Welcome to my creative outlet

I believe that every person needs some form of creative outlet. This is mine, my personal recipe's, small projects and ramblings from life's lessons.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The best Lamb stew you will ever eat!

I know my title is so humble right? Haha but seriously, if you want a recipe that is lick your bowl until is clean delicious this is it! Perfect pairing for the cold fall weather or a snow day in. Originally I developed the recipe with standard gluten products and recently figured out a couple small tweaks to make it gluten free and still deliciously full of flavor!
For those of you who are going to go gluten free keep in mind that some cheap cooking wines do have gluten in them (I don't understand why, but I have come across this) I love supporting local companies so I use Honeywood Cabernet all of the Honeywood wines are gluten free and the winery is right here in Salem!
Also if you do not have potato starch you can use dehydrated potatoes just read the ingredients thoroughly for dairy or gluten products.My rule of thumb is that if it has more than 4 ingredients and does not specify gluten free or vegan I don't trust it to not have something hidden in the "natural ingredients".

Ok, let's get cooking!

Toss in a bowl 1 1/2 lbs cubed lamb (or beef) with 4 tbs of flour (for gluten free substitute potato starch), season with salt and pepper
In a large soup pot melt 2 tbs of butter (or dairy free margarine) and 1 tbs olive oil
Brown the meat in the bottom of the pot.(I prefer Lamb but Beef works well too)
After the meat is browned add 1 cup red wine, 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar scraping up all of the browning pieces in the bottom of the pot.
Add to the pot 3 large carrots (cut all veggies into rustic bite size pieces), 1 large yellow onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 4 red potatos, 3 stalks of celery.For liquid add 32 oz of low sodium stock (I use chicken since I don't eat beef, but most stew recipes call for beef broth)
For seasoning add 3 baley leaves, a pinch of annise seed, a pinch of cinamon, 1 tbs rosemary, 1/2 tbs peperika, 2 tbs savory herb, salt and pepper to taste.Simmer for 1 hour on medium/low heat. To thicken add 1 tbs butter (or dairy free margarine) and slowly stir in (sprinkling so as not to clump) flour (or potato starch). Simmer on low for 20 minutes, stiring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn while thickening.

I know most of you are used to making a roux by mixing the thickening agent (flour or potato starch) a head of time with some water you can do this but you will need to re-taste your stew and see if it needs additional seasoning to compensate for the additional water. Also when reduce the heat and let it cool down some before doing this method or you will likely end up with clumps.

The bowls were so steamy I didn't get some great shots to share but I will add more soon I promise!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

BBQ and Football

My husband and I are both trying to lose our "baby weight" gain and so any opportunity I have to swap out your traditional full fat munchies or meals I will. Today the boys are watching football and the request for food was KFC and chips/ dip. Although I LOVE KFC extra crispy chicken (it's dairy free!), that's a whole lot of calories to spend on one meal. I fired up the BBQ. First I washed up some red potatoes and individually wrapped them in aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, ground pepper, and garlic powder. With the potatoes on the grill at 500 degrees I went back inside and started on my chicken. I like to substitute flavor for fat. I took fresh chicken breasts and seasoned with rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, seasalt and pepper on both sides. The key to not having the chicken stick to the grill is to not touch them until they have formed a nice golden crust.
The rosemary smells so good as it's grilling! Yummo! To replace the bisquits I pulled some premade pizza dough out of the fridge and rolled into one long baguette and baked in the oven. Trader Joes premade pizza dough has 4 ingredients in it and is dairy free! My food philosophy is that the fewer the ingredients in something premade the better! 
If you skip the bread and just have the chicken and potatoes the meal is satisfying and gluten free/dairy free. 
I chose not to add anything else to my plate but the boys
topped off their potatoes and bread with a little Good Earth dairy free/gluten free
For the chips and dip I pulled a trick out of my hat, I love pampered chef products! I used my mini mandolin on size 1 and sliced up some raw red potatoes. I laid them flat and single layered on my microwave chip maker also from pampered chef. I have seen these in the "as seen on TV" section at Walmart if you don't have a pampered chef you support through ordering products. I lightly salted with seasalt, some fresh ground pepper and microwaved for 4 1/2 minutes. 6 trays worth was the perfect amount for a super healthy alternative to your usual potato chips. For the dip I got out the got Chevre we have from the farmers market and the boys were super stoked! 
Items needed: Microwave chip trays, mandolin, sea salt,
pepper and red potatoes... an adorable assistant
makes for fun too!

season to taste! Hint: fresh ground
pepper when heated up can have
a good bite, use sparingly. 
This is one serving of chips about 3/4 of a red potato
which is approx. 75 calories with seasoning.

What recipes do you wish you could eat but are not gluten free or dairy free?

So I already have a stash of 20 or so recipes I will be sharing and on a weekly basis and developing new ones (some times it takes a few tries to get it right!) but I would love feed back from anyone who really misses a specific dish, I will do my very best to find a pallet pleasing alternative! I love a good challenge so don't hold back!

The perfect cinnamon rolls! With easy dairy free and gluten free adaption options.

Okay folks I have the perfect recipe for Christmas breakfast! Cinnamon rolls! Or if you're like my family we use all special occasions where we have to get up early and not have school to make these ;) There are intext adaption options for both dairy free and gluten free. Don't forget if you're new to this or a seasoned pro ALWAYS read the labels for your go to substitute items. There have been a couple times where I used the same product for years and then when I got sick found out they had changed the ingredients. 

Perfect Cinnamon Roll Dough
Warm and soft with the slightest touch of sweetness, this roll dough is simply perfect for making cinnamon rolls. If you're wary of making yeast breads, you really have nothing to fear. The only vaguely tricky step is mixing the yeast into appropriately warm water. Water too hot can kill off the yeast, but lukewarm water won't activate it. A good rule of thumb to use when preparing the warm water for your yeast is to run your own hand under the faucet and feel the temperature of the water. If you'd take a nice, long bath in it, it's probably the perfect temp for your yeast. Enjoy!

2 cups very warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant, nonfat dry milk – substitute ½ cup non-dairy vanilla pudding or gluten free vanilla pudding
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
4-5 1/2 cups flour, all purpose (bread flour can be used if you have it on hand) - substitute Bob's gluten free bread mix!
1 stick butter (softened) –
substitute 4 tbs of butter flavored shortening and 4 tbs of dairy free margarine
In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. Whisk in the sugar and allow the yeast too foam slightly by letting it sit alone for 5 minutes, or so. Stir in the dry milk( or ½ cup pudding mix), salt, and egg. Slowly start stirring in the flour, cup by cup, until a thick, sticky dough is formed. Don't add too much! You want it sticky and pliable, not overly floury. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, sprinkle a thin layer of flour on top, and knead the bread until it becomes a little less sticky and slightly elastic. Now begin to knead the butter into the dough. It should make the dough very soft and greasy enough so the dough no longer needs any flour. Once the butter has been kneaded through, and the dough is elastic, set it in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a slightly damp, clean cloth, and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls
The true secret to amazing cinnamon rolls isn't so much the recipe, it's the method. Be sure to read through the instructions below, I've tried to let you in on the ultimate tips to make absolutely perfect cinnamon rolls.

1 stick butter, very soft (or dairy free margarine)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
Once the dough has risen and doubled in sized, turn it back out onto a lightly floured countertop. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out quite thin, about 1/4 inch thick. (To make smaller cinnamon rolls, I like to roll the dough into a long rectangle that is about 4 inches wide. For monster sized cinnamon rolls, I tend to roll the dough into more of a square).
Use your hands to spred the butter in a nice, thick layer across the surface of the dough. Sprinkle a generous layer of white sugar on top of the butter. (You can use brown sugar, too. But I love the white-sugar-taffy that pools in the bottom of a pan when making it this way.)
Now for the IMPORTANT step. Sprinkle a GOOD layer of cinnamon on top of the sugar. Too much and you'll clear out the sinuses of everyone eating. Too little, however, and you're cinnamon rolls won't be nearly as delicious as they could be. Don't be stingy with the cinnamon. If you're feeling really daring, drizzle a second layer of 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter over the cinnamon & sugar layer.)

Roll the cinnamon rolls up tightly, pinching the top edge closed to keep the cinnamon rolls closed while baking. Slice into 2" rolls with a knife and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Allow to rise for another 25-30 minutes before baking.

Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or just until the edges of the rolls have browned slightly. Remove from oven, allowing to cool for 20-30 minutes before frosting and serving.
Decadant Cream Cheese Buttercream
This is it. The only way to make light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese frosting in the way it's made in this recipe...a teensy taste of cream cheese, a boatload of butter. You're gonna love it.
4 oz. (goat) cream cheese
2 sticks butter (or dairy free margarine)
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 Tablespoons (coconut) milk
In a large bowl beat together all ingredients until a thick but spreadable frosting appears. Slather on slightly warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
Trader Joes has gluten free vanilla pudding mix
and so does the life source store, so I'm sure if
you don't live near either you could find one in a
local health store or just skip this step and add
vanilla flavoring but it really does make
the dough super moist!
Great substitute for the flour in the dough mix! I've
used Bob's many times!

Make sure you have enough flour to where the dough doesn't stick but not too much to dry it out =)
Give ample amount of room for these babies to grow!

All done!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

To food blog or not to food blog that is the question...

For those of you who don't know me I have a random list of food that I'm allergic to (beef, cow based dairy, pineapple, avocado, sesame oil, and shell fish)  which makes for interesting recipe adaptions. To add to this my mom and mother in law are also gluten free so many of my holiday dishes are adapted for these specification..oh and my son and husband can't do cinnamon and my daughter can't have cloves or mangoes. Because I have started saving my recipe adaptions I have repeatedly said I would love to start a food blog. So I'm left wondering, do I start a separate food blog open to the public or do I just bundle all of my blogging efforts into the Marshall's corner? What do you think?