Gluten Free Friday – It Is Time…

Yes, oh yes. The time has finally come.  After almost two and a half years of gluten free cooking and baking for the kiddo.  After so many complaints.  After finally getting my own diagnosis.  After 9 months of coming to terms with my diagnosis.  It’s finally time to put on my big girl panties………..and make a gluten free flour mix.

AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of you might be a little shocked that I haven’t even attempted this yet, but it’s true.  I’ve been using a lot of packaged mixes, and they are hit or miss.  And expensive.  I’m also finally starting to get sick myself, so the time is near for a full fledged diet change.  This cannot happen if I can’t find me a good flour to use.

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The catalyst for this decision (and the reason I’m posting before I actually do something) came when I actually found some flours on awesome sale.  Usually every time I think I’m going to try this I look up the prices for the million different flours I will need, cry a little inside, then change my mind.  Today must be my lucky day though ’cause after reading this post from Hope’s Kitchen I not only got a decent sounding flour mix recipe and an amazing recipe for apple fritters, it lead me to an online grocer, Netgrocer.com.  There I found a pretty great sale on Bob’s Red Mill products:

Millet Flour — $.08/oz — 23oz bag = $1.93

Sweet White Sorghum Flour — $.10/oz — 22oz bag = $2.25

Tapioca Flour — $.11/oz — 20oz bag = $2.13

Potato Flour — $.13/oz — 24oz – $3.13

(They didn’t have arrowroot. Boo)

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All for a total of $9.34!!  So I got 2 of everything. $18.68!! Bam, what?!

The however, of course, is that because this is an online purchase you’ve got to pay shipping.  There’s a whole chart based on where you live and the total of your bill.  Since my total isn’t very high, the shipping is $9.99, bringing my grand total to $28.67.   Even with shipping, I think that sounds pretty darn reasonable.

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So for now I will search around for that arrowroot I need and wait for my flours to come in.  I will then have to figure out something fun to make using my new flour mix.  Cross your fingers for me!

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So, has anyone got a great GF flour mix?  I’m looking for something all purpose that I can easily use to sub into regular recipes.

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Happy Gluten Free Friday, y’all!!

Lizz

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P.S.  I have no idea how long these sale prices are going to be available, so if you’re interested, I say go for it now!!

Happy National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!!

September 13th is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!!

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I am so glad that more and more information about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance is getting out there, because (LISTEN UP PEOPLE!!) this is more common than you think. While it may seem like eating gluten free is a fad (okay, admittedly in some cases it is), there are so many people out there that are in for a lifetime of GF living. If a fad means that more and more companies are opening their eyes and making products that are safe for my family, then I say bring it on!!

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Crazy right? Most people who have Celiac don’t even know they have it. There are hundreds of symptoms, and it’s not always the obvious cause for someone’s issues. That’s why awareness is so important, because one quick little blood test might change someone’s whole quality of life.

So, what is one to do on this day of awareness? Well….

  • You could brush up on your current events. Did you know the FDA just passed a ruling regarding Gluten-Free labeling? I found a webinar happening on the 18th that will go over all the details. Check it out *HERE*
  • If you don’t have Celiac, but know someone who does, maybe today is a good day for a big hug. We Celiacs deal with a lot on a daily basis, but love and kindness is always gluten free. =)
  • You can dole out some information about non-food gluten issues (which I will now do). Many people don’t realize that Celiacs have to be careful about gluten in medications, toothpaste, and even make-up! Thankfully there are places out there trying to take care of us in this area too, like Red Apple Lipstick (my new fav makeup company). I had the privilege of meeting them at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, and not only are their products AMAZING, (and they got me to wear lipstick. RED lipstick) they are basically the sweetest people ever. Check out all the really interesting information on their page. Even if you are not GF you will probably never buy regular makeup again after reading what’s in it. You can thank me later.
  • You can share your favorite GF food with people who have never tried it before. I will be bringing in a treat for my staff, who always complain that I talk about the GF foods I make, but never bring anything in. Well, perhaps they will like this…….

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Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting!!!

I found this recipe on Betty Crocker’s website (This could also be a good thing check out today…Betty has a massive list of amazing GF recipes). I’ve made these cupcakes a few times with great response from everyone that eats them, and I found that The only deviation i make from the recipe is that i use a box and a half of the cake mix. I was immediately draw to this, because we love brown butter around here. If you don’t know how to make brown butter, *this recipe* describes how to do it.

So tell me friends…..What are you going to do for National Celiac Awareness Month?

Lizz

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Chicago 2013

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Hello again Friends!!

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I am so excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity to be an Official GFAF Expo Blogger!!  The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo will be in the Chicagoland area on April 20th & 21st at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center. I attended this Expo last year, and I have never seen anything like it.  So many amazing vendors, so many amazing products, and so many amazing people sharing in their gluten free-ness.

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As many of you know, my kiddo was diagnosed with Celiac just under 2 years ago, so we are pretty well versed in the gluten free lifestyle.  As luck genetics would have it, I myself have just recently received my own Celiac diagnosis.  So my return to blogging is kick-started a combination of my need/desire to learn how to go GF as an adult and an amazing expo filled with answers.

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I think I am most excited to check out some of the classes being offered this year.  There are some really great topics this year, ranging from eating out safely to cooking for teens to autism and ADHD.  For a full schedule of classes at this year’s Expo, CLICK HERE.

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So….Who’s with me?  GFAF Expo or BUST!!!

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I missed you all, so happy to see you again…

Lizz

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P.S.  Be sure to check back here after the Expo for a special Gluten Free Friday with my review of the weekend.

Gluten Free Friday – Gluten and Allergen Free Expo

Last weekend Skylar and I had the opportunity to attend the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo!  We’ve been waiting a long time for this event to come back to Chicago, and it was definitely worth the wait.

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The first thing I noticed was that this expo was PACKED!!!  I’ve never seen so many people at an event like this.  The picture below was just part of one of the 2 rooms they had filled with vendors.

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(Please excuse my mixture of phone and camera pictures!)

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We had a great time going around to all the booths, trying samples, gathering take-home samples, and collecting information about all of the amazing companies there.  We found so many new great foods that I can’t wait to start looking for in our local stores.  Skylar’s favorite?  We found GF Pierogies and Gnocchi!! (I plan to give more information about individual products when I find them and try them at home) 

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Schar had a great kid’s area set up.  After working our way through the super crowded vendor hall, it was great for Skylar to get to take a break and have some fun.  They gave the kids free t-shirts to color, snacks, coloring pages, and there was a man making balloon animals.

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At one point, we heard an announcement over the loudspeaker that there were free massages being offered.  Skylar shouted really loud: “Mom!  Gluten Free massages!!”.  Everyone in the immediate area got a pretty good laugh out of that.

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This expo was a great way to expose us to GF companies that we had not heard of before.  They also offered cooking classes, which I was unable to attend this year, but I overheard several people saying they had enjoyed them.  These events are currently held in Chicago and Dallas, but they have an area on their website where you can vote for other cities for them to expand to.  They also have a blog!

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I think the best part about attending the expo was that Skylar got to see that she is not alone.  There are lots of people out there that need to eat the same special food she does.  There were several booths there for companies that were geared towards kids.  She ate food all day long without having to ask if it was safe.  She was stuffed and happy (and ready to get out of that crowd!).

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So, the expo was a great success, and we can’t wait for it to come to town again!

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Have a great Gluten Free Friday everyone!!

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Lizz

Gluten Free Friday – Mushroom Cap Pizza

Happy Friday Everyone!!

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I’m very happy to share this little Gluten Free meal we made a few weeks ago.  This whole thing came about after finding gluten free mini pepperoni by Hormel. Yay!  They are so cute!  Now it’s time to make mini pizzas with a twist….no crust.

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Don’t they look amazing??

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Ingredients:

  • Baby Bella mushrooms
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings of your choice

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Directions:

  • Remove the stems from the mushrooms.  Feed them to your hungry kid.  Place the caps onto a cookie sheet, with the hole facing up.  I covered my sheet with foil, and gave it a shot with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Put a small dollop of pizza sauce into the mushroom cap.  Skylar asked for hers without sauce, and that worked well too.
  • Top with cheese and your choice of topping.
  • If you are like me and realize at this point that you thought you had Mozz cheese, but didn’t, you can always take string cheese (a staple in my house) and grate it. 

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  • Bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese is slightly browned.  Approx 10 mins.
  • Remove carefully, as the sauce is hot and can be runny.

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We ate ours as a meal, but these would make amazing appetizers too.

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I hope you enjoyed this twisted, gluten free, take on pizza!  I would love to know from all you other GFs out there, how have you gotten your pizza fix?  Do you have a crustless pizza?  Have you found the perfect GF crust recipe?  Please share!!

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Have a great day everyone!!

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Lizz

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Wanna pin this on your Pintrest page?? Well then, click this button ,baby!!  

Gluten Free Friday – GoPicnic

Welcome to Gluten Free Friday!!

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I have a really awesome product to share today, but let me backstory for a second…

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Did you read my post about the awesome Celiac Center Fundraiser at Wildfire?  No?  Well, check it out *here* if you missed it.  I’ll wait…….Okay, so one of the best parts from that night was chit chatting with the other folks at our table.  There was lots of tips being traded, and I did promise you that I would share them with you as I tried them out. So…

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One of the lovely ladies I met was Charlotte, who’s been writing a cute little blog called A Gluten Free Journey Through Motherhood/Wifedom.  One of her recommendations was a product called GoPicnic, that she discovered while on a layover in the airport.  She described it as a lunchable for grownups.  I was intrigued enough to look it up as soon as I got home.

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GoPicnic meals are literally a meal in a box.  And just as Charlotte described, they are very similar to lunchables, but with a few major differences.  First of all, they are a healthier, more natural meal choice.  I also noticed that they did not need to be refrigerated, a huge bonus in my eyes.  While not all of their meals are gluten free, they do have 6 GF options.  They also have vegan, vegetarian, and kosher meals.  Awesome!

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Now, it’s a little hard to see in those small pictures, but the top left-hand corner of the box is where you will find those all important words, “Gluten Free”, if that particular meal is as such. (or vegan, or kosher, ect.)

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After getting all excited over the possibility of a quick on-the-go meal for Skylar, I checked the store locator to see where I might find them.  To my surprise…Target!!  I thought for sure it was going to be a hard to find, but nope. 

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And check out that price tag!!  $3.99!!  My biggest complaint about GF foods is how expensive they can be, and these puppies aren’t much more than a regular lunchable.  I stocked up, and brought them home to show Skylar.  She was so excited, and we even used one to eat in the car on our way to the circus.  (To be honest, it wasn’t her favorite, but she did choose the hummus one first, which I think requires a bit of an adult palate.  I am very confident that she will like the other two, as they are things she eats on a regular basis).

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I have really missed the ability to just run over to the nearest fast food joint to grab a quick bite.  These things are great to keep in the car for emergencies, since they don’t require refrigeration.  (Although, this is Chicago, and our winter temps will keep anything frozen in a car!!)

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So, have any of you found a great on-the-go meal option yet?  Care to share?  Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve found.  Let the recommendations flow!!

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Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Lizz

Gluten Free Wine Dinner w/ Celiac Disease Center and Wildfire

If you live in the Chicagoland area, I have a great event to share with you!

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Last night I was fortunate enough to attend The 2nd Annual Gluten Free Wine Dinner fundraising event that is being put on by the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center and Wildfire Restaurant.

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We were served a 4 course Gluten Free Dinner that was just amazing.  There was not a single item served that had that “gluten free” taste to it.  We had chicken empanada and bruschetta appetizers, swordfish with quinoa (both were a first for me), beef tenderloin with a sweet potato mash, and a chocolate chip cookie sundae.  A-maze-ing!!

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You could also purchase raffle tickets to win a Wildfire gift certificate or a football signed by Brian Urlacher.  Go Bears!! 

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We had a great time talking to the other attendees at our table.  It’s always interesting to hear other’s stories about their journey with Celiac Disease.  And, of course, we all shared some of our best restaurant and shopping tips.  I can’t wait to try some of them!  (Don’t worry!  I’ll share what I find out of course!!)

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We also got the opportunity to talk with management from the Wildfire restaurants, and get answers to questions that all Celiacs want to know:  How do you make sure everyone knows my meal needs to be gluten free?  How to you avoid cross contamination in the kitchen?  How do you train your staff to be knowledgeable?  What’s good on the GF Menu?

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I also learned that they make their own GF pizza dough, buns, and salad dressings.  If you like them, these things can be purchased to take home as well.

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So, do you want a chance to have a great Gluten Free meal at Wildfire, get some interesting information, meet others in the area who also eat a GF diet, and help raise money for the Celiac Center?  There are still 3 events this week that you can join!

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  • Wednesday, 11/9  at Wildfire in Glenview, IL 
  • Thursday, 11/10 at Wildfire in Schaumburg, IL
  • Friday, 11/11 at Wildfire in Lincolnshire, IL

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Registration and Appetizers start at 6:30, and dinner begins at 7:00

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The cost for this event is $55.00 per person without wine pairings, and $70.00 per person with wine pairings, plus tax and gratuity. For each reservation, Wildfire will donate a portion of the proceeds to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

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If you would like to attend, you need to make a reservation by calling Laura Rosen or Shannon Ryan at (312)787-9000.

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For more information about the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center, and to see their new and improved website, *Click Here*  You can also sign up for their email list to get all of their best up to date information.

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For more information about Wildfire, and to view their full gluten free menu, *Click Here*

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I hope some of you have the opportunity to attend this fantastic fundraising event.  Have a great day everyone!!

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Lizz

Gluten Free Friday – Celiac VS. Happy Meal

When we found out that Skylar has Celiac Disease, we immediately started researching where she would be able to eat.  Just because a food is naturally gluten free does not mean that it hasn’t been contaminated.  For example, french fries are basically just potatoes, and therefore gluten free.  When you get them in a restaurant however, there is a very good chance that they are going to fry them in the same oil as breaded foods, i.e. chicken nuggets.  Now those fries are no good.  When I heard about all of this, I very specifically sighed over the fact that I could never really treat my daughter to McDonald’s again.

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All kids love this place.  We as parents know that it’s not the least bit healthy, but for a special treat, why not?  And what’s the best part of going to McDonald’s for a kid?  Yeah, it’s the prize in the happy meal.

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(I miss the old-school box, but they come back every once in a while)

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I try to not eat things in front of Skylar that she cannot eat, so when it comes to a MickyD’s craving, I do what any caring loving mom would do.  I sneak over there when I don’t have her with me.

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On my last sneak mission, I saw that the toy in the happy meal is a key chain with a Twinkle Toe shoe on it (sneakers made by Sketchers that are just covered in glitter and jewels).  Skylar has been begging for a pair, but I just can’t justify the price ($35-$50?!?!  I’m dying to find a good sale or coupon).  Pair a mini Twinkle Toe shoe with Skylar’s love of key chains, I knew she would LOVE to have one of these.

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But I can’t order a happy meal with no kid.  I mean I could, but I’m there for a Big Mac and large fry people!  So I finally worked up the courage to ask if they would ever give one away.  The nice lady I was speak with said she couldn’t do that, but they do sell them for 90 cents.  What?!  Less than a dollar to make my kid’s day?  You got it!!

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Once they gave me the bag with the toy, I had a thought.  Who says my kid can’t come to McDonald’s anymore?  If we are going with others, or even for the occasional party, why not bring our own safe food, and stick it in the bag for her.  Now she can still get the McDonald’s experience, without the stomach pain and GI issues that would surely follow.

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This may not seem like a huge revelation, but it really was exciting for me.  I will do anything I can do to make my daughter feel normal, and this whole concept of being able to buy McDonald’s toys works for me.

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So there you have the little tiny shoe key chain (whose jeweled toes light up) that made my daughter squeal with excitement.  She waited so patiently so I could take a few pictures, before running off to add the key chain to her backpack.  And she didn’t even ask why there wasn’t any food in the bag. 

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Happy Girl = Happy Mom

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Oh, and check out this fun little bonus…

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Stickers, a code to add Twinkle Toe Shoes to your mPal (Don’t know what that is yet, but it looks like some sort of online character you can create), and a 30% off coupon for real Twinkle Toe shoes!!  Looks like this little sneaky trip to McD’s might result in a little girl getting the shoes she wants so desperately.

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So, for those of you with gluten free kids, what sort of things do you do to help them feel like they aren’t missing out on anything?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Have a great Twinkle Toes weekend everyone!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – We’re Back!

Oh, Muffin Tin Monday!  How we have missed you!

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For those of you that are re-joining us, and wondering just where we have been all this time, allow me to fill you in…My little muffin tin eater was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in June, and can longer eat gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley).  This has seriously changed our eating habits around here, so we took the summer to get used to all of this.

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Skylar asked if we could do muffin tins again, and I think we are ready to give it a shot.  We didn’t go with a theme for this one, but just went with a few things we have been eating lately.  Some are new things and some are old favorites, but they are all tasty!

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And so I give you our very first gluten free muffin tin!

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Top Row (Left to Right):  Edamame Hummus with Edamame Crackers, Sandwich Kebobs, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip with Chocolate Animal Crackers

Bottom Row: Salted Cucumbers, Sandwich Kebobs, Apple Slices

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Are asking yourself “What is Edamame?”  Well, it’s our favorite veggie here!  Basically, it’s soy beans.  We buy ours in the frozen veggie section at our favorite store, Traders Joe’s.  This hummus, and the crackers, were also found at Trader Joe’s.  So yummy! 

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The chocolate chip cookie dough dip was a really fun treat.  It doesn’t have any eggs in it, so it’s safe to eat as is.  If you want the recipe, we posted it *here* as part of our Gluten Free Friday segment.  The cookies are gluten free animal crackers, made by Ian’s (a great company that makes tons of kid-friendly GF foods)

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Okay, sandwich kebobs.  I thought these turned out adorable!  For those of you who are paying attention, you might be saying, wait…she can’t eat bread!  Oh, but she can eat GF bread.  This week, we used Udi’s…

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For GF bread, it’s quite good, and Skylar loves it.  She had so much fun eating all of her sandwich bits off off the skewer.  I used a cookie cutter to make round bread pieces, and stacked those with rolled up ham, rolled up lettuce, and sting cheese.

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So, what do you think of our first GF Muffin Tin?

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We will, of course be posting this to Muffin Tin Mom’s site.

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Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great week everyone!

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Lizz

Gluten Free Friday – Brown Butter Shrimp

Welcome to Gluten Free Friday!!

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I am not someone who can easily walk into a kitchen, grab a random handful of ingredients, and make an amazing meal.  Basically I would be the first one kicked off of Chopped.  But…every once in a while, I do happen to make a non-recipe meal work.  This one I’m sharing today was a success on multiple levels because

1) it was delicious

2) Skylar ate it up like it was going out of style

3) I actually used spices (a rare thing)

4) I created it all on my own!

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Let’s get to it shall we…

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Lizz’s Brown Butter Shrimp

(Yes, I’m naming it after myself. I am proud of me!)

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Ingredients:

  • 14-16 oz of cooked shrimp (peeled, deveined, with or without tails)
  • 1 stick butter
  • Rubbed Sage
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Pasta/Rice/Gluten Free Pasta of your choice.

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The whole idea of this recipe started when I found a big bag of frozen shrimp at Walmart for $5!! I immediately snagged one, with a mental promise to do something good with it.  I took it home, thawed them out, and removed the tails (because I was eating with a kid I thought that would be easier, but I do think they are pretty when left on)

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It took a lot to keep little fingers out of this bowl!

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While the shrimp thawed I started thinking about a sauce I could make with the minimal (read: almost none) ingredients I have on hand.  Hmm…I do have butter.  And I love brown butter.  But I’ve never made brown butter.  A challenge?!  Ah ha!

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So, let’s make some brown butter.  It’s much easier than I thought it would be.  Just take one stick of butter, cut it up into even slices, and add to a medium hot skillet.

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Once the butter is melted, you will keep cooking it on low/medium heat until the butter turns an amber brown color, and has a nutty smell.  Be careful not to go too far and burn it.

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I used a slotted spoon to scoop away some of the foam on top.  Then I added in some spices.  Upon digging in my (rarely used) spice rack, I had come across two bottles that I didn’t know I had. 

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Since I’m no spice whiz, I went with the smell test.  I poured a little of each of these into my hand, and gave it a sniff.  Smelled good to me!  I dropped a few healthy pinches of each into the butter.  I didn’t measure because I didn’t know what I was doing really.  You’ll just have to go with your gut on this one.  The spices made a cool sizzling noise when they hit the butter.  Ssssss…..  Then I added in the shrimp.

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Since the shrimp was already cooked, I just kept it in there long enough to really warm it up, get some of those flavors to soak in.  About 3 minutes or so.

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While all of this was going on, I had been boiling up some pasta for myself and Skylar had asked that hers come with rice. (which is conveniently gluten free!).  I put several shrimp right on top of our chosen base, and then poured on a few spoonfuls of the liquid as well.  There was some sludgy stuff at the bottom of that pan, and that really had the best taste.  Don’t leave that part out!  The results?…

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Yum for my pasta dish!

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And major smiles from Skylar for her rice dish!

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I was so happy with the outcome of this, I will absolutely make this again!!  We even had enough left over for lunch the next day.

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And here’s a little trick when making something this fancy and different for a kid:  I didn’t cook all of the shrimp.  I left about a third of it to the side.  Once the shrimp was cooked, I had her taste one before serving her an entire plateful.  Thankfully she loved it, but if she hadn’t I had plenty of un-sauced shrimp for her to eat.  She loved it so much that I added the unused shrimp to our butter sauce and cooked it up for leftovers.

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I hope I made you all hungry!  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Lizz

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I will be linking this meal to the following parties:

For the Kids Friday @ Sun Scholar’s

Simply Link Party @ Simply Designing

Party Mindie Style @ Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo

Delicately Constructed Fridays @ Delicately Constructed

My Favorite Things @ Stay at Home Nation

CraftOManiac Mondays @ CraftOManiac

Inspire Me Mondays @ Singing Three Little Birds

Craftastic Monday @ Sew Can Do

Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things