Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pop Tarts - Gluten Free

Honestly, I'm really surprised that there hasn't been a gluten free pop tart to make an appearance yet.  I can't say that we would be frequent buyers, but I probably would get them occasionally as a treat for David. I think that's one of the things he misses the most - Le Sigh!
To me, the hardest thing it going out to eat but I think he misses the snacks the most.  This is probably a good thing, except for the fact that I make him stuff all the time and send it with him.  Anyway, one week, I decided to surprise him and make poptarts.
He really enjoyed them.  I was a bit frustrated with them because I missed my timer and left them in longer than needed; which means that the jam started cooking out of the pastry.  Oh well!  He still liked them and everyone was impressed that he had homemade pop tarts for breakfast as work!  :-)  Guess I should make these again sometime.

Gluten Free Pop-Tarts from Desserts with Benefits
160g (1+1/3 cup) Oat Flour (plus ~1/2 cup for rolling)
160g (1 cup) Brown Rice Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
168g (~3/4 cup) Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening*, soft (Earth Balance or Spectrum Organics)
 1/4 cup sugar

Jam or fruit spread

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (Do not use if you want it to be white!)

    For the Dough:
    In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, brown rice flour and salt. Dump the shortening into the center of the bowl. Fold together until a dough forms (the dough should be too dry or too moist, you should able to form it into a ball without it sticking to the bowl).  Knead this dough then flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. When ready, preheat oven to 350.
    Break off 1/4 of the dough disc (put the rest back in the fridge).  Place some wax paper, parchment or dough cloth on the counter and dust with some oat flour.  Roll to 1/8" thickness. Use a pizza cutter to cut into rectangles.  Then use a thin/sharp pie server to transfer rectangles to the prepared baking sheet. Add the fruit spread to the dough rectangles, leaving 1/4-1/2" border, then top with another dough rectangle.  Press on the edges with your fingers or fork (I like a fork) to seal the pop tart and use a toothpick to poke holes into the surface (you can kind of see the holes in the post photos). When you have used all the dough, place the pan into the oven and bake for ~12-16 minutes or until the edges have browned slightly.  
    Make icing by mixing all ingredients.  When the poptarts have cooled, drizzle on.  Enjoy!
*She states that you can probably use 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of 1/4 cup of the shortening if you want a lower fat recipe. She has apparently had success previously just not when used for the Pop Tart.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Almonds Make Caramel Healthy, Right!?

This was one of the first cakes I tried gluten free and I was REALLY excited about it because it used almond flour.  Plus, it was caramel!  I took it to Sunday school and then to work.  I'm pretty sure everyone liked it...though I'm not sure about David.  He really is more of a chocolate person.  We're really pretty much opposite in what we like food-wise, except that we both really like fish.  Crazy! 
Anyway, this is a great cake for anyone.  It does have a nutty texture since it's made from almond meal, but it's not distracting.  I actually modified this a good bit, now that I look back at the recipe.  It calls for "Swerve" sweetener, which I have never even heard of.  I honestly can't remember if I used Splenda or regular sugar, but either would work.  I also didn't make my own caramel sauce.  I cheated!!  I used caramel ice cream topping.  Worked pretty well if you ask me.  :-)  I also added a basic glaze to make it "pretty."  Try it out - even if you're not gluten free. 

Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake adapted from All Day I Dream About Food (original recipe with link)
    3 cups almond flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup sugar or Splenda
    3 large eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    Preheat oven to 325F and grease a bundt pan well (this could also be made in a 9-inch springform pan).  In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar/sweetener and beat until lighter and well-combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in vanilla extract.  Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, then beat in almond milk. Beat in remaining almond flour mixture until well combined.  
    Spread half the mixture in the prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to create a channel in the center of the batter, all the way around the bundt pan.  Pour some caramel sauce into the channel.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans. Top with remaining batter and spread evenly with offset spatula to cover caramel and pecans. Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and just firm to the touch. A tester inserted in the center should come out clean (except for some caramel sauce!). Remove and let cool 10 minutes (IT MUST cool!) then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with remaining caramel and pecans.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

39 weeks - Really Less than a Week?

39 weeks!  39 weeks!  That means that my baby is due to be born in less than a week.  This is so crazy.  However, little man isn't showing ANY signs of wanting to make his appearance.  I was still not dilated any at my appointment, though my doctor said that she was able to "make" me 1 cm.  It didn't hurt but I did wonder what she was doing.  Ha!  Before going to that appointment, I got to go to Kate' s class and talk to them about doctors.  It's community helper week and a doctor is one helper they learn about.  They did GREAT!  I think I was there for about 40 minutes and they were actually pretty attentive.  We talked about what senses doctors use when they check you out, how they help and I showed them parts of the exam that I do (some of it is kind of like a game for them). 
THEN....they all got bouncy balls.  I didn't tell Kate I was coming; so, she was greatly surprised and excited. What FUN to surprise my girlie.  :-)

Yesterday, I spent several hours shopping for fabric to do my art project.  Thankfully, I found what I needed.  However, before I left, I decided to stop by McDonald's to get a sausage biscuit.  So, I ordered by biscuits (yes, two because I had a buy one get one coupon) and paid.  Then I got to the front window.  "Did you order two sausage biscuits?"  Yes.  "We're out of biscuits.  Do you want that on an English muffin or McGriddle?"  Um...nooooo.  I want biscuits.  Y'all...I seriously almost cried!!!  And by that time, it was too late to go across to another place to get one.  I was a sad pregnant girlie!  Oh well!  I was pretty worn out for the rest of the day.  Thankfully, David is pretty understanding.  On the fun side, I finished our photobook from Disney World last night. 

Due Date: September 25, 2014  
How Far Along: 39 weeks 1 day

Fruit/Veggie: Pumpkin, Personal/Mini Watermelon  - 19-21 inches, 7-8 pounds
Gender: It's a BOY!  
Exercise: Still exercising almost daily...but I took a break from the gym mostly this week.  Tuesday I did go to the gym after my OB appointment but all other days I've walked about 1.5 miles and then did my exercise video.  And...I'm throwing back in the jumping.  Trying to get this little guy out.  Something tells me that just walking isn't going to cut it.  Planning on kickboxing again tonight.  :-) 

Sleep: Sleep isn't so great this week.  I've had a couple of nights where I didn't wake up for 3 or so hours but sleep after that has been a little fitful.  I think I'm just anxious for baby to arrive.

Cravings:  Lemonade.  Yep, I've been drinking a good bit of it this week.  At this point, I'm not craving much food-wise but anything cold is nice.

What I love: Feeling and watching the baby move! Still SO going to miss that.  That I am ON maternity leave!!!  It has really been a good week.  Getting to talk to Kate's class about being a doctor.

What I miss: turning over in bed easily, being able to sleep well - I know that I won't necessarily sleep more with baby but hopefully that will be because I'm feeding him rather than an inability on MY part to sleep, being able to pick things up off the floor (I seriously make a sound whenever I pick something up off the floor!)

What I'm looking forward to:  meeting baby!!!!  Y'all it's almost here!  Making the art project I have for baby's room - finally found some fabric and will hopefully start it today, if I can find paint brushes!

What I'm thankful for:  Getting to spend time with David and Kate, God's reminders that I NEED Him to be a good mom

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Key to Baking Gluten Free Cookies... (HA!)

...is to wear the right head gear!

I have honestly made so many "different' chocolate chip cookies since David went gluten free that I don't really know the actual recipes for all of them, which means they won't all get posted.
 However, this was from a recipe that I pinned.  David liked these pretty well (but I think he liked one I made up recently a little better).  These were of the soft variety, which I know is one of the things David misses.
He occasionally says he misses the soft batch chips a'hoy version.  I think these were pretty close.  Kate did a great job helping and even put a few of the cookies on the pans.
It's still a little hard for her to squeeze the scooper but she put great effort into it.  Who couldn't with a sticker on her forehead?!  :-)

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Nerd Family
1 1/4 cups White Rice Flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Cornstarch
3/4 cup (or 1 1/2 sticks) Softened Butter
1/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
 2 cups Chocolate Chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. Stir all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Slowly blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by adding the dry ingredients in small batches. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop the dough onto baking stones or pans.  Place the pan into the oven and bake for 12 minutes.  If they spread, you can add a little more flour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nutella Bars

Most of my baking these days is gluten free.  However, sometimes I just NEED to bake regular without worrying about "is this gluten free" or "will this work?"  Usually when I do that, I try to make something that David wouldn't really prefer.  He likes chocolate but I don't think he's a big fan of Nutella, so I decided to make nutella shortbread bars.  Um, can we say YUM!  Unfortunately, something happened and they were VERY crunchy.  David took them to the peds lounge and, despite the firmness, they were still all eaten.  If they heated them a little, it helped with the texture.

Nutella Sugar Cookie Bars from Cookies and Cups
  • 1 lb. salted butter room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs vanilla
  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup Nutella

    Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.

    Cream butter and sugars.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour into the butter mixture and stir until dough combines together.  Press about one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.

    Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approx 12-14 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes. Spread Nutella evenly over crust, about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the crust.  Remove remaining dough from refrigerator and crumble remaining dough on top. Finish baking 20-25 minutes until top is set and lightly golden.  Cool and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hummus Chicken

WAAAAY back in March, David found a recipe for a chicken dish.  It was quick and easy but I must say that I was surprised he picked this one.  It was a hummus chicken.  I'm glad I saw this again because I'll need easy meals coming up and this is SUPER easy!  My mom even tried it at her house and enjoyed it.  Gonna have to do this one again. 

Hummus Chicken
chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut chicken breasts to the desired size.  Season as desired with salt and pepper.  Place into a baking pan.  Spread hummus over the top of the chicken breasts.  Place the pan into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

TERM!!!! 38 weeks

(Somehow, long post ahead...warning!)  Well, I made it through work.  Friday was my LAST DAY of work until baby comes.  Can I tell you how excited I was.  SO excited!  I had been nervous that I wouldn't make it but I did.  When I was leaving one of the nurses said "Don't look too excited."  Sorry!  I just couldn't help it!  I celebrated by going to kickboxing that afternoon and then out to eat with my mom, David and Kate. 
We went to a local restaurant and got some turnip green bites.  They were actually really good...of course, they were fried and filled with cheese, so.....

Anyway, not too much exciting happened during the week.  I did have a meeting on Tuesday at work that made me late for getting Kate to dance class.  It was a non-issue but stressed me out nonetheless.  Alas!  It's how I roll.  Wednesday the baby bedding came in.  Friday, David and my mom straightened and rearranged the nursery.  Things aren't in their final location and I have a project to do, but here is a preview!  I am so excited!!!  The closet appears messy but it is really organized. 
The diapers are stacked by size, nursing/feeding stuff is together, and toys are together.  We are looking for a changing table/display table but haven't gotten one yet.  I'd probably put it by the chair and move the bookcase to by the closet. 
Still need to add art, etc.  We might move the dresser and bed around some, but the whole room is useable and cute!  Ready for baby.  :-)

Thursday, my mom came to have a party with her friends for her birthday.  She picked Kate up from daycare, which made Kate happy.  Then Friday, she was able to go to the school at eat with Kate.  That afternoon, I was SO tired but we went to get a pedicure.  I picked out a super cute color called...."Moving Out!" 
I figured that was super appropriate.  :-)  Unfortunately, when I took my socks off after kickbox, my socks had damaged the color.  Alas!  It was still fun.

Saturday, I had lots of fun stuff planned; so, despite making it through the work week, I really wanted to make it through Saturday as well.   Success!!!! 
We went to a picnic for the residency program where Kate had a blast playing on the playground and wallering in the sandbox while I took pictures and David played kickball.  I'm not sure those shorts will survive!  And the attendings won.  Woo hoo!!!!  After that, I went to a local painting place with Sarah to do this painting we have wanted to do for a long time.  Christmas in September?  Sure!!!! 
Then, after a little time with David and Kate, I went to the Mississippi College football game to record the tackles.  Unfortunately, we have moved divisions and haven't quite gotten up to the same level as some of the teams.  We lost 58-0.  It was a busy but fun day....then came Saturday night.....

I was having NO problems.  No concerns.  Minimal contractions.  Until I woke up around 330 am on Sunday morning.  At 230, no problems.  330, I was having a painful sensation in my low abdomen.  This was accompanying the typical "tightening" I've had around the upper abdomen.  Hmmm, what was going on.  After not being able to fall asleep, I finally started tracking these sensations at about 415.  Yep, I was having them about 5 minutes apart.  If I was lying down, that painful sensation continued.  If I stood up or turned to my back it didn't hurt.  I lay there for 3 hours.  When David woke up I told him what had been going on and he encouraged me to call my doctor's office. 
Of course, I'm thinking, this can't be labor and I really don't want to go to the hospital and be sent home OR be stuck admitted when I'm not ready.  Thankfully, the nurse suggested taking a Tylenol, a warm bath and drinking a PITCHER of water within an hour.  I complied and was still having some tightening but no painful sensations....then I fell asleep while David and Kate were at church.  I think I slept for about 5 hours yesterday.  By 5pm I felt back to normal.  Who knows what it was but it wasn't labor.  I know baby should be ready and fine, but I just wasn't "ready," probably because it was so unexpected.  We'll see how I'm doing at the appointment on Tuesday.  Last week there were no indications of progress.

Last night, David let me watch the Miss America pageant.  We (well, I) were so excited that Miss Mississippi did so well.  I think that she should have definitely been in the top 5 but the judges didn't ask me.  I actually thought that the talents and interview responses were better than they have been in recent years.  Miss Mississippi ROCKED it!  Piano players was GREAT!  Miss Arkansas had a pleasant voice.  Miss New York had a good voice and was cute but I was just too distracted by the cup to enjoy it.  Sorry!  At the end, I wasn't in agreement with the judges...but rarely am I.  I think the last time I was excited was when Heather Whitestone won...that was a LONG time ago.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start watching with Kate.  I hate that they moved it to Sunday night because she just cannot stay up that late on a school night.  Oh well!
Today, I'm just hanging out at home resting, cleaning, organizing, and cooking.  Maybe we should say nesting?!  :-)

Due Date: September 25, 2014  
How Far Along: 38 weeks 4 days
Fruit/Veggie: Spaghetti squash, Leek  - 19-21 inches, 6.5-7 pounds
Gender: It's a BOY!  
Exercise: Still exercising almost daily...but took a little break this weekend.  As mentioned above, I had an interesting Sunday.  Did kickboxing on Friday and it was quite difficult to do any kicks in front of my body - can we say belly?!  I did start the class with plank jacks and end the class with 100 jumping jacks.  OH YEAH!

Sleep: I'm pretty much waking up every 2 hours but can get to sleep quickly.  I can handle that.  Saturday night was obviously AWFUL...slept for about 2.5 hours, got up, 1 hour and then was awake for the rest of the night.

Cravings:  Anything fried sounds good.  Guess baby boy like fat?!  I still also really still want cold, sweet stuff.

What I love: Feeling and watching the baby move! I'm SO going to miss that.  I seriously think about that every time he moves around these days.  That was have the nursery organized and somewhat set up.  Still need to determine a final location of stuff and get a changing table/display cabinet.  That I am ON maternity leave!!!  Watching Miss America with David.  Football season!

What I miss: turning over in bed easily, sleeping, being able to pick things up off the floor (I seriously make a sound whenever I pick something up off the floor!)

What I'm looking forward to:  meeting baby!!!!  Y'all it's almost here!  Hopefully talking to Kate's class about being a doctor.

What I'm thankful for:  Getting to spend time with David, David's understanding of my need to just rest yesterday, Kate LOVING church and learning all about God's Word and His love for us