Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hunting for perfect recipes

Much of my life revolves around food:
  • My full-time job (mothering my kids & being a wife) involves trying to get enough calories into one child
  • Having Celiac Disease, EVERY trip to a restaurant or grocery store is a time consuming activity looking for the "hidden" or obvious traces of gluten (I got "glutened" over Christmas because I failed to read labels & paid for it)
  • Most foods have to be home made for me to eat them, so more time is consumed in the food department
  • My part-time Pampered Chef job, obviously, involves food
  • Because of Celiac Disease, and the "cure" of gluten free eating, I have gained 40 lbs. (30 of that came in about 7 months), so now I am pouring over cookbooks trying to find recipes that are light, healthy, filling, tasty, AND gluten-free
  • The other child and the other large person in this house also like to eat, so I try to feed them periodically
Naturally gluten-free foods are meats (not filled with goopy flavorings, but plain, old-fashioned meat) and vegetables. A few grains are also GF. Most prepared foods in stores that are budget friendly are full of gluten. Most gluten free prepared foods, or mixes, are pricey (bread mix can cost from $4 up to $7 for ONE LOAF), so I generally do without or make my own.

I enjoy cooking. That is, I enjoy cooking when I have space to cook and recipes that I know will work. I tend to try new recipes fairly often. I absolutely love learning to "copycat" recipes. When we lived in Africa, especially in Zaire, there were many foods we didn't have available to us. I found a book before we left the states called, "This for That," which had all kinds of substitutes. When I got to Africa, I found some missionary cookbooks which had been left behind and several of these substitutes were the same as my book had. Interestingly, it was obvious from the recipes that there had been brighter days in Lodja, Zaire, when more ingredients were available to the locals than when we arrived. Here we live in the land of plenty, and while I probably could pay a price for most anything I want to eat, the electric company has yet to accept the excuse, "I'm sorry I can't pay my light bill, but I had to buy some gluten free hot dog buns at $6 for a pack of 4." So, I'm on the quest for more copycat and homemade recipes.

My family has fallen in love with Bush's Maple & Bacon Baked Beans. I am armed with a crockpot and a package of dry beans, but I cannot find a copycat recipe for this. I would also love to make Ranch Style beans. If you happen to have amazingly delicious recipes for these, please feel free to share!

The main reason I came here to blog about this, though, is that I found a recipe that made me say outloud, "You have GOT to be kidding." I've ALWAYS wanted a recipe for Ranch Style Dressing. You know the kind you get in the powdery packet and mix with mayo & milk? Remember when it first came out & it had to be buttermilk for the mixing? Not the bottled stuff. Even Hidden Valley does their dressing a disservice when they bottle it. They alter it somehow. Well, in my search for copycat Ranch BEANS, I saw a listing for "House Ranch Dressing," in the copycat recipe listings. Eager to find this supposedly easy recipe, and mouth watering at the thought of dipped carrot sticks and cucumbers in my dream recipe, I clicked on the link. Are you ready for the recipe? Think you can handle this great news?

House Ranch Dressing
2 packages Ranch Dressing Mix
2 cups milk
2 cups mayonaise

Yep. I'm serious. I wonder if anyone got paid to list that. The ideas are now filling my head: Pancakes: 1 cup Bisquick.......... Taco Bell Tacos: 1 lb. ground meat, 1 packet Taco Bell Seasoning......

You know, I might be able to write a cookbook. Yep, I have definitely found the secret to the perfect recipe.

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