Monday, December 24, 2012
Merry Christmas :)
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I started out by cooking a pound and a half of ground elk meat, with olive oil, a chopped onion, and a can of mushrooms. When the meat was almost done cooking, I added a bag of frozen peas and corn, and cooked until it was all hot. I put the meat mixture into a ceramic dutch oven, then used the same skillet to make gravy. This was the trick to making it dairy and wheat free. I used beef broth and corn starch to make the gravy. Half of a can of beef broth went into the skillet. I mixed 2 T. corn starch in a shaker with 1 tsp. onion powder, shook it up really well, then added the other half of the can of beef broth to the shaker, and shook until it was well mixed. Then I poured the shaker into the hot beef broth in the skillet, and whisked until it was hot and bubbly, and the thickness I wanted. I poured the gravy over the meat mixture, then added smashed potatoes to the top. Instead of mashing the potatoes with butter and milk, I just added a touch of olive oil and a little garlic salt and used a masher for a chunky texture. I baked it until the gravy was bubbling up through the potatoes - maybe 15-20 minutes. The guys say it was really good. I didn't eat it because of my diet - instead, I pulled out some of the elk/onion/mushroom mixture and added a little salsa and garlic salt to it, and just a touch of cheese, and had that with green beans. We were all very happy with dinner ;)
My daughter (who will be 20 tomorrow - yikes!) usually does all the goodie making at Christmas, but she's of to college on the other side of the country this year, so I'm on my own. I wanted to make goodies (even though I'm not allowed to eat them on my diet :( I've been pinning Christmas treat ideas all year, so I figured it would be a great time to try out some of the ideas. They all came out perfectly. So here's some of the things I've made...
This was called Christmas Crack - because it's as addictive as crack. I would have to agree. Glad I'm on a diet, or I would have eaten a whole pan of this stuff myself. It's very simple - put a layer of saltine crackers on a foil lined pan with sides (I used a big sheet cake pan). In a saucepan, cook 1 cup of unsalted butter together with 1 cup of brown sugar until bubbly and starting to thicken - somewhere around 5 minutes or so. Pour that over the crackers, spread to coat, then bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until bubbly. Pull out of oven and sprinkle a bag of chocolate chips on top. When the chips have melted, spread out the chocolate, then chill till set.
At any rate, here's the recipe:
- 1 cup(s) light corn syrup
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) peppermint extract
- 6 drop(s) red food coloring
- Oil a 9" by 9" pan and a spoon and set aside. Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan with 3/4 cup water and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes.
- Beat egg whites to stiff peaks in a large bowl using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour sugar mixture into egg whites. Add peppermint and continue to beat until mixture is very thick and fluffy, about 12 minutes.
- Immediately transfer to prepared pan and smooth using back of oiled spoon. Dot divinity surface with red food coloring and drag a skewer through to create a marbled effect. Let stand at room temperature until firm, about 2 hours. Slice into 1-inch squares. Note: For a simple variation, drop dollops of divinity batter onto an oiled baking sheet, then top with chocolate kisses.
I also made flavored oyster crackers. These are just vegetable oil mixed with ranch dressing mix and poured over the crackers. You have to let it sit for a couple of days for the flavor to be good. I didn't measure - just mixed it freehand - maybe around a cup of oil, who knows how much ranch, and two bags of oyster crackers. That was the only recipe that wasn't from pinterest.
Oh, and incidentally, I have snitched a few bites here and there (definitely more than I intended to), but it hasn't been too hard on the diet. I've already lost two pounds since Monday. I'm not pushing my luck though. If you're trying to not snack on goodies while you make them, I highly recommend ice breaker mints. They have a strong flavor, and no carbs, and things won't taste right if you snack on them. That or toothpaste ;)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Anyway, it worked out well, and I figured it cost me about 50 cents to make nearly two gallons (I doubled the recipe). This will obviously cut down our costs, and will also solve the problem of having to run out of town every week or two. And I just might not go broke. I found that our normally very expensive local store has a bulk bucket of long grain brown rice - 43 pounds for $29 - which is surprisingly one of the best prices I've found. The next thing I want to get is a grain mill so I can make his flour too. Mixes are $6-$7 for very little flour - or for one cake mix. If I ground my own rice flour and oat flour, I could save a ton of money. I could even make him pasta too. That would pay for the price of the very expensive grain mill pretty quickly. I keep hoping he'll outgrow the wheat allergy, but so far, no luck.