This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Monday: Chicken Quesadillas. Rice tortillas with rice cheese (I know it sounds nasty, and if you can have real cheese by all means go for it! But the rice cheese melts better than soy). Hormel natural cooked chicken is gluten free and great for things like this! We also add chopped onions, red or green pepper, and any other vegetable that sounds good. Serve with a dip made of salsa mixed with dairy-free sour cream.

Tuesday: Pork Chops (grilled) with baked beans and salad. Bush’s baked beans are gluten free, but my dad’s recipe is amazing…so if you have the time, give it a try!

Here’s the recipe for Pop’s Baked Beans:

2 cans large red kidney beans (rinse and drain all beans)
2 cans great northern beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cups BBQ sauce (more if needed…many Kraft sauces are GF)
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
4 tbsp. brown sugar
1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 can chopped chili peppers

Brown the ground beef and onion in the crockery part of a crock pot. Add everything else and let cook all day on low (or a couple of hours on high).

Wednesday: Polenta with chicken, peppers, olives and feta. Make the polenta without the toppings and bake it (recipe here, under Wednesday’s entry) and set aside. Cook four large chicken breasts and dice them into small bits. Set aside three of the breasts for tomorrow’s dinner. Saute several sliced red and green peppers, a sliced red onion, some Greek olives, and some crushed garlic with olive oil until the onions are transparent. Scatter the chicken over the polenta, then arrange the onions mixture over that. Add crumbled feta cheese on top. Serve with a green salad or some steamed broccoli.

Thursday: Burrito Bowls. Mix the chicken left over from last night’s dinner with 1/2 cup of salsa and some fresh chopped cilantro. Cook 2 cups of rice according to package directions, toss the cooked rice with some finely chopped cilantro and a little lime juice. Drain a can (or two) of black beans and season them with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of chili powder. For each bowl, layer lettuce, rice, black beans, chicken, chopped tomatoes, salsa, sour cream (dairy or non dairy) and a dollop of guacamole. Serve with warm corn chips (Mission brand is GF…also check your salsa for gluten! We use Pace, but always check first. IMO is a good gluten free sour cream substitute, and McCormick spices always list gluten…the chili power is GF).

Friday: Quinoa salad and GF bread with hummus. Cook a package of Quinoa according to package directions. Chop a container of grape tomatoes, a cucumber (seeded), a can of artichoke hearts, and a red onion (very small pieces). Toss the cooked grain with olive oil, crushed garlic, and balsamic vinegar, add the vegetables and toss again. Serve with toasted gluten free bread (Glutano Bagels are great) with some hummus (Sabra brand is good). Quinoa is a gluten free grain that is very good for you, I used to make a couscous salad like this and was missing it…the Quinoa is different, but good!

Saturday: Chicken and rice with vegetables. Grill some chicken breasts, and cook brown rice in chicken broth with garlic, salt and pepper, parsley flakes, and a little gluten free poultry seasoning. Serve with vegetables…steamed broccoli or kale would be nice.

Sunday: Paprika Beef and gluten free noodles. I used this recipe and omitted the shorting (just cook the beef in a little olive oil), and used gluten free flour rather than regular flour. Be careful with mustard powder, as some does contain gluten! I ended up using prepared mustard (added a tablespoon or so) because I didn’t have any ‘safe’ mustard powder. Serve over gluten free noodles (Tinkanya) with a big green salad.


This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

It’s not Monday, but maybe you can stash this week’s menu away for next week! We had leftover lamb from the Passover, but I put the roasted leg of lamb in this week as Monday’s meal since I use leftovers twice this week. Leftovers doesn’t really do it justice…we only have lamb once a year, but we sure have enjoyed it!

Monday: Roasted leg of lamb, asparagus and pepper salad, roasted red potatoes. See the Seder Menu for recipes. I also ended up making a regular basil pesto with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday: Lamb Pesto Pasta with asparagus. Prepare one package of gluten free fettucini noodles according to the package. Toss with both the mint and basil leftover pestos. Chop some lamb meat into small squares and chop the leftover asparagus and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Toss the lamb and asparagus with the noodles and pesto, and add a little more grated Parmesan cheese on top. We had steamed artichokes with this meal…mmmmm!

Wednesday: Split pea and ham soup. Six cups of chicken broth (I made ours with Better than Bullion, although we usually use Pacific brand. Both are GF), one package of organic split peas, one package of gluten free ham chunks (Bar S), about a cup of chopped carrots, and one minced onion. Throw it all in a pot and cook until the peas are mushy…I cooked mine for a couple of hours on low but you can use a higher temp and accomplish the same thing in less time. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of garlic powder and serve with fresh fruit, vegetables, or a salad.

Thursday: Hamburgers and fries. Not the most healthy meal ever….but we have some 100% beef patties in the freezer and the kids have been wanting burgers! You can make home fries by slicing potatoes, tossing them with olive oil and salt (or seasoning salt…check for gluten), and baking them at 400 until they are brown. Or use frozen fries…but check for gluten first! We’ll serve our with steamed Kale.

Friday: Lamb and bean stew. I froze the rest of the lamb (on the bone) and some leftover chopped meat along with quite a bit of broth. I’ll put some Great Northern Beans (white beans) out to soak over night and take the lamb out of the freezer the night before so it can thaw in the fridge. Put the lamb (bone and all) and the broth in a large pot. Add a large can of chopped tomatoes, two cups of red wine, and additional liquid if needed into the pot and let it simmer most of the day. About 2 hours before dinner, put in the soaked beans and a chopped onion, plus several cloves of crushed garlic. About half an hour before dinner, pull the meat off the bone and chop up any large pieces (toss the bone). Return to the pot and simmer. Add a chopped zucchini and a chopped yellow squash about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a gluten free bread (toasted bagels come to mind…Glutano and Kinnikinnik make good bagels) and a tossed salad.

Saturday: Ham fried rice, chicken salad rolls. The Chicken Rolls are rice paper (gluten free) wrappers, soaked in water and stuffed with chopped boiled chicken, lightly cooked (crisp-tender) red cabbage, scallions, and soaked mung bean noodles (also gluten free!). Serve with a sauce made of GF chili sauce, creamy peanut butter, GF soy sauce, and a bit of rice vinegar.

Sunday: Barbecued chicken breasts, steamed Kale, baked potatoes. Kraft is good about marking anything that has gluten, most of their barbecue sauces are safe (but always read the label first!)


Seder Supper…This is the Passover Festival!

Seder Supper…This is the Passover Festival!

Our Christian Haggadah with Bible and herbs

One of my favorite celebrations is the Passover. As a Christian, I guess it may be a little unusual for this to be as big a part of my life as it is…but I find so much of Jesus in this celebration that it never fails to move my soul.

We celebrate a messianic passover Seder, prepared by Jewish followers of Christ. It blends the traditional Jewish Seder with the ways that Christ fulfilled this celebration, and it gives you an amazing picture of how God planned our salvation from the very beginning of time. The fulfillment of customs and laws thousands of years old shows itself beautifully in the little details that might otherwise be missed. Those detailed laws about how to practice the Passover found in the book of Exodus? Each one speaks a beautiful message of completion in the presence of the Messiah. I think of the day, two thousand years ago, when Christ himself sat at the Seder…the last supper. Did the whole world feel a little different that night, when he lifted the bread and drank from the cup?

I will write more about the Seder this week. I’m eager to share thoughts on this, as it’s a beautiful tradition that has blessed our family for years. In the meantime, I’m preparing…sweeping the house clean from top to bottom (is this where the Spring cleaning tradition came from?). Planning a menu for dinner for 19, with gluten free options. Thinking, praying, and embracing the beauty of Holy Week, the life of the Messiah and the fulfillment of God’s Word (I find myself wanting to write it G-d this week).

If anyone reading this has never done a Seder, this would be a great year to start! This year, Passover starts on Thursday…the day before Good Friday, the day that Christ himself sat at his last supper–the Passover meal that brought about the completeness of God’s plan. The sacrificial lamb, God-made-flesh, whose death and Resurrection made it possible for our sins to be passed over.

Here are some resources for you, I am not an expert by any means on the Seder and I have a lot to learn myself on the subject…but these are a good place to start. If it’s too much to do an entire Seder this year, perhaps you could do some small part of the tradition as a reminder…lamb for dinner, a glass of wine, a moment of thanks for all the Lord has done…for the things that have passed over you, the blessings you’ve been given.

A Christian Haggadah (print this out and use it as a guide, you can give each guest a copy and read it aloud during dinner)

Passover meal plans for our house this year (with Gluten Free additions):

Stuffed mushrooms
(not Kosher to eat these with the lamb, but OK in our house…or you can use the dairy free alternative if you want)

Roasted eggs (boil eggs, peel them and roast them until browned).

Parsley (the ‘green vegetable’), Horseradish (bitter herbs), Charoset (apple and nut mixture that reminds us of the mortar the Hebrews used while slaves in Egypt), and Matzah (flat bread that is pierced, find a gluten free substitute here…it looks like a smaller, rectangular matzah bread. If you are being strict about following custom, however, be aware that the gluten free crackers do contain leaven).

Garlic-studded lamb roast with mint pesto

Roasted red potatoes with rosemary

Roasted asparagus and yellow pepper salad (we will be omitting the almonds and Parmesan cheese, due to allergy issues, and rather than large yellow peppers I’ll use the small red, yellow and orange kind).

Passover Lemon Cake…I found this recipe on a fellow blogger’s site (from Montana, no less!). I will be substituting Sawyer’s gluten-free flour mix for the matzah meal…or you can use 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 2/3 cup rice flour plus 3 tsp. xanthan gum instead).

and if I get really ambitious…

Mango Almond Macaroon Torte.
I made this last year, and it was wonderful! I substituted rice flour for the matzah meal, and of course hubby can’t eat it due to the nuts. However, he hates mangoes…so he didn’t want it anyway! It wasn’t as hard as it sounded to prepare.

Shalom, and happy Holy Week! Please email me or leave a comment if you have questions, or if you have some Seder hints and recipes to share. Maybe you’ve posted on Christianity’s Jewish roots? I’d love to link to you!

Related Posts:
Just found Ann Voskamp’s Seder menu….she has some beautiful posts on Passover as well. No one can say it as beautifully as Ann!

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Gluten Free, Soy Free Snacks…how to feed an allergic toddler

Gluten Free, Soy Free Snacks…how to feed an allergic toddler

My friend LL Barkat’s very talented 11 year old daughter drew this cartoon, and by coincidence LL published it on her Seedlings in Stone blog this morning. Isn’t it perfect? Thanks to LL and Sara for brightening my day!

A friend of mine just found out that her toddler is allergic to wheat, soy and almonds. Ouch. There’s nothing like having to re-vamp your entire diet, this I know from experience! Those first few months are difficult, because you quickly discover that allergens are in everything, particularly in the foods that toddler enjoy most!

But you get used to it, and in many ways having food sensitivities has been a blessing to our family. We eat much better now, we read the labels on every food product that comes into our house (an enlightening process which I highly recommend to everyone…you’ll be shocked at what’s in so many processed foods!). We cook most things from scratch now, and I have learned to plan meals and shopping ahead to make sure we’ve got meals and snacks in the house that everyone can eat.

In our family, we’re dealing with Gluten (wheat, barley, and rye), dairy, nut, coconut, and raw tomato allergies or intolerances. We used to have to watch soy, too, but that seems to have gone away (praise God!). It sounds awful, but it’s not really as bad as you’d think. You just have to learn to work around things!

Cooking gluten free is something that takes a little time to learn, but once you do it’s really not much harder than cooking with regular flour. But those first few weeks when you’re wondering what on earth to feed your kid…and everything you look at seems to have at least one allergen on the label…are really tough. Here are a few products that we have tried that are great quick snacks or basic kid-friendly foods to get you started. You can find them in a local health-food market (Whole Foods is a good bet), and many of them may be found in a regular grocery store. If your favorite grocery doesn’t carry something you like, ask a manager if they can start stocking the food for you. We’ve done that, and our local grocery store now carries some products that we used to have to drive elsewhere to buy!

One thing I want to add before continuing is always check the label. Sometimes companies change ingredients, and something that was safe last week isn’t OK to eat anymore. I’ve fallen into that trap more than once! So I’ve just gotten into the habit of reading it before it goes in the cart.

I have meal plans available for gluten free dinners here, and if you want some recipes for cakes, cookies, etc. try here.

Without further ado….a list of gluten, soy and tree nut free snacks and meals:

A few “normal” snacks that are naturally allergen free:

Jet-Puffed Marshmallows
Rice Chex cereal (we use these for bread crumbs in recipes, too…just pulverize them in a food processor)
Philadelphia cream cheese (check label on anything but the plain kind)
Boar’s Head meat products
All natural peanut butter
Bits of all natural cheese (check the lable)
Rice crispy treats made with puffed rice (just rice…check cereals for soy. You can get plain puffed rice or Millet in a bag without additives, and they make good treats), butter, and marshmallows. We like to add some peanut butter, too!

Some allergy free products (look online at for these):

(the allergy free shop allows you to choose which allergens you need to avoid…a great resource for shopping or just for getting ideas!)

Glutano crackers. Taste like a Ritz! Great with peanut butter, cheese and meat, peanut butter with slices of fruit, cream cheese with meat or fruit. You can make a lunch for a child with the above suggestions plus some fruits and vegetables.

Puffed amaranth hot cereal. Sort of like instant oatmeal, just add hot water and (I suggest) some brown sugar or maple syrup, maybe a few raisins or sliced banana.

PerkyO’s cereal. A Cherrios alternative made from bean flour…also very high in protein.

Ian’s (a great allergy free brand!) french toast sticks. These are wonderful for when you make a nice breakfast for the family and don’t want your allergic child to miss out…heat them up and serve them with pure maple syrup, real whipped cream, or fruit.

Donuts by Kinniknnik! Mmmm. They are expensive and you have to keep them frozen, but they taste a lot like a regular donut. Cut them up into bite-sized pieces for a fun toddler snack.

Wylde Pretzels are great. They taste like a regular pretzel and are great for traveling in the car or in a diaper bag. Serve them as a snack with cream cheese or peanut butter for dipping.

Corn Thins make a great grilled cheese sandwich. Spread butter on one side, place a slice of cheese on top (and maybe even some soy free lunch meat) and place another buttered thin on top. Grill like you’d grill a regular sandwich.

Ener-G dinner rolls and hot dog buns are great. I’m not a huge fan of their breads, but they are soy free (my favorite brand of gluten free bread is not soy free, sadly). These are best toasted. I often slice buns into 3 or 4 thin slices, and use them instead of sandwich bread! The buns somehow just taste better and are softer than the breads. Great for hamburgers, PB&J’s, sloppy joe’s, pulled pork and whatever else you might want to eat on bread.

Tinkyada pasta. This is my all time favorite gluten free product. Also soy and dairy free! This tastes the most like regular pasta (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of pastas!). It comes in just about any shape you’d need, including lasagna noodles and some very cute pasta shapes that are great for kid’s mac and cheese or casseroles. Cook them just like you’d cook regular pasta. It can pass for “normal” pasta, so you can serve this to the whole family without complaints (although it’s much more pricey than regular pasta). Use this along with….

Velveeta cheese! Ok, not my very favorite and “cheese” probably isn’t the right word for it. But there are some things you just need Velveeta with! Cook up some of the noodles above, and then make a sauce with velveeta and milk. Yummy, kid-friendly mac and cheese, just about as quickly as you could make it out of a box! Make a big batch and then keep it in the fridge, leftovers make great lunches. If you can get away with it, add peas or broccoli bits and maybe some chopped chicken or soy-free ham (Boar’s Head is always grain and soy free).

Ian’s brand again…these fries are yummy and so cute. They are more expensive than regular frozen fries, so consider making a big batch of regular fries and doing these on a separate tray. Due to the cute shape, you’ll be able to tell which fries are OK for your allergic child to eat, and it’s not a bad thing for the child with allergies to get something special once in a while.

And more praises for Ian’s….”Nuke-able” meals, allergy free! Here’s one favorite…the chicken nugget meal. They also sell chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and mini corn dogs (along with a few more complete meals like the one to the right). These are wonderful for quick meals when a babysitter is coming over, or if you’re sending your child to spend the night with relatives who may not be good at understanding what he or she can and cannot eat. I buy regular microwave meals for the other kids and an Ian’s meal for the one who’s allergic.

Kinnikinnik Pizza crusts are great. Use a little tomato sauce, some cheese, and whatever else your child likes on pizza (be cautious with the pepperoni, make sure you read the label because processed meats are notorious for having soy). You can even pre-make pizzas and them freeze them for later, so that if your family is eating frozen pizza or wants to order out, you have something on hand for the allergic child. Yea for pizza!

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This Week’s Gluten Free Menu (on a shoestring)

Here’s this week’s menu….if you’ve noticed that the recipes aren’t quite as exciting as they used it be, it’s mostly because we’re really trying to budget our grocery money. So…lots of rice, beans, lentils, and things to fill in. We’re also trying to cut back the amount of meat we eat, so I’m trying to throw in more vegetables wherever I can. I do have some recipes for baked goods I’d like to share, so hopefully I’ll get it together and post a few of those soon!

Monday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with black beans, salad, and fries. Toss a pork or beef roast into a crock pot, add a bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce plus about 1/3 of a second bottle. Cook all day on low. Half an hour before dinner, throw in one or two cans of rinsed black beans and pull the meat apart, stir well to combine all ingredients. Cook another 1/2 hour. Serve with gluten free buns (I’m loving the Ener-G “Seattle” hamburger buns…they taste like whole wheat!).

Tuesday: Chicken and vegetables, brown rice. Put two large whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) into a large oven-safe pot. Cover with two cans of diced tomatoes with the liquid, several cloves of garlic, and a chopped onion. Bake, covered, at 350 until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Add 2 cups lentils (add water, broth or wine if you need to) and let cook 1/2 hour. Add a chopped bell pepper, a chopped banana squash, and a couple of small chopped zucchini and let cook another 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Serve over brown rice.

Wednesday: Leftovers and Mac and Cheese. I’ll serve leftovers for those who can’t have milk, and make mac and cheese with rice noodles, Velveeta, a little milk and butter and some grated cheddar cheese. I’ll also serve a green salad.

Thursday: Baked chicken, brown rice, and beets and kale. Put several chicken breasts in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, pepper, and rosemary and thyme. Bake until a meat thermometer reads at least 165. Thinly slice peeled beets, and wash and trim kale. Cook the beets in a drizzle of olive oil until tender, add kale and cook until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Friday: Chicketti and salad. This is a simplified version of a family favorite, from the wonderful cookbook my step-mom compiled of her recipes (a priceless book in our family!). Cook 3 chicken thighs in a pot of chicken broth, take out and set aside. Add celery and thinly sliced carrots and a diced onion to broth, plus a little poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, cook until the vegetables are tender. Add a can of sliced olives, and a pound of gluten free spaghetti and cook until the pasta is done (broth should be almost all absorbed), shred chicken and toss with the noodles, add a cup of grated cheese (I’ll take some out for the dairy free folk before doing this) and toss again. If anyone wants exact measurements, email me or leave a comment…I do this recipe from memory now and never really measure anymore!

Saturday: Hamburger Pizza, salad. Prepare gluten free pizza crust and bake while you cook a pound of hamburger or ground turkey. Layer sauce, ground beef or turkey, red onion, mushrooms, green pepper, olives, cheese…whatever you’d like…on the crust and bake again until the cheese is melted and bubbly. We always end up doing some pizza with cheese, some without, and some with cheese but no sauce.

Sunday: Gluten free eggplant Parmesan and marinara, green salad. Peel and slice an eggplant. Pulse a few cups of Rice Chex cereal in the food processor, with some garlic salt, oregano, basil, black pepper and thyme. Beat two eggs in a shallow bowl. Dip the eggplant into the egg and then in the crumbs. Fry the slices on a griddle with a little olive oil until they are crisp and brown on the outside, then layer them in a baking dish (or two) and place a slice of provolone or soy cheese on each piece. Cover the eggplant and cheese with marinara sauce (I make my own with a couple of large cans of tomato sauce, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, basil, oregano and thyme….you can throw a few grated carrots and some grated zucchini in the sauce and let it cook for several hours on low, and so far nobody’s noticed the vegetables!). Serve on a bed of gluten free noodles with extra sauce and a side salad.

Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup, bread, and salad. There is a nasty virus going around our church, and since many of my friends work in Children’s Ministry (a hotbed of viral fun) I know two families who are sick. I’m making a tankard of chicken noodle soup today for our family and for two others, and even though everyone under this roof is blessedly healthy soup just sounds good! For each pot of soup you need one box of gluten free chicken stock, three chicken thighs (bone-in is fine), three carrots, four stalks celery, one small minced onion, two cloves of garlic, salt, poultry seasoning, and 1/2 package of gluten free noodles (we like Tinkyana pasta, the type with the fun shapes is cheerful and fun). You put the stock in a large pot, add the chicken, garlic and onion and boil until the chicken is cooked through. Take out the chicken and pull it off the bone, chopping it into small pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and discard the bones. Add the sliced carrot and celery and the seasonings and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Then add the noodles and cook until they are done (I usually add them, wait five minutes, then turn off the pot and let them sit another 10 or so).

Tuesday: Meatloaf burgers and home fries, salad. Meatloaf burgers are a good way to save money and stretch your hamburger meat. I add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice to one pound ground beef and stir well. Add 3 eggs and one package of Lipton Onion Soup mix (gluten free! Yea!). Mix well, then form into patties and cook on the stove top until done throughout. Serve on gluten free buns or wrapped in a lettuce leaf, or just serve the patty like a slice of meatloaf! For the fries, I cut up about 1 potato each and toss with olive oil and sea salt. Bake at 450 until crisp and brown.

Wednesday: Tacos. I mix a pound of ground beef with a can of drained, rinsed black beans (there’s the meat-stretching bit again!). Add 1/2 cup salsa, 3 tsp. chili powder, and some garlic salt and cook until done. Serve with corn taco shells, or rice tortillas with avocado, salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, and whatever else you like!

Thursday: Beef Stir Fry and Ham Fried Rice. Make a big pot of rice, and take out 2/3 of the rice for ham fried rice. Throw in ham, lots of peas, and a chopped onion and drizzle olive oil over it all. When it is hot, add 2 or 3 beaten eggs mixed with soy sauce and stir well. Let the rice get browned and the egg cook through. The stir fry will just be sliced beef, water chestnuts, a bag of oriental vegetables (check the label for gluten!) and a sauce of soy sauce, beef or chicken broth, a bit of ginger and some garlic. Check your soy sauce for gluten, most brands DO have gluten! Serve the stir fry with the rice you reserved.

Friday: Cassoulet and braised Brussels sprouts. For Cassoulet, click here and see Thursday’s entry. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and braise them in chicken broth and garlic until browned and tender.

Saturday: Steak with baked potato, beats and kale.

Sunday: Burritos. Refried beans mixed with cooked rice, avocado, lettuce, tomato, salsa, non-dairy sour cream, lettuce, olives, and whatever else sounds good. I like to use a rice tortilla, put the beans on top and cook it in a pan until the tortilla is crisp. Then I add the toppings and fold it in half. Yum!


Microwave Carmel Corn

Microwave Carmel Corn

Our dear friends always make wonderful carmel corn for small group meetings, and I finally thought to ask for the recipe! This is by far the easiest carmel corn recipe I’ve ever seen, and it really tastes great. We made some last night, and I wanted to share! It’s pretty allergen free, as long as you can have corn. Here it is:

Pop 1 cup popcorn and put it into a large paper bag.

In a microwave safe bowl combine:

3/4 cup butter or butter substitute (we used the substitute, and it was great!)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/8 cup karo syrup
3/4 tsp. salt

Microwave it all until boiling (2 minutes, stir, 2 minutes., stir, 1 minute).

Then microwave for 2 minutes more on high. Take it out, and stir in 3/4 tsp. baking soda. The mixture will get bubbly and lighten.

Drizzle the mixture over the popped corn, stirring to coat. Roll down the top of the bag and shake well, then microwave in bag for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir or shake again, return the bag to the microwave and nuke it for another 1 1/2 minutes. Cut open the bag carefully, and spread the corn out on the bag to cool. Store in a tightly covered container.

You could add peanuts to this and make a great cracker-jack type snack!

This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

Monday: Corned Beef and Cabbage, gluten free corn bread. Check the corned beef, I have yet to run into one that has gluten but it’s possible. I put the corned beef in a big covered casserole and cover it with water. Then bake it for about an hour. Then I take the whole thing out of the oven, add about five potatoes sliced in 1/2 inch thick rings, a sliced onion, and several carrots. Put it on the stove top and bring to a boil, cooking for an hour and 15 minutes. Skim the fat off the top. Then, add a thinly sliced cabbage and cook for 10 or 15 more minutes (until the cabbage is done). Take the beef out of the soup and slice it into thin slices, then serve the vegetables and broth in bowls with the beef slices on top, and corn bread on the side.

Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie, green salad. Follow this link to find the recipe (see Thursday’s dinner).

Wednesday: Corned Beef Soup. Same thing as Monday, but cut the beef up into little bits and mix it in with the vegetables.

I will put a large bag of red kidney beans and a small bag of pinto beans out to soak overnight, for the next few meals.

Thursday: Red Beans and Rice. Rinse the soaked beans. Put the pintos and some of the kidney beans in the fridge for later. Put most of the kidney beans in a crock pot and cover them with water, add one chopped onion, five or six cloves of garlic, a couple of teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, some salt, and a chopped Kielbasa sausage (Hilshire Farms is GF). Cook on low all day. Serve with cooked brown rice and a salad. This is especially good with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, which is happily gluten free!

Friday: Chili and salad. Cook a pound of ground beef in a large casserole or the crockery part of a crock pot. Add a chopped onion, some minced garlic, the rest of the soaked beans, a large can of chopped tomatoes and two medium cans of tomato sauce. Stir in some chili powder and two teaspoons of cumin. Put the casserole in the oven and cook on a low temperature all day, or cook in the crock pot all day on low.

Saturday: Leftovers! Put everything you have left over from the week out along with a green salad, some fruit, and maybe (if you’re low on leftovers) some things to make a sandwich. Let everyone choose what they want and load up their own plates!

Sunday: Pot roast with vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed kale and chard. Place one sliced onion, several sliced potatoes, and several cut carrots on the bottom of a large casserole or crock pot. Peel five or six cloves of fresh garlic and cut into strips. Poke holes in the roast with a knife and stick the garlic spears into the roast. Salt and pepper the meat, then place it on top of the vegetables. Cook on low until the roast reaches the desired temperature (or cook in the crock pot all day on low). For the garlic potatoes, boil several pound of potatoes and 6 to 8 whole cloves of garlic until they are tender (I use two potatoes per person as a general rule, because we like leftovers). Drain the potatoes and garlic and mash them in a mixer with 1/2 a stick of butter substitute, salt, pepper and a little milk substitute if they are too thick. We have been enjoying kale and Swiss chard, just wash the greens and stems well, then slice into thin strips. Cook in a big skillet until the greens are tender and wilted with a drizzle of olive oil, several cloves of crushed garlic, and a little sea salt. Save the cooked vegetables and leftover meat to make a stew or soup for tomorrow’s dinner!


This Week’s Gluten Free Menu

I’m going to try to do as little grocery shopping this week as possible, so the dinner menu might be a little odd.

Monday: Chicken, Swiss Chard cooked in butter and garlic (something new!), cooked carrots and brown rice.

Tuesday: Chili, gluten free corn bread, and a salad.

Wednesday: Leftover Chili on baked potatoes with broccoli, cheese and sour cream. Served with a side salad.

Thursday: Ham fried rice with vegetables and chicken-cucumber salad. The fried rice is made with a whole lot of cooked white and brown rice (the kids love leftovers for lunch). Put the rice in a very large skillet, and drizzle olive oil over it. Stir over medium heat until hot, then add about 1/2 package of diced ham (Bar S is gluten free and pre-diced). Then I put peas, carrots, onion, shredded red cabbage, water chestnuts, and sometimes finely chopped broccoli in with everything. In a bowl, beat together four eggs, about 1/2 cup of Gluten Free soy sauce (you may want more depending on how much rice you’re using…La Choy has a GF soy sauce, most have wheat so do check), a dash of ginger and a couple of dashes of sesame oil if you have it. Drizzle this over the rice and stir well, then let the rice cook for several minutes, stir, wait several minutes and stir again until the egg is completely cooked and distributed throughout the rice. I serve this with gluten free sweet chili sauce (A Taste of Thai brand is GF) on the side. The chicken-cucumber salad is 2 or 3 cucumbers cut into sticks, 2 small cold boiled chicken breasts cut into strips, green onion cut into strips all mixed with a peanut sauce. I make mine with about a cup of creamy organic peanut butter (no sugar added), a tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce, and 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce. Stir it all up together, then add water a little bit at a time until you have the desired consistency. Toss with the cucumber and chicken mixture until it’s coated and serve chilled.

Friday: Tacos. I’ll cook a pound of ground beef with a chopped onion and a can of black beans and a can of corn, seasoned with 1/2 cup salsa and some chili powder, salt and pepper. Serve with crispy corn taco shells (many brands are gluten free!) and lettuce, onion, olives, tomato, avocado, salsa and non dairy sour cream. I usually put corn chips out and Hubby and I have a taco salad rather than regular tacos.

Saturday: Leftovers and Mexican Fritatta. I’ll put out whatever we’ve got left over, and for those who are interested (read: grown ups) we’ll do fritattas. I like to do mine in a large cast iron skillet. I use 4 eggs, beaten well with (and I know this sounds weird) a tablespoon or so of Lighthouse blue cheese dressing or Ranch and a little milk. If you’re dairy free, you can omit this and use soy or rice milk instead. I may add a dash of chili powder. Then, pour the egg mixture into the well-oiled skillet and drop leftover taco meat, tomatoes, onion and olives on top. You could sprinkle some cheese over it as well. Cook at 350 until the egg is set, then fold it over once and cut in half. Serve with salsa and avocado slices. This serves two adults as a dinner or could be sliced into wedges and eaten with other leftovers.

Sunday: Pork chops, cabbage, and potatoes. I very rarely eat pork, but we have several frozen chops that need to be eaten. I’ll slice them thinly, toss with a bit of olive oil and some garlic, and saute them. My family loves red cabbage, the kids think it’s wonderful! I slice a head of red cabbage into very thin strips, break the strips up, and toss them in a large skillet (I’ll use the same one I cooked the pork in, just put the pork in the oven on a low temp in a covered dish to keep it warm). Add a thinly sliced onion, and several cloves of minced garlic. Drizzle olive oil over everything and then cook, stirring constantly, until the cabbage is crisp-tender. Add sea salt and white pepper to taste. Serve with small baked potatoes.

Something Fun…Popcorn Earth Balls

Something Fun…Popcorn Earth Balls

The girls and I found a fun project to do together…Earth Popcorn balls. I was writing a Sunday School lesson and came across this little blessing, in the book “Food Fun Devotions for Children’s Ministry” by Dennis & Lana McLaughlin. The lesson is on Creation, but you could make these popcorn balls for a homeschool geography, astronomy, or a Bible lesson!

We only had a short time to try making the snack, so we didn’t do the blue and green food coloring and model an earth. I’m kind of glad that we didn’t, though, because I think we’ll adapt the project and make a pop-corn ball solar system for a homeschool project! I’m thinking you could also roll the sticky balls in decorating sugar to give them color (a sparkly yellow sun comes to mind).

At any rate, this was just too fun not to share! I’ll post the homeschool project later, but if you’re like us you may be experiencing some cabin fever at your house, and it’s always great to fight that with a fun project!

You’ll Need:
2/3 cups of popcorn (or two packages of microwave popcorn…we like the plain since it’s not greasy)
Cooking Oil Spray
1 10 oz package marshmallows, or 4 cups of mini marshmallows.
1/4 cup butter
food coloring (or decorating sugar)

You’ll Do:
Did you know you can pop popcorn in the microwave…in a lunch bag?!? This was just about the most exciting discovery we’ve made all month. Just get a brown paper lunch bag, put in 1/3 a cup of popcorn, turn down the open part of the bag several times, and pop for 2 to 3 minutes (listen carefully for the popping to slow down, because it burns fast!). It works like a charm! Popcorn with no additives, in minutes! Or if you’re using the store-bought microwave popcorn, just follow the directions on the bag. Spray a large bowl with the cooking oil spray, put the popped corn in the prepared bowl. Melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave, for two minutes…check and stir after one minute. For Earth Balls, prepare a separate bowl and put 1/3 of the popped corn in the other bowl. Separate 1/3 of the melted marshmallow mixture into a different bowl and mix a few drops of green food coloring in it. Pour the green mixture into the bowl with the smaller amount of popcorn and stir well, until the popcorn is coated. Repeat this with the other popcorn, but mix blue food color into the marshmallows. Have your kids spray their hands with the cooking spray, and use a globe or pictures of the earth to help them model their “worlds” with the blue and green popcorn.

Fun! I’m sorry I don’t have any colorful “world” pictures to show you…but we’ll post again when we do our little Milky Way project. I hope you get to try it…at the very least, the popcorn balls make an easy and fun snack! And, they’re Gluten Free, of course ;o)