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Two weeks of meals

5 Feb
menu clip art

Ready for another two weeks of dinners?

It’s the end of another week, and it’s pay day, so that means it’s time for our family to plan another two weeks of meals! We had a successful two weeks of meal planning, so I thought I’d share the meal plan that we just finished. Maybe it will provide you with some inspiration for your own meal planning! Our meals incorporate our dietary needs and I’ve indicated any place where we’ve had to make adjustments. I have also linked over to the recipes if I have previously posted them on the blog before.

Sunday: Marinated pork tenderloin, homemade applesauce, potatoes and corn.

Monday: Hot dogs and hamburgers, french fries, veggies.

Tuesday: Taco Bake

Wednesday: Cranberry Chicken

Thursday: Chicken Marsala (We used a new gluten free chicken recipe from the Gluten Free Bible cookbook and cornstarch in our sauce instead of flour.)

Friday: Pizza (using a frozen gluten free pizza from Trader Joes for one of the pizzas)

1Saturday:  Tacos (using gluten free corn tortillas)

Sunday: Lasagna (we made one large regular, and one small gluten free, and wrapped the leftover gluten free in individual portions for the freezer.)

Monday: Paninis (We used gluten free bread for one sandwich.)

Tuesday: Whole chicken microwaved in the Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker, mashed potatoes, vegetables.

Wednesday: Stir Fry (chicken, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, zucchini) over white rice

Thursday: Homemade chicken pot pie using the leftover chicken from Tuesday plus the rest of the mashed potatoes. (We bought a miniature gluten free chicken pot pie for one serving.)

Friday: Leftovers (stir fry, pot pie, lasagna)

 

2*As an added bonus for you this week, here is the recipe for the Parmesan-crusted chicken from the Gluten Free Bible which is mentioned above in the Chicken Marsala recipe.*

Makes four servings

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour blend

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Combine cheese, flour blend, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in large resealable bag. Add one chicken breast at a time, shake to coat evenly. heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in single layer four to five minutes per side or until golden brown and no longer pink.

 

 

I’m in love.

1 Feb

It’s February, and I’m in love.

My heart pitter-patters and I think about the new object of my affection constantly. What will we do together next? What new things will we try? For years I hoped and prayed I’d find love like this again. It had been so long since my last love affair.

I wasn’t even planning for this, and it has taken me completely by surprise, which I guess is the best kind of love.

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That’s right, I’m in love with my new Stir Fry pan from Pampered Chef. Now I’m not a Pampered Chef consultant, and I don’t pretend to even play one on TV, but I.LOVE.THIS.PAN.

And I’m pretty sure my husband does too.

You see, years and years (and years) ago, my husband and I had received a beautiful piece of cookware from his grandmother. It was a nice, deep Teflon saute pan and it had a glass cover for the top and two handles for the side. I loved that pan. We used it constantly and it was the perfect size for all our meals, even as our family expanded from two, to three, to four, and finally to five hungry mouths to feed. We could saute, cook, simmer. You name it, we cooked it in that pan.

And then, one day, try as we would to deny the obvious, we realized our pan was getting old and scratched and we thought we were seeing evidence of little bits of Teflon coming off.

Clearly, you’re not supposed to use Teflon as an added ingredient in your recipes.

We had to say good bye to our pan.

I missed that pan every.single.day.

Don’t get me wrong, we had other pans. We even had two cast iron pans that we loved, but it wasn’t the same. We had to use both pans at once to make some of our saucier meals because one wasn’t deep enough to hold everything. My stir fry meals toppled over the sides of just one pan, our sauces bubbled over. We didn’t have a true matching cover to go with our pans.

I was sad.

And then suddenly, I wasn’t!

A few weeks ago, my very good-I’ve-known-her-almost-as-long-as-I’ve-known-my-husband-friend Marcia asked me if I would host a new kind of Pampered Chef party. She’s been a consultant for years and years now, and there was a new kind of party she wanted to try: a virtual party on Facebook. Would I try it?

Sure thing! I love Facebook because it’s where I get to see lots of family and friends from all over the country, all over the world! And, it’s where I get a lot of great recipes! I invited hundreds of people. Literally. I can fit a good 10-12 in my living room, but this let me be unlimited. I didn’t have to worry about space or weather or distance. I had all kinds of out of state friends on my list.

The party would last one hour and be completely virtual. No ingredients to buy, no house to clean, no makeup to put on. I could sit in my bed under my electric blanket and play along with the games, talk to my guests and watch the videos of all the great new tools that I would suddenly have to have.

As many parties as I’ve had in the past, it never even occurred to me to check out the January hostess benefits, or even to ask. Suddenly though, as I had my party, the orders started coming in. Notification after notification arrived in my email inbox. As my youngest daughter partied in my bed along with me, part playing along and part watching iCarly on the TV, I decided we’d better check things out on the hostess benefits page of my party website.

Sure enough, January was DOUBLE hostess benefits month!

Who knew?

Well, probably lots of people, but I was happily surprised!! Suddenly, even my daughter was paying attention to them and we looked at the videos and photos popping up throughout the party with new eyes.

Granted, I have lots and lots of Pampered Chef tools. I have been creating a collection of great pieces since before my wedding when I had my first party as a newly engaged young 20-something, and I use them all the time.

When all was said and done, I had earned……

Wait for it…..

$530 to spend outright, plus five half price items and one 60% off item, and I received two booking credits for people who had agreed to also have virtual parties after participating in mine, so I’d get really great discounts if I saved a few things from my list and ordered from their parties too.

I was amazed and I was so ready to shop. Normally I don’t have this much to spend.

Or should I say, I have NEVER had this much to spend.

I had a running wish list as the party had progressed, but it was full of little things. With this much money to spend, I could now afford many of those little things and then some really big, expensive things.

And that’s when it happened.

As I turned the pages of my paper catalog now in hand, I saw my newest love: the Executive Chef Stir-fry Skillet. The words Executive Chef made my heart stop for a mere second and I took in a breath as I looked at the pan. I think I even heard angels sing.

It was definitely love at first sight. It was a pan which was not Teflon, but rather a baked on non-stick aluminum. It had handles on both sides, it was ever so deep. It could even go in an oven of up to 400 degrees. What fun we would have together! I pictured all of our recipes being made right in that pan. Cranberry chicken, Chicken Marsala and any one of our favorite stir fry recipes, all bubbly and steaming and yet not bubbling right over.

After placing my hostess order, I planned out our next two weeks of meals, which conveniently coincided with the arrival of my shopping spree. I planned out all of the above and then some. Cranberry Chicken was up first, per request from one kid. Chicken Marsala was up another time, per request of another kid. Shepherd’s Pie, Taco Bake, Lasagna.

I began to daydream of cooking two pounds of ground beef at once in a pan with two cans of creamed corn mixed in for our Shepherd’s Pie, or being able to saute 15 chicken tenderloins in the pan with two cups of cranberries and two cups of water all at once for our Cranberry Chicken recipe.

Sure enough, when my order arrived and I unpacked it all, reminiscent of a child opening gifts on Christmas morning, my pan was all I’d hoped for and more. That very first night, I rejoiced as I happily made our Cranberry Chicken, and beamed as everyone commented how great it came out. My meat browned evenly, there was plenty of room for everything and it all tasted delicious. I think it tasted even better than usual in my new pan!

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I’d highly recommend any Pampered Chef party and any of their products to any of my friends and family, always. However, I must say, this new virtual party was fantastic! It was such fun “seeing” everyone that I wouldn’t get to see at my own in-house party. It was fun watching the videos and seeing some new must-have products, but most of all, it was fun falling in love-with a stir fry pan- all over again.

Happy February!

 

 

 

Fun Friday: Pillsbury’s Gluten Free Banana Streusel {Chocolate Chip} Bread

29 Jan
Only half left, already? You have to be quick here or you miss the photo opp!

Only half left, already? You have to be quick here or you miss the photo opp!

Hi and Happy Friday!

Today is a special Friday because this week we officially hit the midpoint to the school year and today is the 93rd day of school. This means that we are closer to the end of the school year than to the beginning of the school year. We began the third quarter this week, and just like that, it will soon be spring.

Well not too soon, but you know. Sooner than not spring. I’m a cup half full kind of girl.

Additionally, although we were forecast to have a giant snow storm last weekend, we happily dodged that bullet (this time) and only got a few inches. The weather warmed significantly this week and our snow is just about gone, so that’s even more reasons to celebrate the end of another week!

Today’s recipe is a new one for us as we continue down this gluten free path and I attempt to redesign some of my baking and cooking habits to fit everyone’s specific needs here. One thing I’ve been struggling with is determining when I need a binding agent in my flour, such as xanthan gum, and when I don’t. In general, I’ve been keeping two kinds of all-purpose flour on hand here, one that contains the xanthan gum which is from Trader Joe’s, and one that does not, which is Pillsbury and I buy it at Walmart. I’ve used the one without it for what is so far my favorite muffin recipe (a basic recipe we’ve used for raspberry, blueberry and chocolate chip muffins) and I’ve used the other for all of my Christmas cookies, which all seemed to stay together just fine. If you click on the links I’ve put in here, you can see both kinds of flour pictured in those posts. In addition to those, I’ve used the one without xanthan gum for much of my cooking if I need to bread chicken, and I’ve even used gluten free Bisquick to make a quick pancake mix and for making biscuits. So far, so good.

That said, I really wanted to make a homemade banana chocolate chip bread again, but I couldn’t figure out which of the two flours I needed, and the more I researched, the more confused I got. I had two to choose from, so I really didn’t want to go out and buy a bunch of individual flour blend ingredients to try to create my own blend at home, I wanted to use one of the ones that I had. Ultimately, I decided to google the words “Pillsbury gluten free banana bread” and I figured they’d have a recipe which used their own flour blend, which is what I had on hand. Sure enough they did. The recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips but I threw them in anyway. It did call for a streusel topping, which is one of my all-time favorite things, so I was immediately liking this recipe. I put it all together quickly and without issue one day this week for an after school snack, and it cooked up in an hour.

We're lucky any of the topping made it onto the bread! I kept tasting and tasting.

We’re lucky any of the topping made it onto the bread! I kept tasting and tasting.

The bread received all thumbs up from everyone here, and it will surely be one of my new go-to recipes and one that everyone can eat. My biggest problem was figuring out how to get it out of the baking dish without all of the topping coming off, because every piece that fell off, I ate. The recipe contained three bananas, which completely cancels out the fact that it contained any chocolate at all. And, the chocolate was semi-sweet, which I think is a superfood.

Right?

Right.

There was not a lot of butter in it, but we use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in our recipes. Other than that, it fit the bill and it was such a relief to me to have the house smelling of a sweet treat after school again this week. I can now check off another item on our menu that I’ve been able to conquer in the gluten free journey.

If you’d like to check out the recipe yourself, you can find it here.

Enjoy!

 

What’s for dinner Wednesday: A new cookbook for our two weeks of meals

20 Jan
Ready for another two weeks of dinners?

Ready for another two weeks of dinners?

I have to apologize for the time in between my posts recently. I have been having computer troubles for months now, since the summer, and they finally  came to a head in the past weeks, so doing a blog post was not in the cards for me. Now that we’ve solved my computer woes, I’m back at it.

In the meantime, since this is a slower time of year for me, and I can actually breathe for a bit, I’ve had some time to try out some new recipes. I recently had an interview to do at our local Barnes and Noble, and while I was there, I came across a cookbook of gluten free recipes in the bargain bin. I love bargain bins. Since it was such a bargain, I decided to splurge and get it in the hopes that it would give us some new recipes to try out. I thumbed through it first to make sure the recipes were our kinds of recipes, things we’d make and actually all eat, with things we actually keep on hand, and they were, so I was happy about that.

It was a bargain! I had to get it, but we've already made good use out of it.

It was a bargain! I had to get it, but we’ve already made good use out of it.

Additionally, I also saw a yummy looking recipe floating by me on Facebook, a Buzzfeed video. It was for Balsamic Chicken with veggies and I thought I’d try that. I didn’t realize how hard it is to try to cook from a video. I had to keep stopping and writing down the ingredients because it’d flash before my eyes and then move on to the next step. I did a lot of playing and pausing and writing, but in the end, it was good. Everyone said it was a keeper. I used carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus for the veggies and I doubled the recipe since there are so many of us. All of the ingredients are gluten free, so that worked for us. I served it with a side of rice. You can click on the video here, but I did not take my own photos because although it tasted good, it didn’t seem to look as pretty as the one in the video.

When I got home with my new cookbook, I let my daughter go through it first and tab some recipe ideas for our next two weeks of meals. Then I went through it and tabbed a few more, as well as a dessert idea. Everything we tabbed was doable, so we made our list of meals. Sometimes we make our list of meals on the back side of the shopping list. We shop, then when we’re done with the list we flip over the now wrinkled, crossed-off and crumpled list, and we tack it to the bulletin board. That’s what happens most weeks. Not this week though. This week it’s nice and neat an organized and very pretty because I had more time, so this week’s is the one I decided to photograph for you. Just know, it’s not real-life. My real-life list of meals is normally a hot mess.

We cross off as we go, rearrange if we have to, and the kids put future meal ideas at the bottom, even on the messy list weeks. It gives us a head start for the next time around.

We cross off as we go, rearrange if we have to, and the kids put future meal ideas at the bottom, even on the messy list weeks. It gives us a head start for the next time around.

The sweet and sour chicken from the first night was good, but not enough people loved it to make it again. We switched some things around, so the Fish and Chips (a healthy version not deep fried) is tonight’s meal, which everyone is looking forward to.  However, the tortilla pizzas from the second night were fantastic, and that’s the next recipe I’m going to highlight in today’s post. (See, even though I had a few weeks off, I’m making up for it today with a great post!)

So the tortilla pizzas were supposed to look like this:

This is the page from the cookbook.

This is the page from the cookbook.

Here's the original recipe.

Here’s the original recipe.

Ours were fabulous, but we didn’t exactly follow the original recipe. We kind of used it as a jumping off point for our own tortilla pizzas which look a lot like regular pizzas just with a tortilla shell. The making of the pizzas was so much fun though, we would definitely do it again. We also found the gluten free corn tortillas easy to work with and I think they’ll be a great replacement for my flatbread pizzas that I used to make on flatbread that is not gluten free. For the rest of us we used flour tortillas. Normally we use dough to make our own pizzas, and so far we’ve been buying a frozen gluten free pizza for Alex from Trader Joe’s that she really loves. This was a fun way to mix things up. Since everyone did their own, we were able to cater to everyone’s tastes. Everyone got four tortillas to work with and that left extras for lunches in the days ahead. This recipe was absolutely a keeper, and I’m sure some day we’ll even make it as it’s written!

The gluten free version of make your own tortilla pizzas.

The gluten free version of make your own tortilla pizzas.

These are the corn tortillas we bought to use.

These are the corn tortillas we bought to use.

In the days ahead we have a few more new recipes to try, so if they’re good you’ll see them here eventually! In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and hopefully I’ll be back on track again!

Have a wonderful week!

The challenge is real: health and wellness vs. tradition

22 Dec
Red and green crinkle cookies were new for me this year and I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy them.

Red and green crinkle cookies were new for me this year and I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy them.

It seems to me that our family often has their “ah ha moment” in regards to what’s been bothering their stomachs *right* before the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s.

Although I’m always so happy we’ve figured it out and can help them, I always find it totally and completely overwhelming trying to figure out our traditional holiday meals versus their new health and wellness needs. I want everyone to feel good, and yet I want everyone to be able to partake in our usual favorites, whether it’s grilling and eating pumpkin bread in our pjs in front of the television on Thanksgiving morning, or whether it’s making and eating all our favorite Christmas cookies from recipes we’ve held near and dear through the years.

It’s very challenging.

Very.

With our new gluten free needs, I found myself completely overwhelmed, trying to immediately figure out what we needed for Thanksgiving, but while doing so, knowing that Christmas was literally right around the corner, and that holiday for us, had visions of flour and gluten dancing in my head. We normally bake dozens and dozens of our favorite Christmas cookies every year, and it’s a tradition I have held near and dear to my heart since growing up baking with my mother and it’s something I’ve passed on to my children as well. In addition to our old favorites, each year I also will often try out a new recipe and with that, I’ve added a few new favorites to our traditional list as well.

As I searched, scrolled and pinned, I tried to make heads or tails of what I was going to do. I saw many holiday cookie recipes online, and although they looked good enough, they weren’t *our* holiday cookie recipes and I knew that no matter how good they might be, it wouldn’t be good enough for us. I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy our old favorites and any new favorites we might find this year.

Winner, winner! This was the flour blend I decided to try for our cookies this year.

Winner, winner! This was the flour blend I decided to try for our cookies this year. I measured cup for cup as I would have in my regular recipes, as it said you could.

Finally, after avoiding the thought process for a while between Thanksgiving and Christmas, last week I decided to attempt to make our own recipes using gluten free flour. Specifically, I opted to use the Pillsbury gluten free flour blend which already included the various types of flour I’d seen in from-scratch recipes as well as the needed amounts of xanthan gum that is needed to hold the flours together.

I tried a new recipe for Grinch Crinkle cookies that I thought were adorable. I opted to use them for a cookie swap and instead of doing just green, I split the batter, which is made with a vanilla cake mix, and make red AND green. How cute is that??? Very, very cute. They were a big hit.

We'd already successfully used this for cupcakes, so I was willing to give it a go for Grinch Crinkle cookies too.

We’d already successfully used this for cupcakes, so I was willing to give it a go for Grinch Crinkle cookies too.

Luckily, I could make the red and green batch above to take with me Saturday night and use a gluten free cake mix from Betty Crocker for another set. Purple and sparkles were requested but I stayed with the Grinch Green theme. This time.

The cake mix worked out great, and these will be a keeper in our yearly baking for sure. I even see them as being red and blue with white chocolate chips around July 4. Wouldn’t that be adorable? It would. I’m sure of it.

These gluten free Grinch Crinkles were not mixed in with the red and green cookies above. They stayed at our house and got all thumbs up from everyone!

These gluten free Grinch Crinkles were not mixed in with the red and green cookies above. They stayed at our house and got all thumbs up from everyone!

And so, here it is, two days before Christmas Eve, and I’m on a roll. I’ve made a totally gluten free set of Grinch Crinkles, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Butterballs, Chocolate Thumbprints, Holiday Chex Mix, and I have more to come. A few more, anyway. You can find all the recipes by clicking on the titles and see if any of them work for your dietary needs! I use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to reduce the fat also, so they’re not too bad in that department either. Overall I find that the batters are coming out almost the same. Maybe a bit more crumbly but not awful by any means, and definitely workable 100% of the time. The cookies taste the same, I’ve made sure to taste plenty of them just to deliver a valid verdict for you!

I wish everyone who celebrates the upcoming holidays this week a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Blessings to you and yours for health and happiness always!

 

 

Two weeks of meals

14 Dec
With some extra planning, we've been able to make gluten free work for us.

With some extra planning, we’ve been able to make gluten free work for us. These biscuits are made with a gluten-free Bisquick mix. We made a set that were not gluten free for the rest of us and froze the leftover gluten free biscuits for future meals.

I know some of you have missed our bi-weekly menus for your own meal planning inspiration, and I’m glad to say that it’s back this week!

We’ve been working within the parameters of our family’s needs, with the most recent addition of a member of our family eating gluten free. Although it takes some advanced planning, there’s so much available out there for people who are on a gluten free diet, that we’ve been able to make it all come together every night without making a separate meal for anyone. Sometimes we need to use a separate pasta or change our recipe a bit, but so far, so good.

Without further ado, here’s two weeks of kid-friendly, gluten free meals for you:

  1. Shepherd’s Pie: We use ground turkey for this meal, which tends to be lower in fat and this recipe is already gluten free except for the packet of gravy we use. However, Alex doesn’t use the gravy to begin with, so we didn’t need to do much to this recipe in the way of modifications.
  2. Tacos: Hard taco shells are corn-based and we found a gluten-free taco seasoning mix to add to the ground turkey. However, in the past we’ve also made our own taco seasoning mix. There are soft white or yellow corn taco shells that are gluten free, but so far, we prefer the hard shells. The fixings (lettuce, tomato, cheese, low fat sour cream, and refried beans) are all gluten free.
  3. Corned Beef and cabbage: It’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day, you know! We try to pick the least fatty cut we can, and trim off much of the fat when we cook it. The plain, boiled veggies (cabbage, potatoes, onions, celery and carrots) are all low fat and gluten free.
  4. Sloppy Joes: This was a quick meal for only a portion of us that were home one Friday night. I bought gluten free rolls (which she didn’t like so she just ate the meat without them) and the sloppy joe mix is out of a can over ground turkey.
  5. Nicoise: This is totally gluten free: olives, hard boiled eggs, green beans, tuna and red potatoes. The dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar, all were gluten free. It’s a low fat meal and can be served with bread or biscuits on the side. We have a bag of frozen gluten free biscuits on hand.

    We've tried both the orange cheese and the white cheese versions of Annie's and it's been well received both times.

    We’ve tried both the orange cheese and the white cheese versions of Annie’s and it’s been well received both times.

  6. Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs: We’d started out planning a homemade version, but due to time constraints we had to use boxed mac and cheese. We had Annie’s Gluten Free on hand and we use turkey hot dogs and we keep gluten free hot dog rolls in our freezer.
  7. Chicken Soup: This is a homemade soup in which we used a gluten free pasta as the base, along with the usual chicken and vegetables. We have a bakery here called A&J’s Bakery which specializes in allergy free foods, and I have found everything I need there, if I can’t find it in a store. For this meal we used a small pasta that I found there. Up to that point, I’d only found large gluten free pastas (like penne) which was too big for soup. This pasta was imported from Italy, so it was pricey, but it was a corn pasta rather than a white pasta and it was perfect for this soup. Although I wouldn’t use it for my weekly pasta meals on a regular basis, I’d buy it as needed for soups like this one. We used the whole box and made the whole soup gluten free, rather than trying to make a big batch and a small batch, but we could have done that too.
  8. California chicken sandwiches: This is just grilled chicken with cheese and avocado. It can be had on a roll or on the plate, with our without the toppings. It’s a DIY chicken and everyone has it how they like it, but we had gluten free rolls available if needed.meatloaf burgers 4
  9. Meatloaf Burgers: This recipe is a family favorite and everyone loves it. The only thing I did differently was take the bread crumbs out of the mix. It made them a bit softer, but the end result was the same. In the future if I purchase a gluten free bread crumb, I could throw some back in, but they were fine without.
  10. London Broil: This was on a night not everyone was home for dinner so there wasn’t a lot of menu modifying to be done. This is marinated and served with onions, mushrooms and peppers as well as some side dishes (usually a rice or a couscous).
  11. Homemade Pizza: For this we made two homemade pizzas and bought one gluten free pizza from Trader Joes’ which was cheese, sliced tomatoes and sauce. Thumbs up on this, so it’ll be an addition to our Friday night Pizza Night meals.
  12. Chicken Marsala: To modify this dish to be gluten free, the chicken was not breaded and the sauce was made with cornstarch instead of flour. I actually liked the sauce better. We served it over pasta and made one pasta gluten free and the rest not. This is a favorite meal of mine, personally, so I was glad to see it easily modified.The rest of our meals consisted of leftovers one night and another hot dog/hamburger night using gluten free buns with french fries which were baked and are already gluten free, and salad.So for our first two full weeks of meal planning with our new needs, we were in good shape and we’re all able to eat one meal, all together, and no one is feeling hungry or slighted or as if they can only eat salad and water every day or night.

    Stay tuned as we continue on this journey through the holidays and beyond and thanks for your feedback over the past few weeks as we’ve been at the beginning of this journey!

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

9 Dec
I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

Muffins.

If you are a long-time reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know how much I love a good homemade muffin. I like the versatility of being able to serve them after school, for breakfast, for a lunchbox item or for a late night snack.

Going with a gluten free menu for my youngest just before Thanksgiving has led me on a search for all kinds of staples and pantry items as well as for some good recipes to try. The staples and pantry items were immediate needs, as were items for each meal. One Sunday morning rolled around, and I realized my go-to plan for Sunday morning breakfast might be in jeopardy if I couldn’t make muffins.

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

Luckily, I’d visited our local Trader Joe’s earlier that week and picked up two bags of an all-purpose flour. I had grabbed two because I don’t often get to Trader Joe’s, and because I am learning quickly that there’s often only enough for one batch of something when it comes to buying gluten free items.

I noticed that the back of this package of flour contained several recipes, and one of them was for an apple cinnamon muffin. I was thrilled. Muffins are a staple here, and I hadn’t yet thought about what to do about that for Alex. When Sunday morning rolled around, I remembered the flour and the recipe on the back side.

As I examined the recipe at home in my kitchen, I was very excited to read that the recipe could be used as written, to make the apple cinnamon muffins, or it could be used as a basic muffin recipe if you took out the cinnamon and you could put in whatever you wanted.

Well of course….she requested that I put in chocolate chips. A girl after my own heart.

The recipe was easy to follow. I had two snack cups of natural applesauce here that I used, which was lucky because I hadn’t planned ahead for this, so I was glad I had it on hand at home already. I used canola oil instead of sunflower oil and skim milk. The recipe was quick and easy to follow and I was able to make 18 muffins, so she ate a few that morning and then I froze the rest. Now, a couple of weeks later, there are only three left, and I’m already thinking of what recipe to make next. I am thinking of using some of our frozen blueberries that we picked in August to make some homemade blueberry muffins.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe's.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe’s.

This flour was $7.99 a pack, and the muffin recipe used about 3/4 of the pack, so I was glad that I had more than one. I will finish it off and start my next package of flour when I make my next batch of muffins. There was also a pancake recipe on here, but as you saw last Wednesday, we were happy with our Bisquick gluten free pancakes, so for now I’m sticking with that.

If you haven’t found a muffin recipe you like yet, and you’re searching for gluten free, I encourage you to try this one. It did not require anything unusual and the muffins were tasty. All three kids eventually got to have them, and they all gave them a thumbs up each time.

If you have any other good muffin recipes to try that don’t require a ton of unusual ingredients, I’d love to hear about them!

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