DIY Fourth of July: Gigantic Patriotic Cookie

20140704_181919It’s here! It’s finally the fourth of July! If you’ve been following my posts, you should be all decorated. Now, you need dessert. Enter the gigantic, festive cookie! Seriously, it’s so big, it actually spilled over the sides of my pan and I’ll need to de-cookify the oven. Moving on… I used a recipe from Around My Family Table and tweaked it. Here’s the portion I used:

Giant Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookie {Gluten Free/Vegan}

 1-2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, prepared as directed, but not baked

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie/pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare cookie mix according to package/recipe instructions. (You will probably need two mixes to fill the pan.) Spread cookie dough evenly in pan, pressing all the way to the edges. Bake for 15 minutes and then check every few minutes until cookies are baked and almost fully set in the middle.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  • Decorate with red white and blue icing
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Their recipe calls for handmade icing. I wasn’t feeling up to that so I decided to cheat and purchased Wilton icing instead. As a tip, you’ll need one tube for the blue and two tubes for the red. I found this out the hard way when I was halfway through decorating and ran out of icing.
 
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For the cookie itself, I used two boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Each box requires one stick of butter (I used Simply Balanced Organic Unsalted Butter), one egg (I used brown eggs) and one teaspoon of gluten free Vanilla (I used McCormick).
  • 20140704_162925Following the directions from the original recipe, I prepared the two boxes of cookie mix using my KitchenAid Mixer. If you don’t have one, break down and buy one. You’ll love it and, if you look hard enough, you can find them at a great price thanks to sales. I also used the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater which actually scrapes the bowl as you mix. My parents gave me the attachment as part of a Christmas gift and I love it. I don’t have to occasionally stop the mixer to scrape the bowl.
  • Once the mix was prepared, I scooped it into my Chefmate Pizza Pan. You really have to press down on the dough and work it a bit to get it to spread out and fill the entire pan, up to the edges.20140704_163555
  • Bake your massively large cookie for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. There’s almost a little too much dough for the pan, so the cookie will spill over when it’s baking. I actually left it in the pan once it was done cooking and trimmed around the edges to make it perfectly round. It was far too heavy to try to move onto something else.
 
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  • Let the cookie cool completely before decorating. This is a perfect time to eat the pieces that you trimmed off.
 
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  • Using the blue icing, draw the square for the flag and fill it in. You can use a butter knife dipped in water to help evenly spread the icing.
  • 20140704_172654Using the white icing, draw the stripes, leaving space for the red stripes between. Also, with a star tip, add white stars to the blue square.
  • Fill in the empty space between the white stripes with red, finishing up the flag design.
  • Rejoice in your cookie talent. And, of course, eat it!

Happy fourth of July!

 
 
 
 

Baking with Buddy: Crockpot Pulled BBQ Sandwiches

20140321_180436Let me just start by saying, I love this recipe. As in I really love it. As in I can’t wait to make it again. As in don’t go to a BBQ joint for dinner because it won’t be as good as this recipe! I think you get the point.

Per usual, I found this recipe via Pinterest. It comes from the “Mom, What’s for Dinner?” blog which is all about a woman who is cooking gluten free since her daughter has celiac disease. I like it because we seem to have a lot in common in that we both like to take recipes and adapt them into a gluten free version. Here’s the recipe:

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff
3-4 pound pork shoulder roast
3 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 cup liquid smoke
1 (16-20 oz) bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1) Spray the inside of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard and liquid smoke in a small bowl.
2) Rub all over the roast, covering all sides.
3) Place lid on slow cooker and bake on low for 8-10 hours (or high 5-6 hours). Shred meat when finished and strain meat. Add bottle of your favorite gluten free BBQ sauce.
4) Serve on  Kinninnick Gluten Free Buns  and enjoy!
20140320_100335I found my pork shoulder at Food Lion, which is rare for me since I’m not a huge fan of their meat. It was a little fatty, so I would probably recommend opting for one that’s a little leaner. I already had all the spices, but I did purchase the Liquid Smoke since I hadn’t heard of that before. It comes in a small bottle, similar in shape to a Tabasco bottle and was fairly inexpensive. I would recommend including it, because I think it made a huge difference. It gives the barbecue that pit-smoked flavor. I’m usually not one for a smokey flavor/smell, but I loved this so that should tell you something.
20140320_100914Using my ingredients, I created my rub, which is almost like a paste, and rubbed it all over the pork shoulder. I then placed the seasoned meat in the crockpot on low for 9 hours. The timing turned out perfect, but 8 hours would have probably been enough too. With the crockpot on warm, my husband shredded the meat (I was at work), added in a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, which is his favorite, and left the meat in the crockpot on warm to soak up the sauce.

20140320_215752We paired the barbecue up with Ian’s Gluten Free Onion Rings and Bush’s Baked Beans. My husband ate his on a traditional bun, whereas I opted for a Schar Gluten Free bun (I’ve never heard of Kinninnick buns). It was amazing and by far the best homemade barbecue I’ve ever eaten. The hubs agreed so I must have been doing something right since he can be very particular about barbecue. It has a nice, thick moistness and isn’t runny or overly liquidy like some barbecue can be. I sincerely, enthusiastically, emphatically encourage everyone to try this recipe. I’m confident that you’ll love it. No, really, try it!

I was not compensated for this review. It represents my own experience with this recipe, which I encourage everyone to try out for themselves. And check out “Mom, What’s for Dinner?” for more gluten free recipes.

Baking with Buddy: Mini Egg Pizzas

20140316_192922Earlier this month, I whipped out a recipe I had been wanting to try for some time. I got it from my friend Stacey (you can check out her blog here) who found it online at Paleo Parents. I’m not strictly following a Paleolithic diet, which excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils, but, being gluten free, I’m somewhat default paleo. Homegirl likes her ice cream, potatoes and sugar though. See the difference?

Anyway, the idea of these pizzas is that the base is mainly eggs. There’s no dough and no cheese, but your really wouldn’t know that by the way they taste. I will say the hubs was super suspicious of these, but I think he ended up liking them (at least that’s what he told me).

20140316_224359Mini Egg Pizzas
Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Tree-nut Free, Peanut-Free (contains eggs)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp lard or olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 C tomatoes, diced (or one 14 oz. can, strained)
  • 1 C pepperoni, diced
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 C black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 1 C mushrooms, chopped (optional)

20140316_193912Instructions

  1. Heat lard or olive oil over medium heat
  2. Saute onions until almost softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Add tomato paste, cook and stir for one minute until well incorporated with onions
  4. Add tomatoes, cook 2 minutes stirring frequently
  5. Add pepperoni, cook together for 4 minutes, stirring frequently
  6. Crack and beat eggs until fluffy and bubbly
  7. Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper to eggs and mix
  8. Grease muffin tin cups (eggs will stick) or use a silicon pan or liners
  9. Spoon 1 Tbsp of tomato mixture plus any other additions into each muffin cup
  10. Pour egg mixture into muffin cups until they are ¾ full (eggs do fluff up in oven)
  11. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until tops become golden brown. We prefer our slightly underdone if we’re saving them for the week so that when reheated the eggs do not become overcooked.

20140316_194713Sounds simple enough, right? For this recipe I used Simply Balanced Organic Eggs, Hunts Tomato Paste (it was on sale), turkey pepperoni (try not to eat pepperoni because of the nitrates because those jokers will kill you but I made an exception) and olive oil instead of lard. I opted out of the mushrooms and black olives, but I included everything else the recipe asks for.

The recipe is supposed to make 16-24 pizzas. Following the instructions, I made only 14. They came out huge. Go with the 20+, trust me. And, they aren’t cute. Trust me, they really 20140316_221420aren’t cute. The spices make them look a little green, but they taste great. I was surprised by how much they tasted like a pizza without being an actual pizza. The hubs even agreed, which is saying something since he was so skeptical of them from the start. Definitely try out this recipe, which could also make a great breakfast dish. And check out Paleo Parents for more kid-pleasing Paleolithic recipes.

I was not compensated for this review, nor was Buddy, although he probably wouldn’t mind a bone or two.

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Baking with Buddy: Chicken broccoli alfredo

20140310_185601A few weeks ago, I picked up a box of Annie’s Homegrown Gluten Free Classic Alfredo Skillet Dinners at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen gluten free alfredo before and Annie’s is a great brand. It’s made without artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives and the cheese is made using milk from cows not treated with rBST–all big pluses in my book. In addition to the box of alfredo, the meal also called for one pound of chicken, one cup of lowfat milk and 1 1/2 cups of water.

Classic Alfredo

1. Brown one pound diced chicken breast in skillet. Remove from pan.

2. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 cup lowfat milk and Classic Alfredo seasoning pouch contents to skillet. Mix well.

3. Add pasta. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 11-13 minutes stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and most of the liquid is gone.

4. Remove from heat and uncover. Add cooked chicken and liquid cheese sauce. Stir well. Let sit 2-3 minutes.

20140310_192149To begin, I diced two defrosted chicken breasts and browned them in the skillet with a little Simply Balanced Organic Butter. The butter gives it a little extra flavor. Once the chicken was browned, I set it aside and mixed up the alfredo seasoning (using Simply Balanced Organic Milk) as directed in step two before adding the pasta. If you’ve ever worked with rice pasta before, you know it can be a little tricky to get it just right. However, this pasta turned out perfect. I think it was due to the milk that was mixed in with the seasoning pouch. It kept the pasta from sticking together like rice pasta can sometimes do. Also, while cooking the pasta, I tossed a Green Giant Steamers bag of broccoli in the microwave. When both were finished, I added the chicken and broccoli to the pasta and voila–dinner.

20140310_194623I have to say, it was amazing! The sauce had a great taste to it and the broccoli added a little something extra to the dish. I will definitely be making this again. In fact, it was so good that I even ate the leftovers during the next two lunches. It also didn’t hurt that the husband raved over it. I hope Annie’s will come out with more gluten free skillet meals. It’s hard to find quick, healthy gluten free dinner options. If you see a box of this, be sure to grab it. It’s definitely worth the money.

I was not compensated for this review. Nor was Buddy and he really likes bones.

Baking with Buddy: Chicken fajitas, slow cooker style

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This is Buddy and we like to cook, a lot. Granted, his role is more moral support than anything since he just lays in the kitchen floor while I cook, but that counts, especially when I try to tackle something that’s on the complicated side and my husband isn’t here to catch my momentary meltdown.

Earlier this week, Buddy and I tackled chicken fajitas in the slow cooker. We got the recipe off Pinterest via the website Stacy Makes Cents. It’s one I’ve actually made before and held on to it for future use.

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs
  • 1/4 to ½ cup chicken broth, depending on preference (leave this out if you prefer a drier fajita filling)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • Tortillas
  • Fajita fixings
  1. Combine sliced onion and peppers in the bottom of a greased crockpot.
  2. Lay chicken on top of veggies.
  3. Pour chicken broth over top.
  4. Sprinkle everything with cumin, salt, and chili powder.
  5. Give a nice quirt of lime juice over the top.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 4-8 hours (or on High for 4 hours) or until meat is shreddable.
  7. When meat is done, shred with two forks and stir back into juices. Serve meat mixture with slotted spoon on tortillas with your choice of fixings.

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The recipe calls for a yellow onion, but I made turkey meatloaf the day before and had half a white onion left over, so I used that instead. For peppers, I used green and yellow, which were left over from a three-pack I had also bought for the meatloaf. I also chose to use only 1/4 cup chicken broth (Wegman’s Organic Chicken Broth) since my chicken was still a little frozen in the middle and I didn’t want to end up with too much moisture. I put everything in the Crock-Pot, according to Stacy’s recipe, and cooked it on low for 8 hours. I had a late meeting for work, so the timing was perfect. 

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And who doesn’t love a slow cooker? You can just fix it and forget it. Fabulous! I have a programmable Crock-Pot so when the cook time is up, it automatically switches to warm. Love it! 

When I got home, the chicken was a little scary looking. I’ll admit it. However, once shredded it looked amazing.

I’m a gluten-free girl so I didn’t opt for the tortillas and I’ve yet to find a great corn tortilla, so I added shredded cheese and ate it paired with yellow rice, cooked by my husband while I was on my way home from work. It was pretty great. My only notes for next time would be to add lettuce and tomato along with shredded cheese post-cooking. I also think this would be great on chips, almost like chicken nachos. My husband said he’d up the spice factor, so maybe some additional peppers would help. I think it was definitely missing the red bell pepper, which I had included when I cooked it before. And Buddy? Well he only eats dog food (with the occasional treat), but I’m sure he enjoyed the smell.

20140306_205050And check out Stacy Makes Cents for more great recipes.

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Gluten free pizza? Oh why not! Especially when it comes from Castiglias. It’s so nice to see actual Italian restaurants embrace the gluten free lifestyle.

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Ron made Manwhich for dinner tonight,  bunless of course, and we also tried out gluten free onion rings. They were great! I’m not even an onion person, mostly because they used to tear my stomach up, but look who can eat gluten free onion rings now without a problem. Fabulous!

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Ron made a new gluten free shake and bake chicken recipe for dinner tonight. It was really good. The coating kept the chicken really moist inside and it had a great flavor. Bonus, I have leftovers to take to work for lunch tomorrow!

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On my weekly Target grocery run I found some new gluten free options–one of which I tried today. Evol makes a gluten free, all natural, low fat chicken teriyaki bowl. I tried it today for lunch and it was great! They have some other gluten free options that I’m going to check out, including gluten free chicken burritos. I’ve never had a burrito before (welcome to life with stomach issues) so I can’t wait to try one. Kudos to Target for adding more gluten free and all natural options to their inventory. This gluten free person is loving it!