Monthly Archives: October 2013

Taste Memories: Oh How I Love Thee Apple Dumplings!

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Finished Apple Dumplings!

Finished Apple Dumplings!

Remember the strawberry shortcake from the spring/summer? Well my mom would always make apple dumplings in the fall. I think she usually served hot dogs with them, but I could care less about the hot dogs. The tender apple incased in a warm buttery crust topped with a cinnamon sugar syrup and either ice cream or plain milk–that was what those wonderful meals were all about.

This was one of the first things that I had to recreate when I went gluten-free/dairy-free about a year ago. Fall is just not fall without at least one serving of apple dumplings. I remember trying to make them the first time after I was married. My mom made a more then slightly labor intensive project look so EASY! The gluten-free version is much easier to handle then the regular version. Now that I’ve got your mouth watering let’s get onto the recipe!

Apple Dumplings

adapted from this post and from Better Homes and Gardens (1950’s edition)

Dumplings

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
4 T coconut crystals (use brown sugar to omit coconut)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t salt
10 T coconut oil or earth balance
12 T milk (can use almond or rice)
2 t baking powder
1 t xanthan gum

Filling

4 apples cored and peeled
4 t earth balance divided
cinnamon sugar

Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg (a little less if you have a strong nutmeg such as Penzey’s sells!)
1 T earth balance

Start by mixing the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan on medium low heat. You want it to warm and reduce a little while you are working on the rest of the dumplings, but not boil or boil over.
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Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the earth balance/coconut oil and mix thoroughly. Mix in the milk until the dough holds together. You may need more or less milk depending on environmental conditions.
Once the dough is ready to go, core and peel the apples.
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Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
Place one section of dough on the counter and using your hands smooth it out until its flat. Place the apple in the center, place 1 t earth balance where the core used to be and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bring the sides of the dough up and around the apple until it’s all wrapped up in a little dough blanket. Place in a greased baking pan and sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar if desired. Repeat with the remaining apples.
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Pour the syrup over the apple dumplings just before placing them in the oven.
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Cook the apple dumplings in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the side goes in easily and the dumplings are light brown. The dumplings could get light brown BEFORE the inside is tender, so make sure to pierce the side to check and make sure the apple is tender.
Serve warm (the best) or cold (still good!) with your favorite milk, whipped cream, or even ice cream. Serves 4-8. 1 apple dumpling is plenty for a full meal with a protein side, for a dessert you might want to cut them in half.
Note: When I used earth balance/rice milk instead of coconut oil/almond milk things got a little sticky. Pay attention to when you are adding milk to try and avoid this or if you still end up with sticky dough use a little brown rice flour to make things manageable.

Menu Plan Monday October 28!

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We had a lovely day yesterday. The weather was absolutely perfect which only happens in this part of Florida approximately 1.79 days per year. There was a high of 75 with a slight breeze–perfect for chili with cornbread and apple dumplings for dessert and for pumpkin carving outside! We had a lovely time.

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap is slow cooker cooking. I have to say that I don’t use mine as much anymore since I stopped eating meat. I will definitely be looking for some new ideas this week! However, we ALWAYS use it for chili. In fact we bought a little baby one last Christmas so that I could have my chili separate from the chili with meat. It tastes so much better when it’s been slow cooked! Another thing I always use my crock pot for is apple butter. It was one of the first things that I started making from scratch to avoid odd ingredients in the store-bought version. It certainly is yummy–even my picky daughter will get a spoon and start eating it.

Finished Apple Dumplings! Check back for a recipe on Wednesday!

Finished Apple Dumplings! Check back for a recipe on Wednesday!

The efforts from our afternoon yesterday!

The efforts from our afternoon yesterday!

This week is the end of the month so I’m trying to use up bits and pieces of food before the start of a new month and to keep within my budget as much as possible. For breakfast this week I’m going to make a double batch of pancakes. I will take some of them to share with my Bible study along with some apple butter and see if I can’t sell some of my extra apple butter to my local friends.

Sunday
Breakfast: Really late and almost nonexistent due to church and trying to get things ready for company–I think I had an unhealthy coffee cake with coffee.
Lunch: (long and extended!) Chili, cornbread
Dinner: Apple dumpling (recipe coming on Wednesday!)

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Chia Seed PuddingPaleo Pancakes
Eggs
Paleo Donuts

Lunch/Dinner:
Leftover Chili
Stir Fry with shrimp (carryover from last week)
Tacos (with mushrooms for me)
Our version of cheese/bacon topped baked potatoes (topped with mushrooms for me), probably with fish
Pizza, salad
Smoothie, Popcorn
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Halloween: Trick or Treat?

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Pumpkin Carving!

Pumpkin Carving!

When I was a wee tad we didn’t celebrate Halloween. The churches we attended didn’t even admit the existence of such a holiday and the most we did was a couple of years we handed out raisins and Chick Tracts. In fact, the first time I dressed up for Halloween was when I was 16 at my first job. The residents at the nursing home enjoyed seeing people dressed up and to be honest I would do almost anything to not have to wear my annoying button up the front white dress uniform. As I got different jobs I dressed up for Halloween there too. It was fun, people enjoyed seeing something different. When I got married it was the same. We would go to bed early (pretty easy when the hubby has to leave the house at 4:30 AM for work) or go out. We would never buy candy or leave the light on for the kids coming around.

Then I had my princess. The first couple of years I had fun getting her a Halloween t-shirt (usually a pumpkin!) and dressing up was about as far as I would go. Then she turned 3. We decided to take her to a fall festival on Halloween night at church and she had a ball. She dressed up as the princess that she always is and of course she was adorable. We left after about an hour as she still had fairly early bedtime and since it was still slightly light out when we got home we decided to go on a walk. And in taking that walk we by default ended up Trick or Treating.

I learned something that night (after I got over the scared that lighting was going to strike me dead!)…Halloween isn’t about the candy, or the dressing up, or the scary parts, or the witches. It’s about community.

You see the princess and I frequently (almost daily) took a walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes with the stroller, sometimes with family, but it was a habit that we delighted in. On those walks we never met a neighbor, not even one. The neighbors we met that Halloween night who offered us candy all recognized us from our walks! They were excited to share candy with the princess, they thought she was adorable and they liked sharing a few minutes with us as we walked around gathering candy. It was like a giant neighborhood block party.

One of my concerns was that my impressible little daughter would be scared by some of the costumes we saw out there. I needn’t have feared. All she talked about all night and almost the 365 days since was how we walked all over and asked people for candy and they gave it to us! “Remember how much fun it was Mommy? When can we do it again?”

So now I know. Halloween is not so scary that I need to hide in my house and not turn any lights on for fear that “they’ll” see me. It’s a community event! Why should Christians miss out connecting with neighbors that they otherwise wouldn’t even see the rest of the year?

Menu Plan Thursday?!

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Things are just crazy around here! We had a fall break this weekend and our routines were all messed up. Better late then never right?

The theme for the GF Menu Swap over at Celiac Family is Mushrooms! Ever since I figured out I can’t really stomach a lot of soy/tofu, mushrooms have been my go to meat replacement. I use them in place of steak or for taco filling and I love how they add just a wonderful yumminess to pizza or eggs. I don’t have plans to have any meals this week starring mushrooms, but they will certainly make it onto my pizza, probably in my spaghetti sauce, and maybe in my stir fry.

Half an omlette with gluten-free toast topped with tomato jam from the farmer's market!

Half an omelette with gluten free toast topped with tomato jam from the farmer’s market!

This week was a donut week again. The princess specifically requested donuts that looked like donuts, so I borrowed some donut pans from my sister. They do have a bit of a different taste when they are shaped like a donut! I also embarked on my fall baking–apple dumplings just like my mom made. Recipe coming up as soon as I have time to get it typed!

Sunday
Breakfast: Leftover omelette from the day before (with mushrooms!)
Lunch: lobster, scallops, baked potato, sliced tomato
Dinner: Popcorn and other snacks

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Waffles, sausages (repeat from last week!)
Buckwheat Granola
Eggs
Paleo Donuts

Lunch/Dinner:
Apple Dumplings
Stir Fry with shrimp
Spaghetti from freezer
Beans and Rice
Avocado Salad
Pizza, salad
Smoothie, Popcorn
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Weird Food: Apples and Mushrooms

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When I first started college I attended the same school as my sister for one year. We did the best we could to have lunch together as often as we could and we frequently packed our lunch to save our poor college pocketbooks! We hung out with a Christian group on campus and sometimes we all met up for lunch in the cafeteria. My sister and I would borrow the microwave to warm up our lunch and the others would get cafeteria food or do something else.

We were quickly labeled as people who ate weird food, particularly one day when we brought a dish of mushrooms and apples we had concocted the night before. We found this just a little bit strange as some of them ate only ketchup mixed with mustard sometimes supplemented with French fries! Here is our “infamous” mushrooms and apples dish!

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Apples and Mushrooms

 
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 large apples, cored, peeled if desired, and cut thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 T coconut sugar
1 T earth balance or coconut oil

Melt the earth balance in the frying pan. Add onions and mushrooms and cook down for a little. Add the apples and cook and until the apples are cooked down. Add the coconut sugar and stir until well mixed. Serve as a side or add some bacon and/or cheese and make it a main dish! Enjoy the “weird” and yummy food!
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Menu Plan Monday October 14!

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Wow! Another week already? Last week went pretty well food wise, although I adjusted a few things some purely by choice. It’s nice to write down ideas for meals and have the ingredients, but then suddenly change your mind and make something different. The Salmon Burgers were one of those things last week!

The theme for the GF Menu Swap over at Angela’s Kitchen is Blog or Cookbook Inspiration! I know most of my menu plans are inspired by things I’ve read. This weekend I just finished reading The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn. While not a strictly gluten-free or dairy-free book it’s a book about how to cook using a template and of course when you know that it makes it easier to cook whatever your preferences/dietary needs! There were so many things that I want to try from that book including Paella Valenciana, roasted chicken (that one will have to wait unfortunately!), simple vinaigrette (I always knew it was easy, but wasn’t ever able to remember the formula before!), vegetable stock, Spicy Shrimp in Saffron Tomato Sauce, Easy Spaghetti Sauce, and Pomodoro (Fresh Tomato Sauce). That should keep me busy for a while! I don’t have any of them on my menus this week, but you will probably see them popping up in the next month.

Leftovers never looked so good!

Leftovers never looked so good!

My cleaning out the fridge dinner: croutons, eggs, asparagus, and zucchini

My cleaning out the fridge dinner: croutons, eggs, asparagus, vegan cheese, and zucchini

This week we’re going to try waffles again. However, this time I’m going to use a tried and true recipe: Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Waffles (using Quinoa flakes for the oatmeal!) I’m also going to try a recipe I found in a magazine for breakfast for dinner this week: Mushroom Cheddar Toast Fritatta

Sunday
Breakfast: Apple Cider Donuts, fruit
Lunch: Steak (mushrooms for me!), sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, asparagus
Dinner: Popcorn and other snacks

Rest of the week:
Breakfasts:
Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Waffles, sausages
Buckwheat Granola
Eggs
Chia Seed Pudding and Apple Chia Seed Jam.

Lunch/Dinner:
Spicy Butternut Squash Nuggets (from Peas and Thank You–webpage no longer available!) or Roasted Butternut Squash SoupVeggie Enchiladas from the freezer!
Grilled Cheese
Breakfast for dinner Mushroom Cheddar Toast Frittata (subbing vegan cheese for the cheddar)
Pizza, salad
Smoothie, Popcorn
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Angela’s Kitchen and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Salmon Burgers

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One day when I was walking through the frozen food section of the grocery store I saw some salmon burgers. I knew the odds were against me that I would be able to eat them, but I checked out the box anyway. Lo and behold they were gluten free! I went on to check the ingredients just to make sure and to my sorrow I saw that they contained Carrageenan, an additive that has bothered my tummy most unpleasantly in the past. I was bummed because although I do have my favorite veggie burgers and I often make them to have in the freezer for emergencies it would have been nice to have something that I could serve the whole family instead of fixing veggie burgers/beef burgers/turkey burgers as is the usual around here.

Today I decided that I would make my own salmon burger, that it would be good, and that my whole family would eat it (I hoped!) And it worked! I present:

Salmon Burger Deluxe

There are several steps to these burgers, but none of the steps are complicated. Just be sure and read through the recipe and gather all your ingredients before beginning.

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Step 1.
Roumalade Sauce
Not completely necessary, but it does go a long way towards making these burgers deluxe!
Make approximately 1 hour before sitting down so the flavors have time to combine in the refrigerator.

3 green onions, chopped finely
2 T pickles, chopped finely
Several dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes garlic powder
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
1 t hot sauce (like Frank’s) or more or less to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup miracle whip

Mix everything together. Taste and adjust the hot sauce as necessary. Remember that while in the fridge the flavors will intensify, so keep that in mind when you are taste testing.

Step 2
2 T chopped onion
4 oz. chopped mushrooms
1 T earth balance
3 dashes liquid smoke

Melt the earth balance in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and liquid smoke. Cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add the mushroom mixture to a bowl. Mix in 8.5 oz chopped salmon fillet, 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs, and 1 egg. Mix until combined.
Shape the mixture into patties and cook in the same skillet you cooked the mushrooms in until each side is browned.
Serve with roumalade sauce. Side suggestions include baked sweet potatoes (put in the oven before you start on the roumalade sauce and they should be done at the same time), sliced tomatoes, or serve the burgers over spinach.