Friday, December 28, 2012

Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie

I use to love chicken pot pie. It was one of my favorites of the pre-gluten-free "era." I loved the crunchy-ness, gooey-ness, and the fact that it was a one-pot dinner. Now that I am gluten-free chicken pot pie seemed totally off limits.

I was curious if there was such a way to make chicken pot pie gluten-free and went about doing a Google search. It came up with plenty of gluten-free chicken pot pie recipes, of course, but most of them were crazy convoluted with hard-to-find ingredients and 20+ steps until done. I did find one gem, though, a Betty Crocker recipe featuring their gluten-free Bisquick.

This recipe had simple ingredients, just a few steps, and most importantly - was delicious! Many of the ingredients can be substituted and its open to add-ons. I fell in love. I'm not kidding when I say this either. I made this three times in one week.

I am currently not a fan of chicken. This is kind of a problem when making chicken pot pie. I'm simply sick of it and sick of the ways its farmed and I don't like contributing to this process. Anyway I substituted free range ABF turkey because while I don't care for meat, some people do.

There are several steps to this recipe but they're all pretty straightforward. To make the biscuit-y crust you use the Bisquick as seen below.

Then you make the slurry for thickening purposes, using naturally gluten-free corn starch. Corn starch is such a useful ingredient! Much better thickening properties than regular flour and if you have tons you can make Oobleck

Once you cook the chicken, onions, and veggies, you add stock and let cook. I added a little more veggies than the recipe calls for because I love them. You then add in the milk and corn starch slurry and watch it turn from soup-ish into straight chicken pot pie goop (for lack of a better term.) 

After take the goop (it's a term of endearment, really) and pour into a deep baking dish, you scoop the Bisquick mix on top. You let that bake and then enjoy! It's so, so yummy. 

Betty Crocker Recipe can be found here: Hearty Chicken Pot Pie (Gluten-Free).

If you haven't before, take a minute to look through Betty Crocker's other recipes. It is a real resource of tried and tested recipes, gluten-free or otherwise. It's a place that I always check when I need a basic recipe for something I want to make.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The wicked thing is, that when we’re really upset, we always take it out on the people who are closest and whom we love the most."
--Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, - except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."
-- President John F. Kennedy

Homemade Chocolate Turtles

I remember this day vividly: I was in middle school. My father had spent the day helping out a friend re-do a resume. In return, this friend brought us a large box of Phillip's Candy House's chocolate turtles. 

I don't think I had ever had a turtle before that point. But I do know that I returned to that red box with gold stretchy ribbon over and over and over until. I. Ate. Them. All.

Considering how taken I was with them, it is surprising that I have never gone to Phillip's to buy any turtles. This winter though, my thoughts kept returning to how good they were and (seemingly) how easy they would be to make.

I went out and bought a bag of unsalted cashews, unsalted pecans, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and individually wrapped caramels. Using my Silpat (such a great product) I arranged three (isn) pecans and cashews in little clusters. I then placed a whole caramel on top and popped them in the oven at 350 degrees until they melted over the nuts.

Once the caramels were melted I put a bunch of chocolate chips on top of the melted goodness and put them back in the oven until they were just soft enough to spread. They then went in the fridge to cool. Once cooled, they peeled right off the Silpat. Be sure to serve them at room temp though otherwise you'll break a tooth.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Poem of the Day

The Journey 

One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,

though the voices around youkept shouting
their bad advice --though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world, determined to do
the only thing you could do --determined to save
the only life you could save. 

--Mary Oliver

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

When I really like a certain food, I tend to go overboard with it. For example when I found Betty Crocker's Chicken Pot Pie recipe, I made it three times for dinner that week. So the food du jour is pumpkin. After I made pumpkin soup I went straight to pumpkin bread.

To make a gluten-free version I used the Jules Gluten-Free mix that has proven to be so multipurpose. I doubled the spices and added a basic strudel topping for a little texture. The entire recipe makes a lot more than I wanted so I split the ingredients in half and made half gluten-free and half "gluten-full." A portion of the gluten-free batter went into ramekins for muffin-esque pastries, too.

Pumpkin Bread
1 can pumpkin 
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour (gluten-free or regular)
2 tsp baking soda
1 1 /2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar.
In another bowl mis the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
Combine the wet and the dry ingredients.
Pour into well greased loaf pans.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These also freeze well! Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crafty: A Paper Leaf Wreath

Feeling crafty? Buy yourself a large straw wreath, pull out your handy glue gun, and cut up the dog-chewed dictionary you've been saving. Voila- you have an adorable Christmas-y wreath ready to hang on the wall!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poem of the Day

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver published by Atlantic Monthly Press

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Love Blue Lily

We recently had the wonderful opportunity to have our pictures taken by Wendy & Tyler of Blue Lily Photography. We had so, so much fun! Wendy and Tyler were awesome and their kids were just the coolest. They also humored us and got our Will pup in 99.9% of the photos! If you are looking for a phenomenal photographer, look them up! It's likely that they will be shooting somewhere in your area. 

Get out and vote!

I did!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A New Fall Favorite: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bean Soup

During one of my recent trips to Whole Foods I was able to sample a gluten-free Pumpkin Bean Soup from a cooking demonstration. It was so good I took a copy of the recipe. Turns out, the directions were easy, it only needed to cook for a short while, and the ingredient list was fairly straightforward, save for a whole Sugar Baby pumpkin. 

Besides in pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, I had never actually cooked with pumpkin before, let alone a whole pumpkin, stem, seeds and all. Once I got the little pumpkin all set, after removing the seeds, stem, and skin, it was a breeze. It cooked surprisingly quickly and tasted delish! After all a pumpkin is just like any other squash except we don't usually cave Jack O'Lanterns into acorn or spaghetti squashes. 

To tackle the pumpkin start as if you are going to carve it: cut out the stem and scoop out the seeds and scrape out the membranes.

Then, being very careful slice the pumpkin as you would a cantaloupe, avoiding the bottom stump which is difficult to cut through. Take the slices and cut them again into 1 inch wide slices, then cut the slice into 1 inch chunks. Since whole pumpkins have such thick skins, they are impossible to peel with a conventional peeler. You need to then take the chunks and lay them so the skin side is perpendicular to the cutting board. With your knife, cut the skin off. You do lose a little bit more pumpkin than you would like, but it's the safest, easiest way to do it.

Slice your onion into super thin slices, or dice, whatever your preference is.

I used yellow peppers but again, whatever you prefer!

Will loves to observe!

Over medium heat, cook up your soup.

Once the pumpkin is soft take your shredded kale and beans and add them to heat up.

Once heated through and the kale is properly wilted, the soup is ready to eat!

Pumpkin Bean Soup
3 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
3 lbs pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 red peppers, seeded and diced
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
½ lb kale, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese, to top

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until golden.
Add the pumpkin and sauté until browned.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Note: I needed about 4 cups of stock to make it more of a soup than a mush. Add the kale and reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the beans and add the salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the Parmesan cheese on top.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful for... friends...

...great family...

 ...good food...

...and sound advice.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 
Love, Army Dog Will

Monday, October 29, 2012

Super Easy Halloween Costumes

Don't have a costume for Halloween yet? Don't have a ton of time? All the good costumes sold out? Here are two super easy, albeit not super intense, halloween costumes that only require some puffy paint and a t-shirt!

Want to be a quirky "monster?" Get a purple t-shirt, and purple and silver puffy paint.


How about a superhero? You will need a blue t-shirt and blue and yellow and red puffy paint.

I cut out a superman symbol online and traced it on to the t-shirt using a sharpie.

Fill in the yellow. Let dry.

Fill in the red and let dry. This may take a day or so.

Ta da!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.

--Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Friday, October 19, 2012

Letters of Note

Take a few minutes of your day and read this letter that was written by an uncle of Chuck Jones (the writer for the cartoon Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner) to his children after the death of their family dog, Teddy. You are guaranteed to laugh and tear up a little, I did at least.

Afterwards take a look at a few more of the letters, there are some real gems. This, however, is my favorite so far, written by author Pat Conroy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Iced Tea: Three Ways

Iced tea is my favorite beverage. Peach, raspberry, sweetened, unsweetened. It's unfortunate how much sugar store mixes ones have and I positively hate the artificial flavors of the diet varieties.

Here is how to make wonderfully inexpensive and authentic iced tea, three ways.

Way One

Bring two quarts of water to a boil.

Steep 6-8 tea bags in the hot water for 8 minutes.

Add 1/3 a cup of sugar into the tea, and stir until dissolved.

Remove the tea bags and pour the tea into a pitcher of water already filled with two quarts of cold water.

Then squeeze the juice of one lemon into the pitcher, careful to avoid the seeds.

Let the lemons steep in the tea until cooled.

Way Two

Follow above directions omitting the sugar and lemon.

You now have unsweetened iced tea.

Way Three

To make the unsweetened iced tea customizable to each of your guests make these simple syrups:

Raspberry Mint Simple Syrup

1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 sprig of mint

Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened. Strain and let cool.

Lemon Simple Syrup

Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water

Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened. Strain and let cool.

Add to the unsweetened iced tea for your own personal iced tea!