Marinated Flank Steak

This has been a family favorite since I was a small child. In fact, this was THE meal to request when there was a birthday in the house.

It's so easy to make, and delicious to boot.

I didn't have a meal in mind for this evening, but I did have a flank steak in the fridge just waiting to be used. It was a beautiful day, so I thought one last grilled meal would be a fitting way to bid summer farewell (it's supposed to rain tomorrow!).

Without much ado, here is our tried and true, family favorite recipe for the most amazing flank steak you will ever taste. Don't believe me? Make it, I dare you. ;)

Marinated Flank Steak

Ingredients:

Flank Steak

1/4 Cup Gluten-free soy sauce

3 TBSP Oil

2 TBSP Sesame Seeds

1 TBSP Brown Sugar

2 cloves crushed garlic

Instructions:

Remove fat and "film" and cut the flank steak into serving size pieces (optional) - place in a marinating container.

Mix the soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds, brown sugar and crushed garlic together - pour mixture over the flank steak.

Marinate 5-6 hours (I only marinated 1 hour tonight).

Broil or barbecue (for med-rare I leave it on the grill for 4 minutes per side).

Cut into thin slices against the grain.

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By the way, see those purple fingerling potatoes next to the steak? Well, I must brag a little....I pulled those out of my garden today - they were my first ever harvest of home grown potatoes!!  I just might have a green thumb after all...

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets

I used to think that beets tasted like dirt. My opinion has changed, thanks in part to learning how to cook them in the most delicious (and simple) way. When paired with sweet potatoes, beets are like candy.

I am a fan of quick and easy dishes in the kitchen, so this is one of my favorite go-to side dishes. I made these for Easter, and everyone approved - even the kids!

I use organic sweet potatoes (I buy the orange ones, known as yams) and red beets (I don't think the flavor is near as good when using the yellow beets). I always use different amounts and sizes of beets and sweet potatoes, so I adjust the ingredients up or down depending on how many I'm using. I also don't use measuring spoons. Fewer utensils = less time cleaning up the kitchen! It's hard to go wrong with this recipe.

beets 002.jpg

1. Peel sweet potatoes and beets (save the beet greens for juicing, they are excellent!). NOTE: You might want to wear some gloves, as beets do stain hands. I remove beet juice from my butcher block by spritzing Vinegar on and wiping the surface clean with a sponge.

2. Chop into bite size pieces and toss into a bowl. Cut the sweet potato chunks slightly larger than the beets as beets tend to take a little longer to cook - cutting the beets smaller will even out the baking times so you don't have to worry about starting beets before the sweet potatoes (I usually forget to cut my sweet potatoes larger than the beets, go figure).

beets 004.jpg

3. Drizzle Olive Oil onto the beets and sweets - use enough to lightly coat every piece. I used about 1.5 TBSP for the amount prepared.

4. Sprinkle in some Garlic or Onion Powder. I have used both garlic and onion powder. I prefer the onion powder as it produces a sweeter taste in the end, but they are both good, so experiment! I used about 1/2 tsp for the amount prepared as I don't want to have garlic breath when my husband gets home from work!

5. Grind in Salt and Pepper

6. Stir it up and spread the sweets and beets on a rimmed baking pan

7. Bake at 425 for ~30-45 minutes (stirring once). The larger the chunks are, the longer it will take to cook. They are done when the beets can be easily pierced with a fork.

Warning: If you are new to the world of eating beets, you should know.... After consuming beets, you will stare into the toilet in shock - don't be alarmed, pink pooh and pee is to be expected after eating beets. You aren't dying, it's just the beets! Your kids might think it's cool...

Do you like beets? If you don't think you do, I challenge you to make this - give beets a second chance! Also, I'd love to hear the popular vote - what do you prefer, onion or garlic powder on your sweets and beets?

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Recipe: Almond Milk

I eliminated dairy from my diet (what a challenge it was in the beginning!) and began using coconut milk (Trader Joe's Unsweetened) and almond milk as a replacement for dairy.

It hadn't even crossed my mind to make my own almond milk until I went on a weekend getaway with friends and one of my eco-conscious friends was toting around a jar full of homemade almond milk. A light bulb turned on in my head and I realized that I could be saving a few bucks if I made my own, too. So I returned from our weekend trip, purchased a huge bag of almonds from Costco, and dove into making almond milk. It is surprisingly easy to make and tastes great!

We use almond milk most often on cereal and in smoothies, but I'm happy to report that I've even used almond milk (with a splash of lemon) as a replacement for buttermilk in recipes (the results were delicious).

You can soak the almonds in water overnight for added nutritional benefit if you want. I never soak the almonds because I tend to 'need it now' when I'm making a new batch. I don't add a sweetener, but in the future, I might add either flax or chia seeds to it in order to boost the nutritional benefit. Don't add these if you plan on straining the milk. I don't strain my almond milk because you lose the fiber (and the seeds!) if you strain it.

I store almond milk in a canning jar in the fridge and give it a shake before pouring, as it will separate (see above).

Here's a quick and easy recipe for almond milk:

Almond Milk Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup raw almonds (you can also use cashews)
  • Flax or chia seeds (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Sweetener (i.e. honey, vanilla, agave, stevia, sugar) to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed and secure lid
  1. If using a Vitamix, select Variable 1
  1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to high (if using a Vitamix, increase to Variable 10, then to High)
  1. Blend for about 1-2 minutes (longer for standard blenders) until a desired consistency is reached

If you want to strain away sediment, place a thin tea towel, cloth napkin or cheesecloth over a large bowl. Pour almond milk slowly into sieve and allow it to filter through. To get the last little bit through, pick up the corners of the cloth and squeeze the milk through.

Grilled Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Okay, so the weather in the Seattle area has been a bit typical lately (gray clouds and rain), but every day it's not raining, I've been thinking about grilling. And every time I mention that I'm going to grill dinner, my husband begs me to make grilled peppers stuffed with goat cheese. I guess he likes it. It is pretty amazing (if you like peppers and goat cheese).

Of course these are gluten-free, but saying it's dairy free is a stretch. These peppers are filled with cheese.  There is an option to use a cheese alternative, but you still need to use goat cheese.

Prep and cook time: 35 minutes

Feeds: 4-6

2 yellow bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, or cheese alternative, Vegan Gourmet, shredded

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Heat the grill to med-high.

1. Cut the bell peppers lengthwise into halves, discarding the stem ends and membranes.

2. Place 1 inch water in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Drop the peppers in and boil for 2 minutes. Drain, cut side down on paper towels.

3. Combine the goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onions and basil in a bowl and mix well.

4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into each bell pepper half.

5. Fold a large piece of foil to make a rectangle tray (big enough to hold the peppers). Arrange the bell pepper halves inside the foil and place another piece of foil over the top and seal both pieces together. Cut slits into the top to allow steam to escape.

76. Arrange the foil packet on the grill and grill for 5-6 minutes or until the bell peppers are crisp-tender and the cheese is melted. To serve, cut into smaller wedges and serve immediately.

NOTE: you can bake these peppers if you don't have a grill. Place the peppers in a baking dish with a little water, Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

*This recipe is straight out of a

gfreecuisine.com

meal plan I used last year. It's so good, I put it in my 'favorite recipes' binder with 5 stars boldly drawn on. :)

Basic White Bread (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

I’ve made this recipe time and again and it’s absolutely the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had (seriously).

I love sourdough and rye breads and had missed them since going gluten-free. My remedy was to add some caraway into my bread and I absolutely love it. If you don’t like caraway, go ahead and leave it out – your bread will still turn out well.

I originally made the Brioche Sandwich Bread recipe posted over at Better Batter, but it left much to be desired, so I decided to experiment. My goal in creating this recipe was to use fewer eggs and to have it taste amazing so that I could have a budget friendly bread in my kitchen (let’s face it, Udi’s is expensive!).

Basic White Sandwich Bread (Gluten-Free)

2 ½ tsp yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tbsp caraway seed (optional)

1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

5 eggs

2 ¾ cups flour ( Better Batter GF flour)

½ cup unsalted butter - softened (for dairy-free, use a substitute)

  1. Preheat oven to 170° - 200° (my oven only goes as low as 200!).
  2. Stir the yeast and warm water together (in a kitchen aid mixer if you have one) and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan or get out a 13x4x4 quick release pan (no greasing required)
  4. Add the caraway, vinegar, sugar, salt, eggs and flour to the yeast water in the mixer and beat until smooth.
  5. Add shortening, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer on low.
  6. Beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes after the last tablespoon of shortening has been added.
  7. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth it out (this isn’t your normal looking bread dough, it’s very wet and sticky)
  8. Put the pan in the oven to rise for 1 hour.
  9. When the timer goes off, bring the temp up to 375° and set the timer for 45 minutes.
  10. When done, turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.
  11. Store in a bag in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.

Notes about this recipe:

*The bread takes a long time to rise. It just plain won’t rise for me on the counter. If after an hour in the oven at 170°, it still doesn’t look as big as you think it should be…have no fear, it will rise more when you bring the oven up to baking temperature.

*If you use a USA Pans pan with a lid – DO NOT use the lid for this recipe. Your bread will cave in all over the place if you do and you will be sad to have wasted your ingredients on it (I did this quite a few times as I tried over and over to perfect the recipe with the lid on – it just doesn’t work). Leave the lid off, you won’t be sorry.

*You can use ½ cup shortening (I've tried, coconut oil and other non-dairy butter substitutes - they all worked) or ¼ cup shortening with ¼ cup butter or ½ cup butter. Any combo of shortening seems to work for this recipe, so if you have a preference for one thing over the other, try it – it should work just as well.

*Better Batter Gluten-Free flour has xanthan gum in it. This recipe may be compatible with other gluten-free flours, however, you will need to add some xanthan gum if your mix does not contain it (you may have to experiment to find the right measurement).

If you try this recipe out, I’d love to have your feedback (the good and bad). Please come back and let me know how it worked for you.

Enjoy!

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This post is linked up to a weekly blog hop here:   Laura's Gluten Free Pantry

Simple Guacamole (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)

Have you ever tried Roasted Plantain Chips? They are delicious and a great source of potassium and dietary fiber. I stock up on plantain chips when I go to Trader Joe's - It's $1.69 for a 6oz bag and there are (supposedly) 6 servings in a bag. My husband and kids LOVE them (as do I).

I like to spice them up with some guacamole - why not get potassium, fiber, vitamins B, E, and K, all in one snack? I don't make super fancy guacamole, but what I do make is sure satisfying and doesn't require anything not usually stocked in my kitchen! My youngest daughter absolutely refuses to eat avocado served any other way - she LOVES my guacamole (shhh, don't tell her it's avocado she's eating!).

Simply Delicious Guacamole:

1 avocado

1/2 lemon

salt & pepper to taste

cayenne pepper

1-2 garlic cloves minced

Halve and peel your avocado, place in a bowl. Squeeze half a lemon onto your avocado, grind some salt and pepper on, throw a pinch of cayenne pepper in to suit your spicy craving, drop the garlic in, and mash it all together.

Enjoy!

Brioche Sandwich Bread (Gluten-Free)

I know I said I'd be posting more frequently in the new year...but so far that hasn't panned out as I just haven't had the energy. I've felt pretty miserable since late November and am still not sure what the issue is (constant nausea & no energy among other things). I'm going in to have more blood work done next week.

Anywho, I did want to share that I've switched from buying Udi's Gluten-Free bread to baking my Gluten-Free bread at home.

I calculated out how much my weekly loaf is costing to bake at home, and I am happy to report that it came in at just about $2.16 (I had to guesstimate on some of the prices of ingredients and this was assuming I was buying some ingredients in bulk). I buy organic free range eggs, so the price would be quite a bit less if I didn't (not that I'm switching back). We had been spending a little more than $10/week on 2 loaves of Udi's GF bread (ouch). Now we're getting away with one loaf each week (because it's a big loaf) and we are happy to be saving money this way! This recipe is so simple.

Brioche Sandwich Bread (from Better Batter)

This bread is wonderfully soft, and it keeps longer than the typical gf bread, because of the generous amount of lecithin supplied by 6 eggs. This is a real bonus for those of us who don’t like to bake as often. It also makes utterly divine French toast.

Don’t be intimidated or put off by the amount of salt called for in the recipe. This bread isn’t salty at all, but the salt helps the texture and keeping quality of the bread immensely.

1 package active dry yeast (2 & 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup warm water (not too hot or you'll kill your yeast - use water that feels neutral to your finger - your body is 98.6, so this is a great way to measure your water temp)

1 1/2 tsp vinegar

2 1/2c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (order in bulk directly from

Better Batter

for extra savings!)

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp honey

1 1/2 tsp salt

6 whole eggs

8 Tbsp shortening

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 175. Grease a 9×5x3 inch loaf pan.

Stir the yeast into the warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Put the yeast water, vinegar, flour, sugar, honey, salt, and eggs into your electric mixer and beat until very smooth.

Add the shortening, one tablespoon at a time, beating for an additional 3 minutes after the last tablespoon of shortening has been added.

Spoon into your pans and let rise in the oven for 1 hour.

Increase the heat to 375 and bake for 45 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Wrap tightly and freeze, if desired.

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I tried varying the recipe using both butter and coconut oil in place of shortening. Both variations baked just fine, but the coconut oil caused the crust to burn quickly when toasted (and that didn't taste so great). I used salted butter in the butter version...which I probably shouldn't have. The end result tasted really buttery (great for toast, but not so great for some sandwiches). We have opted to keep the recipe as is for our sandwich making needs. Overall, I'm really satisfied with this recipe - and enjoying the savings seen in our weekly grocery shopping!

Have you ever baked Gluten-Free bread?

Gingerbread Men (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free/Vegan)

We have a fun tradition of decorating gingerbread men at Christmas time. My mom started the tradition when I was young and since having my own children, I decided to keep the tradition alive as I have fond memories of decorating gingerbread men every year with friends and family.

Last year I made wheat flour gingerbread men and was a little sad that I couldn't eat any (I was newly Gluten-Free). This year, I made Gluten-Free gingerbread men, and let me tell you, they are great!

I used coconut oil for these cookies instead of Crisco (my typical shortening standby). Something about the coconut oil (the fat?) makes the dough amazingly easy to work with and the coconut oil has a very subtle flavor - so it compliments the gingerbread. I was shocked at how easy to handle the dough was. There was no crumbling and if I was running short on an area that needed more dough, I'd just drop some scraps on and roll it in - it blends that easily!

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men (Vegan)

 

1/2 cup coconut oil (can sub regular shortening)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses (do NOT use blackstrap, for milder flavor)

2 Tbsp applesauce

2 1/2 cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and applesauce. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg in a separate bowl; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough out on wax paper to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Carefully peel up the cookies and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (you can skip the parchment paper if you don't have any - just decrease your baking time to 10-12 minutes total).

Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, until mostly firm (they will firm up as they cool). Slide the parchment paper (with cookies) to a wire cooling rack. Frost or decorate when cool.

*Coconut oil becomes very hard when chilled. If you need to refrigerate the dough, make sure to take it out at least 1 hour before you intend to us it, as it will be very hard and not pliable straight out of the fridge.

Icing

 

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 egg white

1/3 cup boiling water

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, adding boiling water last.
  2. Beat on high for 6-10 minutes until frosting forms peaks.

Winter Vegetable Soup (Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)

I recently made this soup and it was so good, I want to share it with you! It's gluten-free and dairy-free. This recipe was on my weekly meal plan from gfreecuisine.com. It was really easy to make (bonus!).

Winter Vegetable Soup


Prep time 25 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, cored & chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped

5 1/2 cups GF vegetable broth

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

coarse salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup fresh basil

 

1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.Add apple, squash, carrots, and sweet potato; season with salt and pepper and sauté 5 minutes.

2. Add broth, bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes. Add syrup, cayenne, and nutmeg. Cool slightly.

3. Using a potato masher, mash vegetables in the soup until slightly pureed. Ladle into bowls.

4. Garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired.

PEELING BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Unlike summer squash, the peel of a butternut squash is very thick. You'll need a good, heavy chef's knife to cut through the skin. Cut off both ends and quarter the squash. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel. If you run into those tough bumpy sections, you'll have to cut them off with a knife because the peeler won't go through it.

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We paired this soup with some cheesy artichoke bread (used Udi's whole grain bread). The recipe I used was a little heavy on the sour cream, so I'm not going to share that one. It was good, just not as good as I'd have liked (I want to make it again with a few tweaks - then if it's good, I'll share). You can look up cheesy artichoke bread and just replace the french bread that is usually called for with Udi's and make sure all the other ingredients are gluten-free.

A simply wonderful meal - even the kids liked it!

Recipe: Apple Pie (Gluten-Free)

I love apple pie - that's why I always offer to make it at Thanksgiving time. Selfish? Maybe.

I was a bit worried this year, as I wasn't sure how I'd make my pies gluten-free. Thanks to

Better Batter

- I was able to quickly find a gluten-free batter recipe using Better Batter as my flour.

I followed the directions as stated and realized there was nothing to be worried about, the recipe was solid and it made a perfect pie crust!

I was running short on patience and didn't make a pretty crust edge...but I don't think it will taste any worse. ;)

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups Better Batter Flour

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp Baking powder

4 Tbsp butter

5 Tbsp shortening (we like butter flavored)

1 egg yolk

2 tsp cider vinegar

3 ice cubes

1/2 cup cold water

Instructions

Make sure all of your ingredients are very cold (put in the fridge for about 30 minutes).

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture – the appearance of the mixture should be coarse – pea sized chunks should be present.

In a measuring cup beat together the egg yolk, vinegar, ice cubes, and water. A little at a time pour some of this mixture over your pastry mix . You may use all of the mixture.

Toss with a fork until the pastry just holds together, but is not dry. Knead together lightly a few times — it should look and feel like a normal pie crust.

Roll this immediately out between two layers of plastic wrap -this makes for a perfect crust and easy cleanup. When the pastry is large enough, remove the top layer of plastic and, using the bottom layer to hold the pastry, flip it into the pie plate. Peel off the plastic and crimp the edges. Bake as directed.

Source:

http://betterbatter.org/perfect-pie-crust

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For the filling, I used a 5-star recipe on AllRecipes.com.

Quite a few people posted about having won pie contests with this recipe, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I should have read all the comments about making sure to pour the filling on the pies while it was still hot because otherwise it gets thick and doesn't seep into the pie like it should (lesson learned). I kept my pies in the oven for about 20 minutes longer than recommended as I wanted to be sure the filling had time to really get down in there and it seemed to take that much longer for the apples to soften. I wrapped foil around the edges of the pies and then removed the foil for the last 10 minutes.

FILLING

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (above)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (use Better Batter Flour)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  1. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  1. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Source:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/detail.aspx

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Update

:  It was pretty good! It would have been even better if my filling had been poured on while it was still hot (and thin) so the apples could really cook in it. The bottom apples didn't get much of the filling/flavor, so if you do make this filling - make sure to pour it on while it's hot (maybe even mix your apples in half of it and then pour the rest on top)! Everyone liked it and though I was a bit skeptical of it being a sugar overload, it went really well with vanilla ice cream.