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Posts Tagged ‘polenta pizza’

This weekend was such a tease! For one, it was beautiful spring-like weather in the middle of February.  We all know that there just has to be a snow storm on the horizon!  And on top of that, I had so much studying I needed to do that we had made no plans to get out and enjoy the weather.  So I sat inside with my books and notes, watching sunshine-deprived neighbors walking around outside and playing with their dogs in the grass.

Sigh…

Now that I have you all feeling sorry for me, I’ll show you why you don’t have to pity me…

I put away all of my notes on bacteria and viruses to enjoya show I have been loooking forward to seeing for years!  It was a perfect Christmas present.  Thanks Dave!  This was probably the most artistic show, with the most beautiful choreography and costuming that I’ve ever seen.  Story-wise and music-wise, there are other shows I like more, but from the standpoint of staging this show, I was beyond impressed!   The way the brought the animals to life required such creativity.  I was in awe!

Any other musical theater fans out there?  I think my favorite shows are Mamma Mia and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Both shows have such energy and the music is invigorating and fun!

In addition to our night on the town, I also managed to eat pretty well too!  My Friday night pizza did not disappoint.  I have been using Chebe products to make my pizza dough.  But this week I was craving the polenta crust I discovered when I first went gluten-free.  This polenta pizza I topped with peppers, artichokes, spinach, and soy crumbles.  Perfection!

I have been on a real spinach kick lately, adding it to anything I can think of!  Here I mixed it in with some egg beaters that I put on 2 slices of gluten-free bread with tomato and Laughing Cow.  Great combination!

I also made a huge spinach salad with cottage  cheese (its mixed with salsa, which is why its read!).  A favorite meal has become a big salad paired with squash.  Goes together so well!

And because I hadn’t had enough spinach in the last 48 hourse, I added some more to my shirataki noodles tonight.  Along with some crispy baked eggplant (dipped in egg and crushed rice chex cereal)!

I have put away my microbiology notes for the night.  Time to join all my boys on the couch for some Olympic updates and a date with our DVR!

And before I go, a reminder to check out Kristen’s giveaway of Newman’s Own goods at Change of Pace.

Have a great end to the weekend.  I hope it was beatiful and warm wherever you are…and that you got to go out and enjoy it!!

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For an uneventful day, it’s been a very nice Saturday.  I had a good 9 mile run this morning and then ran a couple of errands while Dave and his best friend cheered on Georgetown.  I came home to find Rudy sleeping under the covers in our bedroom…..  I guess the boys were making too much noise.  Poor baby.  He got over the trauma when I returned with $60 worth of cat food.  The big bag was quickly wisked away to the highest shelf in the laundry room….left unattended, there would quickly be a cat-sized hole in the bag!

I was all set to use the elliptical this morning instead of running, but after my frustration with my new Garmin foot pod on the elliptical machine, I did a quick google search this morning.  It turns out that the devise only works for impact activities, like running or walking on a treadmill.  I feel stupid now for asking for it as a gift!  Why would I want my Garmin to tell me my pace or distance on a treadmill?  The machine will tell me that.  I want to know my pace and distance on the elliptical.  I think I’ll see if I can return it.  Boo!  But without the excitement of playing with my new toy, I ran instead, and after a day off of exercise yesterday, my legs felt much better!

One of my errands was the grocery store.  I restocked my gluten free flour and also bought some more brown sugar.  My mom had made me some gluten free banana bread that I really liked, so I wanted to recreate it.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let me back up to yesterday’s creation…

I had read on Deb’s blog about her methods for making smoothies and how she uses Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum to make them thicker.  Since I have Xanthan Gum, an essential ingredient in gluten free baking, I thought I would try using it in a smoothie.  Into my Magic Bullet went a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 1/4 cup of pumpkin, a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice, a cup of water, and a teaspoon of Xanthan Gum.  THIS IS TOO MUCH!  I will use half as much Xanthan Gum next time.  But even though I used a bit too much, I could see the effect!  It was so thick and airy!  It’s amazing what this stuff does.  I came out almost as thick as pudding!

It was really good, but it would be even better with less of the gum.  Xanthan Gum and Guar gum are used in gluten free baking to hold together the flour.  Regular flour has gluten in it which holds it all together.  Without the gluten, you need a binding agent, and these gums fit the bill.  It also has a good amount of fiber in it which is an added benefit.

Dinner last night wasn’t a new creation.  You’ve all seen my polenta pizza by now, but it is a favorite of mine.  It is a satisfying subsitute for regular pizza crust.  Even though I’ve shown you pictures before, I couldn’t help snapping more.  This one was particularly pretty, topped with peppers, artichokes, spinach, and fat free mozzerella.  So good!

Ready to bake...

And fresh from the oven!

Okay…that brings us up to today and my run to the grocery store.  I needed to get some more gluten-free flour.  A lot of recipes call for several kinds of flours that you combine in particular ratios for a recipe.  Bob’s Red Mill has a flour that is pre-mixed that I am hoping to use in a lot of baking.  Instead of spending money stocking my pantry with all kinds of flours, I wanted to try using just this one.  This package I found at Shaw’s.

Without having much experience yet with this flour, I can say that I like that there is a substantial amount of fiber in it, and I like that the calories are comprable to regular flour.  It is also very nice that all of the different flours are pre-mixed so I don’t have to track down each individual one!  Now….. Does it work???

My mom had made some delicious banana bread that she adapted right from the package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour.  She made some changes and sent me her recipe:

Banana/Pumpkin Bread
1/3 cup  applesauce instead of oil
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup Bob’s REd Mill All-Purpose GF Baking Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas or 1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease 9×5″ loaf pan.  For smaller loaves, use three 5×3″ loaf pans.  Cream together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer.  Add flour, Xanthan Gum, salt, baking powder and cinnamon to egg mixture, alternating with bananas.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in nuts and raisins.  Batter will be somewhat soft.  Transfer to pan(s).  Bake 9×5″ loaf for one hour,  5×3″ loaves for 45 minutes.

I didn’t have overly ripe bananas, but had some pumpkin already opened, so I substitutes 1 cup of pumpkin for the bananas.  I also dereased the cinnamon a bit, and added some pumpkin pie spice to support the pumpkin flavor, and omitted the nuts because I don’t like nuts in my bread. Last thing…I have a real weakness for baked goods.  So instead of baking this in loaf form, I made nice portion-controlled muffins.  Make sure to watch these in the oven…the muffins will cook much faster!

And the verdict?

Delicious!  they were so moist from the pumpkin and the apple sauce, they didn’t need the oil at all.  I did a quick calorie count and the enite recipe was about 1650 Calories, so each muffin is about 135.  These are very low in fat because they contain no oil or butter, and with about 33 grams of fiber in the entire recipe, there is almost 3 grams of fiber in each muffin.

So there you have it.  My first healthy gluten-free success.  If you can tolerate gluten, go ahead and use regular flour…just omit the Xanthan Gum!  But my gluten-loving husband gave these a thumbs up, so you can make these gluten-free and they will pass the test!  Later in the week, I will try making a blueberry cake that my mom also adapted to be gluten-free.

It’s time to go work on tonight’s dinner.  I am making an eggplant parmesan variation with gluten-free “breading.”  Before I go, I want to send you over to Katie at Faith Food and Fitness to check out her Chobani giveaway!

Have a wonderful Saturday night!  🙂

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I’m pretty tired of all this studying, but I’m still kickin’, and…. I am nearing the end!  In 48 hours I will be all done with my last final!!

It’s been a while so I’ll back track…  I took part on of my chemistry final on Wednesday.  I think I did okay.  I hope I did okay!  Then I came home and dove into part 2, the take-home portion.  I think I did well on that.  There was only one question that really had me scratching my head, and I think I figured it out in the end.

I studied all day on Thursday for stats.  That is the definition of torture!  I took a running break in the middle, and in an effort to postpone my return to stats for as long as possible, I cranked out 13.1 miles (the .1 was just so that I could say I did a half marathon distance!)  That’s the longest I’ve run since the race last month, so that was a confidence booster when I returned to my problem sets.

Rudy helped me study…

I took the stats test yesterday and I think I did well.  There was one question I really didn’t know how to answer, but all the rest, I knew how to do.  I just hope I didn’t make silly calculator mistakes!  As soon as I left my stats final, I came home to work on the biology final.  I had been plugging away at it all week, but I still had the long essay to write.  After dinner yesterday, I finally finished.  My brother, the biology major, was a huge help.  He explained a lot to me that I didn’t understand about RNA and the process of protein synthesis.  Thanks Chris!!

Today I sent in my biology final….12 pages in total!  And then it was a return to chemistry.  Part 3 is on Monday, and then I’m done!  I have 24 more hours to become an expert on Lewis structures and electron configurations (among other things.)

In all of this, I haven’t starved.  I’ll give you a quick rundown…

Spaghetti squash and broccoli slaw “pasta” with artichokes, marinara sauce, and chick peas!

An omelet stuffed with Laughing Cow, steamed broccoli slaw, and tomato, with a baked acorn squash on the side.

Dave enjoying his “North Dakota burritto,” and Jack looking for scraps!

Friday night “polenta pizza” with mozzerella and artichokes.  Mmmm!

Tonight’s protein pancakes with hot apple slices and raisins on top.

Dave took Jack and Rudy to my parents’ house today so they will be taken care of while we are away next week.  I miss them already!  But it’s going to be a whirlwind until we leave.  Between Dave’s birthday tomorrow, my exam on Monday, and packing and cleaning on Tuesday, Wednesday is going to be here before I know it!

I am giving Dave the best birthday present a person can get…I am giving him one more day before crossing over to that next year.  Even though his birthday is tomorrow, we will celebrate on Monday once my head is out of my books.  He’s a good sport!  With a big nor ‘easter coming in any minute now, it looks like we wouldn’t be going out to celebrate tomorrow anyway!  We are battening down the hatches and holing up for the next 24 hours or so.  I’m sorry the Blogger Meet-up had to be canceled because of the storm, but was sad I was going to have to miss it.  I’m excited to meet so many familiar faces in January!

I am calling it a night.  I DVR’ed Elf the other night, so I think that is on the docket.  My brain hurts and needs some mindless fun!

To all of the Boston bloggers and readers, stay warm and stay safe!

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For finals, that is.  I spend 7 hours just on statistics yesterday!  In fact, the only break I took from school work was a mid-morning 10 miler.  When it is 65 degrees in Boston in December (!!!), you have to take advantage of the weather and get outside.  It was a great run, out and back on the Minuteman bike trail.  But with 40 mile/hour wind gusts, my 5 miles back were tough.  I felt like I was running in place at a couple points!

The run cleared my head and as alwasy, I felt renewed.  The feeling didn’t last though.  By the time Dave got home from work, I was completely stressed, and by 8:00, the the tears had started.  But just after 9, I hit “submit” on my chapter test (95 % baby!), and I crashed!  Blogging was just not going to happen.

I ate a very yummy wrap for dinner at my computer last night.  I had some leftover eggplant slices, so I spread some laughing cowcheese and marinara sauce on a brown rice wrap, along with the eggplant, and heated it all up.  It was delicious!  I just wish I hadn’t been so distracted while I was eating it.

This wrap rolled really well.  I have had a lot of trouble with these gluten-free wraps breaking when I try to roll them.  The directions say to warm them, but even when I have done that, several of them have broken when I have bent them to roll.   I had left the package in the freezer, and I think that might be the key.  I’ll be curious to see how the last one in this frozen package bends and rolls.

Today, I did some Christmas ordering on-line (always takes longer than anticipated!) and bought another couple gifts at the store.  I want to get all of the shopping done ASAP because I know things will get even crazier the closer I get to finals.

After my chemistry lecture, I hunkered down to work on biology.  I have a huge assignment due on Tuesday, which will take most of the weekend.  And I also have a project to begin for statistics.  Ahhhh!  I tried to relax a bit with a cup of tea.  I tried Truvia for the first time in my tea.  I thought it was quite good.  I didn’tnotice an aftertaste.  My tea was plesantly sweet!

Truvia is made of stevia and is said to be all natural.  What do you think of Truvia as a sweetener? I have nothing against sugar, and believe me, I get enough sugar!  But I like to minimize the calories in things I drink.  I have used Splenda in the past, but my stash is finally gone, and I am trying to use it less frequently.

Dinner tonight was something I haven’t had for quite some time.  And I don’t know why because I was reminded how much I love it!  I recently wrote a guest post for Green Dog Wine about my gluten-free polenta pizza.  It was posted just this past week, but it’s been a good month since I made my pizza.  I did the same thing this time, thinly slicing a roll of polenta, and topping the slices with tomato sauce and mozzerella and parmesan.  It was wonderful!

One the side, I tried out something Melissa has mentioned a couple of times.  She has bought broccoli slaw, cooked it, and topped it with marinara.  She claimed that it tasted like pasta!  I didn’t really believe it, but  I couldn’t find broccoli slaw to try it for myself.  When I saw it in the store the other day, I grabbed a bag.  Because pasta is not allowed on my gluten-free diet, and because pasta is one of my very favorite things, I have been trying all sorts of replacements.  I love speghetti squash.  Rice pasta is oaky.  And I have gotten used to shirataki noodles too.  And now….I have another replacement!  Melissa, it was great!  Thanks!  I’ll make a bigger bowl next time and bulk it up with some chickpeas and some other veggies.  Yum!

What was the latest food discovery you have made?

I am done with biology fo rthe night and ready to join all my boys on the couch (one human boy and 2 feline boys!).  Flash Forward from last night is on tap!

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