups GF Flour Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup COLD water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk PLUS 1 whole egg

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of your food processor (with the blade attachment), mix together your dry ingredients.  Add the butter in pats (3 Tbsps. COLD butter cut into smaller pieces).  Blend again until the butter is distributed evenly into tiny peas or smaller.
  2. Add the cold water, lemon juice and egg.  Mix again until it comes together to form a ball.
  3. Scrap out and form into a disc.  Wrap in plastic (or insert into a plastic bag) and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to use:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces (depending on the size of your tartlets/pie thingies).  We made 4 large triangles (made from 6-inch or so squares (BIG, IMHO!) and one open tart (8″ x 5″) for Dad.
  3. Roll out your dough between two pieces of parchment paper to the desired thickness (about 1/4 inch).  Fill with 2-4 Tablespoons (more/less depending on the size of you dough) of your desired filler.  (We used mostly cooked apples with cinnamon a la apple pie filling for the ones in the photos – See below for a rough guess as to our “measurements”).
  4. Bake on a piece of parchment paper for 15 minutes at 375.  Lower the temperature to 350 and bake an additional 10 minutes until the outer edges of the crust turn golden.
  5. Top with icing, if so inclined.  (I used a pat of softened butter, 2 Tablespoons of milk and well… umm.. I didn’t measure but about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of powdered sugar.  Mix to a semi-thick glaze and drizzle over the warm pie-lets).

Untitled

APPLE FILLING

Ingredients:
3 Fuji apples (hard for me to measure, as my “helpers” helped themselves to lots of apple slices as we prepped)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup of sugar (depending on the sweetness desired/sweetness of the apples)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of GF Flour mix

Directions:

  1. Peel and core your apples.  Slice into thin strips (about 1/4 inch thick).  Toss the strips with the lemon juice as you go in a bowl.
  2. Preheat a pan over medium.  Add the butter.  Dump in your apple slices, sugar, cinnamon.  Cook over medium heat until the apple slices are tender but NOT mushy (8 minutes or so).
  3. Taste and adjust your sweetness level.  (Add lemon juice, if desired too)
  4. Sprinkle the 2 Tablespoons of GF Flour mix over and stir in.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until the moisture/sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.  (I had left overs, so I added them to the bottom of a oven-puffed pancake for breakfast the next day after storing in the fridge overnight.)

Enjoy!
Kate

Strawberry ice cream, snowmen and power-outages = the week + that was

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UPDATE:  1-25-2012

I started writing this post a few days ago – Like the first day we got power back (Monday night)… and then we lost power again and the post never got finished.  And then it came back…. but as I was writing, the power went out again.  This morning, I’m at home with two girls who could not go to daycare (no heat/no electricity/no water there) and our power has been on most of the day.  A few outages – for an hour here and there (EEK) which come when least anticipated and right when I’m lulled back in to living life normally again (as in:  doing laundry, trying to bake bread (in the electric-heated oven), etc.).  It’s amazing how dependent our lives are on electricity.  To be honest, I truly missed the heat… that was primary.  And then the thoughts of the refrigerator came next as the power outage looked to have no end.  Now?  Now we have both:  heat and the refrigerator.  Well, *right now* we do.  So I’m hitting POST on this update….. please forgive the typos if you find them.  (There are always some.).  But more than anything, thank you for the kind emails, loving thoughts and prayers for everyone in the PNW hit by this wild week.  Last night some wicked winds blew through town and knocked out more power lines… but this morning when I awoke, I discovered that the winds must have been warm because magically the 9 inches of snow that were on my rooftop are nowhere to be seen…. AND you can drive on actual ROAD today on our street.  Not yesterday!  All things have their golden lining – and while it’s NOT fun being cold, it is what it is.  For now, I’m just happy to be warm and toasty.  Hope you are as well.      ~Kate

Original Post Entry – begun 1-23-2012

PLUGGED IN!

HEAT!

LIGHTS!

But no action – well, not the normal action anyway.  We’re wiped out.  The girls are tucked in their toasty little beds and we are catching up online with news, friends, email, etc.

Man, what a week!

What started as an innocent little snowstorm (and I LOVE SNOW), turned in to a nightmare.  I think we would have toughed it out differently had we not had the munchkins in tow.

I had planned to cook/bake and build a freezer – but instead, I figured out the gluten free emergency route.  I’m glad I had many years of practice under my belt – because it would NOT have been fun without being able to figure stuff out on the fly.  I think I will have to gather my thoughts better to really write about what building a GF Emergency pack might look like.  In my case, I was feeling SUPER fortunate that we could cook at home (gas cooktop) and I had things on hand that merely required hot water.  But more on that later.

The girls made their first snowman.  (If you can call a 30 inch high, squashed-little thing a “snowman”).

And through them, I remembered the sheer delight of snow-suits….and how tipping over often meant the need for help from someone who could actually USE their arms and legs with normal rotation.  Boy was it funny to watch them tumble over like turtles on their backs.  They cracked me up with their squeals of delight…and then wobbles with attempts to get up before succumbing to my offers of help.

Amd with this much snow?  How can you not squeal with delight if you are a kid!

And while tonight I’ve read about how “wimpy’ WA state is about the weather, may I just say this:  if you had the HUMUNGOUS Douglas Fir trees that I have in your backyard, you wouldn’t want them coated with 18 inches of snow and a half-inch of ice on top of that either.  The sound of cracking trees branches followed shortly by the giant THUD (or crash….like when it hits your house as it did ours (no damage, don’t worry), you would understand the freak out.

Oh yes, and they don’t plow here.  I have not yet figure that out yet – but here is a photo of our street from Sunday.  The last day it snowed?  LAST Wednesday.  The shoveled trench along the street was intended to help the water drain down the hill into the drains and avoid the impending floods that are bound to hit.  And see those giant snow-laden tree limbs?  Yea.  Those are the things that were hitting people’s houses.  Oh.  And POWER LINES.  (Our power went out last Thursday morning and was restored today (Monday) sometime around 8AM.)  Do you love the piles of snow in the street?  I measured today – a mere 12 inches of snow still mounded up on the street.  YUCK.

Here’s a shot of the ice that covered the trees.  These are the branches – normally high up, but they were so laden with ice and snow that they hung heavily down to the ground.  The apple trees draped itself over our garage and driveway… the maple tree drop its long limbs with a giant thud in the middle of the night next to the house and the giant fir trees in back (about 100+ feet at least) hand their limbs crashing down on us and smashing into the roof several times over the weekend.

If you’ve ever been in a car accident and *remember clearly* the sounds, then you know the horror of listening to giant trees as their limbs crack and rip off their trunks…and then crash and thud someplace nearby.  Like your roof … just feet above your head.  It’s scary.

Very.

So we jumped shipped and brought the Chicklet and the Peanut on their first hotel adventure.  They LOVED it.    Zoe loved finding the room numbers in the hallway and I’m certain that Rory now thinks ice makers are KING.  (Ours broke a couple of months back…ah well.)

I think beyond getting hotel rooms, the BEST thing we did was make David Lebovitz’s Strawberry-Sour ice cream.  It’s from his book The Perfect Scoop which I’m very happy to have.  I’m quite the ice cream purist – I think I prefer to alter my flavors with toppings, but I love a good strawberry ice cream.  And with the storm in sight, I’m glad I used up the last of our strawberries with the girls like this.

We altered the recipe – there was no way I was going out to the store (we couldn’t drive down the street until Friday…three days after it all began).  Instead of the Kirsch or vodka, I used a bit of Gran Marnier.  And I used 2% milk in place of the heavy cream.

It was SO easy to make!  Since his recipe is posted other places online (including the link above), I don’t feel badly reposting it.  He has an amazing blog of HILARIOUS adventures combined with fabulous food.  I find his directions easy to follow and easy to modify.

Here’s our “riff” (we changed oh-so-little!) on his Strawberry-Sour Ice Cream.  Maybe it will help you survive an adventurous week as well?

Strawberry-Sour Ice Cream

Original recipe by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk (recipe calls for heavy cream)
  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, washed and hulled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon vodka, Kirsch, gran marnier (OPTIONAL)

Directions:

  1. Mix together sliced strawberries, sugar and alcohol (if using).  Set aside – at room temperature – for an hour.  Stir occasionally.  Go out and build that snowman. :D
  2. Place the strawberry mixture into your food processor (or blender).  Add sour cream, milk and lemon juice.  Blend together until smooth (or leave a few strawberry pieces out and add them for some fruity pieces in your finished product).  Place into your fridge to cool – 30+ minutes.
  3. Add to your ice cream maker and proceed as directed.  (We use this one - which we bought on eBay ages ago for nowhere near the price listed on Amazon – so shop around, people.  And yes, you have to crank ours to make the ice cream.  I just store the insert in the freezer – ’cause ya never know when you will want to make ice cream and that piece has to be frozen for the thing to work.)

It’s not too late yet! Dark Chocolate Mocha Fudge – just in time for Christmas

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Dark Chocolate Mocha Fudge

Christmas is coming!  Santa is near.   The girls can feel it in the air.

This year we’ve donated money to our local food bank on behalf of all of our nieces, nephews and family members.  To be honest, it was the best thing ever.  Each family is taking care of their own little ones with gifts, etc – but we’ve been so happy to teach the girls our reality.  And what is that reality?  Well, we may not have everything, but we have a heck of a lot more than many others in our community.  And there too, but for the Grace of God, ….  in this economy, you never know.

For the last few years, my classes and I have held special food drives for a weekend food program for hungry kids in Pre-K through 6th Grade.  (Other kids can access food programs through their family aid.)  The program (“Backpack for Kids”) sends home a backpack filled with easy-to-serve/make (pop-top cans, etc) and highly nutritious foods for little people.  The meals target little ones who may not have access to food otherwise on the weekends.  As a teacher, I know too well the look of hunger on a student’s face.  This year, the program serves 1,700 kids in our community.  That is up from 1,100 kids just last year.

600 more kids in need.

It’s a number that floored me.

I don’t need to hammer you with statistics, you probably know them.  Let’s just say, I’m happy to know that our donations will serve a purpose.  There are some great places to make a donation on behalf of your loved ones if you are struggling with what to get for someone.  Not only to I recommend your local food bank, but please consider joining us in making donations to these other organizations:

And then make some great cards to let those you love know how they’ve helped another this holiday season.  :D

And when you sit down to write your Santa letter, you could always ask for chocolates for your neighbors too.

At least that is what Zoe did.  She and I were talking about the food bank (she’s been there with me to drop off donations, etc a few times).  She asked me if the three neighbors near us would be going to the food bank this year.  I told her I didn’t know, but that I didn’t think so.  So then she asked if they had any ‘ersheys (aka “Hersheys”) in their houses.  (Can you tell what we were out of?  No chocolate in the house can be a disturbing thing.)

Since I told her that I wasn’t sure, she then added “chocolate for the neighbors” to her Santa letter.  Personally, I think fudge is better.  Especially at Christmas time.

So have no fear, if a donation doesn’t fit your last-minute gift-giving plan, try making this fudge.  I’ve sent some along with my Love to work for his Christmas party and they were a hit.  Today, I’m making another batch – more for the neighbors and this time, I’m going to make some salted-caramel mocha fudge too.  Yum!

This recipe is based on my mom’s fudge recipe.  Her recipe rocks and was so easy to adapt to add coffee extract, etc to make it a mocha flavor.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fudge with a Toffee crunch topping

Makes one 8×8″ pan – Printable 2 page recipe here

Toffee topping:  (you can substitute GF toffee bars if you’d prefer)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt  (approx. 1 teaspoon +) for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. in a shallow pan, place the olive oil and sliced almonds over medium heat.  Swirl to prevent burning, but toast the almond slices.  Remove from the heat and roughly chop.  Set aside.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cutting board.  (Use a piece about as long as a cookie sheet – which will be more than long enough for this small batch of toffee.)  Cover with half of the toasted almond slices.  (Actually, place a pile of sliced almonds on the parchment and spread them out a bit  - about to a 8″ square or so.)
  3. In a deep pan, using a candy thermometer, bring the water and sugars (white and brown) together to a boil.  Cook, stirring the middle of the pan but without scraping the sides (you can swirl the pan a bit if needed), until you reach a temperature of 285F.
  4. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla extract.  Again, stir these ingredients in but do not scrap the pan.
  5. Quickly pour the mixture over the almond slices on the parchment paper – but don’t scrap your pan!  (Scraping will actually make your toffee crystallize and not be smooth).  Cover the top of the toffee with the remaining almond slices and sprinkle with sea salt.  Set aside to cool (which won’t take too long).
  6. Crush or chop the toffee into bits.  (About 1/2 of this toffee recipe easily tops one fudge recipe.)
  7. Make your fudge.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fudge

Makes one 8 by 8″ pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 3 Tablespoons instant coffee
  • 12 regular sized marshmallows
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup or a quarter pound)
  • 1 large package dark chocolate chips (10-12 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coffee extract – OR – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Butter the bottom of your 8×8″ pan well.
  2. Cook together sugar, milk, instant coffee, and marshmallows over a medium heat.  Stirring constantly, bring it to a boil, then turn the temperature down a bit.  You want to keep a low boil – but too high of a temperature will cause the sugar to form large bubbles that pop  and become lava-like burn potential while boiling – be carefully!
  3. Stir constantly over this low boil for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes.  (Longer and the fudge will be hard, not long enough and the fudge won’t set.)  (Cook until soft ball stage or between 235-240F)
  4. Remove from the heat, add the butter, dark chocolate chips and coffee extract.  Stir until well incorporated.
  5. Pour into your prepared pan.
  6. Top quickly with the chopped toffee pieces and sprinkle a little sea salt over the top.
  7. Allow to cool/set before cutting into pieces to serve or share.

And don’t forget to walk some over to your neighbors as well.

After all, chocolate is for sharing, right?

Merry Christmas, All!

~Kate

PS.  Thanks for the fudge recipe, Mom!  I’ve had it for years in my recipe book from you… and don’t think I’ve ever dared to make it. Not that it’s hard… I just knew that I would eat the whole pan!  Thank goodness for little girls (who love chocolate) and neighbors, right?