Easter Menu

Easter is upon us.

I am not ready whatsoever. Graduate school is kicking my butt, however I’ll be down to one internship in the summer so I should be less frazzled.

I have been racking my brain for the last few days about what to eat on the day the prodigal son rose. Bryan hates ham so the traditional Easter meal will never happen in this household.

I also wanted to make something easy since it’s just the two of us. Last year I didn’t even remotely got within the same room as what I had planned to cooked. It’s the overachiever in me.

Also, the gluten free thing makes things a wee bit harder. I have like 9 pie crusts and puff pastry in my freezer. So one of the desserts will not be gluten free.

So completely not traditional, and quick and easy,  and remotely gluten free. Sounds complex somehow.

Easter Menu

MAIN
Sausage, beans, and rice
Corn on the cob

DESSERT

Strawberry and creme pie – not gluten free
Greek custard.

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Glutino Decadent Chocolate Cake

You know how you try a product and it’s really good, so you try another product of the same brand.

What you don’t realize is that the high expectations you gained from trying the first product influences your feelings when you try a second product. And, in all honesty, it dooms the new product to fail from the start.

A long time ago, Mumika and I tried a gluten free chocolate cake box mix. Why? I don’t know. Probably to try something different. This was before gluten free became all the rage that it is today. It was one of those, it’s supposedly healthy, why not try it? What’s the worse that can happen?

It was the most god awful tasting chocolate cardboard posing as cake I had ever had. Flash foward a good few years, technology, and the time to create a better method of gluten free flower blending, and one would think there would be a better tasting cake.

One would think.

I ended up making cupcakes instead. The thought process was chocolate cake with a strawberry mascarpone cheese frosting, but that totally didn’t happen.

First and foremost, when making this box mix, the batter was extremely runny to the point that I feared it would end up being a hot soupy mess. Also, it had to be baked longer causing the cake to dry out. On top of that, the cake was extremely dense and not that fluffy awesomeness we all know and love of cake.

In a nutshell, it failed on so many levels that when it came to taste, I didn’t really care that much. It tasted better than chocolate cardboard but not by much.

Which means, I’ll have to experiment with different flours or flour blends before finding the perfect cake.

Grrrr……

I would try to make this again but I fear it would end the same causing me to waste money on it. Maybe I’ll try a different cake box mix next time.

Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Pouch

As I was walking down the baking aisle at HEB, looking for anything gluten free, I came across Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin mix pouch thing.

I hate muffin pouches. They are as pointless as cookie pouch mixes. But I was like, you know what, what the hell, lets try it. It was only $1.50, how could I say no.

When I got home and looked at the ingredients, much to my horror, I realized my mistake. On the list of ingredients, I found artificial blueberry bits. What.the.FUCK does that mean?

Seriously?

I don’t get it. Why claim there’s blueberry, if there aren’t blueberries in the bloddy thing.

But I made it anyway, because this is all about trying new things and gaining a better understanding and what have you. Although, part of my understanding now is that homemade where you physically had fresh blueberries to a muffin mix is the way to go. This way you know that there is actual blueberries in it and artificial, imitation, blueberry bits, pieces or whatever it claims. These so called blueberries is nothing but dye, high fructose corn syrup and sugar. So basically, they are adding extra sugar and calling it blueberries. I don’t know how that works, or even how on earth they get it to remotely smell like blueberries. Must be that artificial flavor or in this case smell.

So yeah.

Um, no. No no no no no. No. NO. NO. no. Did I say no? Because I mean no. No. NO. no. No. Just no.

Don’t do it. Don’t ever do it.

And if someone offers you blueberry muffins and the bits look oddly round and small and questionable and bubbly blue colored melted sugar, kindly say no thank you. Because it’s a facade, a horrible blueberry muffin facade. It’s not real. It never was real. I never will be real. Boycott it. Yes, boycott it.

Sadness.

Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

As Bryan and I were looking at protien powder, a few weeks ago, I found myself staring at gluten free box mixes. The gluten free area shares an aisle with the fitness health and homeopathic stuff.

Before this journey, I was dead set again the whole box mix crap. But, I had an epiphany as I looked at brownie, white cake, chocolate cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, banana bread, pizza crust, and pie crust box mixes.

I have no idea what I’ve truly gotten myself into.

I needed to try these box mixes to see if the baked goods of the gluten free lifestyle were even remotely edible. And, there was a coupon. Most gluten free box mixes are an absurd $3.99 and up. The $1.50 off coupon sort of made it remotely worth it.

So I made it.

AND.

Oh.My.God. Most amazing brownie ever created. It’s gooey, collapse in your hand and shape it into what ever yummy of awesomeness. Almost every part of the brownie was the awesome middle part people everywhere fight for and rejoice over.

Screw brownies with wheat in it. They never come out this perfect.

So moist. So chocolatey. You can actually see the chocolate chips in the mix.

Bryan ended up eating pretty much the whole pan in one sitting. He claimed he was saving me from the evil brownies. But I knew better.

What in it? SUGAR, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, COCOA POWDER PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, WHITE RICE FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, CORN STARCH, XANTHAN GUM, SALT.

Hmmmmm. Maybe I can figure how to make this on my own and cut the sugar down. Yep, definitely need to figure out how to do that.

Despite being on a gluten free diet, I’m still trying to figure out how to tweak things. There is always room for tweaking. Always.

But until then, if you have $4 on you and want to make the best brownies in the universe (thus far), go ahead and get a box. You won’t regret it.

Gluten Free pasta round 2

Bryan and I are huge pasta lovers. We could eat spaghetti everyday. Literally.

After the first attempt of pasta, Bryan brought home a different brand to try.

Ronzoni.

This gluten free pasta is amazing. And it tastes better than regular pasta.  The flour blend used is quinoa, white, and brown rice.

I think the biggest thing is that it cooks correctly.

And it works great in pasta based casseroles.

I wouldn’t mind trying Barilla gluten free pasta, but until I can find it Ronzoni works perfectly for me.

Gluten free pasta round 1

Something I definitely was no where close to giving up in the gluten free live I found myself in was pasta.

Luckily, despite living in a small town, I found gluten free pasta. The downside is it cost roughly twice as much.

I already knew this was going to be an issue because healthy food always cost more the junk food. Hence the whole fast food trillion dollars industry. Junk sells because of deflated costs and what will most people pick: a dollar cheeseburger or a seven dollar sit down meal. The cheeseburger because it’s cheap, mobile, and fast to make.

So we get the pasta. The HEB brand and I read the directions. Boil water, put pasta in water, and boil for 11 minutes. Previous to this adventure, I had been warned of the gumminess gluten free pasta possessed.

However, now I know why. The bloody pasta was no where close to being cooked. Therefore, it comes out gummy.

So I cooked it for a total of 20 minutes and ended up overcooking the dammit thing.

Maybe this pasta thing isn’t worth the hassle.  I don’t know. Maybe I got the wrong pasta? Either way,  HEB gluten free pasta is a no go in this journey.

A little experiment

There is a lot of things going on right now and I’m starting to believe I’ve bitten off a wee bit too much than I can chew. It’s not that I haven’t cooked food, I have, I just haven’t had time to post these new recipes. Especially considering, we’ve been doing the whole gluten free thing. I am doing 3 internships, taking 4 classes, and I have a part time job. So if I’m not at school, I’m at an internship or at work. I hardly have time to do the school work let alone type a post.

The other reason for the lack of posts is because of the gluten free lifestyle I am trying. What was originally a week was extended into two weeks and now may be more indefinite.

Why?

I did a little test yesterday. Bryan and I went out for chinese food and I ended up eating a few things with wheat in it. I decided to do this to find out if I got sick and how long it took to get sick if I did.

The answer: I did get sick but it was roughly 6 hours later instead of immediately. What does this mean? It means that I am healing. This diet is actually working. It also means that I will probably do another check in about a month.

Why am I doing these experiments? A) It is impossible to go on a diet or lifestyle change without falling off the bandwagon. So if I give myself a little lee way, I’m less likely to give into my gluten cravings. I’ve always believed in moderation, but in this case, it’s more of a rewards system for doing so well and sticking with it. B) I want to see when my stomach and intestines are fully healed. I started with 2 weeks, next will be a month, the time after that will be three months, then six months, and then a year.

I do realize that technically each time I eat gluten it will be causing damage, but I think the amount of damage will be limited and would therefore allow me to figure out when I can, if I can incorporate some gluten in my diet. Even if it’s a twice a year sort of thing.

In the next few posts, I will be talking about what to expect of the gluten free lifestyle, reading nutrition labels to see if a product is gluten free, gluten free pasta, gluten free pizza, gluten free cake and brownie box mixes and how to make your own gluten free all purpose flour (hopefully).

In between these posts, I am hoping to finish posting recipes I made before the gluten free lifestyle change. So please bear with me. If this ends up significantly reducing my insulin intake, the name of the blog may be changed as well.

Gluten Free Week Menu

Starting February 1st (Superbowl Sunday), I will be on a gluten free diet for a week.

Where is this coming from you ask? Good question.

I blame my husband.

Bryan has been on this build a better body be ripped quest and in this quest he’s been researching a lot about diet, how to gain weight, how to trim, food, and what have you.

In this quest with extensive research, Bryan found information pertaining to what a gluten allergy or insensitivity looks like. And the side effect described me to a T. If I have a gluten enriched day like eating at Fazoli’s, or an abundance of flour, my stomach disagrees with me and I’m running to the toilet every hour. I know it’s too much information about my bowels, but who knows, maybe your going though the same thing. I’m helping people here, damnit.

He also found out that this gluten whatever can imitate diabetes. This is major for us. When I was first diagnosed, after all the extensive blood work and tests, my endo informed me that beta cells were intact, however, they were inactive. He didn’t know what caused this and suggested I find a way to destress myself.

Why is this important? So with this gluten thing, what happens is that the gluten blocks the stomach from signaling to the pancreas to that it needs insulin. This causes sugar to get into the blood creating high blood sugar. The stomach tries to repair itself, but the more gluten you eat, the harder and slower it is to repair. I have beta cells. Diabetics don’t have beta cells, which means I’m abnormal. If I have beta cells and they aren’t working, it could be because they aren’t being signaled to produce insulin. Which means, I might have this gluten thing.

So the theory now is, if I go gluten free, it will allow my stomach to heal and be able to signal the need for insulin and this signal would actually reach the beta cells causing them to wake up and activate.

If this works, it means I will have to have a gluten free lifestyle for a while.

BUT!

It could mean that my husband CURED ME!!!!

I’m hopeful. But not looking forward to this new dietary restrictive diet. No more cake, cookies, brownies, bread, croissants, cupcakes, pasta, and what have you.

Gluten Free Menu

Meals:

Ground Beef and Hummus
Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snap peas
Chicken with zucchini noodles and avocado cream
Fajita Style Chicken chili
Coffee rubbed steak with balsamic vegetables
Chicken Cacciatore RisottoSomething with polenta I’m sure

Desserts:

Banana and Berry Terrine
Flourless Chocolate Cake

We will see what happens.

Reindeer Chow (Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

When I found this recipe last year, Family Christmas had already come and gone. Don’t get me wrong, the Hot Cocoa Ornaments were amazing and everyone loved them. But since two of Bryan’s siblings live 5 hours away, I really wanted to prepare a little snack for them for the ride home.

But that’s okay, because I didn’t know about the gift wrapped pringles can until this year.

Before I made these, Mumika told me something that boiled my blood for two days straight. I couldn’t focus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner, I was so pissed. I mean, who does that and I had showed her what I was making. But when the time came, it was no where to be found.

As it turned out, my mother in law was making a different chex mix for the kids to munch on. A more savory version and forgot to put it out. When she said she had added Worcestershire sauce to hers, I automatically knew which version she was making. Mumika must have misunderstood her or something.

By the time I had made these little mx of awesomeness, I didn’t care that much. Why? Because they came out awesome.

Originally I was going to make two completely different batches and mix them together before putting them in the canisters. But then I realized, that was too much of a hassle and ended up making something completely different.

I made peanut butter and nutella muddy buddies. It was pure and utter genius.

reindeer chow

Reindeer Chow(Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

10 cups chex mix (corn or rice or a combo)
10 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter
12 ounces green and red M&Ms
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Melt the peanut butter, nutella, and butter in a microwave safe dish.

Microwave in 15 second intervals until butter is melted. Stir each time

Add the chocolate and continue 15 second intervals of microwaving until all is melted into the mix.

Continue stirring at each interval.

Add the vanilla and stir together.

In a large bowl add the cereal and pour chocolate peanut butter nutella mixture over it.

Mix with a spoon.

In a large paper bag, place the powdered sugar.

Pour the chex mixture into the paper bag.

Close the bag and shake it until the powdered sugar has coated the chex mix evenly.

Add the M&Ms and shake it..

Makes 20 servings. Or Four Canisters. Per serving/canister.

OMG, it tastes amazing. It’s really interesting because when you take your first bite, you taste the nutella and as you keep chewing the peanut butter comes out.

Also I reduced pretty much everything – the powdered sugar, the chex, the chocolate.

By keeping the peanut butter, you get some protein in there.

One of my sister in laws called it crack. Which it is. She would give one of her sons a few pieces as she ate the chex mix. When he popped the first square she gave him, his head moved back in pure euphoria and he said “mmmmm” and demanded more.

Adults and children alike will love this. Both kid and mom tested and approved.

My mother in law later told me everyone loved the gift, which made me happy. Bryan and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on our seven nephews, so I figured food would be the best bet. Just watching that one nephew’s reaction made me feel like I did enough even though he got a BB gun, toys, candy, books, and a skateboard from the rest of the family.

But then again, you’re talking to a girl that went all EEEE! when Mumika gave her a huge box of walker shortbread for Christmas one year.

It really is the little things.

Tembleque

This recipe called for a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. But I was busy making Bryan a drink at the same time and totally forgot it.

Did it need it? Fuck no!

It tasted OMG amazing.

How do I know? I was bad an pretty much licked not only the spoon but also the saucepan thinking the whole time, “Why didn’t Mumika make this when I was growing up?!?!” The woman pretty much denied me my delicious Puerto Rican heritage cuisine wise.

Tembleque, which I like to pronounce wrong, is typically made during Christmas time. There isn’t really much on the history of tembleque. However, is called tembleque because it “trembles” or jiggles. In reality, it is a hybrid of Jell-O and custard. It has the consistency of Jell-O but tastes more like a custard.

It’s pretty awesome.

tembleque

Tembleque

3 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of coconut water
1/2 cup of cornstarch

Directions

Mix everything together on medium high heat .

Stir into you get a creamy consistency . It will also thicken a bit.

Pour into a glass mold.

Wait until it’s room temperature and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.

Dust with cinnamon before serving.

Makes12.

This is amazing.

It’s like arroz con dulce but without the rice.

The texture might be weird for those with texture issues. Actually, they might not even touch it. It’s the whole jiggles like Jell-O but is actually custard thing.

Bryan was not happy about the texture.

It’s creamy, it’s coconut-y, it’s custardy. The perfect coconut custard.

Add the cinnamon on top and all the flavors elevate in Puerto Rican awesomeness creating a Christmas party with live music in my mouth. You know what I’m talking about – the three meal services, three bands and a DJ, and an open bar Christmas party in the mountains somewhere.