Trying To Catch Up…

style="color: #351c75; font-family: "Trebuchet MS",sans-serif;">I don’t which is worse in the life of a blogger—having so little going on that it is a stretch to find something interesting to write about, or having so much going on that it is difficult to find the time to write.  This is the time of year here at the North Rim where we all start thinking about having to leave, and that brings about a flurry of parties and get-togethers. We are all trying to spend as much time as possible with our friends before the end of the season.
Last year, FabGrandpa and I didn’t get to know many of our co-workers and neighbors that well. It was sort of like, we were newcomers here, and people were just used to seasonals coming for one season and then never seeing them again. When we came back in the spring, though, we had lots of people smiling, hugging us, welcoming us back. Although the community here is small, we have  lots of friends this year, and have spent many hours of our time off sitting around campfires, having a few beers, laughing, talking, dreaming with those folks. 

I have so much to tell, and so little time to get it written up. I have to finish telling you about Becky’s visit. And then, I have to tell you about our neighbor’s company. Yeah, when one of us have company, we ALL have company.  I have loads of pictures to share, and news of a wedding and a new baby in our family to tell you a about. And then there was my uninvited, unwanted company this week:

(that is the kidney stone, ugh!)
The enemy only stayed around for a day and a half, but that was way too long! I was so glad to finally see his ugly face and send him on his way. And I hope he never, ever shows up again. Next time I will be prepared, though, as I still have most of that RX of percocet left, and will start on as soon as I know it is coming. 

I am having a dinner party tonight. I’ll be making my prize winning gluten free meatloaf, some home made gluten free mac and cheese, and a gluten free cake. My guests will be bringing something as well.  Heck, I can’t even keep up with the two Meme’s I participate in, Scenic Sunday and Remember Whensday…. 

So, I may have several posts in the next couple of days, trying to play catch up. At least I hope so…..

Fun With Bread

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I was feeling a little down in the dumps today. I don’t know how everyone else copes with the blues, but for me, baking has always been the answer.  I have talked about before how living at a high altitude can make baking difficult, but lordy! The bread monster I produced today is beyond anything I have done in the past!

I read a few web pages about high altitude baking before I started today. For gluten free baking at high altitudes, it is recommended that you:

1. increase the heat by 25 degrees.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of flour for each 1,000 feet over 3,500 feet altitude.

3. Decrease liquid by 1 tablespoon per 1,000 feet over 3,000 feet altitude.

And so I began.  I can only wonder how much this stuff would have grown if I had used the directions printed on the bag!  For more on this wonder loaf, click here.

Homemade Bagels From The RV? Yes…

Before I found out I have to eat a gluten free diet, I really enjoyed a good bagel with my coffee for breakfast. Now that I can’t have a “real” bagel, I really miss them. I have found some good frozen ready made ones, but since I live 85 miles from the nearest place to buy them, I don’t always have them on hand.

I decided today to try making some at home. Yes, Linda, I did burn them a bit, but you have to remember, 1. I live in an RV and the oven is quite tiny and the thermostat on it is not exact and 2. I live at an elevation of almost 9000 feet. Baking anything is trial and error. For the baking conditions I have, this first attempt at homemade bagels turned out pretty good. To see more, click here.

Check it Out! A Gluten Free Map!

Kelly over at Celiac Chicks has created a great Gluten Free Map! If you are a gluten free person, go over there and read about it, then click over and join the group. Go there and add all the places you know of that offer gluten free stuff. Whether it is a restaurant, a bakery, or a grocery store, add em in! We CAN help each other find a place to eat in this big ol world!

Pork Roast Two Times

Yesterday was a little warm here, with the temperature going up to 86 degrees. I was glad for the sunny warmth, but to keep the trailer from heating up too much, I got out the crock pot.

I had a pork roast in the freezer from our last shopping trip. I thawed it out, and seasoned it and put in the bottom of the crock pot. Then I got out my last pumpkin that I have been saving since November.

Those little sugar pumpkins are really good, either made into a sweet pie or souffle, or a savory vegetable dish. I decided to cook it along with the pork roast in my crock pot yesterday.

Here is what I did with it: Cut the pumpkin in four or five pieces, and clean out all the seeds, then scrape the inside of each piece to remove the stringy part:

Spray or brush each piece with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the pieces on top of the roast in the crock pot so that they sort of just sit there and lean against the sides of the crock pot. You don’t want them sitting in the juices from the roast later on:

Cover and cook three to four hours on high. Take the pumpkin pieces out and put them in a serving dish. Then, take out the roast, and slice. We had steamed green beans to round out the meal. Yum, and yum.

Then today, I had some yellow summer squash and one zucchini that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them up. I starting thinking about making squash casserole with them, but I didn’t have any bread. I did have this new to me bread mix from kinnikinnick so I thought I would give it a try.

This was the easiest mix, ever! You just measure the mix, then add water, then mix with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, put the batter in greased muffin tins, bake 25 minutes. The result: Some really good rolls that taste like, “BREAD” ! Imagine that! Good gluten free bread from an easy mix! Why oh why have I not tried this mix before???

Here they are, cooling on the stove. A cup and a half of mix and a cup of water makes six large rolls. They rose up over the top of the muffin pans. They smelled good, look good, and taste good. I’ll be ordering some more from for sure!

I ate one of these rolls hot from the oven with some butter. OMG! heaven. Then I used one and a half rolls in my squash casserole. The casserole was delicious. We added a tossed salad, diced potatoes, and the rest of the pork roast from yesterday. Same pork, different sides, another day done.

Gluten Free Squash Casserole:

3 yellow squash or zucchini or mixed
1/2 onion
salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 slices gluten free bread or 1 1/2 gluten free rolls
1 stick of butter
1/2 package Glutino Gluten Free crackers

Scrape and cut up the squash. Chop the onion. Put them in a 4 qt pan, cover with water, add salt and pepper to taste, and boil until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 1/2 stick of butter to the pot.

When the squash is cooled off, break up the bread into small pieces and stir into the pan with the squash. Add the eggs, and mix well. Add salt and pepper if needed. Pour into a greased 8 X 8 inch casserole dish. Break up the gluten free crackers into crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the casserole. Dot with remaining butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

I love this squash casserole so much that I eat it for breakfast sometimes. MMMMMM.

This Is So Freaking Cute!

I read Baking For John, another gluten free blog. She has posted about a Monkey Cake that she made for her two year old’s birthday. That cake looks so stinking cute! I am going to make one myself. Just for me and FabGrandpa.

As Promised

But first, I wanted to talk about making a monthly menu. One of my bloggy friends, Terri, of Terri Terri Quite Contrary, wrote this:

I wish I were so organized with my shopping. Sadly, for lack of more time and energy, I end up grabbing a few coupons and just tossing whatever looks good in the cart. Nothing lasts long with teenagers in the house anyway.”

Now, I will confess that it does take some time, but not as much as you might think. You see, last winter when I was yet again in the off season, living off our savings until spring came and we went back to work, I made up four monthly menus, and saved them in my “Budget” folder. So now, when I need to make a menu for a month, I might use one of those as is, or I might use it as a starting point to make a new one. Another thing I did when I was sitting around doing nothing last winter, was make a complete shopping list for each of those four monthly menus. So, now that I have the menu and the shopping list ready and sitting on my hard drive, all I have to do is print it off, shop my pantry first, and go to the store.

I also admit that not everyone has the need or the desire to shop for an entire month at a time. I didn’t used to do it. When I lived in a regular house and acted like a normal woman, I went to the store every week, and didn’t even make a list. If I forgot something, there was a Publix Grocery Store less than half a mile from my house.

But now, I have this new life, you see. I live in a travel trailer, where the whole house has about 300 square feet, and the refrigerator/freezer is a whopping 8 cubic feet combined. And I share this space with another person. And both of us like to eat. We like to eat a lot. And one of us has to eat a special diet, that is free of gluten. Right now, we are living in a remote area, where the closest decent grocery store is at least 50 miles away. Wal-Mart is an 80 mile drive. Shopping for groceries is an all day affair. A love affair it is not. Hence the once a month shopping. Oh, and did I mention that all of the refrigerated and frozen things I buy have to fit in two coolers in the back of the truck for the ride home? I have to be organized to make it all work. What is the point of buying it if I can’t put it in it’s proper place when we get it home, I ask you.

However, if you would like to save both time and money, making a menu and a shopping list is very useful. It could also save you some time if you are the primary grocery buyer and meal cooker. If you post the monthly menu where everyone in the house can see it, someone might just make a meal for you one day. Without you asking them to.

Another thing is, just beause you have a monthly menu doesn’t mean you have to eat the meals in the order they are on the plan. I just print out the plan for the month, and mark off each meal as we eat them, so I know what I have still on hand. Adn I only plan the dinners, because breakfast is just breakfast. It will either be eggs, pancakes, or leftover eggplant parmesean. It has worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

And, to address the part about nothing lasting in a house with teens. Honey, you ain’t seen how much FabGrandpa can eat! I solved the problem of him eating things I had planned to cook by giving him his very own cupboard. Yes, the FabGrandpa cabinet has nothing in it except for his snacky and lunchy things that he can eat any time he so desires. It makes him happy, it makes me happy, and so life is happy here. No more of him eating my special olives for that thing I wanted to make.

Ok, I think that about covers it. If anyone wants one of my monthly menus with a shopping plan atached, let me know. I’ll think about it.

On to the recipe I promised. This morning (ok, this afternoon) we had scrambled eggs with zuchinni and onions. I chopped up a zuchinni and half an onion, sauteed them in some butter in a skillet, added three eggs, and scrambled them up. Yummy.

Dinner was Eggplant Parmesean with a side of this:

I made the bread using up some flours I had on hand, because my online order from hell has not arrived YET. Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup corn starch
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 pkg yeast
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 pkg unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat the milk to lukewarm in the microwave, about 45 seconds. Add the brown sugar and yeast, set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together well. Add the eggs, oil, water and milk. Beat well with electric mixer. Scrape all the dough into the center of the bowl, spray with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with olive oil. Spread the bread dough on the pan into a rectangle about an inch and a half thick. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut the rectangle in half. Cut one half into six bread sticks.

I served the bread with home made pesto, fresh mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and garlic stuffed olives.

The main course for dinner was Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesean

1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 cup milk
1 cup gluten free flour (you can use whatever your favorite flour is. Tonight I used half white rice flour because I was using up the rest of the box, and half buckwheat flour. but any flour is ok, as long as you like it)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
8 oz gluten free spaghetti noodles. (I used Deboles corn angel hair pasta, but you can use any gluten free pasta you like)
1 16 oz jar gluten free spaghetti Sauce. (I used Classico Traditional Sweet Basil. Again, you can use any brand you like, even make your own, just make sure if you buy prepared that it is gluten free)
2 cups Italian Blend shredded cheese or 2 cups mozzarella cheese.

Cook the spaghetti according to directions on the box, drain, rinse, set aside. Meanwhile, sprinkle the eggplant with salt, and let it weep. Rinse. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dredge each slice of eggplant in flour, dip in milk, then back in flour. Fry in olive oil over medium heat until browned on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Spread about 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of an 11 X 13 casserole dish. Put the spaghetti in the casserole dish on top of the spaghetti sauce, and spread around evenly in the dish.

Place the eggplant slices in a layer over the spaghetti. Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the eggplant layer. Spread evenly over the eggplant layer.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

This casserole freezes well, and reheats well. Serve with a tossed salad or with bread and pesto.