Bakery On Main Instant Oatmeal

I just discovered a new brand of gluten free instant oatmealBakery on Main makes three fantastic kid-friendly flavors:  Apple Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, and Maple Multigrain Muffin.  All are made with certified gluten free oats, plus chia seeds, flax meal, quinoa and amaranth… giving it 5 grams of fiber per serving!  This is the new power breakfast I’ll be serving my son in the mornings before school.

Keep those great new gluten free products coming!  We love them!

Green Soup

… or you could call it “cream of vegetable soup”… or “I-had-A-LOT-of-fresh-vegetables-to-use-up soup”… whatever you call it, it turned out delicious.

This year I finally signed up for a CSA share (community supported agriculture – find one near you!) where I paid some cash up front and then I get a box of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits delivered in town to pick up each week through the end of October.  Ever since reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Mark Bittman’s Food Matters, I’ve tried to buy more locally grown produce in season… and in general to eat less meat and more plants.  So the CSA box comes full of an assortment of vegetables, many of which I would never buy on my own from the grocery store, and that I have never cooked with before either: bok choy, fresh beets, garlic scrapes, etc.   So far, I am enjoying the challenge of figuring out how to use everything in the CSA box each week.

This week we had zucchini and fresh peas!  Some of my favorites.  I loved helping my son discover the joy of cracking open a pod and eating the sweet raw peas inside.  But we also got fresh radishes and arugula.  I’m not a huge fan of arugula in salads, plus one can only eat so much salad each week… so I figured out this alternative way to use the nutrient-packed arugula, the radish greens AND a bunch of leftover veggies.

This soup should work equally well with beet greens, spinach, and whatever other green vegetables you have on hand.  I use Mark Bittman’s general ratios for cream of vegetable soups: 2 cups veggies to 3 cups chicken stock to 1 cup cream.  Go ahead and play.  It’s a very forgiving recipe.

  • butter
  • onion, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • arugula leaves, washed well
  • radish greens, washed well
  • green onions, sliced
  • potatoes, peeled and diced
  • other veggies (I used some zucchini, spinach, peas, broccoli and cauliflower)
  • chicken broth (check labels - I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • cream or milk

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Add the leafy greens and wilt.  Stir in the potatoes, other vegetables and chicken broth.  Cover and simmer for about an hour.  Let cool slightly and puree the soup in batches in a blender.  Add cream and warm soup, but do not boil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

We enjoyed this for dinner today with toasted Against the Grain baguette slices.  My son said it was the yummiest soup ever and asked for seconds.  I plan to make some version of this many times this summer with my CSA bounty and freeze the puree (without the cream) for enjoying this winter.

Arugula in soup!  Who knew?

Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal

So glad to see more convenience foods entering the gluten free world!  Glutenfreeda makes this fantastic instant oatmeal with certified gluten free oats.  The price on Amazon is about the same per box as Quaker instant oatmeal.  Plus it’s made with only natural ingredients, including flax, and healthier for you.  This instant oatmeal comes in four flavors: natural, apple cinnamon, maple raisin, and banana maple.  Go enjoy quick oatmeal again.  You’re welcome.

Meatloaf

A classic comfort food and a favorite at our house… made with gluten free oats and a few hidden veggies.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 cup ketchup and/or BBQ sauce (check labels)
  • 1 packet onion soup mix (check labels)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shredded veggies like zucchini, spinach, or carrots (optional)
  • 1 egg

Mix ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl (you might have to use your hands).  Pack into a bread pan and cook at 350 degrees for 60 – 90 minutes.  Drain fat midway if necessary.  Enjoy with mashed potatoes and  your favorite green veggie.

Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Just made some key adjustments to the basic corn bread recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  The sweet potato puree (my addition) is critical for making the muffins moist instead of dry.

  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour with xanthan gum (I use Jules’ Nearly Normal flour mix)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 6 oz jar sweet potato puree (stage 3 baby food)

Lightly grease muffin pan, or use muffin cups.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt) together in one bowl, and all the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil, sweet potato puree)  in another bowl.  Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until well blended.  Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  My family all LOVED these.  Wonderful served with chili.

Cheese-Zucchini Enchiladas

Here is a recipe I actually discovered myself through good old-fashioned kitchen experimentation.  I was craving cheese enchiladas, and had some leftover mushy steamed zucchini and yellow squash I decided to throw in too… It was melt-in-your-mouth divine.  The mashed up zucchini/squash filling, with a little bit of cheese, still tasted creamy, like a traditional cheese enchilada, but better! And better for you too!  It’s also one of the easiest ways to get my son to eat his zucchini.

  • 2-3 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash (leftovers works well for this)
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (check labels – I use a mix of whatever I have around: cheddar, jack, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, etc.)
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • red enchilada sauce (check labels – I like McCormick’s – or follow the recipe below)

Prepare enchilada sauce per recipe or package directions. Steam the zucchini and/or summer squash until mushy and chop or mash gently.  Saute onions and mushrooms in oil and mix with mashed zucchini.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Warm corn tortillas in microwave and dip in enchilada sauce.  Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup veggie filling and sprinkle in cheese; roll tightly and place seam-side down in baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, and top with rest of cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.  Wonderful served with mexican rice and corn.

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RED ENCHILADA SAUCE (adapted from Food.com and GroupRecipes.com)

  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 TBSP corn flour (not corn meal or cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon (check labels)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

Mix together all dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste.  Pour into medium saucepan and whisk in rest of water and tomato sauce.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Use in your favorite enchilada recipe.  The amounts on the ingredients are very flexible.  For instance, if you are feeding kids who do not like “spicy”, you can halve the chili powder and double the tomato sauce.  Experiment to suit your taste, but don’t leave out the cocoa.

Pamela’s Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix

Going along with yesterday’s post, Pamela’s also makes a fabulous gluten free “Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix”.  It’s made with a blend of brown rice flour, white rice flour, buttermilk, almond meal, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour and potato starch, as well as baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum.

The pancakes from this are light and fluffy – just like normal pancakes!  And I just started using a trick from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious book: I added in a half cup of mashed sweet potatoes to the pancake batter.  My kids said the pancakes were even yummier than usual :-)

This mix makes wonderful chocolate chip cookies, muffins, waffles, crepes, biscuits, etc. (see more recipes here) and is also a great all-around flour substitute for your own favorite recipes.

Again, my only complaint/disappointment is the slight metallic taste in the bulk batch I ordered from Amazon, which wasn’t in the smaller store-bought bags.  Based on all the 5 star reviews on Amazon, I am pretty sure that was a fluke, and will order again with confidence.

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UPDATE: See more gluten free pancake and waffle recipes at The Gluten-Free Homemaker‘s Recipe Carnival

Pamela’s Amazing Bread Mix and Flour Blend

I am not at all a bread baker by nature, so I had to overcome my fear of yeast on the quest to figure out the best tasting and healthiest bread for my son.  I love this “Amazing Bread Mix and Flour Blend” from Pamela’s Products.  When I made this bread the first time, it was so delicious and soft, fresh from the oven, that I had a hard time saving some for my son!  That truly is “amazing” for gluten free yeast bread.

Approximating the taste and texture of wheat requires the right combination of gluten free grains.  This bread uses a mix of sorghum flour, tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, millet flour, and rice bran; plus xanthan gum to help it stick together, and some sugar, salt, honey and molasses.  This blend even has 3 grams of fiber per serving – the same as whole wheat flour!

And thanks to the heavy duty stand mixer I got as a birthday present last year, making this bread is relatively easy.  Because it’s gluten free, you don’t need to knead :-) and develop the gluten that gives regular bread its lovely texture and bounce.  Just measure and throw the ingredients into the mixer, beat for 3 minutes, pour into bread pan, let rest, then bake.  Honestly, the hardest part for me is determining how “warm” the warm water should be.  It’s even easier if you have a bread machine (just make sure it’s a clean one).

Since I prefer hearty whole wheat type bread, I like to add in a little extra fiber to this mix: 1-2 TBSP of ground flax seed, 1-2 TBSP of buckwheat, plus some black strap molasses for color.  I add a little extra water to compensate.  You can also make yummy cinnamon bread by folding in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar to the dough.  If you are feeling extra domestic and ambitious, this mix also makes gluten free bagels, pizza crust, pie crust, cinnamon rolls, and gingerbread cookies.

My only beef with this mix: when I ordered large bags in bulk via Amazon, the flour mix has a slight metallic taste that wasn’t in the smaller bags I bought at Whole Foods.  Although this doesn’t seem to bother my son.  Next time I plan to buy the smaller bags in bulk.  Less measuring required that way, too.

Carrots & Dip

Pretty simple, but still a favorite snack around our house.  Thanks to a tip from my friend Jane, who blogs over at This Week for Dinner, I prefer to buy whole carrots and peel and cut them into sticks myself.  The flavor of fresh carrots verses those processed “baby carrots” from the grocery store, to me, is worth the extra effort.  Plus, I like to make the carrot sticks more ergonomic in size and shape for small hands to dip.  BONUS: organic carrots are only 89 cents/lb at my local Trader Joe’s.

For the dip, I just mix a lot of plain yogurt with a little bit of ranch dressing (check labels).  Maybe a 3-to-1 or even 5-to-1 ratio.  That way, when my kids go a little crazy and eat a TON of dip (which happens often), it’s OK because it’s really just ranch-flavored yogurt.

Cheese Quesadilla

Fitting enough fiber into your child’s diet can be challenging, even when you’re not gluten free.  Here is one easy way to sneak in some extra nutrition.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (check labels)
  • 1 TBSP ground flax seed meal

Heat oil in small pan over medium heat.  Assemble quesadilla with one tortilla in pan, sprinkle on cheddar cheese and ground flax seed, top with second tortilla.  When cheese is melted enough to hold the tortillas together, flip over the quesadilla to cook the other side.