Tomatoes Galore

This year Aaron and I decided to plant some veggies along the side of our house. We decided on (or Aaron bought and brought home) tomato, cucumber and zucchini plants. The cucumbers did okay for a while and I maybe got a dozen cucumbers. They were awesome, but now the plants have all shriveled up and died. Not sure what happened there. The zucchini plants took off, but never have really produced very many zucchinis. I think I have picked maybe 6 or 7? I wish there were more. I could eat zucchini for breakfast, lunch & dinner. The tomatoes have completely taken off. I have more than I know what to do with. I plan on learning how to do some canning when I meet my Mom & Step Dad to pick up Jon tomorrow. I would love to make my own marinara sauce this fall & winter. So until I figure out the canning, I wanted to try out a recipe that my sister passed along to me a while back, but I never made. It is called Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes. I asked where she got the recipe and while she isn’t positive, she thought it may have been Southern Living. I had these along with a grilled burger with swiss cheese, mushrooms and roasted red pepper and sweet potato fries (made by Alexia).

Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes

2 firm medium tomatoes
2 TBSP mayonnaise
1 TBSP grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 tsp chopped fresh basil or 1/4 tsp dried basil leaves (I only had dried on-hand & it was great)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1TBSP grated fresh parmesan

1. Heat oven to 350.

2. Core tomatoes. Cut crosswise into 3/4 inch slices. Place in a single layer on rack in broiler pan.

3. Mix mayo, 1 TBSP parmesan, basil & mustard. Spread about 1 tsp mixture over each tomato slice. Sprinkle 1 TBSP parmesan over tomatoes. Bake about 8 minutes until hot.

4. Set oven control to broil. Broil tomatoes with tops 6 inches from heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until topping is golden and bubbly.

**I cut this recipe in half b/c I knew that I was the only one who would eat it and Kelly (sister) didn’t recommend reheating the next day.

These were so very good. I know that I always say everything is great, but I wouldn’t share things I didn’t like. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great use for all of those tomatoes coming out of the garden now. Great dish to serve at a cookout for the upcoming Labor Day weekend!

I am editing to add a note….I made these again for lunch today with fresh basil and it was in a whole different league. Not that it wasn’t yummy last night, but, OMG…..totally TDF today. Go for the fresh basil. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sushi & A Sleepover

Anyone who knows me knows that my darling Hannah, who just turned 6, has not spent the night away from home yet. This is mostly due to me and my anxiety about her being away from me. O.K., it is all due to me. There, I admitted it. I am moving on. So yesterday on the way home from the store it dawned on me that Jon would be staying with my Mom and Step Dad this weekend and we only had Hannah. I thought that now would be as good a time as any for her to spend her first night away from home at Grandma Mary & Grandpa Mack’s house. I knew that G & G Mary & Mack would be thrilled, if they were available, and they were. I said that it needed to take place that night (Friday) before I changed my mind. So Aaron and I made plans to go out to eat and walk around the mall. We decided on Molly Woo’s, a Cameron Mitchell Restaurant here in Columbus. One thing I really like about Cameron Mitchell restaurants is their experience and willingness to accommodate gluten-free diets. I have always had great meals at all of their places.

I picked Hannah up at school, met my Mom & Step Dad at our house to pass off Jon and then packed up Hannah to go to Grandma’s. We dropped her off and I nearly had a heart attack, but nothing that a glass of wine or three couldn’t fix.

We arrived at Molly Woo’s and I decided to have sushi. This was pretty much the first time I was going to eat sushi. I did go with my Dad to Otani when I was a freshman in high school. I had to do a report for Social Studies on sushi, so Dad took me there. I don’t really remember being crazy about it at all. Recently my sister has found a new love in sushi and has begged me to give it a try again. I have been hesitant b/c it is hard enough to eat American food gluten-free, sushi & Japanese food sounded very intimidating. So, if there was any place for me to give sushi a try, a Cameron Mitchell restaurant is the one I felt most comfortable doing so in. There were 4 different kinds of sushi on the GF menu. Spicy Tuna Roll (togarushi & cucumber), California Roll (snow crab, avocado & cucumber), Veggie Roll (have no idea, no description) or Spicy Salmon Roll (cooked salmon, sriracha mayonnaise & cucumber). I chose the Spicy Salmon Roll. Aaron was having no part of the sushi, so I was on my own. I would have loved to try the Spicy Tuna roll too, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it and then it would go to waste. I am going to save that until I go have sushi with my Mom and we can share some dishes. Along with my Spicy Salmon roll I ordered the chicken lettuce wraps (these aren’t offered GF, but the server told me that they would be happy to make them GF for me ~ she brought it up, I didn’t even have to ask, very impressed). My Spicy Salmon Rolls were served with some fresh ginger on the side (to cleanse the palate ~ like I know what I am talking about!) and some wasabi. I can’t have the soy sauce there and they didn’t have a GF option. No biggie. Next time I can bring my La Choy soy sauce with me. Honestly, these rolls were amazing by themselves. No soy sauce was needed. I tried the ginger along with the rolls….OMG…I am SO in love. I see myself having to get carry-out sushi from Molly Woo’s on a semi-regular basis now.

After dinner we walked around the mall and bought Hannah a Camp Rock nightgown at The Disney Store. She loves it!! She had a blast at Grandma & Grandpa’s house! I only called 3 times; twice last night and once this AM on the way to the gym. So, I guess you can look at it this way, I had a glass of wine for each call I made. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A good time was had by all.

Garlic Pork Roast with Parmesan Cheese & Pea Risotto

So my menu plan for the week was derailed once again, but for a good meal. I had planned on making grilled chicken Thursday night, but when pork loin roast was on sale for $1.89/pound, I couldn’t pass it up! I bought a 5.5 pound roast and put half in the crockpot and made pork loin chops out of the rest, froze and will cook next week. I found this crockpot pork recipe this week when browsing through a slow cooker cookbook that Betty Crocker wrote.

Garlic Pork Roast (serves 10)

3.5 pound pork boneless loin roast
1 TBSP vegetable oil (I used EVOO)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium onion (I omitted this b/c my body doesn’t like onions and my family would leave me if I served them anything with visible onions in it)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup chicken broth or water (I used broth; the Great Value brand says “Gluten-free” right on the side)

1. Trim excess fat from pork. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in oil about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with S & P.

2. Place onion & garlic in 3.5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Place pork on onion & garlic. Pour broth over pork.

3. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8 – 10 hours or until pork is tender. I cooked mine just over 8 hours and it was fall apart tender. It would have probably been fine after 6-7 hours.

This was super yummy and everyone liked it!! Another bonus, 1 serving is only 200 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Parmesan & Pea Risotto (This has been modified from Lundberg’s Basic Risotto Recipe)

1 cup Lundberg Arborio White Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4-5 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 cup to 1 cup frozen green peas

Heat EVOO in a heavy, non-stick, 2 quart pot. Add rice and stir rice until grains are coated with oil. Add wine and stir constantly on medium heat until wine is absorbed. Add 1 cup hot broth, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes, adding the remaing liquid, 1 cup at a time. This rice creates its own creamy sauce; add additional liquid if more sauce is desired. Add frozen peas and stir during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately. Yields 3 cups or 5-6 servings.

Everyone loved the risotto except for Hannah b/c she despises frozen peas. She wanted me to exhange her frozen peas for some canned peas. LOL!

I had a bunch of steamed mixed veggies and a salad on the side.

Dark Chocolate & Cherry Brownies

Every year for Christmas my Mom gets me a subscription to a magazine. For the past few years it was Southern Living. This past year she asked if I wanted to continues SL and I decided that I would prefer Cooking Light. I love to browse new recipes and prefer healthy cooking because it really seems to fit best with the gluten-free lifestyle. I have saved every edition and have tried several recipes. This months issue, September 2008, rocks. I have earmarked at least 4 recipes to try. I decided to give the brownie recipe a try today. There were several reasons that this recipe jumped out at me. First, I love chocolate. I haven’t always liked chocolate, but ever since I was pregnant with Hannah, chocolate is #1 in my book. I thought it was just a pregnancy thing, but since she is now 6 years old, obviously that is not the case. Second, the recipe calls for cherry preserves. I love Polaner All Fruit Spreads, especially the black cherry. Third, there are only 155 calories and 5 grams of fat per brownie (ROCK ON). And finally, did I mention that I love chocolate? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, I set out to make these this afternoon. I had all the ingredients on hand, which is odd for me. These were super simple to make and adapt to gluten-free. I used an all-purpose flour mix of rice flour, potato starch (not flour) and tapioca starch. These were amazing. I really can’t put into words how good they are. They are moist and chocolatey. I am not sure why they are called dark chocolate, because there is no dark chocolate added to the recipe. The black cherry preserves add a nice, subtle flavor and definitely help keep the brownies moist. I took a couple pictures. I really meant to take one before I cut the brownies, but was so excited to eat them, I forgot. So, please excuse the messy, cut up pan of brownies. I did manage to get a picture of Hannah’s before she dug into it. Both of the kids ooohed and aahhed over how good they were. Jon had 2 and begged for more, said they were the best brownies he ever had!

Hannah’s serving

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
A little less than 1 tsp of Xanthan Gum (for those making it GF only)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup water
5 TBSP butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 large egg white
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray with PAM (I didn’t have parchment paper, so I just sprayed my pan with PAM; also, I only own an 8 x 8 pan, not a 9-inch square).
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add preserves mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg & egg white; stir until smooth. Stire in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired. Yield: 16 servings. Calories: 155; Fat grams: 5.4.

Perfect way to end the day!

Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping

When I first started to eat gluten-free, grocery shopping became a very tedious, time consuming task. I dreaded it. I compiled a very large 3-ring binder full of foods that were safe for me to eat. I had my list of companies that clearly label gluten, but what about store brands? I typically do all my shopping at Meijer, but occasionally will shop at Wal-Mart, Kroger or Giant Eagle. Meijer has a great list of all of their GF store brand items. It is nice to have the choice of buying the store brand to try and save a little money. One thing that the gluten-free diet isn’t is cheap. Kroger has some great info on the gluten-free diet and their Private Label gluten-free list. They also have a list of available gluten-free specialty items offered in their stores (I am sure that this can vary by store, but you may be able to have them get something specific for your location). They have really come a long way in making it easier to shop at a mainstream grocery store. Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand labels their products now. It is so nice to turn over a package and see “gluten-free” staring right back up at you! It really makes shopping so much less stressful. Giant Eagle does offer some gluten-free specialty products and deli meats. I don’t usually buy meat from the deli due to cross contamination risk. I do occasionally buy some of their specialty items, especially the Chebe bread mixes when I need them.

When I can’t get the specialty items I am looking for in the mainstream grocery stores, I will venture over to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Raisin Rack. Trader Joe’s has a gluten-free list. They have some great pancakes, waffles and pastas. They are nicely priced for gluten-free foods too. Whole Foods has great lists for special diets. Their Whole Foods Bakehouse frozen pie crusts are amazing and even my picky glutenoid relatives were amazed. They are a little on the pricey side, but it is nice to have options out there. Raisin Rack is an amazing store. They have the largest gluten-free specialty food selection in the state of Ohio and some surrounding states. They will order in products upon request (loved the GF Conte’s Ravioli). I am going to work on them for this Rustic Crust pizza crust very soon. I do some shopping online, mostly at for items in bulk. This is where I buy my Pamela’s bread mix and pancake & baking mix. I buy in bulk and signed up for the subscription service. This makes the mixes between $3 and $4/each. Very reasonable and if you are going to be using them a lot, well worth the cost. Also, you always get free shipping when using the subscription service through Amazon.

So, since I started the gluten-free diet 2 and a half years ago, grocery shopping has become much easier and much less stressful. Part of it is the experience, part of it is better availability of products and the growing knowledge and incidence of Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet.

The First Day of School!!!!

12 hours and counting until the 2 children who live in this house are back at school! Hannah is so stinkin’ excited she can barely contain herself. Jon, not so much. He is dreading it and will probably fight going to bed tonight like we have never seen before. Like he can postpone school by not going to bed. I really don’t know what he is trying to accomplish by acting out at bedtime. I mean, come on, he is 12 and knows the program. What, are we all of a sudden going to say “Fine, stay up and skip school!”?

So, being the nice mother that I am, I am going to make sure that my kids start the day off right with a nice, warm breakfast. I made a huge batch of gluten-free pancakes on Monday from Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix. I used milk instead of the water it called for. I let them cool and then froze them in individual serving packets (Jon eats 3 at a sitting). He can then heat them up in the microwave all by himself. Hannah likes these pancakes too, but isn’t a huge breakfast eater. I see her eating a few bites of cereal, drinking some milk and going on her merry way.


Now, I will probably have some of my newfound love, Lara’s GF Oatmeal. I wasn’t a huge oatmeal fan before going gluten-free. In fact, I don’t recall ever eating oatmeal, except for my Mom telling me I ate it as a baby. Well, in my quest to eat healthy, I thought I would give it a try. At the very least I could make granola out of the oats or use them in cookies if I hated the oatmeal in hot cereal form. So, I tried them the other day…WOW…I was impressed. I used 1/4 cup of oats, 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup low-fat milk, 1 tsp brown sugar, dash of vanilla and topped with 1/3 cup blueberries and a sprinkle of walnuts. YUM!! Here is a nice picture to show you what I will be doing again for breakfast tomorrow!

Lara’s GF Oatmeal:

All dressed up with my goodies:

I do need to add that not all people with Celiac disease can tolerate oats. So far I don’t seem to have any issues with it, surprisingly since my stomach is very sensitive. Jon won’t try them, so I don’t know how he would react, as he is the super sensitive one.

So as I drift off to sleep tonight, I will be dreaming of my nice hot breakfast together with my kids on their first day of 1st grade and 7th grade. Sniff, sniff.

Prayers for Collin…..

This post really doesn’t have anything to do with Celiac disease or living gluten-free. This has to do with a sweet little boy who is fighting for his life. His name is Collin. If you pray, if you could please add him to your prayer list, he can use all the prayers he can get. You can read more about Collin and his story by clicking on the link in the image below.

"C" is for Cookie…….

Not only is “C” for Cookie, but for Chocolate Chip Cookie! I have been wanting to make these for well over a week and I finally remembered to get sugar when I was out today. I absolutely love Chocolate Chip Cookies, as do Jon, Hannah and Aaron. Being the wonderful person that I am, I not only made GF chocolate chip cookies, but gluten-filled for Hannah and Aaron. Aaron’s were made with walnuts, Hannah’s without. I obviously made the GF ones first, as to avoid any cross contamination. I made most of the GF ones without nuts or oats, but added some Lara’s GF Oats to mine. YUM!!! Here are some pictures of the cookies before they went into the oven:

And after they came out (don’t tell anyone about that one with the bite out of it, I have no idea what happened there ๐Ÿ˜‰ ):

And on a pretty platter:

Here is the recipe that I use for the cookies. I modified it from one that my sister uses (she doesn’t like to use vanilla in her chocolate chip cookies and I do).

Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ Gluten-Free

ยพ cup granulated sugar
ยพ cup brown sugar, packed
2 sticks of butter (1 cup), melted
1 large egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 ยผ cup all purpose flour (I use a mix of rice flour, tapioca & potato starch)
2 tsp. Xanthan gum
1 tsp. Baking soda
ยฝ tsp salt
ยฝ package (I used 6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Nuts (optional, however many you want)
GF Oats (I used Laraโ€™s ~ I only used about ยผ cup or so, but use your judgment) optional

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix sugars, butter, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff)
3. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and/or oats
4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto un-greased cookie sheet (**I did Pam my sheets)
5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool Slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy with a large glass of cold milk!

I actually considered skipping lunch and sitting down with just a plate of cookies. I couldn’t bring myself to do that though. I settled on 2 for now and froze the rest of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for later. I am sending one through the USPS to my sister, as she wants to try the GF oatmeal ones. We will see how that fairs from Columbus to Atlanta. Kel, make sure to let us know how that works out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shape Magazine

I am kind of busy this AM, but wanted to make sure that I shared this with you. I was reading the Septmember 2008 issue of Shape magazine while working out at the gym yesterday and came across an article on Celiac Disease! Imagine my surprise! Page 104 titled “What’s Really Causing Your Stomach Upset”. A little blurb, but still, better that the word is getting out! They mention how only 5 percent of sufferers know that they have Celiac Disease.

I will be back later with more!

What is for Dinner Tonight?

Sunday is the day where I sit down and figure out what we are going to eat for the week. We usually go grocery shopping on Sundays, so it is easiest for me to sit down on Sunday morning with my coffee and plan my week out. Here is what I have on the menu for this week:

Sunday ~ Spaghetti with meat sauce (I use Prego 3 Cheese Sauce and add fresh ground meat or ground turkey and Tinkyada or Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta), steamed broccoli and a fresh salad. My new favorite dressing of the day is T. Marzetti’s Lite Honey French (the ones you buy cold in the produce section)

Monday ~ Baked Salmon (seasoned with S & P, garlic powder, dill and paprika), brown rice (I usually sprinkle Red Hot on my rice for some zip) and steamed green beans. I will probably have a salad along with my meal. Jon will actually eat salmon, Hannah, not so much. She will probably have Kraft Mac & Cheese, obviously not GF.

Tuesday ~ Hoisin Chicken Wings (a new recipe that I found on a blog I frequent, A Year of Crockpotting. I am so looking forward to this recipe, I hope the family likes it. I will serve pan-fried taters and salad along with this.

Wednesday ~ Hannah and I will go to Cheeseburger in Paradise after her skating class. Jon and Aaron will have leftovers or fend for themselves. This is also the first day of school!!!! YIPPPEEE!!! (Did I say that out loud???)

Thursday ~ Grilled Chicken (marinated in balsamic, EVOO (thanks to Rachel Ray for shortening that for us ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), garlic powder, S & P), baked potatoes, sauteed spinach (for me, the fam won’t touch, steamed veggies for them) and salad.

Friday ~ Breakfast for dinner. Most likely scrambled eggs or omelets with veggies & cheese, fried potatoes, bacon and gluten-free toast or bagels (if I get around to baking them this week).

Saturday ~ Burgers on a bed of tomato & lettuce, topped with cheddar, sweet potato fries (Alexia brand) and brussel sprouts (once again, for me, the fam will leave me if I serve them this, they will have corn on the cob).

I am usually pretty good about following my weekly plan. I go through my freezer to see what meats I have and incorporate them into the plan. We buy meats on sale and freeze so that we don’t have to pay ridiculous prices when I have a craving for baby back ribs, pulled pork, etc.

So, there you have it! Off to the shower and then to the store!

Oh, fun news that I can’t forget!!! I will be submitting my menu to the Gluten-Free Menu Swap. Make sure to check it out at Gluten-Free Cooking School.

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