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My obsession with my Crock Pot

bbq chicken

If like me you are a full time worker bee. Finding time for a healthy (gluten free dinner) that doesn’t take up most of your evening can be pretty hard…Therefor the title of this blog. I have discovered that my Crock Pot is the best thing since sliced “gluten free” bread (you like what I did there? I had a little chuckle).

Tonight the main course is Shredded Chicken Sandwiches (I substituted chicken breasts for pork or beef because it is a little healthier)

If you have the a set of Crock Pot recipe cards this recipe is originally called the Shredded Apricot Pork Sandwiches. I made several alterations to the recipe to suite my own tastes. The following is my take on the recipe.

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup strawberry preserves (instead of apricot)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup bbq sauce (I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 medium sized chicken breasts

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch (for gluten free eating you will want to have this on hand…always)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon salt*

1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine onions, preserves (of your choice, mine as mentioned above is strawberry), brown sugar, BBQ sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Place chicken (or your meat of choice- my assumption would be stay away from ground meats though) into Crock Pot. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

2. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool for a bit then shred (2 forks works well). Let the remaining cooking liquid stand for 5 minutes. Skim any fat off liquid (there wasn’t much with the chicken).

3. Mix water, cornstarch, ginger and pepper until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cooking liquid. Turn onto High and cover cooking for 15 minutesor until sauce has thickened, add your meat and mix.

*You can add salt to taste but mine didn’t need it*

Serve on rolls of your choice (I used hamburger buns for my husband and gluten free hamburger buns for myself)

The things I loved about this recipe were that it was easy, it can sit in the crock pot while I am at work (my husband is at home during the day so he could watch it if I really needed), and it was good for both Geaters and GF er’s.

It was really good and it had a blend of sweet and tangy, with a real bbq flavor to it even though it was done in the Crock Pot. I will be doing this again… File this one in the successful pile.

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Hello my name is…

… and I am addicted to Pinterest. Yes yes who isn’t right? Well for all of you GF er’s out there it can be your friend. If you are already part of the Pinterest world this should be of no surprise to you. Pinterest has everything! For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, first off I would like to say I am sorry, and secondly if you are looking into it right now… again I am sorry. It is scary addicting. 

Anyway… I digress. My point is this, Pinterest was my friend when I started researching different recipes that were GF. I have found some I like, and a lot I don’t, but it gave me a starting place to experiment with my own cooking and recipes. 

 

Xanthan Gum

So I forgot to mention… XANTHAN GUM! It is your new best friend, trust me. I didn’t realize how important it was until my first batch of gluten free blueberry muffins went horribly wrong. I thought it was a “suggestion” in recipes, but it is not. It will give you the consistency you need.

Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum per 1 cup of flour mix.

If you are using the store bought kind it might already be in it so check your flour.

Flour

#3 Flour & friends

I like to cook… and in frustration have now become aware that flour is in EVERYTHING. Okay maybe not everything but sometimes it feels that way.

I decided my first project was to find a gluten free flour that was good enough that myself and the “geater” weren’t feeling like we were eating cardboard (because let’s face it, that is exactly how it tastes sometimes).

How did I start… Well I went to the grocery store and literally stood in the gluten free isle starring awkwardly having no idea where to start (my piece of advice before doing this, do some research). After about 30 minutes I went with Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Which I really like but can get a bit pricey depending on how much you are using it.

I decided I wanted to find a recipe to make my own so I could make larger quantities to keep on hand. There are a lot of different recipes out there for gluten free flour mixes so choose one that appeals to you.

This is the one I have found that I really like.I found it in Gluten Free Baking Magazine.They have a couple of suggestions, but this is the one I have had success with. I just make it in a large quantity.

So this is what I usually make…

3 cups rice flour

1 and 1/2 cups tapioca flour

1 and 1/2 cups cornstarch

I mix it all together and place it in a large container in the refrigerator. This way you have some pre-made for when you want it. This way you don’t have to mix it every time you want to bake something. Make sure you label it! Trust me… I learned that after a morning of very interesting pancakes the “geater” tried to make.

Happy Baking, there now is light at the end of the tunnel…

Where to start…

I know there is a lot of gluten free talk out there. From fad to diet (for lack of a better phrase) to health concerns, there are a lot of reasons why people are choosing to go gluten free. I unfortunately and against the will of most of my food cravings, fit into the second part of these categories. After a suggestion from my doctor to try a gluten free diet I wish I could say that it has been an easy tradition. Well this is where my journey begins…

The hardest part for me has been knowing where to start. There is so much information it is overwhelming. Can I go from eating anything I want, to an entire lifestyle overhaul and not completely loose my mind? Yes but in pieces and with a lot of experimentation. 

So how do I precede? By blogging of course. 

I am creating this blog to share my experience. I will post recipes (some experimental) as well as my experience having to share space with gluten eaters (or as I will later refer to them a “geaters” aka my husband), and maybe sometimes just bad days as a new GF eater.

No experience will be the same but maybe if you are reading mine it will help you not feel alone or lost in this gluten free world…