Friday, February 18, 2011

Gluten Free Croutons

In trying to move towards eating healthier, I have gone back to trying to have at least one salad a day with our meal. Usually this is at dinner time. My mother used to have us eat salad each night with dinner. Many nights she would place hot peas and carrots over the salad with ranch dressing. It was something we knew would be there at almost every dinner meal. I had gotten out of the practice of eating salads, but the truth is, I love to eat them.

As an adult, I prefer to eat salads with spinach leaves, but I also enjoy other salad greens. I tend to avoid the iceberg lettuce of my youth and choose salad greens that contain more vitamins through darker leaves as well as a richer taste. We also try to add many different bright colors to our salads - bright red tomatoes and bell peppers, and orange carrots. My daughter loves to eat turnips and radishes on her salad. The more colors that are in my salad, the better it seems to taste. I love the crispness and the light crunch from the different vegetables as I chew them. It seems therapeutic to me to sit down and eat a nice leafy salad filled with vegetables. It is peaceful and tends to calm me.

Although, we have also taken to adding nuts and seeds to our salads, I still missed my croutons. Even though I have never been one to add a lot of them on my salad, I enjoyed adding a few or even taking a few saltines and crumbling them up on top of the salad for that extra little texture and flavor. But now, being gluten free, I felt deprived of that special little touch on my salad. For a while I simply told myself to quit complaining. My health is certainly much more important than a silly little crouton.

And then, today as I looked at the heels of bread from our fresh baked loaf of gluten free bread, I remembered making croutons each night when I worked as a waitress at the country club in Mississippi. I mentioned this to my husband who quickly took the crusts that are less than popular in our household and cut them into small squares. Then he melted a little butter in the microwave. Placing the gluten free bread cubes into a small glass casserole dish. Dabbing the melted butter onto the squares with a brush, before sprinkling a little garlic powder onto the bread crumbs was all that the bread crusts required before he placed them into the oven on 250° for about 15 - 20 minutes or until crunchy.

Tonight, our salads had beautiful, golden, buttery, garlic flavored croutons on top of our salad. And all was good.

NOTE: These croutons would also be wonderful on a nice hot soup.

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