Spinach Week

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Gluten-Free Polish Sausage, Hard-Boiled Eggs and Spinach Salad
Monday - Simple Weeknight Chicken, Cooked Spinach, Rice
Tuesday - Lentil Soup, Corn Muffins
Wednesday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Green Salad
Thursday - Spinach Rice Casserole
Friday - Chicken Nuggets, Spinach and Potato Bites

Spinach makes it on my grocery list almost every week. I use it in salad, as a side and in a lot of entrees. It's one of those ingredients that can be sneaked into a lot of meals. It can stealthily be included in sauces, casseroles, soups, muffins and more.

We are having spinach in some form every night of this week. There's no reason to hold back with this ingredient. On Easter Sunday we are going to use up some hard-boiled eggs and dip them along with the sausage in the sauce that I mentioned last week that was made out of yolks and vinegar. I haven't found that recipe anywhere else on the internet (or maybe I just don't know the proper name of it) so I will try to document that recipe. We'll also have Spinach Salad, which includes, feta cheese, walnuts and strawberries. On Monday we are having Cooked Spinach with our chicken and rice. My favorite way to make cooked spinach is to saute it with a little minced garlic and olive oil. The Lentil Soup recipe for Tuesday night includes spinach. Spinach can also be cut into small pieces and used in meatballs as well as marinara sauce for Wednesday's Spaghetti and Meatballs meal. Thursday night we're having a Spinach Rice Casserole. Friday we're having finger foods : Chicken Nuggets and Spinach Potato Bites.

Other spinach recipes that I make often are :

Spinach Frittatas
Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas
Beef Stir Fry

For more ideas check out the Gluten Free Menu Swap hosted this week by Heather at Celiac Family or OrgJunkie's Menu Swap Monday. For mid-week recipe ideas check out Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Glutenfreehomemaker.

Make sure to come back to Glutenfreeweek next week where I'll be hosting the Gluten Free Menu Swap with Coconut Week!

Easter

Easter for me is heavily influenced by family traditions. This is one of my favorite holidays because I've never met anyone who celebrates it with quite the same traditions that have been passed down in my family. That said, I'm sure that a lot of people do celebrate the same way. My family is Polish Catholic. I've tried to discuss how my family celebrates Easter with a few Polish people but they didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned some of the traditions that my family has. If anyone celebrates the same way or has anything to clarify feel free to add comments and enlighten me.

One thing that we always had was Polish sausage. I mentioned in the Eggs Week post that my mom used to get this from a special store where it was made from scratch and it was made only around Easter. My mom made a sauce that goes with it that I will share with you. She made it this year when she visited. I'll call it Easter Egg Dipping Sauce although I have no idea of the actual name. We're going to ask around the family to see if anyone knows more about the origins of this sauce. Here is the recipe that my mom and I formulated. Just wanted to add to make sure that your sausage is gluten-free if you decide to get some because sometimes sausage has added fillers that aren't GF.

The other thing that we had every year was a lamb cake. I loved this as a kid. I made a gluten-free one this year. I found a recipe for gluten-free pound cake and it tasted good, but the recipe wasn't quite enough to fill the entire lamb cake and it didn't rise to the other side of the lamb pan. To make the lamb cake you need a special lamb cake mold. I swear I've seen one in past years at Williams Sonoma, but my mom said that this year she could only find one at a cake supply store. Here is a picture of the lamb cake.

I didn't have a lot of artistic control over it this year because I was putting my son to bed while it was being decorated, but at least you understand what I am talking about. Pound cake batter is what is used to make the lamb cake. Here are some gluten-free pound cake recipes :

Living Without Gluten-Free Pound Cake Recipe
Gluten Free Easily Perfect Pound Cake Recipe

I used the Perfect Pound Cake recipe from Gluten Free Easily, but it didn't rise enough and didn't make quite enough batter for my needs, so I'll need to either adjust the recipe or try the Living Without recipe next time.

For dinner we usually had lamb chops and mint jelly. A lot of people seem to get ham, but it's really hard to find a gluten-free and nitrate-free ham that is anywhere near reasonably priced so I think that lamb chops are a good gluten-free choice for Easter.

Hope some of these ideas help!

Eggs Week

This week's gluten-free menu:

Sunday - Broccoli and Cheese Quiche, Apples and Cheese
Monday - Chicken Fried Rice
Tuesday - Chicken, Sausage, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Egg Salad, Potato Chips, Carrot and Celery Sticks
Thursday - Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas
Friday - Pizza, Green Salad

This week is Eggs Week. Spring is here and eggs represent new life and a new beginnings. Speaking of new beginnings, my family has moved from the very urban west side of Los Angeles to a suburban area outside of Dallas. Here people raise chickens. In fact, my neighbors have several chickens in a chicken coup under their tree house. They are not the only ones either. The father of my son's friend brought over eggs from their chickens when they came over for a play date. This story isn't going anywhere but it is on the subject of eggs. It's been just a bit of culture shock and I still need to talk about it. (On a side note, another neighbor walks his goat every night.)

I am not ready to raise hens yet, but I do cook with plenty of eggs. At our house we celebrate Easter which is this Sunday, so we are always trying to figure out what to do with the eggs come Easter morning. My favorite tradition is to make a sauce with vinegar and mashed yolk and dip Polish sausage and the hard-boiled egg whites into it. My mom's side of the family is Polish and she always knew of a little deli in one part of town that made a special Easter Polish sausage once a year. Hopefully I will be able to find a special, gluten-free, Easter Polish sausage this year in my new town.

This week's menu is starting with a Quiche. For this quiche I am making a brown-rice crust. Monday we are having Chicken Fried Rice. Chicken Fried Rice is such an easy meal and does have egg in it so it fits the theme. Of course I think the recommended amount of eggs per week is 7 so we can't have all egg dishes this week. On Tuesday we're having Chicken Sausage and Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. On Wednesday we're having Egg Salad. Thursday night is Quesadilla Night and Friday is Pizza Night. Grandparents will be in town so we will have a big dinner for everyone. Hope you have a great week.

For more ideas check out the Gluten Free Menu Swap hosted by Heather at Celiac Family. Also Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie has a menu plan round up although they are not all gluten-free.
For some mid-week ideas check out Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Homemaker.

Seven Ways to Be Supportive of Someone with Celiac Disease

Welcome to my first blog on GlutenFreeWeek! It’s about living with or around someone you
know who has celiac disease.

It’s an important topic, so from time to time when I discover a new tip or trick to make life easier,
I’ll blog about it. I also welcome any comments or information you would like to share.
You yourself may not have celiac disease; maybe you’re a family member, like me, or a
companion, or just a friend who cares about someone and wants to help. As such, you probably
don’t really understand how difficult it is for someone with celiac, but you know it’s not easy.
In this first blog, I wanted to start with the most important things first since living gluten free is a
marathon and not a sprint. So, the number one most important thing you can do is to be
supportive.

That said, here are seven ways you can be supportive:

1) Listen to how celiac disease has had, and will always have, an impact on his or her life.

2) Learn as much as you can about gluten and celiac disease and share that knowledge.

3) Understand that eating gluten free is imperative to the health and well being of the person.

4) Learn what foods are and are not gluten free.

5) Don’t complain about extra effort in finding and preparing gluten-free
food or seeking gluten-free restaurants and establishments.

6) Be flexible and open in trying out new methods, recipes, and tastes.

7) Be empathetic and never ever say, “you’re lucky it can be treated with diet."

Living with celiac disease is a challenge for everyone, so get with the program.

Love Potion Salad

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