Winter Veggies – 3 Bean Salad

In the wintertime we eat a diet that is quite a bit heavier than we do during other times of the year.  To break the routine of meat, potatoes and applesauce, I like to whip up some 3 Bean Salad.  I’m using canned beans, but you can use cooked fresh beans if you’ve got them.  It’s just a nice change of pace.

3 Bean Salad

  • 1 Can Green Beans
  • 1 Can Wax Beans
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2/3 C white vinegar
  • 1/3 C corn oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed

Drain and rinse beans and mix with onion.  In another bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together well.  Pour liquid dressing over beans and toss lightly.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours before eating.

Gluten Free Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Thanksgiving Spice Wall, designed by Alyn

Thanksgiving Spice Wall, designed by Alyn

In honor of Thanksgiving I’m putting up a recipe for one of my family’s pre-celiac diagnosis favorite desserts.  The good part is now that Mi-del is selling gluten free graham cracker crusts we can once again enjoy this fuss free dessert without messing with making a crust by hand.  But if you can’t find the graham cracker crust, just use gluten free graham crackers and follow this recipe. OR just spoon the filling into a dessert dish.  Yum.

Gluten Free Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 C smooth peanut butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 4 oz (half a tub) of Cool Whip, thawed
  • Gluten Free Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Blend peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl.  Gradually add in milk.  Fold in Cool Whip, blending well.  Spread into pie crust OR into dessert glasses if you are omitting the crust.

Freeze at least 4 hours and then let stand at room temperature for 10 min to cut.  Top with cool whip and chopped peanuts.  A drizzle of chocolate syrup is always nice too.

PS.  Yes I know Cool Whip is like the most horrible non-food food in the world, but occasionally we do splurge on things such as this.  You can try whipped cream instead but make sure your peanut butter is VERY soft.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grandpa Larry’s Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe

Time to call Larry, we're making crisp!

Time to call Larry, we’re making crisp!

I still had a few deer apples left from my last batch and needed to use them up.  I decided to make a batch of apple crisp instead of more applesauce.  This is a hit at our holiday gatherings, especially with Grandpa Larry who always asks for seconds so I’m naming it after him. It is definitely good with ice cream, but also good with milk.

Grandpa Larry’s Apple Crisp

  • 6-7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (or enough to fill your baking dish)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 C oats (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 T Gluten Free flour (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional:  raisins, dried cranberries, currants plus orange juice, apple juice or brandy
  • Optional: walnuts, pecans

This is a throw together kind of recipe and my measurements are guesses. You can really modify this a lot to suit your needs.

  1. 30 minutes before beginning, soak dried fruit in juice/brandy if using.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F
  3. Put prepared apples into 9×9 non-metallic baking dish (or whatever size you are using)
  4. Add dried fruit and nuts if using.
  5. In separate bowl mix flour, oats, butter, spices, brown sugar and vanilla together with your hands or a pastry cutter until they resemble crumbs.  The flour really doesn’t do much here so if you don’t have any, don’t sweat it. Just don’t substitute corn starch. It doesn’t work here.
  6. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples.  (This amount will not cover the dish, we don’t like tons of topping but if you do, double it.)
  7. Bake at 400F for 30 min or until apples are soft to a fork and topping is brown.  This time can vary considerably depending on what type of apples you are using so start checking around the 25 min mark.  If it is browning too fast, drop the temperature a bit.
Get the milk!

Get the milk!

Variations to this are unlimited. I like to add plums to the apples or sweet cherries.  Fresh or dried.  Most days I just throw in what I have and it is always tasty.  I don’t put sugar or seasonings in with the apples but you could if you like more spice and sugar.  Dots of butter on the apples give a richer dish as well.

Homemade Lime-aid goes over well

Ugh, it is hot and humid here like it is in most of the US.  We’re trying to stay cool and hydrated.  I got a good deal on limes at the store and Sheridan asked if I could make lime-aid.  Well, I had never done it and didn’t find any recipes in my cookbooks and didn’t want to run to the computer so I just gave it a shot.  Here is the recipe:

Lime-Aid

  • 3 limes
  • 1 C sugar (more or less to taste)
  • cold water

Wash the limes well and remove any stickers. Cut the limes in half and juice into a large pitcher or other glass container (don’t use plastic, they are very acidic.)  I used a Pyrex 1 Qt measuring cup.  Add the sugar and mash the limes into the sugar with a wooden spoon or something like that.  Let sit for 5 minutes or so.  Put this mixtures into a 2 quart (1/2 gallon) container – preferably glass – and add water to fill.  Chill.

That’s it!   I’ve been told it is tasty and it is about gone now so I’ll have to make some more.  I want to try substituting honey for the sugar next time since we are trying to cut down on refined sugar.

I had a shock yesterday while strolling the garden.  The plants I though were cucumber plants are not, well, I don’t think they are.  One of the fruits is softball sized, round and looks surprisingly like a cantaloupe.  I have things things all OVER my garden so whatever they are, if they live until the fruits are ripe we’re going to have a lot of them.  I found ten while I was out there.  Still getting strawberries, peas (almost over), peppers and my first Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes.  Not many tomatoes made it past the deer this year.  <sigh>  Still thinking toward fall.  We may build some hoop houses this year.  We’ll see.

Stay cool!!!

Gluten Free Rice Krispies have arrived!

They're here!

Yes, it is true.  All those celiac patients out there can now have rice krispie treats!  General Mills has developed a brown rice based Rice Krispie that is gluten-free.  This is one cereal we thought at the beginning that Scott would be able to have in its regular form, but not so, it had malt in it.  In fact most breakfast cereals have malt in them.

I haven’t found these at our stores yet but we will be trying them. Brown rice is better for you for sure, but I’m not convinced it will pass my taste test in the marshmallow squares.  We’ll see.

Here is the website for Gluten Free Rice Krispies – with recipes of course!

Sunshine Dill Pickles – make them in your yard!

Perennials waiting to go into the ground

It’s 5:30am here and I’m trying a new posting scedule for Earth to Eats. I’ve been reading The Amish Cook’s Anniversary Book: 20 Years of Food, Family, and Faith
and it has inspired me to try writing early in the day.  This book is an enjoyable read for me and helps me keep my work in perspective.  Reading all about an Amish family who get up at 4am and all they do before leaving for work or school motivates me to get more done.  It is just amazing all they accomplish – and it is important things too like cooking, preserving and keeping their homes clean.  It isn’t watching TV or playing video games.

I made some pickles last week in our front yard.  Yep, in the yard.  I forgot to take a picture of the jar, but they turned out good enough that I want to try them again.  I just put dill in and not garlic and something was definitely missing.  A little too much salt went in too since I didn’t have a gallon jar.  I’ll adjust all that next time.  You can find the recipe here.

I’ve been chatting with some folks from Paperbackswap this week and that is what pushed me to try a different writing schedule here.  The discussions and ideas we are sharing there would benefit so many people if they were put here in this public forum so hopefully I’ll get more posts up.  I especially want to thank Jamie G for chatting with me about frugality and making a better life for our families.  You’ve been inspiring Jamie so keep up the great work!!

Above you see a picture of perennials I purchased at our local flower shop for .99 a piece.  These are the ones she hasn’t been able to sell and it is a great way for us to extend our garden without spending much money.  I got 40 plants for $39 or so and put in a perennial bed the other night.  I need to take pictures of that and explain how I did it in another post.  Yes these plants are pot bound something awful, but if you bring them home and soak them and then break up the root ball they do just fine.  I even picked up one of my favorite plants – lemon verbena.  MMMMMM…..  Not a perennial sadly, but at least I’ll have it till frost.

Must get things moving here.  Hope everyone has a great day.

Crock Pot Caramel Rice Pudding Gluten Free

Makings of a Great, Easy Dessert

I’m not sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but I am so glad I did.  It is super easy, tastes like a dream and has very simple ingredients.  The original recipe appears here, but we eliminated most of the ingredients because we like our pudding pretty plain.

Crock Pot Caramel Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked rice (cooked a day ahead if possible)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in the slow cooker and heat on low until rice absorbs most of the liquid.  We like to stop it while it is a little “soupy” which makes it nicer when we reheat it later.  If you cook it the whole way initially it can get a bit dry if you reheat it.  It’s also delicious cold.

Using day old rice give you grains that don’t stick together.  Leftover rice is fine.  I have made it with newly cooked rice and it tastes fine, it just is clumpy.

I find my canned milk and sweetened condensed milk at discount stores for under $1 each which makes this recipe really reasonable – less than $3 for twelve or so servings.  And very satisfying.

Dye Eggs with Kool-Aid

During my natural dye experiment I remembered that you could dye fabric with Kool-Aid so I thought you could probably dye eggs as well.  I mixed one packet of cherry Kool-Aid with one cup of hot water and one Tbls. of vinegar.  I added and egg and this is what I got after 1 minute:

One Minute Cherry Kool-Aid Egg

Pretty impressive and VERY red.  This is what it looked like after 10 minutes:

10 minute Cherry Kool-Aid egg

I do have a few words of warning with this process:

  1. This stains your fingers for about two-three days.
  2. This will stain your counter and anything it comes in contact with that is pourous.
  3. The eggs will absorb a slight amount of the fruit flavor.  I made a deviled egg with this egg and I actually liked the cherry “essence” it had.  If I hadn’t known what it was, I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out – it just was a little something extra.
  4. The eggs may look tie dyed when peeled – but we kinda liked this.  This egg had no visible cracks in it and we still got some color on it. See photo below:

Tie Dyed Egg effect with Kool-Aid

I didn’t have any other colors of Kool-Aid but red, but I’m sure this would work with any flavor/color since it is so concentrated.  If you still have any of the invisible Kool-Aid hanging around that might be interesting to play with.

So while this is not a natural dye by any means, it is very simple and neat for the kids to do.  The fruity smell of the dye and slight fruitiness to the egg afterward might get kids who normally don’t eat eggs to try one.

My Deviled Egg Recipe – gluten free

These fly off the plate at family gatherings… I kinda like them too.  I’ve not given definite measurements here since that depends on the number of eggs you are using and personal preference for the amount of mustard.

  • Hard cooked eggs
  • Mayonaisse
  • Horseradish Mustard

Cut eggs in half lengthwise, scoop yolks into a bowl.  Add enough mayo to moisten slightly.  Mix in horseradish mustard to taste – we like our bitey so add a couple tablespoons.  Add enough mayo to finish to the consistancy you like.  Spoon or pipe back into eggs.

As long as your mayo and mustard are gluten free, this recipe will be gluten free too.

Natural Egg Dye Experiment Day 4

Blueberry Stain on my counter

I finally found my blueberries at the very bottom of the freezer so my last batch of dyed eggs for this year was blueberry.  I put 1 Cup of frozen blueberries into 1 1/2 C water with 1 T vinegar and boiled them for 15 minutes.  I also stuck an uncooked egg in with them to see what would happen. 

Well, the uncooked egg both cooked and dyed and came out like this:

Egg cooked with blueberries

It looks much more purple in the picture than the grape juice one did, but actually they are very similar in color.  It was a mottled color though and I’m not sure if that was because of how it was dyed or if it was the eggshell itself.

After removing the egg, I strained the blueberries and squeezed out the remaining juice to get my dye.  I dyed an egg for 1, 5 and 10 minutes like all of the other ones.  Here is the final product:

Blueberry dye bath - 10 minutes

The egg was less mottled than the one cooked with the blueberries and it is a little lighter in color.  Still more gray than purple to me, just like the grape juice, but Scott thought it was a nice color.

Since I had one egg left I tried the Turmeric again, this time with 2 tsp of tumeric cooked in 1 cup of water with 1 T vinegar in the microwave for 3 minutes.  While the egg colored up faster at the 1 minute point, the end color was exactly the same as the less concentrated version I tried back on day 1.  A very pretty yellow, just not a rich orange like I was hoping for.  Here’s the egg after 10 minutes:

Turmeric egg at 10 minutes

So that concludes the dye experiment for now.  I think I’ll continue this throughout the year as I often have hard cooked eggs on hand and I have a lot of other dyes I’d like to try.  Right now I’m busy writing up my findings and suggestions for a small ebook we’ll have here to download.  If you look below you can see all the eggs I dyed.

From l-r, top to bottom: beets, turmeric, spinach, paprika, coffee, tea, grape juice, blueberries

I did find that when you put them together like this it was a very unique group of eggs and pleasing to my eye.  Not the garash colors of store-bought dye or Kool-Aid, but definitely neat to look at.