Mango Banana Smoothie

After indulging in heavy foods over the holidays, a great smoothie is just the thing to help you feel better! I admit the novelty of my Ninja blender has worn off and after the first few months of smoothies every other day, they appear much less frequently. This however, is the most requested and blended smoothie in our house. It makes enough for  2 adults or 3 to 4 kids.

Mango Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

6 ounces of vanilla yogurt

½ frozen banana

½  cup frozen mango chunks

½ cup of milk

Directions

Throw all the ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

What is your favorite recovery food after the holidays, a vacation or other time spent eating more than you know you should? This Nutella smoothie is also a favorite in our house. Other than smoothies we go to soups. Check out my favorite soups here.

Guacamole, Dip and more Superbowl Ideas, oh my!

As many of you know I am not the biggest football fan 😉  I enjoy cheering local teams though and since I live less than 20 minutes from Gillette Stadium (and shop at the Trader Joe’s in its shadow!), I am looking forward to next Sunday!  I always love a chance to cook, so here are some recipes and ideas for your Superbowl Sunday feast.

This is my favorite Guacamole recipe! Use it on its own to dip your favorite tortilla chips into or add it to a layer dip. You’ll see my idea for a layer dip below.

Guacamole

Ingredients

2 – 3 avocados (depends on size, 2 large or 3 small)

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon of black pepper

4 Tablespoons finely chopped tomatoes

2 Tablespoons of minced red onion

1 handful of cilantro, chopped finely

Directions

Add avocado, lime, salt, cumin and pepper to a medium sized bowl. Mash together with a fork. Add tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Mix together. Add more lime juice if needed on top to keep guacamole from browning.

If you want to make a layered dip, here is an idea:

Take a can of black beans and mash with a fork and place on the bottom of your serving dish.  Place a layer of the guacamole. Take 8 ounces of sour cream and mix with 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Add that as the next layer. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar, cilantro, chopped olives and chopped tomatoes. Let sit in fridge for 2- 24 hours. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or add it to a tortilla with some shredded chicken or pork.

Dip, chips, wings, meatballs, ribs, chili, pulled pork, Rainbow pizza or grilled pizza…you name it! There are so many options for your football feast. Desserts? Make these Chex Crispy Bars, Ice cream sundaes, brownies or cupcakes and frost with chocolate frosting and then pipe white frosting to look like laces. Simply having chocolate chip cookies or a bowl of M & Ms or rolos or hershey kisses would be plenty!

What are you having Sunday night for the Superbowl?

Appetizer Ideas for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-apps

I spend so much of my energy on the main meal, by the time I get to the appetizers I try to keep it as simple and hands off as possible. It’s also a great thing to offer for someone else to bring if they ask and you know they’ll be on time 🙂

I know, I know, if you have someone in your family with celiac disease or an allergy, the thought of allowing others to bring food into your house can be daunting. I usually only ask people who offer to bring something and who know to bring something safe that is packaged or bring the ingredients and make it at my house (like a fruit plate or veggie platter).

turkey-cheeseball

My children could fill up on appetizers alone and usually do, so I have to make sure I put more than enough out and wait until guests arrive before taking the cover off. Some years it is as simple as 2-3 different blocks of cheese with some crackers (I LOVE Van’s GF Everything Crackers!), a package of prosciutto from Trader Joe’s and some baby carrots with hummus. Other years I have put in a little more effort and made a cheese ball shaped like a turkey or even spinach and artichoke dip to keep warm in a mini Little Dipper CrockPot.

NOTE: I do not get money from any of these companies I’ve linked to in this post. I only recommend items my family uses. I will let you know in the post if I ever do get money or an advantage, but the recommendation will always be for something I use and love!

My plan for Thursday, which may change depending on how much time I have, is:

A  Pumpkin Cheese Ball (I will make the day before) based on this recipe I found from my.recipes.  They serve it with apples, but I think I’ll add some crackers to the dish too.

Hummus with vegetables I use store bought hummus. Our family favorite gluten-free options are Tribe or Wegman’s store brand. Just drop it on a plate with the vegetables! Easy.

Tortilla chips and homemade salsa (if I have time or can get my daughter to make the salsa!) Our family favorite gluten-free tortilla chips are Xochitl or Tostitos Natural. Here is a link to my newest salsa recipe! .

Shrimp cocktail (if I have time) I have Wegman’s already cooked frozen shrimp in the freezer, which I buy whenever it’s on sale, so I have it on hand for either an easy meal or easy appetizer. I do like to make my own cocktail sauce. It is simple, quick and tastes amazing! I use Ina Garten’s cocktail sauce recipe except I don’t usually have chili sauce on hand, so I make it entirely with ketchup and it is still AMAZING!

That is what we like to eat in our house. These are all items where you definitely do not miss the gluten because they are almost all naturally gluten free. What do you like to serve for appetizers?

Here are some appetizer ideas from past blogs (as always the disclaimer that they may not be gluten free if from before April 2014 when my son was diagnosed with celiac disease – contact me if you need help to adapt it to be gluten free! mammascooking@gmail.com)

Dinner of Appetizers: Thursday night or a special party (July 2011)

Entertaining with Appetizers and what to do with leftovers (Feb 2012)

Comfort Food and a Cookbook (Oct 2016)

Happy planning and may your trip to the grocery store be filled with happy people and full shelves, not stressed, grumpy people fighting over the last sweet potato. If you know of someone who would like this blog, please share far and wide. Click on one of the many social media buttons available. Thanks!

Snacks and School lunches…Creating endless possibilities

It is difficult for many of us to keep the snacks and lunches we send off to school interesting. Whether or not you have food allergies in your family, more and more are dealing with allergy free classrooms and as in our family, celiac disease. Not only do we need to keep all these restrictions in mind but still need to keep the food tasty, easy, cost-effective and healthy. How do you keep it all organized so that you are not running to the store every night or panicking while filling in yet another form for an activity and realizing that you have to send in extra snack tomorrow?!

SNACKS

A friend shared a great idea with me, which I have attempted to implement. It puts the kids to work packing their own lunches and snacks. I have 5 shoe box sized storage bins I stock each weekend:

1. water bottles
2. juice boxes
3. snack bags, like popcorn, pretzels or veggie sticks
4. apple sauce pouches
5. yogurt pouches and cheese sticks in the refrigerator.

The kids know that they cannot take from these boxes for snacks at home, but know that they can take 1 or 2 items (depending on the size) plus a water bottle for snack. I’ve provided them with many healthy, allergy free options, Skinny Pop, being their current favorite.  The individual bags work great as a worry free snack to bring to school. I also like to make muffins on Friday afternoons or when we have time at some point over the weekend. I always make a double batch, so that we have plenty to use for a quick snack during the week, whether it goes to school with them or as an after school snack before we start homework.

As this is the beginning of fall, I had to try out a pumpkin muffin recipe. I used the basic muffin recipe from The New York Times Cookbook and adapted it to be gluten free. They were eaten so fast, I couldn’t even get a picture!


Pumpkin Muffins (adapted from the New York Times Cookbook, Craig Claiborne)
Ingredients
2 cups of your favorite gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup or King Arthur’s multipurpose gf flour)
5 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom 
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of milk
1/4 pound of melted butter
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices.
Mix the eggs, vanilla, milk, butter and pumpkin.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix together completely.
Spoon into 12 well-greased muffin tins, or line with cupcake liners. Fill cups about 2/3 full.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. 
LUNCH
Lunch, I am still working on organizing, but the kids can add the snacks above to their main lunch easily. I have found that breaking lunch up into multiple pieces makes it less daunting. I created 2 lists: main lunch possibilities and snack possibilities. I mix up the main lunch options throughout the week, adding 1 to 3 of the snack options depending on how big the main lunch is. 

There are so many possibilities, that if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to make a decision unless your lists are in front of you! Our rotation includes leftovers (anything from meatballs to quesadillas to grilled chicken), lunch meat roll ups, antipasto (cut up salami, cheese, olives and tomatoes) or hard boiled eggs. These are all items that are easily made or found allergen-free, taking the stress off of your planning whether or not you have a child with allergies.

You don’t have to have a fancy bento box or lunch container with many dividers. Use paper cupcake liners or reusable silicone ones (though my kids have thrown a couple of those out, so I refrain from using them) and a square Tupperware container and you are good to go! I like the Sistema snap lid containers in different sizes or the Rubbermaid Lunch Blocks. Although I usually send my kids with cold food, if your kids prefer hot, get a thermos and while you are getting ready in the morning, fill it with hot water.  Pour the water out and add your heated leftovers and it will stay warm until lunch time.
These meatballs can be served warm or cold with lunch:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs



Ingredients
2 lbs cooked meatballs 
1 cup of your favorite GF barbecue
1 cup of apricot jam
Directions
Place all ingredients in crockpot.
Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
With a little organization it can be less stressful to have allergy-free, gluten-free good food for snacks and lunch. If you have something you would like to create or adapt to fit your gluten-free needs, let me know! I’m always up for a cooking challenge.