Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turkey Saved my Sanity

Anyone on an allergen-free diet can empathize when something you make flops. Today was one of those days.
I started out this evening with the intention of having "breakfast for supper": pancakes and bacon. It seemed like a nice, simple meal. I was going to get Arrowhead Mills Gluten-free Baking & Pancake mix just to take a recipe out of the equation. Fate had other plans. There was none left at the store.
Not wanting to change my supper plans, I decided to risk a recipe. So I found one. Of course, I can never leave well enough alone. So I "tweaked" it. Then I "tweaked" it again. Before I knew it, my simple pancakes were simply awful. Maybe the recipe would've been fine as it was. Maybe not. I may never know. :p
Needless to say, we didn't have pancakes tonight. However, seeing as I already had bacon cooked, I had to figure out something to do with it or risk dealing with an 8 year old who was expecting to get to eat the one "favourite" food left to him (all of his other favourites involve one or more of wheat/gluten, dairy or eggs and so are out of his diet due to his allergies).
We had gone to the grocery store yesterday and bought a few good things. One of these "good things" was ground turkey, which I've always wanted to buy but never had because I felt it was too expensive. However, yesterday it was on sale. It was less expensive than ground beef is when it's on sale, so I got it. This came to mind today when I was freaking out about what I was going to make for supper to replace the pancakes.
I should mention here that when my 8 year old was diagnosed with his allergies, we went out and bought him some expensive vegan "parmesan" and I bought some nutritional yeast for myself to put on our spaghetti. My husband eats his without cheese or yeast- he said that the yeast smells gross and he would never eat it. Today, he ate it. And he liked it. In fact, he had seconds.
So here's what we had for supper:

"Cheezy" Turkey Bacon Skillet

"Cheesy" sauce:
3 tablespoons bacon grease
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
pinch cayenne
pinch turmeric

1 1/4 pound ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2 cups non-dairy milk
2 cups uncooked quinoa macaroni
1 pound frozen peas
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Put a pot of water on to boil. Brown the ground turkey. Don't bother draining it because you'll be adding a bunch of fat anyway. Mix in spices, including onion and garlic powders if using them. Pour milk over this and bring to a boil while you get your macaroni cooking. Take some of the milk from the pan (about 1/2 cup) and add it to your "cheesy" mixture, then pour this mixture into the skillet and mix well. If it's too thick, add more milk. Add your peas and allow to simmer until your macaroni is done cooking. Drain the macaroni and add it and the bacon to the skillet. Mix well and serve with a nice side salad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Simple Salsa

My husband and I went shopping today. Tortilla chips were on sale, so we bought a bag. Tomatoes were on sale also. So, as we were sitting here this evening watching a movie with our sons, I decided to throw together a salsa. Having never made one before, I figured I'd keep it simple and see how it turned out. I must have done something right because my oldest son begged for more!

Simple Salsa
4 fresh tomatoes
8 sprigs cilantro
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeno
1/2-1 teaspoon salt

Start a pot of water to boil and fill a bowl with iced water. Cut crosses in the bottoms of the tomatoes. Chop your cilantro, garlic and onion and put them in a bowl with the salt and olive oil. Seed your jalapeno and chop it finely. Put it in the bowl also. Mix these up together.
Using a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes after that time and place into the iced water. Peel each tomato, dice and mix into the other ingredients. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour to allow the flavours to blend.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lazy day

As some of you may know, I have an illness called hypothyroidism. This leads to me being tired a lot of the time as it's not presently treated properly. Of course, this, combined with our no dairy, no egg, no gluten diet, means that I come up with some interesting recipes as a result. Tonight was a perfect example.
My oven is truly my best friend. You put food in a dish, stick it in the oven and it comes out a little while later cooked. How much easier could life get?

Creamy Garlic Pork Chops
Hands on time: 5-10 minutes
4 pork chops
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 teaspoon Chik'Nish seasoning (or other chicken bouillon)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F. Sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt, pepper, Chik'Nish and cornstarch. Place in a casserole dish and pour the milk over them. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway through, until the chops are fork tender. Serve over rice.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Famine and War

Well, finally Bush tried to do something right, or so it appears. Unfortunately, Congress did not agree.
For those of you who have no idea as to what I'm taking about, check out this article on BusinessWeek's site.
I am no proponent of President Bush by any means. His stance on so many foreign issues absolutely astounds me with their short-sightedness sometimes. Just this week, in fact, he decided he would back Israel against Iran if they (Isreal) came up with a plan. That has the possibility of coming to bite the US in the proverbial ass.
In fact, I was floored to find out he had suggested spending 25% of this year's foreign food aid on food from other countries. After all, his business is oil. Shipping food overseas from the US could only benefit him. Considering that the majority of his decisions as President, to this point, seem to have been only things which benefit him and his friends, this turn-about was surprising. Then I thought about it. Chances are he knew that Congress wouldn't go for it, so what did he really risk by making the suggestion? Nothing. In fact, I think he did it, once again, for his own profit- or, at least, the profit of his party.
We all know it's an election year and I'm pretty sure we all know that President Bush's approval rating is the worst for any President ever. I don't doubt that his decision to ask Congress to earmark 25% of the foreign food budget for food from other countries was a purely political one, not one showing his days of being as near-sighted as a bat are over. The likelihood of another candidate from the Republican party being elected this year when his own approval rating is so incredibly low are zero to none. The American public does not want to risk having another President whose agenda is similar to Bush's and the chances of that happening with someone from his own party are much higher than with a President from another party.
Well, as usual around here, I need to get back to the kitchen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Homesick Canadians and Puffed Wheat

As the blog says, I'm Canadian. What's not as obvious is that I live in the US. I get homesick sometimes.
When Canadians get homesick, there are certain foods they crave- or at least this is true for my family. You wouldn't think there'd be much difference in foods from Canada to the US, but that's not true. My husband still does not fathom my absolute love of pierogies. Of course, he's never eaten homemade pierogies fashioned by a 60-year-old Ukrainian woman either. My pierogies, I'm sorry to say, don't measure up. At least, they didn't in my opinion even when we could still eat gluten. Which reminds me, I really need to look for a gfcfef pierogy dough recipe.
So today, since I was homesick, I made "puffed wheat" squares with a twist based on this recipe by the Medicine Hat Mommies. As may be obvious from that link, puffed wheat squares are so ingrained in Canadian minds that no instructions are needed for us to know how to make them. We've seen it done so many times from the time we're born, it's pure instinct.
For those of my dear readers who have the misfortune of not having been born with a Canadian gene or not having grown up in Canada, I will enlighten you as to how to concoct this Canadian delicacy.
First, a couple of notes:
As I said, we don't eat gluten in our household. This means we don't eat wheat, rye, kamut, triticale, spelt, teff nor barley (I believe that's all of them, I'm sure that if it's not a person with Celiac will be kind enough to remind me). So, rather than using puffed wheat, I used puffed rice. If you'd like to use puffed millet, it would likely be just as good.
Also, when Canadians say "corn syrup", we mean dark corn syrup, not light corn syrup... and it must be Beehive corn syrup, thank you. I brought some back the last time I went to Canada specifically so I'd have it for a couple of my recipes. When it runs out, I'll... well, I guess I'll use the expensive stuff Americans fob off as corn syrup. Which brings me to a totally off-topic point: if a Canadian sends you to the store for mayonnaise, bring back Miracle Whip. Trust me.
Now then, with no further ado!

GFCF "PUFFED WHEAT" SQUARES
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup corn syrup (as I mentioned, dark)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa (my mom actually uses 1/4 cup)
8 cups puffed rice cereal

Place the cereal in a large mixing bowl. Grease a 9" x 13" cake pan and around the edges of a medium saucepan. Put everything else in the saucepan except the vanilla. Over medium to medium-high heat, bring this mixture to a boil. Boil it for about a minute and then remove it from the heat. Continue stirring while you add the vanilla to this mixture. Then, using a spatula to remove every last drop you can from the pan, pour the mixture over the puffed cereal. Mix this up very well as quickly as you can (but make sure the cereal is coated thouroughly) then scrape it into the cake pan. Using wetted hands, press the mixture into the pan tightly. Allow to set (this may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours) but do NOT refrigerate if you don't want dentures. Invite your Canadian friends over, cut into squares and enjoy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Four week celebration!

We had turkey drumsticks for supper with leftover garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Nothing really that spectacular. It wasn't bad but nothing to write a blog about.
Earlier today, I decided to try out this recipe for "soy butter". Unfortunately, it tasted decidedly more like soy than I cared for as I only had soybean oil in the house. I'm thinking it would likely taste better with canola, like the recipe suggests. I added a teaspoon of salt too. I used it on the green beans, but it didn't melt very well. Still, it tastes better than what we're presently using for butter. I won't mention the brand name, but it tastes too much like flax, in my opinion.
For dessert, we had ice cream. My oldest son was going to finish the Coconut Bliss but decided to have some Mint Chocolate chip So Delicious. We probably would have just had fruit of some kind, but I am celebrating 1 month cigarette free! Yay!
I'm dreaming of eating this cake again. I can't begin to tell you how delicious it is. Great job, Dreena, though I'm sure you know that with two books out.
Tomorrow, assuming I have the time, I'm going to see about making some butterscotch fudge.