Monthly Archives: December 2008

Pea soup

Not only are the clouds blanketing the whole neighborhood as “thick as pea soup” … I made some too, with the leftover ham from Christmas dinner.

There is no recipe- other than throw it in there and wait an hour. The general idea is to brown a chopped onion in a tablespoon of oil, with 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Then chop up some ham and throw that on in there too to warm up and stew around and get all steamy with the onions. Then I added 4 cups of dried split green peas, covered them with water and tossed in about a cup of chicken broth that was left in the fridge. I know.. I know.. measurements! please!. Sorry. not this recipe. It just seems to figure itself out. I also cubed a large potato and tossed it in. I grated a large carrot into the soup for color – and it cooked so much it disappeared. Great if you are trying to hide carrots in their food I guess.  Not so great, if you are going for some color contrast. Oh well. It’s thick and soupy. And it goes really well with the “wonder bread” shaped and baked like biscuits.

mmmmmm. winter soup and rolls.  Now I need a nap.


New Year’s Resolution

Hmmm…. last year the resolution was to eliminate all High Fuctose Corn Syrup from my pantry- kitchen – life.  It wasn’t easy, took a lot of label reading, but we don’t miss it. AT ALL.  The day I threw out a whole garbage bag full of products was disheartening… but we either found replacements, or have just done without whatever it was.

The weirdest part is that when you get ahold of some food substance that has HFCS in it… it tastes kinda weird. 

So… what to do this year for a NYR? hmmmm…..

.. think think think…. I think the bento box project was the main thing that kept life fun this year amid all it’s distractions…so I will definately continue that. Of course there is the always popular “lose some weight” resolution… but that is sort of a done deal… I think for me, it’s going to be “how can I keep the weight on?”  from now on…. I have the diet thing figured out. I know that I am eating exactly what I am supposed to be eating… so… with some added slight effort… I should lose that next 10 pounds with no worries.

I need to keep thinking about this… good thing I have a few days.

What to do with the leftovers?

Christmas dinner for days. That’s the plan anyway. I think there are enough leftovers to make at least 3 more just “reheat it”  lunches/dinners. How can I reinvent ham and potatoes into other things. hmmmm… lessee….

There is enough at least to make:

  • ham and cheese sandwiches, grilled with lettuce and tomato on top
  • potato soup will morph from the leftover scalloped potatoes somehow- probably with some chicken stock and more onion
  • pea soup…. always a favorite.
  • Cabbage and potatoes is good with sausage – there is some of that too…….
  • the always popular bento box lunch of rice and rolled ham with a side of green beans

This was 10 pound spiral ham and probably 5 pounds of potatoes … and it’s going to last for weeks. (::::sigh:::::) Maybe I should do this more than once a year, and fill the freezer with pea soup. LOL.not.

Note to self: figure out how to make TVdinners that survive the freeze/reheat cycle. What container would work.     hmmmmm, something to figure out this week.  Those 1/2 cup Gladware containers are great for my lunches.. but I need something bigger for other people who troll the freezer  for food.

So if I add a cabbage to what is already in the fridge and cupboards – I can make any of those ideas and not have to buy any other groceries until the new year. Crazy.


Santa’s favorite potatoes

Well, I don’t really know if Santa like potatoes or not… but I think he would like these.  It’s a well loved family recipe from way back that used to be full of things I couldn’t eat. Mostly gluten containing things, and some other weird stuff.

So here’s my new version. Just as yummy, and no gluten, ( and no soy as a bonus).

Santa’s  Potatoes

1 lb of thawed hashbrown potatoes – spread out in a 9 x 13 pan.

Make gravy:

Sautee chopped onion in a little oil, add salt, white pepper and a little bit of poultry seasoning.

Optionally, add a safe boullion cube dissolved in a little chicken stock.

When the onions are done, add in enough rice flour + potato starch to make paste.

Then alternately add rice milk and chicken stock until you achieve “gravy”. 

Whisk in one container of plain Cascade Fresh yogurt (it’s gluten free), then add 1 + 1/2 cups of grated mozzerella cheese into the gravy and pour it over the hashbrowns. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Sprinkle on some crushed rice chex (gluten free)  and more cheese and bake another 10 minutes or until browned.

This is GREAT with ham, it’s good for breakfast too.  I think Santa would approve, but he gets cookies tonight just like usual anyway. He can have some of the potatoes too I guess, if he doesn’t leave a mess in the kitchen.


Holiday Fudge

Yeah. It’s all about the cookies the week before Christmas, I know, I know. But the fudge along side is really more the tradition from the west coast side of the family. Okay, fine. So, how on earth do I make a fudge recipe that starts with “butter”, involves velvetta cheese (more dairy) and marshmallow cream(egg) into a dairy free-wheat-free-gluten-free-egg free-everything free ball of goodness? (And so that it’s good and creamy- just like the butter and marshmallow version I used to make.) How .. oh how?..

Here’s how.  … tah dah! …

In a large bowl combine:

  • 1 C chocolate chips (Enjoy life brand)
  • 1 lb. of powdered sugar (Trader Joes has the one without cornstarch)

Warm in a saucepan:

  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • 2 T palm shortening
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet rice flour

Stir until the shortening has melted and the flour is mixed in then add:

  • 1/2 C cocoa powder

and stir until it’s thick. (really thick) Stir in a little more coconut milk if it’s too thick. … Then pour the warm chocolate mixture over into the bowl with the chips and sugar. Stir until smoooooooooth and creamy. 

I also added about 1 tsp of vanilla at the end of the stirring process. Then I put it all in the fridge for a while to chill out. ha. I used an 8 x 8 pan, slightly oiled with my fancy spray oil bottle that I can put any kind of oil I want to into it.

Refrigerate until chilled. Slice into cubes and serve.

Sweet. No dairy, no gluten, no egg.. and tastes great!  : ) So, it’s sort of like frosting… thicker, but not as sweet. Hmmm.. with a pound of sugar, you would think that it would be sweeter… hmmmm .. oh well. I may try it next time with 1/2 powdered sugar and 1/2 baker’s fine sugar.

Ahh… the holiday stress level just got lower. Now we have candy. Ahhhhhh.candy cane


Cranberry Holiday

One thing in the last 40 years has remained constant for the holidayseason.  Cranberry bread. With chunks of real cranberries and a taste of orange… it’s delicious enough to give as presents to the neighbors.  The challenge of making it gluten free so that I can continue the tradition? – not much fun to have to convert the recipe… but it still tastes great. Just like always.

Cranberries were grown in mass quantities very near to where I grew up, so I know that there are a million and one ways to use cranberries. Most recipes use canned cranberry sauce, this one uses fresh berries.

This is one delicious result of trying to get rid of extra cranberries.

Cranberry Bread

  • 1 C chopped fresh cranberries // or Craisins if you must //
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 egg (replaced with 1 T flax meal and 3 T hot water)
  • 3/4 C orange juice
  • 2 C GF flour mix  //I used 1 C brown rice flour and 1/3 C sweet rice flour, and 2/3 C potato starch// (1/3 c millet flour, 1/3 C sorghum flour, 2/3 C potato starch, 2 T potato FLOUR, 2/3 C brown rice flour)

Mix batter and fold in chopped cranberries. Spoon into pans. Bake for an hour at 350. Let cool before removing from pan.

(I used tiny loaf pans and baked them for 50 minutes)

These also bake up as yummy muffins just fine. Cupcake size- 23-25 mins. mini-cupcake size 15-18 min –



It’s snowing. I am cold – even with the thermostat up, so I made a vat of chili. Yes, a vat. The reason I cook gallons of soup/chili/spaghetti sauce at a time is because we go through it so fast that it actually is less work to spend all of a Sunday afternoon concocting the mess and freezing it in containers to use later, than to make the recipe 8 times.  Less waste of my time, less continuous cleanup, more instant dinners in the weeks ahead. It’s all good.

Chili for chilly weather .Ha.

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 -16 oz can garbanzo beans -blenderized into paste
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans
  • 3 C cooked lentils
  • 1 lb. ground pork – browned
  • 1 onion – cooked in with the pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Chili powder – to taste –  I used about 1/2 the container this time until it tasted right… I must have bought the wrong kind at the store.
  • water as needed to make it the consistancy that you prefer.

 Blenderize the garbanzo beans into a paste and put it into the vat. (This helps to thicken the chili, as well as hide the fact that I am making them eat  — cue the dramatic music here — garbanzo beans…oh, the horror.) Drain the cans of beans.  Dump them all into the soup kettle. Add the tomatoes too.

Brown the meat and onions. Add that to the kettle. Add spices. Cover and let simmer for at least two hours. Stir the chili every 20 minutes or so to keep it from sticking. This version simmered for about 5 hours. It’s perfect.

Other things that I have been able to blenderize and add to the chili in the past: Green beans, broccoli, carrots, butternutsquash…. just think of all the veggies that they won’t even know they are enjoying… LOL.


Serve with grated cheese and frito scoops.  mmmmmmmm



There are cookbooks and websites to help you put all kinds of extra nutrition into your everyday food. But Christmas cookies? Are you kidding?

Nope. If it looks like a cookie, and tastes like a cookie. Then it must be a cookie. End of story. Well.. almost. I am trying to boost the nutritional rating of EVERYTHING even remotely “foodlike” in this house. If it’s not useful… why are we eating it? And just where is all that recommended level of fiber supposed to come from everyday? Gotta sneak it in everywhere to get that much.

So, today I used some flour for the cookies that has 6g of protein in with the white rice flour that has 0g (that would be ZERO grams) of protein. As well as using flax meal in place of the eggs, there’s some fiber content.      Hmmm.. which cookie do I feel better about eating myself, and letting the kids have all they want to? hmmm.. It’s CHRISTMAS!! let them have cookies!! (even the healthy ones).

Mwah.ha. ha.  It goes something like this…..


Kids: Can we please, please, please,please have some cookies?

Me: .. hmmm… well… oh, alright.


Me: Mwah. ha. ha.


Oh yes. It’s Christmas… let them have all the (healthy) cookies (with protein and fiber) that they want to. LOL


Snowball’s chance

These cookies have a snowball’s chance of lasting more than four minutes in a hot tub. Or, else they are just that good.

They are so good actually, that the first batch didn’t last two hours in the cookie box. candy cane

Yum. The good news is that even gluten-free christmas cookies are not only POSSIBLE, but they are delicious. Who knew?


Mix together:

  • 2/3 cup palm shortening

  • 1/2 cup Powdered sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 2 1/4 cups GF flour mix

  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cups mini chocolate chips

  • 2 T Hot water as needed

Mix the sugar and shortening, add the vanilla and cream all together. Add the xanthan gum, and salt to the potato starch and then mix into the batter. Continue to mix in the flour a little a time with some of the water until you get a good “playdough” consistancy.

Make 1 inch balls of dough. Put them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake them for 15 minutes at 350. Bake them until they are set, but not browned. Immediately after removing them from the oven, roll them in powdered sugar. Let them cool on cooling racks. Then roll them again in the powdered sugar for a nice final coating. So delicious. candy cane


One Stop shopping -Pizza Perfect-

Okay.. the “wonder dough” (see previous recipe) has now been morphed into the best deep dish pizza crust … EVER!. That includes any version of any wheat (**:::shudder:::**)  recipe I have ever tried.  Faster too. This dough is really one stop shopping. I used to have a diffferent recipe for pizza crust, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks and pretzels… voila! it’s now all in one. Love it.

Seriously. Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s the perfect food. It’s all bread-like covered in cheese and/or various toppings.. … mmmmmm. Except this “bread” has no wheat. .. yay! I used potato starch, brown rice flour and sorghum flour for this pizza crust. Which may be a little different than the “wonder dough” original ratios.. but not that different. Just use 1/2 C potato starch and 1/4 C Brown rice flour and 1/4 C sorghum flour for the same delicious experience.

The oven heats up while you mix the dough. (Multi-tasking gets dinner done that much faster)

Pat it into shape with a little extra potato starch to keep it from sticking to your fingers…. ..and…*poof* … it’s dinner. Really fast too.

You can bake it in one pan, or shape it in to pizza circles and bake them separately on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake the dough for about 10 minutes to set it. Then top with sauce and lots of cheese.  Return to oven to finish baking. This took about another 15-20 minutes for the trial run. I was waiting for the cheese to brown a little on the top.

Next time I will TRY to remember to mix in some basil and oregano to the dough before I shape and bake it. Yummy.

The trial pizza was topped with:

  • Full Circle Brand Organic Pasta sauce (it’s GF)
  • a pile of mozzerella cheese (probably about 2 cups if you are counting) .

Mozzerella cheese is about the only cheese we can tolerate. Everything else has wierd stuff in it, like annato (eww) or rennet (double yuck and eww) .. so we go for the vegetarian version of  “cheese enzymes” when shopping for cheese. Your mileage may vary.