Tag Archives: sweet

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

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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

Gluten Free Pumpkin Fries

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Fries

Tomorrow shall be a BIG adventure for our little one.  We are off to a pumpkin farm with her Aunt Kari.  Pumpkins are a big theme around here. I’m not sure that Zoe will actually let me cut into the pumpkin she picks out to make a Jack-O-Latern with her.  She won’t let me touch the two little ones that she has now.   The other day she wanted to draw a face on the little pumpkins but when she saw that the marker wouldn’t come off, she wigged.  No pumpkin coloring for her yet.  Maybe when she sees ALL of us cutting and carving pumpkins, she will change her mind.  I’m willing to bet that she will be thrilled to see me carve *my* pumpkin but that she is not going to allow a knife anywhere near her pumpkin.

Case in point:  the pumpkin fries.

I bought two small pumpkins (about 2 pounds each, I think) to make pumpkin fries.  Zoe likes squash so I though she might like to try these pumpkin fries.  However, when I went to cut the pumpkins, she wasn’t happy.  In fact, I had to put the pumpkins aside and get her occupied doing something else.  Like play with her lavender-orange scented rice with scoops and funnels.

Playing with textures
Playing with textures by Kate Chan

Looking on

Then, and only then, could I start peeling and chopping.  Once she saw me happily peeling and preparing the pumpkin fries, there was no problem. She wanted to see the inside “guts” of the pumpkin and we talked about roasting the seeds, etc.

Zoe snuggled up next to my legs drinking her juice and munching on GF cheese crackers as I was prepping the pumpkins. And Rory was in a bouncing chair nearby watching it all go down and cooing away. It brought back memories of standing on chairs around our kitchen table as a kid while I scooped out the pumpkin I was going to carve.  I thought about how much fun I will have when both girls are old enough to carve pumpkins around the kitchen table with me.  Oh, the joy of two little ones.  I just hope time doesn’t steal all of the good opportunities away from me with it’s speed.

I’m going back to work a week from today.  It’s killing me.  Every second that I can, I am listening to the girls.  Rory’s little coos are enough to make time stop and fairies rejoice.  Zoe’s stories keep me company everywhere we go.  She and I headed to the cell phone store (again…really obnoxious third visit in five days….grrrrr) and she kept me laughing the entire ride, wait and trip home.  She tells great jokes (okay… repeating the same joke 700 times really does wear you down and make you laugh more somedays) and she loves to learn.  Both of these girls are the absolute joys of our lives.

Leaving the tiny moments to return to the ebb and flow of traffic, “to do” lists, papers to grade, lessons to write, emails to answer, etc has me just at the edge of breaking.  I can’t imagine what I will miss with them.  I don’t want to even think about it.  I can’t.  It hurts too much.  Instead, I am just trying to take comfort in the times that we will be together and the plans and things that we can do together then.  After all, I am incredibly lucky to be a teacher in the sense that I will have more time with my girls than some friends of mine who work a full calendar year.  I’m just worried about the fact that a teacher’s job doesn’t end when the school day does.  I work until 11PM sometimes and usually on Sundays too.  I’m worried about the impact on my family and my girls.. and to me, to a lesser extent.  I am definitely in need of setting some different professional expectations for myself as well.

I want more time with my kids.

More time to play in the buckets of rice.

More time to watch the seasons changing and teach them about the leaves changing colors, etc.

More time to cook and eat healthy food at a normal paced and not rushing through everything.

More time to listening to the stories that bloom from our days and adventures together.

More time to hear the coos turn into words and into stories of their own.

Just more time.

We all want that, don’t we?

So I guess I will just seize the opportunities as they come and as we make them.  Like making pumpkin fries and talking about Halloween when I was little with them.  And for those of you who are curious, Zoe is not interested in dressing up this year for Halloween.  She doesn’t think it sounds like fun (yet) to be wearing a costume or a wig or make up, etc.  Ah well, more time for me to savor my little one at home.  (And honestly?  MUCH less temptation to eat too!  We are giving out mini Play-doh containers.  Those leftovers will surely be loved to bits by the girls and my high school students.  LOL)

Since it is pumpkin season, now is the time to make your own pumpkin fries and relive or create some memories.  I made two batches of oven baked fries.  One was savory and the other cinnamon-sweet.  Both will enjoyed by Zoe and I.  We highly recommend you giving them a try yourself too!

Cutting pumpkin fries

Cutting pumpkin fries, Photo by Kate Chan

Gluten Free Pumpkin Fries

Ingredients (per batch)
1 two pound + pie pumpkin

for Savory fries:
olive oil
salt
pepper
optional: ground garlic, ground ginger

for Sweet fries:
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Optional:  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel and scoop our pumpkin.
  3. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Cut pumpkin into fries.  (I cut mine into 3-4 inch long sticks that are about 1/2 inch thick.)
  5. Toss one pound of the cut fries in a tiny bit (maybe 1 tablespoon, or two?) of olive oil with salt and pepper (to taste).  Consider tossing in some of your other favorite spices combinations like:  ground garlic +ground ginger, cumin + fennel, etc.
  6. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar.  Toss the remaining pumpkin fries in the cinnamon sugar mix.
  7. Spread savory fries out in a single layer on one prepared cookie sheet and the sweet fries on another.
  8. Bake the fries in the oven for 20 minutes.  Then remove the pans.  Flip the fries over.  When you return the fries to the oven, be sure to rotate the pans as well.  Whichever was on the top shelf, move to the bottom and vice versa.  Continue baking another 15 – 25 minutes or until the fries are crispy and a deep golden brown color on the edges and the top.

Enjoy with your favorite meal – or eat them for dinner like Z & I did!

Happy Gluten Free Eating!
~Kate