Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bathroom Re-do

Shower BeforeShower After

Towel Rack BeforeTowel Rack After

Organizing Junkie is having a Bathroom Re-do roundup. I had redone the kid bathroom a few months back- but forgot I had done it - because- well- it doesn't look like it did in my after pictures at the moment! But it is quick to spruce it up and the new accessories give it a fun feel. In a Sunday newspaper ad I saw a sale for 'Spunky Monkey" bathroom decorations at K-mart and they were quite a steal.

One thing I do to keep the bathroom 'de junked' is to work through even a corner of a shelf every time DS takes a bath. I can not leave him alone in there and so it seems as good a time as any to 'get-r-done.' I will have to say that the cupboards in this bathroom are almost empty!


We like to read in the bathroom so I just added a basket where we keep all the books that we might wish to browse through while doing our business...or just when we need to escape. This room is one of the few with in the house with a lock on the door. The 'chart' over to the right is a handwashing reminder for DS and you can find it here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Check" This Out

GF girl had a blog on Chex Mix gluten free. There is also a website with Chex mix GF recipes! Not sure about the 'milk' status of it do check the label.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Day

Sunday: Burgers and Fries
Monday: Chicken Nuggets w/ cornmeal crust
Tuesday: Take out Pizza- cousins here
Tuna Croquettes from Good Eats. (Substitute GF breadcrumbs.)
Thursday: Vegetable Soup from Good Eats
Friday: Leftovers

Other things I am making this week: Pumpkin Drop Baked Cookies (will have to find recipe to post) and quick bean salad w/ white beans and 'whatever' happens to be around.' I will post both of those sometime in the next weeks.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Monday July 7, 2008

Simplicity is key this week....

Monday: Baked chicken and broccoli
Tuesday: Beer soaked Pork tenderloin in the slow cooker
Wednesday: Cornmeal crusted chicken nuggets
Thursday: Chicken Ala King (from pre-frozen make ahead meal.)
Friday: Chicken Stir Fry
Saturday: Picnic -take Brownies, baked beans and potato salad
Sunday: Leftovers

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chicken A la King

Last week I made Chicken a la King where I spring boarded off a recipe from Once a Month Cooking. Here is my recipe sans milk products

1 medium onion- chopped
1 8 oz package button mushrooms- chopped
1 green bell pepper - chopped
EVOO as needed
1/4 to 1/2 cup gfcf flour. I used a mixture I keep in the freezer from Big Batch Cookies
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup coconut milk*
3/4 cup almond or hazelnut milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs sherry
1 - 2 lbs cooked chicken **

In a large pan saute the onion, shrooms, and bell pepper with EVOO until tender. Add flour, salt and pepper and stir until well mixed. Add coconut milk, almond milk and chicken broth and stir until thickened. Add chicken.

Serve on top of any gfcf biscuit. I made biscuits from this month's Living Without.

As for my "*" and notes; first, this is a double batch so we ate dinner and I put the rest in the freezer for a later date. I will make fresh biscuits at that time. * For the coconut milk; my plan was to use 'lite' but I did not have any. If I had I might have used more coconut milk and less almond milk (rice milk would be fine too.) The original recipe called for half and half. Do use the makes a difference. I tasted it before putting it in and it was very bland. ** For the chicken I used one package (probably 1.5 lbs) of boneless skinless chicken thighs that I baked for 20 minutes or so while preparing the rest of the meal. Any chicken would be fine. Feel free to deviate from the amount of liquid and chicken....I consider most recipes to be "templates." Bottom line, the coconut and hazelnut milks made wonderful substitutions for this meal.

As for this week's menu...I've been looking over Happyfood and other 'raw' food recipes. I don't plan to do 100% raw but I have noticed that I do feel better when I eat my veggies! And, I am ALWAYS for doing things that don't try and REPLACE gluten and casein but that just plain don't include it in the first place. Raw foods do that. I am juicing daily and may make some green smoothies as well. These will be for breakfast and lunch and then probably a 'regular' dinner meal.

Sunday: Cabbage salad with chicken (will post 'recipe template' soon.)
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: cornmeal chicken nuggets
Wednesday: Taco Salad;) aka...leftovers disguised.
Thursday: Greens salad with chicken
Friday: Potatoes with chili topping. (Chili is in the freezer and pre-made.)
Saturday: Cooks night off...sandwiches...soup...whatever.

My new favorite kitchen tool; Chicken nuggets

I bought a needle meat tenderizer in order to make Alton Brown's Swiss Steak. I already blogged that here. It was quite expensive ($30 at Bed Bath and Beyond locally) so I decided to try it out elsewhere on other recipes and I LOVE it. I have used it on chicken thighs several times to make both fried and baked chicken nuggets. For both recipes, I go over the meat vertically and horizontally on both sides and then slice it into strips. It truly makes the nuggets very tender. I think part of the reason Andrew has balked at my nuggets in the past is the 'string' factor of the chicken. This all but eliminates that.

My sissy is going to send me the recipe directly for the baked nuggets that she makes because I thought mine were a bit crunchy but both Andrew and Marked liked them. I mix dijon mustard, honey and rice milk in one dish and gf flour, seasonings and cornmeal in the other. (I mix a blend of flours from gf Christmas cookies and keep it in my freezer.) I take the tenderized strips and put them first in the wet then dry and finally on a baking rack over a cookie sheet. Cook at 375F for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the strips. You can also do full chicken breasts or thighs instead of the strips. Of course I know this is a loose recipe- one reason I will probably never write a cookbook! This would be a great RCR (regulatory) activity for you to do with your child if you don't mind their hands in raw chicken. (You could also use forks or tongs.) You obviously don't NEED the tool to do the RCR as you can just pre-cut the strips without them being tenderized. By the way- the tenderizer is VERY VERY sharp. Please do NOT use this with kids. I had thoughts of this being a great sensory exercise for Andrew in that he could slam on the tenderizer without touching the meat and get some great proprioceptive input but decided against it because any curious kiddo will certainly get hurt.

For those that might like a further lesson in the science of meat tenderizing you can click here.

Good eats! Swiss Steak

One of our favorite family shows is Good Eats hosted by Alton Brown. Andrew finds it witty, Mark finds it interesting, and I find it....Good Eats! When we recently watched a show on frying I asked Andrew if he would eat home-made fried chicken if I made it the way Alton does and he said yes. I reminded him that Alton made 'meat' on another show called Swiss Steak. I made it today and...drumroll...Andrew ate it!!!!! Alton is big on 'hardware' meaning kitchen gadgets and I DID purchase the needle meat tenderizer. I 'scaffolded' for Andrew by removing the sauce. It was delicious. I should, however, have heeded Alton's advice and procured some good smoked paprika. I grabbed the plain jar from the cupboard and it was lacking a bit in flavor. For the gluten free flour, I used my mixture that I try to keep in the freezer that comes from big batch Christmas cookies.

Our next stop is fried chicken. If you watch that episode....see if you can find the pig. Andrew kept wanting me to 'skip back' to see the pig which of course he had to point out because I certainly didn't!! The fried chicken is Andrew's favorite episode. I need to get some additional hardware before I tackle it however; a cast iron skillet and a high temperature thermometer. Oh- on the chicken episode they also took a tour of the Lodge Cast Iron factory which, according to Alton is the only cast iron made in the U.S.A. (They do use 'soy' in their pre-seasoned pans so keep that in mind if you have a soy allergy.)

Sorry no pictures of the meal today......

Cranberry Chicken

This recipe is based off of "Cranberry Chicken" on page 25 of Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. I don't use the book for the purpose intended...just for the great food! I also often make a double batch of something and keep it in the freezer for a day when I don't feel like cooking.

Take 6-8 pieces of chicken. You can use anything with or without bone and with or without skin. My favorite for this recipe is bone IN skinless chicken thighs that you can find at many places now. Thighs just have more flavor than breasts and are less apt to dry out.

Make a cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, some water and some cranberry juice concentrate. Just put it in a saucepan until the berries pop. Guess at the Emeril likes to say, "It ain't rocket science." When the sauce is done add in a couple of handfuls of "Just Crunchy Onions. These take the place of that nasty dried onion soup mix and I find them at Whole Foods. Add salt and pepper.

Put chicken pieces in baking pan and pour sauce over the top. Bake at 350 degrees F until done. Bone in chicken thighs take about 30 minutes. I often use a probe thermometer to keep track of things.