Monday, April 29, 2013

Apples, love them....and Cream of Tomato Soup, Yum!

Apples, I have been eating one a day every day for a couple of weeks now.  I do it because I need to get my fruit servings in, and because I love them (until the local berry season starts, then they are abandoned for berries for a while).  I’m sitting here eating my mid-morning snack which usually consists of an apple with ½ oz of sharp cheddar or a handful of pistachios, and wondering if an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.  Where did that saying come from?  There is usually some truth in those types of sayings, what in apples may cause that to happen?  Hmmm…sounds like a job for Google when I get bored.

Yesterday I made a couple of things for meals this week, a pork and veggie “fried” rice that ended up being a massive amount, enough for at least 6-8 servings.  I brought two to work for lunches for the next couple of days.  Whenever I make a stir fry I load up on the veggies, most of the time they way outnumber the protein, which is the case in this batch.  I put in onion, celery, red bell peppers, snow peas, zucchini, mushrooms and cabbage (I love cabbage!).  I used a substitute soy sauce that I made from a recipe I found online on, it is good stuff!  I’m working on getting soy out of my diet, one more thing that may be causing issues, or so I’m told, so I’m trying it.  Soy is everywhere so right now I’m trying to get rid of the obvious things like soy sauce  J  I will post the recipe below; I made a batch and put the remainder in a jar in the refrigerator.  I suspect I will use it for much more than just a soy sauce replacement.

I also made a basic cream of tomato soup, something that is so easy to whip up there is no reason to buy the prepared canned stuff, and this one tastes better!  As is normal for me, I made a lot, there is some in the fridge for my solo dinners this week (when the husband has to work late) and some in the freezer for later.  You’d think I had a whole brood of people I’m cooking for; I can’t seem to make just a little bit of anything.

We went out for dinner on Saturday night, we tried Outback Steakhouse because I was told they had a great GF menu, and they do!  It sounds silly but I was excited that the GF menu was an actual menu with lots of options/choices.  It wasn’t some sheet of paper taken out of a binder that had two or three options on it.  This one even had two dessert options!  I had a chicken dish along with a salad and a baked potato, it was quite tasty.  We will definitely be going back again.

The weather here over the weekend was kind of crappy, stormy with lots of rain.  It made me want to stay in my house and just do things there.  That’s pretty much what I did.  I read, played fetch with my cat (yes, my cat), made some cards and just played around with my Cricut to figure out more of what it is capable of.  I will post some pictures of cards I have made, I keep forgetting to do that.  I have a separate blog for those things, though I’m thinking about merging the two so that I can do everything in one place.  I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping up with either of them lately.

Ok, on to the recipe portion of today…

Cream of Tomato Soup
Servings: 8

½ T canola or olive oil
1-1/2 C sweet onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 oz. size)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ - 1 C heavy cream (I use less, how much you want depends on your preference)

1.      Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-medium high heat, sauté the onion, carrot and celery until slightly soft.  Don’t brown the veggies, you are just sweating them a little bit.
2.      Add in the canned tomatoes and let simmer until everything is soft (about 30 minutes), use an immersion blender at this point to blend everything together. This is also the point to check for seasoning.
3.      Let simmer another 15-30 minutes then turn heat to low and add in the heavy cream (I pour it and let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature before adding it).  Stir everything together well, let it come up to temperature then remove from heat.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bisquick - the GF it!

Today is a better day, finally starting to feel normal again after the gluten incident last week.  I’m achy but not nearly as much as I was, that could have something to do with the ibuprofen I finally gave in to and started taking.  Last night I made myself work out, I didn’t want to, I was so tired and hurting so bad but I convinced myself I would feel better after….and I did, for a little while, I consider that progress!

It was just me and the furry four-legged children in the house last night, the husband had to work (his schedule always starts to really get full as the school year gets closer to an end).  I really wanted something comforting for dinner but I also didn’t want to make it.  That meant something from the store that wouldn’t take long to make.  Enter Bisquick gluten-free mix.  I had pancakes and bacon for dinner!  It reminded me of the dinners we used to have as kids when my Dad went out of town for work.  My Mom always made pancakes for dinner one night when he was gone, it made it special and it was fun.

Bisquick GF pancakes are pretty good, there is a bit of a difference in texture from the other normal pancakes, but I think I’m getting used to the texture of gluten free things now.  They were easy to make, I even made extras and put them in the freezer for the next time a pancake craving hits.  A couple of pancakes, some real maple syrup and a couple of strips of really good bacon (made in the oven because it’s so easy that way) made for a really good dinner that made me feel comforted.

No recipe today, I don’t have one to share.  Just a recommendation that if you haven’t already you should check out the Bisquick GF mix, it’s just as versatile as the original and it makes good pancakes.  I found some recipes using it on the Betty Crocker website today; they have a good GF recipe section (  There are also recipes that use the Betty Crocker GF cake mixes.  I’m going to be trying some of them soon.  The GF chocolate chip scones sound yummy!

Finally, I thought I would mention a book I’m reading right now that was recommended to me by someone that writes a gluten-free column.  The book is Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D.  I’m not too far into it and I have already had a bunch of moments where I thought “aha!” to myself.  He explains how the wheat of today is so different from the wheat of even 50 years ago which may be one of the reasons why so many people are coming up gluten intolerant.  It’s interesting, I’m not going to preach about it, I recommend reading it if you are at all interested in the effect the wheat of today has on the body.  As a matter of fact, I’m only about 100 pages in and I have already talked with my husband, who has diabetes, about removing wheat from his diet as well.  It will be interesting to see if that helps him with the up/down of his sugars, despite eating better and using insulin.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Veggie/Bacon Pizza with Udi's GF Pizza Crust

I have had a couple of busy weeks!  I traveled for work the majority of the last two weeks which meant I ate out a lot and didn’t have time to post on here. 

I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again, traveling and gluten free eating can be challenging.  Last week I got some big time exposure, probably the worst I have ever had.  I’m still not positive where it came from but it hit me around mid-day on Thursday and it took until today to finally feel normal again.  That was quite the experience, one I would rather not repeat again.  Luckily I’m at home all week and able to eat my own food.  I will travel again next week though.

I didn’t get too creative with dinner last night, I got out of the office late, there was an accident on my way home and I still had to go to the grocery store (I just couldn’t do it over the weekend, I did NOT feel good!).  So I decided I would try Udi’s GF Pizza crust and make a quick dinner.  One thing you should know, I’m picky about pizza crust, it needs to have that combo of crunchy and chewy that a lot of them fail to have.  The Udi’s was really good!  I followed the package directions, baking it at 375 degrees, but I preheated my Pampered Chef pizza stone in the oven and baked the pizza on that.  The baking time took a little longer than the package indicated, but my oven is kind of off when it comes to that.  So, with all of that said…here’s what I did/topped it with:

Veggie/Bacon Pizza (with store-bought crust)

1 Udi’s GF Pizza Crust (highly recommended)
1 slice bacon, crisp
¼ large sweet onion, chopped
1 C mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 C baby spinach
2 T store bought pesto sauce (GF of course, check that label!)
2/3 C mozzarella, shredded

1.      Preheat oven to temperature indicated on package (this one was 375)
2.      Cook the bacon until crispy, remove from pan and wipe lightly leaving a bit of the fat in the pan
3.      Drop the onions and mushrooms into the pan, adding a slight bit of salt to sweat, sauté until a bit soft then add in the spinach and cook until just wilted
4.      Spread pesto sauce over pizza crust, top with the mozzarella then the veggies, crumble the bacon over the top
5.      Bake for about 7 minutes (in my oven it took 12 to get crispy), remove, slice and enjoy

Happy Tuesday!