Gołąbki (Stuffed Cabbage)

golumpki-3bIf you are searching for a meal that can feed an army with minimal stress and maximum taste, look no further!  Seriously this dish is delicious and extremely filling.  Some other benefits is that it is gluten free and can be scaled to whatever quantity you desire with little effort.

My mom used to make this when we had several other families join us for dinner.  As a kid, I never liked the cabbage or bell peppers much, but now the cabbage is my FAVORITE part of the dish.

About a year ago I tried my hand at making this meal but didn’t have my mom’s recipe.  Instead I experimented with ones I found online that sounded like it matched what would be in my mom’s.  WRONG!!!  I should have known better than to try to re-create a family recipe handed down from my full-blooded Polish great-grandmother.  Some things “old school” you just can’t improve upon.

Hope you enjoy this treasure of a recipe from my family to yours.🙂

Gołąbki – by Toni Fuhrman

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 lbs. hamburger, thawed
  • 2 C. uncooked rice (you want to have approx. 1 C. cooked rice per lb. of hamburger)
  • 5 eggs (1 per lb. of hamburger)
  • 1 box (2 pkgs.) onion soup mix
  • 2 sm. or 1 lg. head cabbage
  • 1-2 Green bell peppers
  • 4 cans condensed tomato soup
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350° F.   Cook rice and let cool. Boil large pot of water. Hold cabbage head under the boiling water with a large fork/knife pressed into the stem just until leaves loosen and are easy to peel. Do NOT overcook the cabbage. Peal leaves and let cool on a towel.

Mix hamburger, rice, eggs and onion mix a little at a time in a large bowl by hand. Taste a small portion and add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Scoop hamburger into center of cabbage leaf and roll like a taco (bottom-side-side –finish rolling) Place a toothpick in the vein. Layer tomato concentrate on bottom of a roasting pan. Make a layer of stuffed green bell pepper halves and cabbage rolls. Place a dollop of concentrate on each roll and bell pepper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Start next layer like a lasagna. If you have picky eaters, roll filling into meatballs without the cabbage wrap and prepare as directed above. Use small leftover cabbage leaves to cover the pan. Spread tomato soup and salt and pepper on top.

Cover with foil or lid and bake for 3 hours (2-layer dish), 4 hours (3+ layers) or until cabbage is tender. Best if made the day before so it has time to soak up all the flavors. Yield: Feeds approx. 16 people

NACD Update

We’ve had so many people asking us about I’s progress in NACD and what it is exactly, so today I thought I’d go ahead and do a post showing his latest progress and explaining a little bit more about the program.  First off, here is a short video explaining what NACD is and how it works with all children whether special needs or not.

Our initial interview to kick-start the program was the end of March.  As we waited for the customized program to be written for I, we were assigned some basic compliance training activities to do with him to prepare him for when we began implementing the daily program with him.  It was very apparent at the interview that he was NOT compliant at all.  In fact, I believe he screamed through most of it and refused to let the instructor near him.  So embarrassing!  At least the instructor saw just what we were dealing with since I made sure it was impossible to sugar coat his behavior or abilities.:-/

We followed our instructions for that first week and actually started implementing them with A as well as I.  One of the things on my goal list was for both boys to be potty trained.  Up until this time, it was an impossibility simply because of A’s stubbornness and I’s lack of comprehension.  Last time I tried potty training A, he gave himself a UTI from refusing to use the potty.  That child has a will of iron!  Needless to say, after working with the boys using the prescribed change in training methods, we saw a HUGE difference.  A was potty trained in a matter of days with not ONE fight.  Although we are still working toward potty training I, the change in his obedience has been dramatic.  Tim and I have also changed for the better now that we know how to administer effective correction so that we don’t become overly frustrated.  Never in a million years would I have thought a car seat and timer along with daily compliance training exercises could make such a positive change in our home.

So not only has A been potty trained and both boys increase their overall obedience, I has also learned to:

  • Drink from a cup with no spout, valve, flow regulator or straw
  • Chew his food without choking
  • Say words on command
  • Complete more tasks around the house with simple verbal instructions instead of visual

We are now a little over a solid month into the program, and I am so excited by all the changes I’ve seen.  What thrills me the most is that we are not having to drag I to outpatient therapy every day to get the training he needs.  NACD is training me and Tim how to do all the work with him at home.  Still amazed at the support and expertise of the NACD staff/coaches who are in contact with us daily!

Here are just a few short videos showing some before and afters.

Banana Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

In my quest to find a GF banana bread recipe so I could use up all the over-ripe bananas that were quickly morphing into some kind of hideous monstrosity inside the fruit bowl, I found this.  The original recipe was for a Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread, but it worked great for making into muffins. (Yield: 18)

I wasn’t overly disappointed that the recipe wasn’t GF because of the magic words “buttermilk.”  Back to the whole grind-your-own-whole-wheat-then-soak-in-vinegar concept to break down the gluten, making your own buttermilk using apple cider vinegar and whole milk fits the bill.  Simply mix all the ingredients together the night before then cover and let “soak” inside the refrigerator overnight. Bam!  You now have a close-to GF recipe without the fuss.  Might I add that having the batter prepared the night before made fixing breakfast the next morning a total breeze.🙂

Even with using entirely whole wheat flour instead of AP flour, the taste was scrumptious!  Tim loved it and asked that I put this recipe in the “keeper” file.

Banana Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

  • 1 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C. buttermilk (mix 1/4 T. vinegar and the rest regular milk to make 1/4 C.)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 C. blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS:  Mix butter and sugar inside an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and bananas.  Blend until combined.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixer a little at a time, beating just until incorporated.  Stir blueberries in last.  Cover and place inside refrigerator to “soak” for 12-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins and fill 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan onto a wire rack.  (Yield:  18 muffins)

NOTE:  Adapted from Damn Delicious.

GF Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is truly a treasure and tastes AMAZING!!!!  You would never be able to tell that these muffins have no grains in them compared to regular muffins made with flour or flour alternatives.  I did a little tweaking with the original recipe I found over at  Running With Spoons  and came up with something that worked within the family budget (no special ingredients needed!) and was tasty.

My first try at this recipe was a disaster.  I made the mistake of trying to substitute butter for the almond butter.  It made sense to me at the time; however, I should know better by now not to trust my brain after a long night of hypoglycemia.  Sheesh! :-/  Needless to say, the muffins turned out horrible.  I was so afraid to try again because I didn’t want to waste the ingredients.

Then one day a friend of mine gave me the best piece of information which re-kindled my desire to give this recipe another try.  I learned that you can substitute regular peanut butter for almond butter. Ha!  Genius!  Why hadn’t I thought of that before?!?!  They are both in the nut family and have the same texture and cooking consistency needed.  So butter, coconut oil and ghee can all be interchanged with each other, but nut butters need to stick with the nuts.

Another helpful tip is that this recipe usually only makes 9 regular muffins.  Yeah, I know, stupid GF recipes don’t like to make the nice, even dozen.  Drives me CRAZY!  Instead, use a mini muffin tin to make your batter stretch farther or better yet, double the recipe so you will end up with a nice dozen regular sized muffins and approximately 10-12 mini muffins.  The way these babies taste, you will need those mini muffins to fill the hungry hoards when snack time rolls around.  They won’t last long in your kitchen!🙂

So…. Here’s what you need to get started.

  •   Blender (I love using my Ninja for this.)
  •   ½ cup peanut butter
  •   1 ripe medium/large banana
  •  1 egg
  •   1/4 C. honey
  •   1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  •   2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  •   1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •   1/2 tsp. baking soda
  •   1/2 tsp. baking powder
  •   ¼ cup chocolate chips
  •   Peanut butter chips for sprinkling on top (optional)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.  Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.  Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about ¾ full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (8 minutes for mini muffins), until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

E helped me with the peanut butter chips on top.  He was being creative.🙂

In terms of taste and moistness, I would give these a perfect 10.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds

So basically I’ve been doing some major experimenting inside my kitchen lately trying to figure out how this whole “gluten-free” baking works.  So many of the recipes I find online have a long list of ingredients I don’t have in my pantry and really can’t add to the grocery list without breaking my food budget.  Instead, I began to focus on the recipes I know the family loves and work toward converting them to GF with as little new ingredients as possible.  I am very thankful to have stumbled across a website that gives the exact conversion for all-purpose flour to coconut flour.

Sam’s Club had this huge bag of coconut flour on sale for less than $8.50.  I had purchased this about a month ago and it seems to last forever since you don’t use nearly as much coconut flour as you do AP flour.  Don’t judge me too harshly for the giant container of peanut butter.  It’s cheaper than almond butter and my kids love eating it with just about anything for a tasty snack.

Here is the link to the original recipe – Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds.  To make this recipe GF, simply take out the 1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour and substitute in 1/3 C. coconut flour and use some GF oatmeal.  That’s it!!

The change in flours didn’t change the overall taste or texture of the cookie, but it did change the density.  I’ve noticed that GF baked goods don’t “fluff” like other baked foods.  My simple answer to that would be that GF items don’t fluff because they don’t have the “fluff-making” gluten.  This recipe works so well as a GF conversion because of the extra moisture from the peanut butter, butter and eggs.  Usually you have to add extra moisture when using coconut flour.  None needed here!  Please keep in mind when making this recipe that you won’t get the originally stated 48 cookies.  It will be more like 24-36 depending on how big you make them.

They are STILL a family favorite treat!🙂

 

Apple, Cream Cheese & Cinnamon Snack

Last week my sister introduced me to the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G snack using ingredients I already had inside the house.  It’s hard to describe just how the flavors of the cinnamon and cream cheese blend with the sweet flavor of the apple.  Simply put, it melts in your mouth without all the extra sugar and carbs you would find in a caramel dipping sauce.

There really isn’t even a recipe for this just a creative idea.  You can do it the easy way and simply slice up your apple, spread some cream cheese on top and sprinkle with cinnamon (to taste).  However, when you have little ones who see those ingredients come out of the refrigerator and cabinet, you have to be prepared to produce this snack FAST.  Haha!

I softened a chunk of the cream cheese in a bowl then mixed in the cinnamon before spreading on the sliced apples.  It was easier to work with the softened cream cheese.  Even with the cinnamon mixed in, it was nice to add a dash more on top of each slice to really pump up the cinnamon-y flavor.  Hint, you can even add some Chia seeds in the mix too to get a boost of fiber without any little ones being the wiser.  Tehe!😉

There are two big benefits to this snack.  The first is that the high fat content in the cream cheese is good for filling up your belly and holding you over longer between meals and has no sugar or carbs.  (Great for those doing the Ketogenic Diet a.k.a. LCHF.) The second is that the cinnamon has no sugar or carbs and is actually beneficial for regulating blood glucose.  Not that my kids care one bit about any of that as long as it tastes good! :-)  I, however, love that I get to enjoy the snack too without worrying about throwing my body off ketosis and having uncontrollable blood sugar.

Less is Still Best

It might be the middle of January, but sometimes it feels like spring here in Arkansas when the temperatures go from single digits one week up to the high-60s the next.  This past weekend, the spring-cleaning bug hit Tim pretty bad, so he used some of his weekend free time to condense more.

He loves the Pottery Barn style and is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our home.  I had to laugh when I started thinking about what my bachelorette apartment looked like before we were married.  Never thought I was overly fufu-frilly, but compared to Tim’s style, my decorating was Wwwwaaaayyy too girly.  Porcelain dolls, dried flowers, vases, crocheted doilies, patchwork quilts, you name it!  When we moved from our first apartment in Cabot to our next apartment in Maumelle, we condensed A LOT.  I believe most of the things we purged from our new home were my belongings.  Haha!  Of course, I did convince him to relinquish his Ben-Hur shield that had been used as one of the original movie props.  Harsh of me, I know! :-)  Figured if I could give up the porcelain dolls my mom and I had been collecting together since I was a girl, he could give up some of his “manly junk.”

We ended up with a style that has over the years continued to adapt to our lifestyle; however, it has remained with a more simplistic look.  This latest project was condensing books.  Aaaahhhh!!!  Tim and I both LOVE books, but with a small home, four small children, and a very dusty house, books just aren’t the perfect thing to fill precious space.

We had originally wanted to have matching bookshelves on either side of our cast iron stove but at the time could only find some cheap ones that fit the needed dimensions.  Instead of having the nice calming, organized effect we were hoping for, they instead were a constant eye-sore.  Always dusty from wood ash floating around and constantly all contents dumped onto the floor by little hands. Argh!  There are too many other important jobs for me to do during the day instead of organizing bookshelves again and AGAIN.

We got rid of one of the bookshelves and condensed all the books in our collection down to 1) ones we knew are no longer in print, 2) ones that we knew we wanted to use in our up-coming homeschooling years, 3) ones Tim uses in sermon preparation, 4) ones Tim just couldn’t let go of.🙂

We shifted around the furniture and ended up with this…

This is the remaining black bookshelf. We removed the matching one of the other side of the stove.

The other side of the stove without the shelves and books.  We moved the chair out of the corner and made room for a much-needed toy basket to collect the stray toys every night.🙂

The funky-looking curtains are only temporary during the winter months.  They are simply large pieces of flannel that we cover the windows and frames as soon as the sun sets to help keep the cold air from seeping in and the warm air from leaking out.  Did you know you lose 33% of your heat through your windows and frames?  We want to invest in some nice curtain rods and a nice material to make permanent curtains with.  Since I have the flannel, I can sew it onto the back of whatever material we purchase to make the nice insulated curtains.  Would be nice to have them for the summer as well to help cut down on the heat from the sun hitting the front of the house.  We are learning as we go!

The kiddos enjoy their new little space just for them, and again, cleanup is sooooo much easier!

My little music corner.  When the kids are older, I’ll be able to leave my music stand up on the other side of the piano along with my violin.  For now, everything must stay safely put away when not in use.  Stinks because I like to grab my violin to play a little bit when I have a few minutes.  In the past I found that I played more when my instrument was within quick grasp.  Right now it’s “out of sight, out of mind.”😦