Category Archives: Celebrations

Positive Thinking Day

Today, September 13 is Positive Thinking Day.  No surprise I latched onto this one, right?  One truth in this world that I do know is that we all create our own reality with our thoughts.  You really are what you think, so we all really want to be careful of what we let into our minds, hearts and lives not just today, but everyday.

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It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

Oh yes it is.  But at my house every day is cookie day and one of our favorites is chocolate chip.  I live with a Cookie Monster.  Whenever Bob walks by freshly baked c0okies cooling on the counter at least a few get devoured.  I usually have homemade cookies on hand, at least in the freezer.

Of course they are gluten free and I do try to health them up a bit, but we’re not talking about nasty tasting “health cookies” here.  These are real cookies and they taste good.

So in honor of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day let’s revisit my Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Cookie recipe.  Enjoy!

 

 

National Ice Cream Day

Cherry Fruit Cream
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

It’s National Ice Cream Day.  But what do you do if you cannot eat the sugar, dairy or eggs in regular ice cream for health reasons?

No More Ice Cream?  Oh No!!!!

What does an ice cream lover do when forced to give up sugar, dairy and eggs for health reasons?

Well, in my case the first thing I did was cry — a lot.

Then I tried moderation. I really love my ice cream, so cutting back was having it once a week instead of every day. That didn’t work.

So I gave it up. I stopped eating ice cream and I even gave up making the wonderful family recipes developed by my mother.

It took awhile to try the ice cream made with frozen bananas because I was sure there was no way that stuff tasted like ice cream. When I finally decided to try I burned out two blenders before I found a Ninja to help me learn how to do it right. Together we discovered wonderful frozen desserts that are gluten-free, low in fat and sugar and if you use almond milk or another dairy free alternative, vegan.  I call them fruit creams with flavors such as not only the luscious cherry included here, but also chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, cherry chocolate, egg nog,  pumpkin and peanut butter chip.

Cherry Fruit Cream

Delicious fruit cream full of cherry flavor. Of course you may pit and freeze your own cherries, but buying already frozen is easier.  If you want chunks of cherries in your cream you may cut one half cup of the cherries in half and add after you turn off the blender.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen mashed banana

1 cup frozen sweet cherries

½ cup almond milk or other milk of your choice

1 teaspoon almond extract Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to blender container.

2. Blend on high speed (# 3 if using a Ninja) until thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times during processing.

3. Serve now as soft serve or put in a carton and freeze until firm.

Want to have some Frozen Fun?

The best thing about ice cream is that is fun to make and of course fun to eat. I put my love of ice cream and summertime fun into a Kindle book called Frozen Fun.  For more dairy free recipes as well as my mother’s old fashioned recipes with milk, eggs and heavy cream visit the Kindle Store to buy your copy today.

This post is part of the following Link Parties:

Sugar and Spice Link Party

Moonlight and Mason Jars

 

 

 

 

The Secret to Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

With Independence Day coming up on Tuesday many of us in the U.S. are thinking about food, planning what we are going to serve.  Summer always makes me think of picnics and when I think of picnics I think of fried chicken.  Not just any fried chicken, my mom’s fried chicken.  She made the best.  I have many of her recipes including fried chicken.  This is one of those recipes I thought was out-of-bounds for me when I started living gluten-free for health reasons.  When I realized how simple the answer was I was embarrassed that I couldn’t see it sooner.

You see, there really is no secret to making gluten-free fried chicken.  Unless there are other problem ingredients, you can still use you favorite recipe, with one small change.  You use gluten-free flour.  Now you will get different results with different flours, so you will want to experiment a bit.  The first time I tried this I made two batches of chicken nuggets, one with brown rice flour and one with sorghum flour.  You can also use a blend if you wish.  You do not need xanthan gum for this.  I have since fried actual pieces of chicken and it works great as well.

Fried chicken nuggets made with brown rice flour.

 

Fried chicken nuggets made with sorghum flour

If you don’t have a favorite fried chicken recipe you are welcome to try mine.  My mom’s recipes were just lists of ingredients, often without measurements so I usually just guess at how much I need of each ingredient.  Feel free to adjust my measurements below for how much chicken you have.  This recipe may also be used with basically anything you want to bread and fry.

Mom’s Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into tenders or nuggets (You may also use bone-in chicken pieces or a cut up whole chicken).

1 t. Mrs. Dash

1 t. paprika (this helps with browning)

1/4 c. milk

1 eggs beaten or 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine milk and egg in a small bowl or flat baking dish.
  2. Combine flour and spices in another bowl or baking dish.  Mix well.
  3. Dip chicken pieces in milk/egg mixture, then in flour.  Repeat.
  4. Pour oil about 1″ deep in a skillet.  Heat oil till a small drop of water dropped in pan sizzles.
  5. Carefully add chicken pieces to hot oil.  You do not want to splatter hot oil or your skill or for it to run over the edges of the skillet.
  6. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
  7. Reduce heat and cover skillet with lid.
  8. Continue to cook, turning a couple of times till the thickest pieces are done.
  9. Take cover off and cook for about 5 minutes more to crisp things up.

Genie’s Note:

  • For fried chicken, I think brown rice flour makes a very nice thick, crispy crust.  Bob thinks sorghum flour has more flavor.  Experiment with your favorite gluten-free  flours until you find the one you like best.
  • You may adjust the seasoning in your flour to meet your family’s taste.  If you prefer spice, add cumin or chili powder, for Italian flavor add rosemary, oregano and basil.  You may also add garlic powder if you wish.  Experiment to find what you like best.
  • If you run out of flour or egg wash, just mix a bit more up.  You don’t want to have a lot of leftover flour or egg wash.  Do not reuse you flour of milk/egg about it has had raw chicken in it — just throw it out.
  • Fried foods are not something we eat regularly now.  I might make fried chicken once a year for Bob’s birthday.  But my mom’s fried chicken still holds a special place in my memory and I wanted to use this as an example of how easy it can sometimes be to make those old favorites gluten free.

Approach those old favorite recipes with an open mind and there’s no telling where they might take you.


This recipe has been shared at the Sugar, Spice and Family Life Link Party.

It’s a Salad Celebration!

Salmon Salad Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins
Salmon Salad
Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

May is National Salad Month, but I think  a nice fresh garden salad makes any meal a celebration. When you think of a garden salad, or green salad what comes to mind? A bowl of iceberg lettuce with maybe a little purple cabbage or grated carrot mixed in and one slice of tomato on the side? Do you sometimes get bored with that?

Not Your Ordinary Garden Salad
We all get tired of a plain old green salad. Try the following suggestions for greens, veggies, dressing and other ingredients to jazz up that ordinary salad. Add a little protein to your salad and make it a meal.

Be Daring in Your Choice of Greens

With hundreds of varieties of salad greens, why get stuck on iceberg lettuce? New time try something different. Use the list below to help you get started.

  1.  Arugula (also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola). Low in calories and high in vitamins A and C the leaves have a distinctive peppery flavor.

2.  Belgian endive is a leaf lettuce which is related to chicory and escarole with crisp, tightly packed leaves and a slightly bitter taste..

3.  Dandelion greens are high in vitamins A and K, calcium and iron. The newest leaves are said to be less bitter. Before you go harvesting the greens in your back yard be sure you are not using herbicides, insecticides or other harmful chemicals on your lawn.

4.  Escarole is a type of endive that is less bitter than other types and it good either eaten raw or lightly cooked.

5.  Iceberg or head lettuce is what many people think of when they hear the words lettuce or salad. Iceberg lettuce is known for it’s crisp sweet tasting heads. It also keeps longer than some of the other lettuces. The large leaves may also be used like a tortilla to make lettuce wraps.

6.  Mesclun (also known as Spring Mix) is the French name for a mix of a variety of tender young lettuces. These often include chervil, arugula, lettuce and endive.

7.  Cabbage may not be an ingredient you think of for salads but the mild flavor make it a perfect bed for spicier salad ingredients.

8.  Radicchio is a red lettuce in head form (resembles red cabbage) that is bitter and peppery but adds a nice accent flavor to salads when added in small amounts.

9.  Romaine has long, deep green leaves. It also has a deep flavor and sturdy leaves that work well in a salad. Romaine lettuce is a good source vitamins A, C, B1, B2, manganese, folate, chromium, dietary fiber, as well as the minerals potassium, molybdenum, iron, and phosphorus.

10.  Spinach is a source of Vitamin A. It is rich in iron, calcium and protein. Spinach gives a good splash of dark green color and it’s own flavor to a green salad. It is also very good lightly cooked in a little olive oil with garlic.

11.  Watercress has small spicy leaves that are a good flavor addition to a salad.

Salad Dressing: How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette

The formula for a basic vinaigrette is 3 to 1. That is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. If you want to make 1 cup of dressing use ¾ cup oil and ¼ cup vinegar. If you want to make a small amount try 3 tablespoons oil to 1 tablespoon vinegar.

I use olive oil for the benefits of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but any good vegetable oil will work. Even your basic canola or sunflower oil may be used. You can also get fancy and use flavored oils or add a little sesame or flax seed oil to your regular oil for flavor.

The vinegar is also up to you. Regular apple cider vinegar works, but I prefer balsamic or red wind vinegar.  Flavored vinegars like raspberry also work nicely for some dressings. You don’t even have to use vinegar at all. Citrus juice such as orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime may be substituted.

A basic vinaigrette starts with the vinegar or other acid in a small bowl . Add salt and pepper or other seasonings as desired. While beating the vinegar with a wire whisk add the oil, slowly in a small stream. Continue beating until all the oil is incorporated into the dressing. Why do you do this? You are creating an “emulsion” or a blending of the oil and vinegar so they do not instantly separate. This may also be done in a blender.

That’s the basic vinaigrette. Plain and simple. Of course you can fancy it up. Add whatever you want — mustard, honey, finely chopped garlic or onion, any herbs and spices your heart desires.

Making only as much dressing as you will use immediately is a good idea. Olive oil tends to solidify when it gets cold, so some dressings do not store well in the refrigerator. I think you will also find the flavor of fresh salad dressing can’t be beat.

Now get out there and celebrate National Salad Month.  Be daring in your choice of greens, make your own dressing, add a few of your favorite fruits and veggies and maybe a little protein and take that salad way beyond your ordinary garden salad!

This celebration is linked to:

Sugar and Spice Link Party #156  http://sugarspiceandfamilylife.com/2017/05/sugar-spice-link-party-156.html

Earth Day: Our Dependence on our Mother

Today is Earth Day.  This is a sad day for me as I see the arrogance and controlling nature of human kind destroying our planet at an alarming rate.  Even in our quiet little wooded lakeside community we live with people who want the trees cut down and the wildlife killed or relocated.

As much as people want to believe they depend on no one, we have to remember the earth is our mother.  We do depend on her — for our very lives.  She provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the ground that supports us, the food we eat — everything necessary for survival is available from our mother, the earth.  As we continue to poison the air, water and ground how long can we expect her to support us?

We were put on this earth to tend the garden.  To care for and nurture the earth and the creatures living on it.  The earth is not ours to exploit until there is nothing of any value left.  As we destroy the earth we are destroying ourselves.

This is the time to keep up on important environmental issues and take action as needed.  Some may be able to work on the “front lines” to save and protect our earth and her wildlife.  Those of us who cannot do that can still help by writing letters, signing petitions and being aware of how our everyday actions effect the earth.

Finally, we can all pray.  The prayer of one person raises the energetic vibration of the earth, but when we all join together it is multiplied over and over.  I have been involved in international, inter-faith prayer efforts and the power of such prayers is so strong, at times it can seem overwhelming.

So this Earth Day, start taking your responsibility for caring for the earth seriously.  Show Mother Earth a little love.  We can stop this…