Lime-cilantro chicken

I think my gluten free experiment is proving that my illness is wheat related.  I accidentally had wheat on Friday for lunch. I didn’t read the ingredients in a Marie Callender meal because it was just rice, chicken, and mushrooms. I thought those ingredients were pretty safe; however, there was wheat in it and that night and the next day I was really sick. After feeling pretty good all week, my sudden change in wellness has to mean something. There’s still a chance it’s something else making me feel this way, but after experimenting I do think at least part of it is a wheat allergy.

I still have a little while until my next appointment (which is the endoscopy) and I’m hoping to learn more about my blood tests then. For now I think I’ll stay gluten-free. This Saturday I made lime-cilantro chicken and my mum made delicious cheese and parsley mashed potatoes to go with it. I’ll have to post the recipe for the mashed potatoes later on. I haven’t tried to make them myself yet, but they are a delicious addition to any meal! Here’s the lime-cilantro chicken to start with!

Lime-cilantro chicken

Source: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli Bronski and Peter Bronski

Ingredients:

Lime juice from one whole lime

1 cup of orange juice

Skinless, boneless chicken pieces (you can use up to 6 pieces for this mixture)

2 teaspoons of pepper

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)

2 tablespoons of garlic (minced)

Method:

Cook the 1/4 cup of olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Next, throw in the lime juice and the orange juice. Leave those flavours to blend for about five minutes and add the pepper and cilantro.

At this point you are supposed to marinate for an hour or a whole day, but as usual I didn’t read the recipe correctly. So I put the chicken straight in the pan to cook with the marinade. Every time I turned my chicken, I spooned the marinade over the top. I think it turned out just as good as leaving it over night. Although, I’m sure leaving it longer would have resulted in a stronger taste.

Making Whoopie!

I’ve been talking about whoopie pies for months now! They are just so fun looking and I’ve never actually tried one. For me, whenever I see them I just feel like a big kid. Well, I FINALLY made them this weekend and they are even more fun than I imagined. I love, love, LOVE them! Not more than cupcakes, but definitely close. This was also my first attempt at gluten free baking and I thought it went well. I couldn’t even tell the difference between regular baked goodies and the gluten free taste. The batter was so soft, too! I’m definitely a fan of these little treasures!

So enough gabbing! Time to share the recipe!

Gluten Free Vanilla Whoopie Pie

Source: Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum

4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening (I’m not a big fan, so I used another 4 tablespoons of butter)

1/2 cup of buttermilk

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar (packed) – I used light because we had no dark and it worked well

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

2 1/4 cups of gluten free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)

2 large eggs

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the baking powder, flour, and xantham gum in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, preferably a standing mixer if you have one, beat the granulated and brown sugars along with the butter. Once creamy, add the buttermilk and the eggs, too. Mix everything until well blended.

Now, in a smaller bowl or a measuring cup, add the baking soda, vinegar, and the two tablespoons of milk. Blend into the batter and add the flour mixture, too. As the last step, blend in the vanilla extract.

For the baking process, I used these wonderful whoopie pie pans from Wilton. You really don’t need them, but I wanted to make sure mine came out looking nice. I have a terrible habit of making my cupcakes overflow and my cookies look deformed. If you have one of these pans, fill the little cavities. If not, put about a tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet. Make sure there’s at least two inches between each one.

Bake for roughly ten minutes. Mine took exactly ten minutes and were a good consistency.

Honey Buttercream

Source: Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

Ingredients:

3 to 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons of honey (I used a little more, maybe 4? It needed a stronger honey taste)

3 cups of confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup of unsalted butter

Method:

Combine the butter and the confectioners’ sugar. Once the combination is crumbly, put in the honey, lemon juice, and heavy cream. Mix until completely blended and you’re ready to sandwich between your whoopie pie!

 

 

 

Gluten-free experiment

A few weeks back, my doctor suggested that a wheat allergy could be the root of all my problems. HURRAY, thought I! An easy solution (in comparison to surgery or some extensive medical treatment). Unfortunately my test results came back negative for Celiac’s disease (a wheat allergy), but since then I’ve heard a lot of different stories. First of all, this particular food allergy runs in my family, so it wouldn’t be strange for me to have the same condition. Secondly, one of my friends said her grandmother tested negative when she actually has the disease. When the grandmother cut the ingredient out of her diet, she felt better. So I decided that, despite my results, I was going to try a gluten free lifestyle. Even if it turns out I’m really not allergic, I figured there was no harm in trying it out. If it doesn’t help, I’ve lost nothing but a few weeks of eating all the foods I probably shouldn’t eat anyway!

So far I’m doing okay. This weekend I made a few slip ups because I never thought to check the ingredients in soup and chili (Campbell’s has wheat flour in it). But those are the only mistakes I’ve knowingly made since Saturday. I miss oatmeal considerably, but I’ve still been able to have eggs for breakfast, and my mum has been fabulous about making gluten-free meals for dinner (like Shepherd’s Pie and Smothered Chicken). This weekend I’ll probably experiment with my own gluten free recipes.

I know gluten free whoopie pies are on the menu, and if all this gluten free dieting works out, eventually these little cupcakes will be on there, too:

Gluten Free Strawberry Cupcakes (from Pinterest originally from Elanaspantry.com)

I’ve also started keeping a diary of all of the foods I eat. That way, if something gives me a reaction I can make a note and avoid it.

As for the results, so far I feel good. Tonight I ate so much food and I haven’t been able to eat a lot in a while (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself). It is still early in the experiment though, and I think I’ll have a better idea of whether it has been effective or not this weekend.

I only wish I could stick to my no sugar diet as well as I have this gluten free one. I’ve completely failed in my goal of eating less sugar, but I also got myself into some really bad habits while I have been sick. When I couldn’t eat, I went to chocolate because I was able to eat that without feeling worse. Breaking that habit has been the hardest part, particularly since now I’m always craving something sweet. But I will get back on track. . . I hope!

Anyone else on here have a wheat allergy? Any suggestions on what I should try?

A light and easy lunch

Okay, I didn’t cook as much as I wanted to this weekend. There was a nasty bug going around my training class, and when I woke up Saturday morning, I had it, too. So Saturday I kinda just lazed around and did nothing, but today I tried a variation on something a classmate told me about. She mentioned that she always snacks on a mango/avocado quesadilla. I love mango and I love, love, LOVE avocado, so I was pretty much hooked. Well, I’m trying a gluten-free diet for a week to see if my illness is actually a wheat allergy, which meant I had to think of something outside of a quesadilla. My mind instantly went to rice.

Combined with a little cheese and salsa, I had the makings of a delicious, quick, and easy lunch! Let me share with you.

Mango and avocado naked burrito

Source: classmate and my own mind

Ingredients:

Uncle Ben’s Jasmine Rice (90 second microwavable kind)

1 avocado

1 mango

1/4 cup of shredded Mexican cheese

2 tablespoons of mango salsa (Newman’s Own)

Method:

Cut and dice both your mango and avocado. Set in the pan on a medium heat and cook until nice and soft. When you have about a minute or two left, add the Mexican cheese to melt.

Now put your rice in the microwave to cook. Once done, pour in a bowl, add your avocado/mango mix on top, and finish with the mango salsa. You can even add a little extra cheese if desired.

See, quick, easy, and quite scrummy, too! If you’re looking for something a little different and light, definitely try this mango and avocado naked burrito.

Foodie wish list: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

The first time I ever went to Disney World, this is how the castle looked! Picture originally from http://themeparkcanuck.com/2011/10/01/walt-disney-world-celebrates-its-40th-birthday/

As I mentioned, I’ve been on a little bit of a Disney kick this week. I’ve download so many Disney songs that I’ve been blasting on my way to and from work. I’m sure when they see me singing at the top of my lungs, the drivers beside me are thinking “what is wrong with that girl?” I haven’t been to Disney since. . . well, I think 2004 (maybe 2005). So I’m getting a little eager to go. When I heard they offer a yearly International Food and Wine Festival, my newly found culinary side went crazy!

Just look at what the event offers:

  • International kiosks featuring tasty tapas and refreshing beverages
  • Cooking demonstrations and dining events—including experiences with celebrity chefs!
  • Mixology classes and wine tastings
  • Live musical performances by popular hit-makers

(info from http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/)

I’m not so excited about the live performances, but I love the idea of trying food from the different countries and watching the cooking demonstrations. Disney and food? Could it be any better? I’m going to be working extra hard to earn some bonuses this year. If I’m lucky, I maybe able to go for this year’s festival. Honestly, chances are slim, but I’d like to believe it could happen. If not this fall, it’s definitely going on my foodie wish list.

What types of foodie wish lists do you have? Where/what are you longing to go/experience.

Disney Crazed!

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days. I just started a new job on Monday and have been working the usual 9-5 shift. Combine that with rush-hour traffic and the fact I currently live 45 minutes from work, when I get home I just pass out on the couch! I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but since times are hard, hubby and I have been living with my parents. This week, my mum has kindly offered to cook while I get used to my schedule – I know, I’m very lucky! As such, there won’t be any recipe posts until the weekend, but with my love of blogging I couldn’t stop posting for a week!

For the last few days I’ve been hit by the Disney bug. It could be because Robert took me on a date to see “Beauty and the Beast” or it could just be because Disney is wonderful! Either way, I’ve been a little obsessed. In honor of my current mood, I thought I’d share the cupcakes I made for a friend’s bridal shower.

The cupcakes themselves were just chocolate and vanilla. The icing was vanilla buttercream dyed with blue food colouring (since they were having a boy). The ears were pretty simple, although I did get help as I’d never worked with fondant before.

Here are the basic steps:

Either dye fondant with black food colouring or purchase black fondant from Michael’s.

Roll the fondant out, and using a small bottle cap, cut out circles for the ears.

Unless you are putting out the cupcakes that day, leave the ears to harden a little before putting them in the icing. Actually, even if you are preparing them that day, I’d still leave a little time for the ears to dry. If you put all the ears on right away, there is a good chance they will fold over.

When hardened, place carefully on either side of the icing. Even after they’ve dried, they will still be a little soft, so don’t push too hard when adding them to your cupcakes.

VOILA! Mickey Mouse ears!

I was so excited with the way these turned out. Not only were the cupcakes moist and fluffy, but everything went together nicely. I didn’t have any disasters in the kitchen and the mom-to-be (as of yesterday, new mother) loved them. In the end, that’s what mattered the most.

 

My Pinspiration: the home edition

I know this blog is primarily for cooking related posts, but I have decorating on the brain right now. When it comes to making a house look homey, I have as many skills as I do in the kitchen. . . a.k.a close to none. From our registry to my own guilty spending, I now have an assortment of stuff for our future place. Problem is, I just have no idea what to do with it all. I’ve looked through picture after picture to find inspiration, but I think the problem with decorating is you see an idea and want to make it your own (at least I do). So finding pictures is a good step, but I still can’t progress beyond it.

I still have four months until I have to put my decorative skills to the test, which means I have plenty of time to keep looking. I know I want lots of London/English accents around our place. Not only because England is my home, but because it’s where we honeymooned! I also know I want a few gaming related things, too. What I mean by that is some little details that reflect that Robert and I are both video gamers. As for the overall decor, I know I want dark wood furniture, and after that I can’t decide on anything else.

Luckily, I have Pinterest in my life. For anyone who has actually looked at my Pinterest, you’ll notice my most used boards are “Dream Home” and “Weddings” (yeah, it’s almost been a year and I haven’t lost that obsession yet). Here are a few of the ideas I like the most. For your viewing pleasure and so I have a place where I can see all my favourite ideas put together.

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