It's in the Bag, Gluten Free & The WoW Diet

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Need a dinner idea? This seems to be one of the no-fail recipes at our house. In fact, it's my brother's favorite bag meal. It's super easy and delicious, so give it a try!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

(Original recipe from the kitchen of Belinda Craft)

8 oz. of penne pasta

4 cups water

1-14.5 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes

1-12 oz. can evaporated milk

1-13 oz. can chicken meat, including broth or 1 pint home canned chicken breast

1 tablespoon canned butter

Re-closable bag:

1 chicken bouillon cube

1½ tablespoons dried basil

½ teaspoon garlic powder


In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add pasta to boiling water and stir gently. Return to boil and cook 6 to 7 minutes or according to desired pasta tenderness. Remove from heat and drain. In a medium sauce pan, combine remaining ingredients. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. To serve, gently toss sun dried tomato sauce and pasta until pasta is thoroughly coated.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Ultimate After-School Snack

Let's play a game, shall we? Can you guess what this delicious little zoomed in nibblet belongs too? I'll give you a hint, most kids have cookies and milk after school, but this was my yummy today.

Another hint perhaps? It's pretty much happiness in a mouthful. We've been eating it 2-3 times a week for the past month, and I'm not sick of it. Not even close. I had 3 today. Why yes, I am a piggly wiggly. Alright, I'll tell you. It's not too complicated. A few slices of french bread, some butter, a little garden fresh tomato and basil, the secret ingredients (soon to be revealed) and voila! Culinary paradise.

The Bag Lady makes 2 loaves of fresh, warm, delicious, chewy french bread every Monday. We can usually take care of a loaf in 1-2 days, but that leaves one left. Wrapped in a plastic shopping bag in the cupboard, the loaf naturally begins to dry out. By Thursday it's perfect for making bruschetta--firm and dry, but still soft enough that you won't feed it to the ducks. From there it's just a chop, dice, sizzle, and swoosh to delicious.

Some people like to use olive oil when they make bruschetta, but I'll tell you where it's really at. BUTTER. Butter those puppies up and the yum factor increases a hundred fold. In a buttered pan, brown your bread until golden. Put your golden slices on a plate and top them off with fresh tomato, basil, and a bit of salt. Don't stop there, contrary to Kung Fu Panda belief, there IS a secret ingredient. It's balsamic vinegar. Splash a dash of it on top and garnish with some coarse grated parmesan cheese. True joy really is as simple as that.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Hello blog readers!

First off, a big apology for my slackerly blogging as of late. I have several excuses I could give, but that's not why you read this blog. I'll make it up to you with a recipe instead.

This is actually a sneak recipe from The Bag Lady's book (I can feel you forgiving me already.) Yogurt is a wonder-food. It aides digestion by restoring normal flora, provides calcium and vitamins, is light and refreshing, can be topped with jam, fruit, chocolate, granola, rice crispies, anything really. You can also use it to make parfait. Everybody likes parfait, I mean have you ever been out with a group of friends and said "lets get some parfait!" and they say "I don't like no parfait!" (Name that movie) Of course NOT! That never happens. Everybody, likes parfait.

I've traveled enough that I realize sometimes you don't want to know what you're eating, but when you're at home and you can't even pronounce what's written on your food label... Enough said. So without further ado, I present, drum roll please, The Bag Lady's own yogurt. This yogurt is amazing. It's easy to make, preservative free, smooth on the tongue and the tummy. Besides, there is something deliciously satisfying about popping the top off a pint jar and eating out of it with a spoon.


(Makes 1 gallon)

1 gallon 2% or whole milk*

5 tablespoons powdered milk

1 cup plain yogurt

Sweetener of choice**


Preheat oven on warm setting. Place milk and powdered milk* in a large thick bottomed stainless steel pot and heat milk to 180°F, stirring often. Turn off oven and turn on oven light. Once the milk has reached 180°, cool to 125-110°F. I place the pot in a sink full of ice water; within 5 to 10 minutes the milk cools between 125-110°F. Stir in yogurt and sweetener.** Pour into pint sized canning jars and cover with a canning lid and ring or aluminum foil. Place filled jars in oven and allow ripening in oven to desired consistency. I ripen mine 4-6 hours. Place yogurt in refrigerator.

Yogurt will keep in refrigerator for a good 4 weeks. Remember to save 1 cup of your homemade yogurt as a starter for your next batch

*Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk or yogurt will not set.

**I sweeten my yogurt by adding ¾ cup organic fructose to 1 gallon of milk. You may choose to add more or less sweetener depending on your preferences. I add the fructose with the powdered milk.

Fruit, jam, or other toppings should only be added when the yogurt is served, or it will not set up properly.

If you are interested in adding probiotics to your yogurt, make sure that you add them when the milk has cooled to below 120F. Hotter temperatures will kill the bacteria.

Remember how Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey? Your yogurt will probably develop some whey, it's a yellow tinged liquid that results when the milk separates. If you don't mind your yogurt a bit runny, just mix it back in. If that completely grosses you out, drain it off the top and proceed with breakfast. Personally, I always drain it off, because I like my yogurt thicker, so no shame if you're a drainer too, no shame.