A visual tour of our latest meals

Okay – so sitting down to type up a post just has not happened.  I have been sick lately – not just with a cold, but beyond normal.  I thought I had mono (nope) and am just ready to be able to take a full breath again.  I’m so tired, but life just does not stop when Mom is tired….or grades are due…or … well, you already know.

So rather than a recipe, here’s a visual tour of all the things I *thought* I was going to be able to write up, but just haven’t had a moment to catch my breath (or the physical ability to catch my breath – LOL) lately.

Which one interests you?  What are you making now that Fall is here?

Some curly pasta caught my eye. Stir-fried with garlic, chicken, and veggie? Done. And quick too.

Blanced giant collard green paddles, stuffed with ground turkey, rice and veggies and topped with enchilada sauce before baking a bit more. A veggie packed dinner punch for sure!

Last minute garlic bread. Seriously. From idea to the table in 35 minutes or so. Hot dog! It’s definitely modified, but this working woman is keeping this idea in the mix!

This Pinterest-inspired dish is great. I mixed a ton of veggies into the dish and will absolutely eat this again and again. YUM.

Breakfast burritos are so much faster now – Thank you, Rudy’s! I can make a huge batch, wrap and freeze. Then reheat in the microwave on my way out the door in the morning.

I’ve been working on a new GF bread recipe – and converting some of my favorites for the bread maker. Honestly, I’ve realized I just don’t eat that much sandwich bread any more. But I LOVE having the breadcrumbs on hand for fish, chicken, etc. 😀

Making fancy potatoes for the girls “Princess dinner” – easier with a great pair of squared-off chopsticks as cutting guides. Don’t slice all the way through, just down until about 1/3-1/2 inch. Then slightly separate the potatoes when placing in the baking dish and drizzle with butter, season to your desired levels and top with some great chopped parsley.

Currently, I have a fresh, whole pumpkin sitting on our counter.  It came with our CSA pick up.  I have delicata squash, carrots, beets, rainbow chard, purple cabbage, celeriac, etc.  Missing is the time to explore/experiment.  Most of what we eat is stir-fry as it is so easy to chop up the veggies we have on hand and munch.

But last night I made some yummy tortilla soup – another family favorite way to use a ton of veggies.

Winter is really just starting around here now.  The dark, cold mornings are upon me.  Seems like just last week the sun was shining on my way in to work and on my way home.  I think I need to learn how to make some tasty gumbo this winter.  Anyone have a recipe they recommend?  😀

Happy GF Eating All –

Kate

Got a guess what this is?

I’ve made this so many times… I actually stopped making it for several years because, well, quite honestly?  I didn’t like it.

I guess I kept eating it because I *thought* I *should* like it.  What a dumb reason to eat it! LOL

But now?  I LOVE IT!  (But only when prepared like this.  LOL!)

Do you know what this is?

Can you guess what this is?

Do you like it?

How do prepare yours and what do you do with it?

I’ll share this recipe later, I guess.  I’m off to get the girls at daycare!

Happy Tuesday, all!
Kate

Gluten Free Breakfasts

When you were diagnosed?  What did the doctor say?

My doctor told me (over the phone) that I could no longer eat “bread, cakes, cookies, pasta, etc”  He never mentioned breakfast.

And I didn’t think about it.  After all, I’ve never been a big breakfast eater anyway – or at least not on weekdays.  There is something about rising at 5:00AM and scrambling to get all of us out the door and off for the day that leaves little time for breakfast for me.  The girls eat, but my Love and I are busy packing lunches, etc.  And really?  My tummy has NO desire for food in the morning.

Coffee?  Yes.  Food?  No.

But on the weekends, when I can leisurely approach our day (usually) as the schedule is much more our own, breakfast can be enticing.  I have fond memories of Eggs Benedict from the “fancy French” restaurant we sometimes visited as kids when my dad had business contacts in town.  (I am neither certain now that the restaurant was truly fancy or French for that matter – thus the quotation marks.)

It was there that I remember getting poached eggs.  I don’t remember my mom poaching eggs for all of us before then. And now that I poach eggs for all of us on the weekend – I know why she didn’t try to poach eggs for 6 people.  EEK.

After my diagnosis, I realized quickly that our weekend breakfast routine – brunch with friends many times at area restaurant would have to change.  We used to meet up with friends at a Chicago restaurant that is famous for its cinnamon rolls (mmmm…yummmmmmmmmmm!) or sometimes another that serves fabulous pancakes/waffles…. or yet another that was famous for its freshly baked muffins.  Oh yes.  Breakfast pre-diagnosis was a carb-load for me.

And the silly thing is, I am not big on making pancakes.  I do have several pancake recipes – and crepes, etc. but they are not always my thing.  Maybe I’m just a picky breakfast eater.  I don’t know.  I do know that thanks to my pickiness, developing a list of breakfast ideas has been good for me.  That way I don’t feel stuck eating the same ol’ thing.  (My honey’s favorite breakfast includes oven baked potato wedges, scrambled eggs and some sausage.  I swear he could live on it but after a while I get tired of it.)

The other hurdle for breakfast/brunch is when others want to serve with you/eat with you.  The standard fare for breakfast is much more likely to be a gluten maze than a dinner out.  But let’s be honest, breakfast is cheaper.  And dinner?  Not always.

I remember our first weekend brunch with buddies after I was diagnosed.  A group of us began hosting brunches at our houses – rotating every month.  It had really just started (we had three brunches under our belts) when I was diagnosed.  And there I sat, wondering what I was going to do.  Each of us brought a different part of the brunch to share.  We tried to balance dishes and costs so no one was out too much and we had a fairly balanced brunch.  (Although to be honest, it was straight up carb-load with waffles, muffins, fruit, etc)

When I mentioned to a couple of friends that maybe I would connect with them after the brunch, they insisted that I still go.  It’s just breakfast, after all, they said.  I was worried about feeling isolated.  (It’s amazing how not eating the same muffin as everyone else can feel so isolating, huh?)  I didn’t want to have to explain to anyone, etc.  But in the end, I decided to go.  I enjoyed having that relaxing, un-rushed time to visit with friends.  At restaurants, clubs, movies, stores, etc there is always a bit of pressure to move on.  Not so at someone’s home for brunch.

And I’m so glad I did.  There were PLENTY of gluten-free offerings.  In fact, people made a point to let me know  what was in their food items, etc.  I truly think the only thing I couldn’t eat were waffles.  And that was okay. I had *plenty*.  And then we all went home and napped.

See?  Brunch rocks. (Okay, everything does when naps follow.)  😀

My latest list of gluten free brunch ideas include:

  • Migas (recipe to follow – easily adaptable)
  • Roasted potatoes, sausage, eggs
  • Arepas with poached eggs – served Benedict style
  • Arepas with leftovers  (See link above – just open arepas/stuff with leftovers)
  • Chilaquiles
  • Frittatas
  • Tortilla Patata (Spanish-style potatoes/eggs/onions)
  • yogurt
  • fresh fruit
  • smoothies
  • “Green eggs” (for a Seuss “Green Eggs and Ham” breakfast)
    • avocado-deviled eggs (Deviled eggs made with avocado instead of mayo)
  • pancakes
  • crepes
  • Breakfast “nachos”
    • tortilla chips topped with semi-cooked scrambled eggs, roasted veggies, black beans, salsa, cheese and baked, then topped with sour cream, avocado, diced tomatoes, etc
  • Baked eggs with roasted veggies
  • Homemade GF granola
  • store-bought GF cereal (I love Cinnamon Chex!)
  • GF Breakfast pizza (and read Betty’s comment – her recipe sounds good to me too!)
  • Cocoa calas – a doughnut that uses left over rice – this one is chocolate!
What are you eating/serving for breakfast?

Winter Migas     Photo by Kate Chan

I know you are wondering why I titled my photo “Winter Migas”.  Well, I guess it is because you can use whatever seasonal veggies you have on hand (or leftovers) to make your migas.  Since I had mostly winter veggies (carrots, onions, etc) and few leftover (roasted bell peppers, zucchini, etc) I thought it sounded more like winter.  In the spring or summer, we include asparagus or other market offerings to build our migas.

Truly, what you need are corn tortillas (GF, of course), onion, garlic, veggies of your choice, meat (if you desire, like chorizo, sausage, bacon, etc) and optional toppings like sour cream, avocado, green onions, cilantro and/or salsa.

Migas

This recipe  serves 2 hungry adults and 2 hungry toddlers with ease.

Ingredients:

  • 6 gf corn tortillas
  • 6-8 eggs (depends on you), cracked and mixed together in a bowl
  • 1/2 large sweet onion (about 1 cup), sliced thinly into half-rings
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 2/3 cup carrot sliced into strips (1/4″ wide, 3″ long)
  • 1 cup roasted bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced into long strips (about 1/4″ inch wide, 3″ long)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons + chili powder, to taste
  • OPTIONAL:  Cooked Chorizo, sausage, bacon (2 links per person or 4 strips of bacon)
  • OPTIONAL:  avocado slices, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, salsa (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Fry each tortilla in a bit of oil until they begin to brown and crisp up.  (Don’t deep fry, they should still be somewhat flexible.)  Drain and set aside.  (Without the oil, the heated tortillas will hardened and not be easy to chew.  Frying works best here.)
  2. Sauté onion until carmelized.
  3. Add carrot and cook until fork-tender.
  4. Add garlic and zucchini.  Sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add remaining roasted veggies (or leftover veggies) until heated through.
  6. Cut tortillas into strips (about 1/2 inch wide).  Cut strips in half, if desired.
  7. Add the strips to the roasted veggies, onions, etc.   Season well with salt/pepper and chili powder.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the top.  Mix thoroughly while cooking to distribute the eggs/tortillas.
  9. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
  10. Serve hot/warm with meat accompaniment and toppings as desired.

I love a recipe that can adjust itself to my refrigerator’s contents, don’ you?

Happy GF Mornings to you and yours!
~Kate and family

Help Wanted: Eating GF more wisely, cheaply and saving time. Got tips?

I bet you think I’ve fallen into a large hole around here and have lost internet access, huh?

Well, I have, kind of.

School started.  Just last year I had 135 students a day (5 classes/high school) and this year?  Oh no… this year I see 171 students (same five classes) and it’s A LOT.  Add that to the fact that the baby youngest toddler is a moving, shaking, running, jumping, climbing and the eldest is well…. keeping up and you can see why I’m dead tired by dinner time.

We’re back on the treadmill people.  Up at 5:15, home by 5:00, dinner, play, baths, and bedtime…then school work.  Bedtime comes around 11:40 or later.  Seriously…this is going to be a long winter!

Top that with the fact that our house, just like yours I bet, has been hit by our lovely economic woes.  Thankfully, we are both employed.  However the loss of pay in the form of pay cuts (8% between the two of us) and double to out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance (EEK!) and we are in re-set mode.

We are intentional about the food choices we make.  More than ever now as well.  We have to stretch that dollar farther and we are still choosing to maintain a completely gluten free home.  But as all of you know, that means some serious creativity.

Couple all of that with the fact that time to cook dinner is LIMITED.  Kids (and parents alike) are wickedly hungry come 5:30.  Providing snacks before dinner doesn’t seem like a positive solution at all.  We worry that then we are just giving them outs from dinner – and we want to eat all together as a family.  THAT is important to us.

So.. I guess this post is a conversation starter.  One that I hope will get you all commenting and helping with tips and pointers for ALL of us busy, working gluten-free families.  What are YOU doing to save your brain, your money and your family (health and time together)?

 Home-made GF Quesadillas – add eggs or avocado, etc too

See recipe below signature

Quesadilla

I have limited tricks for getting dinner on the table quickly.  This has a lot to do with my brain.  I am NOT the one in my family who can open the cupboard, see what we have on hand and then whip out dinner.  Nope.  Especially not when there are two kids practically pulling my pants off as they try to get my attention after we rush in after work/daycare at 5PM.  And,  I don’t do mania very well at all.  (Can you believe I do mania REALLY well in the classroom – but just not at home?  I don’t get it either – but it is true.)

Sometimes I am organized enough on the weekend to layout a dinner menu for the week.  I get organized after we pick up our box of veggies at the Farmer’s Market on Sundays and start planning.  Each meal we have to include things that are accessible to the kids – as I’m not a short-order cook and we’re going to all eat together.  Sometimes we make miso soup for them (they LOVE tofu) in addition to whatever we are having, but they usually just eat right along with us.  Once I see what we have for the week, I can easily lay out dinner menus on the calendar at home (or the google calendar we share so I can see it on my phone or at work, if needed).  I love those weeks.  I know what I need to do, when, etc.  It’s so helpful when work things pop up last-minute or unplanned after-daycare doctor visits (my pediatrician should have a frequent-flyer coupon card for free coffee after 10 visits or something… I”m just saying…).

Sometimes I’m not so fabulously organized.  And these are the weeks that are (1) most common and (2) the MOST stressful for me.

Like this week.  Unplanned, but at least there is food in the fridge.  These are the days that my husband finds to be the easiest.  Seriously, in 3 minutes flat he can make a meal plan and get it started.  Me?  OMGosh – I have to know what’s in the fridge for the WHOLE day before I can even begin to figure something out.

Take today, for example.  I know there is ground turkey at home.  I can make lettuce wraps or tacos or chili (oh wait… I don’t have any beans on hand) … k then… I could make meatballs with rice (no pasta either), or.  Dang it.  I don’t know.  When my feet hit the kitchen, I will decide then.

More than just meal planning, however, is saving money.  Cheap Gluten Free Eats!  (Yes, they do exist.)

Here’s the list I’ve been working with this last month.  You can see I’m in need of some change-ups, people. One can only eat so many apples with peanut butter before you just don’t want to even look at them again.  So please.  Let’s work together on this.

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

SNACK

DINNER

Cinnamon Chex

peanut butter/apples or celery sticks

nuts

lettuce wraps

fresh fruit

leftovers

hard-boiled egg

soup/chili

Yogurt

cheese & pears

cheese cubes

veggies

GF Granola

hard-boiled egg

Trio bar (my spendy snack)

Lundberg risotto + protein and veggies mixed in

Hard cheese & GF tortilla chips

rice noodle soup (so much cheaper!)

Fresh fruit

Cantonese-style family chicken & mushrooms

eggs

miso + tofu soup

small salad

fajitas

yogurt smoothie

meat/cheese or avocado roll

meat/cheese or avocado roll

Chinese Chicken & Corn Chowder

homemade GF torillas with eggs/cheese

nori wraps

nori wrap

Tortilla soup

Chilaquiles

homemade tortillas/quesadillas

edamame

grilled meats/fish and veggies/frui

What are your favorite cheap and convenient GF foods/meals?

Let’s get talking, people!

~Kate

PS.  Making your own gluten free corn tortillas is SUPER easy (and much tastier, by the way).  Use equal parts corn flour (masa harina or masa harina para tortillas) and warm water.  You can also add a bit of olive oil or spices to your dough, if you’d like. (I added paprika and chili powder in the ones in the photo.)  Mix the corn flour with the warm water slowly until it forms a soft pliable ball.  Pinch off pieces and flatten in your hand to make tortillas (or thicker ones for sopes).  Cook on a hot, non-stick skillet.

%d bloggers like this: