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4.26.2013

BACON and EGG bake - NO CARBS

It is early in the morning and I don't want to stand around making pancakes, or trying to keep track of scrambled eggs so they don't burn.  This was the solution I came up with.  A one dish two ingredient pop it in the oven breakfast.   

I first got this idea from pinterest.  They suggested that I make this in muffin tins (see the bottom pictures) so I did.  It stuck to the pan, so I added cupcake liners, it stuck to the liners.  

Exasperated I greased up a 9x9 glass pan put some bacon on the bottom then poured the seasoned scrambled eggs over the top.  I shoved it into the oven and it came out 25 minutes later so perfect and beautiful.  Hardly any clean up.  THat iS WhaT I Am TAlkinG aBOut.


First you grease up your 9x9 glass pan.  Add four strips of bacon ( I am using turkey bacon) then add four strips of bacon going the opposite way. 

Next you scramble about 8 eggs.  Season them the way you like it.  I add a dash of garlic powder and some salt.  The bacon is the rest of the flavor.




Pour the eggs over the top of the bacon.  You can add cheese, onions, and vegetables at this point.  Here I have a little goat cheese for some added flavor.  This tastes great with just the eggs and bacon though.
DO NOT ADD MORE EGGS. This may look a little flat before you bake it.  The eggs will puff up and give you a nice height in the end.  I made the mistake of adding more eggs to the second batch and it was so squishy inside.  The kids said it tasted very "eggy''



Bake your dish at 350* for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.



As you can see you get some layers when you are all though.  The eggs puff up nicely. The best part is......NO CARBOHYDRATES.  This is a FREE breakfast for my type 1 diabetic daughter! This is a great recipe to keep around for holidays.


And here we have the egg bake in the muffin tins.  It works but the clean-up afterward is HORRIBLE.  If you want to try it despite all my ranting simply grease your tin, wrap the bacon around the outside of each cavity then pour the eggs in.  Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes.

4.21.2013

Good Food in a Flash


Cooking and baking for multiple food allergies and a type 1 diabetic is so time consuming.  I have come across a few time savers, and quick tips that I have found invaluable these last two years.  This isn't rocket science and you have probably seen or have done most of these ideas before.  This will either be a reminder or give you another technique to try. 

FREEZE VEGETABLE AND FRUIT PUREE

I cooked a few butternut squash and pureed them in the blender then poured the puree into some icecube trays.  I did this with some raw pureed beets and carrots too!  These are great additions to a fruit smoothie, pasta sauce, muffin mixes, and applesauce.

FREEZE APPLE PIE FILLING

 I used about 5-6 Granny Smith apples for this recipe.  It makes a medium size pie.  The best thing about freezing the apples is that it breaks them down and they cook better in the pie.  To make the pie simply defrost the apple filling and add to your crust.  Bake as you would normally! You can add vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean powder.  I personally think the powder tastes better.
I have a couple of these mixes in my freezer now, you will be amazed at how many more pies you will make if you get the work of the filling out of the way!  I did a review on a great pie crust by Gluten Free Mama CLICK HERE to see that.  I am going to try and make the whole pie up and freeze it before I bake it.  That would be AMAZING, pull it out of the freezer, thaw, and bake.....ahhhh what would I do with my time?
YES!!! The whole pie made up and frozen totally works.  If you want to go this route simply prepare everything as if you were making a fresh pie without baking it.  Wrap it tightly in some sort of covering (I vacuum sealed mine) and pop it into the freezer.  On baking day simply take your pie out of the freezer and let it defrost then bake it up as normal.  I LOVE IT.  It is like a present to myself.  I made up 6 pies at once using dollar store pie tins.  Then I froze them!  These would make great gifts to that new mom, or a working mother who doesn't have time for all the steps.

 MAKE BAGS OF SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS


 This has been WONDERFUL, I have each bag full of measured portions of frozen fruit.  Everything is carb counted for a fast diabetic snack/meal.  YES YOU CAN FREEZE BANANAS, peel them first.  The key is not to let the frozen fruit defrost while you are making up the bags, you want everything loose so it blends well when you make your smoothie later.  I have frozen fresh fruit ahead of time on trays then made up the bags.  Nothing says disaster like a huge chunk of frozen pineapple sticking to the bag. 

FREEZE LEMON JUICE 

 This is such an easy one.  Buy lots and lots of lemons when they are cheep.  Juice all of them and freeze them in icecube trays.  Anytime you want some fresh squeezed lemon juice simply defrost a cube or two.  Check out my lemon soda recipe CLICK HERE and my lemon ice recipe, it is carb free.....CLICK HERE

Frozen Black Beans

Make up a crock-pot of black beans.  Then freeze the beans in individual bags or containers.  Whenever you need some beans for a side-dish or to make black bean brownies simply defrost and use.  I froze my beans in an ice-cube tray to make defrosting them easier. I did a post earlier about making dry black beans in your crock pot CLICK HERE to see that.  The frozen beans are so easy to heat up in a microwave or in a pot with a little bit of water.  It is like the convenience of a can of beans without all the worries of the BPA can lining.


Quick Frozen Waffles

Make extra waffles and freeze them.  They are sooooo easy to defrost in the toaster.  I have a great low carb waffle recipe that I double so I can freeze half.  My kids enjoy P.B & J waffle sandwiches for lunch sometimes.

     You can also apply this technique to muffins.  Simply make a double recipe and freeze half.  It is nice to pop one or two muffins out of the freezer for a little snack or last minute breakfast. 

Crock Pot Beans

I have made beans from scratch in the past without success.  This recipe looked easy enough and promised success.  CLICK HERE to visit the site with the original recipe. Dry bulk beans are cheaper and easy to store.  The best part is that you can make a whole pot of these beans and freeze the extra portions for an easy meal in the future.

For this demonstration I am soaking about 4 cups of black beans.  I added 8 cups of water.

At about two hours later the beans were at the top of the bowl and the water was almost completely absorbed.  I changed out the water, it was pretty black.  Six hours later the beans had absorbed some more water and were ready to go into the crock pot.  I rinsed the beans out in a colander.  I put the beans into the empty crock pot and added enough clean new water to cover them.  For a tiny bit of flavor I added 4 cloves of crushed garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Now the beans just cook away into the crock pot for about 8 hours on low.  This is something you have to plan ahead for dinner the night before.

If you like having beans on hand for dinner right away try freezing them.  I froze my in an ice cube tray.  Whenever you want beans simply throw some bean cubes into a microwave safe bowl or heat over the stove top carefully stirring through the whole process.




CHECK IT OUT!  I dehydrated a few cups of crock pot cooked beans.   Here is how I did it.

First you do the soak, cook in the crock-pot and cool, then spread your beans on a dehydrator tray.  Dehydrate on medium for about 4 hours or until they are completely dry. 
CONCLUSION:
Just because they can be dehydrated doesn't mean that they taste great.  It would work in a cataclysmic disaster as food but I would rather have them thawed out from frozen than re-hydrated.  The taste is lacking, Just say-en. It could possibly work in a soup mix if the beans weren't the main flavor carrier.  

Cleaning Grease Filters

It is spring cleaning time. This was an exciting and easy way to clean those disgusting grease filters above the stove.  I found this on Pinterest.  This is the site for the full explanation and directions.
 .onegoodthingbyjillee.com. This is a great site for all those natural cleaning formulas. 
 
 Basically you just boil a huge pot of water and slowly add about a half cup of baking soda.  Then you add your grease filter and boil the grease away.  A word of advice, make sure your grease filter fits into the pot you are going to use.  You should be able to submerse the filter over half way.  You can turn it over to do the top side.  I only had to boil my filters for a few minutes, time will vary depending on how much grease is saturating your filter.
 This is the slug I filtered off the top of the water (with a spoon and paper-towel) after the first filter was done.  I boiled all three filters in the same water.  The water got increasingly greasy and the last filter wasn't as clean as the first. 
To fully clean those grease filters you might want to change the water and start the whole process over each time.  This is a picture of the first filter I cleaned.  Good as new!
WOW, all it took after the boiling was a quick rinse in the sink and a little soap on a washcloth to do the sides.  Dry and replace your filters over the stove.  This process took easily under an hour.  Boiling the water in the beginning was most of the wait.

4.03.2013

Strawberry Power Powder


Q:What do you get when you leave your strawberry fruit leather in the dehydrator too long?
A: You get strawberry fruit powder! 

At first I was devastated, then angry that all my hard work making these fruit leathers had gone to waste.  I was making some granola on the counter at the same time and a brilliant idea came into my head (thank you Lord) fruit powder in the granola mix!

If you don't have a dehydrator or want to save some time I have seen fruit powder for sale CLICK HERE to see the variety of fruit powders and prices.  I also found some for sale on AMAZON CLICK HERE to see the strawberry fruit powder for sale.  To make this jar of goodness all you have to do is over-dehydrate some fruit leather then blend up the shards. 

I am just so glad that my unfortunate mistake with my strawberry fruit leathers turned out so well. The best thing about this discovery is that you can do this with any fruit.  Imagine getting lots of fruit in season and dehydrating it into fruit powder for use all year long! 

Add fruit powders to smoothie mixes, muffin or cake recipes, honey, milk, the list is endless.
Never fear, I will experiment for you, this is what I tried and this is what did and didn't work so well:

STRAWBERRY GRAIN FREE GRANOLA 

All I had to do was to add 1/4 cup of this strawberry powder to my grain free granola mix. CLICK HERE for the original recipe.  It left as slight hint of strawberry flavor but nothing big.  If you want a lot of flavor, add a lot of strawberry powder.

STRAWBERRY ALMOND MUFFINS

I substituted 1/4 cup of strawberry powder for 1/4 of the flour mixture.  The muffins turned out great but I didn't taste too much of the strawberry flavor.  It adds nutrition but not a lot of taste.  

STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

 

This is one of the easiest was to take advantage of the powder.  Simply add 1/4 cup to a 2-3 cup smoothie.  It will give a rich consistency to your drink, and pack in a lot of strawberry flavor.

HONEY STRAWBERRY SYRUP

 

Add 1 tablespoon of strawberry powder to 2 tablespoons honey.  This didn't work too well. My son and I liked it. You have to keep it warm and melted in order to pour it.  Who has got time for that? We put it on our pancakes and it did taste good.

 

I am sure there are lots more uses for this vitamin packed strawberry powder, let me know if you come across some good ones.
The carb count on this is about 8g for one tablespoon. There is a lot more information on this great product ZNaturalFoods.com check it out.





Peanut Butter Cups

 This is such a great recipe.  You can have these morsels of goodness done in about 20 minutes or less.  My friend April brought this recipe to my attention.  I amended only one part of it. 
I use these mini baking cups by If You Care.  They seem to be the perfect size for the Wilton's mini muffin pan. This recipe works best with the baking cup liners but you can make the peanut butter cups without the liners I suppose, it just adds more clean-up.

I mentioned above about amending one part of the recipe.  The filling is made of the drippy natural peanut butter.  I tried mixing in some flax flour to firm up the filling.  As you can see it doesn't look right and my kid taste testers didn't like it AT ALL.  So throw that idea out.
 Then I had this idea for coconut flour.  Coconut flour is very absorbent but will it pass the kid taste test?  Well, IT DID work and pass the taste test!  Simply add one part coconut flour to one part peanut butter and mix and mix until it is the constancy of soft playdough.  As you can see I can handle the peanut butter dough very easily.

 INGREDIENTS

TOP AND BOTTOM LAYERS

2 cups soy free dairy free chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk of choice

MIDDLE FILLING

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut flour
 Melt the chocolate chips, milk, and vanilla over the stove top.  If you aren't using a double boiler make sure you are constantly stirring so you don't burn it to the bottom of your pot.  When the chocolate mixture is fully incorporated and smooth drop about one teaspoon into the bottom of each baking cup liner.  smooth it to the bottom with your finger as needed. 
 Put your pan into the freezer for a minute or two so the chocolate can form a thin shell.  Now grab about one heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball and gently flatten it to the size of your muffin tin.  Press it firmly to the bottom and sides so it sticks to the bottom layer.

 Now you are ready for the top layer!  Simply add about one teaspoon full of melted chocolate to the top of the peanut butter.  Pop this pan into the freezer if you want to eat them within 10 minutes, or let them harden on the kitchen counter until the top layer is no longer tacky.
 And there you have it, super simple! The carbohydrate count here is about 15g per mini peanut butter cup.  You can make larger peanut butter cups in a standard muffin tin.  You are going to run about 40g of carbohydrates for those babies!