Archive for March, 2009

Mar
20

Slow-cooked Mexican Chicken

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This is a standard dish in our house because it is so easy and yummy. My kids even like it! The chicken is cooked slowly in the Crock-Pot, so it falls apart easily with a fork. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer white meat. Or, if you’re interested in saving a little money, you can use chicken thighs. I use boneless chicken so I don’t have to remove the bones later. Use the cooked chicken for a variety of Mexican dishes: tacos, enchiladas, burritos, rice bowls, nachos, etc. We typically have tacos the first night, and then use the leftover chicken for rice bowls or enchiladas later in the week.

Slow-cooked Mexican Chicken

Ingredients:

1.5 – 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or boneless chicken thighs)
1 (1.5 oz.) pkg taco seasoning mix (Make sure it’s gluten-free. We use McCormick brand – mild for my kids.)
1 Cup chicken broth or water (Make sure it’s gluten-free. We use Pacific brand.)
1 Cup salsa or picante sauce

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a slow-cooker and sprinkle taco seasoning mix on top of chicken. Then, pour on chicken broth and picante sauce. No need to stir.
  2. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. After 8 hours, the chicken is so tender it usually falls apart with a fork. So, use forks to shred, or pull apart, the chicken. Stir it around and let it stay warm in the slow-cooker while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Additional notes:

  • In the picture above, we’ve made tacos with cooked corn tortillas, and filled it with the chicken, lettuce, shredded cheese, sliced black olives and diced avocado. Yum!
  • You can also use the meat for enchiladas, taquitos, salads, and more.

I’m linking this recipe to “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?” at The Gluten-Free Homemaker. There you will find even more gluten-free meal ideas.

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Mar
18

Elmer’s Glue & Gak

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Do you worry about the gluten content in craft products? Well, I do. Some parents and even doctors will tell you that if the craft products aren’t being eaten, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re working with paints, dried pastas, or dried cereals, maybe you can wash away all trace of gluten before your kids stick their thumb in their mouth or bite their nails. But, when working with finger paints or squishy, gooey stuff that has gluten in it, I worry about traces of gluten getting trapped under fingernails, in the crevices of the hands, and ultimately in the mouth. So, I try to avoid any craft products with gluten, just to be on the safe side.

This week, my kids’ preschool made Gak for the kids to play with. Gak is a gooey, stretchy mixture that’s just fun to play with. I was happy that the teachers asked me about the gluten content of the ingredients before my kids played with it. And, I was even happier that I was able to confirm that every ingredient is indeed gluten-free.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard differing opinions about the gluten content of Elmer’s School Glue. The Elmer’s website confirms that their school glue is all-synthetic, no gluten or dairy: “[Their] products are derived from synthetic materials, not any type of animal or milk protein” “All of [their] products are gluten free except for the Elmer’s Finger Paints. The finger paints contain wheat and oat products.”

So, if you’re still having rainy weather and need an indoor project try this Gak recipe.

Gak

Ingredients:

2 Cups Elmer’s glue
1 1/2 Cups water, warm
1 1/2 TBSP Borax*
1 Cup water, hot
food coloring or tempera paint, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 2 Cups Elmer’s glue and 1 1/2 Cups warm water until thoroughly combined.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring or a tsp of tempera paint. Mix thoroughly. Add more coloring if you prefer a darker, brighter color.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 TBSP Borax with 1 Cup hot water.
  4. Now, pour the small bowl mixture into the medium bowl and mix well. Once the mixture starts to pull together, you can knead it with your hands. Pour off any excess liquid. If it’s too sticky, add a little more Borax.
  5. Have fun! Store in zip-style plastic bags or airtight containers.

*Young children should be supervised while using this product and older children should be instructed not to eat it. Everyone should wash hands after playing with it. Borax is a natural mineral compound that can be toxic in large doses. Similar to other household cleaners, Borax should be kept out of reach of children.

Mar
16

Irish Potato Farls

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img_3089xStart St. Patrick’s Day with a fried breakfast and Irish Potato Farls. Or, if you drank lots of gluten-free beer, you may want to end your evening with potato farls. Potato farls are simply potato pancakes cut into farls, or fourths. Read More→

Categories : Breakfast, Holidays, Recipes
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Mar
09

Packing Up Food to Go

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If you’ve already taken the plunge into the gluten-free lifestyle, you know that sometimes you just have to take food with you. If you’ve got young kids on a special diet, here are a couple products you should consider purchasing:


319nbppvm9l_sl160_When I bought these Sassy plates almost five years ago, I never imagined I would still be using them. We have really gotten good use out of these. I originally bought a set of these before my son was diagnosed with Celiac disease, just for feeding him at home. Once my son was diagnosed, it became even more useful. It worked great for bringing gluten-free food to parties or restaurants where I didn’t know if they would have food acceptable for my toddler.  After my daughter started eating solid foods, I bought another set because we seemed to use them so frequently.

I’ve also used them for…

  • storing leftovers in the refrigerator.
  • having meals ready in the refrigerator for babysitters to serve the kids.
  • re-heating leftovers in the microwave.
  • taking GF pizza to birthday parties.
  • taking GF pancakes to school for Pancake Day.
  • packing food for sleepovers.

Each set comes with two plates, two divided plates, and two lids. The lids fit on both styles of plates and snap on securely. The lids do keep the food in the divided sections in place, however it isn’t water tight. So, I wouldn’t try putting foods with juices in them unless the plates are going to lay flat. They are microwave and dishwasher safe. Unlike some other plastic plates I have, these have never warped in our dishwasher even on the bottom rack with heated drying cycle.

Adults could use these, too, but they are a little small (about 7 1/2″ diameter) and come in bright colors. I don’t know how many more years I can use these before my kids think they are too juvenile or just don’t hold enough food for them. Until then, I will continue to pack them up when needed.


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There’s not much to say about the Cup-A-Cake cupcake carrier. They hold cupcakes and muffins in place for transporting. Of course, they aren’t just for kids. Adults can certainly use them to take to work or events, too. But, I have used them primarily for my kids to take to other kids’ birthday celebrations. They are so compact, one easily fits into lunch boxes, backpacks, purses, etc.

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Mar
07

Bonefish Saucy Shrimp

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img_3053xBonefish Grill is one of my family’s favorite restaurants. They have a gluten-free menu to make it easier to decide what you can eat. The staff is always helpful and actually seems to be knowledgeable of, or at least aware of, the restrictions of a gluten-free diet. And, it’s family-friendly, too. Would you believe my picky preschoolers actually ask to go to Bonefish for dinner? The kids menu is pretty limited for the gluten-free diet, but my kids are happy with the grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. To keep the kids busy, Bonefish provides crayons and a kids menu with activities that the kids can color.

My husband and I enjoy many more choices on the gluten-free menu. We always start out the meal with the Saucy Shrimp to share. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that they had the recipe for Saucy Shrimp and Scallops on their website! So, I decided to try it. And, even though I had to make a few substitutions, it was fabulous! I highly recommend you try it yourself.

Saucy Shrimp and Scallops

Ingredients:

2 oz. Butter
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 ea. green onion [I recommend sliced.]
10 ea. Kalamata olives, 1/2 pieces
1 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, julienne
3 oz. shrimp (small count)
3 oz. bay scallops
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup clam broth
3 tbsp. Feta cheese, crumbles
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
For service: crusty bread, as needed [Use gluten-free, of course!]

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and green onions and saute until the aroma fills the air.
  2. Add Kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes — cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add shrimp and scallops, salt & pepper and saute until firm — do not overcook.
  4. Add lemon juice, clam juice and feta cheese — bring to a simmer.
  5. Pour into heated serving dish.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.

Additional Notes:

  • I didn’t have scallops, so I made the recipe with just the shrimp I had in the freezer. The appetizer at Bonefish doesn’t have scallops, either.
  • I also didn’t have clam broth, so I used clam juice instead.
  • You might also want to try using lime juice instead of lemon, quartering the kalamata olives, and adding extra feta at the end with the parsley.
  • So here’s where you can find the recipe for Saucy Shrimp and Scallops on their website, but I suggest checking out the other recipes they have online, too. What better way to ensure that your meal is gluten-free, than by making it yourself!
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