It’s What’s For Dinner ~ October 18th 2016

Beef & Orange Stir-fry ~ I love making stir fry of all types. It’s such a fast and easy meal providing your family with a host of vegetables that are sure to delight anyone who’s hungry….

beef-and-orange-stir-fry-017-resized-50

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

line break image - 030

9331714_rv2fr

laura-closing-blog-sign

Advertisements

Gluten – Free Pancakes

The other day I found a box of gluten free Bisquick pancake mix in the grocery store. I was excited to give these a try so our family unit could all eat pancakes together again. My trial with taking my son off of all gluten in his diet for reasons of his eczema worsening since this spring.

I was happy with the mixture when whipping up the batter and the appearance of the pancake cooking on the griddle.

august-29th-2016-009I must tell you he said they tasted really good, but not like the ones with flour that he’s grown up with. But, this gluten free product opens up a door that was closed to him. Over the past two months his eczema has improved quite a bit. During this heat wave we’re experiencing would have been agony for him as the heat tends to make the eczema worsen to the point of driving a person mad.

But, with the gluten taken out of his diet all together ~ This equals success for him and his condition is now manageable. I’ve made the bread in the oven and in my brand new bread machine that my daughter and son bought for my birthday ~ It’s Red.. Love it…

The homemade gluten free bread made in the bread machine is so much easier and the finish product is much like the regular bread. I slice it once it’s cooled off and wrap each slice in wax paper. I then place them into a freezer bag and put into the freezer. This gluten free bread tends to do better if it’s frozen first.

I bring out one package in the morning to thaw inside of the wax paper and it’s ready for the next meal. We’ve also found that the store bought gluten free buns taste better if you also freeze them and thaw one at a time.. The consistency after freezing and thawing is closer to flour bread.

I’ll post my combination of gluten free ingredients for the bread machine version in another post, but until then happy eating to all those out there who are gluten free ….

9331714_rv2fr

line break image - 027

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

What’s all the fuss about ~ Fingerling Potatoes

I am beginning to love my attempts at growing my own potatoes from the sprouting spuds in the bag bought from the store. When I harvested my first container of spuds this year, along the roots were tiny spuds, actually they are called Fingerling Potatoes.

If you’re in the grocery store looking in the potato section and notice this little bag pictured below and read the name, Fingerling potatoes these are merely the same potatoes that will if you’re lucky grow huge such as baking potato size.

Fingerlings potatoesAugust 22 2016 - 017

I had around a half dozen of the tiny spuds called fingerling potatoes after my first harvest. I don’t know why this realization never happened before. I noticed that the small bag of fingerling potatoes in my grocery store cost 3 or 4 times the cost of a 10 pound bag of regular spuds.

Fingerling Potatoes on Wooden Sign

These fingerlings potatoes are finding themselves on dinner plates at fancy restaurants and I’m sure they come to you at a dear cost to your wallet. Same as buying these small bags of fingerling potatoes in your own grocery stores.

On the other side of this silly issue I’m having with fingerling potatoes, I suppose little kids who may not want to eat potatoes ~ They might have a fascination for the tiny spuds on their tiny dinner plates using their tiny hands to hold these small spuds.  I try to see both sides of many things that catch my eye, but why on earth would they charge you so much more for so much less of the simple tasty potato?

Just pondering over here…. So, if you garden and want to grow your own potatoes please do so, because it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wind up with  a handful of those pricey fingerling potatoes in the mix…

What did I do with my home grown fingerling potatoes from container #1? You might be wondering…

I peeled, sliced, boiled them. Drained them in my handy dandy tiny colander, below…

Handy dandy green collander on green background

Isn’t that just the cutest colander you’ve ever seen. Now, I know I didn’t need yet another colander for straining things, but if you think about it it’s just right for strawberries, blueberries, and now my newly grown Fingerling Potatoes. Just small enough and not too big.. This reminds me of the childhood story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears on brown background

I don’t know why this reminded me of that childhood favorite story of mine, except for thinking about the stack of colanders I have in my kitchen or talking with you about children and their tiny hands, but on with what I made with the itty bitty potatoes…

I browned them in olive oil, adding chopped white onions. Letting them brown a little. Then walked out on the patio deck and cut a few Green onions and chives from my homemade garden trug. Broke a few eggs into the pan and cooked these all together, calling my daughter in for a nice brunch served with hot creamy buttered toast and a huge slice of tomato on the side. Yum.. Is all that I can say.. except for get growing next season and add potatoes to your garden…

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time…

~Laura~

Gluten – Free ~ Chicken Pizza on Socca flat bread

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 010

Socca ~ Flat bread – Gluten free (makes one 10-inch plus an extra smaller one)

1 cup corn flour

1/2 cup corn meal

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 Tablespoon Olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt ~ I used no-salt

1 Tablespoon each ~ Thyme or Basil, Oregano, Onion powder, Chives

Whisk corn flour, corn meal, water, olive oil and salt. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours. ( I added the spices to the batter and allowed it to rest for 2 hours)

(To cook in the oven)

Set the oven rack 6 inches below the broiler. Warm the pan for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, spray with cooking spray and add a teaspoon of the oil to coat the pan.

Whisk the batter and pour in the pan, covering evenly. (You might want to use only half the batter and make two. Mine turned out very thick almost like a pita.

Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until the top of the Socca blisters and browns, then bake at 400 on a lower rack for 6 minutes or until set. It should be flexible in the middle and crisp around the edges.

This recipe originally called for chickpea flour, which I didn’t have. Probably why I had trouble with the results…I’ll try it as the recipe calls for one day, but I did make alterations to mine the other day and instead of baking it like I did the first time, I used my Pizza maker.

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 002

The ingredients listed above is what I used to make the rounds for the pizza base. This made one large round about 10 inches and the second part of the batter make a 5 inch or so…I didn’t divide the batter evenly because I wanted one large one to impress my son…

This process of cooking the batter in the pizza maker proved to be so easy and fast, a mere few minutes compared to the oven method. ~ The first time making this in the oven took much longer than the recipe called for. Probably, because I poured the entire bowl of batter into the pan. I really didn’t have a clue what to expect. But, now I do.. Thank heavens…

To cook in my Betty Crocker Pizza Maker:

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 001

Mix together the corn flour, corn meal, spices, oil, salt and the water. Let rest for 30 minutes or as long as two hours, covered.

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 002

After the batter has rested you can now add 2 teaspoons of Baking Power ~ always checking that your baking powder does NOT CONTAIN wheat…

line break image - 023

Baking powder: This product often contains an ingredient that helps absorb moisture so the baking powder doesn’t clump. Some brands use wheat starch as that ingredient. Glutenfree baking powders include Rumford, Clabber Girl, Featherweight, and Bakewell Cream.

line break image - 023

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 003

Being the pack rat that I am…I’ve saved cardboard rounds from long ago store bought frozen pizza’s. Cleaned them well and left out to air dry. I often used these cardboard rounds in between my cast iron fry pans. Since, they need to be kept oiled…

Let’s get cooking…

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 004

Addition of the baking powder.

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 005

I poured 1/2 of the batter into a hot, oiled pizza cooker. Closed the lid and set a timer. 2 1/2 minutes later I flipped with a spatula and cooked for another 5 minutes or so. Just until the center feels done.

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 006

After 2 1/2 minutes…..

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 007

After 7 1/2 minutes total cooking time…..

Place on wire rack to cool completely. You can after it’s cooled place the pizza base on a round of parchment or waxed paper on top of a cardboard round. Wrap this in plastic wrap and put into one of those extra large baggies. Freeze the base, until ready to use.

Gluten Free Chicken Pizza - 008

Never store in the refrigerator…

This advice is from reading about making gluten free products. The refrigerator ruins the bread. But, your freezer is your friend… as far as this way of cooking bread…I freeze the pizza base until nearing dinner time and put together with homemade pizza sauce, shredded chicken, onions, bell peppers and of course last but not least the cheese.

When you’re ready to prepare the pizza’s place the frozen base into the hot pizza maker and top with your ingredients. Close lid and usually within 5-7 minutes it’s piping hot, cheese nicely melted and ready for the pizza cutter to go into action.

This base holds up nicely to the added toppings and does NOT crumble or fall apart like some of the gluten free bread I’ve been making. I would give this a great big 5 stars as far as making gluten free pizza in your home.

5 Stars cooking - 002 - resized 70

line break image - 030

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~

Fall is around the corner ~ Really? Just call me the female version of Mcgyver…

September 22nd marks the first day of Autumn and that’s a mere 40 days away from today. Where did the summer go? I ponder…

The heat warnings have been rampant for two months and my rain barrels have almost been emptied. Thank heavens for a dehumidifier that offers up buckets of water to use on the plants along with my trusty dish rinse water I collect to use as well.

My Fall Swiss Chard is growing beautifully even in these dry hot temperatures with the aid of my homemade shade cloth to protect the tender leaves. I put back into action the small old umbrella over my dill, parsley, and cilantro to protect them as well as allow the soil not to dry out as much…

August 11th 2016 - Umbrella and homemade shade cover - 010

My routine is to water very early in the morning and then again around 3 in the afternoon. The soil is bone dry at this time and the plants will suffer if left until the next morning.

August 11th 2016 - watering can with sticks - 007

August 11th 2016 - Swiss Chard - 001

My little watering can I use for the Swiss Chard and the herbs would pour too fast, so I took two Popsicle sticks and shoved those into the pouring spout. Now the water trickles out so as not to get the leaves wet during watering.. Oh boy...Just call me Macgyver…

Macgyver - 001

MacGyver is a top agent for the Phoenix Foundation, a progressive agency devoted to righting the wrongs of the world. Even more progressive is the genius MacGyver, who never carries a gun and always thwarts the enemy with vast scientific knowledge – sometimes with little more than a paper clip and the duct tape in his pocket.
First episode date: September 29, 1985
Final episode date: May 21, 1992
I also seeded some more radishes for a Fall crop in hopes that the warm temps will carry over into October. Once the seedlings are up they only take about a month ~ if the chipmunks don’t get them… I should have plenty of time since they do enjoy cooler temperatures and might just plant another row in two weeks…
The multiplying onions are growing nicely out in the permaculture bed and as of yesterday I harvested a few for a Gluten Free Chicken pizza for my son. I tweaked the recipe a little bit and will post about it tomorrow ~ I hope with some really good pictures to show you. I also used my pizza cooker to cook the shell base and this worked like a charm..
Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 001
I’ll show you that as well tomorrow…Needless to say my son thought he’d have to give up pizza because making the pizza shell base was looking impossible for me.. But, I never say never and put my years of cooking to work to figure this challenge out…
Remember my telling you about trying something I found on the inter-webs… You take one small slice off a store bought tomato and plop in some dirt…
Well I had over 40 or more plants pop up from that one slice..
Here is one I added to my permaculture bed.. I believe the store bought tomato was a determinate variety…
August 11th 2016 - Tomato plant from the one slice of tomato method - 008
That means once it sets the flower it will not grow any taller and set more flowers… Last year I planted some cherry tomatoes from store bought package of seeds and that was an indeterminate variety and it grew and grew and set flowers one right after the other. Until, the frost smacked it in the face and took it out for the Fall season…
That’s my progress so far, Happy Farming to ya
38368-Mountain-Bluebird
Until next time
~Laura~

I need help in the worst way ~ Calling all Gluten-Free Bread Makers

The challenges of trying to master Gluten-free bread…..

My son has had a skin condition for many years. We’ve been to doctors and they have given this and that to try without any change to the skin that’s been covered with eczema…

This is a medical condition in which patches of the skin become rough and inflamed with blisters that cause itching and bleeding, sometimes resulting from a reaction to irritation ~ eczematous dermatitis, but more typically having no obvious external cause.

That’s where we’ve run into a wall many times trying to work out this condition for him and also for me at times ~ mine has never been as bad though…

Even showers can be like pouring gasoline on his body when the skin is bad. I’ve bought special attachments with a filter for the shower head and that seems to help somewhat..This also helps me when I get the hives. The additives the town puts into our water to keep us safe can burn like we are on fire at times…

We’ve cut out certain foods one at a time, but this is a very long process and takes a long time to find any results. At times you feel like giving up and just live with the pain that is skin, and nerves… But, I never say never and keep reminding him that I’m never going to stop looking for something that will cause relief and possibly clear up his condition…

It became worse when WHEAT products hit the store shelves, flooding into just about every product when the wheat craze began.. We found out very quickly our bodies could not tolerate whole wheat.. enriched wheat (we thought) was a solution since this wheat is mainly stripped of its whole wheat.. anything labeled whole wheat we stayed away from all together.

Until, this Spring….Hives attacked me and his eczema changed from bad to life altering. The sudden attacks of pain shot through the skin causing months of sleepless nights due to nothing could touch the skin not even a pillow or sheets…I had to do something fast because this condition was changing my son, harming him and that I would not stand for not even from Wheat!

We have taken wheat completely out of our diets, and here’s where I need help out there from all of you wonderful cooks .. I’ve just begun trying to make gluten free bread and need any tricks of the trade secrets for this way of cooking bread to turn out…

I’ve been baking bread the traditional way since the seventies, without any problems…But, this gluten free baking is mind boggling to me. The first attempt I follow the directions to the letter and the runny batter looking mess overflowed all over the baking sheet underneath the bread pan. The directions called for a special size pan and many different types of flours.. etc..

Making Gluten-Free Bread - Part One - 001

The second time was a little bit better, even though it ran over the pan again, just not as much..

Help!

The third time I threw caution to the wind and added more of the flour until the mixture resembles drywall spackling  compound ~ as one of the you tubers suggested …That actually worked out better my son said after eating a slice, but it’s just not there yet I said..

Gluten free bread - July 30th 2016 - 001

It’s only been a week since I’ve removed all wheat out of our diets, and I can report that his skin ~The dreaded eczema has stopped burning, he’s slept for the past three nights and his hands are beginning to heal. I have him also drinking the Turmeric, Ginger Tea… ~ acts as an anti-inflammatory.

We’ve also cut out processed foods, sugar free drinks…We’re going old school here ~

So, please if you have any helpful hints or tricks to making the Gluten -Free Bread let me hear from you .. Thanking you kindly …

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~ Laura  & her Son ~

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Chocolate Mint - 001

As its name suggests, Chocolate mint is a variety of mint that has nuances of chocolate in both fragrance and flavor. Subtle notes of cocoa and vanilla mix with a traditional spicy mint finish. When grown in sufficient sunlight, the lush green leaves even develop burgundy veins to match the chocolate-colored stems.

I thought I’d make some ice-cream using the chocolate mint I’ve been growing for two years.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream - 001

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

2 1/2 cups milk

3 1/2 cups chocolate mint

5 egg yolks

2/3 cups sugar

1 cup heavy cream

(I added one vanilla stick to the cooking mixture)

In a medium saucepan, combine milk and fresh chocolate mint. (I used about 1 cup of fresh mint, instead) Bring mixture to a gentle boil, cover and remove pan from heat. Steep mixture for 30 minutes. Strain mixture, reserve milk and discard solids.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, for about 3-5 minutes. Return milk to a simmer.

Prep an ice water bath. Place ice cubes in a bowl and fill half with water.

Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding half of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture while stirring constantly until blended. Add new mixture to sauce pan with remaining milk. Stir consistently over low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove saucepan from heat and immediately stir in cream. Place in an empty bowl over the ice water bath. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into empty bowl and chill for at least 3 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.

Freeze custard in ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (I added Toffee bits to the mixture after putting it into the ice-cream maker)  Store in an airtight container in freezer until ready to eat.. (I put plastic wrap over the top of the stored ice cream to keep crystals from forming on top of the ice cream…) Works like a charm….

Ice Cream Maker

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream - 002

I also made a crock-pot of chili, so I could have chili dogs for dinner…

This was a nice finish to our evening meal and who doesn’t love chili dogs?

line break image - 012

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~  Laura  ~

I am Gadget Girl (woman)…Old woman!

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 001

Presenting the Betty Crocker Pizza Maker

I one-hundred percent admit that gadgets for the kitchen, gardening, laundry room…make me a happy woman, alright old woman… I can say that about myself because it’s true, but don’t let anyone else call me old… Those are fighting words… So, now that you’re completely warned about that, let me continue with the post…    🙂

I found this kitchen gadget for my kitchen last year and have made wonderful pizza’s inside of this machine. You can buy store bought pizza dough (shame on you for not making it from scratch) Hee, Haw… like I do… Well I’m retired, so I have lots of time on my hands and my children are grown… So, moving onward….

The booklet that came with the machine gives instructions for homemade dough.. you make the shells first and cook them, then you top your pizza and cook again… So, its like store bought dough after all… isn’t it.. (homemade taste better….just saying)

The booklet comes with instructions for making a pizza sized Chocolate Chip Cookie! Come ON! Really… A pizza size cookie…..I’d be in heaven with something like that or you can make it and it can be for a surprise for someone you love…. Or if that person is dieting and you don’t care for them this size cookie will totally blow there diet all to the southern regions for sure…. Alright, it’s so hot here and I’m on my last nerve trying to sleep…

So, I decided last evening to try my own lower calorie brownie recipe in my handy dandy Pizza Maker and cut the finished product with a pizza cutter, how cute eh?

On with the show… here’s my creation in my Betty Crocker Pizza Maker

Homemade Brownies

(Oh and they are somewhat thin, so less calories!)

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 002

Tada!

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 003

I should have used the flash on my camera.. but this was so easy… cut a piece of parchment paper and line the pizza maker.. it said to preheat the cooker first, which I didn’t and it worked fine.. I waited for the up to temperature light to turn green after filling with one half of the batter, then started timing the cooking ~ 15- 20 minutes.. and the really cool (pun) thing is I didn’t have to heat up the kitchen with my oven… On days when it’s nearing 98 F…

Isn’t that always the way? You get a craving for something baked when it’s hotter than the southern regions…

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 005

(I remembered to use the flash)

I just grabbed the parchment paper and placed on a cooling rack, added some icing.. Come on ! This old woman needed comfort and icing on the brownie was the solution….. Cut the Pizza shaped brownie with a pizza cutter.. How neat eh?

Betty Crocker Pizza Maker - 006

To add fun to this dish ~ drizzle the frosting on the plate, since I didn’t have any of my strawberries left.. oh my that would have looked so pretty… But, it was fun for my index finger getting that drizzle off the plate 🙂

So, in conclusion I would have to say one word about my Betty Crocker Pizza Maker Brownie

Score!

383289_4287944432714_1722710745_n

line break image - 014

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time