Monday, January 23, 2012

Got some ideas "cookin'"

I've not disappeared, my friends!  I have a couple of recipes written down that I played with, but the battery in the camera died and we had to eat, so there's no pics! I can post what I did soon and some thoughts I have regarding them.

I made a gluten free/ dairy free sausage gravy... YES, I did and it was yummy!

I also make a chicken casserole type dish, BUT, I think I want to tweak it a bit to make it more like a skillet pie.  I may need some time on that one.

I made very yummy pork chops and a roast pork, too, this past week with a dairy free/ gluten free gravy for the roasted potatoes.  DELISH!! (I can't have veal or beef or shellfish, so in our house, turkey, chicken and pork RULE!)

I really want to try cooking lamb.  I've eaten it, but never prepared it.  Sheep's milk does not bother any of us and honestly, sheep's milk cheese is pretty good! I made a little appetizer that I'll share with you too!  I used rice crisps, turkey pepperoni, and the sheep's milk cheese.   YUMMERS!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My GRAVY or psgetti sauce (Spaghetti/ Tomato sauce)

My Spaghetti sauce - AKA, "GRAVY"
This is soy free, dairy free, gluten free, corn free, egg free and beef/ veal free.

My mom taught me how to make this when I was young.  Mine is slightly varied from hers over the years, but is very yummy!

You will need:
A LARGE stock pot

ABOUT 3 tablespoons of olive oil (to cover the bottom of the pot)
3-4 gloves of crushed garlic
approximately 1 teaspoon each of parsley, basil, oregano (see any patterns? Also you can add more or less to taste! Customize!)
3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
3 28 oz cans of tomato puree (you can use sauce for this if you choose)
3 6 oz cans of tomato paste
54 oz of water (I use the tomato paste cans to measure... 3 cans of water for each can of paste)

In the stock pot over low/ medium heat begin to heat your olive oil.  Add in garlic, parsley, basil, oregano.  Saute until brown.  I let this cool for a bit before adding my crushed tomatoes so it doesn't splash.  Add all three cans of crushed tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Next add your tomato puree or sauce.  Again, let simmer for a few minutes so the flavor of the herb/ spices/ garlic can get into the tomatoes.  Next, add your paste and water and stir over low/ medium heat.  Bring to a boil and lower temp slightly.  Let the sauce cook stirring occasionally for at LEAST 3 hours with the lid partially covering the pot.  Tilt it a bit so some of the steam escapes. REMEMBER to stir some times!

Serve over your favorite pasta.  We use pecorino Romano grated cheese because it is sheep's milk and we all seem to be able to tolerate it ok.  Sprinkle some over your pasta with a bit of salt and pepper.

I can't have the wheat pasta, but my family can.  I really like Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta.
It takes a little longer to cook than wheat pasta, but it is very close in consistency, I THINK, to regular pasta.

Make a tossed salad to go along with your meal and VOILA!  Bon Appetit!
Olive Oil with garlic, parsley, basil, & oregano
It will smell delicious!
Some ingredients you will need

Add Crushed Tomatoes

Add Tomato Puree and paste
Add water
Lid is slightly ajar to let the steam out- the spoon is for stirring!

Tonight's Dinner! Let's go Italiano! MEATBALLS

I'll be serving my "gravy" or spaghetti sauce tonight with some rice pasta and my own meatball recipe.

Since beef and veal are completely out of the question, I experimented a little, and to my surprise, didn't mind the results too much! These are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, and beef/veal free.

You will need:
13 x 9 baking dish
Large mixing bowl
1 pound of ground pork
1 pound of ground turkey
1 pound of ground chicken
4-5 nicely sized cloves of garlic crushed
1 heaping tablespoon of parsley (fresh is always best, but dried works)
2 teaspoons of basil (again, fresh is best, but dried works too)
2 teaspoons of oregano (")
approximately 1/4 cup of rice milk (if mixture seems too dry, add more until you like the consistency)
approximately 1/4 cup of brown rice bread crumbs (same as rice milk, if mixture seems too wet, add bread crumbs until you like the consistency)
Sprinkling of salt and pepper

*Any of the seasonings you can do to taste.  If you like basil, add more.  If you don't like it, eliminate it! :0) Etc, etc, etc...  The milk and the breadcrumbs help keep the shape and consistency of the meatball, so I would not eliminate those.

Preheat your oven to 350.

1 lb ground pork
add 1 lb of ground chicken
add 1 lb of ground turkey
In a large mixing bowl, add all meats, crushed garlic cloves, parsley, basil, oregano, rice milk, brown rice bread crumbs, salt & pepper.  Mix well with your hands turning and pressing until all ingredients are well mixed.  Roll into approximately 2 oz meat balls and place in a 13 X 9 baking dish, or about that size. (glass, Pyrex, metal- any one is fine).  Once all are rolled and lined in pan... touching is OK... bake for about 45-50 minutes  in your 350 oven (or until nice and brown on top).   IF YOU want, about 20 minutes in, turn your meatballs, but this is not necessary.  You can also fry them, if you want, but I've found that baking cooks them evenly and with less mess AND all the fat cooks out.  Another little trick is to line your pan with parchment paper before you cook.  Then the meatballs come out very easily. You'll see!
add remaining ingredients
all ingredients mixed by hand
about 2 oz for each meatball
My pyrex and my scale
Before cooking!

When done, add to your favorite red spaghetti sauce until ready to serve! YUMMY!!  We have them left over during the week after I make them.  They are great with your choice of pasta or on nice rolls as a sandwich.  ENJOY!

I use Hol- Grain Kosher brown rice bread crumbs.  Our local grocery store carries it!  Here's the web site:

Here are the cooked meatballs

This is Tinkyada spinach brown rice spaghetti

Spaghetti and meatballs!!  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lemon Garlic Chicken

I LOVE this!!  I made this because my very wonderful cousin, Matt, made me tilapia this way on Christmas Eve when I couldn't eat any of the shellfish or breaded fish.  Here's Matt and his new, beautiful bride, Kristen.  It was so yummy that I tried it with chicken breast!

1 lb. of chicken breast sliced relatively thinly
1 lemon
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
2-3 teaspoons of olive oil
dried fresh parsley to taste

Using a "lemon squeezer" (I don't know the official name), Squeeze all the juice out of one lemon right into your large saute pan.  Add the garlic, olive oil and parsley.   Place your chicken breasts on top.  I swirl the chicken around and turn it before I begin cooking to get the ingredients on the chicken.  Do not put your heat too high or you could cook the chicken too quickly and it can be dry.  If you want, you can add a tiny bit of organic chicken broth to keep it most.  Cook until both sides are slightly browned.  This is FABULOUS with a fresh green salad.

VARIATION: Matt's brother, Joe (also my cousin) and his lovely wife, Brandy,  made a similar dish at a barb-b-q.  They marinated chicken thighs in lemon juice and then grilled the chicken.  LOVED IT!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Alfredo-ish Cream-ish Sauce-ish for pasta - wheat or rice

You will need a small sauce pan.

1 tablespoon of EARTH BALANCE brand spread (dairy free)
1 tablespoon of brown rice flour (I Like Bob's Red Mill)
3 tablespoons of Tofutti brand soy cream cheese-like spread
1/2 cup of rice milk (soy or almond work too)
1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
1 teaspoon of Pecorino Romano grated cheese. (This is sheep's milk, but check with your doc first.  Amy, Kayli and I can all tolerate it)  If you can't tolerate it, use a little extra garlic powder or fresh garlic!

1. Melt EARTH BALANCE and add flour in sauce pan.  Make a "rue".  Keep heat a little below medium
2. With a whisk, briskly mix in the Tofutti cream cheese-like spread until smooth.
3.  Add in rice milk.  Continue to heat  and whisk until creamy and smooth.
4. Add in your garlic salt and finally your Pecorino Romano Sheep's Milk grated cheese whisk some more until smooth and hot.

Serve over regular pasta if you are only sensitive to dairy or serve over rice pasta- spaghetti or linguine are the best!

Here are the brands I like!  Believe it or not, I find these right in our Shoprite, but if you can't, use the sites to help you find a store that carries these or something similar.  ENJOY!

I'll post a picture later when I prepare it again*  I didn't take a pic yesterday.  Sorry.

Allow me to introduce my inspirations!

My family is the driving force behind anything I do.  I feel commissioned by the Lord to do the best I can to take care of them.  Of course, very often, I fall short.  My children are like other children- they make mistakes, they work hard, they are passionate about what they believe in most, they talk back, they LOVE their friends, and so on and so on!  Boy do I love them beyond words! I've been pondering whom I should introduce first.  Should I begin with my husband? After all, he is my God-given partner for life.  Should I begin with my oldest daughter?  She is the first born?  Should I begin with my son?  He was the first of us to be very sick with food allergies and the first one diagnosed.  Should I begin with my middle child?  She's suffered probably the longest and really inspires me to eat well and cook better.

Don on our good friend's pontoon boat
August of 2011.  Isn't he handsome?
After some thought and deliberation, I decided to introduce you to Donald Joseph Colligan.  He's my hubby!  To date, he does not have any diagnosed food allergies.  He works hard for us every day!  I love him!!  
Don loves to enjoy life!  We spend many hours in our pool out back and he just adores his children and his friends.  Any opportunity he has to be with them or to help them, he does.  He likes people to think he's not compassionate, but I know better!  He cares very deeply!

Next I'll introduce my kids in birth order.  

Kayli all dressed up for
the annual DANCE! Workshop
Company awards banquet
First, is Kayli Marie Colligan.  She's 16 now and a junior in high school.  I suspect Kayli has suffered from food allergies since she was small.  Knowing what we know, we've opted to not have her tested, but to eliminate and limit those things that make her feel "sick". We've learned recently and from examining her past eating habits that she seems to not tolerate milk or beef well. (I'm allergic to dairy, beef, and veal) She's NEVER liked any kind of beef and to this day, cannot eat it.  She can tolerate small amounts of milk or cheese, but has a limit.  I just can't believe she'll graduate next year!  Here she is, my gorgeous girl!

Amy all dressed up for the
Annual DANCE! Workshop
Company awards Banquet
To the right is Amy Therese Colligan. She is just about 14 and in 8th grade.  Amy does have known food allergies. She can't have any cow's milk or goat's milk of any kind without getting sick.  The irony of it is that she did not test positive with the skin prick tests, but she had every symptom.  She had rashes, eczema, sinusitis, major GI pain, and the list goes on.  We ran the gamut to figure out what was wrong.  She also can't have egg that is concentrated or raw- like scrambled eggs, Caesar dressing, or mayo.  She can tolerate the egg if it is baked in a recipe, but not as a wash for fried foods.  Who can believe she'll be going to high school next year? AHH! Isn't she pretty?

Kevin being the Captain of our
good friend's pontoon boat.
This is my son, Kevin Michael Colligan.  Kevin has TERRIBLE allergies.  He has many, many pollen allergies, multiple food allergies, and is mildly allergic to cats and dogs.  Kevin's list of foods are peas, peanuts, soy, grapefruit, corn, coconut, possibly lemons and because of the coconut, we avoid tree nuts.  He also seems to have issues when a fruit or veggie is "in season".  I am no scientist or doctor, but his food allergies are all foods that are plants, so I can't help but wonder if there is a connection to the pollen.  Honey seems to bother him quite a bit as well. He was the first of us to be diagnosed officially with any allergies.  He DID test positive on the skin prick tests, in fact, very severely.  Fortunately, he's never suffered from anaphylaxis.  PRAISE GOD.  Fortunately, Kevin can have milk, gluten, and seeds!  He loves Sun Butter- it's delicious and so good for you!  Try it with your apples as an alternative to peanut butter! 

Finally, there's me.  I'm the wife; the mom; the chef; the teacher.  I wish I could say I balance life well, but I make loads of mistakes and have days that I'm very, very lazy!  
Recently, though,  I've discovered that I love to write. Periodically, I write devotions on my Colligans Corner blog and now I'm writing this!   So, here's my story.

This is my little cousin, Nick, and I on Christmas Eve 2011.  I love this picture.
Growing up, I never had a problem with my weight.  I could eat whatever I wanted.  If I gained a few  pounds, I'd just be cautious for a few weeks and the extra couple of pounds would shed off.  Over the past few years, however, this has not been the case!  After my son was born, almost ten years ago, I began to have a mess of "issues" which are not necessary to get into.  I did lose my "baby fat", but about 4 or 5 years ago, I began to pack on the pounds.  I was horrified when I discovered that I was considered OBESE.  Yes, not just over weight, but OBESE.  That word frightened me.  Now, keep in mind, I was "doctoring" for numerous symptoms, but never really diagnosed and docs kept sending me for tests and giving me more and more drugs to take.  I didn't have a medicine chest, I had an entire medical cabinet.  It was terrible.  Finally, I made friends with a very lovely woman named Donna.  Donna told me about a Naturopathic doctor, so I went to see her.  Now, in the state of NJ, Naturopathic docs are not licensed.  It isn't because they are inferior in anyway to MD's or DO's, but because it costs so much money to lobby for the licensure and there are only a handful in the state.  My insurance does not cover my visits to her, BUT I am surely saving LOADS of money by not being on all those prescriptions.  I've been treated by her now for the past two years.  The problem of my weight still remained.  I was good at maintaining and gaining when there were special occasions, but I could not lose anything.  I joined gyms, had trainers...  So, finally totally frustrated, I went back to my Naturopathic doc.  We ran down my symptoms again and she decided to do a blood work  panel to see if I had any food allergies.  Boy, was I amazed!  I discovered that I am very allergic to cow's milk and products such as milk, cheeses and yogurt, goat's milk, glutens, beef (veal too), shrimp (and other shellfish), and  oats.  I was stunned.  There's more to my medical story, but this is about the foods, so we'll save that for another time!

We've been really creative and are so fortunate to have a great organic section in our local food store and a small health food store nearby.  We don't have a big chain like Trader Joe's, Wegmans, or Whole Foods close by, but we manage fine!

So, here I go.  Join me on my adventure!!