March 19, 2009

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I do apologize that I have been a bit delayed in my posts the last couple days. As said in the previous post I am frantically trying to get everything taken care of before our departure from Italy. I have also been very preoccupied with the purchase of a little goldendoodle puppy. How I found him and managed to buy him within a week, is still a mystery to me. I had been looking for a little doodle puppy for about the last 8 months, but never thought that I would suddenly find the perfect one and located in Alaska!

The last week began with me doing my normal browse through the dog ads on numerous sites, when I suddenly came across an ad for goldendoodle puppies in AK. My first thought was oh I hope this breeder is going to breed some minis, as my boyfriend and I originally wanted a smaller dog. I contacted the breeder immediately to inquire about this. She emailed me back stating that unfortunately she would not be breeding minis, but she still had one dog left, who happened to be the runt of the litter. In my mind I immediately knew he was going to be the one for me! After much discussion with my boyfriend, who at the time was still very weary of getting a dog, and with my parents, who would be taking care of the dog for 2 months while I am away in Montreal this summer, I was given the OK. I immediately went about finding out all I could about this breeder and the little pup, who is temporarily named Smiley. The final decision came this morning after my mom met little smiley and his family. Her and my cousin fell in love with him and insisted that I could not live without him, which I already knew I couldn't!

However, I will admit that the most difficult part of this situation is deciding what to rename smiley. Now don't get me wrong it isn't that I dislike the name smiley, but he needs something just a little bit more sophisticated. I have been deliberating everyday as to what this pup should be named because you see, he will end up two having two names. Yes, that is right two names. He will have an American pronunciation of his name and a Quebecois pronunciation of his name, not to mention he will have to become bilingual! So after much deliberation, I have still not come to a decision. If I name him something more American, he will get confused on his trips to Quebec. If I name him something more French, well I am positive that name will get butchered by all of our American accents. Therefore, it is not the cost, the time, or the training that I am worried about with this soon to be little bilingual guy, the only thing I am worried about is his new name. But, I guess in the end he will just have to learn to answer to both his "French" and "American" name!!!!

Now onto my Chicken Pot Pie recipe, which has nothing whatsoever to do with a goldendoodle! I am still trying to use up my flours, so a lot of my meal items have been geared towards using massive amounts of all the GF flours I have stored away in my kitchen. It has also been a bit chilly the past couple of nights and nothing is more delicious on a chilly night than a warm Chicken Pot Pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

For pie crust visit previous post:

~3 Tbs butter
~black pepper to taste
~1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
~3 cups GF veggie broth
~1 cup mushrooms, chopped
~2 carrots, chopped
~2 stalks celery, chopped
~1 small can of peas
~1 lb chicken cooked, cubed

Make pie crust according to previous post. Refrigerate crust for 1 hour. Once pie crust has been in refrigerator for almost an hour, preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 F, then cook chicken in a touch of olive oil in skillet. Remove chicken from skillet and add in celery, onion, and carrots. Saute in a touch of olive oil until tender, then add in mushrooms and saute for a couple more minutes. While veggies are sauteing, roll out pie crust. Place one crust in the bottom of a greased pie pan and leave the other one rolled out. Once veggies are tender, add broth to skillet. Bring to a boil and stir in peas. Then stir in half the cornstarch mixture. If broth still appears to thin, stir in the rest of cornstarch. If broth still appears too thin, make another mixture of cornstarch dissolved in water. Be careful not too add too much cornstarch, as you do not want it to be the consistency of jelly. Remove skillet from heat and pour into the pie pan lined with crust. Add the other rolled out crust on top. Seal the crust using your fingers and remove any excess. Cut slits into the top of pie to allow the steam to escape. Place in oven for 30 min or until top becomes brown and contents are bubbling. You may find that you have too much filling. Therefore, you can roll out the remains of the pie crust that was trimmed off. You can pour the remaining filling into a smaller dish and cover with the rolled out excess pie crust, bake this along side the pie. Or just using filling as a thick chicken soup!

Moroccan Beef

Our time is ticking away here in Italy these days as we move closer and closer to the end of playoffs. I have been frantically trying to cook as much as humanly possible in hopes that it will decrease the amount of food, flours, boxed items, etc. in our house. The other day I was pondering what to make for dinner, when my boyfriend called from the kitchen "Why do you have so many crazy spices, you haven't even used half of them!!!" And that is when it came to me... I needed to find some sort of dish for dinner that used a ridiculous amount of spices in order to prove that I really do need 25 different kinds of spices!

After a perusal around on cyberspace, I came across a couple recipes I could modify that called for huge amounts of exotic spices, all of which I definitely have. I also was lucky enough to find a box full of Himalayan red rice that I had yet to use. Personally, I had never heard of Himalayan rice until I started work as a server in a very fine dining establishment during my sophomore year of college. Upon my first taste of this rice, I immediately loved it. However, over the past couple of years I had forgotten about this rice, until I saw a box in Austria ,which flooded back the memories of just how delicious this rice is. If you have never had the pleasure of trying it, please go out ASAP and buy yourself some! The meal was easy to whip up and left my kitchen smelling like a delicious Moroccan restaurant. My boyfriend arrived home from practice that night sniffing the air with pleasure and enthusiastically asking what I had prepared for dinner. After producing a plate complete with rice and Moroccan beef he looked at me in disgust and exclaimed "What kind of rice is this and why is it black!!!" I quickly stated back that it was absolutely the best rice possible for your body and may in fact help you score more goals! With that he dug in and within 30 seconds was telling me with much enthusiasm that he now officially loves Himalayan rice! So for those of you looking for a meal to create that will use up your over abundant spices, this is the recipe for you!

Moroccan Beef

~1 lb Beef, I used steak meat, cubed
~1 onion, chopped
~3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 left whole and peeled
~2 carrots, sliced
~2 stalks celery, sliced
~1-2 tsp. ground ginger (fresh can also be used and is recommended)
~1 tsp. paprika
~2 tsp. ground cumin
~1 tsp. dried oregano
~1/2-1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
~1/4-1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
~1 1/2 cups GF veggie broth
~1 can crushed tomatoes
~1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
~1 zucchini, sliced
~1 Tbs lemon juice

Grill beef in skillet for about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet when meat is about halfway done. Add onions, carrots, celery, and 2 cloves garlic(minced) to same pan with a touch of olive oil. Saute until tender. Then add in spices, cumin, paprika, ginger, oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon, saute for about 1 more minute. Then stir in GF broth and tomatoes. Also add the beef back in. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add in chickpeas and zucchini, simmer mixture for 15 more minutes or until zucchini is done. Stir in Lemon Juice and serve.

*Make sure that you test the simmering Moroccan Beef along the way. You may find that you need to add in more spices. I put approximately the amount of spices I used in this recipe. However, I added in more spices along the way according to what I thought it needed. You are the best judge of what you like, so if you love spices, add more! Serve this over rice or quinoa.

Himalayan Red Rice

~1 cup Himalayan Red Rice
~2 cups water
~pinch of salt
~1/2-1 tsp. butter

The one thing to know about Himalayan rice, is that because it is higher in fiber, it takes longer to cook than white rice. So allow it around 30 minutes to cook. Also it is important to rinse the rice before you cook it, but don't be alarmed if the rice turns the water purple! I also added in a touch of saffron to really make it pair up with my Moroccan Beef.

March 13, 2009

Austrian Goulash

Guten Tag! This week I have been craving some good ol' Austrian food. Maybe I am missing my days in Austria from last year or have simply just had enough pasta to last a lifetime! Either way, my stomach is wandering across the Northern border here to the land of schnitzels and brats. When we first arrived this year, I immediately cut myself off from even thinking that I could indulge in the delicacies that are so precisely made by the Austrians. To make myself feel better, I constantly thought that at least last year I ate Austrian pastries, wiener schnitzel, Apfel strudel, and brats w/ bread until my heart was content. Not to mention the quantities of delicious wheat beer that I consumed. I was comforted by these thoughts that I had at least sampled these items in grand quantities at one point in my life. However, the past week I have gotten the cravings for hearty Austrian food again.

So I went on a search of how to make one of my favorite Austrian dishes, goulash. The Italians in this region also are known for their goulash served with polenta. But in my opinion, you cross the border for the best piping hot rich plate of goulash served with bread dumplings. And that is where my quest began. After thorough research and finding the "perfect" meat for goulash, which was thankfully labeled at the Austrian grocery store as goulash meat!! I was able to prep myself to cook Austrian cuisine, which I have never ever done before. But I hit a big road bump when I realized I have no idea what to serve my goulash with! Polenta? Rice? even a Salad? Clearly none of those would do. So I again searched high and low before I finally came across the best website ever. How I did not discover this website before, I am not quite sure. I buy a lot of Schaer products, which were created in the Tirol region of Italy. Which in my opinion is really just southern Austria. All the Italians there speak German with Italian accents, not to mention some of them even barely speak Italian! They even eat dumplings instead of pasta. With that being said, I somehow came across Dr. Schaer's website during my many recipe web surfing sessions and realized they had a HUGE recipe selection using their products. And low and behold I found a recipe for cheese dumplings! I was ecstatic!!! My menu was complete! I created the meal for my boyfriend and another team member who we sometimes have over for dinner. I decided to make it a big event and went all out! We had brie and delicious Italian jam with gluten free crackers, followed by the main course of goulash and bread dumplings, and finally came the dessert, a plum clafloutis. I do realize that my meal was not completely Austrian and I did dabble a bit into the french cuisine with this meal, but when you live with a French Canadian you can't help it. The meal was a complete success and I will most certainly make this meal for the rest of my life, yes it was that good! So throw on your lederhosen or dirndl, grab a gf beer, start singing "the hills are alive", and get cooking!


~1 liter gf broth, I used veggie
~1 can crushed tomatoes
~600-700g goulash meat, stringy stew meat (about 1 1/2 lbs)
~2 Tbs. paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian paprika
~1 tsp. oregano
~1 tsp. basil
~2 onions chopped
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 Tbs. olive oil
~1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs. water

Saute the onions in olive oil in a big soup pot for 15 min. Add in garlic and saute for another 3-5 min. Then add in broth, tomatoes, meat, and spices. Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 hours, or until meat is very tender. At this point stir in cornstarch. If sauce still appears to thin, add 1-2 tsp. more cornstarch dissolved in water. Stir and let sit for 15 min. while you cook your dumplings.

Cheese Dumplings

If you do not have schaer, simply substitute in a different gf flour and bread that you enjoy. And Mahlzeit as they say in Austria!

March 10, 2009

Ragu alla Bolognese

During my time here in Italy, I feel that I have made some serious progress in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I no longer buy the canned kind, mostly because many of them contain gluten. And it is a very tedious process to read labels in Italian, French, or German and try to decipher if that word is modified starch made of carob beans or if it is in fact made from wheat. Let me just say every time at the store is a reading adventure! I have just found that it is easier to create my own sauce from scratch, whether it is a plain marinara sauce or a little more elaborate. I also make a lot of batches of bolognese or meat sauce for my boyfriend, as he is constantly eating pasta before practice, before games, before road trips, and really just anytime he feels like it. So over the past 7 months I have tweaked and twisted this sauce to be something that I believe is an excellent bolognese sauce.

Bolognese Sauce

~500-600g ground beef (1 1/2 lb)
~3 cans crushed tomatoes
~3 cloves garlic, minced
~1 yellow onion, chopped
~8-10 leaves fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried basil
~1 Tbs. dried oregano
~1 tsp. fresh thyme
~1 tsp. sugar
~1/2 cup red wine, any kind
~salt and pepper to taste
~1/2 tsp. sugar

Brown the meat with the onion in deep pot. When meat is almost done, add in minced garlic. Cook until there is little grease remaining in pot. Add in crushed tomatoes. Then fill each can with a slight amount of water to clean and add this to pot. Stir in spices and sugar, also adding about a 1/2 tsp. salt to start and a few good pinches of pepper. Then finish off by adding in 1/2-1 cup of any red wine you have available. I usually use whatever is available in my kitchen at that moment. Let the sauce simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Try sauce and add more spices if needed. I constantly tweak the sauce as I cook it. Let it cook for another hour and then test again. If needed, add in more spices, salt, and/or pepper. Finally, I usually cook the sauce for 2-3 hours and it is absolutely perfect. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, or even use in Lasagna!

March 7, 2009

Authentic Tiramisu

I have done it. I successfully made the one thing that I wanted to create while living in Italy, a mouthwatering gluten free tiramisu. I have sat back this year and watched everyone eat homemade tiramisu for birthdays, Christmas, new years, etc. I have also had many tiramisus given to us by Mama Mias, the trainer's wife, and other local Italian women. They have been angrily stored away in my fridge for my boyfriend. But as of yesterday, I officially created the ultimate gf tiramisu!

Some of the wives of the players and myself were invited yesterday to the home of an Italian woman here in Pontebba, that seriously knows how to cook. She is affiliated with the team in one way or another and brought us into her home with welcome arms to learn the art of making tiramisu. We ooohhed and ahhhed over technique and were able to create masterpieces of our own. She speaks very little English, so there were many hand gestures and physical actions throughout the afternoon, but who better to learn to art from than a real Italian!

The other girls used lady fingers, or savoiardi in Italian, that were provided for them, whereas I had to come prepared with my own gf version. It all worked out perfectly in the end and I even learned some important facts about tiramisu along the way. One thing is that true tiramisu does not have alcohol in it, that is us yet again americanizing another Italian dish. Tiramisu is also eaten as a pick me up, thanks to the amount of seriously strong Italian coffee in there! It was a wonderful experience and I am now going to share with you the secret of making a truly authentic Italian tiramisu.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake
-modified from
~3 eggs at room temp, separated
~2/3 cup sugar
~1/2 cup brown rice flour
~1/2 cup Mix C Dr. Schaer (1/4 cup corn flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch can be used in place)
~2 tsp. gf baking powder
~1/4 cup milk
~1/4 tsp. vanilla

Heavily grease a rectangle glass baking (approx. 2 quarts) with butter. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use an electric beater to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tbs at a time, mixing between each addition until sugar dissolves. Continue mixing after all sugar is added for 1 minute or until mixture is thick and glossy. Add the egg yolks and mix until just combined. Sift the combined flour mix and baking powder into the egg mixture a little at a time while mixing. Pour the milk down the side of the bowl and use a large metal spoon to fold until just combined. Spoon mixture evenly in glass baking dish. Then drop the dish a couple times gently against counter to allow bubbles to rise out of batter. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. You will want the top to brown a bit and the sponge cake to feel firm and springy. It is better you cook it too long than too little, as you want to have lady fingers that the coffee will soak into. Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool. Once cooled cut the cake going from the long side of the dish in sections that are 2 fingers wide. Then cut the cake in the very middle from the short side. This will give you the right length and width for the lady fingers. Take lady fingers out of glass pan and set on separate plate. Each finger is still however too thick, so cut them in half width wise, so you end up with 2 thinner lady fingers. Now pay attention to where the lady fingers went in the glass pan, as you will want to put them back in approximately the same spot. At this point you are ready to move onto step two.

~5 egg yolks
~3 egg whites
~8 Tbs sugar
~500g mascarpone cheese
~lady fingers(see recipe above)
~unsweetened strong coffee

Make the coffee, pour into a shallow plate and then leave to cool. Beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until they turn pale and fluffy. Fold in the mascarpone until mixed. In a different bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt(salt is very important according to the Italians! so don't leave out!) until white and peaky. Add the egg whites to the yolk mix and fold together very gently. Think a forward motion coming high out of the bowl with each stroke(this is what we was demonstrated for us and is the key to a good tiramisu). Quickly dip the lady fingers into the coffee, using only one side. Then place in glass cake pan, coffee soaked side up. You do not want to soak the lady fingers very much, just quickly dip them in the coffee. You can also poor the coffee over the lady fingers with a spoon after they are lined up in the glass cake dish. Then cover with the mascarpone mix. Add another layer of the lady fingers dipped in coffee. Top this layer with the mascarpone mix and finish off by sprinkling with cocoa powder or grated chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Buon Appetito!!!!

Pictures are of Rosella demonstrating her Italian cooking skills.

March 5, 2009

Indian Night

I love Indian food. Growing up my mom used to make a fair amount of Indian food, so you could almost say I grew up on it. When I found out I was Celiac, I was overjoyed with relief that Indian food could still be a part of my diet. Obviously I wouldn't be able to indulge in the Naan like I used to do in my earlier days, but curry's, chutneys, and a big scoop or raita would suffice.

I am lucky that we do live so close to Austria, as I would not be able to find some of the "exotic" items I have used in my Indian cooking night if we lived farther south. Italians really only eat Italian food, which I don't blame them for only eating such a delicious cuisine!

Last night I decided to use up some spices and the can of mango chutney stored away in the cupboard. I also wanted to use up more of the plethra of flours that I have here, so I thought maybe I will undertake the task of creating the perfect gf Naan. I do admit that I did not think in any way that the Naan would turn out even similar to regular Naan. I am not very skilled at gluten free bread baking, but I figured it was worth a shot. And ladies and gentlemen I did the unthinkable. I baked Naan! It came out crisy with even the perfect Naan bubbles on it. My boyfriend claimed the bread was delicious, which coming from him who dislikes gf bread is a huge compliment. I paired up my Naan with some delicious Chicken Tikka Masala, Mango Chutney, and some cool Raita. It was the first time since I have been diagnosed that I was able to scoop up delicious Indian food onto a piping hot piece of Naan.

GF Naan
Recipe created by Arvinder Malhotra

~150 ml tepid milk
~275g (10 oz.) rice flour( I used 1/2 cup white, 1 1/2 cup brown)
~60 grams tapioca flour (I used 6 T)
~½ teaspoon salt
~1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
~2 teaspoons sugar
~2 teaspoons dried active yeast
~2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
~150 ml plain/natural yogurt
~1 egg, lightly beaten
~1 teaspoon xantham gum

In a bowl mix tepid milk with 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast, then set bowl in warm place for about ten minutes or until mixture starts to foam on top. Mix xantham gum, baking powder, salt, tapioca flour, 1/2 cup white rice flour, 1 cup brown rice(save the last 1/2 cup for later). Then stir in yogurt, egg, sugar, yeast mixture, and oil. Add in the 1/2 cup of brown rice flour a little at a time until you get a dough consistency. This dough will be very delicate, but should not be overly sticky. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in warm area, covered with a dish towel.
Preheat oven to the highest setting. After the dough has had time to rest, place it on brown rice floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls, and then take one of the balls of dough and divide it into 3 equal smaller balls. Repeat this with the other ball. Roll out the dough with your hand into almost an oval shape. To make sure the dough doesn't stick, have a pile of brown rice flour on hand to add to surface. You will want the dough to become so thin that if any thinner it would break. It should be about 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Preheat a baking sheet in oven for a couple minutes. Then place one of the pieces of Naan on the cookie sheet and cook until you see it start to bubble, this should take 3-5 minutes. Open oven and brush olive oil onto almost cooked Naan, then place back into oven. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until it becomes golden brown. This first Naan is your experimental Naan. If the dough did not bubble, your Naan was too thick. You want to make these very thin! Then repeat with the rest of the dough, placing only 2-3 on a cookie sheet, as you want to allow them room to cook. I also found this bread can be used as pita bread. It separates perfectly in the center to form the "pita pocket".

Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe adapted from

~1 cup yogurt
~1 tablespoon lemon juice
~2 teaspoons ground cumin
~1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
~2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
~2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
~1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
~4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
~3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

~1 tablespoon butter
~1 clove garlic, minced
~1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I used ground cayenne pepper)
~2 teaspoons ground cumin
~2 teaspoons paprika
~3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
~1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
~1 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
~1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat pan to medium heat. Lightly oil the pan. Place chicken onto heated pan and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan and place on plate. Melt butter in the same pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno( if used) for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt(add cayenne if jalapeno not used). Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over rice.

Easy Raita
~1 cup plain yogurt
~1-2 Tbs onion, thinly chopped
~1/2 cup cucumber, thinly chopped
~1/4 tsp salt
~Cumin, to taste
~1 tsp mint leaves, thinly chopped(optional)
Combine all ingredients together and add cumin to taste. This is how I normally make raita. There are many other recipes out there, but I find this the easiest with a delicious taste.

March 3, 2009

A short Hiatus to Malta

This post is slightly late and should have in fact been posted a couple weeks ago. But I am finally getting back into the groove of things. When my friend and cousin were here a couple weeks ago we decided to take a short trip out of Italy. We were looking at where we could take the train for a reasonable price, when it came to us, that maybe we could just fly somewhere instead! Because in all honesty, who wants to sit on the train for 10 hours. So we started checking out flights on Ryanair and realized we could go to Malta for two days! We also found a wonderful 5 star hotel that was renting hotel rooms for a quarter of the cost! After those finds, how could we pass up going to Malta! We immediately booked the flight, the hotel, and packed our bags for the next day.

Malta was incredible. It has so much history and the people are some of the friendliest people I have encountered in Europe. Our taxi driver even gave us a list of things to do during our two days in Malta! The price of food and other things is very reasonable, as they have just switched over to the Euro about a year ago. Public transportation there is also very efficient and you will have no problem getting around the island, and not to mention a bus trip only costs around 50 cents! The weather was mild and I was even able to strip down to a short sleeve t-shirt at one point. But make sure to bring warm clothes too, as the weather changes constantly. When it began to rain, the temperature dropped down into the high 30's. However, this trip was taken in February and the summers I have heard are quite hot.

The first day we arrived there we took a "hop on, hop off" tour bus, which I highly recommend. We were able to see many cities on the Island within a day. The cost is a bit stiff, so if you are on a budget I recommend not doing the tour and instead taking the public buses to the cities of Rabat and Mdina. And of course don't forget to go to Valletta! All three of those cities are some of the most beautiful cities I have seen in all of Europe. The second day we went to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, which is easily accessible by the public bus system. We had a wonderful lunch there at a cozy little restaurant right on the water. The owner was wonderful and even let us clamber up to the roof for some fabulous photos. Our lunch consisted of fresh fish, salad, and veggies for under 10 dollars. I had no problem eating gluten free in Malta, as almost everyone speaks fluent English. The only thing that I wish I would have been able to try, was some of their Maltese rabbit stew. I am not sure if this dish is gluten free, as we ran out of time and were not able to travel to the part of Malta that is home to this infamous stew. And unfortunately I can't seem to remember the name of the city! But if you ask, I am sure that someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

Finally, I highly recommend our hotel, The Corinthia Marina Hotel. It was right on the water and had an amazing buffet breakfast. I brought my own cereal and bread, but other than that I could eat many items provided in the buffet. The restaurant in our hotel also provided gluten free pasta! The first night we ate there I noticed that at the bottom of the menu it said to inform servers of any allergies or diet restrictions. I informed our waiter and he provided me with not only gluten free pasta, but warm gluten free bed! I would be back to this hotel in a heartbeat.

If you love the ocean, the salty air, fresh fish, some of the oldest history in Europe, friendly people, great food, and good nightlife, then make it a point to visit Malta.

March 1, 2009

No Bake Cookies

It is official. I am now on a baking rampage. The regular season finished Saturday night and the boys are headed into play downs. Yes that is right, not play offs, but play downs. The Aquile has just not done that well this year. Whether it was due to the two horrible coaches they have had, the goalie getting hurt for over 2 weeks, miscommunication, etc. Either way, they had a bad year and there is no denying it. So the play downs mean that if they win 3 out of the next 5 games, we go home!!! If they don't, we will probably be here for a bit longer. But I am staying optimistic and hoping they win. So that leads me to my baking rampage.....I am trying to use up all of the flours, gf oats, and packaged mixes before we leave. And due to that fact, there have been tons of desserts and baked goods appearing in this house now.

My boyfriend was gone the other night at an away game and I decided it was the perfect time to make up a batch of no bake cookies, since I have more than a pound of GF oats left! I remember that I have always loved these cookies and my mom makes a mean batch of them. I browsed through a couple recipes online and then modified this one. This recipe is easy, takes no time at all, and you even don't have to worry about burning the cookies! Personally, I think no bake cookies are the greatest invention ever!

GF No Bake Cookies

~2 3/4cups gf oats
~1/2 cup milk
~1/2 cup butter
~1 3/4 cup white sugar (you can also substitute a bit of brown sugar in here, I used 1 cup white, 1/2 cup brown)
~4 Tbs cocoa powder (unsweetened)
~1 tsp vanilla
~1/4 cup coconut flakes
~1/2 cup chunky all natural peanut butter

Combine milk, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in a pot over med. heat. Stir all ingredients together and continue stirring until mixture starts to bubble. From the second it starts to slowly bubble, allow it to continue bubbling, while you keep slowly stirring, and then coming to a full boil for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. It is very important that you keep this time very exact, if you boil for too little the cookies will not form and if you boil for too long the cookies will fall apart. Make sure that you have all the other ingredients measured out before you start to boil mixture. Remove from heat immediately after 2 min. 20 seconds and stir in peanut butter until it dissolves, then stir in vanilla, and finally add oats 1 cup at a time, finishing up with the coconut flakes. Then spoon out mixture onto parchment paper forming a slightly sloppy cookie with each spoonful. Allow at least an hour after this for cookies to set.