Comfort Food

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, & Roasted Brussel Sprouts

My first time making gluten-free meatloaf, I left out the bread crumbs and relied on egg and flax seed to help hold it all together.  It was tasty, but my husband wasn’t fond of it not really sticking together.  I can’t say I blame him.  It’s hard to adjust to old favorites done differently, at times drastically.

I made it again a few months later, this time using gluten-free bread crumbs from Katz Gluten-Free.  I was amazed.  It was even better than my gluten-full recipe.  Alas, I forgot to write it down.

It’s been pretty cold around here and when I made last week’s menu, I decided I needed some comfort food.  There is only so much snow I can take you know.

If it is at all possible, I think the meatloaf was even better than the last.  I nominate it for Best Meatloaf Ever.  I didn’t even add tomato sauce or ketchup on top.  I couldn’t find the sauce I thought I had when it was time to put it on and said screw it and let it bake some more without it.  It was so good that I didn’t even have any saved for later use in spaghetti sauce.  Yes, I ate it all.  Well, most of it.  Okay, 2/3rds of it.

Best Meatloaf Ever

2 pounds ground beef (I used grass-fed beef)

1 cup gluten-free beef broth (I make my own)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs toasted with minced garlic, then tossed with fresh parsley (I made the bread crumbs from some gluten-free bread)

1 egg

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

salt

pepper

pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, or ketchup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with your hands.  Pour into a loaf pan (if you have a meatloaf pan, use it).  Bake for 45-55 minutes.  Add the tomato based sauce on top in a thin layer and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caraway & Leeks

I love Brussel sprouts.  I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I can’t pass them up.  I usually make them pan roasted with either ground coriander or ground cardamom.  This time I oven roasted them with leeks and caraway seeds.  So easy and so tasty.  The caraway seeds kept jumping into the mashed potatoes and adding a little flavor to those, as well.  I do miss rye bread and bite that caraway gives it.  I thoroughly enjoyed this.  If you don’t like caraway, it would be fine with just the leeks.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caraway & Leeks

Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered

Grapeseed oil (or other oil of your choice)

1 leek, halved lengthwise, sliced, and rinsed

caraway seed

salt

pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Place all ingredients in a baking dish (I used a 9 x 13 because I had a lot of Brussel sprouts), toss, and place in the oven.  Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes.  Bake longer if you like your Brussel sprouts well cooked.

This post is linked to Seasonal Sunday at Real Sustenance

This post is linked to The GFE Virtual Gluten-free Support Group at gluten-free easily. 

Eggs In A Gluten-Free Nest (Or Not So Gluten-Free If You Choose)

Creating The Gluten-Free Nest

Last week I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do different for breakfast.  I have a lot of eggs courtesy of our CSA, so it had to be something with eggs.  Monday night, I was reading Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn and hit the recipe sections that started with…breakfast!  She had a recipe in there for Eggs in a Basket.  Pretty much the same as Eggs in a Nest.  I saw it and thought, “Wow.  I haven’t had that in a while.”  I always forget about it and it’s so easy to make.  It’s like cooking your toast with your eggs at the same time.

Yummy!

I first had Eggs in a Nest after moving to Louisville.  My mother-in-law would make them every so often.  She used the big pieces of whole grain bread that could handle a large cut hole for the eggs.

If you are gluten-free, you know large pieces of bread are hard to come by.   Even if our specialty bread is smaller, Katz’s Gluten-Free Wholesome Bread packs such a nutritional punch with the teff flour that the old saying, size doesn’t matter, really rings true.  Then you have the nutritional package inside that eggshell.  Eggs are full of iron, folate, choline, and protein.

Eggs in a Gluten-Free Nest with Avocado and Canteloupe

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  It is the time of day where your body needs refueling after getting all that rest.  The higher quality your refueling, the better you’ll feel through the day.   I try to follow eat like a Queen for breakfast, a Princess for lunch, and a Pauper for dinner.  I also make sure I have a good healthy mix of protein, fats, and carbs – the food trinity as I like to call it.  Keep in mind that carbs are in fruits and vegetables, too.  It’s not often I actually have grains with my breakfast, as I usually have a lot of fruits and vegetables with my eggs.  Sound too healthy?  Well, maybe.  But, the way I’ve been eating since last December I’m more awake and alert through the day and I don’t get that 2pm-omg-I-need-a-nap-or-I’ll-die feeling.  I also don’t get aggressive when I get hungry.  With that food trinity, whole foods diet, and gluten-free diet my blood sugar doesn’t spike up and down continuously through the day.  It will take a slight dip when I get hungry, but not that sharp drop where I feel like my body is going to start shaking involuntarily and I’m going to take off someone’s head if they don’t feed me NOW!   I am also generally able to get through the day without a morning snack and just a healthy afternoon snack to hold me over until I’m ready for dinner.

Are you ready for a how to?  I say a “how to,” because there really is no measuring required and it’s fairly simple.

Eggs In A Gluten-Free Nest (Or Not So Gluten-Free If You Choose) – serves 1

2 pieces of gluten-free bread (or regular bread), hole cut out of the middle of each with a biscuit cutter, knife, or cookie cutter fun shapes

2 eggs

butter, olive oil, or other oil of choice

Heat pan over medium heat, then add butter or oil and coat the pan.  You don’t want to add too much fat to the pan so that the food is swimming in it.  Just enough to coat the pan evenly.  Add the bread to the pan, then break an egg and place in the pre-cut hole.  The egg may overflow, which is okay.  Cook until the egg is firm underneath and the bread has toasted to a golden brown.  Use a spatula to turn the bread and eggs over and finish cooking to desired doneness.  I like my yolk a little runny, so I try not to let it cook too long.  Remove to a plate and serve with veggies and fruit of your choice.

If you are cooking gluten-free and gluten-filled bread in the same pan, cook the gluten-free bread first and set it aside away from the gluten-filled bread.  This is to prevent any possible cross-contamination issues.  If you cook them in two different pans, you will need to use two different spatulas, too, taking care not to mix them up.

Bon Appetit!

Road Tripping With Restrictions

Mary's Gone Crackers & Larabars

Planning has been essential since going gluten-free back in March.  Planning for road trips is even more essential when you have dietary restrictions.  When I drive to Cincinnati, I’m usually fine without bringing a snack since it’s not so far.  I just bring my water in my reusable water bottle.

My first real planning experience with being gluten-free was back in April when I did my Gluten-free Cooking Day the day before we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Georgetown, KY.  I packed up all that food I made along with some fresh fruits and veggies because the year before, there were a lot of noodle dishes sold that are now off-limits for me.  And it was easier to have the food on hand for my husband so he didn’t have to run to go far for a food break between tea demos.

My next test with planning was our trip to Chicago in May.  It is a 5 hour drive up I-65 and frankly, there isn’t much along 65 in Indiana other than corn and soy.  Except for Edinburgh and Indianapolis.  Our goal was to get to Chicago before rush hour so it wouldn’t take us an hour once we hit city limits to get to my cousin’s place.  Not knowing where I’d be able to eat along the way, I decided to pack some salads for our lunch.  Not only economical and a time reducer for our lunch break, but I knew for a fact it was gluten-free.

Spanish Olive Hummus & Veggies

We decided to pack our lunch again for our trip to Chicago last weekend even knowing there were places we could stop for food in Edinburgh and Indianapolis.  Last time, I fixed the salads because we had a lot of lettuce from our CSA.  This time, I had a lot of roasted eggplant and hummus.  I chopped up some extra veggie sticks to take with us to dip in the hummus (no utensils needed).   Those were prepared the night before and all I needed to do was put them in the cooler pack in the morning.

Roasted Eggplant & Veggie Sandwich on Gluten-free Bread

I made veggie sandwiches with the roasted eggplant the next morning to keep the bread from getting soggy.  The eggplant is just roasted with some olive oil and I added tomato slices and green leaf lettuce.  I was eating them with avocado slices for lunch that week, but I knew it would be a little too messy.  Also, I used some of the hummus as a spread on one piece of bread.  Much healthier than other condiments and it adds more flavor.   That is Katz Gluten-Free Wholesome Bread that I used.  I have to thank Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl for introducing Katz to me.  It is pricey, but the breads I chose from them (Wholesome Bread and Whole Grain Bread) do not have any added sugar of any type.  Given that I continue to decrease the amount of grains I consume, the bread lasts longer than a few days.

I also took some of my favorite gluten-free crackers by Mary’s Gone Crackers.  They are made from brown rice and seeds.  Mainly, seeds.  They are savory and addictive!  Not really a cracker, but cracker-like enough and much healthier, too.  I sliced up the remainder of my cheese to take to eat with the crackers.

Lastly, the Larabars.  O. M. G.  Have you tried them?  I had my very first one last week Wednesday on my way to work from having my blood work done.  Halfway through the drive to work, I really started to feel like I was starving and pulled out the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar.  I’m telling you, it was better than a peanut butter cookie.  All it is, is fruits and nuts.  Raw.  Unprocessed.  Good for you stuff.  I wasn’t so fond of the Coconut Cream Pie, but I’m liking the Peanut Butter & Jelly and Apple Pie.  Oh, the Jocalat is pretty awesome.  Pure chocolate.  No sugar added.  Heaven!

Gluten-free Breakfast Sandwich

It was a lot of food to take with us, but it was worth it.  The only trash we had to throw away after lunch was our napkins and the leftover hummus and veggies we took with us on another mini-road trip to East Peoria to see some family.

I had to fuel us up for the long day after all that planning and packing.  I was craving a breakfast sandwich the night before.  I toasted some gluten-free English Muffins in my toaster oven (no gluten allowed near it!) while I fixed some eggs and sautéed mushrooms and onions.  I added a little slice of cheese that you can’t see since it’s underneath the eggs getting all melty and gooey.

Having dietary restrictions doesn’t mean you have to travel without!