Sunday, May 13, 2007

Muffins, muffins, muffins!


Good morning and Happy Mother's Day to all! Had a good week...a Mother's Day breakfast for my school kid's mothers....I made regular zucchini bread and strawberry muffins...yummy! As for me, I used Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix. I followed the recipe on the back for the muffins and added fresh strawberries. It couldn't have been easier and took no time at all.

Last night I had "gourmet night." Every 6-8 weeks we have dinner with 4 other couples. The hostess made Chile-Seared Salmon with Sweet Pear Pineapple Salsa which was excellent. I was responsible for the starch and bread. I made Green Rice Pilaf, substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. For the bread part I made Tex-Mex Quick Bread. I decided to adapt the recipe for myself so, while the gluten filled version was baking I took Pamela's Ultimate Bread Mix, followed the muffin recipe, (but omitted the vanilla because it was a savory, not sweet muffin) and made some gluten free tex-mex muffins!
Dessert was yummy also...I read the recipes thoroughly to see if I can eat them. I also question the cook to make sure it's safe for me.

My sister Ellen asked me if I worried about cross-contamination regarding other people's kitchens and utensils. No, I know these women well and know how clean their kitchens are. They also know the danger of my being "glutened" and wouldn't put me in the position of being "glutened."

I hope you'll try these recipes. They put a smile on my face and made it wonderful to be gluten-free and healthy. My best to you....

Adaptations: Strawberry Muffins

1 -1/4 cup Pamela's Mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, cut up
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup honey)

Sprinkle sugar over strawberries. Let sit for a few minutes. Then, add all other ingredients together and add to strawberry mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Makes approximately 6 muffins. ENJOY!

Tex-Mex Muffins

1 -1/4 cup Pamela's Mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/4 cup chopped black olives, drained
1/8-1/4 cup sugar

Mix all above ingredients well. In a separate bowl, add:
1/2 cup milk
1 can drained, chopped green chiles
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg beaten

Mix wet ingredients with dry mixture. Bake in muffin tin for 20
minutes. ENJOY!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Living like the rich!

Good evening...I hope you all had a great weekend. As for me...I spent the weekend at the Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in Miami. My husband won the trip through business and it wasn't until I got there until I realized how hard he worked to earn it!

Valet parking a must....rooms with 37" plasma tv on the wall, marble baths and showers, tv, phone, and bidet in bathroom! Ice water continuously offered at the pool with ice cold washcloths...oh my, I could go on and on. But...the best part was the reaction I got regarding my dietary needs. The first morning I approached a man with a suit (figured he looked important). We spoke briefly and then, he said, "I'll get the chef." Not just any chef, the Big Kahuna! He had a former employer with Celiac Disease so he was willing to go overboard for me....and he did. I had Whole Foods gluten free rolls at Fridays dinner. At each meal, a chef accompanied me on the buffet to tell me what did and didn't have gluten. Black bean salad, yes, regular salad and dressings, yes, chicken, yes, lobster, yes...I said lobster!, yes. At the beginning of Saturday night's awards dinner I approached another gentleman. I said, "I have spoken to the chef and"..he interrupted me and said, "Yes, the chef prepared you a gluten-free sauce for the filet mignon and salmon. The polenta is fine also." He also brought out four slices of what looked like Whole Foods Sun-dried tomato bread. Dinner was yummy...everyone else got an ice cream dessert. I walked away from our table for a few minutes. When I returned, there was a huge bowl of mango, strawberry, and lemon sherbet with berries! Wow! That certainly was the icing on the cake...I mean sherbet!

The next morning I approached a waiter who knew about my needs as well. He said, "Right, you can't have gluten. Can I make you egg whites?" When I replied, I asked about the gluten free bread from the night before. Five minutes later I had my scrambled egg whites and gluten free toast!

Needless to say, I had a fabulous weekend. I had lots of anxiety about what I would eat..but alas, it melted, thanks to the chef. Having a $400.00 credit to spend as we pleased didn't hurt either. I had an 82.00 pedicure (can you believe?)and my husband had fun in the golf shop. He played golf, I worked on my tan, we ate well, slept well, and enjoyed the weekend without stress.

As for today...back to work...17 days until summer vacation...ahhhh....

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kinnikinnick Lemon Cranberry Cookies

Just a quickie...today's my birthday! And....one of my parents (from school) bought me Kinnikinnick Lemon Cranberry Cookies (soft and chewy) AND Gingersnap Cookies (CRUNCHY!) to share with my class. It was very thoughtful of her, don't you agree? Serving size is 2 cookies, 38 calories, 2 cookies 87 calories respectively. I tasted the Lemon Cranberry ones and they are delish!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be well.....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Creamed Spinach to die for and other mumblings!

It's 8:10 p.m. Tuesday night...Idol night in our house..yes, I confess...I am an Idol Junkie! I really enjoy watching especially now that it's become a real competition. Had a great day..only 23 days until summer vacation. Reminds me, I need to fax the prescription to Princess Cruises so that they can make me gluten free food every day. Actually, a friend told me that she knew someone who recently went on a cruise and they had gluten free bread and other goodies at every meal. Can't wait!

We went to a friend's house on Sunday for a barbeque. Friends like that are what we all need. She bought me not one, but three gluten free salad dressings AND rice crackers for the hummus. How 'bout it....wouldn't we all like friends like that!

I contributed to the meal by making creamed spinach. I adapted the recipe by using white rice flour instead of regular flour. Otherwise, the recipe stayed the same. Try it...it was sooo goood you'll wish you doubled the recipe!

Going to an upscale country club this weekend...my husband won the trip...I'll need to stop at Whole Foods to stock up in case they can't accomodate me. My sister, Ellen, always takes an insulated lunch bag with her just in case there's too much risk in eating out. I'll buy some of my faves...Stonyfield lowfat yogurt (the vanilla is the best), Envirokidz Peanut Butter bars, navel oranges, Nature Path honey corn flakes, and whatever else. I'll fill up the cooler with ice each day just in case! Otherwise, me, a book, the sun, and a comfy lounge chair by the pool! Ahhhh. Until then....

Creamed Spinach

2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems removed and washed
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (WHITE RICE FLOUR, SAME MEASUREMENT)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.
Bring the cream to a low boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Melt the butter in medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, and then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, until a light blond roux forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly, and cook until thick and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt, white pepper and nutmeg and simmer until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the hot cream, whisking constantly, and cook for 1 minute. Fold in the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, and mix until smooth. Add the spinach, mix well and cook until completely warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings