Thanks to the most generous sponsors at csn stores for offering this opportunity to gift one of my readers with a product from one of their many online companies. csn stores is a website that has over 200 stores to shop at it including really cute kids bedding,modern furnishings and cookware!
Since most gluten free moms spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this Le Creuset 9 inch baking dish is a perfect giveaway.
The Le Creuset 9 inch Square Dish is truly an all-in-one dish that you can use for baking, slicing, serving, and storage. Poterie Stoneware can be used in the oven, broiler, or microwave and will not absorb odors or flavors.
I absolutely love my Le Creuset cookware. It conducts heat wonderfully to give you an evenly cooked dish. This cookware is so hardy that your great-grandchildren will still be cooking casseroles in it! This is not inexpensive cookware so this is a wonderful opportunity to own your own Le Creuset dish.
One of our favorite meals to cook in our Le Creuset dish is Homemade Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese. This recipe was easily adapted from a recipe that my Mom makes and gave to me. I don't know the name of the recipe book (Mom, maybe you can leave it in the comment section), I just remember that it is old and well-used.
This was a family favorite before going gluten free so I was happy that I could still make it once we started our gluten free diet.
There is nothing like homemade macaroni and cheese.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 1-½ quart casserole.
Cook GF macaroni in salted water according to package directions.
In a saucepan, melt 3 T butter. On medium heat, blend in 2 T GF flour, salt and pepper.
Stirring constantly, slowly add 2 cups milk (I have noticed that GF flour seems to blend better at a higher temperature, so I add the flour and milk at a temperature that is a little higher than I’d use for traditional wheat flour).
Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.
Add the onions (optional) and cubed cheddar cheese. Stir until just melted.
Mix with the cooked macaroni and turn into the casserole dish. If you have some handy, you can top it with some GF bread crumbs or a handful of crumbled Lays plain potato chips.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes (my family likes it extra crunchy).
Now to the giveaway, I was a little overwhelmed with emails last time, so this time around please leave a comment on this post instead of email. There are 3 ways to enter this contest:
1) Comment on this post and you're entered once.
2) Post on YOUR blog about my giveaway including a link to this post, then come back here and leave me a comment that you've done so including a link to your post and you're entered again!
3) Tell your friends on Facebook about my giveaway in your "status" including a link to my site. Again, just come back here and leave me a comment that you've done so! (Honor system on this one, okay, because I know I'm not FB friends with all of you!)
Please be sure to leave contact info in your comments so I can notify the winner. I will use Random.org to pick a winning comment the morning of March 21st. This contest is open to anyone living in the Continental US and Canada. Good luck everyone!
The Gluten Free Teen just turned 14! Diet aside, she is 110% all teen - she loves God first, then her iphone and her friends. She likes, although she may call it love, this new guy she keeps texting and clothes. Hopefully I fit in somewhere!
Joking aside - anyone who has had a sick kid knows what a blessing it is to have a healthy, happy child.
Of course, a birthday means a gluten free birthday party. For her party, we took her and her three "besties," aka best friends, to spend a night at the Westin in Bellevue. If you do the same, book on line for a great deal which includes a gift card to Bellevue Square. We all went to dinner at PF Chang's where all of her friends ordered gluten free so they could share their dinner. The singing of "Happy Birthday to you . . ." was accompanied by a chocolate dome for dessert. Then it was off to the mall for shopping . . . until it closed at 9:30. Back at the hotel we stayed at the pool until 11:00 and then went back to the room to watch a movie. Finally at 2:00 am I told them they had to quiet down or I would have to call security! Okay, I was a little tired at this point.
She actually woke up at the hotel on her birthday. As a special treat, we had room service for breakfast. The Gluten Free Teen ordered an omelet and the staff seemed very aware of the issues involving gluten.
After a little more shopping, we returned home for our family celebration. I made a cake using the Orgran Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix. I was not planning on using this mix, but it was the only GF white cake mix I could find at Whole Foods in Redmond. The cake mix gets a "mixed" review from us. It gets a thumbs up for easiness and appearance. I used two boxes but ended up with a really nice thick double layered cake. I think this was actually one of the thickest (as in nice and tall and sturdy) cakes I have made.
The mixed review comes with the taste. The non-celiacs in the family actually loved it, but the Gluten Free Teen and I both thought it lacked a little in taste and texture. It could of been sweeter and was a little dry. But in a bind, it served it's purpose well.
I whipped up a new frosting mixture that was so good. Creamy, but not too over the top rich. It definitely received two thumbs up.
Creamy Birthday Cake Frosting
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (I used Earth Balance for CF)
1 1/2 T vanilla extract
1/8 t salt
2 pounds confectioners sugar
2 - 4 T of milk (use rice, soy or almond for CF) to reach desired texture
In a heavy mixer, combine the shortening, butter, salt and vanilla. Add half the amount of sugar and 2 T of milk. Continue to alternate small amounts of sugar with milk until desired consistency is reached. Mix at the highest speed for 5 - 10 minutes. ** For some extra flavor I added 1 t of lemon extract.
I remember when we were first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I mourned for what I thought was our loss of a "normal" life. I worried about things like birthday cakes and eating out, how would she ever go to college? on a date? have a wedding? I have to say that I have calmed down considerably and that in all honesty the Gluten Free Teen had a pretty "normal" birthday.
We spent a great week at Sun Peaks in Canada BC skiing and enjoying the Olympics during our mid-winter break.
When we first moved to Seattle, I wondered what in the world mid-winter break was for. Our school systems have a Spring Break around Easter, but this was the first place I ever lived that also had this extra-mid winter time off. I initially thought it was so everyone could go skiing, but it turns out the local schools adopted this extra-break to clear out the schools during the height of the flu season. Nevertheless, we spend the extra time skiing.
Sun Peaks is a very lovely, very family-friendly ski area across the border in Canada BC. We stayed at the Delta Residences which are condominiums connected to the Delta hotel - as such we had the benefit of plenty of space and a small kitchen, along with access to the hotels heated out-door pool and five hot tubs!
Since we were in a condo we were planning on cooking for ourselves but it turns out that Sun Peaks has some surprising gluten free options.
First, while there is only one tiny convenience mart in the village (this is a really small village that you can actually ski down the middle of) they had a health food store, Rocky's Market Au Naturel Foods, which carried gluten free mixes and soups.
As to eating out at Sun Peaks:
Mantel's Restaurant at the Delta - We had two great dinners at this restaurant. They were extremely knowledgeable and accommodating. They even made the very picky Gluten Free Teen some risotto just the way she likes it. For breakfast, in addition to eggs and potatoes, they offered gluten free cereal!
Morrisey's Public Room - A burger joint that offered gluten free hamburger buns.
The Ski Lodge at the top of the Sunburst Lift had gluten free pasta.
Best of all for us was the great family time together, a moderate amount of snow, and some sunshine. It is so much fun now that our kids are for older for us to spend all this time together doing something we all love. My Seven Year is already setting his sights on the future Olympics although he wants to give up skiing for the snowboard! I have to admit that after five days of skiing my almost forty-fiveish body was hurting! I had a major wipe out on Thursday that left me bruised down one side and I really just wanted to sit by the fire on the last day and read. But I summoned the last little bit of energy and skied one last day (but no tree trails or jumps for me). At dinner the last night (btw - what a treat to be able to eat out), we all went around and said what we were thankful for. I thanked the Gluten Free Teen for not being a teen for the week, but for just hanging out with the family and being a kid again. She in turn thanked me for not being "an old farger" and skiing with the family five days.
I am not a doctor, nutritionist or a psychologist. All of the opinions expressed in this blog are merely my own based on our gluten free lifestyle. The information provided is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as medical advice. At times I do recommend products and restaurants. Always independently verify that a product or a restaurant is gluten free before trying. Ingredients are always changing and we cannot guarantee the absence of cross-contamination or misinformation from suppliers.