Archive | May, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Birthday Dinner

8 May

Mom's birthday dinner

Everyone has been posting blogs about Cinco De Mayo and I accidentally made a Mexican-style birthday dinner for my mom. So, I thought, why not post it as a blog! It just so happens that I love Mexican food and I experiment with all types of Spanish foods from all over the world. One of my favorites are Argentinian Empanadas, so, so good!

Chicken Empanada before baking Uncooked chicken empanada

Anyway, I went all out preparing this meal with the help of my sister and her husband. I decided to take on homemade corn tortillas, which I haven’t made before. I’ve done the flour tortillas a lot but wheat flour and corn flour are two very different things.

Fresh dough for flour tortillas

To make things complicated, I couldn’t use the Masa flour at the grocery store because it is made with gmo-corn, which is no good. So I had to improvise. Bob’s Red Mill makes an organic Masa Harina flour, which is traditionally used for corn tortillas. Here is a recipe for corn tortillas using Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina. Corn meal is used for corn bread and apparently there is a big difference. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any organic masa at my local grocery store and since my sister eats only gluten-free I had to use gluten-free all-purpose flour and corn meal to make the tortillas.

Gluten-free all-purpose flourgluten free fine corn meal

Making these were very time consuming because the dough was very delicate and sticky. Gluten-free flour is not as easy as wheat flour to work with.

Homemade gf corn tortilla dough

With my sister’s help, we managed to get most of the tortillas made, with an added twist of frying them in coconut oil. I usually cook my flour tortillas on my George Foreman Grill, but these did not cook well on that so we had to improvise. The coconut oil gave these tortillas such a unique and delicious flavor, it worked really well with the rest of the ingredients. These didn’t exactly come out like tortillas that you can fold, they were more like flat corn cakes.

Homemade corn tortillas

I made cilantro-lime grilled chicken breast with organic chicken, fresh cilantro, fresh garlic, olive oil, and fresh lime. I ususally make guacamole from scratch, but the store didn’t have any avocados that were ripe so we used the Wholly Guacamole brand guacamole. I really prefer this brand because of the simple ingredients and the fact that they use real avocado. Have you ever noticed that some brands don’t even use avocado in their guacamole? It just goes to show that reading labels are so important!

I grilled the chicken and then some peppers and onions and we served it with sour cream, cheddar cheese, guacamole, fresh tomatoes, raw peppers and onions, and homemade black beans and rice. I had spent most of the morning cooking the black beans and brown rice. There were a lot of beans and rice leftover so I used the extra chicken, peppers, and onions for lunch the next day.

Leftover cilantro-line chicken, grilled peppers and onions, homemade black beans and rice

Needless to say, dinner was delicious, and even the kids loved the chicken! It was a bit stressful taking on 2 new recipes and then serving it for my mom’s birthday dinner, but thankfully everything worked out! Next time I decide to make corn torillas, I will by some non-gmo masa harina first!

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Got Allergies?

5 May

Chocolate Cake, no gmos, no gluten, no soy

My sister and her husband visited a few days ago and I attempted my first cake with gluten free all-purpose flour. I’ve made flourless cakes before, but I hadn’t had much success with gluten free flours yet. When Vicki and I get together, it is not easy to eat at restaurants because we are allergic to soybeans and she can’t eat any gluten. It is also a challenge when we go to someone else’s house to eat because most prepackaged foods contain soy in some form or another. Vicki said my house was a safe zone because virtually everything I buy is soy-free! Our mother’s birthday was on May 3rd, so I needed to make a soy-free, gluten-free cake.

Unfrosted Gluten free cake

I found this recipe for a gluten-free cake. Of course, in my normal way of trying new recipes, I changed most of the ingredients. I always try to use organic ingredients when I can get them because my sister and I don’t eat GMO’s. I made some other changes as well, and the next time I make this recipe I intend on changing it further. I used different flours, different chocolate, and a different fat. I also doubled the recipe and baked it in a glass pan.

Gluten free birthday cake

This cake came out really moist and dense. I was surprised at how good it tasted! The frosting was delicious! I used a fair trade cocoa powder and butter from grass-fed cows to enhance the frosting, so it was ethical and healthier! I didn’t even measure the cocoa, I just dumped a lot into the bowl and it tasted more like a dark chocolate frosting. My husband and kids have become accustomed to the organic, homemade foods and we are definitely not the average American household.

I love experimenting with food, especially when it comes out great!

Have you ever had an Irish potato?

3 May

Irish Oatmeal Cream Pies
Irish Oatmeal Cream Pies

I love Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, and I always have.  I haven’t had one in almost 3 years because like everything else, they are loaded up with soy.  Since I am allergic to soy, I have had to give up a lot of my favorites and I have been wanting to recreate this treat for quite some time now.

My basic oatmeal raisin cookie
My basic oatmeal raisin cookie

I used my basic oatmeal cookie recipe, sans raisins for the cookie and I made them bigger than the average cookie size. I was going to use a basic buttercream frosting for the filling, but I had 2 boxes of organic cream cheese in the fridge that I hadn’t used. Inspiration struck, and I thought, “why not make a cream cheese frosting instead?” So I improvised, and ended up creating this frosting that tasted like an irish potato.

Irish Potatoes

I grew up in the Philadelphia area, more specifically, South Jersey.  Every year around St. Patty’s Day, I would make Irish Potatoes from scratch at school and at home.  It is a traditional candy and very, very tasty.  It is made with cream cheese, coconut, butter, and confectioners sugar.  The filling is rolled into a ball and then coated with cinnamon.  It is very sweet because the recipe calls for a lot of confectioners sugar that I find hard to eat as an adult.

I didn’t have any coconut, (which may take this icing up a notch), so I used cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar.  Since I love the cinnamon in my cookies, I decided to add cinnamon to the frosting and when I tasted it, it was just like the Irish potato only not as sweet! I don’t like ultra sweet icing so I added enough and then had to chill the cookies to harden the filling.  My husband and I were so excited about these cookies!  They didn’t last long and the children loved them too!