NOTICE

At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS INGREDIENTS AND INFORMATION DO CHANGE.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Recent Reflections - November 2018: Thanksgiving 365



This is the eleventh Recent Reflections post of 2018.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on giving thanks all year long, not just on Thanksgiving.


This is a picture of my favorite mug (Thanks, Mom E.!).  I love the reminders on it, and I love the idea of being obsessively grateful.

If you can't see the picture or are having trouble reading it, it says:

Be Obsessively Grateful
grat-i-tude  /ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/ noun
1. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation

1. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, it turns what we have into enough.  2. The more grateful you are, the more present you become.  3. Expect nothing, appreciate everything.  4. There is always, always, always something to be grateful for.  5. Gratitude changes everything.  6. Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles.  Notice them.

How awesome are those thoughts?  This is exactly how I want to live my life - constantly grateful and ready to appreciate the littlest of things.  When I live this way, I feel better, I act better, I am the best version of me.  I also find that life is just better when you're grateful.

As it says in the Bible, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:18 - KJV)  God loves you more than anything and wants what is best for you.  What do you have to lose by trusting in His will for your life and being grateful come what may?  Nothing.  You can only gain.


Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday.  It is a day to reflect on all we have to be grateful for.  This year, may I challenge you to turn Thanksgiving into a 365 day thing vs. a 1 day thing.  Find something to be thankful for - no matter how small - every day and watch your life change for the better.  I promise, it works!  The right attitude can make any day better, and  you'll find your life enriched because of it.


I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart, or at the least made you stop and think a little.  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie (Wheat, Nut, and Fish-Free, Can Be Soy and Milk-Free)



This is absolutely my most favorite time of the year!  I love all things fall, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I just love all the positivity and gratitude that comes with the season.  And I also love the baking that comes with the holidays.  I find it very relaxing.

One of the things that goes hand-in-hand with autumn and Thanksgiving (and Christmas, too - for us, anyway) is pumpkin pie.  I am not a huge fan of most pumpkin pies, but this one I like, and I was told by someone who HATES pumpkin pie that he actually enjoyed mine.  High praise, for sure!

I've made this particular recipe with gluten-free and gluten-full crust, but I decided to share the gluten-free crust version because that's the kind I have to make for my gluten-free kiddos.  It is great either way, but I will admit to having a lot easier time with the gluten-full crust when it came to rolling out the crust.  I still consider myself a novice in the gluten-free pies and bread department, and still have to rely on mixes at times.  Thankfully, King Arthur Flour makes a GREAT gluten-free pie crust mix that I can recommend with confidence!  (No, this is not a paid post for them, and they don't even know I am sharing this.  I'm just sharing from my heart and experience.)

Anyway, this pie is sweet and spicy in all the right ways, and pretty easy to whip up.  It is wheat, nut and fish-free (if all your ingredients are), and can be soy and milk-free (see variations).  It doesn't contain any sweetened condensed or evaporated milk, and I do think that makes it taste better.  As I mentioned above, people that will eat no other pumpkin pie will eat this one, so it is definitely worth making for your next holiday or family get-together meal!

Note: The gluten-free pie crust mix I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free. 

Also, the eggs are vital to this recipe because it is a custard-type pie.  If you have  made a custard-type pie before using egg replacer or an egg substitute with success, please feel free to use it here to make the recipe egg-free.


Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

King Arthur Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix, prepared according to the package instructions, but not baked
(The mix makes 2 pie crusts, so you can either double this recipe and make 2 pumpkin pies, or use the other half of the dough for another pie.)
  
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
(This is just pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie mix.)

1 Cup milk
(Whole milk is best, but you can use any you have on hand.)

2 large eggs

2/3 Cup brown sugar, packed
(I recommend using brown cane sugar.)

2 Tablespoons white sugar
(I recommend using white cane sugar.)
   
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
  
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
  
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*


*I recommend using McCormick spices when possible, and always make sure your spices are gluten-free!
  1. Preheat your oven to 350oF.
       
  2. Roll out 1/2 of your prepared pie crust dough, and put it into a 9-inch, glass baking dish.  (Note: I find that glass pie dishes are best for baking pie, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Also, as I mentioned above, the pie crust mix makes two 9-inch pie crust, so you can either double the filling and do 2 pies or use the other half of the dough for another type of pie.  For best results, follow the instructions on the back of the box for making the pie crust dough exactly.)
      
  3. Mix all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until well-blended and then fill your pie crust with it.  (Note: If you sugar is clumpy, you will want to shift it before using it.  If you choose, you can mix the milk, eggs and pumpkin together first, then add you sugar and spices, but that is not necessary.)
       
  4. Bake your pie for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and a knife inserted 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the pie comes out clean.  (Note:  Your pie should be set like a custard pie or cheesecake, and it will crack in the middle if over-baked.  A little wobble in the pie is good (think set Jell-o or custard - if the pie's custard moves all together and doesn't look like liquid moving, it should be good to go, especially if the knife comes out clean), but you don't want a huge wobble (think bowl of cream - any wobble that is extremely obvious and looks like liquid moving is too much).)
      
  5. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving and store any left overs in the fridge.  (Note: I normally make this pie the day or night before I want to serve it as it is best very cold.  I just allow it to cool on the counter until it is cool enough to stick in the fridge, put it in the fridge, and then leave it there until I am ready to cut and serve it.)
Makes 8 to 12 servings.  You can serve it plain or topped with sweetened whipped cream or even ice cream if you are so inclined and your diet allows. :)


Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk of your choice in place of the milk.  Also, follow the directions on the pie crust mix box for making it "non-dairy".
      
  • Soy-Free: King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix does not claim to contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use another soy-free pie crust mix (if you can have wheat/gluten) or soy-free, gluten-free pie crust mix of your choice.  You can make your own pie crust from scratch, as well (Here are 2 of my recipes: Simple Pie Crust and Easy Pie CrustNote: I have made both of those recipes with gluten-free Cup-for-Cup flour, but they are definitely harder to work with - stickier dough - so it is easier to overwork the dough.  This is why I recommended the pie crust mix.  Once I get a from scratch gluten-free pie crust out that works well, I'll share it! :) )  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too.
This pie is really so very simple to put together, and truly delicious!


If you like pumpkin pie, give it a try!
You won't be sorry!



Thursday, November 1, 2018

Essential Oils 101 with Jess - November 2018: DiGize

Awhile ago, I got curious about essential oils.  A lot of people I know that either prefer natural/herbal medicines or cannot take or use a lot of modern antibiotics due to allergies or other health issues use essential oils.  Because of this, I asked a friend of mine, Jessica, who is an essential oil guru in my opinion, if she'd be willing to do a monthly feature on here for me about essential oils, and she said she'd be delighted to! :)  "Essential Oils 101 with Jess" will go live the first day of every month, and I hope you find the information helpful!  If you're curious about essential oils, this information will be a great starting point for you! (See the disclaimer at the bottom of the post for further information.)

Without further adieu, I give you Jess!


~*~*~*~*~

As a wife to a husband who works hard at 50+ hours a week and a stay-at-home Mommy of 2 very busy littles, I simply say, "Hello!  My name is Jess!"  I've been faithfully using my Young Living kit and oils for 2 years now.  I thought that they were just over priced bottles of smelly oils, and it took me a year before I actually USED them in 2016 after my daughter was born and she fell ill.  After a few failed attempts of medicines and research, I made the choice to turn to oils.  The difference within 24 hours sold me out, and now they've become a daily part of my family's lives!  I love to do research upon research to find just what different oils are, what they do, and how I can use them.  My passion to share and teach others continues to grow daily.  Unfortunately, we aren't born with vast amounts of wisdom and knowledge, so that's why I'm here!  I want to make that road a little easier for each of you! 



~*~*~*~*~
November's Oil of the Month:

DiGize (5mL)
Wholesale: $14   Retail: $18.42



food co·ma  :  noun informal 
a state of sleep or extreme lethargy induced by the consumption of a large amount of food. 
"I fell into a post-dinner food coma and now I need DiGize!”


Ok, fine…. So the technical definition may not include DiGize, but that doesn’t mean our own personal vocab and med cabinet can’t!  

What do you feel when your calendar says November?  I have mixed thoughts: hunting; camo; venison; huge, fake vegetables as table center pieces and massive meals!  Turkey much?  Cranberry sauce much?  Green bean casserole much?  (Ok, honestly, any bean casserole is TOO much for this girl!)

So, we gather with families and enjoy many laughs over much food, but afterward?  Well, now we have to feel the consequences of those choices, and it ain’t pretty!  The #1 thing you better hope you tossed in your holiday bag is DiGize*!  Wait until you see what is in this highly unique spicy and exotic aromatic blend, including Fennel essential oil, which dates back to ancient Egypt.

  • Tarragon: Supports blood circulation, stimulates proper digestion, supports and eases abdominal discomforts and any irritations
      
  • Ginger: Eases discomforts from over digestion, boosts proper digestion and supports health of our entire digestion system
      
  • Peppermint: Helps boost digestion, calms pains and discomfort of some digestion issues, boosts mental activity, supports against bug attacks, boosts respiratory system and promotes overall health from our hair to nails
      
  • Juniper: Supports the detoxing of garbage in our systems, boosts our circulatory system and gives a calming sensation of relaxation and fights off stress symptoms
      
  • Lemongrass: Supports against inflammations and pains, fights against bug attacks, improves blood circulation, supports against ulcer pains or over digestion
      
  • Anise: Supports against digestion cramps and diarrhea,  boosts and cleans respiratory function, helps protect against parasites and calms anxiety symptoms
      
  • Patchouli: Stimulates the mind and moods, soothes pain or inflammation, helps our bodies to detox and remove garbage and toxins, aids in digestion of tough foods and helps boost our skins elasticity 

I mean just look at all of those benefits!  And the even more amazing part is that is not even HALF of the benefits!  I just shared the highlights!  So, when you have 3 lbs. of turkey and 4 helpings of stuffing sitting in your gut, grab your oil!  Too much dessert and even MORE whipped cream?  Grab your oil!  Maybe you have a bug attacking…It works for that TOO!  Anything that is bothering your esophagus and below, this is what you need!


So, I love sharing recipes and fun ways to incorporate our oils into life, but with this one….I don’t have one! Guys, this oil IS THE recipe!  It doesn’t even need a dilution.  So, my recipe is simply grab the bottle, lift up your tongue, drop 1-2 drops under your tongue, and let it go to work!  It will taste a little like a minty black jelly bean (which I despise, but I still will use this).  For extra pains or digestion disruption, just take 2 drops into your hand and rub directly onto your stomach and down to your abdomen.  It is so amazing how this feels and works!  



And for those who really cannot stand or handle black licorice, don’t panic!  There is another blend called TummyGize which has the same benefits but different formulation.  This one is part of the KidScents line!  Give it a whirl and you may prefer this more minty one!

* - Click on the links to view the ingredient lists to see if these products are right for you and fit your individual allergen needs.  Note that the DiGize oil mentioned is the Vitality variety.  You can search the other oils and blends here.


Ready to have your own bottle of DiGize or want to know more about how to get your own oils?
Click —>  https:yl.pe/58q8

For even more information on how you can get started with Young Living Essential Oils, click here.


Curious as to "Why Young Living?"  Click here.


Want to keep up with my latest oils, info and discovery?
Head over to my blog, Essentially Balanced.


Disclaimer:  This post is for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of your doctor’s medical advice.  Though essential oils can be of great benefit for many people, they need to be used properly, and please be advised that some people cannot use essential oils due to allergies, sensitivities, etc.  I highly recommend that you discuss the use of essential oils with your allergist or physician prior to using them for the first time to see if essential oils are right for you.  All information shared here is based on the personal experiences of Jessica Pero and/or myself, and individual results can vary.  Neither of us are doctors, and we cannot treat, cure or diagnose any medical conditions.  


Neither Jessica nor I have been paid for our opinion of Young Living products, though free samples may have been sent to us at times (most products will have been purchased by at least Jessica for personal use vs. being given to her for free to try prior to it appearing on this page).  Our opinions are 100% our own without censor and reflect our personal feelings on the products and not that of the company/person that sent them to us.  If I do not have a comment on a particular product, it is because I have not personally tried it.  No product will be shown on this site that has not been tried by at least Jessica beforehand.


This post will also contain links (that were safe and valid at the time of posting) to outside sources to give you more information about the products listed and about how to purchase these products, including but not limited to the option to set up an account with Young Living.  You are not required nor obligated to set up an account with Young Living nor to purchase products from them by visiting these links.  If you choose to set up an account with Young Living or buy their products, you do so at your own discretion.  Furthermore, by using the information in this post, you expressly acknowledge and agree that Caring Foodie, its author (Julie Moore), Jessica and Caleb Pero, Essentially Balanced, Young Living, blogspot.com and wordpress.com are not responsible for the outcomes of your decisions resulting from the use of this information including, but not limited to, your choosing to purchase or not purchase products, to take (or not to take) a specific course of action based on the information shared herein or your seeking (or not seeking) professional medical care.



~*~*~*~*~

Thanks for being my guest, Jess!

I hope you all have enjoyed learning a little more about DiGize essential oil blend.  If you have further questions, please leave a comment below and Jess will respond as she is able or contact her via her "Contact" page.






Friday, October 26, 2018

Family Favorites - October 2018: Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Nut, Wheat and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk, Soy and Egg-Free)


This year, I decided to list a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the tenth Family Favorites recipe of 2018.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  This is basically a re-post of my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins, but with some extra tips and tricks.  This recipe is nut, wheat and fish-free (as long as all of your ingredients are), and can be milk, soy and egg-free (see variations).  It is also the recipe that my dad (who is not gluten-free, by the way) requests every time he comes over or whenever I go over to their house.  These are also the muffins that get eaten the quickest by my family when I make muffins.  In fact, my husband purposely buys more apples than we can eat so that I can make these (along with a pie or crisp or fruited coffee cake - or all of the above).  I promise you - these are some of the best apple cinnamon muffins on the planet - gluten-free or gluten-full.  No one ever suspects them of being gluten-free (and I still don't know why people assume gluten-free = awful because it is simply not true), and they always want more!  Give them a try - you won't regret it!

Note: The gluten-free baking mix I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.


Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

3 Cups gluten-free baking mix 
(I always use King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, and yes, it has to be a baking mix, NOT a gluten-free flour or the recipe will not turn out right.)

1/2 Cup white sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1/2 Cup brown sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

  
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
(My favorite brand to use is O-LIVE, but I also have used others, but I always use extra virgin olive oil.)

4 large eggs

1 Cup milk
(I always use whole milk.)

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

1 1/2 Cups small diced apples, peeled or not based on preference
(I use Ida Red, Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith or a combination, but you can use any baking apple of your choice.)  
(Our favorite apple to use is Ginger Gold, followed by Granny Smith and Ida Red.  I also always peel my apples.  Also, the 1 1/2 Cups is the amount of apple AFTER dicing it.  This normally takes 1 to 3 apples depending on the size of the apples.)

Cinnamon and Sugar (for topping) (optional)
(I always use the topping, and I always use a teaspoon of cinnamon to 2 Tablespoons of white cane sugar to make it.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
      
  2. Prepare muffin tins with 24 paper cups or grease tins well with fat of choice.
       
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free baking mix, sugars and cinnamon until well blended and set aside.
      
  4. In another larger bowl, mix the oil, egg, milk and vanilla until well blended.
      
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the  mixture is just blended.
      
  6. Fold in the diced apples until evenly distributed.
      
  7. Evenly distribute the muffin mixture between the 24 muffin cups and top each one with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. (Note: The amount of cinnamon and sugar you put on each on each muffin is up to you, but I recommend about a teaspoon per muffin, but you could put as much as a Tablespoon.  To make the mix of cinnamon and sugar, I recommend about a teaspoon of cinnamon for every 2 Tablespoons of white sugar, but you can certainly use whatever ratio you like best.)
      
  8. Let the muffins rest about 10 minutes before baking.  (Note: This ensures the best results, so please don't skip this step!)
      
  9. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
      
  10. Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and allowing them to finish cooling on the counter or a wire rack.
      
  11. Enjoy them warm or let them cool completely before enjoying - whichever you prefer!
Makes 24 muffins.

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk of your choice in place of the milk, and use either paper cups to line the tins or a non-dairy fat to grease the pans in this recipe.  You could also substitute apple juice or cider for the milk.
      
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" or applesauce replacement would be a good fit with these muffins.
     
  • Soy-Free: King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix does not claim to contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use another soy-free baking mix (if you can have wheat/gluten) or soy-free, gluten-free baking mix of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your baking mix doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add between 3/4 to 3 teaspoons of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too.
             

  • Different Flavors: If you are not an apple fan, you can substitute raisins, dried cranberries, peach, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or another fruit of choice (though I don't recommend pumpkin, banana or any other "mushy" fruit).  You can use a combination of fruits, too, as long as you don't exceed  1 1/2 Cups of fruit.  I recommend using fresh fruit or dried fruit ONLY, as canned or frozen fruit will alter your texture greatly.  You can also leave out the cinnamon if you don't like it, as well.  You can also top the muffins with plain sugar or nothing, if you so desire.  You could also play around with different juices for the milk like orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple, leave out the cinnamon and cinnamon sugar topping (unless you want the cinnamon flavor), and pick a fruit or dried fruit of choice to mix in.  For example, for a Cranberry Orange Muffin, I would sub orange juice for the milk and stir in dried cranberries vs. apples, leave out the cinnamon, and top with just plain sugar.  That would be heavenly, I think!  You could also try stirring in chocolate chips vs. fruit, with or without the cinnamon and cinnamon sugar topping.  That would be delicious, too!
      
  • Sugar Substitutes: You could use any sugar substitute that is approved for baking for the sugar.  Make sure that you sub it according to the recommendations for that sweetener.  Not all sugar substitutes are subbed with a 1:1 ratio.  I also don't recommend using a liquid sugar substitute as it would greatly alter the moisture content. 
I promise, you won't regret trying these muffins!  They taste as wonderful as they look!




I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!


Friday, October 19, 2018

Recent Reflections - October 2018: Autumn Splendor




This is the tenth Recent Reflections post of 2018.  Recent Reflections goes live the third Friday or Saturday of each month.  Each Recent Reflections post covers something that I'm reflecting on.  If you'd like to share a post with a similar theme, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your post, and I'll hop on over and leave a comment (and maybe some other readers will, too).

This month, I will be reflecting on autumn in all its glory.


"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus
Autumn is without a doubt my favorite time of the year.  I love the colors, the crunchy leaves, the cooler weather, the cozy sweaters, the fuzzy socks - I just love all the things comfy and cozy and colorful that come with this time of year.  It is this time of year that I feel the absolute fullness of God's love in every sensory form.


I am always amazed that God gave us color to enjoy.  I mean the absolute splendor of autumnal trees - the vivid reds, the hypnotic oranges, and the golden yellows just take my breath away.  God did not have to give us such beauty, but He did.  God loved us so much that He gave us beauty in nature to enjoy all year through, but I think it is at its peak in autumn.

And the smells!  There is something about the smell of autumn.  Maybe it is the apple trees and pumpkin patches, or maybe it is the smell of the leaves or wood smoke from fireplaces, or maybe it is all the baking that tends to happen this time of year (probably to keep the house warm and the heat bill down a bit), but there is just something about all of those delicious aromas that is just relaxing and revitalizing.   It is a treat for the senses, and it makes me realize just how good God is to give us such amazing things to enjoy.


Then there is the feel (and sound) of crunching leaves and frosted ground under your feet.  This is another undeniable pleasure that this time of year brings for me.  There is something just so satisfying about the ability to feel and hear that crunch with each step.  I think I can liken it to popping bubble wrap. :)  How awesome of God to give us His version of bubble wrap to "pop" to help relieve any stresses or help soothe a bad day!  That's love right there, folks.
Have you ever stopped to think about the other sounds of autumn, too?  Brisk winds, rustling leaves, crackling fires - so many different sounds, and they all have a soothing quality.  There is just something about it that is almost hypnotic.  It will soothe your woes and calm your heart.  How wonderful of God to give us a time of year to enjoy sounds that are both indoor and outdoor with equal frequency!

In my opinion, nothing can beat the taste of autumn.  There is something about autumn apples that cannot be beat.  Then there's the pumpkin everything!  Let's not even mention corn, squash, and all the other wonderful things that abound this time of year!  This is a time of plenty and harvest, and you can't help but think of all that God has blessed you with.  It so is easy to feel rich and blessed with so much food around us at the ready, isn't it?  God is so great to give us so much!
I think that all of these things - the visual, the smell, the feel, the sound and the taste of autumn - are why this is the one time of year people venture to my neck of the woods (Northern Lower Michigan) vs. going south.  This is one of the places where you can truly experience all of autumn's splendor at its finest, and that is definitely something you must do at least once in a lifetime.  It makes one appreciate everything that God has given us, and it makes me truly thankful and feel beyond blessed!


I truly hope this post has been a blessing to your heart, or at the least made you stop and think a little.  What has God done in your life lately to bless you?  What are you reflecting on?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

German Potato Salad (Soy, Wheat, Nut, Fish, Egg and Milk-Free)


Autumn is finally here in all its beauty and cooler weather (as I type this, it is 45oF outside and blustery).  I absolutely love it!  Fluffy sweaters, warm blankets, cozy socks, warm cider - right up my alley!  It is the perfect time to make hot dishes like soups or casseroles, and a great time of year for this German potato salad!

Unlike your picnic-type potato salad, German potato salad is served hot and has a bit of a tangy, yet sweet taste to it.  I honestly think it tastes a bit like it has BBQ sauce in it, so if you like BBQ potato chips or BBQ sauce with potatoes, this is for you!

This recipe is an adaption of one I found on Genius Kitchen by breezermom.  It is so easy to make, tastes delicious, and is free of all top 8 allergens (if all your ingredients are).  I have made it for more than a few potlucks (it is great for Missions Conference or themed meals if you need a non-American recipe) with rave reviews.  I hope you try it and it becomes a fall favorite for you and yours.


German Potato Salad
3 Cups potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
(I use red or Yukon gold potatoes, but you can also use russets.  If using russets, you'll want to peal the potatoes, but red or Yukon gold potatoes do not have to be peeled.)

1/2 lb. allergy-friendly ham or bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
(I like to use Hormel Natural Choice bacon or ham for this.)

1/2 Cup green, red or white onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces
(Use whichever onion you prefer.)

2 Tablespoon water

1/4 Cup gluten-free vinegar
(I use apple cider vinegar, but you can use distilled white vinegar or a wine vinegar, but I would not recommend balsamic.)

3 Tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon parsley flakes

  1. In a large stock pot, boil your potatoes until cooked to desired done-ness, drain and cool.  (Note: I like to cook my potatoes for about 20 minutes - that's from the time I turn the water on, NOT from the time the water boils.  Generally, 20 minutes gives me fork-tender, not mushy potatoes.  I would check them at 15 minutes, check them to see if they are done, and then - if they are not to your liking - every 3 to 5 minutes until they are to your liking.)
      
  2. If using bacon, fry it in a large skillet until desired done-ness (you can also bake it in the oven), remove the bacon from the skillet/baking sheet, and reserve 1 to 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat, and set cooked bacon off to the side on a paper towel to drain - you won't need it again until step 5.  (Note: You can cook the bacon whole or already cut into bite-sized pieces - the choice is yours.  I find baking the bacon works better with it whole, and frying the bacon on the stove top works better if it is cut into pieces.)
      
  3. In a very large skillet, use the 1 to 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat (if you are not using bacon or don't have bacon grease, use butter instead) to cook the onions until tender.  If you are using the ham, brown the ham with the onions in this step.   (Note: I have used each different type of onion - red, green or white - depending what I had on hand, and they all work beautifully.  You can use a mix of a few if needed, as well.)
      
  4. Add the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper into the skillet with the onions (and ham, if using) and bring the mixture to a boil.  (Note: I have used distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar for this dish.  My favorite is by far the cider vinegar.)
       
  5. Add the parsley and the potatoes (bacon, too, if using vs. ham) into the skillet mixture, stir well, and heat through.
      
  6. Once everything is heated through, transfer to a serving dish or crock pot and serve warm.

Makes about 4 servings.


Variations (Please keep your specific dietary/allergen needs in mind when using variations!):
  • Using Ham and Bacon: If you want to use both ham and bacon, you certainly could.  You could use 1/2 lb. of each or 1/2 lb. total - whatever you fancy.
       
  • Bacon on Top: If you want your bacon to stay crispy, sprinkle it on top of the dish vs. mixing it in in step 5.  You can also mix half in and crumble the rest on top - the choice is yours.
      
  • Fresh Parsley vs. Parsley Flakes: If you want to use fresh parsley, you may.  Just reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon vs. 1 Tablespoon.
       
  • Alternative Sugars/Sweeteners: White sugar adds a very distinct taste to this dish, and I'm not sure brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, Stevia or any other sweetener will work right flavor-wise for this dish.  However, if you wish to try it, you may.  Just substitute according to the recommendations on this chart.
I promise, it tastes as good as it looks!


Enjoy!