Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

When my son was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought that meant saying goodbye to all my cookbooks. I definitely have learned that is not the case! So many recipes in my favorite cookbooks (like Mastering the Art of French Cooking) are naturally gluten free or can be adapted. The tricky adaptations come when I want to bake something and can clearly remember what the full gluten version tastes like.

Making these blueberry muffins from the First Edition of McCall’s Cookbook (1963) has been challenging, but I finally got it right! We have been housebound this school vacation week due to one kid with pneumonia, who is luckily on the mend, so the kids wanted to bake. In between marathon games of Monopoly, playing Angry Birds Star Wars on the Ipad and watching many, many movies, this recipe finally came together!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins (adapted from McCalls, First Edition 1963)

Ingredients

1 ΒΎ cups sifted gluten-free Cup4Cup flour

ΒΌ cup sugar

3 teaspoons of baking powder

Β½ teaspoon salt

Β½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1 1/3 cup of milk

6 Tablespoons of melted butter

3 eggs, beaten

8 to 10 ounces fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Cinnamon sugar, optional for topping (1/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and either grease muffin tin or line with paper liners. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add cinnamon and grate in nutmeg. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter and eggs. Add wet mixture to dry and mix using a fork, just until all dry ingredients are combined. Fold in blueberries. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop a little less than 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup, around 3/4 full. Sprinkle about 1/8 of a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over each muffin, if you like. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

These muffins are not very sweet, so the cinnamon sugar on top helps give a little more sweetness to each bite. This usually makes 14 to 15 muffins each time. We made these yesterday and are already down to 5 this morning πŸ™‚ I’ve only had one. These are great to throw in with school lunches or bring as a snack on a road trip.

If you want to try one of my other baking adapations, try these amazing Buttermilk Biscuits! You would never even know that they are gluten free.

I have started quite a cookbook collection, which I keep adding to whenever I go into a consignment shop or get a gift card to Amazon. I love cookbooks. I could sit and read cookbooks all day. What are your favorites?

More Summer Fun…Eating on the road or after just returning from a vacation

Summer is still in full swing. Long days of fun in the sun don’t give you much energy for dinner. Keep it simple. Have a picnic in your backyard or take one to a local outdoor concert. Kids love to think that they are just snacking and not eating dinner, so make the picnic out of a bunch of snacks. 
I love to bring carrots, celery, whole wheat crackers, hummus, cheese sticks, prosciutto, salami, cooked hotdogs or sausage (already cut up – use leftovers!), cut up watermelon or cantaloupe or any fresh berries, peaches, plums, or any fruit that are in season or that you know your kids will eat. Using the celery, if you have the time or energy, you can even make ants on a log πŸ™‚ Peanut butter and raisins are a hit with many kids. You could also make ham and cream cheese roll ups. spread a little cream cheese on a piece of ham, roll up and serve. Two out of my three kids love that one! Bring some nutella to spread on the crackers as a special treat.
If you can pack a picnic for a night, pack it for a road trip. Heading up to Vermont for the weekend? Bring a picnic to eat in the car or picnic area for lunch or dinner. 

 When returning from a vacation, the last thing you want to do is cook or eat takeout. Keep some frozen meals on hand or stock up on Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers before you leave, so you can make an easy dinner when you get home.

Enjoy the outdoors as long as we can! This past week in Boston was crazy hot, so I’m sure many of us all fled to the AC, but now it is 70s and sunny! Perfect! Like most of a Seattle summer πŸ™‚
I am half way through my cooking bucket list. I conquered (somewhat) oysters last week. I personally only got one open. My husband got another one open. Then I decided to roast the other four I bought to get them to open. Two out of the four did. My parents, who do not like raw seafood, enjoyed the roasted oysters that did open. My husband and I both loved the raw ones. I made a quick version of a mignonette sauce with red wine vinegar and garlic. I would try it again, but only after inspecting the oysters when I buy them, for ones that I think I can open πŸ™‚
Cooking bucket list 2012
Bread – Done
Gnocchi – Done
Meringues – Done
Calamari – Done
Flan
Lobster – Done
Koeksisters
Oysters – done
Mozzarella
Pork Belly
Short ribs
Chocolate truffles

Back online, still cooking and blogging about feeding kids while traveling

Ever have those days where you can’t get anything accomplished besides basic care for yourself and whomever you care for? Two year old twins who are not regularly napping have thrown me into that feeling on a daily basis. I have a pile of laundry, that has been dubbed “Mt. Laundry” and a growing to do list that I don’t even look at most days! Now, I love to cook and have not had the energy for it lately, so props to all of you who don’t like to cook and get it done when you don’t have the time or energy for it! Since returning from our drive down to Atlanta (yes my husband and I are crazy and drove with 3 children under 5 and all their gear in our car with no storage space) we are just getting back in our groove.

BT (Before the Trip) I was cooking to clean out the fridge so that we wouldn’t leave things that could spoil and cooking meals without leftovers so there wouldn’t be food to spoil. The weekend before we left, I made grilled pork with twice baked mashed potatoes and peas. Stressed about the impending drive, I wanted comfort food.
 
The pork was grilled on the indoor grill and seasoned with salt, pepper and coriander. The twice baked potato recipe is based on one I found on Pinterest and is amazing! Here is the Pinterest version from TastyKitchen. I just make my usual mashed potatoes and then put them in a casserole dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake. The peas were frozen and steamed in the microwave. I enjoyed the meal with my favorite Riesling. My son is enjoying his milk in the background πŸ™‚

To use up the potatoes and pork, I had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast with a poached egg on top. At lunch I put some pork over a bed of romaine with a little feta and light italian dressing and at dinner in a quesadilla.

DT (During the trip) we ate lots of fast food. Luckily on the road between Boston and DC, our first stop, there are choices of fast food. My kids enjoyed the Subway sandwiches with apples and the fun little reusable bags the kid’s meals come in. I packed lots and lots of Happy Baby pouches so I would feel like the kids were not eating all junk. They ate apple carrot and butternut squash and pear and spinach as well as squirted lots of it on themselves making for fun clean up πŸ™‚ The pouches are good in theory but sometimes can create a mess. I also packed grapes, whole apples, whole grain goldfish and craisins mixed and fruit leathers.

We had a great night with friends in DC (along with an amazing cheese plate and a great pizza dinner! Caramelized onions on pizza = delicious). We all had breakfast and then got on the road to Atlanta.  Again we ate fast food along the way. The McDonald’s 20 piece chicken nuggets was a good deal for $4.99. We had other snacks and drinks with us, so the nuggets just rounded out the meal, a little πŸ™‚

In Atlanta we were treated to amazing food made by my brother and sister-in-law, along with lots of cake and fun with cousins. One of the standout meals in my mind was the peri peri chicken on the grill. If you have never had peri peri, go out to the store now or go online and order a bottle of Nando’s medium peri peri sauce. Put chicken breasts in a bag. Pour enough sauce to cover the chicken. Marinade for about 20 minutes. Grill to perfection (like my brother did) and serve. So easy and sooo good!

Three days later we were back on the road to Richmond, VA. Fasts food and healthy snacks again. Then we made it to family in Richmond where we were greeted by some delicious sangria, a great pizza dinner, salad and red velvet cupcakes to celebrate a special 3 year old’s birthday! The pizza was from a great take out place in Richmond. The spinach and feta was definitely my favorite!

Early the next morning we were on the road again after a healthy breakfast of cereal, fruit, yogurt and whole grain waffles. More fast food and then we finally made it home, somewhat unscathed πŸ™‚ It was hard to make sure the kids were eating healthy the whole time, that is why I packed mostly healthy snacks and had them get as much fruit and vegetables as I could get in them when were at someone’s house. The pouches do work well, when they eat them.

IPT (Immediately Post Trip) I did not have the energy to cook, so unfortunately some of our unhealthy eating habits from the road persisted a little. We ate quesadillas and pasta a lot. I did try to throw in some veggies, like shredded carrots and zucchini. We had way to much take out though.
PT (Post Trip) I am now finally getting back in the groove, planning my menu and doing thoughtful grocery shopping instead of just going through the store as fast as I can so the boys don’t start screaming. I have been making some foods inspired by good meals we ate on our trip. I made pizza with spinach and feta and peri peri chicken. My energy level is still low (see above re: boys not napping) so I have been making no fuss meals. A great one is my sausage, veggie and potato bake. My husband has already had me make this twice in the last week. I cut up about 4 already cooked chicken apple sausages in small enough pieces for the kids and set aside. Then in a saute pan, that can go into the oven, I saute 1/2 an onion (any onion you have on hand), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 2 cups of chopped veggies that you have on hand (I used zucchini and carrots last night), 2 diced potatoes (sweet or regular), olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika or coriander or your favorite spice blend. Once mixed together and starting to cook, throw in sausage, cover and put in a 400 degree oven for 20-40 minutes depending on amount and size of veggies. Check after 20 minutes and cook uncovered if it needs more time. Sorry I forgot to take pictures!

Another easy and tasty meal is baked citrus dill salmon with couscous and veggies. Salmon was on sale this week, so I bought a piece that weighed about .8lbs. This was plenty for our family of 5.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take a paper lunch bag and rub with olive oil until completely covered. Remember to get all the creases. Place bag in casserole dish. Mix the zest and juice of one lemon, zest and juice of one lime, 1 Tbsp of sugar, couple of splashes of olive oil, and a handful of freeze dried dill. Take 2 pats of butter and place in paper bag. Place salmon, skin side down, on top of the butter, in the bag. Pour citrus and dill mixture onto salmon and fold paper bag closed. Bake for about 20 minutes. While that is baking, make your favorite easy side dish. I had a box of roasted garlic and olive oil couscous, which takes not even 10 minutes to make. After I took the couscous off of the heat, I added a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and diced carrots, closed the lid and let the heat of the couscous defrost and soften the peas and carrots.

I have been, kind of, going through my cooking bucket list for 2012. I will finish them all by the end of the year, just more in some months than others πŸ™‚ Here is how things stand:
Cooking bucket list 2012
Bread – January, Done, Very successful
Gnocchi – February, Done, Very successful
Meringues – March, Done, Kind of successful (delicious, but couldn’t quite get the consistency right)
Calamari
Flan
Lobster
Koeksisters
Oysters
Mozzarella
Pork Belly
Short ribs
Chocolate truffles
I am hoping this month to tackle Calamari and Flan, so June can be all about Lobstah! I know the month is more than half over, but all I need is one afternoon with a burst of energy and my husband to take the kids and I will be set!

Weekend Trip

Taking a (almost) 10 month old on a road trip and figuring out what to feed her (and yourself) can be stressful. We took a last minute trip up to Whistler for a much needed long weekend away. We left at about 5:00 on a Friday afternoon and came back on Monday.

I packed a few jars of food, some cheese, formula and bottles of water, figuring I would feed Karina jarred food when she wasn’t eating what we were eating and then buy some fruit once we got there.

Friday was a looooooong night. Karina slept for the first hour and a half or so, when we stopped and got McDonald’s for us and gave her a jar of Earth’s Best Vegetable Beef Pilaf. She had a little water and then was good to go for about another 30 minutes when we had to stop again to give her a bottle. Then she luckily slept for the rest of the trip πŸ™‚

The next morning we got up, gave her a bottle and then went to the base of Blackcomb mountain. We found a great little breakfast place and sat her in the high chair. I ordered a couple eggs (scrambled) with wheat toast, home fries, sun dried tomato sausage and some fruit. I forgot her placemat that sticks the table in the car, so I had to hand feed her some of my breakfast, because if I give her a plate, she just picks it up and turns it over. She loved the sausage! She even tasted her dad’s pancakes.

Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating, so we couldn’t enjoy the hiking trails around Whistler Village. We went shopping instead πŸ™‚ and watched some of a mountain biking competition. For lunch Tim and I had pizza and gave her a jar of baby food and some cheese. We went to the grocery store to get some food for dinner. We bought rotisserie chicken, premade butternut squash ravioli with pesto, some watermelon, french bread and hummus. We had dinner in our condo. Karina love the pesto and loved the watermelon even more!

The next day it was cloudy again, so we went back to Whistler Village and explored a little more. We gave Karina breakfast before we left (some Earth’s Best oatmeal mixed with jar of apples and bananas) and some cheese of course πŸ™‚ We had some hummus, bread and prosciutto. For lunch we decided to sit down at the base of Whistler mountain, so we could watch the mountain bikers come down the mountain. They didn’t really have anything healthy for Karina on the menu and ordering an entire child’s meal for her is too much at this stage, so we gave her a jar of food and a Zwiebak biscuit while we ate our sandwiches and fries. She tried some fries too and loved them of course πŸ™‚

For dinner we decided to have a nice meal out. Unfortunately the restaurant we chose was not so nice. It had good reviews, but when we got there they were out of almost everything! I was going to order a steak with a potato and steamed veggies, so Karina could share with me and Tim was going to order a roast chicken entree, but they were out of both! Instead, we got a couple of appetizers and gave Karina jarred food again along with a couple pieces of Tim’s shortribs.

Breakfast the next morning made up for it! The sun came out (of course on our last day) and we had an amazing breakfast outside. I had a steak hash with poached eggs. Mmmmmm….Karina enjoyed the steak and potatoes along with some of Tim’s french toast πŸ™‚

We drove to Vancouver for lunch. I had sushi and Tim had steak terriyaki. We’ve had dinner a couple of times at sushi places and Karina has had plenty to eat. I give her the tofu from my miso soup (cooled down of course) and Tim gives her some terriyaki, rice and veggies from his meal. She loves it!

We stopped on the road to give her a jar of Tender Chicken and Stars from Earth’s Best. I think its her favorite or she was really hungry.

We are very lucky that Karina is not picky! My parents were visiting last week and she tried salmon (I made pesto with basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil and lemon zest, slathered the salmon with it, enclosed in foil and cooked on the grill), halibut (from fish and chips), and boerevors (a South African farmer’s sausage- which you can get at Uli’s in Pike’s Market). Her favorite food is cheese. No matter what you give her, cheese is always the first to go. So far, I’ve given her feta, parmesan, cheddar and aged gouda. Just like her mom, she hasn’t found a cheese she doesn’t like πŸ™‚

Please write me with comments or tips you have for traveling with little ones!