Thursday, January 26, 2017

French Toast Panini Sandwich - Just What the Doctor Ordered

After a cold/flu bug that laid my husband and I both flat out for a week each,  I got on the scale to find I lost 4 pounds.  Since I'd gotten back to my "fighting" weight over the last year with this blog, I didn't want to lose that much weight all at once and compromise my immune system, so a dinner that wasn't super low cal but was SO soothing after a week of soup and tea.

Make a sandwich with some leftover bakery french bread and some thin sliced ham (or veggie "ham") and swiss.   Dip the outside of the bread in a couple of eggs mixed with vanilla and a splash of milk (think French Toast here) and cook in a panini maker til crisp and golden.

Just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sick Bay Log - Day 4

My husband came home after an airline flight with the worst cold he's had in the ten years we've been best friends, now married.  Of course, I caught it from him.

He's in his early 30's, the son of German/Swedish farmers and very hardy. I, on the other hand, am a year shy of 60, and like my martinis, white wine, and chocolate too much to NOT catch a cold so lovingly offered.

It's just a head cold, no infection.  But I can tell you this, as this strain is running rampant around the country based on what I've heard from Secret Squirrel field headquarters.

It lasts about 5 days.  The first 36-48 hours you will not leave your bed, but to pee and suck down some soup and water.  Drink a ton of fluids, and take Vitamin C, Zinc, and make tea with honey for your throat (I like the Sleepytime tea that has the bear on the box that looks like he's stoned).  Have lots of Kleenex and lotion for your nose, you will be blowing it every five minutes - I am NOT kidding. Then sit back and snort the tea out of your nose as your read the hilarious posts of your dog blog bff

If you get really bored, get some green food coloring, and add to what your nose is expelling and offer to slime someone on Nickelodeon.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gluten and Soy Free Fried Rice

I had an assortment of leftovers at the end of the work week, but what could I make without wheat or soy, for a friend who was dining with us who can't do soy.

Fried rice sounded good but first I had to find a recipe for soy and wheat free soy sauce.

This worked pretty well and the sauce was very light and flavorful.

Gluten and Soy Free "soy" sauce

4 Tablespoons beef bouillon (check labels, some have MSG)
4 teaspoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark molasses or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch garlic powder
1 and  1/2 cups water (or omit bullion and use beef broth)
1 tsp Red Boat Fish Sauce (optional)

 Add all ingredients except fish sauce in small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer until reduced by half  (approximately 15 minutes).  Stir in fish sauce (you can leave it out and it's still very good!)  Store in refrigerator.

Note:  For a lower sodium version substitute homemade beef stock for bouillion and water

To assemble fried rice:

Cook 1 cup dry rice in rice cooker (or on stovetop, your choice) as per directions (I use 1 cup dry to two cups water in a rice bowl placed in my steamer for 40 minutes)

In a small bowl mix:

4 Tablespoons "soy" sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar or honey
pinch of Chinese five spice powder
pinch of crushed red pepper

In another small bowl crack three eggs and whisk with a splash of dairy or almond milk

In fry pan, in a little oil saute 1/4 of an onion (or substitute 1/3 cup celery if you don't like onion)

1 cup leftover cooked  protein (I used pork roast - chicken, veggie protein, or tofu would work just as well)
1 and 1/3 cups thawed  frozen mixed veggies (I used the cheap pea/bean/corn/carrot stuff - you can glam it up with bok choy or other chinese veggies if you wish)

When veggies are cooked, stir in rice and sauce, keeping heat on low.

Nuke the eggs in the microwave, 2 and 1/2 minutes or until cooked through, stirring once during the cook time. (nuking the eggs keeps them more moist than if you stir fry in the pan).

Stir in eggs and serve immediately with green salad and ginger dressing (Annie's brand).   Serves 4-6 for less than  $1 per serving.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

World's Fluffiest Gluten Free Pancakes

I've been playing around with making my favorite foods gluten free this week.  Working with the various flours has been interesting.  If you look on my sidebar for "Healthy Eating Blogs I Like" there's a new one called "I Am Gluten Free, that had some GREAT information on working with the various flours".  I've included instructions for making these vegan as well.
These turned out remarkably light and fluffy, and my husband could NOT tell the difference between these and my usual pancakes.

World's Fluffiest Gluten Free Pancakes

In a medium bowl mix:

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon King Arthur's Gluten Free Flour (NOT gritty like some GF flour mixes)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon of sugar

In another bowl whisk together:
3/4 cup goat milk kefir (goat milk kefir is easy to digest if regular dairy is hard on you)
1/4 cup coconut  or almond milk
1  large egg or equivalent egg substitute
2 tablespoons Earth Balance soy free buttery spread (or butter), melted, then cooled slightly
a few drops of vanilla extract

Note:  To make a vegan version using egg substitute, you can replace the cup of liquid with nut milk, simply thicken first replacing 2 tsps. of the liquid with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and let sit 5 minutes
Mix wet and dry ingredients just til combined. Batter will be pretty thick.  Cook on an oiled griddle on medium heat, turning to low as they are almost done to completely cook through without over-browning.  Make fairly small pancakes to make them easier to flip.

Serve with buttery spread and maple syrup.

Made nine 3 1/2 - 4 inch pancakes.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Best Fast Food Salad - EVER

I don't eat much fast food. I liked Chick-Fil-a sandwiches a LOT but quit eating there when they stopped serving coleslaw, which I always put on my spicy chicken sandwich to have with my waffle fries and diet lemonade. Their salads were all pre-made so I couldn't order them with the things I didn't like NOT on them.

Panera (not exactly fast food) had two salads I LOVED, and they changed both formulas. The Asian chicken salad is now full of high-calorie cashews and has a funky dressing I didn't like and mandarin oranges which I REALLY don't want in a salad. The shaved parmesan in the Caesar was replaced by that nasty dry powdered stuff that comes in a green shaker. I used to eat there 3 times a week as there was one close to work, but that's been a year ago.

So I've not had a salad out for a while.

Potbelly logo shamelessly stolen from the internet so you all will recognize that THIS is the place to eat lunch.

But now that I have had to ditch gluten (or face the gastric consequences), I had to get something today at my favorite Sandwich place -

that was gluten free. I found Potbellys when I was an airline pilot. They had one in the terminal at Midway, and you've never seen two pilots RUN so fast to grab a couple of those hot babies when you had a 30-minute turn (I generally could outrun the co-pilot). It's against regulations to eat while the airplane is under movement, so after a few years of that, I probably could have won a food eating contest with all the practice getting them scarfed down before "Turning Number 2" but it was SO worth it.

But no more sandwiches for me. (though I have a plan to try to craft a gluten free french bread this weekend to make my own).

I DO have a new favorite salad.

It was the  Potbelly Chicken Salad Salad (they also have two yummy vegetarian salads for my readers I know are vegetarian, in addition to other salads).  It had fresh chicken salad with mayo and celery on top of a ton of romaine and iceberg (but mostly the healthier romaine) topped with dried cranberries and just a bit of fresh shaved Provolone, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  I took the tomatoes off (I don't like tomatoes raw) but I asked and found out they make the salads to order - so I can leave them off next time as I did the croutons.

It was SO good, served with their Potbelly Vinaigrette (gluten free and lower in calories than most Vinaigrettes and it tasted freshly made), and using just half of the generous serving of the dressing it was  less than 600 calories for a lunch that filled me up the rest of the day (seriously, I could have eaten half and saved the rest for lunch tomorrow). I was still so full that dinner was just an apple and a glass of white wine (to get in two more fruit servings for the day :-)

Potbelly's has locations in 39 states, including Utah, Washington, Illinois, and Indiana, so there is likely one near my readers here. If you like sandwiches, they have some "skinny" sandwiches that use less thick bread to make a really tasty hot toasted sandwich (including an incredible mushroom/cheese one) for less than 400 calories and you can pair one of those with a  frozen yogurt/fruit smoothie if you want to splurge a little.

And if you are not gluten sensitive - seriously - get their chocolate brownie cookie.  You will thank me or leave me in your Will.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gluten-Free Lemon Cranberry Loaf

This has a soft but firm texture very similar to pound cake and a very tart refreshing flavor. It was really good with lemon but think it would be even better with orange juice.  It also passed the "I don't like dry gluten-free stuff" husband taste test (he took a big slice to work without being asked!)

1 c.  King Author's gluten-free all-purpose flour (not gritty like some g-f flours)
1/3 c. almond meal
2/3 c. rice flour (can substitute oat flour for a slightly finer texture)
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/4  tsp salt
3/4 c. lemon juice
dash of gluten-free vanilla flavoring
3 T. canola oil
1 T. lemon zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. fresh or frozen (unsweetened) cranberries (you can use more, this is just what I had)


Preheat to 350 degrees F.

Spray or grease a 9 X 5” loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking them to incorporate   In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

Mix the wet into the dry using a rubber spatula until just combined, and then carefully fold in the cranberries. (you can chop in half or smaller if you like.

Pour batter into loaf pan. To help it raise more, take a knife dipped in canola oil and run in a line through the center of the loaf.  This helps poof up the top.

Bake 55-60  minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  If the top is getting too brown and it's not done, just cover with foil.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Popovers

After 48 hours of no gluten in my diet (still awaiting tests on allergy or Celiac, which is autoammune) the symptoms of a very disagreeable tummy that I've had most of my adult life are gone.  When I was in my 20's and 30's and working as a pilot I knew what my food triggers were and did OK, but once I hit middle age even that didn't help.  In addition to the lack of a "rumbly tummy"  the  constant severe heartburn I've had since Christmas when I had both two small non-sugary muffins and a small handful of cookies at the same time is almost gone.  Both were made with white flour, not the Einkorn flour I normally bake my husband's sandwich bread with and occasionally have a piece of. (it has different DNA than frankenwheat and is more readily digestible to many).  I can also eat the Bagel Ladies bagels which have zero wheat starch glucose in them (and they are really really tasty too).

So I have to say I'm going to stick with this reduction in white flour/carbs Not to be indelicate but  IBS often means living near the bathroom (which during the use of one is tempted to play John Phillips Sousa music really loud if you have guests).  In the last two days, everything "gut-wise" has been normal, something I've not experienced in many years.

So the changes in my diet is going to be a permanent part of my life, no matter what my diagnosis with regards to Celiac.  Now the trick is to make gluten free things my husband will like.  I didn't mind heating up both regular (and cheaper) spaghetti for him and some Quina/Rice pasta for me last night as a side dish with dinner, but other than his sandwich bread which I make every Saturday morning, I don't want to make gluten AND non-gluten muffins, treats, and breakfast goodies.

Gluten-free Coconut Flour Popovers

I love popovers as does he.  Light, rich, eggy, and the perfect platform for butter or honey.  Would these taste like bricks or refuse to rise?

Nope - perfect and he said he'd definitely enjoy them again.

4 organic, cage-free eggs
½ cup milk (I used coconut-hemp, any dairy or non dairy milk will work)
3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons organic coconut flour (or use almond or rice flour)
1/4 tsp sea salt (omit if you are salt sensitive - they will still rise)
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons organic, grass fed butter (or coconut oil)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray your popover pan with a little non-stick spray.  Yes, you will be adding butter, but if you use just butter they will stick.

I got my pan at William Sonoma and have used it for years, they're so much taller if you use a popover pan versus a muffin tin and once you make them you'll make them again and again. I make them with cheese and herbs to go with dinner, or for breakfast. Mine is NOT a nonstick - hence the spray, but their new ones ARE and are less than $40.

Divide the butter into sixths and place a piece into each ramekin.

Place popover pan in oven for 4-5 minutes to melt the butter/oil until it's sizzling but not scorching.

While that heats, in a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, milk, salt, and flour.  Stir lightly with a spoon so no flour is sticking to the side.  Pulse for about 20 seconds. (be sure to pulse one more time before pouring into the pan, to ensure that it's well mixed).

Fill each cup ½ full with the batter, pouring right over the melted butter or oil.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until browned on top and cooked through. Don't open the oven door or disturb the pop-overs before 20 minutes are up.  The pop-overs will puff up above the pan but will deflate as they cool.

Serve hot with your choice of toppings!  At only 100 calories per popover you can even add a little butter or non-dairy spread!