Apricot Pulled Pork on Homemade Kaiser Rolls

Tuesday’s are my crockpot days.  Darling Hubby has his weekly gaming session at the local game store and I take the boys to the local library for the “It’s Elementary” kids club program and to check out some new books.   Darling Hubby usually gets home before the kids and I do and wants to get in and out so he can get to the store and I’m not in the mood to cook a full meal when we get back, therefore, I like to have a meal already ready and waiting for us. Tonight will be Apricot Pulled Pork Sandwiches, served on freshly homemade toasted Kaiser rolls, french fries and baby carrots with dip.  It already smells amazing in here!

Apricot Pulled Pork on Homemade Kaiser Rolls
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsps Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4lb boneless pork roast, trimmed of fat

2 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup cold water
1 Tbsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
10-12 kaiser rolls, toasted

Combine first 7 ingredients. Place pork roast in crockpot. Pour apricot mixture over roast and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Transfer pork to cutting board, cool slightly and shred with forks. Skim fat from liquid in crockpot.

Blend water, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and pepper until smooth. Whisk into crockpot liquid. Cook 15-30 mins on high, uncovered, until thickened (sauce can also be done on the stovetop if you are in a hurry.) Return shredded pork to crockpot, mix well. Serve on toasted buns.

I use this receipe for my kaiser rolls.  I use the bread machine method for the dough.  So much better than store bought and I know exactly what is in them!

Enjoy!

White Bread – Bread Machine and Oven

I love having a bread machine since it does all the kneading and rises for you, but I just hate that once it bakes it has a giant hole in the bottom from the kneading paddle.   I looked through a cookbook I have and found a method that I could combine with my bread machine to make my dough and bake it in loaf pans to prevent that hole in the middle.  As my 2 year old would say, “Score!”

This recipe makes 2 1lb loves (or if you just want to use your machine, one 2lb loaf).

  • 1 1/4 cups water (80*F)
  • 3 Tbsp oil (you can olive oil or even apple sauce to make this soy free!)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups bread flour (you can use AP, but bread flour works best)
  • 2 tsp yeast, warmed to room temp.   I use Fleishman’s bread machine yeast that’s in the refrigerated section.

Warm you yeast to room temperature.  Place all the ingredients into the machine in the order suggested by your bread machine’s manufacturer.  Use the dough setting.  When the machine is finished, punch down the dough and divide it into equal portions.  I use my kitchen scale to weigh them out.

Grease your loaf pans.  I use olive oil rubbed around with a paper towel to keep this soy free, but you can use spray oil.  Using a rolling pin and a floured surface, roll each ball into a rectangle no wider than your loaf pan.  Rolling out the dough squeezes out all the air bubbles that can create holes in your loaf.   Roll the dough up jelly roll style starting with the short side and place seam side down in your greased pan.  Repeat for 2nd loaf.

You want to let your bread rise in a warm place until it’s the size you want it to be (I usually go to just above the edge of the pan.)  Since we keep our house cooler in the winter and spring I end up warming my oven slightly (to about 80*) and putting my towel covered loaf pans in to warm.  It takes about 1 1/2 – 2 hours to rise completely.  I check my ovens temp every half hour or so just to make sure it’s still warm.

When the rise is complete, remove loaves from oven, if using it, and preheat to 375*F.  Bake for 30 mins and let cool in pans on wire racks.  Remove from the pans by sliding a knife around the edges and cool completely before storing.

Loaves freeze well.  I end up making 2 loaves and freezing 1.  I just use a gallon size freezer bag.  It comes out just as fresh as when it was made.  I store all bread in the refrigerator in a gallon freezer bag and cut slices as needed.

Enjoy!

Rhubarb Cream Pie Recipe

Rhubarb is in season and it’s plentiful.  Last year I first heard of a rhubarb cream pie.  It’s something my Darling Hubby had when he was growing up.  My family only ever made sweetened rhubarb boiled down and eaten straight out of a bowl.  This pie is really yummy and is one of my new favorites for the spring.

You can use your favorite double crust recipe, but this is my favorite go to pie crust.  It’s flavorful and flaky (and in my case, can be made soy free!)  The original recipe is written to make 2 double crust pies, but I’ve halved it for you in brackets, so if you want to make one double crust pie, please use the number in ().

  • 4 cups flour (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening (I use butter and find it is so much better and is soy free!) (3/4 cup) (1 1/2 sticks butter)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp vinegar (1/2 tsp)
  • 1 egg, beaten (1)
  • cold water to = 1 cup (1/2 cup)

Mix flour, baking soda and salt together and cut in butter or shortening til you have course chunks.  Set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup mix vinegar and the beaten egg and add enough cold water to equal 1 cup (1/2 cup).  Pour liquid into dry and mix til dough forms.  Roll on a floured surface and line the pie pan bottom.  Prick with a fork all over and add filling.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch chunks.  Frozen is ok to use, just rinse and extend cooking time to 1 hour

Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, eggs and rhubarb in a large bowl.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Top with remaining crust (lattice if you so desire), or cut slits for venting and bake 50-60 mins at 400* F.

Let cool and enjoy!

Two Month Soy Update

I looked back through my old blog posts and realized that I’ve been off soy for over 2 months and haven’t had any stomach trouble since I had a reaction to the strawberry cake I made for Bug’s birthday at the beginning of February.  I think I’ve figured out what that was all about.  There was no soy involved yes, but my stomach hadn’t healed from the damage I’d previously inflicted my body reacted to the butter.  Since then I haven’t had any issues with butter.  This means that maybe I can start making cookies again (provided the other ingredients are soy free) with butter rather than shortening!  Yay!  Happy Dance!  I’ll eventually (hopefully) blog about it, but I recently made homemade crescent rolls (from scratch) with a lot of butter and eaten quite a few of them without issue.  The recipe I used needs  little tweaking, but hopefully I’ll have it right before tomorrow night as I’m making several dozen to bring to Easter dinner at Darling Hubby’s Grandpa’s house on Sunday.

So, what have I been eating?  Well, I’m still making my own homemade breads.  I’ve learned to make 2 one pound loaves of white bread at a time using my bread machine for the dough and then baking it in my oven.  I freeze one and slice the other for immediate consumption.  It’s so good!  I generally have 2 slices for breakfast with a cup of Rooibos (African – pronounced roy boss) tea with honey, often topped with orange marmalade or kerrigold irish butter.  Yum!  Sometimes for lunch I’ll make a Fluffernutter sandwich (made with Peter Pan PB and the original marshmallow fluff) with banana and honey.  Yum!  I’ve been eating  a lot of fresh fruit – plums, nectarines, bananas, grapes, strawberries.  We always have a veggie with dinner.  I’ve also started finding new ways to cook potatoes and I’ve been making myself sweet potato fries, too.  I’ve found a brand of panko bread crumbs that are soy free – only one of about 7 different bread crumb brands on the shelf!), so I’ve been making my own breading for chicken and fish (yes, I’ve started buying fresh fish from the fish counter rather than the dried out or greasy soy laced battered things that come in a box.)

I’m still making my own taco seasoning and seasonings for chili and all my meats. And, just cause it’s less fat, I’ve been rinsing my browned ground beef before I add seasoning or put it in my other dishes.  It cuts down on the amount of fat that my family is ingesting.  We’re still eating a lot of pasta.  It’s yummy and everyone eats it, either with homemade spaghetti sauce or plain with just butter and sprinkle cheese.  I also make my own homemade pizza dough, topped with my own seasoned tomato sauce, turkey pepperoni and skim milk cheese.  I only use olive oil or corn oil, now, as well.

Oh, we’ve even been making our own homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby usually has a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and since I’m soy free I can’t have the bagels from the grocery store.  I found a simple recipe in my bread machine book and we’ve made several batches.  It took a bit of time for us to really figure it all out, but now it’s easy, though time consuming, to make homemade bagels.  Darling Hubby enjoys Asiago cheese bagels, so that’s what we’ve been making as of late.

I’ve found a few treats for myself that are soy free.  I found some yummy sweet potato and beet chips (I think the brand was Terra) and even some kosher for Easter chocolate chips that have no unnecessary ingredients.   The grocery store decided to no longer carry my Equal Exchange organic chocolate bars, so I no longer have those to snack on.  They were delish!  Oh, and the No Pudge! brownie mix, made with only good stuff is yummy made with Stonyfield’ No Fat French Vanilla yogurt.  Oh, and we bought an air pop popcorn popper so we can make batches of fresh popcorn for snacks and always for movie night!  Both my kids can polish off an entire bowl of popcorn all on their own!  lol  They love their popcorn!

So, there you have it.  The things I’ve figured out while on a soy free diet.  It just takes a little consistency and several days of eating the same thing over and over til you find what works, but it can be done!

If anyone has any questions about going soy free or has anything to add to my growing (thankfully) list of foods to eat, please comment!  I want to help others who may be going through the same thing I am!  Now I’m off to make soy free tacos!  lol

Time For A Lego Party!

Bug was so excited for his big 7th birthday party.  We opted to do a home party and just keep it small.  For his 6th birthday we had the party at a local gymnastics club.  It was nice, but in order for it to be worth the money we paid, we had to have a ton of kids.  I told Bug he could choose 6 friends.  He invited 3 from school and 3 family friends.  Five kids came, so it was the perfect size!

Things got off to a late start.  Bug’s school friends were right on time…everyone else was running late.  The 3 ended up playing in Bug’s room for nearly an hour before anyone else arrived.  They were having fun playing with all Bug’s Legos and it was a Lego party, so it didn’t ruin anything.  I think most of my birthday parties growing up where I invited friends we ended up playing around rather than playing party games, etc.

Since our theme was Legos, I did some searching around and found some great idea sites.  The one that had the most great ideas was Homemaking Fun: A Lego Themed Birthday Party.  I ended up using the invite idea, which I personalized and had printed out in color and tucked into Lego brick envelopes that I made using primary colored card stock from my scrapbooking stash.  I cut circles out of lighter colored paper and hot glued them on to make the Lego pegs.  They looked pretty cool.

For the games I used the “Guess the number of Legos in the jar game.”  The person with the closest guess won a prize.  Darling Hubby had the honor of filling the jar and loaded it with all sorts of different shaped bricks.  I would have been lame and just used the rectangle bricks…he used car pieces, wheels, and all sorts of things.

I also used the Lego Toss game.  I used primary colored construction paper to make the rings.  I just taped them together and printed out the numbers using a Lego font I found for free on the web…I didn’t keep the link, unfortunately, but you can just search and you’ll find something.  The kids ended up playing this game quite a bit, even after the prize was awarded.  They even went back to it after the cake and ice cream was eaten and the presents opened.

On Pinterest, I found a PDF of a Lego Bingo Game.  Darling Hubby was kind enough to run out to his lab the morning of the party to print it with the color printer.  All the games were big hits!  For the prizes I bought the little Lego creator kits (5.99 at Target) (airplane, construction vehicle and race car).  They were big hits, too.

I also made gift bags for all the guests.  I picked up some primary colored rectangular gift bags at Target.  I got a 1.5 inch diameter circle cutter and cut up the extra bags to make them into Lego bricks.  If I used a lighter colored paper for the circles they might have shown up a bit better, but it got the point across.  I also printed out the children’s names using the Lego font.  I taped them to red construction paper and used a yellow marker to outline the letters like the Lego logo.  For the contents, I bought Lego mini figures, some candy Lego Bricks and tucked a pencil into each bag.  The mini figures were a big hit.  They all opened them before they left so they could see which figure they got.  The candy got rave reviews, too.  What’s better than candy that you can build with!


We of course had cake, ice cream and fruit and veggie platters.  You’ve no doubt seen the cake that I baked. For the table decorations and place settings, I picked up a party table cloth, yellow square plates, blue napkins, red forks, knives and spoons and green plastic cups from the dollar store.  Darling Hubby also picked up some birthday balloons from the dollar store, too.


There was, to Bug’s dismay, singing.  At least this year (unlike his 2nd birthday) he didn’t put his head down on the table and cry.

Make a wish!

Oh, and I can’t forget to include a picture of Fidget.  I think he’s warning me not to mess with his piece of cake!  He ate the whole thing, too!


Overall it was a great birthday party and one I’m sure Bug will remember for years.  Bug and his friends all had fun, which is the main goal of a party.  And seriously, what could be more fun than LEGOS!

Strawberry Cake From Scratch

Bug’s birthday party was scheduled for February 4th and if I wanted to share in the festivities and eat cake, I had to find one that was ok for me to eat.  All the boxed mixes contain soy.  Bug loves strawberries and asked for a strawberry cake (chocolate was easy, but not strawberry) and that left me to find a homemade strawberry cake…there are some out there, but they all use strawberry gelatin and not having a box in front of me I didn’t know if there would be soy or natural flavors included…plus I didn’t want the added food coloring, especially since I was already planning on dying the frosting red, green, blue and yellow.

Then I stumbled upon this little gem or a recipe.  Rather than strawberry gelatin it used real strawberry puree!  Score!

Here’s the recipe copied from the above link.

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour (sifted)  (I used All Purpose flour, sifted)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup butter , room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 ¼ cupssugar
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry extract (you can use vanilla if you can’t find strawberry)
  • 1 cup whole milk , room temp
  • 3 eggs , room temp
  • ¾ cup pureed fresh strawberries(or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest(I left this out)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

    My ingredients

Directions:

Thaw (if necessary) strawberries and puree.  Bring butter, eggs, and milk to room temperature.

Combine sifted flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time; mix well after each addition. Next add pureed strawberries and extract and combine well. Gradually add the flour (and baking powder) and the milk alternating between them until completely mixed. Then add lemon zest and juice and mix well.

Lightly grease and flour a 13 X 9 pan or (2) 8″ round pans. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 min or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Oven times may vary.  (Mine was done in 30 minutes, the recipes author did two 8″ pans that were done in 25.)

The cake just out of the oven.  It smelled delish, really just like a boxed strawberry cake, only better!

So the verdict…Darling Hubby asked me to make it again, leaving the frosting off.  My complaint was that it didn’t bake up fluffy like a traditional cake, though that might have been because I used AP flour rather than cake flour.  It was dense, more like a fudge brownie than cake.  It had good flavor, though.  Most of the kids ate it, but by the time we had cake they’d filled up on fruits and veggies.  lol  Despite the cake being soy free, it appears that butter is going to be another issue, but we knew that was a possibility.  Hopefully when my gut heals from all the soy damage I’ll be able to introduce milk and butter again (cheese seems to be ok for now).

Oh, and if you want to see the finished decorated cake, here ya go.

I followed the recipe for Wilton’s Fluffy Boiled frosting from the can of meringue powder and dyed it red, blue, yellow and green (the primary lego brick colors).  The red was a hit…I just hope it washed off the faces of our guests!  lol  Hopefully I’ll find time to write about the party tomorrow.  The day has gotten away from me and I have things to do before Darling Hubby gets home.  🙂

Soy Free Update

So I’m still sticking with the soy free diet and things are going swimmingly.  I’ve had a few run-ins with some natural flavoring and some issues with butter, but aside from that, I’ve been feeling great!  My moods are still better, I’m clearer headed, and my heart palpitations have declined greatly…My weight has stabilized at around 135lbs (I’m only about 15lbs heavier than I was at my high school graduation).  I’ve also found a few friends who are possibly in the same boat with soy who are joining me on the soy free experiment bandwagon.  Not that I want someone to have a food allergy, but it feels good to not be alone and it feels good to be able to help someone else out.

I’ve also had some run-ins with some well meaning friends who, in a push to be helpful, practically cornered me (or so it felt) on my facebook page and were cramming the whole “gloom and doom, get to a doctor NOW!” stuff down my throat.  I did take a stand and asked them nicely to back off as I was feeling pretty bullied and yelled at and they turned around, kicked it up a notch and pretty much lambasted me for posting about my “ailments” and told me that I shouldn’t post if I didn’t want the comments.   Basically a blame the victim kinda thing.   “Well, she asked for it!”  I wonder if I should start commenting on my friends statuses who always talk about drinking/partying/getting wasted and ask if they need to go to an AA meeting.  Apparently, I post about my health too much and that warrants an inquisition about why I won’t see a doctor.  Maybe those drinking statuses are a cry for an alcoholic intervention…It’s the pot calling the kettle black, really.  In hindsight, I made the mistake of posting about my health on my wall and I’m not going to do that anymore.  Lesson learned.  Oh, and I’m sure I just pissed someone off… 🙂

I’m one of those stereotypical facebookers who post about exactly what they are doing/feeling, etc.  I don’t do it to get comments or pity.  I’m not a troll.  I just put stuff out there.  Most of the time my posts revolve around my knitting or housework and what I’ve accomplished or plan to accomplish for the day.  Same for this blog.  I just write and if my day to day stuff and experiences help others, great, if someone comes here and can offer help to me, even better.  I’m not just posting to get people to visit my blog.  Do I like to see my blog stats go up, yes, because I can only hope that my blog has been, in some way, helpful to those visitors.  I just feel like I’ve lost an outlet for my thoughts.

Anyway, I’ve learned a few more things though trial and error. Most of the teas in my cupboard contain soy lecithin or natural flavors.  I’m down to 2-3 boxes out of the like 8 that are in there.  I’m bummed because I can no longer have the buffalo wing sauce that’s in my fridge.  I love buffalo wings and spicy stuff…Also, antacids contain natural flavors and have a tendency to make my stomach hurt and my heart pound on top of the indigestion….yeah, won’t make that mistake again.  lol  I’ve learned that benedryl helps if I have accidentally eaten something with soy or butter.  Good to know!  I’ve also learned that the hand lotion I’ve been using contains soybean oil.  Nice.  At least I know that it’s not a contact allergy/sensitivity.  I’ve been using the lotion every day since I’ve cut out eating soy and I haven’t noticed any ill feelings or rashes.  I am going to find a soy free lotion as I have terribly dry hands in the winter and I have to put lotion on regularly or my hands will crack and bleed.  I’m slightly germophobic, so I’m always washing my hands and that doesn’t help the dryness.

At some point I have to post about my knitting and Bug’s birthday and birthday party from this past weekend.  I also plan to post about the soy free strawberry cake from scratch that I made…though this cake ended up bothering me…probably from the butter – it used 2 sticks!   I know it wasn’t the homemade meringue frosting as the night before the party I was eating it while decorating the cake and I was fine.  Either way, the cake was delicious, despite it’s density (it was more fudge brownie like than cake like) and the fact that it made my stomach hurt.

So, that’s the update for this week.  I’m continuing to improve and I’m happy about that.  Yay for good things!