Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Light & Fluffy Coconut Milk Pancakes

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm nom nom nom........

Who likes pancakes?  (I do, I do!)  I mean, fluffy, lip-smacking pancakes, rather than the usual hard-tack sit-in-your-stomach-like-a-stone pancakes GF pancake mixes often provide?

Pancakes like....this!

Ooooh yeah.

I've been wishing to tackle making GF pancakes that reminded me of my Dad's Saturday morning pancakes for a LONG time.  I finally got around to trying a few recipes I'd found through pinterest.  With a few tweaks as I've experimented, this is what I've come up with as a product of my stubbornness determination!

*does a little jig*

Edit: See also my alternative fluffy pancake recipe that needs no milk or eggs and are just as scrumptious!

You'll Need:

- 1 & 1/2 cups sorghum flour*
- 1 cup brown rice flour*
- sprinkle of cinnamon and/or quarter-inch of a vanilla bean pod
- sprinkle of salt
- 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 can 13.5 oz coconut milk (malk!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup water

* I use Bob's Red Mill for the flours

To Start:
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.  
  • Add and mix the 2 eggs, olive oil, and honey.
  • Pour the milk in increments, mixing the batter in between pours (I usually add about a 1/4 cup at a time until the milk is gone).
  • Add the water using the same method as you did with the milk.  Batter should be a nice smooth and slightly runny consistency.
  • Get a griddle or skillet warmed, then add a spoonful of batter for each pancake.  
  • When you see air bubbles across the entire pancake, flip them over.  (Don't let them get overdone/hard). Pancakes should be a nice golden color.  The other side should finish in less than 30 seconds.  
Go crazy chowing down.  These will go like hotcakes (hah!).  ^_-

Thanks to GlutenFreeHomemaker, SimplySugar&GlutenFree, GNowFGlins, and RealFoodAllergyFree for the feature opportunity!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

(Gluten, Dairy, & Soy Free)

Time to do a little dance!  Why?  Because I just found that in week #2 of planning meals, I saved 35% off of our grocery budget! (up from the first week with 25%).  Weeeeee!

We'll see if I'll beat last week's "score" with this week - so far I'm on target.  :-D

To the recipe we go, hi-ho:

You'll Need:
  • gluten-free pasta (I like using Tinkyada's brown rice spiral pasta)
  • grated carrot (about 1 carrot per 2 people)
  • chopped celery (approx 3/4 cup)
  • 1 can of tuna per person
  • 3-4 tbsp brown rice flour
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I crumble mine from Food For Life's brown rice bread)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth and 3/4 cup water (or 1 & 1/2 cups water)

To Start:
  1. Start the noodles boiling on the stove, and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grate the carrot/s and cut up the celery as you wait for the noodles.
  3. Add the carrots and celery to a skillet and add olive oil and seasonings (according to your taste), EXCEPT for the mustard powder.  Put on med-high heat and keep mixing the veggies from time to time until they are softened.
  4. Pour chicken broth and water (or just water) into the skillet with the heat still on med-high, and slowly add about a tablespoon of the flour every 10 seconds while continually stirring
  5. When mixture is smooth, turn off heat.
  6. Drain and put the cooked pasta in an oven dish, adding a bit more olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp), and salt, pepper, mustard, and garlic according to taste.  Add all of the tuna and the veggie sauce mix from the skillet to the oven dish.  Mix everything together.
  7. Add breadcrumbs on top, then put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is crusty.

*Update: Shared on Gluten Free Wednesday (6-20-12) and Made From Scratch Monday!  Also linked-up with Carole's Chatter.  Thanks for the opportunity!
Gluten-Free WednesdaysMonday Meals

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

(Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free)

Super easy to make and flavorful!  I have never been much of a fan of meatloaf, but I saw this recipe on pinterest, and the words 'easy' and 'brown sugar' (which helps replace the loss of ketchup from my nightshade allergy) caught my eye.  It turned out to be a winner for us both (yay!), so here it is!

You'll Need:

- 2 lbs ground beef (grass-fed beef is best for assuring it is GF)
- 2 eggs (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- chopped chives (optional)
- salt & pepper
- garlic (1-2 cloves)
- brown sugar

Note: When I cook, I rarely measure because I like to go on instinctual creativity and just have fun with the process.  I cook by 'feeling' out what goes with what, eyeing things up, or personal taste, so feel free to tweak this recipe to make it your own as well.  Have fun experimenting!  :)
p.s. - If having no measurements makes you fret, here's the original recipe.  ;)

To Start:

Heat oven to 350F.
  • On bottom of loaf pan, sprinkle a thin, somewhat sparse coating of the brown sugar.
  • Chop celery into desired size pieces.  (We've found that having chunky bits of celery in the meatloaf helps balance the softness of the meat).
  • In bowl, add meat, chopped celery, eggs, garlic and salt and pepper (amount for the spices is according to taste), and bread crumbs. 
  • Mix it all together.  (mixing it with your hands is great fun.  ^_- )
  • Add the meat mix to the loaf pan.
  • Put in oven and let it bake for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kung Pow Chicken & Broccoli

(Gluten free, Dairy free, Soy free)

Lately I've been on a mission to find and make more recipes that both Karl (who can eat anything he pleases) and myself (Celiacs, dairy, etc) can eat together and want seconds of.  The reason I've been especially on a mission to compile more recipes is actually threefold:

1) Until this year, having only a half-dozen recipes that both of us find tasty and safe for me doesn't leave you with many options (aka - boredom sets in quickly).  We need more recipes.
2) Planning meals for the week at the start of each week saves us $$, which is tight right now - I've already reduced our grocery bill each week by 25% just by planning meals and buying nothing outside of them
3) I've been inspired by recipes on pinterest and want to try making each of the meal ideas I've pinned

I got the following recipe from pinterest here (btw, follow me on pinterest here if you'd like).  I made a few tweaks to the recipe, and it got rave reviews from the Kar-man, so here it is!

Note: When I cook, I rarely measure because I like to go on instinctual creativity and just have fun with the process.  I cook by 'feeling' out what goes with what, eyeing things up, or personal taste, so feel free to tweak this recipe to make it your own as well.  Have fun experimenting!  :)
p.s. - If having no definite measurements scares you, here's the original recipe to help.

You'll Need:
  • broccoli (I just go by sight with how much to cut up for the two of us)
  • chicken tenderloins  (thinner sliced, the better is my preference.  I'll trust you to know how much chicken you'll need to feed your family.  Plus, if there's leftovers, that's an easy lunch for the next day!)
  • white rice, medium-grain (long-grain is fine too).  I use a rice cooker and measure about 1/4 cup of rice per person, give or take.
  • 1 egg (add another egg if you run out - just have enough for dipping all of your chicken into)
  • salt & pepper
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • olive oil

For the Sauce:
  • 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • cup of water (may need to refill depending on size of meal, no worries)
  • brown rice or sorghum or chickpea/garbanzo flour (just have a pack on hand - I'll explain how much to use below)
  • ginger (I used about 1/2 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper

To Start:
  • Get rice started according to directions, or with a rice cooker (I highly recommend a rice cooker!  You just let it do it's own thing while you do your own.)
  • Beat the egg/s in a bowl, then add the salt & pepper, garlic, and ginger (according to taste for the spices).
  • Using a skillet, heat up the pan on med-high and drizzle olive oil (about 3 tbsp).
  • Begin dipping each slice of chicken into the egg mixture and then into the pan.  Continue process until all chicken is dipped and in the pan.  
  • Sear the outsides of the chicken a nice golden color on each side, then lower the heat to lo-med to cook the insides.
  • While the chicken is finishing (keep checking on your chicken), cut up the broccoli and add it to a skillet that is filled with a water level that comes half-way up the broccoli florets.  Turn stove to med-high and steam them, turning them over as needed so that both sides are a bright green (should only take 3-4 mins for them to steam - don't want to overcook them and make them become mushy).
  • Strain excess water from broccoli pan.  Chicken should be done or nearly done by now.  Turn off burner with the chicken when it's done to let the chicken cool.
  • Set broccoli to side.  Take the slightly cooled chicken and slice it up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add cut chicken back to skillet, along with broccoli.
  • Pour water into skillet so that the water level is half-way up the chicken and broccoli.  Add ginger, salt, and pepper to taste.  Add the rest of the egg mix from the chicken to the pan.  Turn heat to med-high.
  • As water begins to simmer/bubble, keep stirring the mix while adding the brown sugar.  
  • Keeping up the steady stirring, add a tbsp of the flour mix at a time, allowing a space of about 30-60 secs between additions of another tbsp.  Add until you see the mix begin to thicken like a gravy.  Keep adding and stirring until you reach the desired thickness.  If it thickens too much, just add a bit of water.  Immediately turn off heat when you reach the desired thickness.
  • Plate the rice, then add the chicken & broccoli mix to the top of rice.

You know what to do from here.  Chopsticks add flavor.

Questions/Comments?  Please let me know below in the comments!

*Update: Featured on Gluten Free Wednesday (6-20-12). Thanks for the opportunity!

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I'm Digging

For those of you who either missed the annual NaNoWriMo of November, can't wait until this November for the next one, or are gluttons for punishment, here's another chance to write a novel (50k words) during the month of June! [click here for more info].  Fyi - if you feel cheated because it's nearly the middle of June, they are doing the "camp" again in August.

The people who successfully pull this challenge off must not eat or sleep, because I've been working on a story since this past November, and I'm only at about 80 pages in Word (approx 33k words).  Granted, I haven't been working on it everyday, but it still takes quite a chunk of time each month.  More power to you if you are one of the people who have somehow managed this 1-month feat!

Take a picture with your phone of a coupon in a flyer, and it saves it to your phone in a way that a cashier can scan it when you show it to them.  Much handier than keeping track of all of your coupons.  Plus, it'll even give you reminders when a coupon is getting close to the expiration date.  I have the app but haven't been able to test it in a store yet.  I may do an update when I do.  :)  [learn more about it here].

Puts distribution, funds, marketing, filmmaking software and documents, databases, etc. all into your hands under one roof, furthering the ability that's possible in this day-and-age to circumvent the Hollywood world and still have your film funded and seen.  [Article Here]

They are currently raising funds on Indiegogo for the software, and providing nice incentives such as free toolkits for producers, actors, directors, etc. in return for any donations. 

A picture speaks a thousand words, right?  This game looks promising: If it truly hearkens to a nostalgic feeling of childhood as they profess, I'm even more sold on this game. [more info here]

The Film "Drive"
(video is 2 minutes from the beginning of the film)

Yeah, I'm rather late with getting around to seeing this movie, but it was well worth the wait.  It's now up there with Limitless and Super 8 for top films of 2011 for me (though there's still a couple I need to see, such as My Week With Marilyn, The Artist, Tree of Life, and A Better Life - I know, I know, I'm REALLY far behind...).   Side-note: War Horse was over-hyped.

Everything about this film was fantastic - it had me engaged from start to finish (see video above).  Acting, story, cinematography, coloring, action choreography, etc. was all excellent, but what I really loved was it's not dialogue-dependent to propel the story or characters.  The soundtrack was PERFECT.  Sound Design: I am a sucker for the sound of a deep and throaty, powerful engine, and they did not fail to make me think "Om-nom-nom" as those beasty cars sped around. 

The first time I watched it, I saw a friend's edited version that took out the stripper club scenes (found out about those being there after watching it on dvd a 2nd time), so other than having those unnecessary nude scenes, if I have one thing to criticize, it would be the scene in the pizza shop when the (click and highlight the blank area if you've already seen the movie) guy gets stabbed in the eye with a fork, and then gets knifed to death.  That was overkill (hah), and distracted me a bit from savoring the tense conversation and new development in the story.

They did an excellent job all-around for this movie and I highly recommend it. 

Les Miserables Trailer

I'm definitely excited to see this and The Hobbit this year!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I'm Digging: Kpop Edition

There's been some good singles released this week in Kpop town, so I couldn't resist doing a special edition of "What I'm Digging" dedicated to two videos/songs to check out!

Wonder Girls "Like This"

This has "win" all through it, and makes me feel like it's summer and time for dancing in the streets!  Can't help but get up and dance when it plays!  ^_^ The video is just as playful and energetic as the song.  I have lost count to how many times I've replayed it ("like this, yo, like this...!").  Now to just learn the dance...

Music: It's definitely a different style than their usual retro 50's vibe pop songs, but I really like this flip of style coming from them.  They pulled it off well!

Dance: It's super fun and uncomplicated looking, something that you can just pick up on the spot and join in, which is part of the point of the video.  It's a Wonder Paaar-tay.

Wardrobe: I'm liking all of their outfits - has a fun 80's vibe to them.  I especially like these two outfits:

Overall rating on the awesome scale, it's an "Oh Yeah":

Big Bang "Monster"

Allow my fangirl breakdown of the video:

Music: When they came out with each of the guys' preview trailer in the week before the MV came out, I wasn't completely onboard with the soundtrack I was hearing (I don't hear the song until the MV comes out), but the visuals had me curious.  However, I must say that since its full release, this song has been stuck in my head (even Karl is digging it!).

Wardrobe: The boys are back in town, and besides the Mickey-mouse ears hairstyle and crescent moon bling hanging off of Taeyang....
 Mickey Mouse on steroids

...and GD's mushroom blind-boy look
"hey guys...guys?"

....the outfits for the guys are creative and fun to see.  I like that they gave 2 "looks" for each of the them, which made up for the costume/hair fails of some.  I'm not usually a sucker for TOP, but man that hat he was wearing was working for him.
It's a "TOP-hat"...

Daesung is shirtless again. Yeup.
Now that I think about it....he looks like He-man...

Oh yeah, and Seungri acting like he "don't care".
Cool guys don't look at explosions.

Set Design: It looks like a post-apocalyptic top-secret science lab/warehouse that's under attack.  If that's what they were going for, then kudos.

Cons: My only critique of the MV is the glowing eyes in the dark were a bit cheesy.  I liked it better when they just gave a slight edge to their eyes instead, and wish they'd just kept it at that.

Overall Rating on the awesome scale, it's another "Oh Yeah": 

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