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Easter Meringues! Guest Blog Post 2 by Gracefully Gluten Free

One of my favorite things about gluten free & food blogging is the people I come into contact with! I truly cherish the different perspectives and creativity of my blogging peers. One blogger that I am continuously impressed with is Ashley over at Gracefully Gluten Free! I am so excited to share this recipe she created for you here, and even more excited to try this with my kiddos today! I love her tips and hints that will help you attain the perfect meringues!  

You can find her blog here, with lots of great recipes and info on eating out and living gluten free.

Follow her on Twitter here.

Find her on Facebook here.

Follow her on Pinterest here.

Enjoy! 

Easter Meringues by Gracefully Gluten Free

If you are just starting out being gluten-free (or are operating on a limited budget), going out and buying a whole bunch of new ingredients can be daunting, not to mention expensive! Here is a fun little Easter recipe you probably have all of the ingredients on hand for. And if you don’t, everything in this recipe is pretty cheap! We’re talking $7 or less for about 50 “fluff piles.” All of these items should be available from your local grocery store as well. I adapted this recipe from the December 2011 issue of Bon Appetit, but I used coconut flavoring, and I dyed them pastel. Aren’t they cute?

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
food coloring- whatever colors you’d like! I used the “Neon” palette by Kroger. This worked pretty well to make pastels.

ingredients for easter meringues

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again (and I’ll probably keep saying it!). The secret to good meringues is to use room temperature egg whites. Really! Those elusive stiff white peaks will form right up! I put my egg whites in a little bowl on the stovetop while my oven pre-heats to speed up the process a bit.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

I also like to clean out my stainless steel bowl with a paper towel dampened with vinegar. The acid helps the peaks to form, and the vinegar also helps to make sure the bowl is really nice and clean (contaminants are usually what ruin meringues).

Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt together until they get really foamy. This should take about a minute.

Keep mixing, and slowly add the sugar. Mix this until it gets shiny, and stiff peaks form. Then add the powdered sugar and coconut extract, and mix those in as well. It will be sort of moldable at this point.

meringue ready eggs

Spoon about a fourth of the egg whites into a sealable plastic bag. Drip some food coloring in there, and squish it around until it is mixed in. This would be a great step to let kids help with if they are around! You can mix it thoroughly for an even, pastel look, or less for a more “swirly” look. Do this with the other colors in other bags.

Cut one corner off of the bottom of the plastic bag, and squeeze the egg whites out in little swirls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put them into the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours. Then take them out, and let them cool for 1 hour. Don’t worry if they are soft when you take them out of the oven, they’ll harden up as they dry.

Store in an airtight container.

And there you have it! Cute, easy, and low-cost! These can be modified for any holiday or occasion. Just change up your flavoring extract and your colors! (For a winter parties this past winter, I used almond extract, kept them white, and put blue sugar on top. I called them snow drifts!)

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Peppered Pork Roast with Rice (slow cooker)

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I love slow cookers. I love how I can do a bit of prep work, and then my house smells delicious the entire day. Not to mention, of course, that the food turns into fall-apart goodness!

I made this recently before a big storm hit. I’m in Texas, and we have had some pretty big storms lately. We are north of the Dallas area, so no tornadoes; we have seen some pretty amazing powerful weather recently however. I took the photo on the left during a break in a hailstorm (you know, when I should’ve been pulling vehicles in and all) and the right photo shows my husband holding some hail after it had been melting about an hour; he had just arrived home (I’d love to know why he always is out of town when massive storms hit. It totally forces me to be all mature and brave in front of the boys as we sit together and listen to the windows get pummeled by high winds and hail when I’d much rather hide under a blanket).

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Peppered Pork Steak and Rice

The prep work on Peppered Pork Steak with Rice is minimal. Season the roast generously with salt, garlic powder, and coarse black pepper, then brown it in on the stovetop on every surface. Yep, even the sides! Layer a sliced onion and a sliced apple (minus seeds) in the bottom of your crock pot and then place the roast atop the apple-onion bed. Pour the Tamari sauce over it (gluten free; if you consume gluten, just use regular soy sauce) and then sprinkle the roast with more coarse-ground pepper until it is covered. Add two cups of water to the cooker.

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Set your slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. Set a timer to go off in 6 hours. Why? Cause that’s when you’ll add in a cup of rice.
Yes. You can totally cook rice in a slow cooker! As long as you add it in the last two hours or so. I’ve done it with chicken, soups, and more.

I used a rice medley with basmati, brown, white, and wild rices. All you do is add a cupful of the dry rice straight into the cooker – I push the onions and apples to the side first and then stir it in. At this point, those two cups of water have transformed to a nice pork-flavored thin broth. What a marvelous broth to cook the rice in!
If you prefer your rice to have a bit more juice, feel free at this point to add a half cup of hot water to the cooker as well. I didn’t, but I like the rice to be sticky.
Allow this to cook the remaining 2 hours, and serve. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
1 pork roast (size depending on your slow cooker, 3-4 pounds is a good start)
Salt
Coarse ground pepper
Powdered garlic
2 T canola oil (for browning the roast)
1 apple, sliced thin
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
2 T GF Tamari sauce (or other soy sauce – check label for GF)
1 C rice of your choice
2 C water

DIRECTIONS:
Season pork roast.
Brown on all sides in hot skillet using oil.
Place onions and apples in slow cooker.
Top with browned roast.
Add tamari sauce.
Add more pepper to roast if desired.
Add water.
Cook for 6 hours on low.
Add rice to broth.
Cook for 2 more hours on low.
Serve.

Enjoy!
~glutenvygirl

cashew butter chocolate strawberry bites

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Press cashew butter (Mmmm…cashew butter=new favorite food) into small cups. Pour melted chocolate chips into the center. Place chopped strawberries atop the chocolate. All gluten free, of course. Enjoy!

1 spoon of cashew butter for each “bite”
1 tablespoon melted GF chocolate chips for each “bite”
2 strawberries, quartered, for each “bite”

Easy Taco Meatloaf: Allergy-friendly!

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My son absolutely loves meatloaf. My other son hates meatloaf but loves tacos. Meanwhile, my husband eats almost anything. So, one night I threw this together, in my attempt to create something everyone will eat. It was far quicker than my normal Italian-style meatloaf, but really surprisingly good. This recipe might not win any creative awards, but it certainly garnered rave reviews from everyone at my table. I love it when this happens!

I started with these simple ingredients:

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I combined:
1 T salt
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T paprika
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/8 C chopped red onion
1/4 C water

I stirred all of this together in a medium sized bowl. Then, into the bowl I crumbled:

1 1/2 lbs hamburger (I used 85/15)

I mixed it together loosely, incorporating the mix into the hamburger without over-mixing.

I pressed the hamburger mixture into a prepared loaf pan, and then spread ketchup over it for the topping.

Baking for an hour at 400*, it came out very moist and flavorful.

The baking time takes an hour, but the prep time is less than 5 minutes. after placing the meatloaf into the oven, I threw together a tossed salad and some veggies, and dinner was practically effortless.

Note: A package of Taco Seasoning could be used if you don’t have all the seasonings on hand, adding the onion and garlic. Depending on the brand you choose, it might affect the dish’s status of gluten-free etc. Check the labels.

This easy meatloaf is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and can even be tomato-free if you skip the ketchup topping. My meatloaf-hater found it delicious enough for seconds!