Monday, July 19, 2010

Grilled Polenta with Tomato Bruschetta

My mom and I attended the Gluten Free Italian cooking class at Olivelle in June and we loved it. It was a lot of fun learning some new cooking tricks and the food was fantastic. I plan to get all of the recipes on here but I'm starting with the dish I fell in love with. I could live off this dish. It's an easy yet elegant appetizer and I've already made it for two BBQ's.

Grilled Polenta w/ Tomato Bruschetta
From Olivelle

1 log prepared Polenta, 1/4" slices
Garlic Olive Oil, an item from Olivelle I always have on hand
4 tomatoes, diced
3 basil leaved, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C EVOO
2 T white balsamic vinegar, you can find this at Olivelle
Salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
Balsamic glaze to finish. Another Olivelle item.

Heat your grill to high. I haven't tried this on the grill but my electric skillet at 350 F has worked well though I don't get the grill marks on the polenta this way.

Drizzle the polenta slices with the garlic olive oil and place oil side down on the grill. Heat for about 10 minutes before drizzling oil on the top side and flipping to cook the other side for 10 minutes.

In a glass bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, EVOO, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spoon some tomato mixture on each polenta slice. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

I used the balsamic glaze with cherry, yum!

More Gluten Free Play-Dough Alternatives

I have recently seen a couple more options for gluten free play-dough alternatives and wanted to spread the word. I know we can make our own but it's so much easier to buy it. ;)

Soy-Yer Dough is a scented play dough that is free of egg, gluten, peanut & tree nuts, borax, latex, dairy, and kerosene. The original dough does contain soybean but you can choose a soy-free version of the dough during checkout. All of the dough does contain rice. It looks fantastic so I ordered some and it is shipping today. Is it possible I'm more excited than the kids?

Moon Dough is a hypo-allergenic, gluten free/wheat free molding dough. It never dries out and claims to be very easy to clean up. Basically you can use a big piece of the moon dough to dab up any dough on the counters and the carpet. I did order some of this also, my boy was beyond excited when he saw the commercial and I said it was gluten free, so I'll post a report of what I think once we get it.

Creamy White Frosting - Dairy Free

Another birthday party passed through my house this weekend and I can finally relax a little bit. The next cake isn't needed until August 15th. I was originally going to make my favorite chocolate cake and try it dairy free but the cake I was making suggested to use a white cake mix and I figured I better follow the directions to keep the color of the cupcake liners bright. This prompted me to take a gluten recipe and convert it to GF/DF. It tasted really good but it was chewy. I didn't care for the texture though everyone seemed to love it so it wasn't a total fail at least. The two things I was really happy with were my frosting and how cute the cake turned out.

Creamy White Frosting GF/DF
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

1 C shortening, I used Spectrum
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
4 1/2 C powdered sugar
3-4 T rice milk (regular milk or another DF milk will work also)

Beat the shortening, vanilla, and almond extracts on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add half the sugar and beat well then add 2T milk until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar beating well again then add enough milk to reach your desired spreading consistency. I used all 4 T but start with 3T to ensure you don't over do it.

The cake my girl picked out came from the Hello, Cupcake! book. It's the Big Birthday Cake design. It was easier to put together than I expected and the candies on top made for a nice treat when eating the cupcakes. The bottom layer has 17 cupcakes (I could only get 16 to fit), then 8, 5, 3, and 1 for the remaining layers. I used Skittles and Runts for the candies since I needed to avoid chocolate candies to keep things dairy free. The only thing I omitted was the pirouette cookies the book had for candles. I couldn't find GF pirouette cookies so I made some but I didn't really have room for them once the cake was put together. The layer everyone wanted was the yellow one, if I did this again I think I'd do that layer in the middle so more people could enjoy the banana Runts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cholesterol Fighting Green Monster Smoothie - Gluten Free & Dairy Free

I know Green Monster smoothies are all over the internet but this has been our breakfast for the past few weeks and I love it, so I decided to share it. This Green Monster specifically fights cholesterol with the spinach, flax seed meal, blueberries, kefir, and avocado. I based it for my Hubby but I can always use help keeping my cholesterol down too. Hubby is not a big vegetable fan but this is an easy and delicious way for him to get the benefits of the veggies without having to eat them in the traditional manner, and you don't taste the spinach. You can add any fruit or leafy vegetables you like and I do mix it up now and then but this is our standard.

Cholesterol Fighting Green Monster Smoothie

2 C spinach leaves
1 T flax seed meal
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries
1 medium banana, sliced
1/4 medium avocado
1 C Vanilla Coconut Milk Kefir (DF milk and regular milk work also)
Ice, I use two handfuls

This is the DF Kefir I get, they also have strawberry and plain. It adds a creaminess to the smoothie.

Put the ingredients in a blender in the order above. Blend well until smooth, drink, and enjoy! This makes two servings and is about 210 calories per serving.

Even my boy loves a Green Monster in the morning.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hiking Snacks - Meat and Cheese Rolls

It has taken forever for summer weather to get here but now that it is we are finding ourselves going on hikes almost every weekend. I love that my boy states "this is great" everytime we go on a hike and what better way is there to spend time with the family?

We always do a small lunch once we get to our destination and this is our favorite food on the menu. It's quick to throw together, doesn't take up much room, and hits the spot perfectly. My girl and I have ours with cheese while my boy doesn't like cheese (it's all in his head) and Hubby can't have it.

Meat & Cheese Rolls

lunch meat slices (I use Hormel Natural Choice since it's free of gluten, MSG, and nitrates & nitrites)
cheese slices or sticks

Spread a small amount of mayo and mustard on each slice of lunch meat. Place a cheese slice on each slice of meat. If you're using cheese sticks cut them in half length wise and place it on one end. Roll the cheese and meat then stick with a toothpick to hold. If you can't have dairy omit the cheese it's still a really good snack.

Some of our other favorite hiking snacks are granola bars, crackers and peanutbutter, and fresh fruit. What is your favorite hiking/picnic treat?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza in Butte

I have some exciting news for Butte residents needing a GF pizza fix. My friend took her girls to Silver Bow Pizza Parlor in Butte and discovered they offer GF pizza crust. I don't know how it tastes or how careful they are with cross contamination so if you stop in be sure to give me a report.

Silver Bow Pizza Parlor also has games and a carousel to keep the kids entertained, sorf of like a Chuckee Cheese. It's located at 3500 Harrison Ave in Butte and you can call them at 406-494-2750.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Treats

We celebrated the 4th of July BBQing with friends and one dish I brought was the dessert. I wanted to do something in a patriotic theme but was frustrated with all of the whipped topping based desserts. I'm not quite sure how to pull that off DF so I just avoided it. When I came upon the idea (it's all over the internet) of cutting rice krispies treats into stars and decorating them I knew I had a winner. Who doesn't love rice krispies treats?

Patriotic Krispies

1/4 C Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or butter if you can have it)
1 bag mini marshmallows
4 C Koala Krisp cereal (or your favorite GF rice krisp cereal)
Red, White, & Blue gel and sprinkles

Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray (make sure it's GF and DF). Melt the "butter" over medium low heat in a saucepan then add the marshmallows and stir until they are melted and blended with the butter. Stir an additional 2 minutes then remove from heat. Add the Koala Krisp and stir until it's evenly mixed with the marshmallow. I like my krispies to be very marshmallowy but if you prefer more cereal then add an additional cup. Spread evenly into the pan, it helps to spray a metal spoon with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to everything.

Allow the krispies to set then use a cookie cutter to cut out star shapes. Sprinkle with colored sugar and decorate with gel.

This would be a great dessert for Valentine's Day, Halloween, St. Patty's Day, etc.

Birthday Cakes

I apologize for being MIA. This time of year is crazy busy for me at work and at home but I'll stick to the fun "busy" stuff at home. We have 3 birthday's that hit within a 2.5 week time frame, that makes for a lot of cake. The first was my birthday at the end of June and Hubby was sweet enough to buy me an Opera Cake from Sweet Pea Bakery. It was beautiful and the frosting just melted in my mouth. The downfall was they couldn't do dairy free so Hubby wasn't able to have any.

The view of the inside of the cake, look at those layers!

My son had his 4th birthday which called for a Transformer's cake. It was easier than the topsy turvy cake I did last year but still took some time. I was happy with it and made The Baking Beauties confetti cake recipe but doubled it and made two 9" cakes to layer. It tasted really good but it wasn't quite as light and fluffy as I'm wanting to find in a white cake. It also didn't rise as much as I expected but it worked out. The frosting I used was store bought because I was feeling lazy and didn't want to make my own. It was GF and DF but the flavor just isn't as good as homemade.

Top view of the cake and the much needed Autobots logo. Sorry the picture isn't horizontal, it wouldn't load properly.

The finished product which my son didn't even eat, he was too busy playing. Obviously that ice cream in the back ground is not DF.

My girl's birthday is a little over a week away so I'll be trying another white cake recipe, not sure which one though. Maybe it will be the perfect one I'm searching for. Do you have a fluffy GF white cake recipe for me to try?