Honey Roasted Pork Loin

This recipe is delicious!  It is also easy, which makes it close to perfect if you ask me.  I started using pork loins after going to a friend’s house for a cook-out. They had wrapped a 3 lb. marinated pork loin in foil and slow cooked it on the grill. It was so tasty, I’ve been hooked ever since.  Pork loins go on sale frequently where I shop.  I often will take it to the butcher while I’m shopping and ask them to slice it for me into pork chops. (It’s much cheaper than buying 4 pork chops at a time, plus they do it for free.) When I get home I separate them into freezer bags for later use.

I came across this recipe on food.com and decided to tweak it a bit. Funny, this recipe was already gluten-free, so I didn’t have to change any of the ingredients.  Most people think you have to scour the globe to find gluten-free foods. In reality, most of the food that people should eat, is already GF. Vegetables, fruits, meats (uncured) are all naturally gluten-free.  It’s the processed foods you really have to worry about.

I doubled the marinade for this because I like to sit aside a bit to baste with in the beginning of cooking.  It seems like the more marinade I use the more tender the roast, too. I also wrap the loin in a great big piece of foil, so I can get as much juice as possible to stay in the roast. (Something my Mom does with her ham and works quite well.) It tends to make the pork roast even more juicy!

Honey Roasted Pork Loin

  • 2 lb. Boneless Pork Loin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. Honey
  • 4 TBSP. Orange Juice
  • 4 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Thyme
  • 1 c. Organic Chicken Stock (Some chicken broth does contain wheat)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Mix together the honey, juice, oil and thyme. Pour over the pork. Add the broth to the pan. Baste during baking.  Bake until temperature reaches 150 (45-60 minutes).  

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All Occasion Sugar Cookies

Okay…So, I know what you are thinking. Why didn’t she post this before Valentines Day?? Sorry, procrastination is my biggest flaw. Lucky for all of you, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! Sugar cookies are such a tradition in my family. My Mom always had heart-shaped cookies for me to take to school on Valentines Day or Christmas cookies during the holidays.  It was something I always enjoyed helping my Mom do. Sugar cookies are a tedious job, let me tell you! Rolling, cutting and decorating takes time. That’s what makes them so special.  A lot of love goes into making these cookies and it always brings back memories of feeling special as a child. Decorate them however you want, sugar sprinkles, icing, ect. They are wonderful!

All Occasion Sugar Cookies

  • 2/3 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Butter or Earth Balance
  • 1/2 c. Spectrum Shortening or Crisco
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. Gluten-Free All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a large mixing bowl beat sugar, butter, and shortening. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to sugar mixture and beat on low-speed, scraping bowl often until dough is mixed. Roll out and cut into desired shapes. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Gluten-Free Pizza

 

Pizza. Yep. The most excruciating part of going gluten-free is by far letting go of pizza. What I wouldn’t do for some pizza hut, right now…When Alex first went gluten-free, the rest of us were still gluten eaters for the most part. (My husband still hasn’t made the transition…) Chris would go pick-up a pizza, I would open the garage door, and he would sneak it in. I never could wait until Alex went to bed, so I would quietly step out into the garage and stuff an entire slice of pizza in my mouth. I’m talking 2.5 seconds and that piece of pizza was gone! I can still hear Alex, “Mom, what are you doing out there?” I know, that sounds like a selfish thing to do, but in my defense I have been addicted to gluten way longer then my kid had.  I’m sure someday when he reads this, he will forgive me.

So, I’ve been working on gluten-free pizza for going on 4 years now.  The first time I made a gluten-free pizza, I was super excited about it and thought it looked great. Alex, took one bite and spit it out, and Chris looked at me with that, “You can’t seriously think I’m going to eat this for dinner”, look in his eyes. Granted, it was a brick with tasteless soy cheese on top.

I use parchment paper in a lot of my gluten-free baking. It looks like wax paper, and it’s used for cookies and cakes, ect. so they won’t stick to the pan. Seriously, nothing is going to stick to this stuff. Sometimes I’ll bake my pizza on it if I feel like it is sticking bad and it comes out great. Another alternative is the new GF Bisquick mix has a pizza recipe (for a quicker pizza). When I make it with the bisquick, I can actually pour the batter onto the parchment and spread it out to make a circle. Very easy.

I always roll the pizza dough out on wax paper and then flip it over and peel the wax paper from the bottom. It makes the transition to the pan a lot easier, as the dough is a lot harder to work with then regular dough. To be honest, I don’t know that I ever even attempted homemade pizza until we went gluten-free. I mean, that’s what delivery is for right? We now use Daiya cheese or goat cheese for toppings, boar heads pepperoni’s are excellent, also. Technically, goat cheese is not dairy free, but it was the only thing that came up on Kenzie’s sensitivity test that didn’t cause a reaction. They both tolerate it very well and we haven’t had any issues with it. Oddly enough, I’m actually allergic to dairy and get asthma symptoms when I eat cheese but seem to do well with goat cheese. (I’m not a huge fan myself, but my kids would eat buckets of it if I let them!)

So this is the recipe that has come to be are main pizza recipe.  I have tweaked it here and there, which has resulted in the recipe I give you now. I feel like it still has room for improvements, so feel free to pass on any ideas! Top it however you like and enjoy!!!

Gluten-Free Pizza

  • 1 TBSP Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 c. Sorghum Flour
  • 2/3 c. Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/4 c. Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1/4 c. Tapioca Starch
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tsp. GF Italian Seasoning
  • 2/3 c. Warm Milk or Milk Substitute
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is best)
  • 1 tsp. Cider Vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix dry ingredients. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients while the mixer is on low. You might need some extra flour to work with the dough. No need to knead the dough, just get it to where it looks like a ball. When ready to roll out, use wax paper and extra flour. (Sometimes it’s easier to use another piece of wax paper on top and then peel it off before transferring it to the pan.) Once you have it on the pan, bake for 7-8 minutes before adding the toppings. Then 15 to 20 minutes or until toppings are browned.

Gluten-Free Breakfast

When I think of breakfast, I always think of my Grandparents. I remember spending the night at my Grandparents on a weekend and awaiting a huge breakfast of our choice.  At my Grandma Dee’s, it was always….”Do you want 1 egg or 2?” Of course I would say, “How about 3…” If I wanted pancakes, we had pancakes. She was definitely a short order cook. You name it you got it. Now, at Grandma Betty’s (shown in the pic) we would always have biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes….She would make a huge spread of everything. We would beg my Grandpa to get out of bed so we could eat. I can still hear Grandma yelling, “Dale, get out of that bed or we will eat without you!”

My love for cooking comes from my Grandmother’s.  They would  teach me something new every time I came over. Of course, all this food we ate was full of gluten! So now that we can’t have gluten anymore I have had to teach myself how to cook all over again. Cooking gluten-free is very different. Eggs need to be room temperature…Flours are all completely different in consistancy…My first few loaves of bread were a catastrophe! I remember throwing our poor dog loaves of bread out on the deck. You could hear the bread hitting the ground, CLUNCK…Everytime she would try to carry it off, she would drop it because it was like a brick. It’s no wonder that dog didn’t lose some teeth over that!  So, patience is necessary when starting the gluten-free diet.

The granola and waffle recipes are our favorite breakfast foods. I, like my Grandfather, like to sleep in.  You can make both of these ahead and enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The waffles can easily be froze and put in a toaster when you are ready to eat them.  I like to make a double batch of waffles and freeze a bunch of them.  If you are trying to be more healthful you can substitute oil with flax-seed meal on the waffles. I have also tried the waffles using agave nectar instead of honey. (lower glycemic index)

ENJOY!

Very Best Waffles

1 cup GF flour blend of your choice

3 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 TBSP. Sugar (honey or agave nectar can be substituted)

1/2 tsp. xanthum gum

3 eggs separated

1 cup vanilla Rice or Coconut Milk

1/4 c. canola oil

1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat your waffle maker. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Separate the eggs…whites go into a large bowl and yolks go into the flour mixture. Add the milk to the flour mixture and whisk well. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the oil and vanilla to the batter and mix well. Pour the batter over the egg whites and whisk. Pour into waffle maker making sure not to overfill as this can be messy!!! If freezing, allow to cool before putting into freezer bags for later use.

GF Granola

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (can use splenda brown sugar, but cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup honey(or agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole raw cashews or nut of your choice, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup dried blueberries or cranberries(shown)

Heat the oven to 350°F Combine butter, brown sugar, and honey in a small saucepan, place over medium heat, and stir until butter has melted and brown sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon; and set aside. Add sugar mixture, nuts, coconut, oats, and dried fruit.  Stir until mixture is moist throughout. Spread mixture on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and lightly browned, about 10-15  minutes. Stir and continue to bake until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with milk or eat by itself. WARNING: It is addictive!!!!

Autism Signs and What to do NOW

I remember the first time I learned how to google on the internet. It was probably my sophomore year in high school. (Yes, it was that long ago!) I thought it was really a great thing then, but I had no idea how much I would actually have to depend on it one day.

Many parents of children with any kind of developmental delay use the internet for knowledge and information. It is essential, really. I can’t imagine not having it to look up all of the many issues of parenthood in general. Take for instance, when your child has a high fever…You don’t have to call anyone in the middle of the night anymore. I just google it and have an answer immediately. That aspect of the internet is fantastic.

The part that is bad… I have had so many mothers ask me about autism symptoms and criteria for diagnosis of autism. This my friends, is when the internet can be a bad thing. I once was talking about my son lining things up as a toddler and immediately another mother I was speaking to got upset. “My son lines up things, too!” So then they get on the computer and start reading and panic. (I myself, have done this many times) 

My point here is…Many kids line things up, spin in circles, have tantrums or like things done a certain way. What parents need to understand is, that you have to meet a certain criteria of SEVERAL  symptoms together to have a diagnosis of autism. Yes, your child may have a quirky way of lining trucks up in a row; but if that is the only thing he is doing then you need not fret! On the other side of that, you can’t just ignore symptoms either because of denial. I have found a link to a website that gives you a list of red flags.  Also, if you’re a Mom you have gut instinct and if you feel like something isn’t quite right then get your child evaluated. This is from

www. autismspeaks.org

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

*This information has been provided by First Signs, Inc. ©2001-2005.  For more information please visit http://www.firstsigns.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/actearly.

Always go to legitimate websites such as the ones I’ve listed above.

My other issue with diagnosis is that many pediatricians lack the training necessary to make this decision about your child. If you have noticed all of these symptoms, but your child’s pediatrician uses the “lets wait and see approach”. RUN. Go to someone who is qualified such as First Steps or an early development program in your state. Indiana’s is

https://www.infirststeps.com/

It drives me crazy when people don’t utilize the sources available to them. So what if your child is delayed a little in speech!! Intervene NOW! Don’t wait until they get into kindergarten and the school decides that they are delayed. The quickest way to help your child is to get them the earliest start possible. I really regret not getting Makenzie evaluated by first steps. (Although girls with autism present themselves differently) I finally came to terms with her delays and got her into the developmental preschool program in our school district. Denial is a very bad thing.

The sooner you find out what is going on with your child, the sooner they can start recovering or getting better. People say that there is no cure for autism….The reason is because every child with autism is completely different then another. You have to evaluate the child’s delays and work on each problem. For instance, with my children, diet was essential to get them on the road to recovery. As you can see from previous blogs and my gluten-free enthusiasm, that my children have had a great response from diet. Do I think every child with autism can be helped on the GFCF diet? Absolutely not. I won’t give people false hope. I do think parents of children with any kind of delay, ADD, autism, ect. should get an allergy test, celiac test, and a sensitivity test before even attempting a diet.

Sensory issues are huge with my children, too. Learning about sensory is a must with autism. These kids have a million things that they have to conquer everyday just to be able to function. Imagine going into a wal-mart or a grocery store and feeling like the lights are 1000 times brighter than they are….Not being able to block out background noises to the point of panick. My kids sleep with a weighted blanket every night. They have O.T. at school and get sensory breaks daily. Sensory Processing Disorder isn’t just a problem with kids on the spectrum of autism. Some kids have sensory issues without having any other delays. One of the best books ever for this is:

The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

When I couldn’t get Kenzie potty trained, I beat myself up about it. I thought I was a bad parent. I got mad. I did everything you are supposed to do to potty train. Nothing. Then, I read this book and felt better than I have in 6 years. I understand my children from reading about sensory processing disorder. I know how to comfort them better because of it.

Many children with autism also struggle socially. One of the first things, Alex use to do at family functions was get under the first table he could find and hide. (This is rare now that we are gluten-free) The many voices, and different faces, questions, and chaos of family gatherings was traumatic for him. The social part of the autism is the part that I have really had to learn about. As a child, and as an adult I have always been very social and outgoing. I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, so it is hard for me to understand what it is like. Being social and having friends is something that people usually just know how to do. My kids have had to learn how to play, talk, and act with friends.

I feel like we are going the right direction with our kids. Sometimes I wish we could do more. The best thing we ever did was seek help and diagnosis. I always wonder how many kids I had in my class growing up that were on that line of autism(high functioning autism). The ones that were always in trouble, couldn’t sit still, socially ackward, and learning disabled. How many of those kids could have had better lives. Maybe they could have been better adults if they would’ve been understood. 

Still today, with all that we know about autism and developmental delays, some people just don’t get it. They want to say it is bad parenting, bad kids, ect. This year we are lucky enough to have wonderful teachers that GET IT. They get it and they don’t make my children feel bad about themselves. Most importantly, they work with me to help my children grow and become the best that they can be.

Bottom line:  If in doubt check it out! Please use all of the above references to make sure your child is helped if needed. Maybe, you are being overly worried and it isn’t anything. It doesn’t matter if you take them to get evaluated and you were wrong. What matters is, that you do everything possible for your kids to have a great start in life.