• FOOD

    Gluten Free Orzo Soup with Macaroni

    Gluten Free Orzo Soup with macaroni

    Even though we’ve been having nice weather for the last few days it sure is cooling off quickly in the evenings.

    Fall has arrived.

    One of my goals for this fall and winter is to make more soups. I’ve never been a big soup person but all of a sudden this year I have so many soup recipes I want to try.

    I got this orzo soup recipe from my mother-in-law years ago and we love it. But since Jared has been gluten free we’ve swapped out the gluten filled orzo noodles for gluten free macaroni, though I did find out today that there is such a thing as GF orzo noodles so I’ll be looking into those for the next time I make this!

    Gluten Free Macaroni Orzo Soup

    • 8 cups chicken stock
    • 1 jar pasta sauce
    • 1 jar pizza sauce
    • 1/2 cup onion
    • 1/2 cup celery
    • 2 tsp parsley
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp celery salt
    • 1/2 tsp chili
    • 1/4 tsp sage
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 1/2 cups macaroni
    1. Add all the ingredients except the macaroni to a pot and bring to a boil.

    2. Add the gluten free macaroni and reduce the heat.

    3. Cook until macaroni is cooked through.

    Feel free to make this recipe gluten free or gluten filled, it’s tasty either way. 🙂

    Delicious Gluten Free Orzo Soup with Macaroni

  • Tips on Raising a Gluten Free Child
    FOOD,  PARENTING

    On Raising a Gluten Free Child

    Raising a Gluten Free Child

    It’s been a few months now since Raeca has joined Jared on the gluten free band wagon. I know I shared at the beginning of the summer that we were testing her for Celiac since it is hereditary and she was displaying some of the classic symptoms for it, but I don’t think I ever shared the results. A few days after getting the test done the doctor called to tell us that she tested negative.

    While some would think that would be a good diagnosis I was kind of disappointed* because I knew that gluten was indeed affecting her in a negative way and now we had no real “proof” (medically speaking). Despite her diagnosis (or lack thereof) we have continued to assume she at least has a gluten intolerance and time and time again we are assured we are doing the right thing, when we will eat at other people’s houses and even though we (and they) are as careful as possible to avoid any gluten contamination and yet she is sick for days afterwards.

    Raeca has been handling the transition to a completely gluten free diet so well. She actually likes almost every gluten-free food that we’ve sent her way and has even eaten gluten-free breads that Jared has tried his best to eat but just couldn’t handle. This has been such a blessing.

    I thought with foods like goldfish crackers and pretzels still so fresh in her memory that the transition would have been more difficult but it really hasn’t been the case for her.

    Today I wanted to share a few things that we have done that I believe have helped this transition.

    EXPLAIN THAT GLUTEN HURTS THEM
    We’ve explained to Raeca that it is gluten that makes her tummy hurt, so when we are over at someone’s house and she asks for a delicious donut or other treat all I have to do is tell her that it has gluten in it and she understands, she never whines or complains about it because she knows what it does to her.

    MAKE SURE THEY KNOW TO REFUSE SNACKS OR ASK IF IT IS GLUTEN FREE
    Raeca isn’t even 4 years old yet and has gotten quite good at either declining snacks when offered by kids or asking adults if the food is gluten free. It is something we’ve chatted about at home, she knows that she isn’t supposed to share food with other children because she may get sick.

    MAKE SURE OTHER ADULTS KNOW
    Sometimes kids just forget to ask about the food, it’s bound to happen, if you can make sure to keep any adults in the loop who will be in charge of potentially giving your child food you can reduce the risk of contamination. Our families and close friends know as well as her preschool teachers.

    HAVE GLUTEN FREE FOODS AVAILABLE
    If we go to a friends house for lunch or the evening I always try to make sure to bring food along that she can eat. Sometimes that means I bring an entire meal and sometimes just a snack. Raeca will be starting preschool this week and they will often have “special days” where kids will bring a special snack, I already have a list of days and I plan on sending her gluten-free cupcakes on those days.

    GET THEM IN THE KITCHEN
    Kids are always more willing to try food when they have helped to make it. Get them in the kitchen pouring and mixing and they will be more interested taste testing afterwards.

    Do you know any gluten free children?
    Are there any tips you would add to the list? 

    *Just to clarify: I was disappointed that we didn’t have a clear diagnosis for Raeca, NOT that I wanted her to have celiac. 

    Linking up with Gluten Free Tuesday.

  • FOOD

    Gluten Free White Tortillas

    When we come across a gluten-free bread-ish recipe (like these tortillas) I just get so giddy and want to tell everyone about it, oh wait, I have! 🙂 We had yet to find a good gluten-free tortilla that we could buy so finding a recipe we could make AND really enjoy is pretty exciting.

    What I love so much about this recipe is that it uses basic gluten free flours that we use on a daily basis (white rice flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch), so I don’t need to hunting in the grocery store for weird flours (like my one cookbook that calls for a lot of pea fiber 80 – what is that?!).

    For a gluten free recipe the dough is fairly easy to work with, I definitely struggle a bit with rolling them out properly, I think a tortilla press will be going on my Christmas list this year, but thankfully the overall shape doesn’t matter too much and they still taste delicious.

    We like to use these tortillas with tacos (make with our homemade taco seasoning), chicken fajitas and if you are three years old and like Raeca, completely plain.

    Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

    • 1 cup tapioca starch
    • 1/2 cup white rice flour
    • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 2 tbsp shortening
    • 1 tbsp white sugar
    • 2 tsp xanthan gum
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    1. Mix together the flours, white sugar, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.

      Mix in the shortening with your fingers until well combined.

      Add the water and mix well.

      If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water.

      Heat an ungreased skillet on medium-high heat.

      Roll out tortillas and cook each one on the hot pan until it begins to bubble. Then flip and cook until the bottom has some brown spots.

      They are the best if you stack them on top of each other as they come out (this softens them up a bit). You can also throw a s lightly damp towel over the top one.

    I kind of want to eat these every day now.
    How do you like to eat tortillas?

    one of the more misshapen tortillas . . . who am I kidding, they are all pretty misshapen
    definitely adding a tortilla press to the Christmas list

  • FOOD

    Homemade Chicken Stock

    I made my first chicken stock from scratch last year from some recipe I found in a cookbook. I found that it was okay, but definitely lacking in flavor and I thought it used up a lot of good vegetables for such a bland stock.

    Then this spring I came across Christina’s vegetable stock recipe, she shared that she keeps all the cut offs from various vegetables and stores them in a large freezer bag to use in her stocks. I thought this sounded amazing, how about making homemade chicken stock purely out of stuff that I would have just thrown away (or composted). This was right up my simple living alley.

    So I started saving the ends and peels of carrots, leftover bits of garlic and onion and their skins, broccoli stems, pepper stems, insides and seeds, the ends of celery stalks as well as any herb trimmings. In just a few short weeks I filled up my freezer bag. I then made a whole chicken for supper one night (I always use my slow cooker for whole chicken, so easy) and after supper I placed the remaining bones and skins from the chicken into a 6 quart stock pot with as much of my frozen vegetable trimmings as I could fit, filled it with water and let it simmer.

    A few hours later I had an amazing chicken stock that I made from what would normally be wasted food. I just love that!

    I also like that I get to choose how much salt gets added into my stock (none!) and bone broth has a lot of health benefits including reducing joint pain, heals the gut and promotes healthy digestion, prevents infection, promotes healthy bones, gives healthy hair and nail growth and fights inflammation (who knew it did so much?)!

    I mainly use the chicken stock for rice, whenever I make rice I just use the chicken stock in place of water. And of course I love it for soups, I guess with all the benefits of bone broth there really is something to the whole idea of having a bowl of chicken noodle soup when you are sick.

    What recipes do you use chicken stock in?
    Do you make your own stock?

    [yumprint-recipe id=’5′]

  • Peanut Butter Energy Bites
    FOOD

    Peanut Butter Energy Bites

    These energy bite type of recipes seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason; they are delicious, pretty good for you and so easy to make!

    I first came across energy bites on Lovely Does It a few weeks ago and now I’m seeing them everywhere (like when you think there are no cars out there like yours and right after you buy one you see them everywhere you go). My recipe is a combination of a few different ones, and I’ve added a few of my own ingredients in as well but it’s most similar to this one (unfortunately I can’t find the original source, if anyone happens to find it please let me know).

    I love that these energy bites are so easy to grab out of the fridge before or after a workout or for a mid-morning snack. I have a feeling I’ll be making these a lot in the future.

    The “recipe” is really a guideline, feel free to add or subtract things to your liking. Other great additives would be peanuts, almonds, dried fruits (raisin, cranberries, etc), shredded coconut, and so much more. Once fall comes around and I am teaching again I also plan on making a nut free version since the school I sub teach in most often is nut free.

    Peanut Butter Energy Bites

    • 1 cup quick oats
    • 2/3 cup coconut chips
    • 1/3 cup flax seed
    • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    1. Blend coconut chips in food processor or blender (optional but I personally don’t like them in huge chunks).

    2. Mix the oats, coconut chips, flax seed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds in a bowl.

    3. Add peanut butter, honey, vanilla and mix well.

    4. Let them sit in the fridge for half an hour.

    5. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands make them into small balls.

    6. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container.

    Have you made a similar recipe before?
    What is your favorite ingredient to add in?

  • FOOD

    Strawberry Freezer Jam

    From first to fourth grade we lived in a small town with a population just under a thousand people. It was one of those small towns where everyone makes it their business to know everything about everyone else, especially the older people with so much time and so little to do.

    We, of course, lived next to one of those people, a sweet little old lady with way too much time on her hands; Mrs. Martens.

  • FOOD

    Strawberry Freezer Jam

    From first to fourth grade we lived in a small town with a population just under a thousand people. It was one of those small towns where everyone makes it their business to know everything about everyone else, especially the older people with so much time and so little to do.

    We, of course, lived next to one of those people, a sweet little old lady with way too much time on her hands; Mrs. Martens.

  • FOOD

    Homemade Taco Seasoning

    Next week marks one year since Jared’s diagnosis of celiac disease and just a couple of days ago I took Raeca to be tested for the same thing, hopefully we will get her results sometime this week.

    As a result of Jared’s diagnosis we’ve been reading labels much closer in the last year. And the more I’ve been reading packaging labels the more I’ve started to make homemade versions of many different staples, one of which has been taco seasoning. It’s one of those things that is so easy to make yourself, I always have all the different spices on hand for other recipes anyway, so it’s just a matter of throwing them all together.

    While I really am praying for Raeca’s sake that she doesn’t have celiac disease I’m pretty sure she at least has a sensitivity. It makes me glad that she’s been exposed to a lot of gluten free versions of normal gluteny things like pasta and bread (and actually likes them) which would make the transition a lot easier. Another thing I am trying to do is to get her more involved in the kitchen, baking and cooking and helping in any way since I know that children are much more willing to try food if they have helped to make it. I’d really like to buy her a pair of these since the part she really wants to help with is all the cutting and dicing but I can’t seem to find them in Canada.

    Do you have children with allergies or sensitivities?
    Any tips on how to get children to eat a little more adventurously?
    What are your favorite staples to make at home?

    Homemade Taco Seasoning

    • 4 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 4 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    1. Mix the spices in a bowl and store in an airtight container.

    2. Use 2-3 tbsp per pound of meat.

  • FOOD

    Homemade Taco Seasoning

    Next week marks one year since Jared’s diagnosis of celiac disease and just a couple of days ago I took Raeca to be tested for the same thing, hopefully we will get her results sometime this week.

    As a result of Jared’s diagnosis we’ve been reading labels much closer in the last year. And the more I’ve been reading packaging labels the more I’ve started to make homemade versions of many different staples, one of which has been taco seasoning. It’s one of those things that is so easy to make yourself, I always have all the different spices on hand for other recipes anyway, so it’s just a matter of throwing them all together.

    While I really am praying for Raeca’s sake that she doesn’t have celiac disease I’m pretty sure she at least has a sensitivity. It makes me glad that she’s been exposed to a lot of gluten free versions of normal gluteny things like pasta and bread (and actually likes them) which would make the transition a lot easier. Another thing I am trying to do is to get her more involved in the kitchen, baking and cooking and helping in any way since I know that children are much more willing to try food if they have helped to make it. I’d really like to buy her a pair of these since the part she really wants to help with is all the cutting and dicing but I can’t seem to find them in Canada.

    Do you have children with allergies or sensitivities?
    Any tips on how to get children to eat a little more adventurously?
    What are your favorite staples to make at home?

    Homemade Taco Seasoning

    • 4 tbsp chili powder
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 4 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    1. Mix the spices in a bowl and store in an airtight container.

    2. Use 2-3 tbsp per pound of meat.

  • FOOD

    Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Donuts

    Jared and I have always enjoyed having friends over. When we were first married we lived in a house trailer with so much character (read: things wrong with it) and while we were thoroughly embarrassed of our dumpy little abode, it didn’t stop us from having people over. Even now, we live in a duplex which is beautiful, but doesn’t really have the space for hosting too many people and we still have our Bible study group over with 9-11 adults and a few kids, and on we still get together with our friends from highschool, the numbers have grown and we are currently up to 13 adults and just as many children (yikes, I just realized that’s a whopping 26 people!).

    So when Jared was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year I didn’t want to let it stop us from doing something we love, having people over (and feeding them). A few weeks before his diagnosis we had gotten a mini donut maker and I was pretty much smitten with it, how fun to have bit sized donuts! So I was determined to find a gluten free version that I would bring me as much pleasure, and I did!

    To be honest, I actually think the gluten free ones are even better than the gluten ones we had been making before -score!

    GLUTEN FREE MINI CHOCOLATE CAKE DONUTS
    recipe adapted from Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone

    Donuts:
    3/4 cup hot water
    2 large eggs
    6 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    3/4 cup granulated sugar

    Icing:
    1/4 cup boiling water
    1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
    2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    • Plug in mini donut maker for it to warm up.
    • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add in the eggs, oil and vanilla. Whisk well.
    • Grease donut maker.
    • Scoop a leveled tablespoon onto each spot on the donut maker.
    • Close and wait until maker signals the donuts are complete. Scoop out donuts with a fork and place on a wire rack to cool.
    • To make the icing combine boiling water and chocolate chips until melted. Add in confectioners’ sugar and add the corn syrup and vanilla; stir until smooth.
    • Once the donuts have cooled, spread the icing on with a butter knife. Top with sprinkles if you like.

    Does anyone else have a mini donut maker? (If not, you need to buy one, they are only like $20!)
    Are you as smitten with yours as I am?

    Interested in more gluten free recipes? Check them out here.

    Linking up with Gluten Free Tuesdays.

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