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Monday, November 22, 2010

To Bake or Not To Bake???

I must admit, I am not very good at baking. It hasn't been a huge deal since I try to avoid eating bread because of weight issues. The times that I have attempted baking, it just doesn't turn out quite fact, 5 times out of 10 I screw it up! And now that I'm f0llowing a gluten free diet, the baking part looks a little too complicated for scares me. So many ingredients are usually involved, it's just overwhelming. I'm sure you've noticed in my past blogs that I like simple, easy recipes and use store bought baked goods when I need them. I just like short cuts, what can I say???

Well, last night, my dear friend Amy brought me a gift. It was a delicious loaf of pumpkin bread, just out of the oven. She did what I haven't been brave enough to do, lucky me! So, as I'm enjoying a slice with my morning coffee, I'm thinking that maybe she can help me with my little problem. One important piece of info she gave me was, Jules Shepard. Apparently, she has a flour recipe that can be used in any recipe that calls for flour. You just take an old favorite and substitute. Amy used her sisters pumpkin bread recipe and did this. And let me tell you, it worked!

So the question is, to bake or not to bake. Am I going to let my fear deprive me of some home baked goodness? The flourless chocolate cake that I've been craving for weeks? Crescent's? Real sandwich bread? I do believe that it is time for me to step out of my comfort zone and discover the art of gluten free baking. No more Udi's for me...ok, only sometimes. Okay all you gluten free newbies, join me by clicking the link below and let's get to baking!

Fresh Yeast Bread Can be Easy & Delicious!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday Brunch Part II

Well, my Sunday brunch didn't turn out to be the way I had envisioned. Sadly, my poor mom ended up in the hospital that weekend. She was out by Saturday afternoon and thankfully was well enough to join us Sunday morning. I did make the Chicken Posole, which everyone loved! My friends helped out by adding some pastries, which I have to say, I was a good girl and didn't touch any of it. (No matter how good it smelled!) And most importantly, we enjoyed a few Mimosa's together.  It was a good time and my momma was happy. It's strange when your parents get to that age when you start worrying about their health and well being more than ever. This was a wake up call for me and now we're planning on joining a Zumba class together so we can both stay healthy.

I did treat myself to a delicious solo breakfast the following day. I try not to eat too many breads but, since I had bought some to make French toast, I went ahead and made myself some.

I used the Brown Rice bread from Trader Joe's. It's about half the size of regular sliced bread but much denser, not so good for a sandwich but, great for French toast. I made a mixture of egg, a splash of almond milk, a tad of vanilla, lots of cinnamon and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Melt some butter on the griddle, dip the bread and cook. I topped it with the left over fruit salad from the day before, which consisted of papaya, mango, pineapple and a splash of rum. Then topped it with Agave Maple Syrup (from Trader Joe's) and a dollop of whipped cream.  We all deserve to spoil ourselves with some good sweetness every now and try it out and let me know what you think.

Have a lovely day everyone~

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Since I started working a few months ago, it's been hard to get together with my girl friends and I miss them so! I have finally planned to have a little brunch with the girls and am very excited for them to try out some gluten free foods. On the menu we have:

Chicken Posole
Ham & Cheese Quiche
Gluten Free French Toast
Fresh Fruit

I can't wait for Sunday! I'll definitly be posting some pictures and their comments on my gluten free goodies.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

2 (12 ounce) packages frozen hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup cooked diced ham
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Squeeze any excess moisture from the potatoes and combine them with the melted butter or margarine in a small bowl. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 10 inch pie pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and arrange the ham and cheese evenly over the potatoes. In a separate small bowl, beat together the eggs and the cream. Pour this over the ham and cheese.

Return pan to oven for 30 minutes, or until the custard has completely set. This recipe serves 5.

Chicken Posole

2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
3 cups water
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
3 cups white hominy, rinsed and drained

sliced radishes
shredded cabbage
squeeze of lime

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove from skillet, drain, and cool. When completely cooled, shred chicken with a fork.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic until soft and transparent, about 5 minutes.

Return shredded chicken to the skillet. Stir in the chicken broth, water, oregano, salt, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook about 90 minutes.

Stir in the hominy and cook until tender, about 15 minutes more. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more salt and chili powder, if desired. Garnish with sliced radishes, shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime. This recipe serves 10.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Morning Breakfast Rush

It's Monday morning and the breakfast rush was on at 7am here in the Carranza household..."mom, I want waffles", "I'll just take a banana shake", "um, I don't know what I want, hmmm"...yes, they all want something different or don't know what they want at all. This happens just about every day. And while all this is going on, I'm becoming slightly light headed because I too am hungry. Finding tasty cereals to keep me afloat hasn't been too hard to find. We have our Gluten Free Rice Chex, Gluten Free Corn Chex and my favorite, Mesa Sunrise. So as soon as I have a minute, I pour myself a bowl along with some almond milk and eat until the indicisive child decides on what they want for breakfast.

One of my favorite, healthy breakfast foods are quiche cups. If I can get myself organized enough, I make enough of these to last me a few days. You just pop a couple in the microwave for a minute and voila, breakfast is served! They're great little pick me ups, as well. And you can get creative with the ingredients so they never get boring.

Quiche Cups
3 large eggs
2 tblsp heavy cream
1/2 cup diced canadian bacon
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and all water squeezed out
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion

Heat oven to 350F
Line 12 cup muffin pan with foil baking cups, spray the cups with the cooking spray.
Thaw and drain spinach - I wring it out well in my hand.
Mix the spinach, eggs, cheese, Canadian bacon, peppers, onions, salt in a bowl.
Fill the foil cups with the mixture.
Bake at 350F or 20 minutes, testing so that a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from cups to serve.

Remember, mother always said 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' and we all know, mom's are always right! ;) So, eat your breakfast, even when you're on the run!

Have a beautiful day!