Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beef Curry with Corn

So as I said, I did a lot of cooking this weekend. Here is what we had for dinner tonight. I found the recipe online. But as usual I changed so many things I think I am safe in calling it my own. We love Indian food and I have so far found it really easy to make. I know that some of the ingredients may not be in your spice collection but if you like Indian like we do you might want to invest in these as they are pretty standard and are used over and over. Oh, got so excited to eat I forgot to take a picture. Sorry. I served it with rice and a potato dish I will hopefully post soon.

2 T vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds
1 half-inch piece cinnamon stick
pinch of ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
pinch of ground cloves
3 green cardamom pods, cracked open
1 medium diced onion
4 garlic cloves minced
2 t ginger paste
1 t turmeric
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large diced tomato
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t garam masala
1 t paprika
salt to taste
1 c coconut milk
2 T lemon juice
1/2 cup corn

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and cardamom; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and turmeric and cook until onions are translucent. Add beef and brown. Add tomato, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika and salt; stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir in corn. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until reduced about 30 minutes.

Our Usual Pancakes

When we first got the diagnosis of CD, Ron was sad about losing pancakes. So the search was on for some decent gf recipes. I think I have tried probably a hundred. The first several came out with the consistency of "snot" - Ron's description. The next ones graduated to the consistency of raw egg whites. Finally we have one that is really good. I make it often. Actually, since CD, I have never had so many hot breakfasts. Since most boxed cereals are out (why must they put malt in everything?!) that certainly changes what our mornings would otherwise look like. I have added blueberries to these as well as pureed pumpkin or banana slices with pumpkin pie spice. All are really good. Here it is.

GF, DF Pancakes

1/2 cup multi grain rice flour (we grind our own but subbing brown rice flour would be fine)
1/2 cup millet flour (you could sub any flour here)
1/3 cup potato starch
2 T sugar
3 T ground flax seeds
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t xanthan gum
2 eggs
3 T oil
enough water to get desired consistency

Just mix all together. Yum!

This Weekends Entertainment

I have been cooking up a storm this weekend. I have made some regulars and some new ones. I want to get around to posting all the recipes but as always time is a little short. First I will start with my cornbread. Cornbread is something that I didn't have much as a kid but since moving down to the US I have acquired a taste for it. We like the sweeter version of it. I love it with butter and honey. Since butter is out (unfortunately it still contains some casein in it) I have to settle for gf df margarine which is barely a substitute. If anyone knows a better sub please let me know. Butter is what I miss most. Anyway if you like the savory kind of cornbread just omit the sugar.

Cornbread - gluten and dairy free

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup corn flour
1 t xanthan gum
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 T baking powder (gluten free)
1 t salt
1/3 cup oil
1 cup non-dairy milk (we use original flavor hemp milk)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients and pour into a 8x8 sprayed pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown. Test doneness with a toothpick.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

It's not hard to find good gluten free ice cream. However it is hard to find really good GF and dairy free ice cream that doesn't cost a fortune. And we have been missing ice cream. So this is what I made a couple days ago. It was so good. Even Ron gave his stamp of approval. I made this with the use of an $8 ice cream maker from Walmart.

1 can coconut milk
2 large ripe bananas
2 T cocoa
1 t vanilla extract
2 T honey
pinch of salt

I put everything in the blender and then dumped it into the ice cream maker. 20 minutes later this is what it looked like.

It was so good. We will definitely be making this again soon. It took great will power to not eat it all at one time!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Honey'd Squash

Okay, I really shouldn't be writing right now. I have been laid up with a migraine for 2 days so the house looks like it has been ransacked by child burglers. In my defense though the laundry is going, I have done 2 days worth of dishes already and dinner is in the crockpot. I am just so excited though I had to share this. We have lots of yellow squash from our garden. Ron planted it. I wouldn't have. It is not a favorite of mine and I really don't use it much. However, I am determined to use it all up. When we were camping and saw that elk it reminded me that I have a couple packages of ground elk in the freezer. I told Sage about it and she wanted to try it. Go figure. She sees the beautiful animal and wants to eat it. Neither of them will eat anything that has ground beef in it but today they both ate elk burgers. I seasoned them simply with salt, pepper and garlic powder and then fried them in some olive oil. They were really pretty good. The best part though was the squash that I served with it.

Honey'd Squash

2-3 cups yellow squash cut up into bite sized peices
2-3 T olive oil (actually I used the same pan as the burgers - hey I never claimed to be low fat mommy!)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 T honey

Saute up until browned and tender. Then add 1 T honey and saute for another minute. Serve hot.

This is so good it will be my new favorite way to have squash. Sage even ate some which is a shocker. Rori? Well, I will need a miracle to get her to eat any veggie. Seriously, you have got to try this. I wish I had taken a picture to post but it was so good I ate most of it while it was still so hot it was scalding my mouth.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Camping - Against All Odds

When I think back on my childhood some of the very best memories for me were of camping. We haven't gone in about 7 years. That last time ended badly. We drove for hours and as we were pulling into our campsite, in northern New Mexico, it started to rain. No actually it started to pour. We hoped it would clear so we went ahead and set up the tent and camp site and waited for the rain to stop. It didn't. A couple hours later we packed it all up, soaking wet and drove all the way home. It kinda left a bad taste in our mouths. Lately I had been thinking that I wanted to try it again. I had several concerns about it even being possible. With a 3 1/2 year old, a 21 month old (who is newly potty trained) and a newborn, a tent, a Prius, and several food restrictions it seemed more than a little daunting so I didn't mention it to Ron. Then one morning he comes home from work and announces that he wants to go camping. Sage knew what camping was and was really excited. I was excited too and more than a little apprehensive. What the heck would we eat? No gluten means no hot dog buns. Hot dogs without the bun? Yuck. Camping without hot dogs? It's just not right. But since we told Sage about our idea to go we were kind of committed.

So Monday afternoon Ron started to get the car packed up and I started to bake. I made my awesome whole grain bread, brownies and rice krispy squares. All were gluten and dairy free. The rice krispy squares I made with coconut oil instead of butter and they were so unbelievably good that I could have eaten them all myself. Ron and I agreed that they were better than the original version. When Ron was done packing it would have been difficult to squeeze an extra toothpick in. Then a new concern hit me. Will this tiny car make it up the 5000 + ft elevation climb? We left Tuesday morning. Sage was so excited she chattered nonstop for the entire 2 1/2 hour drive. It was so sweet. That is one of the best things about having kids; you can see the world through their eyes. Anyway, the car made it there without a problem and it still managed to get 46 miles per gallon. Man do we love that car. We got a good campsite on the Mogollin Rim which is about 30 minutes east of Payson and set up the tent. Here is a pic of us setting up and proving that we really did this trip in a Prius.

At first Rori was a bit of a princess. She kept saying "dirt, dirt." But within the hour both girls were exploring the campsite and having a blast. The weather was so perfect. Daytime highs were in the mid to low 80's. Here in Scottsdale it was 113, I was told. It is amazing to me that in just a 2.5 hour drive we were in beautiful weather, green trees and clear air. The air smelled so good. I had forgotten what clean air smelled like. The first day we just hung around the campsite and took

walks and relaxed. I can't even put into words how happy I felt to see my girls playing outside. Sadly this is something they can't do at home. Between the heat, rattlesnakes, scorpions, javalina, bobcats, coyotes and cactus, playing outside isn't an option. Dinner was hot dogs, of course, on my bread with various other junk as expected on a camping trip. It was so good. I didn't feel cheated at all. Justus is such a good baby. He slept the entire trip there and then seemed so happy to be outside too. He kept starring up at the trees and smiling and laughing. He was perfectly content.

As expected, getting all 3 kids to sleep in one tent was not easy. But eventually they finally dropped. In Rori's case she literally dropped. She fell asleep while crawling around on the floor. But the very best thing about the night was that Justus slept right through for the first time. I didn't sleep well as I kept waiting for him to wake up and I was acutely aware of the fact the Ron was having a terrible sleep. In the morning I saw just how bad his night was. The air mattress he was on had a hole and by morning it had completely deflated and he was sleeping on the rocks. He woke up less than cheery. The rest of us though were happy as can be. We had breakfast and went to Payson

to get Ron a new air mattress. On the way back we stopped at Christopher Creek for the day. We had so much fun. Ron was teaching the girls how to fish for crawdads. The creek is small, clean, warm and shallow. It was beautiful there and I could have stayed all day. We had lunch on the bank and played in the water for a couple hours. We all got some "color", aka sunburned, even Justus.

That night went a little smoother in respect to getting the girls to sleep. They were just so exhausted. Justus only woke once during the night and Ron and I slept better too. So all in all we had a great trip. I didn't want to come home. I think that if we had a 5th wheel the kids and I would be perfectly happy to stay up there for a couple weeks at a time. Not only was the weather perfect and the kids were so happy and content to be playing outside, Ron and I were able to relax a bit and just sit and talk. Amazing what can happen when there is no TV. We also found that the people were so friendly there. People smiled at each other and said "hi". Here is North Scottsdale people don't even look at each other never mind smile or god forbid actually talk to one another. Sage surprised me with how friendly she was with complete strangers. She was so cute when she started chatting with our neighbors, an elderly couple. She said, "Hi, I'm Sage and this is my little sister Rori and I have a little brother Justus." Justus and Ron were back at the campsite while the girls and I went for a walk. The woman asked Sage if her brother was a little brother or a big brother. Sage replied, "He is my little brother. He is a baby and he came out of mommy's..." This is where I jumped in to stop her from giving them a lesson in the birds and the bees.

The first evening we were there an elk was wondering through the campsite. He was beautiful. He had huge antlers and we all had a great view. Rori kept repeating "elk, elk." Sage just wanted to get closer. I wish I had gotten a picture of him.

When I was a kid I used to see my mom and dad and all the other adults just sitting around the campfire just doing nothing. I used to think "how boring". Now as an adult myself I can appreciate those perfect moments of complete content in feeling the warm sun on my skin or the warmth of the fire. Watching the kids be kids and listening to the birds or the sound of the fire. These simple moments make me appreciate the wonder that is my life.