Hot Wingettes, glutenvygirl Style

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Cooler weather makes me want to heat things up in the kitchen. Whether that’s slow-cooking a garlic roast all day, baking some spicy BBQ ribs, simmering a hot pot of delicious potato soup, whipping up some spicy chile rellenos, or even just simmering some lemon slices with cloves for scent, I crave warmth.

It’s not just the temperature increase I enjoy, it’s also the flavors that I like to kick up. And nothing says kicked-up quite like some spicy hot wings.

To start with, I picked up some “wingettes” at the local grocery store. I could’ve bought wings, removed the tips and separated the joints, but the wingettes were on sale.

The line-up:

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I rinsed and dried the wingettes.

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Then placed them skin-side up on a foil-covered edged baking sheet, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

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As they were baking, I started on the sauce.

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Brought it to a boil, and then reduced the heat to low. Next, I flipped over the wingettes and popped them back in the oven to cook some more.

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When they were done (and the kitchen smelled unbelievably delicious), I piled them into a bowl and poured the sauce over them.

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I let them rest in the sauce for about five minutes. Then, I placed the wings back onto the pan (on which I’d changed the foil) and poured the sauce over them.

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Back into the oven on low these babies go, until ready to serve.

I’m not much of a hot wings girl…or wingettes, even. My son absolutely adores them, however. He can eat a dozen in one sitting. They have a spicy flavor, but they’re pretty mild – you can totally customize the heat level for your tastes.

INGREDIENTS:
3 pounds chicken wingettes, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 oz Tabasco sauce (about 1/3 cup)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons pepper, divided

DIRECTIONS:
For the wings:
Preheat oven to 400*.
Rinse chicken wingettes and pat dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. Place wings on foil, skin side up.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of the salt, pepper, and cayenne over the wingettes. Bake for 30 minutes.
Using tongs, turn wings over and continue baking another 20 minutes.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Then, turn down to low.

When wings are cooked:
Turn oven down to 250*.
Place wings in a bowl and pour sauce over them. Let rest for five minutes or so, to soak in the sauce. Then, place them back onto the baking sheet with new foil, and pour sauce over them.
Place wings into the oven to keep warm until time to serve them.

NOTE: I don’t think these are too spicy- my kids like them. I think they fall firmly into the mild category. That said, we tend to eat spicier foods here, so…adjust the seasoning as you see fit!

Enjoy!

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Amazing Gluten Free Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

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I found a recipe for these cookies years and years ago, and converted it to a gluten-free recipe. They are very easy to bake, and quite delicious! You can find the original recipe here. They’re delicate, with a hint of lemon and a crunch with the cornmeal. They’re pretty simple to make, but look and taste impressive!

First, set the oven to 350 and then start with the basic ingredients:

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Zest a small lemon and then juice it

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Blend the GF flour, cornmeal, and salt:

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Then separately mix the butter, sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice in a mixer:

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Blend until light and fluffy-looking.

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Then, I realized that I need to switch to a bigger mixing bowl….Oops.
Commence adding in the flour mix to the butter mix and blend slowly. I added half of the flour, blended, then added the rest.

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Blend, then add eggs and then the vanilla. Then, using a cookie press, press small cookies onto parchment paper on cookie sheets, like this:

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Bake for about ten minutes for the small cookies, longer if you are doing larger cookies. The edges should start to brown a bit.

Oh, and when you pull them out of the oven, resist the urge to immediately put them onto a cooling rack – let them cool a bit first, unless you want to end up with this:

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Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

1 3/4 cups GF all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 small lemon- for 1 tablespoon of zest and 1/2 tablespoon of juice
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Zest the lemon- you should get about a tablespoon of zest – and then juice it. The recipe only uses 1/2 tablespoon juice, so you can reserve the rest of the juice for another use. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Set aside. Mix in mixer the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs, blend, and then add in the vanilla.
Add dough to cookie press, and press out cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets. I used the flower design. Bake at 350 for ten minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Ten Things I Learned This Week

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I have been gluten-free for one week now. Here is a list of the things I have learned.

1. Cooking good gluten-free food that *I* would like isn’t that hard. Certainly not as difficult as I thought it would be.

2. Glutened is a word, as in being on a gluten-free diet and then ingesting gluten.

3. There are a bagazillion people who are gluten-free, and write/blog/fb about it. I look around and suddenly feel very very inconsequential and small.

4. If you’ve had a split household (with both GF and gluten consumers), going totally GF is actually a whole lot simpler. It only took me 6.5 years to see this.

5. The GF community is fantastic, with recipes and helpful tips and personal experience. So much information!

6. There are all kinds of food allergies out there, intolerances, and sensitivities out there. Milk, casein, egg, corn, coconut, nuts…the list goes on and on. My awareness has really been raised!

7. It actually IS possible for me to live without bread! Bread, pastas, breaded foods, and basically anything with gluten. Apparently I rarely ate foods without gluten. I haven’t for a week now… No one is as shocked in my family as much as I am. (Well, actually, they are more shocked than I. They’ve seen me start a fight over the last chunk of bread in the basket at dinner before. Ah, but anyways. I digress.)

8. Cooking gluten-free doesn’t require the purchase of new dishes or bakeware (unless you have a really really good reason…like the dishes are, say, all melted or something equally as ridiculous).

9. When dishes say “not microwave or dishwasher safe,” they apparently mean it.

10. Gluten-free foods look extra pretty on brand new dishes!

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Super easy weeknight dinner

Easy gluten-free dinner for those nights when everyone is rushing in and out.
You need:

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Zatarain’s yellow rice mix (it’s gluten-free)
2 tablespoons of butter
Four boneless pork chops
2 1/2 cups of water
A bit of cooking oil for the chops
Optional: pepper and garlic powder for the chops

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Brown pork chops with the oil, using pepper and garlic powder.

Add the rice mix, water, and butter.

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Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for about 25 minutes.

Voilà.

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Very easy, family-friendly rushed weeknight meal. Add some steamed broccoli or other veggies and you’re done. This holds well if you have someone arriving late, as well. Nothing fancy…but it’s great for the busy weeknights!

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This isn’t fun anymore.

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Bye bye bread flour!
No bread was harmed in the creating of this post. None was baked, either.

This isn’t fun anymore. You know. This whole going-gluten-free-thing.

There are a lot of gluten-containing foods that I’m missing right now, ever since going gluten-free earlier this month. It hasn’t been a full entire week, not even a FULL WEEK, and I’m jonesing hardcore for some gluten. On the positive side, I’ve yet to fall victim to a migraine this week, which has been really nice – whether it was related to going GF or not.

Okay. To be honest, I’m kind of irritated at gluten today. WHY does it have to taste so GOOD? It would be SO much simpler to do away with if it was simply the key ingredient in, say, livers and gizzards or something. But no. Gluten it everywhere. Everywhere. Not just contaminating many foods, but more deviantly, and arguably more importantly, BLATANTLY TEMPTING ME. I find this unforgivable.

Maybe I should’ve felt more empathy for my son all those years ago when we took him off gluten.

Anyways. Here are some of the things that I’m missing today, and pitifully so. Just so you know, tomorrow I will actively start searching for recipes and ways to recreate the objects of my severe case of foodlust. But today? I’m in mourning.

To start with? Artisan fresh baked bread. The kind with all the holes inside that are the perfect vessels for roasted garlic dipping oil and the floury coated crust and the taste. The crumb. The scents. The weight and loft. Even those darling little slices cut into the dough when it was set to rising. Ahh, we shared such memories. Now, those memories are torture.

Pizza Hut pan pizza is close to the top of my list. What? Don’t judge! The lofty pillow-like crust that tastes like it has been bathed in pure oil and fat and it almost melts in my mouth. The scent that smacks a person when they walk into the door of a Pizza Hut would overpower me right now. Easily. One pizza peel behind its back. It’s the smell that transports me back to my childhood, of pizza parties and the Book-It! Program as well as the sheer glee of savoring a little individual pizza pie pan full of deliciousness that was mine, all mine!

The huge Italian meatballs I used to make that took all day and used country white bread crumbs are on the list. Though, this one isn’t so severe since I’ve found that some gluten-free breads work just as good. Hey, look! A hopeful thought just entered my gluten-free brain in the midst of this great sadness.

I used to make this awesome garlic-honey angel hair pasta creation that would transport me to another plane of existence with its lovely coupling of sweet honey and mellowed roasted garlic. I really ought to give some GF pastas a try. I really should. Perhaps when I come out of mourning. Maybe tomorrow. At some point in this, I’m gonna have to just suck it up and wipe my tears and repeat after Scarlett, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Flour tortillas still make my mouth water. I’m not talking about the store-bought ones here; I’m speaking of those homemade flour tortillas still warm. Puffy yet soft yet …well. Corn tortillas are okay, but don’t hold a candle to the fresh tortillas I can find here in Texas. Covered with shredded cheddar, fajita meat, or honey. These things were fantastic even plain. They’re that good.

McDonald’s quarter-pounder. Wow. Really? Yep. I know. They’re awful. But for some strange reason, the very thought of one makes my mouth water like someone is waving a juicy grilled ribeye right under my nose. Yes. I. Want. One. So. So. Badly. I have to leave the room during the QP commercials. *On a side note, the commercials for the McRib make me want to vomit. So, there’s that. Another positive thought in this angst! Well, kinda…

To finish out the list: curly fries, breaded chicken strips, English muffins, Kit-Kat Bars, croutons in my salads, and good old-fashioned homemade mac and cheese.

Really, most of these foods have GF substitutes. So perhaps I could embark on a quest for the most delicious replacements. Additionally, it seems that the things I crave the hardest today are actually not really the healthiest to begin with.

So there. That’s off my chest. Perhaps now I can let them go. Say goodbye. Bid them a final adieu. Start moving in a more positive direction. Who knows. I’m sure I’ll find some really great inventions and recipes and replacements out there.

After I’m done pouting, I mean.

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Great Gift Ideas for Those Who Are Gluten-Free

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Feeling a bit under the weather today, I decided that instead of spending the day baking as I had originally planned, I would instead spent the morning browsing the internet for great gluten-free gift ideas. Okay, okay, so actually I was really shopping for myself, and realized that I could share my finds in the hopes it might help someone else out there searching for a great GF gift. Here is a selection of what I LOVE (I mean, what THEY might love).

First of all. If you are gluten-free, and know how to cook and bake GF, then by all means I think it is a fantastic idea to make homemade holiday treats as a personalized gift, if you wish to and you have the time. Who doesn’t love that? If, on the other hand, you are only vaguely familiar with what gluten-free is, then these gift ideas are for you. Let me tell you, there is nothing like seeing my kiddo front-teeth deep into a “gluten-free” confection…when the gift-giver mentions that she “only” used white (gluten-containing) flour to dust the pan they were baked in. Cross-contamination is a hard thing to watch for, particularly when prepared by someone who uses a lot of gluten-containing ingredients. Was the baking sheet free from any flour residue the dishwasher missed? Was the KitchenAid mixer dough fork happily stirring up Grandma’s prized recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough immediately before it was used to stir that little batch of gluten-free dough?

Not that I am trying to scare you out of creating something gluten-free for your loved ones or anything.

NO, REALLY. If you know what you are doing, and are familiar with proper sanitary and safety measures for all things gluten-free, and you want to do it, then do it. By all means. Enjoy it!

GIFT IDEAS

The following are a few quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive gift ideas. Take your pick! Or, get them all, if you are feeling exquisitely generous this holiday season. ;)

King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Gift is a basic baking kit. It includes one mix for GF bread (my all-time favorite easy GF bread mix), a GF flour blend, a cool silicone spatula thingy, and a tall bread loaf pan (that I must get asap). The taller pan is ideal for GF loaves, that need more support as they rise and bake. Made in the USA, $39.95 plus tax and s/h.

pretty egg tray and a great GF deviled egg recipe from Gluten Free Easily printed up on a nice recipe card and all packaged up together would make a great affordable gift. $16.95 plus tax and s/h.

My current favorite GF cookbook is Blackbird Bakery Gluten Free by Karen Morgan. Choose hardcover, Kindle, or Apple Store (the way I am devouring it currently). Around $10-12 electronically, up to around $16 hardcover on Amazon – plus tax, s/h.

Gluten Free Bakers Bundle is an assortment of flours from Bob’s Red Mill. All-Purpose, Brown Rice, White Rice, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, and Sorghum Flour. Perfect for someone who does a lot of GF baking. $31.61 plus tax and s/h.

Have someone on your list who loves spicier foods and flavors? Check out these gluten-free products from The Carolina Sauce Company. Ranging in price from about $4 up to $11 (plus…you know), you could select a nice variety of seasonings and hot sauces to create the perfect spicy gift basket.

Finally, the eternal “cop-out” gift – AKA the gift where one size fits all…gift cards. I personally think that going the gift card route is a fine way to go, particularly for those last-minute gifts. P.F.Chang’s or On The Border both have the options to order actual gift cards or to select eGift cards. Cost: Variable.

Good luck! And have fun shopping for the gluten-free folks in your world!

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My Favorite Gluten-Free iPhone Apps

I am an iPhone addict (just ask my family). As such, it should come as no surprise that I’ve found quite a few iPhone apps that have been helpful with living gluten-free (and more not-so-helpful). Here are my favorite five.

Is That Gluten Free?
It’s a bit pricey at $7.99, but it is very very helpful. Worth every penny. You can search for GF products by brand name, category, or name, or even specific ingredients. It’s very easy to use. My favorite part? It allows me to easily access each food/product company’s access info, so I can call them directly to ask questions or verify the ingredient list hasn’t changed and is still GF. Very convenient.

Cook IT Allergy Free is a neat reference guide that has numerous recipes, and shows the items you can trade out for some of the ingredients, depending upon your diet. This one includes more than just GF info. I really like how customizable each recipe is. The recipe box where your selections are stored is also very easy to navigate. $4.99.

Paprika is perhaps my favorite cooking app. It isn’t strictly for the gluten-free diet, but it is so easy to use. You can search directly in the browser for recipes, and then with the click of a button you can save the recipe details into the app directly from the website. You can also plan a weekly menu, add items to the shopping cart, and store and organize your own recipes along with the ones you find on the Internet. $4.99.

Is That Gluten Free – Eating Out is one of the most user-friendly Eating Out guide for chain restaurants that I’ve found in an app. I like that it lists out the menu items at each restaurant that are GF, and whether or not special instructions are necessary. It is limited in scope to less than 50 restaurants, but they say they are growing that number. $3.99.

Eden Recipes is a new app recently released. It offers a variety of interesting recipes (1000+). It is very easy to use. Best of all, it’s free!

There you go. My current favorite five. And? I’m making my first blog post from my iPhone. I know, I know, no biggie. But to me, it seems fitting that this topic should be the first one blogged about from my phone. ;)

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Coconut Caramel Chocolate Cookies (Gluten-Free)

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I saw a blog post yesterday (http://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/is-this-a-gluten-free-girl-scout-cookie/) that featured a photo of the most delicious-looking GF cookies. DELICIOUS. SO, I played with trying to recreate a similar cookie. Something like Girl Scout Samoa cookies – AKA Caramel De-Lites.

Basically, I wanted to make something relatively easy, yet still great. After a bit of trial and error, I decided that going without egg would work fine. Then I chose to skip the shortbread cookie, so the flour was tossed out (not literally…).  I decided to completely forgo baking altogether and make them similar to the no-bake macaroons that I love. Well. With chocolate. And caramel.

SO. Not perfect…but they are really delicious!

The caramel & the base layer of chocolate is hidden...'til the first bite

Started with the basic ingredients.

Sans the caramel...it was feeling shy.

I used chocolate chips, sweetened flaked coconut, butter, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, vanilla, and also some soft caramels (they were hiding). I melted the chocolate chips with a bit of butter in the microwave. Then, I spread a dollop of the melted chocolate onto wax paper. Make sure to spread it very thin, like this:

After spreading out a couple dozen chocolate circles, I popped them into the freezer while I microwaved the caramels with two tablespoons of water and then I brought the chocolate out of the freezer. I spread the melted caramels on top of the chocolate.

*NOTE* In between each step, I popped the cookie sheets covered in wax paper into the freezer.

Caramel, all melty & warm, atop the chocolate coins.

Back into the freezer this went, and I mixed the sweetened condensed milk together with the vanilla and the cream of coconut (you will note that you’ll have enough c of c left for a few pina coladas…you’re WELcome). Then, I added the coconut and stirred it up, and topped the cold caramel-chocolate bases with the coconut mixture.

Then, I reheated the leftover chocolate and drizzled it on top.

These are not the same, obviously, as the famous Girl Scout cookies, but they are pretty good. Other ideas, if you want to try, would be to add in a GF shortbread cookie, and to toast the coconut as well. I suppose you could also make your own caramel. I figured it would be too time consuming to make my own caramel, but that was until I realized how dang long it took to unwrap all those soft caramels…

Finished Result:

The caramel and the base layer of chocolate is hidden...until the first bite

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 T butter, cold

1/2 of 14oz bag of soft caramels – unwrapped

1 T water

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup cream of coconut

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 of 14oz bag of sweetened flaked coconut

DIRECTIONS:

Melt the chocolate chips with the butter, stirring often. Drop by spoon into wax paper (on a cookie sheet). Make 2-3 dozen, reserving some of the melted chocolate for drizzling later. Use a spoon to flatten out the chocolate into thin coins. Place into freezer while melting the caramels with the water. Bring out the chocolate coins and spoon small circles of caramel onto them, and return to freezer. Combine the vanilla, cream of coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the coconut. Remove the coins from the freezer and top with the coconut mixture. Return to the freezer while warming the chocolate. Then pull the cookies out of the freezer and drizzle with the melted chocolate.

I store these in the fridge.

This was just a quick experiment today – let me know what you think!:)

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Savory Cornbread with Cilantro Butter

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Savory Cornbread with Cilantro Butter

The Basics

I started with the basic recipe for Bob’s Red Mix GF Cornbread Mix. I used plain Silk soymilk for the milk. Before I blended it on high, I added the following:

and blended on high 30 seconds. I poured it into a baking dish and popped it into the oven. This is what it looked like at this point:

In the meantime, I made the herbed butter. I took a softened stick of butter and stirred in some chopped fresh cilantro.

Cilantro + Butter = Deliciousness.

When the cornbread was done, I let it cool a bit, and then served it up with a dollop of the butter.

Savory Cornbread with Cilantro Butter

INGREDIENTS:
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
1 1/2 cups milk (I used plain soy)
1/3 cup oil or melted butter
2 eggs
chopped bacon, red onion, garlic, and jalapeno (seeded)
*I used two slices of bacon, half a small red onion, 3 large garlic cloves, and 2 jalapenos. Obviously, you can adjust this as you wish to suit your tastes.

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pizzeria-style gluten free cheese breadsticks

My first challenge was suggested by my son: to create some GF cheese breadsticks, like they make at a local pizzeria.

I started with King Arthur pizza crust mix, since I had some on hand. I have had good luck with this crust mix. Following the directions on the package, I got the pizza crusts prepared and baked. The mix makes two. Then, I brushed on a lot of butter over each crust with a pastry brush, then topped with garlic powder. Finally, a large amount of mozzarella was added, and the crusts were baked. I sliced them into sticks…they were very good!

Butter!

Ingredients:

King Arthur Pizza Crust Mix

Yeast packet (included in mix)

3 eggs

4 T oil

1 1/2 cups soymilk

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 T garlic powder

4 cups mozzarella

Directions:

Follow directions on package. After crusts have risen the second time, and then baked, brush both with the melted butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder and top with cheese. Continue baking according to package directions. Slice up into breadsticks; serve with your favorite dips.

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