Recipes


As I mentioned in my last post, I have been awaiting an opportunity to try a number of recipes from Living Without Magazine.  I have had fresh pasta exactly twice since going Gluten-Free and both were delicious.  First, I had homemade corn pasta at Cafe DeVille in Edmonton, AB and second I had homemade rice pasta at Pagliacci’s in Victoria, BC ever since then, I have wanted to try and make my own.

I followed the instructions for Gluten-Free Handmade Pasta exactly as they are listed, using the flax seed egg replacement (so that I could share with my little man who doesn’t eat egg whites yet), however I didn’t have the patience to go over to my parents to borrow their pasta maker.  Instead, after reading a bunch of ravioli recipes, I decided to divide the dough and roll it out as thin as possible using a rolling pin between pieces of saran wrap.  This worked reasonably well, but I need a LOT of extra cornstarch to ensure the dough didn’t stick and to be able to transfer it to parchment paper.

I rolled each piece into an elongated rectangle and then placed 3-4 teaspoons of filling (depending how well I rolled the pasta) in a row along the pasta sheet, dabbed watered down egg yolk around each dollop of filling and then folded the dough over, gently pressing the dough together.  I did not use a fork or anything fancy to mark the edges, I just used my fingertips and the dough stayed together well through the cooking process.

The end result was delicious, if a bit chewy, however I’m pretty sure that if I had rolled my pasta thinner using a pasta machine that chewiness may not have been an issue.  I’m also positive that the ravioli was delicious and as good as I could have hoped for considering that it was my first attempt EVER to make pasta.  I did have to cook the pasta for a good 15 minutes, flipping the ravioli a few times, which is considerably longer than I expected based on the recipe citing the noodles would cook within a few minutes.

All in all, a good recipe and a delicious meal…and my little boy liked it too!!  Good luck making pasta, I hope yours also turns out great.

As for filling, I decided to make my own up, here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • ~3 oz of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
  • ~1/4 onion diced fine
  • 3/4 of a 500g package of feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat, until no longer pink.
  2. Add onion and chopped spinach, and ook until the onions have softened and the turkey is fully cooked.
  3. Remove meat mixture from heat and stir in the cheeses (I had goat cheese on hand and it really helped hold everything together, you could also add one egg yolk.)
  4. Use to fill your homemade ravioli and enjoy!!

ps. I also used the leftover filling on a pizza!! Yum yum!

It’s hard for me to believe that my son is almost 10 months old, I will have to return to work in less than two months, and as my husband says, everything will change AGAIN. My little man is now grasping at independence, including when it comes to eating. He wants to feed himself, though he does allow me to shovel in spoonfuls of food between bites, provided its something that he likes/wants. Unfortunately, as most parents know it is difficult to find finger foods that my guy can pick up and eat, that are safe for him to eat, that he likes and that are nutritious.

He likes to eat pasta with sauce, meatloaf, chunks of chicken, sweet potato fries, cheese, pears, bananas (sometimes), gluten-free cheerios, mum-mum crackers, avocado, gluten-free toast, rice cakes, natural baked white cheddar cheesies and I’m sure at least a few other things that I can’t think of right now.

Of course I continue to make him baby foods (much thicker and chunkier nowadays) and I have been searching the internet for recipes and ideas that might suit our needs. He really likes the fruited jello (last recipe, scroll all the way down) – I think I’m going to make it with blueberry puree next time instead of plain applesauce. I’ve also tried making meatballs with rice cereal to thicken it (he didn’t care for those too much, but I’m going to try cooking them in pasta sauce (which he loves) and have a feeling that might have better success.

Then for some reason last night I had a thought, MORNING GLORY MUFFINS they have some protein (from the Quinoa), vegetables (zucchini and carrots) and not too much sugar. This morning I got to work and was super happy with the results.

I made a few changes, namely:

  • I used the 1/2 cups of white sugar the recipe called for, but no brown sugar
  • I replaced the 3 eggs with, 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup warm water mixed with 2 Tbsp ground flax (allow this to sit for at least 5 minutes before using, it should get goopy)
  • I used the flour mixture in my post (less quinoa than the whole foods recipe)
  • I used cornstarch instead of potato starch (because I was out of potato starch, though I prefer it to cornstarch – either would do)
  • I omitted the walnuts and orange juice
  • I used chopped craisins instead of raisins (I like craisins better and they are related to blueberries which my little guy loves)
  • I used a pear instead of an apple (combined with the applesauce egg replacement these are plenty sweet enough without the extra sugar)

I baked these mini muffins at 355 F for 17 minutes (yield 3.5 dozen mini muffins), until the muffins were golden and a toothpick inserted came out clean. They are delicious and my little guy seemed to like them – now Mom must refrain herself from eating them all herself!

Being a new Mom means that pretty much everything in my life has changed; my world is no longer solely focued on me, and I absolutley love it.  My little man is the centre of my world and I just can’t get enough of him.  Of course there are days where I want to tear my hair out, but those days are few and far between.

As a gluten-free Momma, I have of course been researching, reading and contemplating the introduction of wheat and gluten to my son.  I have spoken to the doctor, I’ve read books and I’ve searched the internet, although my doctor recommended I go gluten-free I have not formally been diagnosed with an allergy to gluten or with Celiac’s, so of course that does complicate things slightly.  All that being said, we have decided to wait until my bubba is a year before introducing any wheat products.

To a non-gluten-free Momma that probably sounds extremley difficult, but for me its totally reasonable.  When its time to have toast, he can have Mom’s potato bread, when its time for pasta he can have rice pasta, when it came to baby cereal we stuck with just rice instead of jumping on the barely and wheat train.  Now that he’s over 6 months however, I was a little worried that perhaps rice cereal for breakfast everyday was getting a little mundane.

So after a little research, (Wholesomebabyfood was very helpful) I decided to introduce some Millet to my little man.  It is a natural source of iron, protien and potassium to name a few.  I discovered (like the other grains) you can make your own cereal by simply grinding millet down and cooking it on the stove.  Since I didn’t have any millet grain on hand, I decided to use millet flour.  The first batch was lumpy to say the least, but after  few attempts I had a pretty good system.

Gluten-Free Baby Millet Cereal

Ingredients:

  • generous cup of water
  • scant 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • fruit puree

Directions:

  • Mix together water and millet flour (this worked best in a shaker for protein shakes or a cup with a lid).
  • Put mixture into a pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring often with a whisk.
  • Once the mixture becomes hot, reduce heat to low-medium and continue to cook, stirring often for approx 7 minutes until the cereal has thickened and doesn’t taste too grainy.
  • Scoop one portion into a dish for your baby to eat right away and mix in some fruit puree if desired.  My little man loves to eat his cereal with pears!
  • The cereal will thicken as it sits, so if you don’t add fruit, you may need to thin with a little additional water, breast milk or formula once it cools enough for baby to eat.
  • Put extra cereal in a container in the fridge or in ice cube trays to be frozen.  The cereal defrosts and reheats well, however it takes longer to heat back up than fruit puree, so I recommend microwaving the cereal briefly (10-15 seconds) before adding the fruit and reheating to the desired temperature.

My baby loves his millet and pears for breakfast, but I was eager to introduce oats as well, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for wheat-free oats at my local health stores.  I can always get some at Choices, I just haven’t made a trip there in a while.  Just this week I excitedly found some Bob’s Red Mill Wheat-Free Steel Cut Oats and although I’ve never had steel cut oats, I read that since they are less processed, they are actually better for making baby food.

September 09 - 281I also picked up some millet grain, my Mom donated an extra coffee grinder that she had and suddenly I was ready to make a healthy whole grain cereal that both the baby and I could enjoy.  I have a food processor, but the coffee grinder is just so much easier for the small quantities that this cereal calls for.  I found this recipe for a millet and oatmeal cereal (akin to cream of wheat) and happily began to create.  We’ve had millet/oatmeal cereal for breakfast the last three days; the bubba had his with pears and Momma had hers with raspberries, flax and honey.  Mmm, Mmm Good!

GF millet/oatmeal cerealnote: the pear puree is just softening up, I do of course mix it all up for him to enjoy!

As and aside, I’ve found that I like to use 2 cups of water (rather than the 1-3/4 cups the recipes calls for) and that more stirring/whisking is required than the recipe alludes to.  All in all an easy and nutritious breakfast!

Millet Porridge on Foodista
Oatmeal Porridge on Foodista

As I child I though Mabo Tofu was a Japanese dish, why, I’m not exactly sure.  I knew I could get it at Chinese Restaurants, but the sauce you could buy in the stores to make it at home always seemed to look Japanese to me.  Once I went gluten-free, I really wanted this slightly spicy, always delicious, tofu and pork dish.  Of course every bottle and package of sauce that I read contained soya sauce and of course wheat, so I found myself on a mission to find a recipe that I could adapt myself.

During my online searches, I found oodles of recipes, all slightly different AND I discovered that Mabo (or Mapo) tofu is actually a Szechuan dish; given the spice this really is not all that surprising.  I eventually found 2 recipes (about.com and Nook & Pantry) that seemed reasonable and feasible for me to make, and then I worked with both of them to make a recipe that I really enjoy.  I’ve made this quite a few times and tweaked the ingredients each time; I think I finally have it just right, at least for my liking  – feel free to adapt it to your tastes.

Mabo Tofu

This recipe does however call for some ingredients that will require an Asian grocery store and/or a little searching.  First it requires dried and salted black beans and Chili Bean Paste (my research indicated that Broad Bean Chili Bean Paste is the most authentic, but use what you can find); make sure you read the bottles, most of them have soy and wheat.  I have included an ingredient picture for this recipe to help you find these ingredients.

Mabo ingredients

Gluten-Free Mabo Tofu

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch (cornstarch would be ok)
  • 3.5 Tbsp gluten-free Tamari

Ingredients:

  • ~2Tbsp vegetable oil
  • splash of sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped, white and green sections seperated
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2.5 tsp salted, dried black beans
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Chili Bean Paste (adapt to your tastes as necessary)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 package Medium Firm tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and set aside for about 20 minutes.
  • Heat oils in a med-high wok, once hot at the white sections of the green onion and the ginger and saute until fragrant.
  • Add the marinated pork to the oil and cook until brown; you will need to use the back of a spoon to push the pork apart into pieces or you will end up with one big lump of ground pork.
  • Stir salt into the meat and allow flavours to mix, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the salted black beans  and use the back of a spoon to mash them slightly to release the flavours and blend with the meat.
  • Add the Chili Paste and mix into the meat.
  • Add the stock, tofu, remaining green onion, garlic and sugar.  Mix well and continue to cook until tofu has softened and taken on the colours of the sauce.  Approximately 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix the warm water, GF Tamari and cornstarch together (add the cornstarch last).
  • Once the tofu looks ready to eat, add the cornstarch mixture, stir together gently and remove from heat.  This will thicken your sauce and bring everything together (this step is optional).
  • Serve over steaming white rice and enjoy!

Tofu on Foodista

Now that my son is getting a little bit more independent and doesn’t need Mom every single second, I think that I am slowly finding my inspiration to cook again.  Cooking GOOD gluten-free meals takes a little bit of thought and effort, and in truth for the last 6 months, I really haven’t had time for much of either.  Last weekend waffles struck my fancy; I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill GF Biscuit mix and it makes great waffles, and I’ve also tried Ginger Lemon Girl’s Belgian Waffle Recipe.  They were also delicious, but they were a little crispy throughout and not quite as soft in the middle as I would like.  So not only did I decide I wanted to have waffles I decided I wanted to adapt my family pancake recipe to be gluten-free and waffle worthy.

This recipe turned out amazing; my husband gobbled them up uttering compliments all the while telling me I should make a recipe book.  These were absolutely the best waffles I’ve had in ages.  Of course we ate them with bacon and fresh blueberry sauce, the only thing that could have made them better was fresh whipped cream!

As my eczema has been bad lately, and my milk consumption seems to affect my son’s eczema, I have been limiting my dairy products and drinking rice milk.  I made this recipe using half rice milk and half 1% milk with great results – I therefore assume that you could use any non-dairy substitute.  Similarly, you could likely replace my flour mixture with 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix with similar results, but personally I like to custom blend quantities for each individual recipe.  If you try it out with a different non-dairy product or gluten-free flour, let me know how it works out for you.

GF Waffles

Gluten-Free Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup Millet flour
  • 1/4 cup Brown Rice flour
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Rice flour
  • 1/4 cup Potato starch
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp Xantham gum
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 eggs, seperated
  • 1-3/4 cups milk or non-dairy substitute
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

  • Preheat your waffle iron.
  • Mix (I like to use a hand whisk) flours, xantham gum, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (this only takes a few minutes in a stand mixer), set aside.
  • Mix egg yolk, milk and oil together.
  • Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture and mix.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into your batter, adding about a third of the egg whites at a time.  Egg whites do not need to be totally uniform in the batter, we are trying to add extra “fluff” to the batter.
  • Spray your waffle iron as necessary, pour the batter by heaping 1/4 cups and cook according to your waffle iron directions.  These waffles do not puff as much as regular waffles, so you need to add MORE batter than you are used to if you want to get the nice full crispy waffle wells that hold the butter and syrup so well.  Trust me having a tiny bit of spillover while you figure out the exact quantity for your iron is totally worth it.
  • Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Waffles on Foodista

When I first went Gluten-Free I had been feeling sick for so long that I gave up everything.  Anything that was on a list that said it MAY contain gluten I avoided.  This included things like maltodextrin (which is in everything), however I eventually learned that like many other ingredients, it is usually derived from corn and will be labeled accordingly if it is made from wheat.

Since that time, I have started feeling better and find that I am a little more adventurous with my eating.  I certainly don’t go out and eat a croissant, bagel or something equally delicious (though sometimes I really want to), but I do occasionally try something new at a restaurant where I have dishes I know are safe to eat, or I might try something with an ingredient that may be questionable such as worchestire sauce or malt extract.

I have a friend who is Celiac and I remember being so surprised when she showed me her secret stash of Corn Pops in the cupboard at work exclaiming, “we can eat these!”  I was so excited, the next time I was at the grocery store, I scanned the box and was saddened to see that just like the rice krispies and corn flakes, the corn pops contained Barley Malt Extract.

As you likely know, Barley contains gluten and so does Barley Malt.  I had tried eating Corn Flakes while on a cruise in Italy (it seemed like a safe bet to nick a box off of the boat to take on the excursions) and though it didn’t give me a full blown attack of stomach pains and trips to the washroom, I didn’t feel good, so I knew better than to eat the Corn Pops (though I really wanted them).  Of course in time I would find my Panda Puffs, so really it all worked out.

If you, like myself find yourself reading boxes of things you know you probably can’t eat such as cornbread, corn shake & bake and teriyaki sauces, you’ve probably been suprised a few times by something you’re sure you’ve examined many times, yet this time you realized you might just be able to eat it.  That happened to me with the Corn Flake Crumbs; they contain “malt flavoring” but it doesn’t actually say malt extract.  I decided to chance it and try them out and FOR ME they seem to be a-ok.  I kind of assume that malt flavoring is artificial whereas extract is actually derived from barley, but in truth I have no idea, except that I seem to be able to eat the corn flake crumbs.  I don’t eat them too often (just to be safe) but every now and then they are a great treat, and my dear husband loves the occasional breaded chicken breast or the like.

PLEASE NOTE:  Since I have not been diagnosed as Celiac, I believe myself to be gluten-intolerant (granted I was given the Celiac test after being Gluten-Free for a year, so really it was garbage) so I feel safe experimenting in this fashion.  I am no doctor, but I know that for true Celiac’s cheating (even without symptoms) can be very hard on the body and lead to increased chances of bowel cancer, so please make your own educated decisions about your eating.

While shopping yesterday I found unbreaded turkey cutlets (a rarity) and was instantly reminded of the pork cutlets my Mom used to feed me as a kid.  Brown and crispy, dipped in honey mustard, I was salivating in the store.  Remembering the Corn Flake Crumbs in my cupboard, I hoped I could make a reasonable facsimile and I was more than impressed with the results.  Unfortunately, my husband was also excited to have breaded meat and we ate it all before we had a chance to take a photo – hopefully I will find these unbreaded cutlets again so that we can eat them and I can show you a picture.  They browned, crisped and crunched exactly the way I remember.

Gluten-Free “Breaded” Cutlets

Ingredients:

  • 2 unbreaded cutlets (turkey, chicken, pork, veal…whatever suits your fancy)
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup Corn Flake Crumbs (or GF Corn Flakes pulsed in a food processor)
  • 2-3 Tbsp of grapeseed (or vegetable) oil

Directions:

  • Mix rice flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or plastic bag; coat cutlets and allow to rest on a plate for about 5 minutes.
  • Dip floured cutlets into egg then immediately coat with Corn Flake Crumbs.
  • Allow cutlets to rest for another 5-10 minutes if possible, this will allow the coating to really adhere together.
  • Heat oil in non-stick frying pan over med-high heat, and cook cutlet until crispy and golden before flipping (~8 minutes).  Cook second side ~5 minutes.
  • Cutlet should be crispy and golden on both side and middle should be cooked throughout with no traces of pink.
  • I like to enjoy this “breaded” goodness with honey mustard.  I usually mix mayo, mustard and honey to make a sauce, but this time I just used French’s Honey Mustard and it was great.

I’ve been saying for ages that I would get back on my horse and starting posting again…it really should be easy.  This blog is about gluten-free food and I eat food every day – so there should always be something to write about, shouldn’t there?

I don’t want this to become a boring list of the foods I ate, but at the same time, when you are starting off a gluten-free diet, it can be infinitley useful to get meal ideas from someone who is living the life.

I am firm believer that a good breakfast is essential to a successful day; that being said now that my little bubba has arrived there’s a lot less time for leisurely meals.  But I always eat breakfast.

Although I’ve given up milk again (except for cream in my coffee) to help ease my sons eczema, I often find a hearty hemp shake made with rice milk a good start to the day.  I am definite fan of the nutiva chocolate hemp shake – made with organic fair trade cocoa, this shake has a rich flavour and a thick consistency.

I have also been enjoying the smorgasboard of jam my Mom and I made this summer, atop gluten-free potato flax bread and peanut butter.  We made strawberry, tayberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry freezer jam this summer and if I may say so, it is all delicious!  My top 3 are definitely tayberry, blackberry and raspberry!!

When I was younger cereal NEVER held me – I needed more protein and substance for breakfast.  Now I just have two small breakfasts; one at 6am when I get up with the baby, and a second one when he goes down for his nap around 8/8:30 am.  And when it comes to cereal, my absolute favourite are Nature’s Path Peanut Butter Puffs, but  I also like the Chocolate Koala crisp and Mesa Sunrise Flakes.

Of course I still enjoy a nice hot egg breakfast (when I can sneak one in or on the weekend).  My meal of choice is a fried egg sandwich with cheese and a smear of ketchup on potato-flax bread.  If we are having an “eggs & bakey” kind of morning, I also love some nice crispy bacon or some Lilydale Daystarters chicken or turkey breakfast sausage.  Totally gluten-free, low in fat and absolutley delicious, I always buy a few packages of daystarters for the freezer when they are on sale!

I have always been a fan of oatmeal, and was disappointed to say the least when I discovered gluten-free practically meant oat-free.  Enter Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats and Lara’s Gluten-Free Oats (both are available at Choices Markets), however I hated having to make my oatmeal the old fashioned way with a pot of water, constantly concerned that my expensive GF oats were going to burn to the bottom of the pan. I also found the that oats were not ask silky and soft as the instant oatmeal I had become accustomed to.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that you can cook oatmeal in your rice cooker;  its quick and delicious and fills your kitchen with the warm aroma of fresh oatmeal without the effort.  I followed the quantity instructions on my rice cooker and was amazed at the perfect texture of the resulting oatmeal.  I did worry that the flavours might somehow ruin subsequent batches of rice, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.  The cinnamon flavour does linger a little bit, but when rice is eaten with an Asian dish (as it most often is), the flavour is completely negligible.

Check your own instruction booklet to see if it has a different liquid ratio, or try my recipe below.  Also feel free to adjust the add-ins to suit your tastes: raisins, orange or lemon zest, berries, peaches, nuts, spices, the options are endless.  I quite like adding chunks of peeled apple and mixing them in instead of using the craisins (but it takes more time, and time is a hot commodity for me these days). I’m pretty sure however, that I could get it all setup the night before and then just have to hit “cook” in the morning…

Note: I am out of GF oatmeal right now, but will take a picture just as soon as I get to the store and buy some!

Rice Cooker Gluten-Free Oatmeal

(2 generous servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups water
  • handful of craisins

Directions:

  1. Mix oats, cinnamon and salt in the rice cooker bowl (this helps to minimize having all the cinnamon floating on the top).
  2. Add the water and mix well.
  3. Sprinkle craisins on top.
  4. Turn on your rice cooker.
  5. When the rice cooker switches over to warm, your breakfast is ready.
  6. ENJOY! (I like mine with brown sugar and rice milk…mmm!)

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