March 2014 Love It Like It Leave It

With restricting my purchases during the season of lent, I haven't really tried many new products. My new products to review are the Delallo gluten free gnocchi and Hodgson Mills Gluten Free Multipurpose Baking Mix. In my opinion, these are both "Like Its." They probably won't be a regular item to add to my shopping list, but they're handy once in a while. 

This gnocchi is made in a dedicated gluten free facility in Italy. They are made with 85% potato, and the remainder is rice flour. They cook very quickly- 4 minutes total! First you boil them in a large pot of water for 2 minutes, until they all lovingly float to the top. (Which is kind of fun to watch!) Then cook them for 2 minutes in your sauce and you have a meal! Delallo's suggestions for sauces- brown butter & sage, sun dried tomato & asiago, lemon cream sauce with spinach & peas, or butternut squash with pine nuts & balsalmic vinegar. All of those sound tasty! We decided to just make a tomato sauce with a bunch of veggies.

The box says one serving is 1 cup and 250 calories. I chose to change that to 2/3 of a cup which would be about 160 calories, which is two starch exchanges. Brad got to take the leftover serving for lunch today with some lemon pepper chicken.

Because I didn't grow up eating gnocchi, and had never had it before being gluten free, I don't have a good realm of comparison. These were actually really good, but I've been spoiled by the sweet potato gnocchi we made a few years ago for Christmas. It was way awesome. It was also way sticky, and my husband is way cool for making them all by hand. But you should definitely try the recipe.

I bought this the other day because I was looking for buckwheat flour for pancakes. I found two different flours while at Horrock's, but neither were certified gluten free. After hearing about massive cross contamination of flours at last year's Celiac Conference in Columbus, I've learned to make sure that all of my flours are certified gluten free. When I found this mix, I thought I would try it. It wasn't terribly expensive, and it is made with LOADS of whole grains. The ingredient list: Whole Grain Millet Flour, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Xanthum Gum. Holy Whole Grains Batman!

To be honest, my husband made breakfast this morning. He followed the recipe on the box that was supposed to make 6-8 pancakes. He managed to get 9 pancakes that weighed 1.75 ounces a piece. So, about 16 oz. of batter. The main ingredients to add were 1 cup flour, 1 egg, 3/4 c. milk, and a tbsp. of oil. (Along with some salt, sugar, and baking powder.) 

They were pretty tasty but it had an after taste that reminded us of slightly rancid oil. I say this carefully, because I don't think it was rancid. I think it was just because we're not used to millet and sorghum flours. I'm sure if we cooked with these flours more often, it would be different. The pancakes were perfectly fine smeared with peanut butter and drizzle of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. 

When I asked my husband how he felt about them, he basically summed it up this way. When it comes to pancakes, his favorites "stack" up like this: 
Buckwheat Pancakes
Bake It Best Pancakes
Regular Flour Pancakes
(because he doesn't have to eat gluten free)
and the rest are all down hill from there. 

As far as things I really LOVED this month, I made a great beef and broccoli recipe that was OUT OF THIS WORLD! I made it for the men at My Brother's Keeper homeless shelter, along with fresh pineapple and a side salad. It was definitely a winner. If you live in the greater Flint area, please consider serving at this ministry. We are trying to find area churches to serve there once a month. These men are hungry for healthy food, good friendship, and a deep understanding of the Bible. And they hold a special place in my heart. 

The biggest trick for this recipe was using REALLY thin beef. What we used was beef cut for "milanesa."
The other thing that I did was marinate the meat for a few hours in the soy sauce & water mixed with ginger and garlic powders. THEN I put the meat in the oven, covered, at a low temperature for a few hours. I think I put it at 300 for about 2 hours. (Then again, I had 12 lbs of meat, so if you're making it for yourself, it may take A LOT less time.) Once it had cooked, I drained the juice into a pot on the stove and thickened it with corn starch. We cooked the onions, broccoli, and some green peppers separately (in butter) on the stove top, then added it to the finished meat. It may honestly be the best thing I've ever made in my life. I failed to take a picture- sorry. :) So I'll share one from the website to stimulate your appetite. 

With this recipe, I will never have to miss Chinese food again.  I'm going to plug the recipe into the Curves recipe analyzer to make it at home!