Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's one of my favorite recipes!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields: approx. 6 dozen
1 C butter
1 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1 t salt
2 large eggs
2-1/3 C GF all-purpose flour (I LOVE King Arthur's blend!)
1 t xanthan gum
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 C chocolate chips
-Beat the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until fluffy.
-Beat in the eggs. Make sure and scrape down the edges of the bowl to ensure it's well combined.
-Whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and beat well, making sure to scrape sides again so it's all thoroughly combined.
-Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
-Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a couple of cookie sheets. Remove dough from refrigerator and scoop out small balls of dough and place on cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading.
-Bake cookies for 9-11 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let set 5 mins before removing from pan to cooling rack.
*Freezes well!!! I made up a batch of this, refrigerated it, rolled out a bunch of balls, placed them on wax paper lined cookie sheets and chilled in freezer for about an hour. Removed them from the cookie sheet and stored them in a sealed container. Now, whenever I want a few cookies, I'll just go to the freezer and pull out what I need. They'll be good in a freezer for several months, if well wrapped or stored.
*When cooking frozen dough balls, preheat oven first. When it reaches 350F, remove dough balls from freezer and immediately bake. Cook for 1 min extra.

Thank you, King Arthur Flours!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lazy Granola

Lazy Granola
Yields: 7 cups cereal

Bring to a boil:
1/2 C oil
1/2 C honey
1/2 C brown sugar

1 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla

-Stir mixture into 7 cups GF oats until completely coated. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10 min.s. Stir. Turn off oven and leave granola in as it cools.
-Add raisins (or other dried fruit) and/or nuts as desired.
*I make this at night before bed. That way it's ready to take out of the oven in the morning for breakfast!!!

Thank you, Rebekah M.!!!

Well, I'll be...

The Rice Square's Cereal from our local Aldi (Rice Chex knock-off) shows no signs of gluten in its ingredients list!!! It usually contains barley malt extract or flavoring. But they must have changed distributors!

It's at least worth a shot to look at your local Aldi and see if it's the same at your store!

Just a heads up!

GF pie crust & strawberry-raspberry filling

Heading off to the oven
*I dedicate each of my pies to my sweet hubby! A little something I picked up from my mom!*

All done!

Worth every last succulent calorie!!!
GF Double Pie Crust
*for a single crust, simply divide in half (all but the egg)*
Dry Ingredients:
1 C white rice flour
1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 C potato starch
1 T granulated sugar
1/2- 1 scant t salt (to taste, really)

Wet ingredients:
1/2 C (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces (or 1/2 C vegetable shortening)
1 large egg
3-4 T cold water

-In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or stand mixer (my favorite method!), work cold butter (or shortening) into flour mixture. Add egg and water. If dough is dry, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time. Stir until a dough forms.
-Divide dough into 2 balls and wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
-Remove dough from the refrigerator and place on the counter for 15 minutes.

At this point, the dough is ready to roll out! Use parchment paper or waxed paper.

In all honesty, I like working with this dough better than flour-based pie doughs. It is SO MUCH easier to work with!

Thank you, Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone!

Strawberry-Raspberry Pie Filling
1-1/4 C white sugar
1/3 C GF all-purpose flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
3 C fresh/frozen (but thawed) strawberries
1 C fresh/frozen (but thawed) raspberries
2 T butter

-Preheat oven to 425F. Place bottom crust in 9" pie pan.
-Mix together sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix lightly through the berries. Pour filling into pastry lined pan and dot fruit with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut slits on top. Seal and flute the edges.
-Bake for approx 45-50 minutes or until top crust is golden.
-Let cool approx 10 minutes before serving.

Thank you, AllRecipes.com!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Skillet Cornbread

This is a "Non-Primal" (because of the corn) recipe - but sometimes, you just need gluten-free cornbread to go with chili. The cast-iron skillet is a must - it turns out great every time.

I'm just going to post the link to Epicurious. Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Taco Lasagna

This is just about ready to go into the oven!

Side view of the layers

Cooked and goin' fast!

Taco Lasagna
Serves: 16-20
At it's basic core are the following ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 pkt taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
20 oz. enchilada sauce
2 C shredded cheddar cheese (we prefer Sharp)
corn tortillas
Pour 1/3 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place a layer of corn tortillas on top. Spread refried beans, meat, cheese, and some more enchilada sauce. Make at least one more layer. Top with 1 last layer of corn tortillas and remaining cheese & enchilada sauce. Bake for 45 minutes.

That by itself is stellar. BUT...

I like to jazz it up!

In my meat mixture, I add anything Mexican I can scrounge up: sauteed onion and/or green peppers, a healthy squirt of lime juice, chopped tomatoes, green chilies, black beans, corn, salsa, taco sauce, etc.

Be creative! It's hard to mess this recipe up!

Poached Eggs on Toast

This is another breakfast regularly served at our home.

Poached means it's boiled (rather than fried). Cuts down on the fat and calories without affecting flavor or texture.

For a simple "how-to" on egg poaching, go HERE.

The toast I use is my GF Sandwich Bread.

GF Chocolate Cake

Talk about curing the chocolate cravings!!!
(Once again, this is SO not healthy for you, but it is amazing! You'd never know it was GF.)

GF Chocolate Cake
Serves: 9
(Bake in 9x9 pan)
1 C butter
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 C sugar
1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9x9 pan. Melt butter in saucepan; stir in chocolate chips. Stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Add in eggs and whisk. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for approx 45 min or until a toothpick comes out pretty clean.
*This recipe doubles well! Use a 9x13 pan and bake for approx 1 hr.

Thanks, Michele C.!!!

Mock Shamrock Shakes

'Tis the season for SHAMROCK SHAKES!!!
Photo Credit

Here's a super simple recipe for a mock Micky-D's shamrock shake... for in season (and out of season) enjoyment!!!

Mock Shamrock Shakes
Serves: 4
2 C vanilla ice cream
1-1/4 C milk
1/4 t mint extract
8 drops of green food coloring
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Today, I wanted to make these but found myself without mint extract. (oh no!) So I modified the recipe and it was DELICIOUS!

2 C vanilla ice cream
1-1/4 C milk
1/4 C mint chocolate syrup

Chocolate + Mint = AMAZING!

If you don't have mint chocolate syrup, you could easily use:
1/4 t mint extract
1/4 C chocolate syrup

Thank you, Food.com (formerly recipezaar.com)!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Broccoli with Brown Butter Sauce

This is a recipe that is so good, it makes you want to eat all of your veggies... and then maybe lick the plate! We mainly use this sauce with broccoli, but it is also excellent on asparagus. It makes even frozen broccoli like it is from a "fancy restaurant."

Brown Butter Broccoli

4 Tbsp salted butter
4 tsp wheat-free soy sauce or wheat-free Tamari sauce
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
two bunches broccoli, steamed

--Melt butter in heavy saucepan on medium heat for three minutes until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally.
--Remove from heat, add soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.
--Toss broccoli in sauce to coat.


Hi, my name is Cyndi, and I am Melissa's big sister. I guess I am the one who instigated this whole "gluten-free" thing.... I started last summer with giving up grains for a month after reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. I had initially discovered the Primal/Paleo way of eating after extensive research looking in to ways to stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels and avoid diabetes. My entire extended family is diabetic, and more and more of my patients are diabetic, and I didn't want that fate for myself. The Primal Blueprint (minus the pro-evolution stuff that I completely disagree with!) made perfect sense. Three days into grain-free and I felt better than I had... well... ever! I was 35 with chronic lower back pain and I thought I was too young to feel so... old and arthritic. Three days without any grains and no back pain!

After a month of feeling great and effortless weight loss... I tried a small piece of birthday cake at a family party... and I thought I was going to die! Another month of grain-free and tried bread... again I thought I was going to die! It took me almost a week to recover! It confirmed my suspicion that I was "gluten-intolerant."

I plan on contributing from time to time on this blog, mostly Primal recipes, because I feel so much better when I don't consume any grains (gluten containing or not) or high amounts of carbs. I am finally starting to listen to my body about when to eat (when I'm hungry, not when the clock tells me I "should") and how much (not eating every meal to Thanksgiving-Dinner-Stuffed). There are still the rare times when I'll (unfortunately) overindulge on carbs... and then pay for it. I can remember the ice cream incident and the potato chip incident... both of which left me with blood sugar crashes the next day that I hadn't experienced in months! If I stick to meat, veggies, full-fat dairy, nuts, and limited fruit - I feel great.

I cannot promise that every recipe will have photos (like Melissa's do) because photography just isn't my thing - but I'll try :)


Photo Credit

This is the recipe my mother always made and it immediately became our own family classic. Very easy and basic, also very flexible and versatile.

Serves: 4-6
1 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
Brown and drain.
1 (16 oz) can red beans, rinsed
1 T + 2 t chili powder
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 (46 oz) can tomato juice
Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Allow to simmer uncovered until thickened, approx 1-2 hours.

*doubles well

We like to throw in chili-style diced tomatoes, green chilies, hot red pepper flakes, corn, salsa, etc. We'll also try different meats or mixes of beans. Corn tortilla chips on the side!

At our house, we pour our chili over a bowl of cooked brown rice. Top with cheese!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sandwich Bread

This is by far the best homemade GF sandwich bread I have made! I have a few more recipes I want to try, but this one is definitely tried and true. Bakes up great, is moist (which most GF breads are dry), slices easily, and makes amazing sandwiches and toast.

Sandwich Bread
Yields: (1) 9x5" loaf

Wet Ingredients:

1-3/4 C warm water
1 packet (2-1/4 t) active dry yeast
2 T vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Dry Ingredients:
2-1/2 C brown rice flour
2/3 C cornstarch
2/3 C instant nonfat dry milk
1 T xanthan gum
1 t salt

-Lightly grease a 9x5" loaf pan with cooking spray.
-In a small bowl, combine water and yeast. Set aside to proof.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture, oil, and eggs. Using an electric or stand mixer, mix dough for 5 minutes on medium high speed. (If using a KitchenAid mixer, use the flat paddle attachment- not the dough hook.) Dough should be soft, thick, and sticky. It will not form a cohesive ball. (If using a handheld mixer, the dough may try to climb the beaters. Simply use a rubber spatula to push the dough back into the bowl.) If the dough seems tight or dry, add another tablespoon of water and mix for 30 seconds to fully incorporate the additional water. At the right consistency, the dough should swirl delicately around the beaters. It shouldn't look dry, chunky, or dense; it should not be cake-batter thin, either. If the dough still looks dry, add another tablespoon of water to achieve the right consistency.
-Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the loaf lightly. Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour in a warm, non-drafty place.
-At least 15 minutes before bread has finished rising, preheat oven to 350F.
-Remove plastic wrap and bake for approx 55 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 208F-211F. If crust begins to get too dark before it's reached proper internal temperature, cover with aluminum foil.
-Remove bread from oven and allow to cool completely. Store at room temperature for 2-3 days, or slice and freeze. Refrigeration can lengthen its days of usage to 5-7 days.

Thank you, Easy Gluten Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone!!!!


Serves: 1 loaf/4-5 servings
(for our family of 6, I doubled this!)
1 lb raw ground beef
1 clove garlic (or 1/8 t garlic powder)
1 small onion, chopped (or approx 2 T minced onion)
2/3 C GF oats (or 3 slices of GF sandwich bread with crust, torn into small pieces)
1/4 C milk
2 t Worchestershire sauce
1 t chopped fresh sage (or 1/4 t dried)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground dry mustard
1/8 t pepper
1 egg
1/3 C ketchup, chili sauce, or BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, break up beef into small pieces. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the ketchup. Mix well. Form into a loaf and place in an ungreased baking dish with sides (like an 8x8 or 9x9). Spread ketchup over the top. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160F.
*I reeeeeally don't like crunchy onions in foods like this. So next time I'm going to try sauteing them first before adding them into the raw meat mixture. Either that, or I'll try using 1 to 1-1/2 t onion powder.

Thank you, Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics cookbook!

Fruit Smoothies

Photo Credit

For our breakfast fruit smoothies, we use all fresh/frozen fruit. I rarely ever measure, throwing just about every fruit available into a blender, and adding orange juice and bananas until I get the right texture. Top it off with some honey until perfectly sweetened. Fruit smoothies are so flexible in nature you can make them just about any way imaginable!

Today, we made ours with the following:
-fresh pineapple
-orange juice
-raw, local honey

I'd love to hear some of the smoothie recipes you readers use!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

5 Spice Casserole

This is one of my hubby's favorites from his childhood! I've converted a few things to make it both Gluten Free and a tad bit healthier! 2 thumbs up!!!

5-Spice Casserole
Serves: 6-8
1 lb ground beef (or pork)
3/4 C onion, diced
1-1/2 t salt
dash of pepper
1/8 t garlic powder
1/8 t thyme
1/8 t oregano
1 small bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Gluten Free Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup OR 1/2 a homemade cream of mushroom soup recipe
2 C cooked brown rice (or 1 C white instant rice)
10-12 stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese (or slices of Velveeta to taste)
Brown meat and onions. Drain. Stir in remaining ingredients except olives and cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a 1-1/2 qt greased baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350F until cheese melts and starts to brown. Top with olives.
*It's best to saute the onions in a little bit of oil first, until tender; then add beef and brown/drain.
*In moments of impatience, I've skipped the baking portion of this and just melted the cheese while it's simmering in the fry pan. Tastes good that way as well.

Thank you, Favorite Recipes from the Residence Halls of Purdue University cookbook!!!



As our family has grown, we have had to double this recipe. It doubles JUST fine! 

*If using Progresso soup: use 2 cans
*If using homemade cream of mushroom soup, use the entire recipe 

We have since started just combining the sliced olives INTO the mixture. And when doubling this recipe, we pour the ingredients into a 9x13 cake pan... then topping it with cheese.

I know it doesn't look swell... the the taste is 👌👍!

Cold Cereals

As far as cold cereals go, choices ARE pretty limited. Although, we've been quite content with the following:
*Kix does not officially label their product "Gluten Free" but I do not see anything in the ingredients that would contain gluten. And thus far, neither I or my daughter (who has a gluten intolerance as well) have ever had a reaction to it.

Gotta love the Gluten Free Chex line-up!!!
*Make sure it's actually CHEX brand, as many off-brands have "barley malt" in them, which contains gluten. If any of you are coupon clippers, there are seemingly always coupons for these!

Menu Plan

Here's what's on our menu for this week!
I'll be posting pics and recipes of these meals as they are prepared.

B: Cold Cereal & Milk; Fruit
D: 5- Spice Casserole; Steamed Broccoli & Cheese

B: Poached Eggs on GF Sandwich Bread/Toast
D: Scrambled Egg & Black Beans; wrapped in corn tortillas

B: Grits and Eggs
D: Southwestern Bean Soup

B: Grain Free Muffins
D: Chili & Rice

B: Cut Fruit w/ Drizzled Honey
D: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

B: Fruit Smoothies
D: Pan Burritos

B: Mixed Nuts & Dried Berries; cottage cheese
D: Leftover Southwestern Bean Soup over Nachos/Refried Beans/Cheese

I didn't include any lunch ideas because most of the time we simply eat leftovers or make meat roll-ups & lettuce wraps. Sometimes I'll make sandwiches with our GF Sandwich Bread, like PB & J, grilled cheese, tuna, etc. Oftentimes, we'll simply cut up fruit, veggies, pickles, and cheese and serve that as our lunch with a side of chips.

Making a batch of our GF Sandwich Bread today! Can't wait to share the recipe!!!

Meat Roll-Ups & Lettuce Wraps

These are very simple lunch ideas, mainstays in our household. You actually do not "need" bread or tortillas to enjoy a sandwich. We do it all the time! And the family doesn't miss it!

-any deli meat(s)
-toppings: mayo, mustard, salsa, Ranch, tuna, pepperoni, lettuce, cheese, cucumber, pickles, tomato, onion, sprouts, olives, etc.

Let your imagination go wild! Basically, whatever you'd put on a sandwich can be converted into a meat roll-up!

We'll often bring these meat roll-ups as appetizers/finger foods to social gatherings. Our favorite: cream cheese and onion. Just whiz up 3 stalks of green onion in a food processor, mix with an 8 oz softened block of cream cheese, lather that onto deli meat slices, and roll. YUM!
Another great breadless "sandwich" idea is the lettuce wrap. Same basic idea as a meat roll-up, just wrapped in a lettuce leaf. Our favorite is taco style lettuce wraps!