I've been looking for a knitting project that would get me excited about knitting again, but I haven't really seen anything new and different out there. Any suggestions on a fun and interesting knitting project?
In the mean time, I knit a Tribble for fun. It's such and easy project that it took me almost no time at all and I'm already using it in the kitchen. Perhaps not very exciting, but that's the state of my recent crafting endeavors.
I've been baking too -- making Maddie's favorite which is banana bread based on this recipe. Of course, I make it gluten free, subbing 210 gr of my GF flour blend for the flour. I also like to use brown sugar for half the sugar, add a bit extra vanilla extract, and top it (in this case) or mix in some toasted pecan pieces and semi-sweet chocolate. So delicious!!
I've also been working in the yard -- pulling weeds, planting potatoes, and other things. Pete spent the better part of yesterday building a new raised bed for the raspberry plants that just arrived. So that's strawberries, herbs, onions, potatoes, lettuces, blueberries and raspberries, so far. The pepper & tomato plants should arrive soon and I really have to get the carrot seeds in the ground. I'm pretty excited about the garden this year.
Over the weekend Maddie was sick, I was feeling stir crazy, and I got the urge to bake a cake. So I did.
This is a Hummingbird Cake (recipe here, but apparently from Southern Living mag originally), which I had not heard of until recently. Just in case you haven't heard of it either -- it's like a rich banana bread with a bit of crushed pineapple, pecans and cream cheese frosting. Like banana bread, it works well with a gluten free flour blend. Absolutely delicious!
I made gluten free Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday and I have to say, it went pretty well. Of course we will all be going to my mom's on the actual Turkey day, but since there is a lot of gluten involved in the traditional meal, Maddie and I will be unable to truly stuff ourselves.
For our mini Thanksgiving I made a half turkey breast, stuffing (made with gluten free bread), mashed potatoes, gravy and fresh cranberry sauce. The turkey cooked in about 1 1/2 hours and was quite moist for being just white meat, and the stuffing was reminiscent of my mom's stuffing, although not as good.
As for the cranberry sauce -- make your own if you have 10 minutes to spare. Really, that's all it takes and I think it's quite a bit beter than that canned stuff. Here's what you do... get a bag of cranberries, boil a cup of water + a cup of sugar. Add the cranberries, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. The cranberries will pop, so may I suggest one of those spatter screens.
One bag of cranberries resulted in this much sauce -- enough for our mini gluten free Thanksgiving, a small jar for the freezer and another jar to take to my mom's for Thanksgiving.
Oh, and remember that lemon curd I made? I made some mini gluten free scones and we ate them this past weekend too. Super yummy!
I didn't remember to mention that I made Martha's (or more likely, one of her many staff writer's) Apple Pecan Cake from the latest Everyday Food mag.
It was tasty and worked beautifully with GF flour subbed.
And btw, if you are a Everyday Food subscriber -- you can get the issues on your iPad for free now! I always thought it was stupid to make people pay for the digital edition when they subscribed to the print edition, so I'm happy to see this change.
Apparently you can get free access if you are a Living subscriber too. When did this change? I haven't heard about it before I stumbled upon it today, but it makes me happy!
Can you tell what I made this weekend? Maybe this will give you a hint...
I tried a new gluten free donut recipe and despite using non-stick pans and greasing said pans, the donuts stuck like nobody's business.
This one looked almost donut-like after I glopped on the icing. And here's the crazy thing -- they were delicious despite their ugliness. I'm thinking next time I will grease and flour the pans and if that doesn't work, maybe I'll just bake them in cupcake liners.
The recipe came from the new online gluten free magazine -- Easy Eats.
I follow a lot of GF and Foodie blogs and there has been a recipe floating around for a while -- a Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that only requires a few ingredients. It is noticeably lacking flour -- seriously -- which made me think these were going to have a weird texture. But no, these are seriously good!
The fact that they contain a huge amount of peanut butter means that they are rich and have an almost creamy mouthfeel, however, the edges are crisp and crunchy. I think these are seriously dangerous to have around the house and I'm glad it doesn't make a huge batch.
I would love to credit the original creator of this awesome recipe, but it's been around the internets for so long, that I'm not sure of its origin. Here is the recipe:
(Gluten-Free) 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Makes about 2 dozen)
1 C. Peanut butter -- I used an organic, all-natural variety
1 C. Sugar -- I used 1/2 C. organic brown sugar and 1/2 C. minimally processed organic granulated sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 C. Chocolate Chips
Add all ingredients to a mixer in order, mixing after each addition. Roll into 1 in. balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten in criss-cross pattern with a fork. (Mine were a bit crumbly, so I just pushed them back into shape if they fell apart upon flattening.)
Bake at 350º for about 11 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
We all love the new kitchen and find ourselves hanging out there quite a bit -- not something we did in the old kitchen. I've also been enjoying my new range -- especially after cooking meals for six weeks using only a microwave, toaster oven and rice cooker.
This weekend I baked up a batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies. My recipe is nearly perfected, and I'll be posting it over at my other website soon. Let's just say that Pete has mentioned that they might even be better then chocolate chip cookies made with regular AP flour, so there you go.
And last night I made something I've never tried before because I thought it was too easy to mess up -- Spaghetti alla Carbonara. And it was not difficult at all. Plus, one of the few ingredients is bacon -- so of course everyone liked it.
I really need to mention the new non-stick pan I bought about a week back. My old non-stick pan was looking pretty bad -- you know how it is. It was definitely past it's prime. After a bit of research, I decided on a Scanpan and I am loving it! I bought mine at Sur la Table (love this store *so* much!) It works beautifully, cleans up easily and doesn't have PFOAs, so it's non-toxic. Oh, and did I mention that the non-stick coating is supposed to last ages -- they have a lifetime warranty. Crazy, huh? I'm hoping I'll never have to throw out another non-stick pan.
The last few weeks have been stressful, as Maddie was ordered to have some tests after her annual physical. This lead to a Celiac Disease diagnosis, a trip to see a specialist (a pediatric gastroenterologist) and a switch to a gluten-free diet.
Let me just say that you do not realize how prevalent gluten is in the American diet. Nearly all processed foods have some form of it, and even a little bit can trigger the autoimmune response. This will definitely be a learning experience for us. We are quickly finding alternatives for things like cereal and pasta, and fortunately, we don't eat a huge amount of processed foods. So the switch is going pretty smoothly.
Since I am a baker, and like to make most of our desserts from scratch, this will be a real change for me. I mean, how do you bake without wheat flour? I'm thinking about starting a gluten-free blog where I can talk more about our experiences and test out some recipes -- maybe review some gluten-free cookbooks and products.
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, I would love to hear from you!