Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fast Food for Gluten Free Kids

Grabbing a snack or quick meal from a fast food restaurant just doesn't work for us.  I am gluten free and can eat a salad at many places, but like most preschoolers my daughter doesn't eat lettuce of any kind.  I suppose that we could get her a hamburger or grilled chicken sandwich without a bun, but she is not fond of that idea either.  Most of the time, we plan ahead and bring food with us for her, but sometimes life is hectic, and frankly, we are caught completely unprepared with a whiny kid from time to time.  In a pinch, we sometimes pick up an Apple Snackers from the Walmart produce section.  It comes with apple slices, grapes, and cheese cubes.  It's actually a big hit with both of my little ones ages one and three.  I have no idea why, but the kids won't eat apple peels at home, but they typically eat the apple slices peel and all from the snack packs.  Go figure!  Unfortunately, there's no drive through, but at least the produce section is usually near the entrance so it's pretty quick.  Sometimes, we also go to Wendy's where I will get a salad with grilled chicken and share some of my chicken with my daughter.  We also order her some apple slices and juice or milk, and she'll share some fries with dad.   You just need to check with the manager first to see if a separate fryer is used for the fries to make sure that are safe.

Here's a link to additional information about eating gluten free fast food:

Gluten Free Fast Food Options

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family Movie Night

Popcorn is a must for movie night, so we just turn it into a fun, easy dinner.  Yes, popcorn!  We put a blanket on the floor in the family room and serve the kids popcorn, cheese, and apple slices.  As an added bonus, we sometimes add chocolate chip cookies for desert.  Popcorn is one of my kids favorite snacks too.  We pop it in an air-popper and let the kids pick out a seasoning to add to it.  Sometimes I fill up Ziploc bags for on-the-go.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crockpot Chicken

Crockpot Chicken
One of my family favorites is my crockpot chicken, and it's the easiest thing ever.  In the morning, I put a whole frozen chicken in the crockpot and cook it on the low setting for 8-10 hours.  That's it!  I don't add anything to it or do anything special other than remove the giblets if necessary after about an hour once the chicken has thawed  Typically, I'll start a loaf of bread during nap time to serve with it.  Then just add a vegetable side such as green beans and dinner's done.

After dinner, I remove the leftover chicken from the bone, cut it up in small pieces, put it in a glass storage container, and drain all of the juices from the crockpot over it to save for another dinner.  With these leftovers, I typically make either a Chicken Risotto or Chicken and Rice Noodles.

Chicken Risotto

Leftover chicken and juices (You can substitute prepared chicken broth/stock if you don't have chicken juices on hand.  Just fill the rice cooker with broth and omit water.)
2 cups brown rice
1 Small Chopped Onion
Approximately 1/2 cup carrot shreds (Or chopped baby carrots)
Approximately 1/2 cup frozen peas

Microwave the leftovers for a minute or two to melt the chicken juices/fat.  Add the desired amount of rice, chicken juices/fat, enough water to fill the rice cooker up to the 3 cups of rice cook line, a small chopped onion, and carrots.  Then add the chopped up chicken.  Turn on the rice cooker and let it do it's magic.  Once the rice cooker switches to warm, I stir in some frozen peas.  Leave it in the rice cooker on warm for a few minutes, and then it's ready to serve just salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken and Rice Noodles
Leftover chicken and juices (You can cook noodles in prepared chicken broth/stock if you don't havethe juices on hand.)
Approximately 2 cups of water
1 box Pad Thai rice noodles (I use Annie Chun's)
Frozen Peas

Dump the leftover chicken and juices in a large pan and add a couple of cups of water.  Bring water, chicken mixture to boil.  I typically break the rice noodles in half first to make them a little bit easier for little ones to eat and then add them to the boiling broth.  Add more water to cover the noodles if necessary.  Cook 4-5 minutes until noddles are tender, stirring occasionally.  I add some frozen peas in with the chicken and noodles before serving to my children.  You can also add some salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yummy Pizza!

We tried a new pizza place last night that serves gluten-free pizza, and I just had to share because it was the best gluten-free pizza that I've had.  My daughter's preschool sent out an e-mail that that they were having a fundraising event at a new pizza restaurant in town.  The flyer mentioned that they had gluten free pizza, so we thought that we'd give it a try.  The whole family, even the gluten eating ones, agreed that the crispy, thin crust from Boombozz Pizza was the best.  From what I can tell, it's a new chain just in Carmel, IN and Louisville, KY, but you should definitely check it out if you get a chance.

 Another favorite of ours is Cool River Pizza which offers both cheesy bread and pizza as a gluten -free option.  Locations are limited to Noblesville, IN, Rocklin, CA, and Elk Grove, CA.

We also like Puccinis which offers both gluten free pasta and pizza with several locations in Indiana and Kentucky. 

Gluten Free Bread

My daughter turns her nose up to just about all of the pre-made gluten free breads.  For the most part, I make all of her bread.  Before we started the gluten-free lifestyle, I have to admit that I had never made bread mostly because I thought that it was difficult and time consuming.  After muddling through a few months of eating gluten free with basically no bread of any kind, I decided to give bread-making a try.  My mom got me a bread-maker for Christams last year, so I started off using a few of the bread mixes.  They were definitely better than the pre-made bread options, but they were still pretty expensive.  Eventually, I decided that maybe I could make it from scratch myself.  We have tried numerous different recipes, but this recipe is by far everyone's favorite.  The whole family enjoys this bread especially served just out of the bread-maker.

Delicious Gluten Free Bread

For this recipe, I use potato starch and oat flour.  I also use lemon juice and honey.

My bread-maker does not have a specific gluten-free setting, but the bread always turn out wonderful with the rapid rise cycle.  I use the "Food Network Programmable Breadmaker" from Kohl's which has worked just fine for me.

While the ingredient list may be somewhat daunting at first, it really isn't that difficult.  You can even mix up multiple batches of the dry ingredients at one time and save them until you're ready to make your next loaf.  The only downside so far is the mess on the counter from all of the bread crumbs when I slice up the bread.  I put the loaf on a cutting board, but the flaky crust tends to still make a mess.  Since I make bread on a regular basis, I have a added a bread slicer and breadkeeper to my wish list.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Must Have Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies have always been my expertise.  In fact, I'm not allowed to show up to a family event without them.  I have to admit that giving up gluten filled cookies was probably one of the most difficult aspects of changing my family's diet. Not only do I love cookies, but cookie making had been an important tradition that I shared with my children.  I tried many gluten free recipes to satisfy my chocolate chip cookie cravings, but many of them either tasted odd or didn't have the right consistency.

Check out my update to this post:
Update to Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe 

Here's the best recipe that I have found so far:

Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

With just a couple of tweaks, I have been able to enjoy chocolate chip cookies once again with my kids.  I substitute potato starch for tapioca starch because I don't like the taste of the tapioca starch (same quantity). I've found that it is what gives many of the gluten free baked goods a funny taste. I also use 1% milk because I don't keep whole milk on hand, and it works fine. It's important to chill the dough well as the recipe says (I put it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes) or they won't bake right.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Eating Out at Chipotle

We went out to dinner at Chipotle tonight with the family.  My daughter loved the kid's make your own taco kit.  The best thing is that everything other than the flour tortillas are gluten-free.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I decided to experiment with making some dinner rolls.  This recipe turned out well.  The house smelled wonderful as they baked, and the kids were excited to wake up to fresh rolls after nap time.  Warm rolls with a little bit of Nutella were a perfect snack.  I used white rice flour instead of the Asian White and Sweat flours, but they still turned out great.

Here's the products that I used for this recipe:

Mushroom Rice Lentil Pilaf

Let's face it once you are on a gluten-free diet, you no longer have the luxury of feeding your family the occasional ready-made meal or takeout.  Ugh!  Just about everything must be homemade from scratch.  Fret no more, here's the easiest gluten-free dinner ever that you're family will love.

Mushroom Rice Lentil Pilaf
Add 2 coups brown rice, and 1 cup lentils in a rice cooker and fill with water to the 4 cup line.  (This takes about a half hour to cook, but you get it started and go do something else until you're ready for dinner.  Sometimes I start this and go to the gym or just head outside to play with the kids.  The rice cooker will switch to warm when it's finished, so there's no need to watch the clock.)

When you are ready to eat, brown 1lb. of hamburger and then add 1 can of Progresso Cream of Mushroom soup.  Serve this over the rice, lentil mixture.

It's so simple, and my picky kids love it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let the Candy Sorting Begin

Halloween trick-or-tricking can be a bit tricky when kids have food allergies.  Not only do we have gluten issues in our house, but one of my children also has a peanut allergy.  As soon as we get home, the candy sorting must begin.  I found this great link that outlines which candies are gluten-free which was very helpful this year. 

Gluten Free Candy List

Now if I could only figure out how to stop the non-stop whining about wanting to eat candy.