Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}


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Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk)

I’ve been drinking this mixture for a couple weeks now, and I really enjoy it. It seems to decrease my craving for sweets – somewhat sits in the place in my heart that I had reserved for the forbidden hot cocoa. I’ve also been feeling less achy in the joints, and my sprained ankle has definitely been improving a LOT since I’ve been drinking it. I’m following a recommendation that people with arthritis can try drinking it 2x day to start, as I have arthritis and also an injury. I know eventually I’ll have to cut it down to 1x day so I don’t turn yellow… but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy it.

I’ve tried making this with several different kinds of milk: dairy (cow’s) milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, all of these cut with water (when I’m running out of milk), and today I got a box of “Silk” almond + coconut milk, unsweetened, and am trying it. It’s delicious – all the rich sweetness of coconut milk without being as cloying (I tried full-fat coconut milk with the cream the first time and it was a bit too much). I actually found even this to be a bit rich, so I cut it about 60/40 with water (the 40 being the water).

There are many different “recipes” for golden milk out there. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing and you can find your own groove, if you want to try it. :}  The consensus seems to be that adding freshly cracked black pepper to the turmeric helps the body use the active compounds in the turmeric more effectively, and same goes for a little oil or fat or some kind. When I was making this with cow’s milk, I figured I had the fat covered. But after I switched to almond milk, I thought: why not add a little oil?

I also wanted to make a turmeric paste to make the process easier, and there are several schools of thought on this as well. I combined a couple for this end result, as follows.

PS: Here’s the video that started me on this journey.

TURMERIC PASTE (my recipe)

Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small saucepan
Add turmeric powder until it’s a loose paste
Crack in some black pepper
Add cinnamon, ginger, etc as you like (I usually add a pinch of ginger near the end)

Simmer this paste for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the turmeric to “cook” and release its active compounds into the oil. After 9 minutes is up, pour into a glass container (carefully) and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To make the golden milk: I “chip” off a little bit to put in milk in a saucepan, let it melt and heat with the milk, add a little honey to a cup, and then carefully pour the golden milk into a mug and drink it.

WARNING: turmeric will stain your clothes, counters, cupboards, sink if it’s porous, hands, and whatever you touch with it LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS. I’ve ruined a dishtowel. Your sponge will be oompa-loompa colored. Just so you know. Usually a little dab of baking soda and water on the counter will let you rub out the stains… but don’t take it for granted. Treat this like nuclear waste just to be safe.

Ok!! Enjoy drinking your golden milk!

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Tater-tot Breakfast Casserole – kind of

Made this yesterday evening in between classes. It literally took me less than a half hour to whip up and get in the oven. :}

http://www.thecountrycook.net/2015/01/tater-tot-breakfast-casserole.html

The original post, above, looks delicious; but of course, being me, I had to monkey with it. First off, I didn’t have *a dozen* eggs to spend on this thing. Certainly not the expensive, although lovely, brand being advertised in the post. However! I combined the quiche I’ve been making for the last few weeks with this recipe and what I had laying around, and the results are pretty dang good.

Ok! As always, the list of changes: I didn’t have tater-tots, so there’s a big one. I had Ore-Ida “Crispy Restaurant Fries” instead, but hey: a potato thing is a potato thing, right? Right? I also only used 5 or 6 eggs (can’t remember which – I really threw this together in a hurry) with probably a half cup or more of milk, to make a quiche-like custard instead of just eggy eggness. Sausage and bacon and I have a problematic relationship due to my migraines, so I just skipped ’em. I have a gigantic container of slice mushrooms, so I added those, and some fresh herbs.

So here’s what I did.

1) Sprayed a square glass baking dish with Pam Coconut Spray.
2) Sprinkled in a layer of grated Parmesan cheese, because I had a flake moment where I started to make quiche. Laughed because nope.
3) Laid in a generous layer of frozen fries, making sure to cover the bottom pretty well (I didn’t line them up or anything, I was in a hurry).
4) In a bowl, cracked 5 or 6 eggs and then added a generous pour of milk – I think about half cup or more.
5) Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 cups, and added a cup or so to my egg-and-milk mixture.
6) Added fresh herbs, black pepper, about a tsp of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, and about 1 tsp salt.
7) Whisked until well combined!
8) Poured egg mixture over fries, being sure to pour it evenly over the fries.
9) Lay on a generous layer of sliced white mushrooms.
10) Spread the other cup of cheese over the top, making sure to get it even.
11) Fresh herbs and black pepper to top it off.
12) Put in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.
13) Let it cool… impatiently.

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Not my best photo, but I was working very quickly as I had a student coming ten minutes after this photo was shot, and I wanted to eat the little piece I had just scooped out of the lower corner. However unglamorous, it’s delicious. 😀


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Avocado Cherry Vanilla Pudding

I love avocados, and they’ve been 5 for $5 around here recently, so I’ve been on a bit of an avocado stampede. Ooh. That would be squishy!! lol SORRY

Back to the food. I know you can make frosting with avocados, but a lot of the recipes called for cocoa (which I shouldn’t have) and lots of powdered sugar (which I’m trying to avoid), so I started looking for other options. I found an article on Shape’s website listing “10 Delicious Avocado Desserts”, and this seemed to combine the felicities of being low in sugar, easy to make, quick, and having only ingredients I already had in the house. DING DING DING, winner!
(Shape article is here)

I whipped it up, and it was glorious. Hit the spot, and it also satisfies the part of my brain that misses chocolate SO much… it’s creamy and rich, not too sweet, and cherry-licious. I’ve made it twice now, and the second time I was able to do it without a recipe: it’s that easy. (However, I didn’t put in the vanilla the second time, because I honestly don’t have that great a memory; and I can report that it tastes just fine without the vanilla. :}

I made it with frozen dark sweet cherries (truly; I think that’s what they’re called on the bag) from my freezer, I believe I picked up the bag at Costco and OMG am I glad I did. Also, I used maple syrup instead of the stevia, because of migraines.

The recipe calls for a nut or seed milk, but I can and do drink milk, so I used that instead. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and just made the pudding. I didn’t need any of the toppings, I was very happy with just the pudding.

From Kibby’s blog (link below), there was this tip, which seems a winner to me:

“I was having all kinds of variations fly through my head and had to whip this one up and share: Blueberry Vanilla Pudding. Basically, use all the same ingredients but substitute frozen or fresh blueberries for the cherries. I am going to make raspberry/chocolate, mango, banana, acai. I made a strawberry version several weeks ago and it is YUMMY! WOW! So many options to play with.”

So obviously I’m going to need to try lots of possibilities. 😀

Have fun and good eating!

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Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 large avocado
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder)
13 to 15 organic cherries, pitted, plus one for garnish
14 drops vanilla-flavored liquid stevia (or 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
1 pinch sea salt
Goji berries, for garnish (optional)
Hemp seeds, for garnish (optional)
Cacaco nibs, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Put all ingredients into a blender (pudding will be smoother if you use a high-end blender) and blend until smooth and creamy. Top with goji berries, hemp seeds, or cacao nibs and an extra cherry, as desired.

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Recipe provided by Kibby’s Blended Life


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Today’s adventure: hard boiled eggs in the oven!

This is as easy as it sounds: put eggs in a muffin tin (so they don’t roll around and are easy to get in and out), then cook in an oven pre-heated to 325F for 30 minutes. Afterwards, put in cold water to stop the cooking, as usual; peel, eat. Did it this evening, and it worked like a charm. Would be much easier for cooking large batches than finding a large pan and boiling – I don’t have a large enough pan. 😀 However, two of the four eggs’ shells cracked in the oven, so this might not be ideal for Easter eggs… try it first and see. :}

The idea to try it came from here: http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2012/11/how-to-make-perfect-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-oven.html


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Cloud Bread, plus paneer/cottage cheese – it’s a twofer!!

So one of my friends is sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo and heaven only knows what else, and she posted this recipe. I thought, “bread replacement without all the trouble and expense? FABulous!!”

Then I went to make the recipe and was missing two of the three ingredients. Cue sad game-show-failure noise.

However, I am stubborn (and there was a snowstorm on, so I wasn’t going out. Nohow. No way.) so I decided to try to substitute. Here follows my sad but ultimately mostly kinda triumphant tale.

First, the original cloud bread recipe:
http://www.food.com/recipe/carb-free-cloud-bread-411501

I found I could substitute lemon juice for the cream of tartar in the egg whites, and I didn’t have any cottage cheese, but I had a lot of milk and thought, “I can make it!!”

Homemade paneer — I kind of combined the advice from two recipes.
Alton Brown’s cottage cheese/ paneer recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/quick-cottage-cheese-recipe.html
Dassana’s paneer recipe: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/how-to-make-paneer-homemade-paneer/
Here, there were a lot of changes from the recipe… I only had about 4 cups of 1/2% milk instead of the gallon of whole milk the recipe called for, so I crossed my fingers and just cut the amounts in the recipe to match. Also, I used lemon juice to curdle the milk after it boiled, rather than vinegar — I hate the taste and smell of vinegar. It took much more than the suggested amount in the recipe, probably because I was using bottled lemon juice. I know, bad me; but did I mention the snowstorm? Other than that, it went really well and I’m looking to make the recipe with the correct amount of whole milk, and see how the process goes. Whew!! :}

So here’s the final cloud bread recipe I used… I haven’t tried it with the store-bought options, so I don’t know if this is actually good cloud bread or just kind of sad. lololol However, it was really nice (if not exactly breadlike) and worked well for soft spreadables. I haven’t made any sandwiches yet, but it seems like it would be a winner for that as well.

Cloud Bread

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons whole milk cottage cheese or 3 tablespoons cream cheese (I used homemade cottage cheese)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I used lemon juice)
1 (1 g) packet artificial sweetener (I used sugar, as artificial sweeteners give me pretty much instant headaches)

Directions:

1
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2
Separate the eggs very carefully, there must be no yolk in the white. (I used the water bottle trick, as seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AirVOuTN_M)
3
In one bowl, mix together the egg yolks, the 3 T. of Cottage Cheese OR Cream Cheese and the one packet of sweetener (or sugar) until smooth.
4
In the other bowl add 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar (or lemon juice) to the whites and beat the whites on high speed until they are fluffy and form nice peaks.
5
Very carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until mixed, but try and not break down the fluffiness of the egg whites too much.
6
Spray two cookie sheets with Pam or other fat-free cooking spray. (I use Pam Coconut Oil)
7
With a large spoon, “scoop” the mixture into 10 even rounds on the sheets (about the size of the top-half of the McDonalds hamburger bun; roughly 3/4 inch thick and 4 to 5 inches across).
8
Bake on the middle rack. Here is when you have to watch them, because the cooking time the same on any two batches. It is somewhere around 1/2 hour, but it could be less or more. You just need to watch them until them become nice and golden brown (again, the color of a McDonalds bun). (It took mine slightly more than 1/2 hour)
9
Remove from the pans and cool on a rack or cutting board. (Don’t necessarily expect to do this right after they come out of the oven — mine were really like meringues and one crunched into sad death when I tried to spatula it up right away!!)
10
While warm they are crumbly and similar to cooked meringue – but don’t let this fool you! Once completely cool, seal them in a ziplock storage baggie or a tupperware over night. They will totally change their consistency, to something much more like bread – a softer texture that is nice and chewy. If you do not like softer chewy bread, then eat them as they are, nice and crisp.
11
Since the sides that were facing the pan are perfectly flat, you use these to spread things on, or make sandwiches, or even as a burger bun! The choice is up to you, and you will be quite amazed at how much like a bun these really are!

Paneer: milk, boiling in the pan

Paneer: milk, boiling in the pan

Paneer: the collander, lined with a cotton dishtowel, as I had no cheesecloth.

Paneer: the collander, lined with a cotton dishtowel, as I had no cheesecloth.

Paneer: I had so little milk that the resulting cheese was very small. Here it is, sitting under my marble mortar to finish setting. Wee cheese!

Paneer: I had so little milk that the resulting cheese was very small. Here it is, sitting under my marble mortar to finish setting. Wee cheese!

Cloud bread: the small bottle I used (clean) for separating the yolks. Worked like a charm!

Cloud bread: the small bottle I used (clean) for separating the yolks. Worked like a charm!

My finished cloud bread, just after coming out of the oven.

My finished cloud bread, just after coming out of the oven.