Friday, December 26, 2008

Savory Polenta and a bittersweet goodbye to Digi

I just got back from my first trip to NYC 2 nights ago. In saying goodbye to NYC, I also had to say goodbye to my poor ol' camera, Digi! I was able to capture the polenta photo before his 'passing', though. So what you're seeing isn't a pic with the new camera :) least not yet!

He, aka Digi, served me quite well for many years; shooting on command, getting covered in the sugar and grease of my sweet and savory concoctions, even suffering a few accidental blows, all in the name of amateur food photography. It turns out he couldn't handle the clicking anymore. He went on strike by refusing to capture anything or anyone striking a pose! He literally got tired of me pressing his buttons; his big 'button' just fell off. I was devastated! Hopefully he forgives me for my ignorance; I have no idea what that 'button' is know, the one you press to take the picture?

My husband saw the disappointment in my face and instantly said I could get a new one in no time. I knew we could order another 'button', I even mentioned it to him, but the hubby really wanted me to have a new camera (that's him!). He said this one had done its job. Poor ol' Digi was an old timer now, and it was time to move on.

I confess. After I saw the camera that my hubby ordered for me yesterday, suddenly moving on didn't sound so baaad! Check out this beast!

The new camera will be coming in next Friday! It's perfect for a somewhat penny-pinching pre-amateur (whatever comes before amateur, I'm not even that advanced yet ha!) like myself. It takes crisp photos, it's one notch below an SLR but it's still an automatic; it's also much more affordable than a digital SLR. It does have some very cool settings and I have a feeling it's going to take me awhile to figure out everything, but I don't mind one bit.

Notice how this new camera is an 'it' and the old one is a 'he'; I still haven't fully embraced the new camera as one of 'my own' yet ;).

Alright, so thankfully I have a few extra recipe photos saved on my lappy that I can share with you all until the new camera comes in (does anyone else use nicknames in reference to their techy gadgets?)! But I have to say one thing about the recipes I've posted so far...

Let me just apologize for being such a dufus; I can't believe how many recipes I've left the xanthan gum out of, I've noticed it a lot lately. Ok, so I didn't forget it in the actual dough (I'm making progress in that department :P), but I forget to write it in the darn recipe cards! I think I've put the amounts in all the previous recipes, but if you all notice xanthan gum missing from gluten-free baked goods on Flour Arrangments recipes from here on out, just let me know :)! THANKS!

Savory Italian Veggie Polenta

The idea of savory corn grits didn't appeal to ...

See Savory Italian Veggie Polenta on Key Ingredient.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men (and women!)

I made these gluten-free gingerbread cookies extra cinnamony, I usually prefer cinnamon to ginger. :)

Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but they're actually minis. I only had tiny gingerbread cookie cutters, so I ended up with a little over 2 dozen men and women...and bears :). I left the bears naked, though. They aren't pictured because I didn't want to expose them on the internet :P. They didn't get the pink marzipan outfits. I decided to leave them in the nude, especially after discovering that the marzipan I used contains gluten...anyone have a gluten-free marzipan recipe?

Everything's covered in snow outside! Looks like I'm gonna have my first white Christmas this year! This winter storm hasn't passed over us completely, so it'll be nice to wake up to a winter wonderland in the morning.

I just took this's not very clear, but you can easily see the piles of snow!

Merry Christmas :)!

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men

…a classic Christmas cookie with a gluten-free twist.

See Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men on Key Ingredient.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gluten-Free Yellow Cake and Tasty Gluten-Free Bread

When it comes to gluten-free baking 'the basics' aren't so easy, at least for me they aren't. Desserts like muffins and cookies aren't too difficult to create recipes for, but when the topic moves to bread or just a plain ol' cake, it isn't so simple...maybe it's because I remember what the gluteny versions taste like :).

The other day I was craving a simple cake. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, to be more exact, one of my favorite desserts. It really doesn't get anymore simple (and delicious) than that, at least for me. But I was craving the flavor of all the yellow cakes I'd had before the gluten-free life. Thankfully, the gluten-free yellow cake I made tasted just like the yellow cakes I'd been missing! It was my lucky day, and I got to finish it off with a moist slice of tasty yellow cake!

But what about bread? I usually don't have much luck with yeast breads, but I had luck with Gluten-Free Girl's Sandwich Bread that also tastes delicious as french toast (almost like a glazed donut!). I followed the recipe pretty much to the T, but I... added 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (because I didn't have sweet rice flour), drizzled the loaf with honey, cut the pre-baking rising time to 1 hour, and used a medium-sized loaf pan. Oh, and for some reason, my bread finished baking in 45 minutes :).

I've been in carb heaven all week :)...

Since we're talking about baking, aren't these Sugarbunnies too cute? My Sanrio addiction started in pre-school and I'm not outgrowing it. Hoping to find a few cute images, I looked them up recently and found their Wiki page (Yes, I actually read it :D!). It turns out these bunnies are the stars of an old anime cartoon, where they befriended a girl named Sophia and taught her how to bake! I wonder if the Sugarbunnies can teach me how to bake more gluten-free treats ;)?!

Easiest Gluten-Free Yellow Cake

Makes enough for 1 small round cake…double if you ...

See Easiest Gluten-Free Yellow Cake on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gluten-Free Cinnamon and Cranberry Bars and other good stuff

With all of those cranberries left over from Thanksgiving, I had to make something. Inspired by a previous recipe (whose creator remains unknown, so give me a shout-out if it's you :), I decided to make these surprisingly lowfat bars.

Gluten-free breakfast bars are RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. They're like $6/box! You'd think they put flecks of gold in there, maybe even a lucky charm, but nope. I am always tempted to buy a box, just to have something to snack on when I'm too absorbed in something else (like this book which has even caused me to fall behind on my blog-reading) to bake, but I can't bring myself to purchase 5 dinky overpriced gluten-free cereal bars, knowing full well they aren't worth the money. It really doesn't cost that much to make them from scratch! So why not give it a go? I finally put the book down and did just that...

It's true. I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about, I'm actually reading Twilight. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to like this book. I figured it was going to be kinda boring, something like an overplayed pop song that really doesn't deserve the air time it gets. I WAS WRONG. This book is NOT boring, it actually has some substance. I'm impressed! There's more to it than just attractive vampires that smell better than your favorite batch of cookies. (Bella, I still don't know why they smell so good. In the book, I mean, not that I've ever met one :P!)

This is as good as LOTR when it comes to biblical analogies. I'm sure I'm probably getting some heads shaking back and forth, in disagreement, right about now. I don't want to get too English-majory in my analysis, so I'll just say these few things:

1. The book starts off with a Bible verse. Instant give-away.
2. Edward can only be around Bella SWAN when he's putting his evil vampire-ways aside. (<--- We have to overcome our carnal, selfish desires before we can love purely. Also, God can't be where sin is. Not that Bella is God, but you know what I mean. Swan=white=dove=Holy Spirit.) 3. Um...let's not forget about that part where Edward compares himself to a lion and Bella refers to herself as a lamb! C'mon, lion and lamb!

There are so many more, but I'll leave it at that. Like I said, I'm impressed...and I think I've just somewhat justified my reasons for losing sleep over this book and, I confess, actually getting sad that I'm almost finished reading it. I should get book 2 by this Saturday, thank God for Amazon Prime :) (free 2 day shipping!)!

Gluten-Free Cranberry Cinnamon Bars

Festive cookie-like breakfast bars

See Gluten-Free Cranberry Cinnamon Bars on Key Ingredient.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Gluten-Free Thanksgiving :)

This Thanksgiving wasn't much different from others in the sense that I still have so much to be thankful for. But to sum up what I feel the most grateful for this year, using the fewest words possible, I'd have to say that it's for the quiet moments in which I could actually recognize and appreciate God working everything together for good. God always works the same faithful way, but things tick a little differently in me.

What I'm thankful for might not seem like such a big thing to an outsider, but it's completely influenced my perception of life and love so much that I can experience those two things much better than I could before. Ah, the feeling of growth! And I'm not just referring to full bellies growing as a result of eating too many slices of pumpkin or apple pie ;)!

So what does any of this have to do with food? Well, remember that feeling you get when you're staring at all the gorgeous platters on the Thanksgiving table, right before you take the first bite? At that moment, you're hungry but also satisfied; you know the delicious feast is large enough to feed you, those you love, and yield plenty of tasty leftovers for tomorrow. That's how I feel right now. The blessings won't run out, there will be plenty of things to be thankful for tomorrow. I'm hungry with excitement for what's ahead but so satisfied with what I have now.

This was the first Thanksgiving my husband and I spent together in Boston and as a married couple. We wanted to document it :), so I took some photos of the things we ate. I should also add that it was our first gluten-free Thanksgiving! I didn't measure very much when I was putting the dinner together, but I'll outline a few of the recipes and provide links to the sites whose tasty recipes inspired our turkey day menu :). I hope you all felt satisfied this Thanksgiving, and I mean that in every sense of the word!

Cranberry Sauce Jam (adapted from Bobby Flay):
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cup water
1/2-2/3 cups sugar
1/2 small orange mashed, with skin removed
1 1/2 tsp gelatin (about half a small packet)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients, except for gelatin, in sauce pan
Cook on low until cranberries are soft
Stir in pectin about 1/2 tsp at a time
Refrigerate and serve cold

Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese:
Adapted from "A New Way To Cook" by Sally Schneider
found on RecipeZaar
I followed the recipe but used these gluten free noodles
Tips: Use half Parmesan and half jack cheese

Instead of using all the milk, I added a bit of heavy cream and chicken broth.

Fried and Baked Butternut Squash with Coconut (Inspired by Grace :):
1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup coconut
about 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
few tablespoons maple syrup
few tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp apple cider
Bake butternut until tender (about an hour or so at 350)
Allow it to cool, then slice
Sprinkle each side of slices with coconut
Lightly fry squash in canola oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and maple syrup
Remove when golden.
Combine slivered almonds, about 1 1/2 tbsp maple, cider, and pinch of cinnamon
Cook in pan until maple syrup and cider become thick
Add cranberries
Serve squash with the maple almonds

Mashed Potatoes and Stuffing
5 red potatoes
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 Tbsp butter
1/3-1/2 cup Colby jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cut potatoes into cubes and boil in large pot until soft
Strain put potatoes back in the pot and mash them
Add the rest of the ingredients while cooking potatoes on low

2 lb Ham (uncooked)
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 1/2 TBSP apricot preserves
sprinkle of black pepper
Combine all wet ingredients in a small bowl,
Lather ham with syrup concoction
and sprinkle with pepper.
Bake at 325 for about 1 hour and 30 minutes

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Thyme
recipe by Danny Boome

2 lb turkey breast
4 TBSP melted butter
A few pinches garlic salt
A few pinches pepper
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp paprika
Gently poke turkey with sharp knife to create small incisions.
Create a pocket between the layer of skin and meat
Combine melted butter and seasonings
Lather turkey with butter, making sure to get in the pocket
Bake in a roasting pan at 325 for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gluten-Free Lemon Bites

Oh the weather outside is frightful, the pumpkin pie smells so delightful, and since we no place to go...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...lemon bites! I know the syllables threw the rhythm off, and I'm also one holiday ahead, but I'm finding it difficult to think straight with the sweet aroma of a freshly baked gluten-free pumpkin pie lingering in the air. I'm tempted to poke my finger into the spicy pumpkin filling! I bet you're all busy baking and cooking up your own holiday treats!

Here's another little drawing. There's a friendly squirrel who always comes by my porch because I leave him apples and carrots; he always leaves the celery behind though ;). I've noticed that he, along with his other squirrely friends in the neighborhood, put on a couple of extra ounces in preparation for the many cold days ahead! I have a feeling he'd be a big fan of carrot cake, considering he loves that crunchy orange vegetable so much.

Happy Thanksgiving :)!

Gluten-Free Soft Lemon Bites

Soft and lemony cookies

See Gluten-Free Soft Lemon Bites on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolate Biscotti

I hope you all are having fun getting ready for Thanksgiving! I sure am :). We just got back from the grocery store a little while ago after a two hour trip! It was an eventful one, I nearly knocked down and got attacked by the entire squash and pumpkin display in an effort to rescue the best looking (and tiniest) spaghetti squash buried beneath a pile of the more monstrous looking ones! :P

I'm really excited about this year because I'll actually be using recipes for the dinner. Last year, I winged it and somehow managed to serve a decent turkey without giving anyone in the family salmonella. But I've been hypnotized by the Food Network, I now have all these cravings for things I've never even tried before! (How do they do it?!) All those amazing seasonal and holiday dishes that their cooks and chefs have been preparing has me convinced that I need to use their recipes! So even though it's just going to be the hubby and me for Thanksgiving this year (because they haven't invented teleporters yet and it's too expensive to visit family across the country both now and at Christmas time) I still plan on preparing a feast and making the most of it!

What's the holiday season without cookies? Better yet, chocolatey ones that you can dunk in your favorite holiday tea like Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride or Nutcracker Sweet? (<---Gluten-free folks, please don't drink the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea, it contains gluten...I found this out after drinking a cup without reading the box, then getting sick :P! ) Oh, but what about hot chocolate?! Sure, you can dunk these biscotti into a cuppa hot chocolate but just realize that they already contain the hottest of chocolate! I used a whole bar of this awesome mexican chocolate to give the biscotti a really deep chocolate and cinnamony flavor. I also added Piloncillo! Try it! It's goood! Leave these for Santa this year and you might just get that totally affordable camera you've been wanting! Btw, my New Year's resolution is to stop projecting my desires onto my poor readers, but I still have a month and a half to get away with it ;o)!

Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolae Biscotti

3/4 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup millet flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP potato flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 bar of mexican chocolate
1/2 of a piloncillo cone
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
4 TBSP room temp. softened butter
1 tsp xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all flours and sugars in one large bowl (and almond meal), along with the xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder.

Break bar of chocolate in half and melt in a large cup filled with 1/3 cup milk . Melt in micro for 45 seconds then mix with a spoon, then melt for another 45 seconds to one minute.

Shave the piloncillo into small pieces using a knife

In a small bowl, add the cinnamon, melted chocolate and milk, and egg. Then mix in the melted butter. Combine with the bowl of flour.

Mold the biscotti into a long loaf, or you can use a rolling pin to roll it out into the shape of a rectangle about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. You can sprinkle vanilla sugar and almonds on top.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375, then lower the oven temp to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove biscotti and turn off the oven and cut with a sharp knife into 1/2-3/4 inch wide pieces.

Put biscotti back in the oven for 15 minutes THEN turn the oven back on to 350 and BAKE for another 15 minutes. (Total time in the oven should be 50 minutes -- that includes the off time)

Let cool before eating. If you want the biscotti extra crunchy: After the final 15 minutes, turn off the oven and let the biscotti rest in the oven for up to 30 minutes).

Random Sidenote:
After coming to terms with my obsession with cute things and yummy food, I realized...hmm...I like to draw, I like cute things, why not draw cute things that are somewhat foodie related! So this is what I'm doing these days when I'm not cooking/baking or writing really long blog entries; haven't picked up the pencil in awhile, so I'm a little rusty, but it's a lot of fun so far :).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apple Pecan Bacon Chicken for the Birdie Know It All Tutorial Contest

What do you do when you have bacon grease left over from bacon and need to think of a fun recipe to enter into Gisele's Birdie-Know-it-All Tutorial contest?

You use it to make a sweet and savory Sunday dinner, Apple Pecan Bacon Chicken, to be exact :). So here's my tutorial! Have you all checked out the contest? It is so cool because it's no just for cooks/bakers; if you're into designing stationary, making handmade cards, or even creating your own holiday decorations, you can join too. Plus, you get to feature this cute little logo on your blog :). Click it to find out more about the contest and cute prizes!

I think Paula Deen would've been so proud seeing me use up the bacon grease to fry some chicken! (Have you all seen that episode of Paula's Party where she fries everything, including that yummy pumpkin cake? Delicious!)

This dish is tasty and fun to make, it offers afew different textures and tasty flavors...not to mention two of my favorite fruits, cranberries and apples! Yum! Plus, I threw in some bacon, the hubby's favorite food. It wasn't a one skillet meal, even though it kinda looks like it. I cooked the apples in a separate pan, then I baked the chicken, but it was worth all the dirty pots/pans/cutting boards/time etc. :). (The cool thing is that you can stick that skillet in the oven, though.)

These pictures are a part of the tutorial, please excuse the not-so-pretty yellow tinge of my kitchen, I don't get very much natural light in there! A big thanks to my hubby for taking these photos, please don't cook and take really isn't safe :P!

You can use 4-6 chicken drumsticks for this recipe.
Bacon drippings (from about 4 strips of bacon)
1 iron skillet
1/2 cup gluten-free chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped leeks
2 TBSP honey
pinch of pepper
1 large Macintosh apple
2/3 cup pure apple cider
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup cranberries
1 strip of bacon
Aluminum foil
1/4 tsp crushed bay leaves
1/4 tsp thyme

Instructions for Tutorial:
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cook 4 strips of bacon in an iron skillet.
  3. Save the bacon drippings in the skillet.
  4. Chop 1/4 cup each of sweet onion and leeks.
  5. Cook onion and leeks on medium/low in bacon grease (in the skillet) for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add chicken, use tongs to brown chicken drumsticks on all sides (watch for popping oil, be careful not to burn yourself).
  7. Sprinkle chicken with a pinch pepper and add about 1 1/2 - 2 TBSP of honey.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup gluten free chicken broth in skillet with chicken; cover and cook chicken on low for about 20 minutes.
  9. Flip chicken onto side that wasn't cooking and now cook for another 15-20 minutes on low while you prepare the apples.
  10. Peel and slice 1 large Macintosh apple.
  11. Pour 1/4 cup warm water and 2/3 cup pure apple cider into a sauce pan, add about 1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Then add about 1/3 cup roughly chopped pecans. Cook on medium/high for about five minutes (without apples). Then lower flamer to low, add apples and 1/3 cup cranberries and cook for about 5 minutes (you don't want them too soft, just cook until they are slightly soft but still somewhat crunchy).
  12. Cover the chicken in the skillet with the apple mixture (use only 1/2 of the apple mixture if you use 4 drumsticks, use all of the cooked apples if you have 6 drumsticks). Sprinkle with thyme, bay leaves, and bacon bits (from 1 freshly cooked but cooled strip of bacon) and bake (COVERED WITH ALUMINUM FOIL!) for 10 minutes then turn chicken drumsticks over. Lastly, bake for about 15 more minutes minutes. Let cool then eat! :)

Apple Pecan Bacon Chicken


See Apple Pecan Bacon Chicken on Key Ingredient.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gluten-Free Cranberry Carrot Cider Cupcakes with Gingerbread Frosting

This Gluten-Free Cranberry Carrot Cider Cupcakes with Gingerbread Frosting recipe is my November Cupcake Hero submission! I love cranberries, so I was happy to see that these colorful and festive jaw-locking berries were this month's spotlight ingredient. The tartness of the cranberries really pops and gives the cupcakes a refreshing burst of flavor.

These cupcakes remind me of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Well, they have the pumpkin pie spice, they've even got a bit of cider, and let's not forget about the gingerbread frosting! I was so happy that the frosting ended up tasting like gingerbread, just like I'd hoped!

When my husband tried them out he asked, "Are these gluten-free?!" as if I'd suddenly thrown him a curve ball and started cooking with AP flour again :). Nope, haven't done that, these cupcakes are as gluten-free as cupcakes can get! But the great thing is that they don't taste gluten-free at all; serve these at your holiday party and no one will know that they're not eating any gluten! These cupcakes are really tasty, try 'em!

Gluten-Free Cranberry Carrot Cider Cupcakes with Gingerbread Frosting

Tastes like Thanksgiving and Christmas in a cupcake!

See Gluten-Free Cranberry Carrot Cider Cupcakes with Gingerbread Frosting on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gluten-Free Banana Maple Yogurt Cake and Vintage Thingies Thursday

Warning: Lengthy post ahead (not so surprising ;)!

One of the great things about going on a gluten-free diet when you have a gluten intolerance is that a few months or so later, you notice that you're not as sensitive to other foods you initially thought you were sensitive to. For instance, I eliminated quite a few dairy products from my diet about a year ago, thinking they were the culprit of too many rumblies in the tumbly. Thankfully, this wasn't/isn't entirely true. It seems I'm not as sensitive to milk products as I previously thought. This doesn't mean I can chug down a glass of milk or eat a whole block of cheese (I wish!), but, thankfully, I can handle more dairy than once believed, like yogurt. This is a GREAT discovery. You have no idea how much I love love love dairy products. I've moved from rice milk to lactose-free milk, I've started sprinkling bits of cheese on so many different savory foods I eat, and I've even started adding yogurt to my cakes. Before I began this gluten-free adventure (and it is an adventure ;) I had to take off my wedding ring because it was slipping off! I went to put it back on this weekend, and I actually had to struggle a little to get it on my finger! Thank God for little discoveries like gluten-intolerances (of course, I'm not so thankful for the intolerance itself, but you know how it goes ;). Oh yes, and thank God for allergy tests, it turns out I'm really allergic to sesame seeds! No sesame seeds or oil for me!

Yogurt does wonders for a cake! It adds moisture and flavor! I used Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt for this cake to make it extra moist without using tons of butter. You know what other ingredient I love to bake with?? Maple syrup! I know it sounds crazy, that stuff is so rich and sugary, but it adds an element of buttery flavor to sweets, at least that's what I've noticed. Maybe my taste buds are off, but I'm telling you, maple syrup tastes awesome in cakes or muffins. I don't like to pour it on when it comes to waffles or pancakes, but sneak a little bit into that batch of carby delights and you'll see what I'm talking about! I also sprinkled on some cinnamon chips and slivered almonds, this cake does not need frosting! Maureen over at Hold the Gluten had an awesome pumpkin bread recipe that I still need to try! She put cinnamon chips in her bread and I knew I had to get some right away!

When I'm not pouring loads of sugar into my baked goods, I'm collecting old things from here and there :)...for Thingies Thursday! Well, I don't really go out antique shopping that often, but when I'm in need of a new piece of furniture, or something to hold my magazines, or maybe something to hold my other somethings (as you can see, I really try to find any excuse to buy these little thingamabobs we refer to as antiques ;), I pay a visit to my favorite antique store in Cambridge. If you're a fan of antiques, you have to check out the Cambridge Antique Market.

To be honest, I've only gone twice, but when I do go, I stay for quite awhile. There are 4 or 5 floors, I've lost count! My head's too busy spinning round and round (there's so much to look at) that I don't even notice when I've gone from one floor to another; it's like I'm a drifter being sucked antique land. I went this weekend in search of a night stand. Thankfully, I found one at a great price! I hate paying full price for antiques (usually they're ridiculously overpriced) but I got this little table for under $25! (Sorry if you find it tacky that I mentioned the cost, but I just get so darn excited when I find something on sale that I feel like I need to spread that excitement around!) Now that's a steal! I've decided to buy furniture for my apartment slowly, instead of all at once, so that I can purchase something cute with character, a real charm made out of real wood. I figured, if the little table has been around this long, it's sure to last a while longer. I might've looked silly walking two blocks with it then taking a ride on the crazy Cambridge bus with this table, a bag of random groceries, and Christmas wrapping paper (Ah, the car-less life! I had to pick up Christmas wrapping paper, it was on sale :D!!), but I'm glad I did :).

As for the little lamp, that's also an antique I found on Craigslist. I later found one at Goodwill for half the price! :D Other cool items I've found at Goodwill? Antique tea cups! I don't host tea parties, but I'm convinced that one day I just might (you never know!), so I better stock up on the tea cups now ;).

Gluten-Free Banana Maple Yogurt Cake with Almonds

Good to the last bite :)

See Gluten-Free Banana Maple Yogurt Cake with Almonds on Key Ingredient.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gluten-Free Biscuits and Chicken and Dumpling Stew

Like everyone else, I'm glued to the TV (watching CNN), so I'm going to make this short and sweet...or savory, I should say :). I know, it's another stew! I bet you're wondering if I eat anything other than stews and desserts :D. This cold weather has me craving hot food non-stop, it doesn't get old!

Gluten-free Biscuits

Deeelish and super easy to make :)

See Gluten-free Biscuits on Key Ingredient.

And if you're a long-time Flour Arrangements reader, you're probably not surprised to see biscuits. But This time, they're gluten-free! Big difference: more flours, a little bit of sugar, and the star ingredient: xanthan gum! The Gluten-Free Girl posted a tasty recipe for buttermilk biscuits that I wanted to make, but I didn't have all the ingredients, so I had to improvise. (I ended up eating half of them in one night! :) The stew has dumplings, but I can't get enough carbs, so why not have chicken and dumplings AND gluten-free biscuits?! Sounds like a tasty combo to me. This isn't just any ol' chicken and dumplings meal either, I added veggies to the stew. I tried to make it as hearty and nutritious as possible.

I've been thinking about something, I'm going to change Flour Arrangements up a bit. Not really change it, more like spice it up. I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to gluten-free recipe online; I can imagine how much harder it is to find recipes for other allergy=related diets. Purchasing specialty foods can get expensive, too, so that's why I've resorted to making almost everything from scratch. I know I'm not the only one. This is why I'd like to extend this invitation to you all: If there is a dessert/savory dish that you're craving, and you're on a special diet and can't find a recipe for it, I'll try to make up a recipe for you. I can't promise that I'll get it to you right away, but I'll do my best :). (Please just don't ask me to make basil cupcakes ;)! much for a short and sweet post :P!

Gluten-Free Chicken and Dumpling Stew

Tasty on a cold day :)

See Gluten-Free Chicken and Dumpling Stew on Key Ingredient.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust


I cheated a little and chose to adapt this recipe I found on ABC news :P. I noticed the DB challenge recipe would make enough dough for 4 small pizzas and I just didn't want to eat that much pizza :). Strange as it may sound, I found that this crust I adapted came out tasting like it was made with whole wheat! At first I thought it was the millet flour. After using millet flour to bake cookies last night, and even muffins over the weekend, I'm now convinced it wasn't that (or the rice flour, or potato flour, I've baked with those and know they don't have a 'wheat' flavor).

But...after talking to Alexa from Artsy-Foodie (who's been sweet enough to answer quite a few of my gluten-free baking questions :), I'm convinced it was the yeast. The original recipe called for 1 TBSP and I think that was way too much for a little personal pan pizza :P. I think 1/2 TBSP or even 2 tsps would've been fine. Does anyone else know what it could've been that gave this gluten-free pizza crust a wheaty flavor?

Oops, almost forgot! As for the second version of the pizza, I experimented just with the crust. I figured since it was my first gluten-free pizza crust, I should really spend time on the crust. I made the first crust very thin, adding more flour and even gelatin and the exact amount of xanthan gum that the recipe called for. I found the first crust was too tough, so I decreased the amount of xanthan gum, added less flour, and decided not to use the gelatin. The crust was much softer the second time around (and that's the pizza that's pictured in both photos :).

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Not sure what it is, but this crust tastes like ...

See Gluten-Free Pizza Crust on Key Ingredient.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Breakfast and Lunch: Gluten-Free Pancakes and Stew

Pancakes: My favorite food. Wait! I also like french toast...ok. So...

BREAKFAST: My favorite meal!

Oh...but a well-made Thanksgiving meal is heaven on Earth, so it's a close second.

Alright then, I'll sum it up like this: I adore food, all kinds. And so do you, that's why you're reading this!

I'm not the type that'll splurge on anything, really. Nearly everything I buy is on sale; material things just don't mean that much to me (unless it's an antique! My guilty pleasure = antique shopping...but that doesn't count, right!). I guess some would say that food doesn't matter; they'll say food is food, but I really can't say that. At all. Food isn't just food. If you're ingesting it, it should be good for you...and it should taste good too!

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Lots of ingredients but they all contribute to making these ...

See Gluten-Free Pancakes on Key Ingredient.

Some foods are extra special, though. Like buttery gluten-free pancakes with real maple syrup on top (Real maple syrup! The fake stuff doesn't taste half as good! Oh, and by the way, it took me forever to come up with a gluten-free pancake recipe! You'd think it'd be easy but it isn't!). And who doesn't love waking up to the smell of...stew! Yes, I bet you thought I was going to say pancakes! Of course I love waking up to the smell of pancakes, but I also love waking up to the smell of a lamb shank stew magically coming together in my crock-pot with leeks and onions and garlic and muscat wine and...

As soon as the aroma hits my nose, I know it's ready. It's been cooking for 8 hours, so the meat has to be tender. When my appetite's gotten the best of me,I jump out of bed to see if I'm right... yep, the meat is falling off the bone. Now I need to finish it off on the stove and add the final round of ingredients: tomato sauce, veggies, a few spices, and (of course) a little more time. 30 minutes of simmering does the trick.

This is a tasty stew, but you'll have to wait for lunch to try it because you've gotta try the pancakes first. Actually, nevermind! Eat the stew for breakfast and have the pancakes for dinner!

Lamb Shank Stew with Veggies and Muscat Wine

The crock-pot does all the hard work ;)...the rest is ...

See Lamb Shank Stew with Veggies and Muscat Wine on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple Picking, Apple Stuffing, and Apple Pie...& I'm still not tired of apples

Last weekend we went apple picking. It was SO MUCH FUN! The weather was perfect; the sun was shining, the air was crisp and sooo clean. The apple farm was packed with families and kiddos, but we still managed to collect enough plump and juicy apples to last us about two weeks. Did I mention how gorgeous it was? I felt like I was walking through a life-sized postcard all day!

Now how about that pie. I recently met a gluten-free blogger who asked me if I'd ever made a gluten-free pie. Though I have made a gluten-free pie, I hadn't made one completely from scratch (as far as the crust goes), so I promised to post a 100% from-scratch pie recipe. I have to say, this pie was delicious; I have a feeling it has to do with using freshly picked Mass. apples (last time I made a blueberry pie with the berries we picked, it made a huge difference in the pie's taste). They are delicious and crunchy; there's nothing worse than a mushy apple. I used Macintosh apples and sprinkled them with the juice of half a lemon to add a bit more tartness, it counteracted the sweetness of the pie quite nicely. I think this recipe's a keeper, tell me what you think!

MINI :) Gluten-free Apple Spice Pie

Soooo good!

See MINI :) Gluten-free Apple Spice Pie on Key Ingredient.

All this talk about the Fall is making me crave Thanksgiving food! I mentioned before that I wanted to make a stuffing, so this weekend I made a gluten-free apple stuffing (using the apples we picked, of course, we have so many!). It was tasty but for some reason it came out tasting like...tamales! Tamales? Yep. I think it's the funky cornmeal I used... Anyhow, next time I plan on using better cornmeal and I also plan on only roughly chopping the veggies. It's hard to tell (because my food processor works so well and I'm still trying to figure out how to use it) but there are quite a bit of veggies in the stuffing.

Gluten-free Cornbread Apple and Veggie Stuffing

Yummy and tamale-flavored stuffing. Strange but true.

See Gluten-free Cornbread Apple and Veggie Stuffing on Key Ingredient.

I'll leave (no pun intended :P) you all with these photos of the verrrrry Falllish Massachusetts countryside. I almost forgot to mention, some of the photos are from Walden Pond (think Thoreau, if that doesn't ring a bell). GORGEOUS! Can I build a cabin here, too? I won't write about ant piles, I promise. Oh wait, it isn't winter yet...I'll probably change my mind when it's 7 degrees outside ;)...or maybe not! Have any of you ever danced in the snow before? I'm a weirdo from California who was fried by the sweltering Texas sun, so that's what I'll be doing during the first snowfall ;).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins

No Thingies Thursday this week! Instead, I'm posting 2 recipes :)!

What happens when a Californian moves to Texas where she marries her Southern-food-loving lover right before they trek off to Boston? No, not a culture-shock induced lobotomy...a really fantastic chili bean recipe! (Or is it chili beans recipe?)

I'm sure you're familiar with most Texan's love of barbecue, and you've probably heard of Boston baked beans, but how does California fit into this beany equation? Well, California is where I was born and raised until mid high school. It's where my mom used to crave chili beans when she was pregnant with me and where my parents used to sneak veggies into my chili so that I would eat them. Yes, it's odd. Chili was one of my favorite foods as a kiddo, but I hated veggies (sometimes I'd even cover them in ketchup, ewww!), so my parents would sneak them into my chili and hope that (after covering said chili with tons of cheese and sour cream) I wouldn't notice the little specks of green here and there...I did. The good news is, I now love veggies and I still love chili!

Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans

A Californian's take on a Southern recipe with a ...

See Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans on Key Ingredient.

Chili doesn't always love me, though. My digestive system has geriatric mannerisms these days. Oh, I know all about hearburn and bile reflux, thanks to the absence of my gallbladder. So I try not to make it too spicy. Still, it's yummy comfort food, and it's also a food that reminds my hubby of back home, aka Texas. So, it's become a sort of comfort food to him too. But I wanted to make these beens extra special for my little Southerner, so I added liquid smoke, it's the answer to every Texan-transplanted-to-Boston's prayer. (Now, does the apostrophe go after Texan or Boston? I think it's Boston's, but that looks really awkward. Gosh, there goes that handy English degree!)

Ok...because a meal just isn't complete without dessert, I also made Sweet Potato Muffins. Boy, they are tasty! Honestly, I was impressed with their non-gluten-free texture, but they are very much gluten-free and butter/milk free. I actually feel bad about posting them after the chili, but I didn't have a fun story to go with the muffin recipe... You know, I don't even want to talk about how good they are because I want you to make them yourself, give 'em a try! Seriously, a great Thanksgiving/Fall treat. Oh, but if you do make 'em, make sure you have them right after the chili; now that's what comfort food's all about!

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins

A dairy and gluten free muffin that doesn't taste ...

See Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins on Key Ingredient.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thingies Thursday and Cranberry and Brown Sugar Pinwheels

Is it just me, or is this year flying by? I nearly forgot about September's Daring Bakers challenge, and when I remembered, it was too late to bake the crackers. (I'm posting this a bit early because I know I won't have time to work on this entry tomorrow!) I will attempt last month's challenge some time soon, though, especially since we had the option of doing a gluten-free version of the recipe :).

Gluten-free crackers can be expensive. Up to $5 for a small box! I've never appreciated the ability to make my own food more than I do now. Despite the fact that I wasn't able to make the crackers before the DB posting date, I'm grateful to the Daring Bakers for selecting a cracker recipe that could easily be made gluten-free or vegan. Not only was it a nice surprise, but it was a fun way to introduce foodies to unique diets that can literally be life-changing for some.

Speaking of changing, we're slowly starting to see some colorful Fall foliage here in Boston. The mornings are more refreshing and definitely on the cooler side. I've unpacked my sweaters and I'm finding ways to stay warm that don't involve my rickety radiator! Here are some photos of the area :).

About a week ago, around 3 AM, the apartment complex decided to give the radiators their first trial run of the year. It was a cool night but I woke up feeling a little sweaty and a lot freaked out. I couldn't figure out why it felt like I was standing outside on a hot August day in Texas while lying in bed on a very cold night in Boston.

Because I was half-asleep, I thought the apartment was on fire...I even got up to look for the flames, but it was just the radiator! It blasts intense heat for about a half hour every 4 hours when the apartment gets cold. Since it turns on very infrequently, when it does come on, it releases enough heat to keep a room warm for oh...about a day or two! It's not exactly very discreet either. I recently purchased a down comforter, thinking I was going to freeze without it, but my rickety radiator won't let that happen. I might have dark circles under my eyes on the coldest days of the year, but at least I'll be warm!

Now, I can't think of a better way to stay warm than with baking cookies! Still celebrating the flavors of the season and up and coming holiday season, I made spiral cookies with cranberries and a brown sugar filling. Lately, I just can't get enough cranberries. I'm craving them so much that I'm going to make stuffing tomorrow just so the cranberry sauce I purchased this weekend doesn't feel lonely :)! I know a lot of people don't like it, but I'm not sure how most folks feel about dried cranberries, or craisins. I love their tart flavor, it really balances out the sweetness of these cookies.

Cranberry and Brown Sugar Pinwheels

Warm and slightly tart from the cranberries, these cookies are ...

See Cranberry and Brown Sugar Pinwheels on Key Ingredient.

Now moving on to this week's award. You all make it so tough to choose a winner! Not only do most of you already have these awards, but there are also quite a few fun blogs that are just getting started! Before I pass this award along, there are two bloggers I'd like to thank: Michele of My Italian Grandmother and LK of Food for Tots!

VeggieGirl: A dedicated blogger who has a fun writing style and exciting life as a talented dancer!
Taste and Tell: Her photos are always so polished and delicious :)!
A Southern Grace: Engaging readers with her yummy recipes and sense of humor; never a dull post!

Thingies Thursday:
I love old cookbooks for a couple of reasons, they're fun to look at and add spice and color to a bookshelf. I also get a kick out of the illustrations. A little silly at times, they're generally pretty entertaining. I scanned the fudge recipe from this 1950s cookbook, but this same book includes a tuna casserole recipe that comes with a comedic/borderline disturbing illustration. The boy is feeding his party-hat-wearing pet tuna spoonfuls of tuna casserole! Hmm...I leave you with these milder photos. Until next time, let's not feed our pets anything remotely resembling a member of their same species :D!