Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkey day inspiration

What's everyone doing for Thanksgiving? I haven't quite figured it out, but I *think* I know what I want to make. We're probably going to be visiting family for the day, so I'll just bring my own meal to keep things safe and simple. This has worked out wonderfully in the past.

I'm thinking about brining my turkey. Never done this before, but Shauna has inspired me. Check out this post on brining turkey.
Otherwise, I might try this recipe for a roasted turkey with hazelnut prosciutto butter from Glutenfreeda.
Although I did really enjoy the crockpot turkey I made last year.

As far as sides go, I have some bread in the freezer to make stuffing. I plan on using this awesome recipe from the girls over at Eating Gluten Free.

Rolls! I am going to give another go at making rolls. Never really found a recipe that I LOVED...but I'll look around on my favorite sites, and see what sounds best.

Other than that, I'm pretty much up in the air. I have thought about making a risotto for a side (I have a great recipe for butternut risotto that I need to share), or something with sweet potatoes.

Desserts...I love desserts! But I've always had this thing about Thanksgiving desserts. I can't decide! Growing up, we always had so many to choose from that we just had a little of everything. Sweet, savory, tart, was all there! I've discovered as I've done my own Thanksgiving dinners that one dessert just doesn't cut it. I've made really good cakes and pies and puddings and cookies. But on their own, they just leave something to be desired.

So I am looking for a little inspiration in the dessert department. I'm thinking of doing something pumpkinish, and something else...any suggestions?

In the meantime, visit my other blog to see my gratitude post and a really cool picture of wild turkeys that we saw this weekend when we went digging up the canyon!

Cranberry Chicken

Sorry, my husband says this picture looks disgusting. It's the only one I have, so I'm still using it. I've decided that *when* I write a cookbook, I'm definitely going to put pictures in it for each recipe. Once I learn how to better photograph food, that is. All in due time...

I've had this recipe bookmarked for a couple months, but only recently decided to give it a go. Wish I had tried it sooner, cuz I loved it! Except for the part where the carrots weren't cooked enough and I hurt my already-sensitive-newly-braces-covered teeth. I ended up picking them out.
This recipe is great! Seriously! Good, autumn recipe :)

Adapted from "Fix It and Forget It" slow cooker cookbook. I decided I didn't want to wait all day to try this recipe, so I made it work in the oven. The measurements and times are all approximate. Will post the crock pot variation once I try it.

Cranberry Chicken

2 lb chicken pieces (I used a couple of breasts)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 c diced celery
1/4 c diced carrots (original recipe called for onions, I didn't have any though)
1/4 onion powder
1 c whole cranberries (original recipe called for cranberry sauce)
1/2 c bbq sauce (I made my own from a BHG cookbook recipe)

Combine cranberries and bbq sauce. Simmer in a saucepan for at least 15 minutes, until the berries burst. Mash the berries with a potato smasher or fork. Add veggies and seasonings, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until veggies are soft.
Place chicken in a baking dish, and drizzle sauce over it. Cover with tinfoil, and bake at 375 for about half an hour, until chicken is cooked.
This is great served over rice. I loved the extra sauce on the rice. Might make a little more next time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Embracing Autumn and Pumpkin Soup

Yes, it is that time of year again. I had quite an abundance of tomatoes this season, and have loved them all. Unfortunately I couldn't let them all grow up to be as plump and red as these ones. These are my German Queens, and I am enamored by this heirloom. I gutted a few of the late bloomers, and have dried the seeds to use again next year. If that doesn't pan out, I suppose I can find them again at Lowe's.

This is the most amazing mulligatawny soup! I've been meaning to try a recipe I have marked in one of my books for ages, but never got around to it, as I was hesitant of the combination of flavors. Mulligatawny is a soup most commonly comprised of apples, curry, coconut milk, and chicken. When I saw this dish at Fresh Thyme Soup Co in Beaverton, OR, my new favorite restaurant out there (as they have a great GF menu), I knew I had to try it. Even though it does have coconut milk, which I don't agree with so well. It rocked my world! I had it for lunch at the Cafe w/ some GF cornbread, and again for dinner w/ my own GF bread (see picture). I love it! I'm so excited to try my hand at this recipe, so stay tuned :)

I have been branching out in my cooking lately, and discovered I have quite a fondness for lemongrass. I also have a great fondness for photographing things, which has been magnified by my brand new rockin' camera! I wanted to capture the great purple color of the rings as I was chopping the stalks. I will post our new favorite lemongrass-infused recipe soon as well (just don't pay any attention to my posting track record of late...).

I am finally accepting the fact that summer is gone. I hate to see summer go, as it is my favorite season. However, I always seem to forget how much I enjoy autumn, until it is upon me. This year fall has been rather sporadic, with lots of early snow on the mountains and eerily-Oregon-like rain storms. We've taken a couple trips up the canyons, and I have had my breath stolen by the beauty of this great season. After one such trip, I decided to celebrate the arrival of fall by making this recipe. I dug around for a can of pumpkin, and whipped it up in no time. It was quite good, although next time I will use chicken broth rather than the turkey broth I had in the freezer (it tasted a little too much like turkey gravy, lol).
This recipe comes from the great ladies at Eating Gluten Free, and as usual, is amazing! Very much a fall favorite!
P.S. For the pumpkin-leery readers, seriously, you can hardly taste the pumpkin. This is like a creamy chicken soup. Try it! For real!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Pumpkin Soup

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbs. oil
½ sweet onion, chopped (I used onion powder, and a dash of garlic powder as well)
4 c. chicken broth (I used turkey stock b/c it's what I had in the freezer, but would recommend chicken in the future)
2 c. pureed pumpkin
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk (almond milk worked fine for me)

In a large pot, heat the oil.
Sauté the chicken w/ the onion and garlic powder until chicken is cooked.
Add chicken broth, pumpkin, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat, add milk and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Watch it so it doesn't boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I thought the soup was great by itself, very creamy, but the recipe calls for swiss cheese as a garnish. It's been so long, I can't even remember what swiss tastes like (just the smell...).

I also added some cooked white rice to the leftovers, and really enjoyed it. There wasn't enough soup for me to compare whether I liked it more w/ or without the rice. Give it a try.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

This meal was amazing! The salsa stole the show though! I've never had anything like it. Mango salsas and peach salsas are great, but I was not expecting this. Sweet, sour, tangy, spicy. I loved it! I got the recipe from the back of the salmon package, and doh, I threw it away on the eve of garbage day. I did a search on, and pieced this recipe together to the best of my memory.

Strawberry Salsa

About 1 lb strawberries, finely chopped
1/4 c finely chopped red onion (I don't eat onions, so I used onion powder)
1/8 c chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced or grated
1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients. Let sit for half an hour, then serve.

Great with salmon (I just grilled mine on my George Foreman grill) and some rice and GF bread, or corn tortilla chips (that's how I ate all the leftovers).

Chicken Salad Over Avocado

This is a really simple meal, a good gluten free alternative to your average sandwich. My aunt made this for us at a family reunion campout this summer. I loved it!
I've tried to recreate it without a real recipe, so these are all just approximations. Sorry, I'm usually a recipe follower, and I hate improvising, but I was hungry, and wanted to have this. Couldn't get a hold of my aunt for the recipe...I still thought it was great :)

Chicken Salad Over Avocado

Cooked chicken meat, chopped/shredded (a breast works great here, as does canned chicken)
Grapes, halved
Celery, chopped
Walnuts, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Avocado, peeled, halved, pit removed

Mix all ingredients except avocado. Taste. Add anything that may be lacking. Serve over avocado. Corn tortilla chips work great as a side.
In the picture, I chopped up the avocado and ate it like a salad. But it also works great to use the avocado as a "shell" for the salad. Yum!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Catching Up

Wow! I realized I haven't posted anything since MAY! What a slacker! We've had a pretty busy summer, and I have just neglected the blog. Been making lots of yummy recipes, so I have plenty of ammo. Just no time to post. But I'll bump it up on my priority list. I'm so excited to share my new favorite recipes with everyone! #1 these days - Gluten Free ZUCCHINI Brownies!

Be back soon :)

Friday, May 29, 2009


Yes, I've done it! I've created a *good* gluten- and dairy-free pizza! Well, not really created, since I didn't come up with the recipe. But I masterfully copied the recipe, and it actually turned out amazingly. Which is more than I can say to prior attempts at pizza. This is right up there with my memories of Pizza Hut pizza from my childhood, and definitely tied for #1 GF pizza with the one I had in Disney World!
It is my newly-GF cousin's b-day this weekend, and I'm thinking she deserves a pizza party! The boys can have their lame-o glutenous pizza, but we girls will be enjoying something much better :)

Gluten/dairy/egg free
Recipe from "1000 Gluten Free Recipes" by Carol Fenster

1 tbsp dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 c warm milk (I used soy)
2/3 c potato starch (I used cornstarch)
1/2 c Carol's sorghum blend**
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
Shortening for greasing pan (I used Spectrum. Carol recommends against using pan spray for this recipe)
White rice flour for dusting

Proof yeast by mixing with sugar and adding milk to a small bowl. Allow to foam for about 5 minutes.
In food processor/mixer, add all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, and mix until the dough forms a ball.
Place a rack in the bottom shelf of the oven, and one in the middle. Preheat to 425 degrees F.
Grease a 12 inch nonstick pizza pan (I don't have one, so I just used a baking sheet) w/ shortening.
Place dough on pan and dust with rice flour. Press dough into pan with your hands, using more flour as needed. Try to make the dough as smooth and thin as possible. You can make the edges a little thicker to provide a good crust.
Bake pizza on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Add toppings of your choice, then bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from oven, and brush olive oil on the rim of the crust. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve!
The recipe says it serves 6, but I ate half of it and could have kept going....I'm not sure it will survive the night...
The toppings I used were pizza sauce, canadian bacon, Italian olives, and Tofutti American cheese slices (you know, the individually wrapped ones that are reminiscent of Kraft slices...) I had a few sitting in the bottom of the fridge, and I hadn't found anything I liked them on...but they worked great on the pizza (while it was hot anyway. The cheese took on a different texture/flavor when it was cold).
This recipe is definitely a new staple in my book!

**Carol's Sorghum Blend Flour
1 1/2 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 c potato starch/cornstarch (I can't eat potatoes, so cornstarch is what I use)
1 c tapioca flour

Mix all flours together and store.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coconut Love!!!

Shhh, don't tell Luke! I swear I went to the gym that day :)

So, the lovely Coconut Gal is giving away my FAVORITE ice cream! Here's the link to her blog - check it out!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

GF Bread. Anyone know what I did RIGHT?

So, since I tried this recipe, I've made about a loaf a week. I love it! It's the best gluten free bread ever!
Typically, the ending result looks similar to this:

However, this weekend, my loaf sprang to life, and almost doubled in size! This is nearly comparable to "real" white bread size. I thought about laying it next to a piece of Luke's gluten-bread, but didn't want to risk having to waste a perfectly delicous piece of bread!

The only thing I can think of that I *thought* I'd done wrong, was that I think my water was a little cold, so my yeast didn't proof. At all. I almost threw it out. Could that have been the key? Anyone? Oh, I suppose I also used a real egg, rather than just egg white product. Hm, can't think of any other differences. Also, I've started proofing my yeast separately (so that I can mix it better), but I've done it a few times.

I'll post the recipe again, maybe you can help me figure it out.

Delicious Gluten Free Bread
(Original recipe found here )

2 1/2 cups sorghum flour blend*
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp acacia fiber (I add this to all my baked goods, b/c it helps with an irritable bowel)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 c warm water
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg
1-3 tsp sesame/hemp/flax seeds

Whisk together flour, xanthan, acacia, and salt. Pour yeast, warm water and agave in a medium bowl, and mix gently. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast rise. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, then mix everything on medium speed for about 3 minutes. It will be really sticky and cake-batter-like. Not very bread-doughish.

Scoop dough into a 1.5 lb loaf pan. Smooth dough out using wet fingers (frequently re-wetting them). Sprinkle seeds over the top. Cover pan with a towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 35-60 minutes (depending on altitude. Mine only took 35 minutes). Remove bread from pan, and transfer to a wire rack. Place the rack in the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes (you could just put it straight on the oven rack, but mine is super dirty :P). Bread should sound hollow when tapped. It should also be lightly golden on top.

Remove from oven, and cool completely on wire rack.

Energy Bars Success!!

So, that's what they're SUPPOSED to look like! When you have all the ingredients, the bars stick together pretty well :)

Again, here is the recipe:

Melissa's Mile High Energy Bars (w/ my variations)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup quinoa
3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup slightly ground flax seeds
1 cup Erewhon Organic GF Crispy Brown Rice Cereal (I used the twice rice version)
1 cup Erewhon Corn Flakes, crushed
1/3 cup raisins
2 tbsp Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with oil. Spread nuts, quinoa, coconut, and flax seeds out on a cookie sheet (I covered mine with foil for easy cleanup). Bake in the heated oven for 3-4 minutes, checking occasionally, that things don't get too dark. Take the pan out, stir everything, and bake for 3 minutes more. Supposedly everything is to be a golden toasted color, but I didn't notice any change.
Remove from oven and cool. In a large bowl, mix with cereals, raisins and chocolate. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine honey, syrup, almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring to an easy boil over med-low heat. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. You don't want it to be too thick to work with though.
Pour over cereal mixture, and stir well to coat.
Spread cereal into prepared 9x13 pan, and (I used the piece of foil that I had baked the nuts on) press the mixture into the pan. Cover, and cool in the fridge. Cut into bars. Store in the fridge.

Awesome!!! I'm so stocking my freezer for the summer's adventures!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Energy Bars (sorta)

So, you might have noticed the change in the blog. I decided it was time for a new look! It's spring, and my blog needed a little spring. My favorite time of year is actually summer. I'm getting so excited for some sun, swimming and outdoor time! Especially hiking and biking and all those things that are so hard to pack gluten/dairy free snacks for...until now!
This recipe is my first attempt (but there will be more) at a gluten and dairy free energy bar. It tastes incredible! didn't really work out as a bar. It ended up being more like a really great "granola." That's okay. I've been eating it with a spoon right out of the container. I tried it on some soy yogurt, and added extra to help the taste of the yogurt...definitely not as good as the real stuff. At least the "granola" was good! I imagine it would be great on some ice cream/substitute. I took a small baggie-full to work, and scarfed it down way too quickly.
Part of the reason I think mine didn't hold form was the preparation method I changed. The original recipe calls for some almond butter. I had none. So I used a little Earth Balance w/ some ground almonds. Yeah, it tasted GREAT...but I don't think it was a very accurate substitution. When I was able to get to the store, I grabbed some peanut butter. I melted some, and mixed it into the finished "granola," hoping I could rectify my mistake. No luck. So, I will try again once I'm out of my first batch. I really liked the flavor of it without the peanut butter. It was very interesting. I might make two batches next time, to see if the almond butter adds a different flavor than the peanut butter.
Anyway, enough from me. Here's the recipe already!

Melissa's Mile High Energy Bars (w/ my variations)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts/pecans
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup quinoa (or, if you can handle them, GF oats)
3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup slightly ground flax seeds
1 cup Erewhon Organic GF Crispy Brown Rice Cereal (I used the twice rice version)
1 cup Erewhon Corn Flakes
1/3 cup raisins
2-3 tbsp Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey or agave (I used honey since it's thicker, and I was lacking PB, but next time I'll try agave)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup almond/peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with oil. Spread nuts, quinoa, coconut, and flax seeds out on a cookie sheet (I covered mine with foil for easy cleanup). Bake in the heated oven for 3-4 minutes, checking occasionally, that things don't get too dark. Take the pan out, stir everything up, and bake for 3 minutes more. Supposedly everything is to be a golden toasted color, but I didn't notice any change.
Remove from oven and cool. In a large bowl, mix with cereals, raisins and chocolate. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine honey, syrup, nut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Bring to an easy boil over med-low heat. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. You don't want it to be too thick to work with though.
Pour over cereal mixture, and stir well to coat.
Spread cereal into prepared 9x13 pan, and (I used the piece of foil that I had baked the nuts on) press the mixture into the pan. Cover, and cool in the fridge. Cut into bars. Store in the fridge.

I promise to post my second attempt at this recipe soon! Stay tuned :)

Original recipe here.

Really Good Noodles and Chicken

I am so excited about this recipe! It is REALLY good! I don't eat a lot of red meat, or pork, or eggs. Mostly I eat chicken, fish, and turkey. This is great, since it keeps my gut happier. But my taste buds aren't always as excited by this. I easily fall into a rut, where I get bored making the same things over and over again for meals. This happens especially with chicken. I get SO tired of chicken! This recipe is the cure for that! The noodles are good, but the chicken is amazing!!! Even Luke enjoyed it...and he's the dip-everything-in-ranch kind of guy. Granted, he ate his with plain, glutenous noodles and butter. I didn't think he would enjoy venturing this far from the normal, plain foods he enjoys. But seriously, he liked it! That makes it a double winner in my book!

I can't wait until lunch tomorrow so I can enjoy it again. I'm gonna make some more of the chicken next week, and try it on a salad!

Really Good Noodles and Chicken
Gluten/Dairy Free Version

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced as desired (I cut my breasts in half, then in half again)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tbsp honey
8 ounces spaghetti (I used Tinkyada GF fettuccine)
2 tbsp butter/substitute (I used Earth Balance spread)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup bacon/real bacon bits
1/2 cup cream/milk sub (I used soy milk, and it seemed okay)
3 roma tomatoes, seeds and core removed, diced
Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to directions, then drain and set aside.
Spray BBQ grill rack (or George Foreman Grill!!) with pan spray, and preheat. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and the honey together, then add the salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss in the chicken pieces, and allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook chicken until no longer pink. Mine got a little burned, but I think that it was from using EVOO to oil the pan. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
In a large skillet, melt butter, then add garlic. Saute and stir for 2-3 minutes, then add bacon and cook for another minute. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and cream/substitute. Stir in the noodles. Add a little more milk if sauce is too thick. Stir in tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
Serve immediately with a portion of chicken on top of pasta.

*To be honest, I wasn't completely sold by the pasta. It was good enough, but was just a little weird. May have been the soy milk sauce, the lack of Parmesan cheese, the use of real bacon instead of bacon bits. I also felt it had too much lemon zest. I'm not a huge fan of lemon zest, unless I can't really sense it. I would recommend trying the sauce as close to the original recipe as possible. Or, maybe just serve the chicken on some pasta tossed with EVOO, tomatoes, and wilted spinach. That was what I wished I'd had after eating the pasta. Just my two cents :)

Original recipe here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dairy Free Almond Joy Bars

WARNING! This recipe is very dangerous! Can be addicting!

I found this recipe over at Lauren's blog, healthy indulgences. I was dying for something sweet and chocolate covered. Mine don't look as pretty, but they sure do taste good! Definitely comparable to the real thing! I don't know about the healthy part though, as I changed the ingredients a bit. Probably healthier than an actual Almond Joy bar. But not if you eat four of them in one sitting. My stomach wasn't too happy with me after that. But it was worth it :)

Dairy Free Almond Joy Bars

1 1/2 c finely shredded coconut
5-6 tbsp coconut oil (I used Spectrum palm shortening)
1/3 c milk substitute (Lauren uses coconut milk, but all I had was soy. It worked.)
1/4 c sugar (Lauren uses erythritol, but I didn't have any)
1/8 tsp agave (I was just guessing on this, her recipe calls for 1/16 tsp pure stevia extract, but yet again, I had none)
Raw almonds
About 7 oz Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Pinch of salt

Soften shortening in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Mix together coconut, milk sub, sugar, agave and salt. Add shortening. It should resemble a paste.
Drop dollops onto foil or waxed paper. Work them with your fingers into log shapes, similar to the "fun sized" length candy bars you can buy in the store.
Top with almonds, if desired, and press the almonds into the filling a bit.

Slide foil onto a baking sheet or cutting board (to keep things flat). Freeze for 5-10 minutes.
Microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for 30 seconds more, until chocolate is smooth and melted.
Stick toothpicks into cold filling and use that to dip into the chocolate (I didn't have toothpicks, so I tried using my fingers, which was very messy. The easiest way ended up being just to scoop the chocolate out with a spoon, and smear over the filling. But, I didn't get the underside. I suppose freezing them again, then flipping them over to coat the bottoms might work. Anyway, it seems it would be much easier with a toothpick!!!)
After dipping, return to the foil/wax paper, and remove the toothpick. Wait a couple minutes for the chocolate to harden, then enjoy!
Makes about 20.
These keep best in the fridge. I bet they're good frozen too. I didn't think to try that!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yes, I've been on a roll tonight. It's been awhile since I posted new recipes, and then BAM! Overload. Sorry about that. Been a bit preoccupied.
I worked almost 100 hours this pay period. I've been catching up on several weeks worth of Heroes, House and Dollhouse. I've been emerged in the sixth Harry Potter book, which I'm listening to again. I've been pretending to take care of the house. And I've been trying to figure out what's wrong with what I'm eating these days. I've been busy.
I think I figured it out! The latest culprit in my stomach's attempted murder mystery. ONIONS! I made this huge batch of veggie stock a couple weeks ago, and used it to make several fabulous soup/stew recipes (which I shall post soon).
No matter which of these great recipes I ate, I was very sick! Frustratingly so. So I ate every ingredient I could think of that was common in the recipes, sort of a reverse elimination diet...and came to the conclusion that it is probably the onions. I've never really been a huge onion eater, per se, but I do enjoy the flavor. So, we'll give onion powder a try in a couple weeks, see if that will be an adequate substitute.
But, I've deviated from my original subject. These delectable creations!

They are divine! Again, I must praise Karina! Although, I do rather enjoy her photos of the "jumbo" muffins. I don't have a jumbo muffin pan. I think these are still pretty good, for being regular-sized.
Original recipe here.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes about 1 dozen

3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (I used 2 bananas + about 1/4 c applesauce)
1/4 c light olive oil
1 c light brown sugar (I actually only used 1/2 cup)
2 tsp vanilla extract (make sure it's gluten free!)
1 egg
1/2 c sorghum flour
1 c Featherlight flour mix*
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand are great for those avoiding dairy), or 1/2 c chopped nuts, or 1/2 c dried fruit

Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure there are no big banana chunks (that's really gross if you get a bite of that!). Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to the wet ones. Beat until smooth. Add a couple tbsp of milk/non-milk substitute if needed. Add the chocolate chips/nuts/fruit.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon into greased or lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Use a toothpick or a butter knife to check (should come out clean).
Cool muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack.
Best served warm. Can be easily reheated in the microwave (and throw in the toaster oven for a minute afterward if you like).

The banana flavor in these was not overwhelming, like you get in banana bread. It may have been the chocolate. Whatever it was, they were moist, flavorful, and delicious!
Next time, I might decrease the chocolate chips to about 1/3 cup, and add some finely chopped pecans (enough to make up the difference to 1/2 cup). Or maybe mix dried cranberries and chocolate chips...mmm! These were good, but not too dessert-ish. I would recommend halving the sugar like I did if you want them for a breakfast. They were on the verge of being too sugary for me. But not quite ;)
Now, if you want a dessert muffin/cupcake, try these. They taste pretty similar.

Amazing Sweet Potato Chips

I love Karina's website! I am always so excited when I see she's posted a new recipe.
This one isn't new, but it's definitely at the top of my faves list right now. I haven't had a potato chip in AGES! I stopped eating them since I noticed a trend of bloating and cramping after eating. I always assumed it was the fat/oil content. Until I figured out it was actually the potatoes themselves (although it may have been the fat/oil as well).
Eating with a sensitive stomach can be challenging, and sometimes frustrating when there are so many "normal" things I can't enjoy anymore. Praise Karina, potato chips are no longer on that list!
Her recipe can be for either regular or sweet potatoes, depending on which you prefer. I really don't think these tasted much different than "regular" potato chips. Although, mine were not quite equally sized. I hate cutting sweet potatoes. I can never get the thickness even, and so I ended up with a lot of half rounds, as well as many thick and thin chips. Not enough to stop me though! I might try slicing the potatoes with my food processor next time. And believe me, there WILL be a next time!

Sweet Potato Chips

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced very thin
Light olive oil, as needed
Sea salt, as needed

Heat about an inch of oil in a large, deep skillet. When the temperature is very hot (I used a candy thermometer to try and get it to about 350 degrees F, which was almost exactly medium heat setting) place just enough chips to fill the pan without crowding them. Fry until golden crisp. This was hard for me to determine when they were done. A lot of mine were overcooked, and a lot ended up still soft in the middle (due to my horrendous sweet-potato-cutting skills). Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Lightly salt them while they're still hot.
Repeat with the next batch until all the chips are cooked.
Add more oil as needed, but you don't need to drench them in the oil.

This makes about 2 servings (or 1 if you're really excited to eat these and get carried away).

I noticed these went soft really fast. They were great and crunchy when still hot, but once they'd cooled, and I'd eaten my fill, I threw them in a ziploc. By the end of the day, they'd sogged up a bit, and even toasting them in my toaster oven didn't crisp them up enough.
So maybe they're a same-day snack. Well worth the time and energy :)

Gluten Free Pita Bread

Here's another recipe from Kate's blog, gluten-free gobsmacked. This one is good. It wasn't what I was expecting though. I was really craving an authentic, almost sourdough pita bread. This is more like a thick pancake. It works well for tucking a sandwich into, but just tasted like bread to me.
I stuffed mine with peanut butter, mashed up sweet potato, tuna and melted soy cheese, spaghetti sauce w/ turkey meatballs, and turkey, lettuce, tomato w/ a little mayo and mustard (my favorite!). I also just toasted a couple and ate 'em plain. Yum!

Gluten Free Pita Bread
Makes 8 -10 pitas, depending on size (mine made 10, but next time I'd try to make them a bit bigger)

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups Featherlight flour mix*
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp gelatin
3 tbsp almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
2 eggs
1/4 hot water
2 tbsp melted butter/butter sub (I used Earth Balance)

Proof yeast with agave and warm water. Let set for about 5 minutes.
Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Heat remaining 1/4 cup of water. Stir in butter. Add hot water/butter, eggs and yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Blend until dough/batter forms. Dough will be a bit sticky.
Preheat oven to 500F. Prepare baking sheets by covering them with a parchment paper (I was out of parchment paper, so I just used foil, and sprayed it with Pam). Grease hands (pour a little oil into a measuring cup, then drizzle into your hands. You will have to do this a few times). Break off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg, and shape it into a ball. I recommend making all the balls first, then flattening them. That way you know how much of the dough to use. When you flatten them, they should be the size of a medium pancake. Lay the shaped pitas on the pan. These don't rise, which I learned after using 4 baking sheets to make this recipe, so you can cram them onto your pans.
Cover with dish towels, and let pitas rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 500F. Once the pitas have risen, bake for 5-6 minutes. They will brown a bit, but shouldn't burn. Although my oven didn't like being that hot, and started smelling a bit smoky.
Transfer the pitas to a cookie rack, and allow to cool. You want to cut the pita in half, then slice an opening into each to make a pocket. Can be reheated in the microwave or in a toaster oven.

*Featherlight flour mix:
2 cups rice flour
2 cups tapioca flour
2 cups cornstarch
2 tbsp potato flour (not potato starch flour)
I make mine without the potato flour, since I don't eat potatoes.

Gluten Free Pepita-Powered Bread

Recipe by Kate, over at GF Gobsmacked.
I've been meaning to try this recipe for awhile now. I've read lots of rave reviews from people who have tried it. I'll admit, I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. I might have to play around with the ingredients a bit more.
It did have a very "whole-grainy" feel to it, and it smelled very good. The texture was great. The bottom of the loaf stuck to my pan, and so it doesn't look very pretty. I liked it best toasted w/ some sort of sandwich topping (made an open-faced club sandwich, and a tuna sandwich w/ pickles). I'd give it a 4 out of 5 though. A very filling, hearty bread, a bit sweet-tasting. And quite pretty too! Best enjoyed when watching your husband play you yet another "really good" song from the latest Guitar Hero game :)

Gluten Free Pepita-powered Bread
Makes one loaf

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seed meal
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup tapioca flour (I used cornstarch as I was out of tapioca)
1 1/2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 eggs
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp melted butter or butter sub (I used Earth Balance). I also halved the amount of butter and used half applesauce to reduce the fat.
Extra handful of pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top

Warm 1/2 cup of the water to proof your yeast. Add agave and yeast. Stir. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
Process pumpkin seeds in food processor until evenly ground. Add flaxseed meal, millet flour, tapioca flour and quinoa flakes. Process until quinoa flakes have been mostly ground down.
Pour flour mixture into mixer. Pour proofed yeast over the top. Add the eggs, xanthan gum, brown sugar, and melted butter. Pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved water.
Mix together on low until the batter is even. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Mix again on low well mixed. Beat on high for 5 more minutes.
Prepare bread pan by spritzing the bottom and sides/corners with olive oil (by the way, this is what I did, and why my bread stuck to it...)
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out with wet hands. Sprinkle remaining pumpkin seeds over the top of the loaf.
Place pan in a warm place and let rise about 20-30 minutes (until batter rises to the top of the pan).
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake bread for 30-45 minutes. Check bread after 15 minutes. If the top is getting too brown, cover loosely with a piece of foil). My bread took an hour to bake. Just keep checking it.
Remove from the oven and let sit in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool for at least half an hour on a wire rack.
Enjoy :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seriously The Most Delicious GF Bread Ever

I found this recipe on Karina's blog the other day, and was itching to try it. Finally the weekend rolled around, and I got my chance. It was every bit as good as I had imagined. I finished off the last piece yesterday, and batch number two is baking in the oven right now. Here it is, in all it's glory, with a few minor adjustments. My third batch will hopefully give the millet flour a go, but I have yet to find it at any of the local HFS's...may have to order some online, just for this recipe.

Delicious Gluten Free Bread

2 1/2 cups sorghum flour blend*
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp acacia fiber (I add this to all my baked goods, b/c it helps with an irritable bowel)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
1 1/4 - 1 1/3 c warm water (I always go for baby-bath warm water)
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg (or, in my case, 1/4 c egg white. The original recipe is egg-free)
1-3 tsp sesame/hemp/flax seeds (I used 3 tsp flaxseed)

Whisk together flour, xanthan, acacia, and salt. Pour yeast on top, then add water and half of the agave. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast rise. Add additional wet ingredients, then mix everything on medium speed for about 3 minutes. It will be really sticky and cake-batter-like. Not very bread-doughish.

Scoop dough into a 1.5 lb loaf pan or a 7-8 inch baking pan (I don't have a bread pan that big yet). Smooth dough out using wet fingers (frequently re-wetting them). Sprinkle seeds over the top. Cover pan with a towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 35-60 minutes (depending on altitude. Mine only took 35 minutes). Remove bread from pan, and transfer to a wire rack. Place the rack in the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes (you could just put it straight on the oven rack, but mine is super dirty :P). Bread should sound hollow when tapped. It should also be lightly golden on top.

Remove from oven, and cool completely on wire rack.

So far this bread has been great as an open-faced turkey and mustard sandwich, open-faced tuna sandwich, toasted with butter and garlic salt, toasted with homemade meat sauce on top, and fresh out of the oven with a dollop of cream cheese frosting (don't ask...I was so excited to have created a successful dairy-free cream cheese using Tofutti cream cheese, and didn't have anything to try it on!).

Next on the list, french toast! And maybe a grilled cheese sandwich (w/ DF cheese).

*Sorghum flour blend
1 1/2 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 c potato starch/cornstarch (I use corn b/c I can't tolerate potatoes)
1 c tapioca flour

Mix together in a large tupperware. Keep on hand for all your favorite recipes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Walt Disney World 2009 Vacation - Dining Review

So, I just had the best vacation of my gluten-free life! Seriously, I could sing praises all day and night for Disney! They rocked my world! I was so spoiled, I felt like a princess! I kept a log (as best as I could remember) of all the places we ate at, what I ordered, the chef’s name who worked with me, and my experience. I didn’t take many pictures of the food, but I have great memories in my mind (and I’m sure a few lingering calories in my hips).

Here’s the report:

Day 1:

*Boatwright’s – Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Chef: Thomas. Server: Jenny

Meal: Tapioca rolls, prime rib, warm sweet potato salad, fruit cup dessert.

Experience: 5 stars! What a great start to the trip! The place I was the most worried about (w/ images of deep-fried southern food in my head) totally surprised me. The food was amazing, the chef was super nice, plus there was enough of the sweet potato salad for me to take back to the room, and serve over toast for my breakfast the next two days.

Day 2:

*Pecos Bill's - Magic Kingdom

Meal: Hamburger on an ener-g bun, apple slices.

Experience: 3 1/2 stars. This place was okay. The food was pretty good, the manager was great, but the lady helping us wasn't very familiar with the protocol. Probably the most trouble we had at a lunch/cafeteria type place. And it took about 15 minutes (which we later learned was really slow for the typical lunch place, even gluten-free). I did get a mild tummy ache afterward (probably IBS related, since I don't eat beef very often).

*Liberty Tree Tavern - Magic Kingdom

Chef: Matt. Server: Rory.

Meal: Flank steak, turkey, mashed potatoes offered (but I can't eat them), turkey gravy (w/ cornstarch), green beans. Chocolate Tofutti ice cream for dessert.

Experience: 5 stars, hands down!! This was probably my favorite meal all week. Our chef and server were both great. The food was incredible! That steak melted in my mouth. I've never had such an amazing steak! The turkey and gravy was even better than Thanksgiving dinner! Very moist and flavorful. And the Tofutti! Wow, I just about cried, it was so good! I kept bugging Luke all week to go back there.

Day 3:

*Sunshine Season's Cafeteria - Epcot

Meal: Salmon, rice pilaf, broccoli, brownie.

Experience: 3 stars. This place was decent. The chef was hard to understand, but he did alright. I was a little worried about CC issues, since he didn't prepare anything special for me, just pointed to what was gluten-free, and the girl put it on a plate for me. The food tasted good, but was a little greasy, which gave me a bit of a tummy ache. The brownie was probably my favorite part of the meal. It wasn't super-moist, but it tasted pretty good. The brand was "French Meadow Bakery". I was excited to have a good dessert, at least.

*Garden Grill - Epcot

Chef: Mike.

Meal: Tapioca rolls, salad w/ oil and vinegar, turkey with cranberry sauce, steak, white rice. Brownie for dessert.

Experience: 4 stars. This place was pretty fun. It was a character dinner, so Mickey and Pluto and Chip and Dale wandered by and said hi (except Dale didn't really. He just waved and kept walking. We were disappointed). It's also cool because the whole restaurant is on a revolver (like the space needle in Seattle). So, the whole time, you're moving (just a little bit, hardly noticeable). It would have been even cooler if there had been more to see, but the scenery was dark. As far as the food went, it was pretty good. I was spoiled by an amazing steak and turkey dinner the night before, but this was still decently good. They brought me some oil for my salad, and I used that to dip my roll in. That was yummy. The brownie they gave me for dessert was the same one I'd had for lunch, they just unwrapped it and put it on a plate. The other nice thing about this place was that our food arrived within 10 minutes of us ordering. We weren't even finished with our salads!

Day 4:

*Port Orleans Cafeteria

Meal: Pancakes (w/ strawberry jam), bacon, juice

Experience: 4 1/2 stars. This was a great breakfast! The chef, wish I could remember his name, he was wonderful. It did take about 10 minutes to make, but it was well worth waiting for. I misunderstood him though. He asked if I could have eggs, and I took that to mean there were eggs with my meal. Was a little bummed when he just brought out bacon. But it was still really good. Note to self: bring my own GF maple syrup next time!

*Coral Reef Restaurant - Epcot

Meal: Tapioca rolls, Mahi Mahi w/ coconut rice and pineapple salsa. Mango sorbet with fruit for dessert.

Experience: 4 1/2 stars. This place was really fun! You get to enjoy the huge aquarium view while you're eating. But it's kinda dark in the tank, and in the restaurant. Our server and chef were pretty good. The fish was awesome! Very moist and tender. I really liked the flavor of the whole meal. Dessert was pretty good, went well with the food.

*San Angel Inn - Epcot

Meal: Chips and salsa, beef (I can't even remember what it was called. It was just this beef with seasonings, served over a corn tortilla...but there was a TON of it).

Experience: 1 star. The chips and salsa were pretty good. The server was very cold, and definitely ignored us. She walked past our table quite frequently as she visited the other customers. We thought it was because we were the only ones speaking English, and maybe she didn't speak it very well. If I had known, I would have busted out the Spanish. The chef was kinda rude too, very impatient with me. Kind of frustrating, when I didn't understand what half the stuff was. I was expecting this place to be good, I love Mexican food, but there was nothing "typical" (wow, am I a gringo for saying that?) tacos, enchiladas, fajitas...all these weird dishes, and it was mostly beef and pork, which I don't really eat. So, I picked the one that sounded the least complicated...which it was. It was just a pile of beef on my plate. Luke ordered the same thing. We ended up eating it with our chips and salsa. I'm sorry, but even though I love and miss eating beef all the time, it's very hard to eat it without anything else. I didn't really understand the meal. We both ended up having some tummy problems that night. We didn't get dessert that night. I asked, and the only thing they offered was a "rice cream", and when I asked about flavors, they said it was rice flavored. I don't know if they misunderstood me, or what. Overall, a disappointing and frustrating meal.

Day 5:

*We went down to Tampa Bay to visit some relatives this day.*

*Port Orleans Cafeteria

Meal: Pancakes, egg whites.

Experience: 3 1/2 stars. The pancakes were the same as yesterday's. That was nice. I thought I'd order some egg whites instead of the bacon today. They literally looked like egg whites, like someone had fried a few eggs, then cut the yolk out of them. And they were pretty greasy. It was a bit disappointing. I didn't eat much of them. But the pancakes were good again :)

*Cha Cha Coconuts - St Petersburg, FL

Meal: Mahi Mahi with pineapple, rice, beans and fried plantains.

Experience: 1 1/2 stars. The fish was decent, if a little overcooked. The server didn't have a clue about food allergies, and they were too busy for the chef to come out. So, I asked for no beans (they don't agree with me), but the whole plate was covered with them. I picked around them, eating the fish and the rice, and ignoring the plantains altogether. I didn't get gluten sick, but my tummy definitely didn't like something I ate there. It was a very frustrating experience, made me miss Disney very much :)

*Bahama Breeze - Tampa Bay, FL

Meal: Salmon, fruity rice, veggies

Experience: 5 stars! This place was refreshing after lunch. The food was so good. It was hard, b/c everyone else got a flatbread pizza-like thing for an appetizer, and I got to watch them all eat it. But I was very impressed with the meal, so that made up for it. Our server just played go-between between me and the chef, she was great at getting all my questions answered.

Day 6:

*Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano - Epcot

Chef: Mike

Meal: Tapioca rolls, Pizza!!! with soy cheese, tomatoes, basil, and pesto.

Experience: 5 stars! This was awesome! I had thought this place was one of the recommended GF restaurants sent to me by Disney, but I looked later, and it wasn't. But, boy am I glad we went here! Mike was great! He came out and basically told me he could make me whatever I wanted. So of course, I got a pizza! It was perfect! He actually brought me out 2 "mini" pizzas. The crust was a little thick, but it was very tasty. I gobbled up every bite! And I nearly cried with joy. Although, next time, I'd order it with a little bit of meat. Luke had all this prosciutto on his pizza that he picked off, and I really wanted to put some of it on mine. Ah, well, it was still the best pizza I've had in 3 years!

*Electric Umbrella - Epcot

Meal: Hamburger on Ener-G bun, apples, brownie for dessert.

Experience: 4 stars. Another burger joint, but this one was pretty quick, and they gave me a brownie too :)

Day 7:


Meal: Hamburger on Ener-G bun, apples, grapes for dessert.

Experience: 4 stars. Another good burger. Nothing too special, comparatively speaking (even though it rocks that I got to eat a HAMBURGER at a restaurant!). Wow, I kinda sound like a spoiled brat...yeah, being pampered like this could definitely turn me into a snob :)

*Cinderella's Royal Table

Meal: BLT salad, tapioca rolls, prime rib, pasta w/ marinara sauce, asparagus. Raspberry sorbet for dessert.

Experience: 4 stars. The experience of the meal was very exciting! Getting our picture w/ Cinderella, and having the Fairy Godmother sing to us was fun. The food itself was pretty good. I liked the salad a lot, it was basically just that, a BLT w/ a honey mustard dressing. Rolls were good as always. The main course wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be, considering this meal cost us the equivalent of 2 dinners on our dining plan. My meat was overcooked, as was the asparagus, and the pasta was cold. It wasn't horrible, just nothing that wow-ed me. The sorbet was pretty tasty though. They topped it with some berries. Yum!

Day 8:

*Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Magic Kingdom

Meal: Hamburger on Ener-G bun, apples, grapes, brownie for dessert.

Experience: 4 stars. I don't know if it was an accident, but they gave me both fruits at this meal. I really liked the grapes. Everything else was the same, but still good :)

*Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant - Hollywood Studios

Meal: Pasta w/ shrimp, spinach, tomatoes and artichokes. Tofutti ice cream over a brownie, w/ chocolate sauce and strawberries for dessert.

Experience: 5 stars. This place was so cool! I liked that we ate in little cars. I just wish they would have played more on the screen. It was like an 8 minute rotation of commercials from the 50's and cartoons. The food was awesome! This was one of the best places we ate at, food-wise. Our chef was very helpful. The pasta was incredible, I really wanted to take it home. But knowing what was coming for dessert kept me from overeating. And what a dessert it was! I couldn't decide if the ice cream was vanilla or butterscotch, but it was yummy. They served it over one of those brownies I'd gotten for lunches. That's the way to eat those brownies, by the way! It was all warm and moist. Yum! I ate the whole freaking thing!

Let me tell ya, it was hard coming home and having to start cooking for myself again. I was seriously and completely spoiled. And very shocked that I didn't actually gain any weight on this trip. I think coming home and getting the flu helped w/ that though...thanks to Luke's coworker's kids, who were sick on the plane coming home.

A couple funny/weird things I did, I guess you could call them helpful hints:

*They were very generous with the Tapioca rolls, usually bringing me 2 or 3 per meal, so at some of the places, I stashed one of the rolls in a ziploc bag. They made nice snacks later, or lunches w/ some packaged tuna.
*I brought my own toaster oven. We were on the dining plan, which only technically included 2 meals a day, plus one snack. I'm a big breakfast person, so a snack (ie, an apple, or a juice) doesn't really cut it for me. So I brought my own bread and toasted it every morning, topped it w/ some peanut butter (or that sweet potato salad I had leftover). I also brought some tinfoil so we could heat up food for Luke and not get gluten crumbs on my stuff. It was a lifesaver!
*I carried around some of those serving-sized envelopes of tuna, some packets of mayo, and some glutino crackers (or a leftover tapioca roll) in my backpack for an emergency lunch. That was great on the days we had a late dinner reservation.
*I learned that asking about dessert options when the chef came out to talk about dinner was helpful. Otherwise, they had to come out again, or the server had to be the go-between.

Next stop...a Disney Cruise!!! I hope :)

For more fun pics from our trip, visit my other blog!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1000 Gluten Free Recipes by Carol Fenster

I know I keep raving about the great new recipes I've found in this book. But it really is awesome! First of all, there's a thousand of them! That's like 4x as many as a normal cookbook. Second, a lot of her recipes are vegan, so I can do the dairy free thing easily, and know what's best to sub in a recipe. Yeah, it's a kickass book! I love it! I'd take it with me everywhere to share with people if it weren't so heavy! It's literally the size of a dictionary (or maybe a textbook). I'd need a bigger purse for that...

Dairy Free Ranch Dressing
from "1000 GF Recipes"
by Carol Fenster

I've tried a few recipes to try and recreate a good ranch-like salad dressing. Luke's fave place to eat is Red Robin, and the only thing I can really eat there is the Cobb Salad. For awhile, I was ok eating it with Italian dressing, but that got really old after awhile, since I had to forgo half the ingredients (bacon and Italian dressing don't really mix...neither do avocados).
This dressing is the closest I've come to Hidden Valley. It's pretty dang good. I'm thinking about keeping the spices mixed in a small tupperware, and just measuring out enough for a serving to mix with the liquid ingredients when I need it.

Ranch Dressing

Dry ingredients:
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried chives
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried savory
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Wet ingredients:
1/2 c mayo (I've also used Tofutti sour cream, which has worked well, if a bit sourer)
1/4 c DF milk (The recipe calls for 1/2 c, but it's a bit runny w/ that much)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar (I use cider vinegar, b/c that's what I have)

In a blender, process the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until smooth. Let stand one hour to allow flavors to blend. Store, tightly covered, in the fridge, for up to a week.

Makes about 3 servings

You can also just pour everything into a small tupperware, and shake it up. Which is what I did to the batch I photographed above. Which is why it looks like there's dressing all over the sides of the container. Because there is :)

The recipe doesn't specify, but I've always let the dressing sit in the fridge to blend the flavors. Anyone know if you're supposed to leave it at room temperature?

Blackberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

These muffins are simply delectable. I found fresh blackberries on sale at the health food store the other day, and bought up a few. I made some muffins a couple summers ago with fresh blackberries, and remember loving them, but couldn't remember what recipe I had used. So, I rummaged through all my cookbooks and came up with this one. It's from my new favorite "1000 Gluten Free Recipes" by Carol Fenster, and the original recipe calls for raspberries and lemon zest. I subbed the blackberries in, and used lemon juice instead of zest (since I didn't have any lemons).
I brought these in to share w/ everyone at work, and the girls asked me for the recipe. Now I have to figure out how it would be converted to a gluten-full recipe :P

Blackberry Muffins w/ Streusel Topping

2 large eggs, at room temp
1/2 c milk
1/3 c canola oil (I just used applesauce)
2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used lemon juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c sorghum flour blend*
1/4 c tapioca starch or sorghum flour blend (I used almond meal instead to give texture)
3/4 c packed brown sugar (I didn't have any brown, so used white sugar instead)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 c (6 oz) fresh blackberries, rinsed and patted dry

Streusel Topping:
1/4 c sorghum flour blend*
1/4 c GF cereal (the recipe suggests Perky's nutty flax/rice cereals, which are a lot like grapenuts, and I like, but I only had rice chex on hand, so I crushed that up and used instead)
1/4 c packed brown sugar (again, I used white, as I was out of brown)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 c (1/4 stick) unsalted butter/buttery spread (I used Earth Balance)

To make muffins:
Place a rack in the middle of the oven, preheat to 375 F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk, oil, lemon, and vanilla, and beat until batter is smooth and thickened slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except the berries. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until batter is smooth. Gently stir in the berries. I left my berries whole, but I really like having some berry in every bite, so next time, I might cut my berries in half (they were really big). Spoon batter into muffin tins. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp streusel topping onto each muffin, and press into batter gently.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffin tops are firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Best when served warm. Reheat wonderfully in the microwave or toaster oven.

To make the topping:
In a medium bowl, mix together the first five ingredients until blended. Cut in the butter, and using your fingers, blend until well mixed and butter is in pea-sized pieces.

*Sorghum flour blend
1 1/2 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 c potato starch/cornstarch
1 c tapioca flour

Makes 12-15 muffins, depending on size (the picture below is of mini-muffins).

Saturday, January 17, 2009


So, it is our good friend's birthday today, and we are going to hang out later. For his birthday, he requested some GF goodies (his wife is trying the GF diet). So, I whipped these bad boys up. They turned out great! It was hard not to eat them all. I was very excited to post them right away!

Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
(from "1000 GF Recipes" by Carol Fenster)

1/4 c butter/buttery spread, at room temperature (I used 1/8 c Earth Balance spread, and 1/8 c applesauce)
1/2 c granulated sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar (I ran out of brown sugar, so subbed 1/2 c regular sugar)
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c Sorghum blend*
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch or alkali)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp acacia fiber (optional, I use this for my IBS diet)
3/4 c chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
1/2 c dried sweetened cranberries (I used fresh, chopped berries)
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts (I bet pecans/almonds would work great as well)

Place oven racks in the two middle slots in the oven, right on top of each other. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer on low speed for about 1 minute. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients, and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips, cranberries and walnuts. Mix well to make sure the chips, berries and nuts are thoroughly incorporated.
Use a wet tablespoon to scoop 1-1 1/2 inch balls of dough onto baking sheets, about an inch apart. Use the bottom of a drinking glass (dipped in water) to press cookies down. Place one sheet on the lower rack, and the other on the upper.
Bake for 6 minutes, then switch the baking sheets between racks. Bake for 5 minutes more, until cookies are firm. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

*Sorghum blend:
1 1/2 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 c potato starch/cornstarch (I use cornstarch b/c my tummy can't handle potatoes)
1 c tapioca flour

I am also pleased to announce that the dough from the sugar cookies I made last month freezes wonderfully! Here are the cookies I made w/ that dough:

Friday, January 02, 2009

Gluten and Dairy Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

These rock! I found the recipe on Karina's site.

I made the recipe mostly the same, just reduced the oil to 1/4 c (and used EVOO rather than light), and I used Martinelli's sparkling apple cider in place of apple juice (Luke drank it for dinner before I could claim it). The buckwheat was not very noticeable to me. They tasted similar to what I remember of a bran muffin, but lighter and airier. I was very tired last night when I pulled out the last batch, so I put some of them away when not completely cooled >< They were a bit soggy this morning, but 15 seconds in the microwave, followed by 3-4 minutes in the toaster oven, and they were good as new!

Gluten/Dairy Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Egg replacer for 2 large eggs
4 tbsp apple juice (or sparkling cider)
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tbsp Acacia fiber (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat wet ingredients plus sugar together in a mixing bowl.
Pour dry ingredients on top of wet, then mix until well combined.
Stir in apples and nuts.
Spoon into greased/lined muffin cups
Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine needed 24 minutes), until firm and dark golden. Test w/ a knife to see if done.
Remove from pan, and cool on a wire rack.

The original recipe says this makes 12 muffins. I didn't know how full to fill the pan, so I ended up getting 18 muffins out of this. It might help if I had a full 12-cup muffin pan...


Gluten/Dairy Free Sugar Cookies

Here's an awesome recipe thanks to Lauren at Daring to Thrive!

I modified it a bit, based on ingredients I had on hand. Very impressed! I tried making GF sugar cookies after I was first diagnosed, 2 Christmases ago. They failed miserably. Since then, I have craved a great sugar cookie that also cuts well. This is it! Even my gluten eating husband gave them the thumbs up. He said they were totally "company-worthy" (meaning, ok to share w/ other gluten-eaters). I definitely agree!

Gluten/Dairy Free Sugar Cookies

1/4 c Spectrum shortening
1/4 c applesauce
3/4 c sugar
1 egg (or 1/4 c egg white substitute)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (for some reason I thought this recipe called for almond, and so I added it at the last second)
2 tbsp milk substitute, divided (I used silk soy milk)
2 cups Featherlight flour mix
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Cream shortening, applesauce and sugar in mixer.
Add egg, vanilla, almond, and 1 tbsp milk. Mix well.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add slowly to wet ingredients, mixing as you go.
Add extra milk if needed to moisten the mixture. Mine didn't need it.
Cover bowl, and refrigerate (or set out on the back porch) for at least 1 hr.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Dust counter with flour (use a lot!), then roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut dough into shapes using cookie cutters.
Place cookies on baking sheet covered w/ parchment paper (I am now a HUGE fan of parchment paper - used it for this recipe, and was amazed by it!). The cookies don't spread out much when baking, so you can put them pretty close together (at least, mine didn't).
Bake for 7-10 minutes (mine only needed 7 minutes). Cookies are done when edges are firm, and bottoms are golden (not brown).
Let cool completely, then frost and decorate.

I used Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting, and some colored sugar sprinkles.

They tasted delicious, but I must admit, trying to frost stars and trees was a bit of a challenge for me. My desire to make Christmas cut cookies has been satiated, and next time, I think I will just use a glass to cut circular cookies for easier frosting.