Friday, July 3, 2015

Best Ever Coleslaw ~ Weekend Potluck #177

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Best Ever Coleslaw by Mirlandra’s Kitchen

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Homemade Ranch Seasoning

I've been dabbling in making homemade seasonings. I recently made Taco Seasoning and it turned out fantastic! Besides Taco Seasoning, I use a lot of Ranch Seasoning. It is good as a dressing but it's also good in so many other things (see some recipes at the end of this post.)
Maybe other than the Buttermilk Powder, you probably have all of these things in your pantry. Buttermilk powder can be found with all the other milk powders in the baking aisle of the grocery store. If you can't find the buttermilk powder, you can always substitute with regular milk powder or just leave it out all together.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cornbread Taco Bake (and a GIVEAWAY!}

Earlier this week I tried my hand at making my own homemade taco seasoning. I had played around with a few recipes and finally found a mix of flavors that my family really loved. The whole reason I did that was because I was working on this recipe. I wanted to try my hand at making a gluten-free meal and I had the idea for this cornbread bake in mind. Then I found out that some pre-made taco seasoning has gluten in it. That was a shocker!
This whole recipe centered around the *NEW* Martha White Gluten Free Mixes. Yay for easy and tasty mixes! This is such a help for those folks who are on a gluten-free diet or who suffer from Celiac Disease but who still want easy, quick, tasty mixes. 
I was super excited when I saw the gluten-free mix featured in the baskets at the National Cornbread Cookoff Festival in South Pittsburg, TN hosted by Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron. I was so honored and thrilled to be a judge again this year. These were the best-of-the-best recipes coming back to try to win the top honor. It was a hard choice but someone has to eat all that delicious food. This recipe HERE was the winner!
Anyhow, I shared news of the new gluten-free mixes on my Country Cook Facebook page and the feedback was amazing. It seems so many folks were so excited to finally see gluten-free mixes from a brand they trust and know will taste good!
So I knew I had to create a recipe using these new mixes. I learned how hard it is to follow a gluten-free diet but I also learned that food can taste amazing (and be made easily) with a little help from great new products like these. This is why I love Martha White. You can just make some muffins or you can use that mix to transform it into something truly special. So I'm super thrilled to share it with y'all. Don't forget to scroll down to the end of the post to win a special giveaway just for Country Cook readers from the sweet folks at Martha White!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hawaiian Ice Box Pie ~ Weekend Potluck #176

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Hawaiian Ice Box Pie by Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I have had a super educational week this past week. I dipped my toe into the world of gluten-free recipe creation. I have a special recipe that I'm sharing on here in a couple of days that will be my first (on-purpose) gluten-free recipe.
I'm not on or going on a gluten-free diet but I have a couple of friends whose children were diagnosed with celiac disease. It's an autoimmune disease that makes the body intolerant to gluten. I myself was diagnosed with Lupus (another autoimmune disorder) several years ago. Any kind of disease comes with its own special set of challenges. And autoimmune diseases are the "quiet" diseases. We look completely healthy on the outside, while inside, our bodies are waging war within themselves. When I'm not feeling well, it can take me down for days at a time where I physically cannot get out of bed because the pain is so intense. Or one day I might wake up and my stomach is cramping so intensely I can hardly breathe. There are no warnings. It just comes on me all of a sudden and I pray that it will pass quickly. I never know how my body might attack itself from one minute to the next. There is no cure. There isn't much I can do but ride out the storm. When folks ask what's wrong, I just try to simply explain it as "Lupus" but autoimmune diseases aren't as simple as slapping that one label on it. That's an umbrella name for all these other little diseases that are not totally figured out by the medical field. I was diagnosed with Sjogrens Disease as well as Limited Scleroderma among other things. But try explaining all that to people...not easy. Most folks will just say "Oh, um okay. What's that?" And I totally get that response because that was me when I was first diagnosed. I don't expect folks to be medical experts on every disease out there. I'm certainly not. 
Diet and health become super important when you've been diagnosed with anything. And while "gluten-free" is a popular diet for folks trying to lose weight, for others it is life and death. And when it is a life or death situation, it can be an exhausting task to monitor everything that you or your child are eating. It's one thing to monitor it while just trying to diet and if you accidentally eat gluten, it's not going to harm you. But if you accidentally feed your gluten-intolerant child taco sauce that had gluten in it and they suffer a massive reaction, then suddenly you are spending time in an emergency room or scrambling for an Epi-pen and your life has suddenly taken a dramatic turn into panic and worry. 
When I first started trying to create a gluten-free recipe this week, I had no idea ALL the things that had traces of gluten. And yep, one of those things was taco seasoning and taco sauce. Now, not all of these products have gluten in it but many do. So I talked to my Mom friends whose children have Celiac Disease and almost all of them make their own seasonings for everything to be safe. Who knew pre-made seasoning would have gluten in it?! Not me. When I think gluten, I think bread, that's it. So I understand the need to be extra careful. Also, for some folks it's just a personal choice. A lot of folks are concerned about preservatives in foods and seasonings as well. I don't know the all the science behind all of that so I won't go into it. However, in many cases, it's really easy to just go ahead and make your own. Plus, it tastes REALLY good. I usually just buy my own seasonings but it's great to know I can make my own. I loved how the flavor turned out with this too! It's super yummy and it doesn't taste exactly like store bought seasoning so it has it's own unique, homemade flavor!