Holiday Wrap Up

I’ve been busy celebrating the holidays including baking lots of cookies and cakes. A delightful cranberry crackle pie, a pumpkin pie, a lemon poke cake…. Great meals, lots of delish treats. Not finding time for writing posts. But tasty foods came out of my kitchen most mealtimes. Made muffins the other day; chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, more Russian teacakes to give to a friend and an amazing orange chiffon cake for my birthday that no one remembered to photograph. It was scratch, no mix used, and utterly divine….from my Annalise Roberts Heritage Baking Cookbook. Worth all the effort of grating orange zest and the beating of many eggs!
cranberry crackle pie

We have indulged in waffles a few times and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Chicken pot pie, Caesar salad, roasted chicken, shrimp scampi, and baby back ribs. Oh-my-goodness, the yummy gluten free foods that I produced over these past 2.5 weeks.

It is not difficult to cook gluten free especially if you eat foods naturally gluten free; potatoes, rice, beans, unprocessed proteins and lots of vegetables that are cooked from fresh without the need for falling back on expensive and not-that-tasty processed foods.

pie bag OXO

My wrist has improved somewhat and I got a great new pie rolling out device; pie bag from OXO; slithery smooth clear plastic, non-stick and hugely helpful: I was able to finally roll my crust thin enough to satisfy my own standards as to pie baking. It was the lid on the chicken pot pie and it was flaky, tender and so delish my guy was thieving bites of it an hour later when he walked by the pot pie pan! He is not gluten free either! Apparently, he just loves a delicious pie crust.

Simply-Nature-Brown-Rice-Crackers

Got some great crackers at Aldi’s the other week; brown rice flour ones; nice snappy flavor and only $2 a box so definitely a find.

I bought a bag of their gf tiny pretzels and dipped them in melted chocolate. Amazing flavor! Super cheap compared to the small bag of them at Giant for $4.50. I am a fan of their organic whole milk; I use it to make real yogurt in my Instant Pot. It is rich and creamy with a wonderful subtle flavor; tastes great even without jam! Lots of tasty chocolate that is marked gf and usually made in Germany. I especially love the dark chocolate with hazelnuts. I am waiting for them to bring back the gf hot pockets made with pepperoni and pizza sauce; so so miss that product.

I searched for my favorite brats; none to be found. Darn; they were so delightful. Maybe they will get some in soon. Happy shopping there if you are gf; best prices in my neck of the woods!

Pear Spice Muffins…Another Snack Option

I had few portable baked snacks and a few bosc pears so I figured it was time for a new muffin recipe. This is a riff off a recipe out of Annalise Robert’s cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It is  similar to my recipe for apple nut muffins that I created from her banana muffin recipe. If I had to have just one GF cookbook hers would be the one for me.

Do use a fairly firm pear; I used a bosc which is naturally great for baking but almost any firm pear will do. Notice I didn’t say “hard”. Nope to that; not gonna taste great.  Don’t chop them super fine or big; 1/3 inch dice is good.

I always enjoy eating a muffin still warm out of the oven. It is smart to freeze any you won’t eat in 2 days; ziplock freezer bag works great.  They make super snacks.  These  muffins are kinda delicate; if you want to take them on a hike or car ride put them in a plastic food box – the rigid sides will keep your muffins safe from crushing.

Pear Spice Muffins              

2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)

2/3 c granulated sugar (can use coconut palm sugar: just increase milk by 2 Tbsp.)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

skimpy 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1  1/2  c chopped firm pear; peel and core! (about 2 pears)

½ c chopped walnuts

2 large eggs beaten

½ c milk, 1 or 2 percent

½ c canola oil

DIRECTIONS:  Heat oven to 375, placing the rack in middle of oven.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.  One batch makes 14-16 muffins.

Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer or big bowl

Add pear chunks and walnuts; stir to coat them with dry mix

Combine milk and oil,  Beat in eggs.  Add liquids to big bowl; stir until blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  I use a big serving spoon and fill it about half way to dump in each muffin space. Sprinkle the top with a bit of raw old fashioned oatmeal; 2-3 Tbsp. should do it or try  cinnamon sugar.

Bake 20-24 min until golden brown. I used my convection setting and did them for 17 minutes. Perfect. Do not over bake or they will taste dry.  Rest five minutes and then remove from the pans and cool on a rack.

Freezes well for up to 3 weeks.  Keeps in fridge (well wrapped) a few days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Roasty Chicken Soup for Chilly Spring Days

As we seek comfort in our crazy world chicken soup comes to mind as good for body and soul. And if anyone in your house is ill chicken soup is a perfect choice. Sorry you vegans! I am guessing there is a vegan chicken soup recipe out there.

So, if you are sick with a cold or just feeling chilly the situation absolutely seems to require chicken soup. I made mine from scratch, of course! Actually, I made the broth in my Instant Pot and then roasted some veggies in my broiler. My oven has been very difficult in recent weeks. I felt lucky to get the oven to turn on for a bit after I browned the vegetables on a tray in the broiler area of my smaller oven. I believe this is a trendy thing to do for soup and it is also a great way to easily add deep flavor to your soup veggies. I will give you my whole recipe; you can buy some broth or make it however you prefer to. I find it extra easy to do it in my IP!  I was super pleased with how much richer and more flavorful it came out: better than any chicken soup I have ever made. And that pot of homemade chicken broth helped enrich the flavor a lot. Worth the effort and you get all that great cooked chicken.  Super easy to do actually; and well worth it if you want a great start to a homemade soup. It goes without saying that you could put cooked rice in this soup instead of noodles. Enjoy!

Here is my pot of chilled homemade chicken broth.  Pure gold~~

chicken broth

cold homemade chicken broth

 

Angie’s Roasty Chicken Noodle Soup

Broth Ingredients

1 whole small chicken; 3-4 lbs

1-2 stalks celery broken into large chunks

1 small carrot; broken similarly

1 small-medium onion peeled and sliced into fat wedges

2 big garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp. kosher salt, ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1-2 bay leaves

1 tsp. chopped rosemary (optional)

Put the carrot, celery and onion chunks in the IP pot; add the whole chicken to the IP: don’t forget to remove the giblets and all plastic packaging! Add all the rest of the ingredients and add filtered water to barely cover the bird. Put on the lid, set the manual pressure to 35 minutes and let’r rip! Allow it to naturally release for 10-15 minutes before opening.  Let cool; remove bird and cut up; throw out everything but the meat. Strain the broth; throwing out all the worn-out veggies left in your colander. There; amazing broth!

roasty veggies

Veggie Ingredients:

1 large onion, cut into wedges

2 celery stalks; cut into 3-4 inch lengths

2 carrots; cut into sticks

1-2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 turnip or rutabaga (optional but I love it’s earthy flavor) cut into wedges; size of onion wedges [you could use mushrooms instead]

Put veggies on a baking tray you sprayed with cooking spray. Pour some EVOL on; 1-2 Tbsp. Stir around to coat. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. sea salt and a bit of black pepper if you like. Broil for 10-20 min; checking frequently. I turned mine over once the top side got well browned. A few blackened bits are okay; they add flavor! But don’t burn the heck out of the veggies or you will have to start over. Once all is browned and tender pull out and let cool.

roasty chicken soup in pot

Ingredients for finishing soup:

¾ cup broken wide gf egg noodles or rice noodles

big sprig of fresh thyme

½ cup frozen peas

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken

Pour the broth into a large sauce pan. Heat. Chop coarsely the roasted veggies, removing the garlic clove outer skin.  Add them to the soup. Let heat; add about ¾ cup broken wide gf egg noodles or rice noodles. And a big sprig of fresh thyme. Cook as long as the package says. In the last 3 minutes add ½ cup frozen peas and 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley. Taste and add more salt/pepper as you wish. Add 1 cup chopped cooked chicken from the broth making and serve as soon as it is hot. Enjoy! roasty chicken soup

Originally posted in January 2019

 

 

 

Pancetta and Parmesan Cheese Kettle Chips….Yes…I went there!

I bought something this week that I never buy, never. Potato chips…shocking  breach of my personal rules but these were something special; pancetta and Parmesan cheese kettle chips from Aldi’s.  Damn. they are good! So crispy and I can definitely taste the cheese and the pancetta. Not overly strong; perfect balance of porkiness, cheesy and greasy (I find all chips kinda greasy) – a total flavor explosion of crunch and munch.

The usual (more or less) amount of carbs, not too much sodium per serving and no trans fats. One gram of saturated fat per serving.

Just have to say, these chips are freaking addictive. I could eat the whole bag but I am rationing them as chips are totally not on my diet.

kettle chips

They are so good I almost didn’t want to tell you about them. Keep every darn bag for myself! Decided that wasn’t possible so I bit the bullet and am telling you. Guessing they are limed edition as many treats at Aldi’s are so run out immediately and get a bag or two. Or three.

They also have some with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. Gotta get a bag of that!

Fire Roasted Blueberry Pie…Yeap We Did That!

 

On our vacation this past week we enjoyed a bonfire one clear evening. Yes; a rain free day! Well, we were in the Finger Lakes not eastern PA, LOL!  It was glorious to relax in our chairs at the tiny private beach we were so lucky to have… by the crackling fire Joe and I built of driftwood and some aging firewood our host wanted burnt. It was a deep pleasure to sit there relaxing by the waxing moon and a bit of star light, watching the fire flicker against the background of lapping, dark lake water.

We don’t really do the toasted marshmallow thing as he dislikes such and I am not supposed to eat overly sweet treats.  So, no marshmallows by the fire. But, then I had a great idea. I cut a wide slice of the blueberry apricot pie I had baked and brought with us. pie missing a sliceI put it on a double folded piece of heavy strength aluminum foil and bending up the sides a bit to catch any runoff, should that occur. Then I put the pie on my foil raft and slid it onto a couple branches just off the main fire. We let it heat for ten minutes and checked; not quite as hot as wanted. Five more minutes to wait, patience grasshopper! Then, used my potholder to slide it out of the fire zone onto a china plate. We dug in. Perfection. The crust had regained its flakiness of two days earlier and the filling was nearly molten and so sweetly flavorful with a hint of smokiness. Sitting in the dark sharing a slice of hot toasty blueberrilishish pie. Priceless!

 

The next night was rainy so we had to cancel our planned fire. Instead, we relaxed in our tiny cabin while I grilled the pie on the gas flames of our grill. Pretty much just as yummy and super convenient if you don’t have a fire. Next time you go camping or have access to a grill and have any sort of pie; try grilling it for a sweet warm treat. Enjoy! pie 2