Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

There are a lot of yummy chocolate gluten free cake mixes and recipes but I had yet to find a good vanilla mix or recipe. The other day Bear brought this box of mix made by Arrow Mills home and we made cupcakes. The texture of the cupcakes was a cross between cake and corn bread however they tasted like vanilla cake! They were moist, not to heavy, and are already completely devoured. They were a huge hit over Memorial day weekend and we will definitely be making more of these for upcoming birthdays and other family events. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Mt. Fuji

I feel bad that I have not been doing my Wednesday and Friday blog posts. Hopefully this week I will have more time.

For Bear's birthday we had Hibachi at Mount Fuji. Something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. We try to go at least once a year. Hibachi is actually Teppanyaki cooking but somehow or other Americans started calling it Hibachi. A group of people sit around a huge flat grill where the chef does performance cooking while preparing the meals for everyone at the table. This year we had the best chef ever. He had us all laughing. The more you interact with the chef the better he will perform. They will flip eggs (still in shells) around on the spatula, make them spin, then tossed them in the air to catch them in a pocket (more than one egg in the same pocket and yet none ever break), and of course make a volcano that erupts out of onion rings, all while flipping spatulas in the air. While the show is delightful the food is even better. Miso soup and a salad are served first then comes the show and dinner all for about $15. I had enough left overs just from my plate that it lasted me for 3 more meals. Not a bad price when you figure you get a show and 4 meals out of it. Just to throw some cuteness in. I made this breakfast for a friend this weekend. Tamagoyaki, panda bear rice ball, and strawberries. Tamagoyaki is a rolled omelet that tastes like french toast. I rolled these poorly but the beauty of this is that anyone can do it and it does not matter what it looks like in the end. It always tastes divine. The Tamagoyaki recipe came from " The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches to Go" by Makiko Itoh.

I love this book, the meals have more calories than I like, but since the recipes are all separate I can mix them up anyway I like. The recipes are all easy to follow and oh so delicious. Bear and I used to have Bento lunches all the time. I'm not quite sure why we stopped making them, but this book has reawakened a desire to start up again. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Morel Mushroom and eggs

This will have to be a late Recipe Wednesday.Here is my breakfast: Saut'eed morel mushroom with eggs.

It's very simple and so delicious. Morel's have a meaty nutty flavor unlike any other mushroom. We go hunting for them every spring. To make:

Saut'e 3 or 4 medium or small Morel mushrooms in soy butter. Once they are slightly spongy add two egg whites. For toast I used 1 slice of Udi's gluten free whole grain bread and topped it with "Better than Cream Cheese". This is a cream cheese alternative made with soy. It has the texture of whipped cream cheese and a slight sweet flavor to it. I don't know if it's 'Better' than cream cheese, but it is certainly equal.

SO there you have it, a quick and easy spring breakfast.

Looks closely for the morel. This is what they look like when you find them. This one was about 2 inches long. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recipe Wednesday

Udi's Gluten Free pizza crusts are by far my favorite but these little guys pack a powerful punch and are quickly becoming a new favorite. The are enough to fill you up but not enough to weigh you down and have all the flavor and crisp you would want and expect in a pizza.

You will need:
2 Gluten free corn tortillas (I use the smaller 4" in diameter ones)
1/4 cup of pizza sauce (portion this in half for both pizzas)
1 or 2 chopped up button mushrooms
1/2 cup Veggie Shreds (soy based mozzarella cheese) (portion this in half for both pizzas)
Mini turkey peperoni (use a tiny sprinkling)
4 or 5 black olives cut up
A few fresh basil leaves
a pinch of oregano
a pinch of basil
a pinch of rosemary
a pinch of thyme
a pinch of pepper
a pinch of garlic
(I have a little jar marked "Pizza Seasoning" that I keep these herbs in. That way I can just pull it out and sprinkle as needed. It's also handy when making sauce.

Assemble your pizzas, preheat oven to 350, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Note: you really only need to melt the cheese. Bake a little longer for a crispier crust. Let them sit for a minute or two before cutting so they can set up a little and enjoy. We loved that we could each have 2 pizzas and that they are so fast to whip up. Adding all of the ingredients together the nutritional total for 2 mini pizzas is:

Cal: 210 Carb: 27 Chol: 0 Fat: 2 Sugar: 5

Monday, May 9, 2011

Biaggi's: Tomato Mozzarella Caprese

For Mother's Day we went to Biaggi's. This time I decided to try an appetizer for a meal. There was more than enough and I was quite full. The Tomato Mozzarella Caprese was delightful and it will be easy to duplicate at home. The menu describes it as: Sliced beefsteak tomatoes, imported buffalo mozzarella, red onion, basil and Kalamata olives splashed with extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
As a general rule I don't like vinegar but this time it was not over powering. The tomatoes did not soak it in, rather it made a slight tang on the surface of everything and pared well with the buffalo mozzarella. Another HUGE thumbs up for Biaggi's Risorante Italiano. Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Foodie Friday

First things first; I saw my Dr. yesterday and have officially lost 18 lbs. Bear weighed himself this morning and has lost 23 lbs!!!

Ok. Now on to food reviews. This is my first Foodie Friday. Every Friday I hope to post a review of all the new things we've been trying this past month. Last night Bear surprised me by bringing home dinner... Rice Crust Pizza Soy Cheese Style from "Nature's Hilights".

For a GF DF pizza it was fairly good sized with a 9" diameter. Get this, one serving is 1/2 the pizza!!! WOW, that's a pretty good deal if your hungry. The calories are not that bad either for one serving of 1/2 the pizza here is the contents:

Cal: 290 Carb: 52g Chol: 0mg Fat: 1.5g Sugar: 3

Moving on to taste. Here we run into a little problem. It's good, but not great. The sauce lacks spice and the soy cheese is mostly crispy. The crust tasted like cereal and is very crispy on the outside and sticky gooey on the inside. We did cook it on our cast iron pan and that may have had something to do with it. Personally I will stick with our home made pizzas they have fewer calories and carbohydrates, are cheaper AND taste better. But for someone who does not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen and needs a quick meal this is not to bad. They just might want to add some more seasoning. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recipe Wednesday

Welcome to the first Recipe Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will try to post a new gluten free and usually dairy free recipe. I want to share some of the yummy things we came up with during last months experiment. This week's recipe is Pita Pockets. They are soft, slightly chewy and horribly addictive.
To start you will need:
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup GF Flour ( I use Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 2 pie pans and put parchment paper circles inside on the bottom (this will help a lot later). Mix all ingredients together till the texture of runny pancake batter. Pour evenly into 2 pie pans and bake for 20 minutes. When they are done cut each pita in half and using a thin knife cut the slit for the pocket while the pita is still warm. This recipe makes 4 pita pockets. Store in an air tight container in the fridge and warm slightly or bring to room temperature prior to stuffing and serving. They tend to crack a little if you stuff them while they are still cold.

Adding all the ingredients together and dividing by 4 the nutritional content for 1 pita pocket is:

Cal: 125 Carb: 11.5g Chol: 17.5mg Fat: 7.75g Sugar: 2.5g

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What we learned...

One month dairy free. This was a challenge we set for ourselves after taking a long look at our diet and seeing how many dairy products we were consuming. We stopped all dairy cold turkey for one month changing nothing else. Our home was already gluten free, so learning a new diet was not that hard. In later posts I will put up some new recipes and food reviews of things we tried. Here are some of the things we discovered along the way.

~The first thing we noticed was our weight just dropping off. My husband Bear lost 19.5 lbs and I have lost 15 lbs ( I had a Dr. appointment before this all started and I have a Dr. appointment on Thursday, I may have lost more and will get a more accurate reading on my weight then).

~The second goes with the first, with out the dairy, our caloric intake was drastically slashed.

~Right away we also noticed that we had lost a bloated feeling that we did not know we had till it was gone. It sounds strange, but we felt lighter.

~After a week we noticed that we did not miss or crave the dairy any more but were starting to crave healthy foods, like raw veggies (sugar snap peas and zucchini Yum!).

~ The weather has been shifting all over the place and my Ehlers Danlos has not hurt as badly as it normally does when the weather shifts. It's still there, but less pain is always better.

~Staying true to the experiment of ONLY changing the dairy in our life style became harder to keep to. We have more energy and want to get outside, go for walks, and exercise more. It's like the dairy was keeping us tired.

~At first I had some problems with my Hypoglycemia. I used to control the crashes with cheese. But with a few protein changes in my diet I have not had a singe crash since the first week and feel overall more stable. If I don't start my day with protein I need it for a mid morning snack. Having a protein filled afternoon snack usually carries me through the rest of the day.

~Bear used to suffer horrible acid reflux that would keep him up all night. That has completely disappeared since we went dairy free.

~Bear also used to snore so loudly that I would loose sleep. With less dairy there is less phlegm, with less phlegm the snoring has also ceased.

~We both sleep better and deeper, wake up without being groggy, and have noticed an overall mood improvement on both our sides.

~Our skin has cleared up. We have less acne and our skin has an overall even tone.

~Food seems more enjoyable and we feel fuller faster.

~Spending time in the kitchen cooking together and looking over new menus has brought us closer together. It 's so fun to spend the evening looking over recipe books and baking pita bread.

~We both have an over all "clean" feeling.

~ We've shifted back to eating out of bento lunch boxes which give us less food with more variety which tricks our brain into thinking we are getting more food.

~ Our grocery bills have gone down.

Bear has made a complete 180 health wise, just like I did when we went gluten free. He will be getting tested for casein, lactose, or other dairy allergies. It looks like no matter what the test results are our house will now be Dairy and Gluten Free. We wont be as strict as we are about gluten but for all intensive purposes this experiment was a success. Enjoy!

Day 30: Diary Free Challenge

Breakfast: Rice, mandarin oranges, and Tamagoyaki (a Japanese rolled omelet that tastes like french toast).
Cal:524 Carb: 69.8 Chol: 465 Fat: 10.36 Sugar: 26

Lunch: Roasted red pepper soup and 1 spanakopita.
Cal: 172 Carb: 26.8 Chol: 37.2 Fat: .4 Sugar: 8

Snack: Popcorn
Cal: 60 Carb: 38 Chol: 0 Fat: 18 Sugar: 0

Dinner: Trader Joe's Spring onion soup.
Cal: 260 Carb: 52 Chol: 0 Fat: 4 Sugar: 6

Snack: 1/2 cup mint ice cream made from coconut milk.
Cal:170 Carb: 20 Chol: 0 Fat: 9 Sugar: 13

Daily Total

Cal: 1186 Carb: 206.6g Chol: 502.2mg Fat: 23.8g Sugar: 53g