Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Things Make Me Happy

Today I wanted to make a treat that I could bring into work and share. But it was hot out and it was even hotter in my kitchen so I did not want to turn on the oven. That limited my options by a lot, a lot. I decided to make some of my "No Bake" cookies. I was running low on coconut so I had to halve the batch (which yielded fewer cookies than I had hoped) but it was still okay.

I also made a batch for my little neighbor who is gluten-free too and who happens to have a broken arm. Since I also wanted to eat a couple of these cookies I decided to eliminate the milk and replace it with soy milk. When I tried the batter I could taste the soy pretty strongly which bummed me out. BUT when I tried them after being refrigerated I couldn't taste the soy at all!

Delicious gluten-free and dairy-free cookies. It's the little things people.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing weekend! It was so sunny and warm it was a great change from the past week's weather. There was a lot of dog walking, swimming (by Will), gardening and cooking!

Webb on Saturday:
 His expression really amuses me!

An old pier.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proud Parents

May and June are the months of graduations. Seemingly endless parties for high school and college grads, fresh with knowledge and an eagerness to get out into the world.

In the Riley Household we had a graduation of our very own today. Will pup graduated from Therapy Dog School!

We have been attending a workshop to train myself, my mom and Will to be a Therapy Dog "Team." We are all now certified to go into nursing homes, rehabs, schools and hospitals to visit with those who wish to see us. We work with Dog BONES of Massachusetts which stands for Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support.

Susan, our workshop instructor and Jeanne, head of Dog BONES.

Will paying attention!

He liked the hat, I swear!

My favorite!

Will and I are very excited to start visiting with nursing homes and hospitals and we'll keep you updated on our progress!

Quote of the Day!

“You do too much. Go and do nothing for a while. Nothing.”

― Lillian Hellman

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gluten-Free Quiche

I started my new job at the BU Law School yesterday and naturally the first thing I was worried about was what I was going to bring for lunch! Sandwiches are not my favorite thing in the world, also we are currently lacking any deli meat in our fridge, so I decided to make a quiche and take a piece of it to work every day.

I know a super easy and delish recipe for a gluten-full quiche crust so I just modified it.

1 cup flour (or gluten-free mix)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cold water
pinch of salt
(if making gluten-free add 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum)

Mix the water and oil together before adding to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Press it into a pie plate. I used my fingers for the gluten-full version and the back of a spoon with the gluten-free version. I made one for myself and one for my family.

I then layered spinach on the bottom and added asparagus, mushrooms, peas and cheese to 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Depending on the size and depth you can add additional eggs. For the gluten-free version add enough eggs to fill to the top of the crust, otherwise it gets really crunchy but for the gluten-full one feel free to keep the crust. Just my personal preference!





They came out really great! Definitely something to look forward to in the lunch bag everyday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Make Almond Flour

Today I was going to make some Lemon Bars. I had everything except almond (or hazelnut) flour. I had to go food shopping anyway so I decided just to pick some up. They didn't carry any at my local Stop & Shop so I made my way to Whole Foods. 

On my list: gluten-free pasta and almond flour. 

I grabbed my pasta and then I went to the baking needs aisle. Unlike Stop & Shop, Whole Foods has a ton of different flours crucial to gluten-free baking. Almond flour, however, was SO expensive! Bob's Red Mill was nearly $10 for a box smaller than a cake mix! The recipe says that you can use hazelnut flour in place of the almond flour so I looked at that, it was $12!! 

Now I knew it was going to be expensive, I was guessing maybe $6-8 but I was turned off by the $10 price tag. They also sell it at Trader Joe's for less than that but I didn't feel like taking the extra trip to Hanover. Since I also knew it was very possible to make your own flour using raw almonds I checked out the "wholesale" aisle where they sell nuts, rice, and flours by the pound. 

I went ahead and I bought myself a pound of almonds for $6.

Now, I know it  probably would have been more economical to just buy the pre-made flour but in general I feel that since my time is essentially free, (plus I wanted to see if I could actually do it) it would be a valuable learning experience.

The actual process is very simple. It wouldn't have taken quite so long if I hadn't been making so much. One-ish pounds of almonds yielded at least 5 cups of almond meal. I could have ground the almonds very fine but a. I was worried about entering the "almond butter" stage with my nuts and b. I prefer a slightly more grainy texture. 

How to Make Almond Flour

Supplies Needed:
-Raw Almonds
-Boiling Water
-Food Processor or (Cleaned) Coffee Grinder
-Flour Sifter
-Sugar

1. Take your raw almonds and cover them with boiling water for ONE MINUTE. The skins need to be loosened but any longer and they will get water logged. This and the following steps, are called the process called "blanching."



 2. After ONE MINUTE drain the nuts and rinse in COLD WATER until cooled. The skins will look a little wrinkly.


3. Peel each skin off of the almonds. They come off very easily! It didn't take too long to do the pound. Jill took Will for a short walk and when she returned I was done. That's a super vague period of time, sorry, I should have looked at a clock!


4. Let the nuts dry. Once peeled they are tacky to the touch. If you put them in the food processor they would gum it up.

Optional Step: I put mine in the oven (for about 5 minutes) on a low temp on the convection setting to evaporate the water more quickly.


5. Put the nuts in a food processor in a SMALL AMOUNT! I put approximately 3/4 c almonds in at a time. To create a finer product and absorb some of the moisture you can add some sugar. I put probably 1/4 c in the entire pound.

Important! If you grind the nuts for too long you will start making almond butter. Just the same as if you over ground peanuts you would make peanut butter. You could also use a coffee grinder but you need to work in smaller batches and be wary of over-grinding. Also you need to make sure it is clean and gluten free!


Optional Steps: I did the grinding in batches and then mixed them all in a large bowl. I then sifted it to sort out the larger from smaller pieces. I added all the larger bits back into the food processor just to create a consistent product. Mine was still slightly meal-y because I wanted the added texture to the lemon bars crust I was going to make.



After all done, I put it in a freezer bag and stored it in the freezer. Nuts can go rancid so I want to preserve all the work I did.


Since the flour making process was kind of extensive I didn't get to making the lemon bars but hopefully I will soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quote of the Day!


"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
--Margaret Atwood


The Doors of Dublin

While visiting Dublin many people notice how many brightly colored doors there are. They range from bright teal to purple to yellow and many reds. There are two different stories behind these brightly colored doors.

One is that after King Philip died, Queen Victoria ordered all the doors of the British Empire to be painted black as a mark of the mourning. In typical Irish fashion they all rebelled and painted the doors bright colors!

The other story is that the women of Dublin were sick and tired of their drunk husbands going to the wrong house after a night at the pub. They all painted their doors a unique color so they would be able to find the right house more easily.

Either way Dublin has a veritable Crayola box span of colorful doors. They create a unique point of interest to their houses and also a wonderful talking point for tourists and natives alike.

Here are some of the "Doors of Dublin" I saw!














Friday, May 20, 2011

Cool-Daddy

No, this is not a post about my dad. This is a post about the newest addition to our appliance family. Meet Cool-Daddy...

We were given this lovely appliance and we have made good use of it so far. We made delish french fries. I want to make crab cakes. My mom wants to make fried chicken. I will be documenting it all.

ALWAYS USE RUSSET POTATOES. Sorry for shouting.

 Cut them up. Err on the side of a fat fry or else they will burn too fast.

Need to soak them in water. Maybe to wash some of the starch off?

YUMM!

Stevie-Approved.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Family Dinner

Our family of four is sometimes supplemented with two other cousins; Leah and Stevie! I made another soup out of Cooking for Isaiah. It's called "Chicken Pot Pie Soup." It uses eggs as an emulsifier to recreate that creamy filling of a chicken pot pie. Unfortunately we had to toss our immersion blender after (cue the ewws) my mom accidently got her finger stuck in it. So I had to make due and just whisk them with the warm broth to temper them and we kind of ended up with an egg drop soup.



"Kerin why did you put so many shrooms in this soup?" -Stevie

 Homemade potato chips

 Gluten-free biscuits!



 They look like lumps of mashed potatoes
 Shortcakes and Biscuits