30 April 2009

Meal Plan for the Week

It looks like we're only having 2 other people over for dinner tonight. But, I'm going to make a big pot of chili anyway and freeze the leftovers.

Thursday Dinner:

  • Antioxidant Chili from The Gluten Free Vegan with some ground beef on the side for the more carnivorous guest

The rest of the week:

The Nerd had to run down to the dentist with an orthodontic issue, so when he gets back I'll go shopping. I only had 40 dollars to work with this week, so I needed to keep the costs down by shopping heavily in our own cabinets. I also wanted to shop mainly at the farm stand and/or get local vegetables.


Farm stand:
  • 2 Tomatoes $2
  • 2 Lettuce $4
  • Cilantro $2
  • Avocado $1
  • 4 Ears of Corn $3
  • 2 Zucchini $1 or $2
  • Broccoli $1

  • 1 can of organic black beans $3
  • 1 can of organic chickpeas $3
  • 1/2 gallon organic milk $6

Pukalani Superette:
  • Local Eggs $5
  • Local Ground Beef $5
  • Local Green Bell Pepper $1
  • Organic Carrots $2

Orange Desserts

Orange Cupcakes

Tuesday night was a crazy night. Somehow I missed 2 ingredients I needed for the beef curry, so I had to pull some food out of the freezer. Luckily I had cooked up some brown rice to go with the curry. Dinner turned out tasty, and very healthy, but not what was planned. We ate homemade chicken soup with brown rice and a delicious salad with homemade dressing (a basic vinaigrette).

I don't like having to pull food from the freezer because it means there is less in there for times when we really are having a food emergency, and it pulls from the lunch supply. It also means that I have to somehow make more food for the freezer out of the recipes for the week without going over budget.

Last night we finally had the curry, but I used green bell peppers in place of the red bell peppers. Since it was a Thai red curry the red bell peppers would have been tastier. Silly me also went to the grocery store yesterday and forgot the fresh basil for the dish because I didn't write it on the board. I ended up using dried. The meal still tasted delicious, but it certainly wasn't pretty enough for me to think of taking pictures of it.

I used the green bell peppers because red ones aren't in season here yet, and the ones the grocery store had are from Mexico and didn't look ripe enough. I know that green bell peppers are simply unripe red peppers, but I had just been listening to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and so I also would have felt rather guilty buying peppers from Mexico when there were perfectly good looking green peppers from Hawaii sitting right next to them.

As you can see from the picture at the top of the post I am not a food photographer, but there was something worth taking a picture of. In fact, there will be two pictures in this post. The picture at the top is from Tuesday night. I whipped up some orange cake cupcakes from Karina's Kitchen. Silly me didn't want to wait for the cupcakes to cool, nor did I chill the frosting, so it just slid right off. It didn't even completely act like a glaze. However, the icing was so good that it didn't end up in the garbage. In fact, I ate 3 the night I baked them, bargained for half of one from the Nerd after lunch yesterday, and had one last night. When there are gluten-free baked goodies around I can't help myself. It's probably a good thing that I don't bake that often or else I might turn into a giant cupcake.

The recipe can be found here, along with a much prettier picture.

Last night's dessert was beautiful, delicious, and healthy. The Nerd's sister brought over 2 medium size pumpkins which I should have taken a picture of. They were allowed to sit for nearly 10 months after being picked, so the flavors really had time to develop and the pumpkin sweetened nicely. The pumpkins were supposed to become a side dish for the curry, but I decided to make a second dessert out of them. This was probably a good idea because the cupcakes were very sweet, so it was a good step up from spicy curry to super sweet cupcakes.

Pumpkin Puddin'

Pumpkin Puddin'
by AmandaonMaui
Dairy-free, Gluten-free

  • 2 medium sized pumpkins, smaller than basketballs
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)

Cut around the stem on the pumpkins and remove the top.

Cut the pumpkin into smaller, easier to handle chunks.

Scrape the seeds and stringy parts off of the pumpkin flesh. Discard, or save the seeds for roasting later.

Chop the large chunks into 1-2 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.

Put the pieces into a large stockpot and cover with water, at least one inch over the pieces.

Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Once the water reaches a full boil, lower the temperature to medium and let simmer until the pumpkin flesh is tender.

Drain the water off of the pieces by using a large colander.

Let the pumpkin pieces cool for a few minutes until they're still warm, but cool enough to handle.

Take each piece by the skin, and scrape off, or squeeze the flesh off of the skin into a blender or food processor.

Continue this process with the rest of the pumpkin. This should equal about 4 cups unpacked cooked pumpkin.

Blend the pumpkin until it starts to become a smooth consistency, and add in a little of the milk at a time, continuing to blend after each addition, until the pudding is at a consistency you like.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, and blend until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour into a large bowl and chill until dessert time.

Serve in dessert cups or wine glasses, or whatever you have available.

Top with unsweetened flaked coconut, crushed pecans, or whatever toppings you like on pumpkin-y treats.

29 April 2009

Karina's Kitchen- Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess: The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet- How to Go G-Free

Karina's Kitchen- Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess: The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet- How to Go G-Free

This is a great beginner's guide to going gluten-free. If you're new to the gluten-free diet, or are curious about what I can eat and post about here, then this is something you should read.

28 April 2009

Easy Gluten-Free Ameri-Mexican

Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
Black Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad

Last night I served up grilled chicken quesadillas with Tillamook vintage sharp white cheddar on corn tortillas, with a side of black bean, corn, and tomato salad. This was a quick, easy, delicious, and light dinner. The Black Bean Salad made more than enough for 2, and we'll be eating it for days, but it's good enough that I won't mind a bit!

Perhaps you've noticed my love affair with the Tillamook vintage sharp white cheddar in previous posts. I seem to use it exclusively. Well, it's aged for 2 years which means that the lactose levels are very low in comparison to other cheese (Yes, Kraft shredded "cheeses" often say they contain 0g lactose per serving, but that's not cheese to me), and the flavor is sharp just how I like it. I did consider picking up another package of the Tillamook mild cheddar cheese at Costco, but the budget didn't permit it, and I think the vintage white is able to be used on just about anything that requires cheese. I'd even put it on apple pie if I had an apple pie. That gives me an idea for another post sometime soon. Looks like a bag of apples goes on this week's shopping list.

Going without dairy for nearly 10 years, and now being able to have it again is a wonderful thing to me. I've worked so hard this past year to keep myself healing. I've stayed away from so many delicious gluten containing foods in hopes of healing up and feeling well; and then I learned that some people with a gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease, who have lactose intolerance can eat dairy again after a long enough healing period. Well, I'm one of those people.

So, why on earth after all of that hard work would I eat cheap dairy products? I only eat the good stuff now. Why buy cheap champagne to celebrate something wonderful when you know it's a special treat you won't be having all of the time? It's the same thing for me. Getting to have dairy again is so special to me, that I'm going to buy the best. And, I do treat it like a special occasion when I pull out the Tillamook.

If you have a love affair with Tillamook cheese like I do, check out the Tillamook Fan Club.

Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
with Tillamook Vintage Sharp White Cheddar

8 corn tortillas
2 cups of shredded Tillamook Vintage Sharp White Cheddar
1/2 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
Crisco for the pan, or other high heat cooking fat

Grill the chicken breasts either on an indoor grill or on an outdoor grill. Slice into pinky finger sized pieces.

Heat the Crisco, or other fat, in a large skillet (I used cast iron) over medium heat until the fat has melted and coated the bottom of the pan.

Place one tortilla into the pan and put about a golf ball sized amount of cheese in the center.

Put as much chicken as you'd like in the quesadilla on top of the cheese, fanning it out toward the edges of the tortilla. Top with about half the amount of cheese put onto the bottom tortilla to make the chicken and top tortilla stick together.

Cook until the bottom tortilla gets crispy, but not burnt, and flip the quesadilla over carefully.

Cook until the other side is crispy. Remove from the pan and repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas, chicken, and cheese until you run out of one of the ingredients (in Chemistry this would be your limiting reagent; I told you all I'd been studying too much...).

If you like your tortillas not crispy, then just cook until the cheese has melted, then flip and repeat. I like mine more like tostadas than soft quesadillas.

Serve with salsa and non-fat plain yogurt, or sour cream.

Note: I used Crisco because a friend of mine said that when she cooks Mexican food she always uses Crisco because it can stand the heat and makes the tortillas nice and crispy. She's been cooking a while longer, than me, and I respect her cooking knowledge. She was definitely right on this one. Normally I wouldn't recommend Crisco as it is a hydrogenated fat (it stays solid at room temperature) which isn't healthy for your body, but if used sparingly it can be included in your cooking.

Black Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad
adapted from vegweb.com

2 cans of black beans (organic preferably) drained and rinsed
2 large ears of corn (organic preferably, I used local), shucked
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 green onions, green parts only, sliced
2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 4 tablespoons fresh, chopped)
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper

Break the ears of corn in half and boil for 8-10 minutes until the corn is bright yellow and the kernels are tender. Remove any bad kernels carefully using a paring knife.

Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs using a sharp knife. Place the cob on one end, holding it in place with your fingers at the top of the cob, and the ball of your hand on the side opposite from your cutting point. Slice down the cob, starting at the top, or near the top, and cut all the way down. Turn the cob and continue this procedure. Repeat with the 3 other corn cobs.

In a large bowl combine the minced garlic, green onions, parsley, cumin, vinegar, oil, and pepper. Whisk together well.

Dump the beans, corn, and tomatoes into the bowl, and toss with 2 spoons until the beans, corn, and tomatoes are coated with the spices.

Chill in the fridge while you're making the rest of your meal.

Note: For an extra refreshing kick, add some fresh cilantro and use lime juice instead of the vinegar.

27 April 2009

Gluten-Free Lahaina

3 Penne Pastas at Penne Pasta Cafe

Last night I had an event to attend in Lahaina with some friends, so the Nerd, his sister, and I had dinner there on the west side of the island. I had been wanting to try the pasta at a restaurant I read about. Penne Pasta Cafe offers gluten-free brown rice pasta, penne shape only, for $2 extra. They also have dairy-free mozzarella cheese available for another $2 extra.

We all decided to get the brown rice pasta, but the Nerd was confused as to what chicken parmesan actually was (he was thinking chicken primavera). I asked him to ask the cashier if there was any breading on the chicken, but he got distracted and forgot. So, of course he ended up getting the brown rice pasta, but he also had breaded chicken sitting on top of it. That was a bummer, especially since he paid the extra for the brown rice pasta. He had no complaints about the food, and dug in happily. The Nerd said that everything was cooked very well, and that it was definitely worth the $11 (including pasta substitution cost). He wouldn't pay $20 for it, but he was pleased with his meal. Oh, and he said that if he hadn't known it was brown rice pasta, he would have thought the penne was high quality "regular" pasta.

He did find it funny too that they'd sell him brown rice pasta and not mention the breading on the chicken, but perhaps they thought he knew what he was doing. To avoid this, I think they should provide descriptions of their various entrees. A trip back to the restaurant is in order the next time we're over in the area, according to the Nerd.

Chicken Parmesan
(not gluten-free)

His sister ordered baby calamari in pomodoro (tomato and basil) sauce over brown rice penne. She too was happy with her meal, though she said she could have eaten a lot more. We both agreed we could have split another plate of pasta, but we're both rather gluttonous right now.
I was able to taste her dish, and the calamari wasn't tough and it had a nice smokey flavor to it. I do think it was a little too salty, but the flavors all worked well enough together. They also could have gone a little heavier on the calamari as I am a huge fan of little squid rings. The price of this dish was $12 with the substitution of the pasta.

Baby Calamari in Pomodoro Sauce

I chose to go with clams in the pomodoro sauce over brown rice pasta. The sauce was a little thinner than I would have liked it to be. The sauce on the calamari pasta seemed slightly thicker somehow. I was quite happy with the amount of chopped up clams in my sauce, but I could most certainly tell they weren't fresh. They were clumped together in places as though they were scraped out of a can (think canned tuna). I only had a tiny bit of grit from the clams, and my pasta was not over cooked or undercooked. My pasta was also $12 with the substitution.

Clams in Pomodoro Sauce

We drank water, although they do have soda, iced tea, Republic of Tea drinks, wine, beer, and some other spirits for sale.

We didn't have dessert, but they were offering bananas foster with vanilla ice cream as the special dessert while we were there.

Place Your Order Here

On one wall was a large flat panel TV showing TV Land (classic television channel). The space wasn't brightly lit, however I didn't find it uncomfortably dark either. I think the owner has the lighting just about right. My personal opinion is that some music would be better than the television.

The Dining Area

I can't speak about what they do to prevent cross contamination as I didn't get to speak to the owner, but I am feeling perfectly fine and I'm still wanting more pasta. The owner also owns Maui Tacos.

I believe the brand of pasta they're using is Tinkyada. It reminded me a lot of the penne Tinkyada pasta I make at home, but not overcooked and not wet(I need to drain my pasta better).

If you're on Maui and want gluten-free pasta you should definitely go to Penne Pasta Cafe. I think it was so worth the drive to get to dine on Italian style food at a restaurant again. I'm salivating just thinking about getting some more soon.

Penne Pasta Cafe
180 Dickenson St.
Lahaina, HI 96761

25 April 2009


We all have to eat them sometimes. Tonight was our night. The Nerd had a long day with a photography project for a friend, and I had a long day as well. So, dinner wasn't a possibility until 8pm. We each had some leftover candy chicken and rice, and some mashed potatoes (we were craving carbohydrates). Don't worry, we did have some vegetables today. For breakfast I actually did cook breakfast. I made buckwheat pancakes like on most Saturdays.
Tomorrow evening we'll be going out for a while, so we'll be dining out. I'm hoping to go to a restaurant I've heard has gluten free pasta. I'll let you know what happens. I'm going to email them tonight.

24 April 2009


Venison, Potatoes, and Salad

The Nerd's brother, the Hunter, brought us some fresh venison a few days ago. He hunts it and butchers it himself. Deer hunting season is year round on Maui as there are too many deer destroying the mountain side.

I ended up freezing the piece because I wasn't quite sure when I would use it. But, I was able to include it in this week's meal plan . In fact, I made it tonight, and invited their Mother to join the Nerd and I.

I've learned to pan roast, and tonight I did that with the venison.

I cut the piece into 3 parts, and I seasoned it with alae salt, fresh cracked pepper, rosemary, and butter.

For sides I served up some delicious garlic mashed potatoes and a salad of romaine, bibb lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onions, and cucumber. Everything in the salad, other than the dressing, was local.

This turned out to be very delicious, and I would serve it again.

Meal Plan for the Week

Fresh Carrots

I know, I know. I'm late again. It couldn't be helped though. Thursday was a very rainy day, and when I tried to go to the farm stand I found it to be closed because of the weather. So, that threw me off. I still went to the other grocery stores and got the shopping done, but then there were other things that came up.

So, here's the meal plan and shopping list for the week:

Thursday Night Dinner: Tacorritos

Red Beef Curry
Grilled Chicken Quesadillas and Black Bean with Corn Salad
Pan Roasted Venison and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Salad
Antioxidant Chili(from the Gluten Free Vegan) and chips with guacamole
Summer Rolls and a can of Hot and Sour Soup
Freezer Meal or Pizza


1 can Rotel $3
1 lb Organic Butter $8
2 chocolate bars $5
2 cans organic kidney beans $8 (turned out to be $5)
2 cans organic black beans $8 (turned out to be $5)
Brown Cow Nonfat Plain Yogurt $6
Alden's Ice Cream $8 (read about this on Glutenfreegirlreccomends)

Farm Stand:
4 Onions $6
3 avocados $4
1 Lime $1
2 bunches carrots $4 (none available, they won't have any for another month, bummer)
Bib Lettuce $2
2 small heads romaine $3 (got 1 large for $1.25)
Local strawberry jam $5

Pukalani Superette:
5lbs Potatoes $2
1 stalk Celery $1
2 Local Green Bell Pepper $3
Jalapenos $2
28oz Local Tofu $4
Local Eggs $5
Ginger $1
Local Sprouts $1

Long's Drugs:
Local Green Onions $1
2 household items $9

Total: $100

Actual Spent: $90.1

It's good to overestimate how much you're going to spend. This leaves you room in case there turns out to be something on sale that you'd like to grab a couple extra of, and you can always roll it over into another week, or you could take the money left and put it into a savings account. What we do is put the extras toward a trip to Costco.
Next Thursday is an odd day because it falls on the 30th, the last day of the month. So, the day could be counted as April or May. The Nerd says we'll count it as April, and we'll figure it all out after my Costco shopping tomorrow.

Happy Shopping to all, and remember to use your reusable bags! Put them in your car, purse, etc. Somewhere that you will remember them. If you do this for a while you'll get so used to it, you'll feel awkward without your bags.

23 April 2009

Wednesday and Thursday Breakfasts

No Rice Fried Rice

As I posted a while ago, breakfast is a great meal and shouldn't be overlooked if it can be helped. I especially enjoy a hot breakfast, and a healthy breakfast is very important too. I've often wondered how to get more vegetables into the morning breakfast, and I've been able to do that this week. With the leftover zucchini I simply reheated it and topped it with an egg. The same type of breakfast occurred yesterday with an egg on top of kale sauteed with spinach. And, this morning it was a no rice fried rice. I wanted to make fried rice to use up more of the vegetables before I go to the farm stand today, so I thought that this was a great idea. Unfortunately I didn't have any leftover rice in the refrigerator. That's sacrilege living here in Hawaii and dining on a great deal of Asian style foods. I also think that having pre-made rice around is a good idea for those on a gluten-free diet. Some people stop getting enough grains, especially whole grains, in their diet when they go gluten free; but, if they kept a container of brown rice in the refrigerator they could warm some up in the microwave to have as a side dish or part of a main dish anytime.
So, no rice fried rice was born. Instead of using rice or noodles I used washed and drained mung beans as the base.

Thursday's Breakfast:

No Rice Fried Rice
(see above picture)
  • 2 cups of rinsed mung beans
  • 1 cup of of sugar snap peas, ends cut off and then cut in half
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 green onion, white part sliced and dark green part sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Braggs, or gluten-free soy sauce to taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper to taste
  • Medium-heat Oil (optional)

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add a little bit of oil if needed to keep the vegetables from sticking.
  2. Add in the diced carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Then add in the whites of the onions and cook for another 1 minute.
  4. Toss in the snap peas and cook until they start to get slightly blackened on the edges.
  5. Incorporate the mung beans and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  6. Push the vegetables to one side of the skillet and add in the eggs. Start scrambling them, and mixing them with the vegetables. Cook until the eggs are cooked through, and the eggs sticking to the vegetables are cooked completely.
  7. Spritz in some Braggs, or pour on a little gluten-free soy sauce and sprinkle in the red pepper.
  8. Stir well, and serve hot.
Wednesday's Breakfast:

Sauteed Kale and Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts
Topped with a Fried Egg

Sauteed Kale and Spinach with Toasted Pine Nuts
adapted from vegweb.com
  • Greens and nuts:
  • 1 bunch of kale, leafy part only, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 bunch of spinach (about 2 cups of leaves, compacted)
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/2 a medium onion, julienned and diced
  • 1Tbsp Grapeseed of other medium to high heat oil
  • Dressing:
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and add in the pine nuts. Let them cook, but watch them carefully. Do not let them burn. They should be a golden color when they are done.
  2. In, or over, another medium pot steam the kale and spinach for 3-5 minutes (depending on level of squishiness desired). Remove from the heat.
  3. When the pine nuts are done place the kale, spinach, and pine nuts in a medium bowl. Top with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to your desired level of coating. This is where you really get to experiment and learn your palate.
  4. Top with a fried, or poached egg, or serve as a side for any other dish like fish, chicken, tofu, etc. It's very versatile.

20 April 2009

Maui Tacos


There is a restaurant here in Hawaii(and apparently elsewhere across the US) called
Maui Tacos, and I will share some information on them with you, but tonight I made tacos for dinner. Well, a cross between tacos and burritos.

Typically burritos are made with the big flour tortillas, but being gluten-free I don't eat the flour tortillas. I eat corn, and I actually now have a preference for corn tortillas. My dad told me that there is a taco stand down the road from his house now, and that he always gets corn tortillas. The woman working at the stand asks him every time wether he'd prefer corn or flour. He tells her corn, and every time he tells her that she looks very confused but gives him the corn tortillas anyway. I guess most white American men prefer flour, or at least in her mind they do.

To get back to my tacorritos here is the recipe adapted from $5 dollar dinners.

Vegetarian Lentil Spinach Tacorritos
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked (Leftover brown rice works great here to help make cooking this meal go much more quickly.)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon Goya Adobo powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 14 Mission corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Tillamook white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sour cream or substitute, and salsa

x. Preheat your oven to 250F.

1. If you haven't already cooked up your rice, do so before beginning on the rest of your meal preparation. This could take you up to an hour or more depending on how you cook your brown rice.

2. Rinse the lentils, and then put them in a pot with water coming up to about an inch or so above them. Bring this to a boil, and then simmer it for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed. Drain off any unused water.

3. Put the lentils and brown rice into a large skillet with the diced tomatoes with green chiles.

4. Add in all of the spices, including salt and pepper, and mix well.

5. Tear up the spinach into bite sized pieces and place it into the skillet as well. Mix everything together well and let the spinach wilt for about 5 minutes. Heat all of the this through well.

6. Warm the corn tortillas in another skillet to make them more pliable. Then, add the filling to each tortilla. Add about a golf ball sized amount. Top the filling with the shredded cheese and roll the tortilla shut.

7. Repeat the above process until all of the filling is used. Place the tacorritos into a large baking dish and place the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tortillas reach the crispness you desire.

8. Top with sour cream or substitute, and salsa.

Now, to discuss Maui Tacos.

For those who are gluten-free, it's a pretty good restaurant to know about when you're on Maui.

Their website states:

Gluten Free Menu:
All items on our menu are gluten free, except for the items that include a flour tortilla. Our burritos always feature a flour tortilla, but you can order a burrito bowl instead. A bowl has all the same ingredients as a burrito except for the tortilla. All other items are made with corn. Our enchilada sauce also has some flour in it, but all salsas are gluten free. All meats, beans and rice are made gluten free.

I've never been made sick by eating their food, but you should be very clear in what you want when you order. But, this is true no matter where you dine.

They do something the website calls a "burrito bowl", but don't ask for that because they won't know what you're talking about. Just ask for a burrito, no tortilla. Then it's kind of like a taco salad. This is great for when you see something delicious on the burrito menu, but can't eat it because of the tortilla.

Their tacos are what I believe is pretty authentic for tacos. Anthony Bourdain dined at a near border taco stand on his trip to Mexico on his TV show, and those tacos were meat, soft corn tortillas, salsa verde, and cilantro. At Maui tacos, you get the soft corn tortillas, meat (or not), lettuce, and you can choose your own salsa and wether or not you want other additions at their salsa bar.

They used to use potato starch made utensils, but I think the economy drove them back to cheaper plastics. I was so jazzed when I first encountered the potato starch utensils, and I was heartbroken when I saw them replaced with the standard. Sorry earth, guess everyone's feeling too broke to care.

Here's an interesting note about Maui Tacos: their owner also owns a small Italian restaurant that offers gluten-free spaghetti for an additional dollar, and soy cheese for a dollar. I haven't had the opportunity to try it, but when I do I will most certainly blog about it.

For those of you who have been searching the web for gluten-free restaurant information, I hope this post and my post about Down to Earth help you out.


Monday's Breakfast

Eggs and Pan Roasted Zucchini with Balsamic Vinegar

I'm wanting to get back into working out again, and so I thought to start the day off right I'd make the Nerd and I fruit smoothies with kale hidden in them. Well, let me tell you, that kale wasn't hiding anything. Down the drain it had to go. I made it through a 1/4 of a glass, but the Nerd only managed two sips while making "disgusted cat" faces about the salad like taste.

Breakfast instead became something quite beautiful and delicious, and pretty healthy too.

Last night for dinner I whipped up two pan and oven roasted chicken breasts with butter, rosemary, thyme and the old alae sea salt and pepper. I slightly overcooked them because I was off dealing with the zucchini, but they were still moist enough and delicious. It's a good thing though that they were a little dry, because the zucchini was not.

I pan roasted the zucchini while following a recipe in Think Like a Chef. The zucchini took quite a while because I could only do it in one layer at a time, and I was using 4 jumbo zucchinis from the farm stand. They were 3 for $1, how could I pass up that deal? So, I made a ton of pan roasted zucchini. It's very good, seriously. The flavors of the olive oil, sea salt, and pepper mix together so beautifully. They're all such simple flavors, and make simple flavors, but pairing them with the zucchini makes my mouth think it is dining on something rather expensive. I'm learning that it's all in the techniques.

So, after the major "Fail" on the smoothie front, I reheated some leftover zucchini and topped it with a fried egg and some balsamic vinegar (the good stuff, not the stuff I hide in spaghetti sauce). I think it would have been worthy of an elegant breakfast had I made poached eggs, but I didn't think about it until afterward when I saw the zucchini piled on the plate.

This was a beautiful, and very ono breakfast.

19 April 2009

GF Pastry to be Sold at Starbucks

This is exciting news. Here in Hawaii the major coffee store chain is highly addictive to much of the population, as I am sure it is to those elsewhere in the country. I don't usually go there on my own, but if a friend wants something and I go with them I will get a tea latte or something along those lines. I do drink coffee sometimes, but I have to be sure my stomach is up for drinking it. If my stomach is feeling too sensitive the coffee can make me have some serious digestive problems.

Anyway, on to the good part!

For those who do like to go to Starbucks, or for those who are drug along like me, we will soon have a treat available to nosh on. A gluten-free cake is going to become available to us gluten-free folks soon. It will be an orange cake and will be individually wrapped and sold for $2.25 (I don't know if that price applies everywhere).

As soon as I spot the snack cake at a Starbucks here in Hawaii I will let you all know so that we can head out and grab one of these. Here's hoping they don't taste like crap or have the texture and weight of rocks.

More information can be found at Forbes.com

Did I mention that their stock price rose after the announcement?

Saturday Info and Contest Info

Saturday I spent the whole day out, and that meant eating every meal but breakfast out. For breakfast we had strawberry buckwheat pancakes with strawberry guava syrup made here in Hawaii. I used the recipe for blueberry buckwheat pancakes from The Gluten-Free Vegan and instead of adding blueberries, I added fresh strawberry pieces. I cut the strawberries up pretty small so they would be distributed nicely throughout the pancakes.
On top of my pancakes I also added some tsubushian(sweet red bean paste) that I had leftover from the ichigo daifuku I made on Thursday night. Oh, I didn't post about those because they were a disaster in their appearance. They tasted quite nice, but the mochi became too cold by the time I could get the strawberries semi-coated in in the tsubushian and into the mochi to be wrapped. However, everyone ate their treats happily. Thank goodness a guest brought some more strawberries and some whipped cream for dessert.

Today I am posting about a contest that is being held over at $5 dinners. You could win a fifty dollar gift card to use at Home Depot. They are promoting the spring planting season, and are giving this away for people to start their own home gardens. I wish you all, and myself, luck in winning!

17 April 2009

Thursday Dinner and Breakfast

Fresh Maui Tofu

Last night's dinner was delicious. My Red Curry Tofu was spicy and delicious. None of the vegetarians or vegans showed up, but we still enjoyed it.

I had originally purchased the steak to feed Devin and I later in the week, but another one of the guests requested a piece of the steak. So, I gave away 2/3 of the steak last night, but this morning the Nerd and I are splitting the last piece with our breakfast. More on that later.

Definitely Press Your Tofu for this Recipe
(Yes, it's under there.)

Red Curry Recipe:

4 cups of dry rice, cooked
8 Tbsp Thai Red Curry Paste
Oil (optional)
4 cans of Coconut Milk
1/2 a super sized zucchini, or 1 large zucchini
1 cup of chopped Kale
2 large red bell peppers, sliced and cut in half
1 large block of tofu, pressed
2 cups of water

Sautee the curry paste in a non-stick large pot, or in oil in a standard pot. Then add the coconut milk and stir it up until combined. Watch for chunks of the curry paste and mash them with the back of a large spoon against the side of the pot to break them up. Bring to a mild simmer.
Add in the red bell pepper and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the zucchini and kale. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add in the tofu, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Put all of the water into the pot, and bring back up to a simmer.

Serve this over rice. You'll have more than enough rice, which is great because you'll have some for the leftovers.

The steak I made last night was very well received, and I heard some groans of pleasure. I was paid a great compliment from my friend C who said that for top sirloin butt steak can get very tough, especially since it was a thin steak. However, mine was very juicy. I attribute that to the slow pan roasting and the basting.
To slow pan roast your next steak:
  • Heat a pan to medium low
  • Put in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • Cut off a small piece of steak to test the heat of the pan
  • If the oil sputters or smokes, remove the pan from the burner and turn the heat down
  • Once the oil only produces a nice sizzle, then add the rest of your steaks
  • Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, if you steak is sticking let it stick for a moment and it will release itself when it is done browning
  • Add a tablespoon or two of butter to the pan along with your favorite steak seasoning
  • Return the steak to its first cooking side and let the teak cook for about 13 minutes for medium rare
  • Test the doneness of your steak by pressing on it with your finger: the more give there is, the rarer the steak, the more firmness the more well the steak is
  • Pay attention to the thinnest part of your steak, it will give you a good idea of how the rest of your steak is doing
  • Remove the steaks from the pan before they reach the done point you desire as they will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the heat of the pan
  • Resting the steak before eating it is important because it gives the steak time to redistribute the juices for a juicier and more flavorful steak
  • Enjoy!
(Information adapted from Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio, a chef I greatly respect for his knowledge and skills)

Mmm a real breakfast!

Breakfast this morning was the piece of leftover steak, reheated in the cast iron skillet; pan fried and oven roasted sliced potatoes with onions, alae sea salt, pepper, and thyme; a pan fried egg with pepper; and sliced strawberries. It took a while to make. I didn't get to cooking it until 7:45am, and it was done by 9am. In that time I was able to wash up some leftover dishes from last night, and I got some towels washed in the washing machine. Now that I know more of what I like in this meal I could do this quicker, but the potatoes still take a while.

16 April 2009

Meal Plan for the Week

My breakfast this morning

Thursday Dinner:

  • Thai Red Curry Tofu with Mochi for dessert, for our meat eater I will be serving Pan Roasted Sirloin, corn on the cob, and a baked potato.

Friday-Wednesday (No Saturday, possibly no Friday):

  • Lentil Burritos from $5 Dinners
  • Summer rolls and Tom Kha Ga (okay, the soup is canned Thai Kitchen)
  • Crockpot Beef Pho from Crockpot365
  • Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with Black Bean and Corn Salad from Vegweb
  • Steak leftovers with baked potatoes and corn on the cob
  • Pan roasted chicken breast, a delicious vegetable from the farm stand, and brown rice
Shopping list:

  • Chocolate bars (2 for $5)
  • Organic milk $6
  • Sweet Thai Chili Sauce $5
  • Beef Stock $4 (could make this, but not this week)
  • Rotel $3
  • Local Tofu (2) $6
  • Garlic(2) $1
  • Red Bell Pepper $2
  • Cucumber(2) $3
  • Local Sprouts $2
  • Rice wrappers $2
  • Basil $2
  • Local stir fry beef $5
  • Pasture Raised Eggs $5
  • Local Onions(2) $3
  • Local Watercress $2
  • Local Snap Peas $1
  • Local Corn Cobs(4) $4
  • Local Carrots(2 bunches) $4
  • Bibb Lettuce $2
  • Local Romaine $2
  • Local Avocado $2
  • Local Lime $1
  • Local Spinach(2) $4
  • Local Delicious vegetable $2
  • Local Cherry Tomatoes $3
  • Local Green Onions $1
  • Local top sirloin steak $7
From the Onions down to the Cherry Tomatoes are all bought at the farm stand. Prices can fluctuate there, and so can supply. Carrots weren't available last week, but they looked so good when I saw them that I am excited to get my hands on them. I'll see what else I can get there, so I am going to have to get a good deal of cash from the Nerd for the food there.

My estimated total is: $90 out of available $120

With that much room available, I don't feel so scared to go shopping. That room too makes a Costco trip possible soon. I don't promote Costco for all things, but we are running out of toilet paper, and that's the best way to get that here in the islands. There is no locally produced toilet paper.

I'm going to take a peek at the local milk now that it is on sale and they are selling a half gallon now. If the expiration date is far out enough, I'll get that and save 2 dollars more.

Friday night we may be going out to eat with a friend, or she may be coming over here, or we may be going over to her house. If she comes over here I'll serve the Pho or the Pan Roasted Chicken Breast.

Okay, time for me to finish getting ready to head out to the stores. I need to shop earlier today so I can straighten up the house and prepare for dinner tonight.

Have a splendid day!

*EDIT* Exciting news! I bought a box of strawberries at the farm stand and still came in at $80.67! That's nearly $10 under my estimated total. Now I certainly have enough money for Costco!

Severe Lack in Breakfast Blogging

Bananas Foster Pancakes with Genmaicha Tea

Yesterday I noticed a severe lack in breakfast blogging, especially among gluten-free and vegan blogs. Everyone always focuses their attention on supper. Supper is a terrific meal, but breakfast is as equally as amazing(and can often times be better). So, where are all of the breakfast recipes and photographs? Is breakfast just too hard to blog about, or to get people interested in? Or is it that we're all skipping out on the meal entirely?

When I watch old TV shows breakfast seems to be the biggest meal with pancakes, meats, eggs, waffles, milk, orange juice, and potato dishes; in the movie Pleasantville they mock this.

These days in movies and on TV you see people grabbing a granola bar, or a yogurt and rushing out the door. What happened to the nice hot breakfast to start the day off right?

I can't say I'm not guilty of eating a cold breakfast most of the time, but I live for those weekend breakfasts with warm pancakes and leisurely eating. Just about every Saturday I make pancakes. We usually wake up around here at 10am on the weekends, so breakfast is almost like a small brunch, with a light lunch later in the day, and then dinner.

I'd love to get into creating some delicious breakfasts, and show that they can be done quickly while still getting out of the door on time. Being a student who doesn't have to be downtown for class until noon gives me a lot of time in the morning, but the Nerd has to be in his office(he telecommutes) by 8am. Giving that I don't get out of bed until about 7:10, this doesn't give me a lot of time. I still have to get dressed, cleaned up, and in the kitchen in time to make a good breakfast. Sometimes I can take his breakfast into the office for the Nerd. But, I would like to make a really great breakfast for him to enjoy before he is thrust into corporate land and meetings.

This will definitely be an involved experiment, and I probably won't be able to do it all of the time, but I'll give it a shot.

There is one problem though: fitting more food into the budget.

Being gluten-free means that pancake batter isn't as cheap as a bag of flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and some baking powder. The gluten-free flours all tend to be quite expensive, and there's the mixing of the different kinds to get them to create something tasty that isn't flat as a well, too thin pancake, and doesn't turn into a rock. I'm so reliant on mixes or other people's recipes that I am afraid to branch out to my own brain for the correct mixture of flours, but I'll try. It will probably just start with modifying some existing mixes and playing with that. But see, here's that problem of money again. How to do this without wasting expensive flours? I'll start with slight alterations that shouldn't affect the mix greatly.

What about other breakfast dishes? Well, potatoes are cheap and you can leave them alone to do their cooking while you're off dressing yourself for work, school, etc. or while you're dressing your husband, boyfriend, etc. or while you're wrestling your children into clothes. Heck, you could even start a load of laundry while they're cooking. Potatoes like to be left alone to cook at a lower to medium temperature. If you try to cook them too fast on a high heat they'll burn and breakfast will be ruined. If cooked too low then they won't be ready by the time you're ready to leave. There is a happy middle. I'll come up with a great recipe and we'll learn that temperature and time together.

Eggs are quick, and if you are patient and use that happy middle again, they won't burn or be undercooked. There will even be time to get a kid's shoes on, or time to brush your hair and put on a little makeup, or give a quick spit shine to your shoes. You could even move the laundry to the dryer. If you're a vegan, then great, go with a tofu scramble. It's a simple quick fix too. There are more spices to throw in, but a quick crumble of tofu with your hands and some seasonings, and once the tofu is heated through you're ready to go. What makes you lucky is no fear of salmonella from improperly handled and cooked eggs.

And, if you can afford gluten-free oats then throw them into the crockpot the night before, and you've got breakfast piping hot and waiting in the morning. Throw in your favorite toppings, and mmm so ono(delicious in Hawaiian).

If you're absolutely in a rush, mix up a smoothie. They should be faster than any of the above, given a good blender you don't have to fight with(like mine). Take the standard smoothie and hide some spinach in it for extra vitamins and a serving of vegetables. You'll notice a slight difference, but not much of one.

One of our favorite hot breakfasts during the week is fried rice. This is a great way to get vegetables into breakfast(which seems quite difficult to do). It's a wonderful way to use up leftovers. Scramble two eggs in a large skillet or wok, and then move them to a plate(we do this so they don't dry out while everything else cooks). Add a little oil to the wok and toss in some vegetables(frozen mixed vegetables work quite nicely, and are much faster and easier than chopping fresh). Cook them until they're almost tender. Toss in some leftover, refrigerated rice. It should be nice and dried out.(If your rice isn't very dry, take the lid off and put it in the freezer for a couple of minutes.) Stir fry this together over medium high heat with some seasonings(I like crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper). Finally, add in some pineapple chunks and a little bit of gluten-free soy sauce(I use Braggs). Put the cooked egg back into the wok, give everything a good stir, and serve it up in bowls with extra Braggs on the side. Delicious!

Well, that's my way too long breakfast post for today. A dinner posting and the meal plan for the week are up next!

15 April 2009

Channa Masala

The Ingredients

I took a picture of the ingredients because it seemed like such a small amount of things were going to come together as dinner. And, then did. There's no rice in the shot, but I already had some rice cooked and waiting.
I didn't have any Garam Masala spice, and I had a moment yesterday when I realized I could have put some together from scratch. However, I didn't. I used the Madras curry powder you see in the shot. It's the center, and the star of the dish.
The whole meal was a spicy, delicious comfort food. It also had bits of zing to it from the cardamom pods. I cracked them open with a knife and scooped their insides out into the pan with the onions and garlic. I don't have a mortar and pestle yet, but if I had then the zing wouldn't have been in such concentrated pockets, and would have lent a great mellow "hrm what's the flavor?" to the whole dish. The cardamom pods were not part of the original recipe, but I saw them used in another channa masala recipe (whole) and so I thought I'd give it a shot in my own way. Since I hated the idea of having the whole pod in my bowl, and having to eat around it, I thought it would be a much better idea to get out the good stuff.
Unfortunately, the food smelled so good, and I was so hungry, that pictures of it were not taken. However, the image on the link below will give you an idea of what it looked like. Mine had more tomatoes (about half a can) as that seemed to be the general consensus in the comments.

So, here's a link to the recipe at seriouseats.com

For my version, as I said above:

Add two cardamom pods, opened up with a knife. Scrape out the insides and into the pan while the onions and garlic are just finishing their cooking.

Add half a can of tomatoes instead of 3tbsp. You'll be glad you did.

Leave out the jalapeno (I did because I didn't have one, but you could put it in. However, the cayenne pepper says that you don't need it, seriously.)

Use Madras curry powder instead (or garam masala, but I don't know the flavor of that in this dish).

Serve over brown rice; and, I recommend serving a salad alongside, or some other simple vegetable. There really weren't enough vegetables in this dish to make me happy, so later I had some salad while I watched Religulous with the Nerd's sister.

13 April 2009

Spicy Beef and Broccoli

Tonight we had spicy beef with broccoli. This is so much better than anything we could get at any fast food Chinese take-out. The original recipe is from glutenfreeda.com and uses shrimp and soba noodles. Here in Hawaii, 100% buckwheat soba noodles cost 8 dollars per package. So, I use rice instead.

I also used Maui Cattle Company stir fry beef. This is the only beef I will purchase for my home use, and when dining out. It is local, free range, and they are some seriously happy cows. I have been up close and I see them all of the time happily grazing in the pastures. If you're on Maui, or visiting Maui, I suggest this beef be your only choice as well. The slightly higher price is worth it because the meat is so very tender, and juicy. I've never had a bad cut of beef from this group of ranches. Even their stew beef is outrageously tender.

Along those same lines, Maui Cattle Company is now selling half lambs (25lbs). This comes out somewhere over $100, but may be worth your money if you love lamb and want to get pasture raised, happy lamb meat. You can purchase it at Pukalani Superette, but I'm not sure where else on the island right now. If you know, please post and I will update my information.

Now for the recipe, with my changes:

Spicy Beef and Broccoli

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • ¼ cup gf Chinese chili sauce (Sriracha)
  • 1 lb. beef, diced for stir fry
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-½ cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • Vegetable oil for stir-frying

Cook Rice.

Mix together the sherry, paprika, minced garlic, and chili sauce. Add to the mixture the beef and coat well. Marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Stir together the water, cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and sugar snap peas. Stir fry until bright green, and crisp tender. Add the beef; cook until the beef is done through. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens. Add the rice to the pan; mix the ingredients together until a uniform mixture is formed. Serve.


Can be served with Soba noodles instead.