Turkey Posole, A Savory Mexican Stew

I am betting you have some roast turkey in the fridge or freezer, maybe a pint of gravy too?  Well, I have just the recipe for you, courtesy of foodnetwork.com.  It is nothing like most traditional turkey leftover recipes.  It is a Mexican stew.  Posole stew can easily be gluten free. Just use care choosing your chicken broth and your tortilla chips that accompany this savory soup.

I have been making it every fall after Thanksgiving and always look forward to a few bowls of it.  Spicy, crunchy, tangy; unlike any other soup I make.  It is called turkey posole. It can be made with roasted pork and I have done so.  I like it far better with roast turkey.  I have served this stew to many people and it is always well received and enjoyed, even by my elderly mother.  I haven’t made my 2014 batch but it is coming next week to my dinner table.  Can’t wait!

posole stew

Ingredients

2 tbsp mild olive oil or canola oil

2 medium onions chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine –use two if you like it spicy

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 GF beer (can use 1 cup water if you want but it gives more flavor)

Coarse salt and pepper

12-16 tomatillos; about 2 lbs, take off the paper cover and chop up.  Can coarsely chop in food processor

5-6 sprigs fresh thyme; chop it up off the stems.

1 15-17 ounce can hominy

1 qt chicken stock (can be part gravy)

1 ½ to 2 lbs chopped turkey meat; can be mixture of light and dark

1 lime juiced

Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish

Tortilla chips; the ones with lime go particularly well with this.

tortilla chips

Cook first six ingredients about 5 min in a large stock pot.  Add beer, cook one minute.  Add chopped tomatillos and cook 5-6 minutes until softened.  Add hominy, thyme and stock and cook 15 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  Add lime juice, stir well.  I never use cilantro; something I just don’t like, but feel free to add it as the original recipe uses a bunch of it.

We ladle the posole into bowls and serve lots of white tortilla chips to crunch over the top of the hot soup.  As the soup disappears from my bowl I like to add more chips to keep the crunch going.

Notes:

tomatillos

tomatillos

The more jalapeno pepper you add the hotter it will be. I have tried canned tomatillos and they are not really a good substitute.  You can get them fresh (found near the fresh tomatoes) in many stores including Giant and Bottom Dollar.  They are used in Hispanic and Mexican cooking and add a lot of flavor and tartness to the soup. hominy

Hominy is a corn product; whole kernels soaked in lye to swell and soften.  The kernels have a mild corn flavor plus they soak up other flavors quickly and add a certain texture and body to the stew.

The wild turkey is native to North America and another turkey species is originally from Mexico.  So turkey is a natural component in this stew.  The Aztecs revered corn and liked to cook it with meat.  Tomatillos are native to Mexico, related to cape gooseberries.  They are used in salsa verde and other Mexican dishes. So this compilation of turkey, corn, tomatillos and lime is a natural combination that will be easy to make and fun to eat. Go on, be adventurous and enjoy a steaming hot bowl of delicious posole and use up that turkey in a totally different way!

Awesome Apple Pear Crumb Pie

Pie has always been a classic holiday dessert. But sometimes we want something a bit different for our company.  Maybe, right now you are frantically looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie or apple pie; they seem kinda now what you want this Thanksgiving.  Look no further, apple pear caramel crumb pie to the rescue!

courtland apples

cortland apples

bosc pears

bosc pears

Fresh tasting, locally sourced fruits are exactly in the spirit of Thanksgiving.  The apple is the predominant flavor but the pear adds sweetness and its special flavor.  The sugars, spices and lemon peel create a yummy caramely sauce.  It is not that really cloyingly sweet caramel of most sauces; just enough sweetness to tease your palate.

This pie is fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.  I even tried a slice with some sharp cheddar in the British pie tradition; it was nice but I really like it best all alone, so the delicate fruit and spices show their winning flavors.

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Not the prettiest slice: I am terrible at cutting a piece without destroying the shape!

This recipe is a blending of my own pie filling and the pie crust and crumb recipes from Annalise Robert’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  I used less sugar, more fruit, and made a few other changes to create my own special pie using apples and pears.  Her cookbook is a fabulous resource and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone trying to bake gluten free for a family member.  There is nothing like the classic desserts that we traditionally enjoy at celebrations and feasts to comfort a celiac who can’t eat what they used to.

Angie’s GF Apple Pear Crumb Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the peeled and cored fruit into ¼ to 1/3 inch slices.  I use my plastic pie bag; sturdy and helps me roll the crust thin in the middle. crust

Filling:

5 cups peeled, cored, and thin sliced cooking apples (4 big apples)

2 cups (2 large pears) bosc pears; peeled, cored, and sliced thin   – place in medium bowl

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Mix the following in a small bowl and pour over the sliced apples and pears:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tbsp. tapioca flour

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. grated or zested lemon peel (I zested)

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Roll out pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with sweetened fruit mix.  Sprinkle the lemon peel evenly over top and pour the crumb topping (1 to 1½ cup) evenly over this mixture.  The more crumbs the thicker the crust they will form; for a really thick crust use all the crumbs from the recipe below.

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If you love your pie really sweet add another ¼ cup granulated sugar to the dry mix part of the filling.  I found the pie to be plenty sweet but everyone has their own sweetness level.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes with a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pie, then 30 more minutes uncovered until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  I put a pie guard underneath my pie while it bakes to catch any drips.  Cool at least 2 hours before serving at room temperature.

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Note: I bake pies in my bottom heat pizza oven and it gives me a great browned crust.  If your oven isn’t bottom heat you might want to pre-bake the crust 10 minutes before filling and topping the fruit.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s gf flour mix)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Turkey Avocado Salad: Terrific

The turkey is coming, juicy and succulent.  And it is logically followed by a mountain of leftover meat.  Once you have enjoyed a hot gravy covered sandwich the big question is what to make out of the rest of the bird.  The other day I made oven roasted chicken pieces and found myself with one last leftover piece.  I decided to make a salad out of it.  What I created was so tasty I instantly knew what I was going to make using some of my turkey, a fruity crunchy salad that is a meal in a bowl.  It is a riff on that classic chicken salad with grapes which was popular for many years; I updated it with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and slices of creamy avocado. Both add color and great flavor.

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If you don’t like avocado; just leave it out although I think you should try it at least once: avocado is really good for you and you may suddenly decide you like its smooth contrast to the rest of the salad. I much prefer the Hass avocado; smaller with pebbly skin.  Pick one with a slight give, not hard as a rock nor mushy or about to cave in.

hass avocado

The pomegranate seeds are mostly there for the color burst they give and there is some crunch and flavor I enjoy too.  To get at the seeds I usually cut carefully into the skin and peel it back in two places to make a wedge of exposed interior.   Then i break it open and pick out the seeds.  I only pick out what I am going to use and put the rest of the pomegranate in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.  There are U-tube videos on how to easily get at the seeds if you want to check them out; might be easier. When choosing a pomegranate pick one that feels heavy for its size, the skin should not be dull or damaged, no soft spots and the color is a vibrant red.  Fall is the season for pomegranates; don’t look for them in June.  I have and they are very hard to find after winter ends.

pomegranate

But do leave in the grapes and nuts and the celery.  They are essential to the flavor and crunch of it. I used Light Hellman’s mayo, less calories and I like its texture and flavor.

This is a sort of approximate recipe; everyone has their own idea on how much mayo, how many grapes, and how much mustard. I am giving a middle ground amount in a recipe for one dinner sized salad.  Adjust to your tastes and feel free to double it or triple.

Roasted Chicken/Turkey Salad

Ingredients:

Roasted turkey/chicken; whatever part you like

Dijon mustard

Light mayonnaise

Red wine vinegar

Celery

Pomegranate seeds

Lettuce

Avocado

Directions: Cut up roasted turkey or chicken to make ½ to 2/3 cup of small pieces, half inch to inch sized.  Put them in a mixing bowl.  Add ½ a tsp of Dijon or whole grain mustard, 2-3 tbsp. good quality mayonnaise, ½ to 1 tsp red wine vinegar, one stalk celery cut into small slices, a dozen grapes cut in half, a ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds, 2 tsp. of walnut chunks.  Stir it to blend and meld it.  Tear up 3-5 leaves of romaine or loose leaf lettuce and lay in your shallow big salad bowl.  Top with the chicken/turkey salad and then a few thin slices of avocado and the sprinkle of ruby pomegranate seeds.

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I used some red leaf romaine I got at Valley Farm Markets, great crunch and color. Use whatever kind of lettuce you like although iceberg would be my dead last choice; less flavor and nutrition in iceberg.

This makes a great lunch full of protein and healthy veggies. It is simple to make, elegant looking and very yummy.  Now you have one more turkey option for all those leftovers next week!  Actually this salad is great anytime, not just after the Thanksgiving feast.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie, Easy Peezy and G-F

So you might need to make a GF pie for the holidays.  There are lots of fancy pies but I think pumpkin is a traditional yet easy to make pie choice: it has only a few steps and no top crust, not even crumbs.  Make a crust, dump and mix up the filling, bake it, chill it and yumm it up!! Some people like theirs with whipped cream, I like mine plain so I can savor the spicy flavor all the better.

pumpkin pie 2

This GF crust by Annalise Roberts will work for any pie you should want to make including pecan pie.  This particular pumpkin pie filling recipe is adapted from my 1970s Betty Crocker and is one I have made for years; perfect custard texture.  If you like it really sweet add another quarter cup sugar.

My mom always says that eating a slice of pumpkin pie is like having an extra vegetable serving.  I like to cook up a butternut squash and run it through a food mill to make it silky smooth for the pie but you can just buy a can of pumpkin, not pie filling which has other stuff; just the pumpkin please.

Go ahead, bake as easy a pie as is humanly possible and enjoy a tasty yet kinda healthy dessert for Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Angie’s GF Pumpkin Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray a 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling:

2 eggs

2 cups cooked pumpkin or butternut squash puree (canned is okay)

½ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. cloves

Sprinkle of nutmeg

1 3/4 c evaporated milk (1 can)

Beat eggs well and add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together with a mixer at low speed until blended.

Put It Together:

Roll out pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! My sister Karen gave me a pie bag and I love it for an even thin crust.  You can get one on line from King Arthur Flours.  Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with pumpkin pie mixture.  Sometimes I sprinkle the top with more cinnamon and nutmeg.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, lower temperature setting to 350 and bake for 45 minutes until just set and the crust is light brown.  Cool and chill at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at or close to room temperature.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake Perfection

Okay, I have to confess something.  I am a terrible cake baker, under pressure, that is.  I call it the birthday cake curse.  Really.  I actually took a personal vow like 8-9 years ago to make no more scratch birthday cakes as they always get screwed up.  I can make a great cake the rest of the time but birthdays…not so much.  Once I baked a birthday cake for my sister Margie at my mom’s house and unbeknownst to me there was a second bottom on her cheesecake pan; my pear ginger cake was all goopy in the middle because of that! And then there was that fancy three layer cake I baked for my birthday long ago; the top layer was a sort of raspberry gelatin and it slid mostly off! Disaster at the party… Any number of cakes that didn’t rise properly or cracked as it baked or broke as I tried to get them out of the pan. I could go on and on.  The curse continues!

Now I am gluten free and there are very limited and expensive options as to making gf cakes.  Perhaps I should mention that I enjoy baking and it is a challenge I accept in my new gluten free life.  So I persevered and several birthday cakes have been created since going gf and all were totally yummy.  A few glitches but on the whole, I am pleased with my new gf birthday cake record.  Today I baked my three year old grandson’s cake.  Not so good in the perfect department but it sure was tasty when we ate it at the party.  When it came out of my oven the layers sank some in the center.  Re-reading her instructions at the start of the cake chapter I discovered that she does not recommend using a Kitchen Aid mixer; it is too powerful and always overbeats gf cakes.  Now I know.  I just flipped one layer over and used it as the bottom. I put extra cream cheese icing in the middle.  The top was level and the flavors were out of this world.

chocolate cake 001

This is the third time I have baked this cake for a birthday; time to share it.  It is from my go to cookbook; Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts.  Get a copy if you haven’t already.  This cake is incredibly yummy, no one will ever feel cheated by the gf nature of it.  And it isn’t that difficult to make, just don’t use that big powerful mixer! I like that it is make with low fat milk and canola oil; less fatty than many cake recipes. I used half the vanilla in the cake and it tastes perfect.  I also measure the oil and milk and remove that tablespoon from each before mixing; she does it after mixing.  I think oil and milk are hard to blend so I do it first.

I iced Aiden’s cake with a frosting from the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor cookbook by Anne Byrn; vanilla cream cheese frosting and the contrast is perfection with this decadent chocolate layer cake.  This icing spreads easily and the cream cheese makes it smooth and less sweet with a tangy undertone; it is addictive. It’s a perfect combo for a birthday celebration once you poke a few candles on top.  This cake gets its deep chocolate flavor from two sources, unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder.  You will need a fair amount of sugar to make it sweet enough.  And you will need some of that brown rice flour mix I often use.   Recipe for that is below.

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Not the prettiest looking cake but one of the tastiest chocolate birthday cakes ever!

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake

4 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped up

1 ¾ cup brown rice flour mix

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

½ cup canola oil

1 ½ cup low fat milk

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Line two nine inch cake pans with parchment paper; spray the inside of the pan lightly with cooking spray.  You need the paper for safe removal from the pan. Do not use dark cake pans; light ones are far better for this cake. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, oven rack in the middle.

Melt chocolate, stir often.  I used the melting feature on my microwave and did a lot of stirring until the last bits were liquid. You can do it in a double boiler if you are into that sort of thing.  I went for the easy way.

Put all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.

Measure oil and milk, remove 1 tbsp. from each and discard.  Mix together.

Beat sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Do not use your kitchen aide. Beat until light and fluffy.  Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla, blend well.  Add the dry and wet ingredients alternating half at a time, low speed on mixer.  Mix at medium speed for one minute.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake immediately.  Any delay is not going to help so have the oven ready to go.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, run knife around edge, tip out onto a cooling rack.  Flip upright so the top of the cake is on the top.  Let cool completely before icing.

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You could make cupcakes out of it but no 8 inch pans; I tried that once and it overran the pan in a crazy “I love Lucy” manner!

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Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

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Cream cheese Icing

1 8 oz package light cream cheese, room temperature

1  8 oz stick salted butter, room temperature

3 ¾ cups powdered sugar, sieved

2 tsp. real vanilla extract.

Blend the cream cheese and butter in the mixer (yes I used my Kitchen Aid for this recipe!)  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, blending on low speed.  Do not skip the sieving.  Add the vanilla and blend a bit more.  This recipe will frost one 9 inch layer cake perfectly.

Yam It Up…Fries That Is!

Yams are underrated: some families only eat them one day a year with their turkey later this month.  Yet they are full of phyto-nutrients, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Naturally sweet so there is no need to pour dozens of marshmallows and brown sugar over them.  And they are not just for Thanksgiving.

yams

I like to make baked yam wedge fries.  Spicy ones are my favorite.  They go great with oven fried chicken or homemade gf chicken nuggets.  Yam wedges are totally yummy plus easy to throw together.  Great vegetables don’t have to be full of calories, super fancy or difficult to make.  Carefully prepared fresh vegetables are a great side to any balanced meal.  And yams are naturally gluten free; hurrah!

Don’t pick gigantic yams, small to medium size are easier to cut into decent lengths for these fries.  I like the ones that are deep orange inside; great flavor every time I use them.

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Yam Fries

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3-4 yams, wash, dry and then cut up into long fairly narrow wedges; 6 to 10 per yam depending on size and place them on a cookie sheet with edges, mound them up in the center

1-2 tbsp. EVOL: Pour on top the pile.

Sprinkle with

1 tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. coarse sea salt

A sprinkle of hot chipotle chili powder

A few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Use two forks to stir around the wedges so they get coated with oil and spices. Spread them out over the baking sheet.  If you don’t want them too spicy leave out the chili powder.  Use whatever spices you like if my combination doesn’t thrill your taste buds.

Bake for 10 minutes, turnover with a pancake turner.  Cook 7 to 10 more minutes until a fork pierces a wedge easily. The thicker you make them the longer they will take to get tender.  Watch them closely for the last couple of minutes so they don’t burn.  I find that they cook faster in my pizza oven; my main oven is a tad slower so they need from 10 to 14 minutes after you turn them but that does depend on the thickness you cut them to.

It’s that simple people! My family loves them and so will yours.  Just add more yams and spices to make a bigger batch of fries.

Awesome Instant Oatmeal….GF of Course

Chilly nights are here….snow may be on the way. Yes, that sounds awful but it is the sad truth about fall…it means wintery cold is not far off. The freezing weather we are about to be hit with got me thinking about making more warm breakfasts. Last week I bought a bag of quick GF oatmeal at the health food store.  It was pretty tasty and only took a few minutes to cook up. It got me thinking that maybe I could make my own version which could be cheaper and easily varied from batch to batch.  I looked around on some sites and cookbooks. I found a recipe by the queen of entertaining, she who spent a few weeks in the big house.  No names here! All I had to do was use gluten free oats which are available at Frey’s Better Foods, at Giant and at Wegman’s grocery store.   I added a bit more cinnamon to my version.

rolled oats

There was a bit of prep work; the oats need to be toasted for 15 minutes which gives them a lot more flavor than the ancient grains version I had purchased.  A sheet pan is perfect for this toasting.  Just keep an eye on it for the last few minutes to make sure nothing gets too brown.

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I put some dried cranberries and golden raisins in my version.  Other options could be chopped dried fruits like apricots or apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or any sort of nut you like. I think a combo of two items is really a great idea.  Like some fruit and some nuts.  I also topped mine, once it was cooked, with some hemp seeds which are nutty and kinda like sesame seeds.

The oats were coarsely ground in my small food processor in two batches. If you use a big one you could probably do it in one batch.

2014 november oatmeal 010 I poured the chopped oats into a storage jar with a tight lid and added the sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Then I poured in the toppings.  Easy and it only takes a few minutes to make it in the morning.

Instant GF Cinnamon Oatmeal

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old-fashioned gluten free rolled oats

2 tbsp.  light brown sugar

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Pulse oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon, or more to your taste into the oats as well as half to 2/3 cup of a combination of add-ins (see suggestions below), before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Or freeze it to keep even longer.

Additions: dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, walnut chunks, pecan bits, raisins, dried apricots cut into small bits, cut up medool dates, currants, dried blueberries or cherries, flax seeds, hemp seed hearts: any small seed or dried fruit would be awesome!

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To make: heat 2/3 cup of water, lightly salted, to the boil.  Stir in a heaping 1/3 cup of the oatmeal mixture. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring a couple times. Cover and let stand 2-3 more minutes before scooping the hot cereal into a bowl.  It is already sweet enough for my taste but you can add more brown sugar or some honey to the dish. A fresh topping would be a great addition of nutrients and even more flavor.  Sliced banana, some blueberries or sliced ripe pear and you are about to enjoy a fairly inexpensive yet healthy gluten free hot breakfast that only took 2 minutes to cook.

Note: I like this better than the GF Ancient Grains version; tastes fresher and toastier and has a great oaty flavor.  About to make a new batch; I have been enjoying it a lot on cold mornings.  I love how fast I can make it; my regular oatmeal takes 8 minutes plus the time to get the pot of water to a boil.  Two minutes is an oatmeal revolution!