The Hot Handle

A blog interspersed with occasional gluten free recipes.

Please note: If you have a family member who requires a gluten free diet, be sure to use a cast iron skillet that has never previously touched gluten....and if it has, scrub it all down completely and re-season, to be on the safe side.

Looking for information on Celiac Disease? There are many good sites, but here is one to get started with:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gluten Free Ricotta Squares!

I have had quite a run of working nonstop.  Last weekend I finally had a chance to look at what has been in my refrigerator.  You know:  The stuff you realize must be used NOW, or never.

I had two pounds of whole milk ricotta, originally intended for some sort of lasagna.

John and I pulled it out.  It wasn't beyond the sell by date by much. 
We opened it, inspected it, tasted it, and googled it. 

No reason not to use it!

I totally re-worked an old recipe for ricotta squares.  Two cups of wheat flour plus a cup of chopped nuts?  No way - just two cups of almond meal.  Two-thirds of a cup of margarine?  Forget it....1/2 cup of real butter!  A few more adjustments beyond that, and my first recipe didn't look much like the one I created.  Better yet?  It was gluten free.

The look on my family's faces told me I was right on.  Very blog-worthy. 

Gluten Free Ricotta Squares
(Serves 12-16)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put 2 cups of almond meal/flour into a bowl.
Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar
and 1/2 cup of butter (softened).

Use a pastry blender to make little dinky morsels of butter
mixed in with the dry ingredients.

Press ~3/4 of this mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13 glass baking dish.
Put it in your preheated oven for 10 min, then let it sit for 5 min.
(Leave the oven on!)

Meanwhile, in another bowl,
mix 2 pounds of whole milk ricotta,
four eggs,
a cup of sugar,
about a teaspoon of lemon extract,
about a teaspoon of grated lemon peel, and
about a teaspoon of vanilla.

(Seriously, I didn't measure the flavorings, I just guesstimated!)

Pour this mixture over the pre-baked (and partially cooled) crust.
Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top of the ricotta stuff.

Pop it all in the oven again.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the ricotta comes out clean.

Let it cool pretty much, then refrigerate.

Cut into squares.
Top each serving with a little whipped cream. 
Observe the faces as your family bites into this!

Now:  Aren't you glad you check my blog?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Listen More, Talk Less

Most of us have heard this advice:  Listen more, talk less.

It goes along with the idea that we have two ears and one mouth,
so we should listen twice as much as we talk. 

Yesterday I couldn't talk at all.

It started on Wednesday when I felt a cold coming on. 
On Friday night, we were driving home from a family gathering.
It all went downhill on that ride home.

The next day, the only way I could talk to my Dad on the phone was to have hubby put it on speaker mode, and I pantomimed or whispered information to relay to him. 

I always think it's rather ironic when the speech-language pathologist can't talk. 

We went to a fundraiser on Saturday afternoon.  I toted along a pad of paper and the above cover page.  This only worked so well.  Communication isn't a one-way street. 

My voice improved slightly in the afternoon.  That was nice, but I felt a little guilty about going against the standard advice for "vocal rest." 

On the way home, we stopped for dinner.  My voice was declining again. 
Restaurants tend to be notoriously loud, so talking to hubby, who was seated right next to me, was impossible.  All my comments had to be made by writing.

It made me very grateful for reading and writing skills.

Today I am better, kind of croaking like a frog.  Hopefully I will be able to go to work tomorrow and lead my charges in their speech and language sessions. 

So what did I learn from this?

  • Sometimes it's good to not talk, as in leaving a dumb remark alone.
  • We really do need to talk, and communication impairments are somewhat isolating, even if the rest of your body is functioning okay.
  • It's a lot more fun to sing along in church than to stay quiet because you're croaking. 
  • Be thankful for your voice!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Pins From Lynn"

I'm lucky to have an awesome family all around. 

As is noted earlier in this blog, my Mom passed away in early 2012. 
She was a cool lady.

Anyway, she left behind an impressive array of whimsical pins.
Flowers, birds, bees, animals, snowmen, butterflies, dolphins....
I and many others would purchase pins in our travels to give Mom as gifts.
She herself picked up many pins on vacations, or when seeing something special.

You never saw Mom not sporting a pin on her left lapel.

With all these pins, I had an idea.
Perhaps friends and family would like a pin or two.
We decided to have a "pin party," titled, "Pins From Lynn."

Friends and family were invited to come yesterday,
have cookies and coffee or tea, and select a pin. 
Mother's Day weekend seemed to be an appropriate time to do this in her memory.

A box was available for a free will donation
to help area patients undergoing cancer therapy.

We collected a good sum!

People really seemed to like the idea,
and I got to see some relatives and friends that I wish I could see more often.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
I hope you like this idea, too.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brownies for Cinco de Mayo!

The recipe can be found here.
It uses Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownie mix, and Cinnamon Chex cereal.

These are delicious!