Archive | January, 2016

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!