Tag Archives: Gluten-free crackers

International Tour of Brody’s World ~ A Wedding Reception

I’m so thankful that in many ways, we’ve moved beyond simply surviving! Now that we have a little more time and energy, we’ve enjoyed the challenge of preparing gluten-free, corn-free, and potato-free food suitable for special occasions in addition to daily needs.

In 2009, when our family gathered to celebrate Christmas, I was just getting a handle on Brody’s food needs. I took some food Brody could eat along with some additional servings to share. I wanted to give our family members the opportunity to try out some of our new recipes. My brother motioned to the portion of his plate with the samples and said, “This is my taste of Brody’s World.” That moniker came to mind as I was considering what to serve our guests when we were celebrating our neighbors’ wedding a couple of months ago.

 Since I wanted to be sure Brody could safely enjoy the food at the reception, I thought through what I could serve that would be “Brody-safe” and also worthy of being served at a wedding reception. I decided on a menu of hearty appetizers and tasty desserts. Based on various recipes I had collected throughout the years of meeting people from all over the world, I came up with the following menu:

 

 

Gluten-free, Corn-free Menu for our Neighbors' Wedding Reception

Gluten-free, Corn-free Menu for our Neighbors’ Wedding Reception

 

If you click on the photo of the menu above, you’ll get to see a larger (and legible!) view. We chose a day for the reception which worked for the bride and groom and which was a day off work for both Brody and me. Brody and I had a wonderful time working together to set up our apartment and preparing the food. We really enjoy working on projects together.

We like to listen to a Gaither music video while working in our apartment

We like to listen to a Gaither music video while working in our apartment

 

Almost all ready!

Almost all ready!

 

The other guests helped by bringing some of the food items and special dinnerware needed to make the reception a success! We squeezed 7 adults into our little apartment, and everyone was a good sport with trying my experiments with the recipes.

 Since the lighting in our apartment doesn’t lend itself well to taking photos after sunset, only a few of these photos are from the reception itself. I took most of the photos on subsequent days when I made the recipes for us to enjoy again. Some of the recipes are in our book, A Recipe for Survival, and other recipes were designed specifically for this reception. If you’re interested in the recipes for the dishes shown from our book, may I suggest ordering our book? 🙂 If you would like any of the new recipes, just let me know!

The Mini Quinoa Cakes were the dish representing South America in our International Tour

The Mini Quinoa Cakes (page 95 in A Recipe for Survival) were the dish representing South America in our International Tour.

 

While it’s hard to see the crackers in this picture from the reception night, they were heart-shaped! 🙂

It's hard to see the heart-shaped crackers, but they tasted great with the hummus, representing the Mediterranean region of the world.

The crackers (page 111 in A Recipe for Survival) tasted great with the hummus, representing the Mediterranean region of the world.

You can see another view of the hummus and crackers from a previous post on this website.

For the hearty appetizers, we started with Danuta’s Snitzel. When I was thinking about making an appetizer like meatballs for the reception, I remembered a recipe given to me by Cindy during our college days. Cindy is a friend whom I met at the beginning of our junior year of high school in Tucson, AZ. We have wonderful memories from high school and college, and I’m thankful for her ongoing, albeit long-distance, friendship now. Some of our good memories center around yummy food, and her mom, Danuta Kemp, is an excellent cook! I decided this reception was the time to convert Danuta’s Snitzel recipe into a Brody-safe version.

 

How fun to convert friends' tasty recipes into versions safe for Brody!

How fun to convert friends’ tasty recipes into versions safe for Brody!

To represent Asia in our tour, I decided to prepare the Indian Style Lentils (page 94 in A Recipe for Survival) along with a new recipe, Naan. No matter which country’s cuisine I’m tasting, I seldom have met a bread I didn’t like! I have great memories of the pillowy Naan at an Indian restaurant in Kansas, so I wanted to try making a version that would work for Brody. I read some recipes online for Naan, and decided on a recipe and method that would work for the reception night. Have you heard the saying, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”? That saying was true for me in this case. I chose to bake the Naan instead of using a pan or griddle since I wanted to sit with our guests at the table for the reception and not be in the kitchen, preparing the next course. Sometimes, my very first attempt at a recipe turns out marvelously, and I was so thankful that this was the case for  the Naan experiment, since I wanted to serve it to the bride and groom and our guests that night! I followed the technique described in A Recipe for Survival to convert the recipes I found for Naan on the internet into a Brody-safe version, and everyone loved the taste and texture of the result. We have enjoyed the Naan and lentils several times since; here is a photo from a recent day:

 

We love the texture and taste of the naan, and lentils are so tasty when prepared this way!

We love the texture and taste of the naan, and lentils (page 94 from A Recipe for Survival) are so tasty when prepared this way!

For the desserts, we served Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd and raspberries and Brenda’s Birthday Brownies with ice cream. In September last year, I began developing the brownie recipe in honor of my friend, Brenda…. and Brody has since perfected the recipe! Now that Brody is so much healthier than our dark days in 2009 and 2010, he takes an active role in improving the recipes I start. Additionally, I’m so thankful for his partnership in the daily food preparation.

More than simply surviving... we are glad we can enjoy some desserts that are yummy by others' standards, too!

More than simply surviving… we are glad we can enjoy some desserts that are yummy by others’ standards, too!

I enjoyed developing a gluten-free Angel Food Cake for this reception by converting a recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The Lemon Curd was a natural partner to the cake since I designed the curd recipe to use up all the egg yolks left over from separating the egg whites for the cake. Below is a picture of the cake from another day. Tea from my friends in Sri Lanka rounded out the dessert phase of our meal.

A tasty treat with tea... Angel Food Cake, lemon curd with raspberries and mint leaves with almonds!

A tasty treat with tea… almonds, Angel Food Cake with lemon curd, raspberries and mint leaves!

 

Finally, the reception gave me an excuse to freeze ice cubes containing raspberries and mint leaves for the lemonade. 🙂

 

I enjoyed the excuse to use my punch bowl!

I enjoyed the excuse to use my punch bowl!

If you are still struggling to find food that works for your loved one, I hope you are encouraged by our experience…. in time, and with practice, you’ll not only find foods for daily survival, you’ll find ways to thrive and really enjoy life again… you’ll just be living in a different world than you used to live in!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving, Part III “Later, Liver!” and Cranberry Sauce

This year, I was excited to find a way to prepare the turkey liver in such a way that I could at least tolerate eating it. I strongly dislike wasting anything, and since the liver came with the turkey, I wanted to find a way to use it up! During my childhood in Colombia, I remember my mom would fry up chicken livers for us the day that we would butcher chickens. I remember her highly dramatic response to the snapping and splattering of the giblets in the frying pan. For fun, she often would overreact to the splattering grease with a loud, “Deliver me from livers!” I really enjoyed eating those livers, and was surprised to hear that other people didn’t enjoy the dish. My dad said the difference was due to the freshness of the giblet – other people weren’t eating it as fresh as we were. I wish I knew what my mom used to make them taste so good, but I suspect the only ingredients were salt and butter.

Anyway, I wanted to see if I could find a way to use ALL the giblets from our turkey this year and not be wasteful. A couple of years ago, I tried making a stuffing for the turkey using all the giblets, and unfortunately, the flavors clashed with one another, and I think the liver flavor was the worst culprit. So, this year, I looked for recipes for the liver by itself.

 I found a recipe for liver at http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pan-Fried-Turkey-Livers-with-Bacon-and-Onions and made the changes needed to make the recipe Brody-safe. 🙂 The result was very tasty, but I had some trouble tolerating the texture of the liver. Since I have heard that liver has such good nutrients for us, (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/816/2) I wanted to find a way to get the liver down. Brody tolerated a bite or two but was not as enthusiastic as I was for making sure the liver didn’t go to waste. So, that meant more for me! I admit that eating this did take some getting used to, but with our Crackers (page 111 from A Recipe for Survival and also a Sample Recipe on this site), I was able to eat all the liver and almost enjoy it. Considering its cholesterol values and that I still had to make an effort to eat it, I am not adding Turkey Liver to my weekly shopping list! But at least now, I have a way to use the one liver that comes with my turkey at this time of year.

 Here is the result of my tweaking the recipe found at www.saveur.com:

 I couldn’t think of the word “to endure” in English as quickly as the Spanish word came to my mind, so I’m using the Spanish word for “to endure” or “aguantar” to name this dish since I made this recipe in order to endure the taste and texture of the liver and not see it go to waste.

 Aguantar Turkey Livers

 1 turkey liver

1-2 Tbsp butter

1 garlic clove

salt, black pepper to taste

paprika (a few sprinkles)

tapioca flour (roughly ¼ cup)

1. Melt the butter in a frying pan. Heat the garlic in the butter while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

 2. Rinse off the liver and then slice it thinly.

 3. In a bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika and tapioca flour.

 4. Coat the liver slices in the flour and spice mixture and fry them in the butter and garlic.

 5. Crackers really help me eat this dish and make the liver disappear! “Later, Liver!”

 I am sorry I didn’t take a picture of the liver experiment! That was the day that I was stumbling about with a headache and not thinking clearly.

 Here is the cranberry sauce recipe… I started with the recipe on the package of cranberries. These were the Fresh 1 Brand, available at my local Sprouts Farmers’ Market.

 Slightly Sweet Cranberry Sauce

 ¼ cup raw cane sugar or choose how much you’d like of your favorite substitute for sweetening

1 cup water

1 package (12 oz) cranberries (or 3 ½ cups whole cranberries)

 1. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

2. Wash and rinse the cranberries.

3. Add the cranberries to the water and sugar and boil until the berries’ skins split.

4. Remove from the stove. Store in the refrigerator – the taste improves in 24 hours!

The next time I make this, I may try honey instead of the raw cane sugar. One benefit from using the honey is that the sauce will be thicker after chilling it since the honey thickens up when it’s cold. I’ve also heard that it’s slightly better for our health to use honey instead of  raw cane sugar… but then I’ve also heard that honey is just as bad for us!  I don’t think I’ll be able to talk Brody into never ever having dessert or anything with sugar or honey, so I’ll be happy for the compromise of limiting our intake of sugar by reducing the amount I use in each dish and making sweet dishes less often. I’ll post more about our Thanksgiving dishes in the coming days. If you are looking for ideas for your Christmas meal, you can start experimenting with these recipes now!

No Debt; No Doubt!

When I bought my first house in Kansas, I carefully figured out my monthly budget and how much I could pay each month after making the down payment. Other than owing my dad about a thousand dollars after I finished college, I had never owed money to anyone before deciding to buy the house. Since I viewed the home as an appreciating asset, I thought it was a good investment, but taking on a big debt was still a major life change for me.

 Roughly six weeks after buying the home, I began to wonder where I was supposed to send the monthly mortgage payment. I had thought it was a monthly payment, so surely I should have been sending a check somewhere, just as I did when I had paid rent at the beginning of each month for my first apartment. I asked a friend what she thought; her response was a question, “Didn’t the mortgage company give you a little booklet with payment slips to mail in each month?” No… I hadn’t received that…. “Didn’t the mortgage company send you a bill for the beginning of the month?” No… I hadn’t received anything from them in the mail…. And so I began to dig around among all the papers in my mortgage file, found a phone number and dialed it.

 The phone number was to the automated account information system. I keyed in my account number, and to my astonishment, I heard the message, “Your debt is paid in full. No more payments are due.”

 Wow – what a feeling to have a home with a large yard paid for, when I had expected to continue paying on the mortgage for a long time! I was amazed and really couldn’t believe it. I asked my mentor at work, and he asked if I perhaps had a relative or former school teacher who wanted to anonymously give me a wonderful gift. But, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could have discovered where my account was in order to pay off my debt without my knowledge. For a few days, I was elated to have received such a gift – a home with no debt… but, I still had some doubts – some questions as to how or why this came about. I decided to write a letter to my real estate agent since I needed to thank him for his house-warming gift anyway.

 Through that, one discovery led to another… and yes, I still had a debt for my home. The sellers had used the same mortgage company to buy their new home, and the staff mistakenly assigned to me the credit due to the sellers, instead of crediting that value to them toward their new down payment. “Well,” I thought, “I did experience the wonderful feeling of having a debt canceled while receiving an exceptional gift….”

 And that reminded me of an even greater debt of mine that had been paid in full by my Savior. However, I can immediately think of two big differences between my spiritual debt and my house mortgage. The first difference is collateral – in the case of my financial debt, I had a house as collateral that I could sell to finish paying the debt. In the case of my spiritual debt, I had absolutely nothing in my account to pay the debt I owed God due to my sin. Even my “good deeds” were as filthy rags in His sight.

 Secondly, in the case of a house mortgage, the payments were based on my budget – had I continued at the rate I was going, the house would have been paid for in 12 years. However, my spiritual debt was insurmountable. My sin against an infinitely holy God meant I owed an infinite debt. Only He could pay the debt I owed Him, and He graciously chose to. He kindly chose to remove my hard heart and give me a heart that is soft towards Him, and He showed unbelievable grace in paying my debt to Him. As my pastor has reminded us, God absorbed within the Trinity His own wrath against my sin.

 There’s a similarity in these experiences, too – a credit was applied to my account. In the case of my house mortgage, the staff mistakenly credited my account, thereby canceling my debt. But in the case of my spiritual debt, God intentionally credited my account. He gave me the perfect record of Jesus, who lived a truly human life while perfectly keeping all of God’s moral law. Knowing that my spiritual debt is paid is even better than hearing that my house mortgage has disappeared…. And I have a better and lasting home in Heaven due to God’s grace to me! I truly have no debt with God AND I have a home of my own, and this time, there’s no doubt!

 Pictured is my Yummy Hummus recipe. Yummy Hummus is my favorite way to eat garbanzo beans, and crackers are my favorite addition to hummus. The crackers are from the cookbook and are one of the Sample Recipes on this site. I have discovered since we printed the book that the xanthan gum is not necessary, so I now omit it. I made the darker crackers using roasted quinoa and tapioca flour and the lighter ones from rice flour and tapioca flour. For the Yummy Hummus recipe, I started with the recipe from VitaMix in their Whole Food Recipes Copyright 2010, page 102. I made some changes to fit with my way of cooking and the ingredients I have on hand, and here’s the result:

 

Yummy Hummus

 1 cup dry garbanzo beans

2 Tbsp ground flax seed

3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

salt, black pepper to taste

fresh oregano (optional)

 

1. Rinse and then soak the garbanzo beans overnight.

2. Cook the beans until they are tender enough to pierce them with a fork.

3. Add the beans and 1 cup of the liquid from the beans to the Vitamix along with the flax seed, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin.

4. Starting on low and then switching to high speed, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.

5. Add salt and black pepper to achieve the taste you like.

6. Add fresh oregano if you like.

Crackers Experiment and “TAN” Bison Chili

Since Brody feels better when he avoids xanthan gum, I keep trying to reduce the amount I serve him. This past weekend, I decided to test my theory that we could enjoy our cracker recipe without xanthan gum…. And it turned out great! You can try it out even before you buy the book since the recipe for Crackers (page 111) is included on the Sample Recipes tab on this website. I think I will no longer use xanthan gum with the Crackers recipe since it appears not to be necessary and Brody does better with less xanthan gum… and so does our grocery budget! 🙂

We also have been trying to reduce my cholesterol numbers, so I’ve been looking for sources of protein from plants. I had fun making hummus this past week as an interesting way to eat garbanzo beans with crackers and I also tweaked my award-winning chili recipe for Brody’s and my needs. In college, I modified slightly a Betty Crocker recipe for chili for a small chili cook off. My recipe was the winning entry… the prize was bragging rights for a year and no leftovers to transport home. This week, our local Sprouts Farmers’ Market had bison available, so I bought one pound for my experiment. After a little searching through my scraps of paper containing recipes from the past 20 or so years, I found my little paper from the chili cook off day! I further modified the recipe to match Brody’s needs and to increase the content of various kinds of legumes and below is the tasty result! I also started my experimentation for a gluten-free fudge brownie recipe… I’ll work a little more on that before giving you any updates.

TAN (Tasty And Nourishing) Bison Chili

1 cup dry red kidney beans

1 cup dry red beans

1 cup dry lentils

1 pound ground bison

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder

4 medium tomatoes

1. Soak the legumes in separate pots for at least 8 hours and then drain, rinse and cook with plenty of water until tender. (Originally, I wasn’t planning to combine them all into the chili, so I soaked and cooked them separately. I think I will still soak and cook them separately since each kind of legume needs a different amount of time to finish cooking.)

2. Brown the bison with the garlic.

3. Add the salt, cumin, oregano, cocoa and tomatoes. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the tomatoes are nearly done, stirring from time to time.

4. Add the drained red beans and drained lentils, along with the undrained kidney beans. Heat and stir until the mixture is completely warmed.

5. The flavor improves as the chili sits in the fridge for a couple of days. This is great for getting many meals/nourishing snacks from one recipe!