Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix, aka a gluten free sugar shock

As I pawed through the kitchen tonight my eyes landed on the Chex box...and the recipe for Snickerdoodle chex mix. I happened to have both the required Chex flavors, Chocolate and Cinnamon as well as plain popcorn kernels, sugar, cinnamon and butter.
Dave popped the popcorn while I measured cereal and melted butter... in less then 15 minutes we had a large batch of sugar coated goodness cooling on the countertop.  It was a great snack from my go-to cereal that we'll be enjoying for a few days. You can click here for the Chex recipe. Warning: sugar shock may ensue.

From Droid think outside

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes for #33

Dave turned 33 this week and deemed it his Larry Bird birthday as Mr. Bird boasted the number #33 during his carreer with the Boston Celtics. (I'm not into basketball but rolled with it.)

His request was strawberry cupcakes so I pulled out the Bronski's Artisanal Gluten Free Cupcakes Cookbook which I had picked up and loved since June and the kitchen aid whirled into action. I've become a huge fan of measuring flours using my new scale and my baking has been spot on.

Thankfully the Bronski's also included high altitude adjustments for cupcakes in the cookbook as well.
 I picked a great quart of strawberries up at the local grocer and added them to this beautiful batter.
which became a stunning cupcake after a stint in the oven..

a bit of vanilla frosting and green food coloring added the Celtics flare that Dave was looking for...
as well as a few nicely placed #33's and a good group of friends who helped us mark the occasion at Oak's.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

stress is a funny monster...

The seasons are changing and everyone seems to be going through stuff... Marlow's headed back to school (you go girl!), Pete's in his final month of training for an Ultramarathon and working to raise money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness in the process and others are going through the worst kind of hell- but finding so much support in other bloggers.

Stress is a funny monster and we all cope differently.

Sometimes when I'm stressed I make things likes these...

or like these...

other times I play with these monsters...

or hit up the hot yoga studio for my weekly fusion class. I also do all these things when I'm not stressed but find that I crave them when the tension hits between my temples and the pressure of the world weighs heavy on my shoulders.

When my stressed out sweet tooth struck I dug out my trusty droid and pulled up a recipe that we grabbed while back east. Dave's mom, Anne made great peanut butter squares so I whipped up a gluten free batch for us to enjoy.

From Droid think outside
Remember when you had to copy a recipe by hand? yeah- those days are over. I shot it with my droid knowing that there would be no scrap of paper to loose. It was a first for me and they were tasty- although I didn't melt the chocolate well so it came out thick in places.

Thankfully we seem to be in a smooth part of life while others around us are dealing with stuff, some big, some small, some good stress and some life changing stress. I can empathize...  this winter was a heavy time for us and I found myself baking whoopie pies and obsessively controlling the little details that I could (packing)... and knitting. In my first year as a knitter I've made dozens of hats, two scarfs and 3 baby sweaters. Knit one, purl one was something I could do that provided some relief from stress and also made others happy without adding the calories of whoopie pies.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

soup's on... curry soup with lentils

So we joke in Telluride that summer only last a few weeks as we don't own an air conditioner or even a fan as we only have a few nights where the temperature doesn't drop to cool sleeping levels. Last week we began getting the cool nights but it was a warm night as we enjoyed a curry soup for dinner.
We're working on using items in the house and working them into multiple meals during the week. The magic ingredient that inspired the curry soup? Lentils. I had made up a batch on Sunday and  had to sneak them into a Thai Kitchen Curry creation along with chicken, carrots, potatoes and other veggies. The next night they appeared in an Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese along with some chicken then they rounded out the week (and finished the cooked batch) in the curry soup. Dave's a bit over them by now but I was impressed at how they were able to mesh well into various meals. I cooked them on Sunday as they take quite a while to cook here at 9,000 feet.
 Curry soup, chicken, carrots, rice, spinach, celery, peas and our favorite,  lentils.

Why the sudden interest in lentils? Good question. They were in our favorite Backpacker's Pantry that we enjoy while camping and were right near the bags of jasmine rice at City Market so I gave them a whirl. Our first attempt was a fail (I chose to blame my 9,000 feet of altitude) so that's why I was so into finding a good use for them last week. Now as I google "Lentils" I'm learning that they are a great source of fiber, can fill you up without a lot of calories and provide slow burning energy.

Curry Soup
Cook chicken and set aside.
Rummage through the fridge and see what you have to throw in... such as cooked lentils.
Chop veggies (you pick!) and set aside. 
Grab a big pot... if you're anything like me you better grab the next size up as this soup tends to grow
 Bring water or stock to a boil and add veggies and chicken. Add curry 1tsp at a time until desired flavor is achieved. Do this slowly and a bit at a time. Other spices may be added depending on tastes. Simmer until veggies begin to get tender then add rice and lentils. Remember, rice grows quickly so try 1/4 cup for a soup with 2 quarts of liquid. Dave tends to forget this and we end up with a thick rice stew. Simmer to let all the flavors come together. The longer the simmer the better the soup.

It's a great soup and hard to mess up. I added fresh spinach to my bowl and it cooked in the time it took me to grab a photo due to the hot water as Dave wasn't into it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

a bit of local love... The Brown Dog, Telluride, CO

Last night we had your average Saturday night. We went into town and had pizza with friends at the Brown Dog, a local sports bar in Telluride. So normal, so average yet so wonderful.

The Brown Dog has come a long way since they brought gluten free pizza to the bar. The pizza scene as a whole has changed in the last year. It used to be a greasy slice we'd grab after a late night out in my gluten eating days and it's evolved into a place that specializes in pizza. They've taken classes and developed thier pies into something to that's craved for dinner not just after a night out on the town.
When they first brought gluten free pies to the scene it was  haphazard... they didn't have them every night and they weren't a highlight on the menu.
The Brown Dog's 9" Gluten Free pizza is actually 9" unlike some other places that boast a 10" gluten free pie that barely measure 7" across. The crust has a good sweetness thanks to the tapioca base and it's a thicker dough that fills up your stomach quickly. At a base price of $10.99 and $.79 toppings it's a reasonable price and lasted two meals for one person.

Since we were out with friends Dave split a gluten pie with them while I enjoyed half of my gluten free pizza covered with cheese (more on this) peperoni and pineapple. 
I also knit while waiting for the pizza to come... doesn't everyone knit in a sports bar?  The boys were trading stories of work, climbing and rafting adventures so it wasn't a hard line of conversation to follow.

Cheese... ah.... cheese.... how I love the concept of cheese and the flavor of cheese but hate the aftermath. Last night's pizza then today's leftovers left me with a cheese hangover. I'm running a bit slow on the uptake and my body feels heavy and lethargic. Last year I had a great purge from all things dairy while this summer I have the occasional "cheat". I cook with real butter but avoid dairy otherwise and use almond milk for baking and cereal. The aftermath of the cheesy pizza reminds me why I need to take care of myself. I only had Coke at the bar since I was driving and still feel funky today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

muffins...gluten free goodness on the go

Dave and I have both been needing breakfast on the go lately so we've resorted to muffins. Last week I bought some frozen blueberries and grabbed the Joy of Cooking off the shelf and we enjoyed these...
 the frozen bag of organic blueberries turned my batter purple but my muffins only had a faint hue.
We ended up with 18 instead of a dozen so I gave a half dozen to my young neighbor who's also a glutard. Her mom reported that they didn't last long in their house either.
This week I used my banana bread recipe and made them into grab and go muffins. I still baked them at 350 degrees but for 22-25 minutes instead of the hour it takes for banana bread.  I was short on bananas so I used 1/4 cup of applesauce in place of the missing banana. I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter then topped with a dash of cinnamon and sugar before tossing them in the oven. The verdict? YUM from both of us. The spices really kicked them up a notch and the applesauce added some great tones as well. The fridge is stocked full of muffins to carry us through a week of breakfast snacks on the go again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Move over PF Chang's.... Cucumbers

If you've been reading my blog for a bit you may have picked up on my obsession with PF Chang's. The closest one is about six hours away so take out is not an option. Instead I rely on our travels out of Telluride to get my fix and our recreations. I'm slowly working my way through the menu as I have a great version of street noodles and thanks to Heidi I can make a mean lettuce wrap. This summer finds me craving cucumbers and I'm now doing a good spin off of those. On our trip east last week I found out that there is a PF Chang's closer then I thought. Massachusetts has a funny way of making everything seem far away to a native Mainer like me. I think nothing of driving 75 minutes to the food store each month, 30 minutes minimum to get downtown and back or 15 minutes to yoga but when we're in MA a 20 minute drive takes you three towns over and is a hassle. Dave somehow failed to mention just how close we really were to Peabody until I Google'd it.
Now I can just enjoy these after a "quick" jaunt to the store for cucumbers...
Peel cucumber and slice or dice as desired, I'm a fan of thin slices.
Add a splash of vinegar (.5 to 1 tablespoon) and soy sauce (2 to 4 tablespoons) let sit in fridge overnight and enjoy... or if you like it crunchy eat right away. These have a light pickle quality from the vinegar and a salty flavor from the soy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Udi's love... and my trip to Whole Foods in Maine

It figures that I travel 2,600 miles away from home and finally found Udi's Hamburger Buns at the Portland, Maine Whole Foods. We were headed to a friend's house for the weekend and I grabbed a bag. We didn't end up having burgers at all so I carried them around for a few days before trying them.

From Droid think outside
I was a bit sad to have waited so long... and it was dry and crumbling. I know you're thinking this post is titled "Udi's love..." true. I'm giving Udi's a pass on this one since I carried the buns around for 4 days, they weren't frozen when I bought them in Maine and I've loved every other Udi's product I've ever tried.
Then we returned to Colorado and I found the hot dog buns tucked in the freezer at my Natural Grocer. We grabbed a pack and headed back to Telluride to return to work after our trip to New England.
The next day I defrosted a bun and used it as a sub roll for lunch....

From Droid think outside
Udi's Love in full force! The texture was spot on and it wasn't stale at all. Sigh... storage makes a huge difference.
Whole Foods did have some bright spots. We had stopped around lunchtime and I made a salad montage.

From Droid think outside
It was a great lunch on the road up to the coast and I also enjoyed half of this...

From Droid think outside
 I loved the single size packaging of this Sweet Sin Cupcake. (If you haven't been reading Marlow's post on Gluten Free Treats Weight Balance I'd highly recommend it.)  I was able to restrain myself after my salad montage on just had half after lunch then enjoyed the rest later in the day. It was kept in the freezer and defrosted quickly in the 102 degree heat on our trip. Yup, 102 degrees in Maine with crazy humidity was a far cry from Telluride's mid 70's and almost no humidity.
It made me very happy to find this section at Whole Foods

From Droid think outside
Three gluten free beer options! Of course I went for the Redbridge as New Planet wasn't an option in Maine.