Monday, May 13, 2013

Gluten-Free Flatbread

Walt and I are trying to stay gluten-free.  Umm - I am trying to stay gluten-free and Walt is along for the ride because I'm the cook.  We are following South Beach Diet.  I noticed that I lost weight rapidly in the first phase, which eliminates all breads and starches, but started gaining when South Beach told us to start adding whole grain.  I also felt and looked bloated.  Lightbulb moment. "I think I may be sensitive to gluten".  However, some things just can't be eaten without some facsimile of bread.  Like Pulled Pork.  I was able to devise a sugar-free barbeque sauce, but you have to have it on a bun/bread/pita. 

Pinterest to the rescue.  I found this flatbread recipe Gluten-Free Flatbread.  It called for Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.  Every brand in the stores contain sugar.  Back to Pinterest.  I found this gluten-free flourmix.  It's good, but the coconut flour gives it a slightly coconutty flavor that doesn't work with Pulled Pork.  So I tried again and subbed Almond Meal for my Pulled Pork leftovers.  I'll be trying another version of gluten-free flour blend using garbanzo bean flour soon. Then I'll have an assortment of blends and will be able to pick the blend for the recipe.  The coconut flour version is perfect for sweets.

In using and revising this recipe, I found that 2 large eggs works better than the extra large egg plus egg white called for, and that almond meal is not as thirsty as coconut flour, so I had to decrease the liquid.  I also had best results using the convection feature on my oven. I tried baking one cookie sheet lined with a Silpat and the second on parchment paper. Using a Silpat caused the flatbread to be soggy in the middle.   Here's my current adaptation:

Gluten-Free Flatbread
2 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend (see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unflavored, unsweetened milk (cow, almond, soy)
1/4 cup water

Place oven racks and 2 lowest positions. Preheat oven to 425F and use convection if available.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add oil, eggs and milk.
Slowly add warm water.  You want a soft, wet dough.
Use an ice cream scoop to portion out 6 scoops onto 2 parchment lined cookie sheets.
Use wet fingers to smooth each into thin 5" circles.
Bake 8 minutes for convection/10 minutes regular oven.
Remove from oven and flip each using a pancake turner.
Return to oven with the pan that was on the upper rack in the lower position.
Bake 8 minutes longer.
Remove to wire rack to cool.
Store at room temperature in a zip top bag.

These are flexible; you can hold the sandwiches like a taco. They are also very filling.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup GF certified oat flour
1 cup almond flour/meal
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Combine in a zip top bag.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Easy 3 Bean Crockpot Chili

My crockpot chili is super fast and easy because I don't pre-brown the meat.  I use ground sirloin so there's no extra fat to cook off and drain.  I can get this started in 15 minutes and be on my way.
Everything gets stirred together in the crockpot, cover on, set to Low and off I go.
Stirring the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste into the raw meat will allow the meat to cook without forming large clumps.  I love how forgiving this recipe is - sometimes I add some diced jalapeno instead of, or in addition to, the sweet pepper, sometimes I leave out the diced tomatoes or use ground turkey instead of beef.  Prefer a vegetarian chili? Leave out the meat altogether. 
After everything is combined, sprinkle the cocoa powder over the top. Once your cooker heats up, the cocoa powder will melt. You can stir it in anytime after it melts. If you try to stir it in when it's still dry, it will clump. Let it cook at least 30 minutes longer after stirring in the melted cocoa powder to allow flavors to blend. You will not taste cocoa, you will taste rich silkyness.
Notice how stiff the mixture looks.  It will thin out a bit once it cooks, but this is a thick chili.  If it's too thick for your taste, you can add additional broth after it's finished cooking. 
Easy 3 Bean Crockpot Chili
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 (14-16 oz.) can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried chopped onion
1 tablespoon paprika
2 - 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic OR 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (14-16 oz.) cans chili beans
2 (14-16 oz.) cans beans, drained and rinsed (black, pinto, red, great northern)
1 (14-16 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 of a sweet bell pepper, diced (any color)
1/2 cup beef broth or water
2-3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Spray interior of crockpot with non-stick.
Add ground beef, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices.  Stir until smooth.
Add beans, tomatoes, bell pepper and broth; stir gently to combine.
Sprinkle cocoa powder evenly over top.
Put lid on, turn on Low and cook 5 - 8 hours.  It gets better the longer it cooks. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Couponing at CVS

I haven't written about couponing for a while because, frankly, there wasn't much to say.  The deals were few and far between and mostly involved child related deals.  We're empty nesters - so cereal, lunch snacks and diapers are not on my radar.  I stocked up on razors, bath gel and shampoo, but there were no real deals - until this day.

I found a bunch of deals at CVS that I rolled as much as I could, and I still have $7 in CVS Extra Care Bucks to use next time.

Total out of pocket $13.32  (doesn't include the $7 ECB for next time, so net is $6.32 for EVERYTHING)

Here's how I did it:
First I went to my 3 favorite couponing sites. to see what she found for the week, then to to see everything on sale at CVS with coupon matchups.  Between those two sites, I determined what I wanted to buy.  Then I went to to search for any coupons they may have missed. 
Then I figured out the best grouping and order to roll ECBs as much as possible.  I'm a bit of a geek, so I used a spreadsheet, but you can do it on a pad of paper.
When I got to CVS, I scanned my Extra Bucks card and got coupons for $3.00 off any cosmetic purchase over $10 and $1.00 off Crest.  Happy dance!
First transaction:
Dean Milk $2.99, 2 Almay eye $8.29 each, trial size shampoo $1.99
I had to throw in the shampoo to keep it from going into negative. That allowed me to use all the coupons.
Used coupons: 
$10 CVS ECB from prior week, 2 Almay coupons $2.00 each, $3 off cosmetics, $ .50 off Dean milk. 
Earned: $4.00 ECBs on the Almay and $1.00 ECB on the milk.

Total out of pocket $1.55!  Happy Dance!
My second transaction was the toilet paper. A 12 pack of Angel Soft was sold out at $5.00, so I went with twelve double rolls of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush for $7.00.  Used $5.00 ECBs earned from transaction 1. Had the Angel Soft been in stock it would have been Free after ECBs.
Total out of pocket $2.54
Third transaction:
2 Orbit gum $1.00 each, 1 Crest Pro White $2.99
Used coupons:
$1.00 off Crest
Earned me $2 ECBs for Crest and $1 ECB for Orbit

Total out of pocket $3.30
My final transaction:
1 Physicians Formula concealer $8.29
Used: $3 in ECBs from third transaction
Earned: $7.00 ECBs
Out of pocket $5.93 and earned ECB $7.00!  They paid me to take this home!
Deals are out there, search for them.  ;)