Monday, December 26, 2011

Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes

I can't sing enough praises about Namase Health Center and its people. Dr. Nasha Winters has transformed my health with her knowledge of gluten-free eating and her nutritional wisdom. Her husband, Steve Ottersberg, presents cooking classes that are healthful and educational, and great fun!

These pancakes were derived from a recipe of Steve's. These are packed with protein and flavor. I'm grateful for the grain-free goodness of these warm breakfast treats!

Grain-Free Pumpkin Pancakes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened, full fat)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. vanilla estract
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Warm up a nonstick pan over medium-low heat.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, coconut milk and vanilla. Fold Pumpkin puree into egg mixture. Add eggs, cocomut milk, and whisk. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix gently.
When pan is well heated, pour in a little grapeseed or coconut oil, then pour small amounts of batter into pan and spread fairly thinly -- they will expand a bit.

Enjoy with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a side of blueberries!

Grain-Free Pumpkin Waffles
Create the recipe above, but add 3 tablespoons tapioca flour to create a waffle mix that won't stick to your waffle iron. Please use a non-stick iron for this recipe!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Zuccini Hummus

Are you wondering what to do with your freezer full of frozen summer zuccini? This recipe will help -- it is my new favorite dip! It's loosely based upon Make it Paleo's Hot Pepper Hummus. This cookbook is inspiring, and it's helping me feel optimistic about my New Year's quest to eat a diet free of grains.

Zuccini Hummus
2 medium zuccini (or about 4 cups shredded/chopped frozen zuccini)
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste

Chop zuccini roughly. Place in food processor and pulse.
(If using frozen, thaw and drain off the excess water.)
Add tahini, oil, and lemon juice and pulse again.
Add cumin and salt and pulse again.

Garlic can become overpowering if you process it too long in a food processor or blender (I learned this the hard way!). So fold in the minced garlic at the end with a quick pulse or a hand-stir.

Enjoy with crackers or thinly sliced veggies.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Omega-3 Mayonnaise

I'll be beginning a grain-free, legume-free diet in the new year, and want to arm myself with several dressings, sauces and condiments to help make the transition as flavorful and enjoyable as possible. Canola oil and soy oils are common in mayonnaise, and can be problematic for those on a grain-free diet.

This is a tasty, easy mayo recipe that can be used in dressings or aiolis.

Omega-3 Mayonnaise
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
½ cup olive oil
½ cup flaxseed oil

Put egg, lemon juice and mustard in blender and blend for 3-5 seconds. Continue blending and slowly add oils. Blend until the mayonnaise is thick. Scrape mayonnaise into a snap lock plastic container and refrigerate. The Mayonnaise should keep for 5-7 days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Late Fall Harvest Salad

This bright salad will enliven any wintery day.

Late Fall Harvest Salad
1 small head red cabbage
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 T. miso
1-1/2 T. maple syrup
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. rice vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice cabbage and chop apples into small pieces.
Toast chopped walnuts if you wish.

Combine the last four ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Toss with cabbage, apples and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(If you wish to make this grain-free, substitute 1-1/2 T. coconut aminos and 1/2 T. grated ginger for the miso, and apple cider vinegar for the rice vinegar.)

Monday, November 28, 2011


This zesty Argentinian sauce will enliven any meat dish.
It's brightness will bring a welcome lightness after a gloriously filling Thanksgiving.

Drizzle over steaks, burritos, or dip thin slices of cold, leftover grilled beef tenderloin for a treat. ¡Buen apetito!

1 c. flat-leafed parsley
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 T. agave syrup
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (or paprika for a milder sauce)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Rinse and de-stem parsley and cilantro. Place in blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, agave syrup and olive oil. Blend to your preferred consistency.
Stir in salt, peppers and garlic by hand.
Refrigerate and enjoy!

Did you know: When garlic is processed in a blender or food processor, it becomes many, many times more potent than if it is simply minced and mixed in by hand at the end of the recipe? I learned this the hard way. :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Comfort of Cooking Blueberry Oat Muffins

Comfort food is such a personal, complex issue.
Why do we crave comfort foods? Do we cook comfort food for others to support them? Or is there a greater comfort for us in our attempt to make someone's life better by providing a warm, nurturing food for them?

This is a delicious, light-as-a-feather muffin with the chewy goodness of oats. It's Karina's recipe from her Gluten-Free Goddess website: visit her website often. You'll be glad you did.

Blueberry Oat Muffins
I have been using either Laura Scudder's GF Oats or Bob's Red Mill certified gluten-free oats in my baking- both the rolled style and the steel cut. When I make muffins, I like to use rolled oats- the topping looks so pretty.

What you'll need:
1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats
Soaked in:
1 cup warm vanilla rice or hemp milk, for 20 minutes

Beat together:
1/4 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
3/4 cup organic golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or honey

Whisk the dry ingredients in a large separate bowl:
1 cup sorghum flour or rice flour- or a blend of your favorite flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To assemble you'll need:
Egg Replacer (or two eggs, beaten):
   1 tablespoon Energ-G Egg Replacer
   4 tablespoons water

Whisk till frothy.

Add at the end:
1 cup blueberries- fresh or frozen* see note

For crumble topping:
Rub together 2 tablespoons each:
Certified gluten-free rolled oats
Organic brown sugar
Spectrum Organic Shortening
Add cinnamon, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners. Or a 6-muffin jumbo pan.

Add the soaked oats to the shortening mixture; combine briefly and scoop into the dry mixture. Mix by hand to combine.

Add the Egg Replacer or beaten eggs. If the batter appears too stiff or dry, add 1 to 4 tablespoons of vanilla rice or hemp milk- one spoon at a time- till soft and moist. Add the blueberries right at the end of mixing. Divide and plop the batter into the twelve muffin cups. Sprinkle with brown sugar oat topping. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes; if you are making large jumbo muffins, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Note* If you use frozen berries, your muffins may need five extra minutes to bake. Keep an eye them. Check doneness with a wooden pick.

Remove the muffins from the tin and cool on a wire rack (this keeps the bottoms from getting soggy- no one likes a soggy bottom!).

Serve however you like- warm, or at room temperature. Wrap and freeze for future treats.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Blue Cornbread Stuffing

Thanksgiving is almost here!
It's always been one of my favorite holidays. Not only because, as a child, all my cousins would celebrate my birthday with me, but because Thanksgiving embodies the idea of relishing each other without the obligations of material gifts or strings attached. Just lots of hugs, football, and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together, all piled on the family room floor together like a litter of puppies.

Stuffing has always been my favorite Thanksgiving food, hands-down. I've cooked this Mark Miller stuffing recipe for the last 15 years or so, and can't seem to try anything else. . .it's that good!

1/2 c. Melted butter (or dairy free margarine)
1 c. blue corn meal
1 c. flour (any GF flour blend +1t. xanthan gum)
2 t. baking soda
1 egg
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (or 1-1/2 c almond milk + 1-1/2 T vinegar)

1 1/2 lbs Chorizo (we use 1/2 italian sausage, 1/2 hot italian sausage)
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. diced celery
10 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 c. coarsely crumbled blue corn bread (one entire recipe above)
4 t. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 t. dried sage
1 c. chopped cilantro
1/3 c. half & half (or almond milk)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

TO MAKE CORNBREAD: Preheat oven to 425°. Grease 8x8 pan. Combine all but buttermilk in food processor. Blend 3 seconds. Scrape sides. Add buttermilk. Blend 5 seconds. Bake 30 min. Cool on rack. Use immediately or wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

TO MAKE STUFFING: Crumble and saute saugage until brown. Drain. Set aside. Melt butter. Add onion, celery, serranos and garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl -- add sausage, cornbread, thyme, sage and cilantro. Toss well, moisten with half and half and egg. Add pepper and mix well. Cook 40 minutes @ 350°.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cranberry-Cherry Sauce

It's November, and the hunt is on for elusive dried, tart cherries. They're essential for this recipe.

My sister-in-law introduced me to this sweet-tart cranberry goodness about 15 years ago. It's oh-so-easy and a staple at every Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry-Cherry Sauce

2 1/2 c. cranberry juice (or cherry cider)
8 oz. dried tart cherries
1 c. sugar
1 - 12 oz. package cranberries
1/4 t. ground cloves

Bring juice to boil. Remove from heat. Add cherries. Let sit 8 minutes to soften. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook over med-high heat until berries burst (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until cold -- about 4 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
Can be prepared 4 days ahead.
Cover and refrigerate.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Anand's Magically Moist Pumpkin Muffins

My inspiring gluten-free friend, Anand, is a wonderful baker and is leader of our local gluten-free support group. I wanted to sing her praises and share my favorite recipe from her recipe webpage: Anand's Gluten Free Recipe Box.

It's a perfect Halloween treat! BOO!!

Magically Moist Pumpkin Muffins
Preheat Oven to 350
In a large bowl combine:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 can (15-16oz) pumpkin
½ cup canola oil
1 cup apple sauce
Mix wet ingredients.
Then add:
3 cups Bob's Gluten-free Flour Blend

1-1/2 t. of xanthan gum2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients.
Then fold in 1.5 cups chocolate chips.

Divide batter evenly into 3 bread pans. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Or, if you prefer cupcakes, this recipe makes about 3-1/2 dozen, baked for 22 minutes at 350 degrees.

The loaves and cupcakes freeze well for treats later on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Egg Strata

I savored this egg strata every Christmas morning as a kid.
It's a perfect breakfast or brunch dish to make for a big group of company, since it's assembled the night before. You can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee with guests as the aroma of this homey dish fills your kitchen.

Egg Strata
1 lb. cooked sausage or ham
6 slices gluten-free bread
1/4 c. onion, minced and sautéed
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (or Daiya Dairy Free Cheddar Shreds)
5 eggs
2c. milk or half-and-half (or 1-1/2 c. almond or coconut milk)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. dry mustard

Oil a 9x13 dish. Layer bread (either laid flat or cubed), then sausage, then onion, then cheese. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over.
Cover and chill 8 hours, overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set.

Monday, October 17, 2011

School Night Pumpkin Pie

It's not quite Thanksgiving, but the rustling of golden aspen and red maple leaves in our yard made me crave a slice of pumpkin pie. My son thought it was a fabulous idea, too.

Who says you can't make a pumpkin pie on a school night?
This pumpkin pie comes together so quickly, especially if you have a gluten-free Tender Vinegar Pastry crust in your freezer, ready to roll out. This was a fabulous night time snack before bed.

School Night Pumpkin Pie
1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
     (or 2 cups cooked, purred squash)
1 cup almond milk
     (if you have time to simmer 2 cups of almond milk
     down to 1 cup of condensed milk, this works best)
1/4 c. brown Sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cloves
3 slightly beaten eggs

Mix until well blended.
Pour into a prepared pie shell. Brush pie shell with egg white if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes, or until knife or wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool for at least an hour and enjoy!

P.S. If you've got kids, employ them to make decorations out of leftover crust for the pie edges. They bake a beautiful, artful golden brown treat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simple Shrimp Scampi

Did I say that my beef stew was my husband's favorite recipe?
Actually, I think this is his favorite.
This is a simple, elegant, perfectly balanced dish.

Simple Shrimp Scampi
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimp
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley leaves
2 T. juice from 1 lemon
1/2 c. white wine
cayenne pepper

Sauté garlic over medium-low heat about 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook while stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes (shrimp will be tough if overcooked). Off heat, stir in parsley, lemon juice, wine, salt and cayenne.
Serve immediately over pasta, rice or julienned zucchini.

You'll want to double this recipe.
It's divine as a cold salad the next day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scott's Favorite Beef Stew

Fall is in the air. . .the apples are as crisp as the cool mornings, and it has me dreaming of a piping-hot pot of beef stew. I created this stew for my hubby several years ago, and it's still a favorite.

Enjoy this rich, hearty stew. Be sure to have plenty of good [gluten free] bread for dipping.

Scott's Favorite Beef Stew
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 T. tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 oz. dried shitake mushrooms
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse mushrooms. Soak mushrooms in ~1c very hot water for about 20 minutes. Submerge with weighted bowl to keep under water level. Keep soaking water and slice very thinly.

Brown stew meat in small batches over high heat.

Sauté onions until brown and caramelized, Sauté garlic for 1 minute.

Add meat, onions, wine, herbs, mushrooms and their soaking water to broth. Simmer 2 hours, or until very tender.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Luscious Southwestern Baked Shrimp

Have you ever been haunted by a recipe that you couldn't locate?
Oh, the heartbreak!
I had a pound of shrimp yearning to be prepared like my friends K&J's favorite shrimp, but I couldn't remember their recipe.

I had some extra limes on hand, as well as a half-bunch of cilantro, so I went to work creating a version that was simply luscious in it's own right. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Luscious Southwestern Baked Shrimp
1# large shrimp, peeled
juice of one lime
1/4c olive oil
1 chopped tomato
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
3/4 t. salt, ground pepper
1/2 t. Old Bay Shrimp Seasoning (or your favorite southwest or cajun seasoning)

Simply mix all ingredients together and let marinade 15 minutes.
Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees in a 9" x 13" glass dish.
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Serve over brown rice, pasta or julienned and sauteed zuccini, making sure to drizzle with the juices.

P.S. I found the recipe. . .

K&J's Shrimp Recipe
1# large shrimp, peeled
2-3 T. chile oil
2-3 T. olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
a handful of your favorite cheese -- feta, gruyere, or chevre

Simply mix all ingredients together and let marinade 15 minutes.
Bake 5 minutes at 450 degrees on a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven for 3 minutes to melt cheese and meld flavors.

Serve over brown rice, pasta or julienned and sauteed zuccini, and enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cindy's Cashew Cheese

Deprivation is the mother of culinary invention.
I'll admit, I am prone to pout on occasion when I feel deprived over my inability to tolerate gluten or dairy. But, as this basic cashew cheese recipe has developed, I've learned to love its versatility, taste and creamy texture. It's a delicious indulgence!

Create a batch of this delicious, ricotta-textured "cheese" to use on pizzas, in lasagnas, as a base for a dip, or to mix with a marinara or pesto sauce for a dreamy, creamy sauce. Freeze most the recipe in 1/2 cup containers to pull out as you crave.

Cindy's Cashew Cheese
3c. raw cashews, soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator
3/4 c. water
4 teaspoons dry sherry
7 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Soak the cashews in a large bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight.
Rinse and drain the cashews.

Combine all ingredients in blender (the Vitamix blender works best, but a regular blender will do). To begin, mix at a low speed, then increase to the highest speed setting, and mix for about 3 minutes until you have a consistent, creamy texture.

You may use a food processor, but you will have a more textural, granular "cheese".

Add less water (1/2 c.) for a thicker, cream cheese-like texture. Add more water (1 c.) for a creamier dip.

The "cheese" will thicken as it sits overnight. If you wish to freeze portions for later, place the containers in the freezer the next day.


Monday, September 12, 2011

(Not) Aunt Pauline's Bean Salad Recipe

My Great Aunt Pauline was a wonderful cook, poet, and craftswoman. Her bean salad recipe often accompanied many of our church potlucks growing up.

As I felt autumn approach this week, I craved the sweet-tart flavor of her recipe, but wanted to use some of our garden kale and green beans, without so many canned products and with less sugar. I think my Great Aunt Pauline would have approved -- my family sure did.

(Not) Aunt Pauline's Bean Salad Recipe
1 can navy beans
1 large bunch kale (or greens from 6 beets)
Two large handfulls of green beans (about 1 pound)
Half of a small red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sugar (or less, to taste)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Wash and drain navy beans. 
Cut the tough spine from the kale (put it in your compost bin) and slice leaves thinly.
Steam beans until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes), and cut into 1" pieces.
Combine last 6 ingredients and pour over bean, kale and onion mixture. 
Toss well and refrigerate.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Garden Beet Salad

One of the best things about our summer garden are the rows and rows of glorious beets! I'm the only one in my family to be this passionate about the ruby roots, so I often enjoy this entire recipe myself, and enjoy the summer bounty for days.

Garden Beet Salad
6 medium beets (scrubbed, with 1" of stems attached, skin and tap root still on)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Wrap beets in foil, place on a cookie sheet, and roast beets in a 400 degree oven for an hour, or until tender. I like to drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme before sealing their foil pouch.

When cool enough to handle, slice off root and stem ends, slip the skins off, slice in quarters, then into 1/8" slices. Toss beet slices with remaining ingredients.


If you can tolerate dairy, this recipe is fabulous with a sprinkle of chevre cheese.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Pineapple

Nothing says summer bbq at our house like grilled fruit for dessert.
This isn't local fare, but I couldn't resist pairing some grilled pineapple with pork loin, rice, spinach salad and homemade salsa this evening.

Grilled Pineapple
One fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. gluten-free vanilla
2 T. coconut oil (or butter)
1 T. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (this GF liquor is optional)

Peel, core, then slice pineapple into 4 or 8 vertical slices
Mix all remaining ingredients in a small saucepan.
Bring to simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved.
Brush syrup onto pineapple spears and grill until heated through, about 7 minutes.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Max's Red Chile

I love the warm flavor of a perfectly balanced red chile sauce. I think using whole chile pods (as opposed to chile powder) creates a superior chile. My husband, a native New Mexican, taught me his technique for creating the perfect red chile, and I adjusted the spices to my preference -- I like just a dash of honey to balance the potential bitterness of the red chile. This is the best red chile ever created by a gringo.

Create a big pot of this Southwestern goodness on a cold, quiet day at home, so you can savor the aroma as it simmers. Enjoy this slathered over eggs, in your favorite enchilada recipe, as a topping for posole, as a tortilla chip dip, or as the main ingredient of a fabulous Huevos Rancheros.

Max’s Red Chile

~2 pounds bone-in pork chops
6 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz. (2 bags) of dried mild red chiles, stemmed and seeded (or 1 cup mild red chile powder)
6 cups homemade turkey stock (or commercial chicken stock)
1 T. honey
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. cumin
1 T. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Grill salt-and-peppered pork chops. Remove meat from bones, dice and set aside. Re-grill bones and tie together in a bundle.

Sauté onions until browned and caramelized. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

Puree onions, garlic and red chile pods in a food processor or blender. Add chicken stock to make pureeing easier.

In a large pot, combine onion/chile puree, chicken stock, meat, honey, herbs, and grilled bone-bundle. Simmer about 3 hours, or until flavors have melded into a warm, perfectly balanced southwest nectar. Remove and discard bones. Adjust salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.

Note: Make sure you freeze plenty of this for easy southwestern dishes all year long. I think 2-cup quantities in a quart freezer bag is the perfect amount.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banana Boats

This is a perfect way to pack some tasty protein into your kiddo's day without messing up the kitchen with breakfast dishes.

Banana Boats
1 banana, sliced in half
~3 T. peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
Drizzle of honey
mini chocolate chips (optional)

cinnamon sugar

Slice banana in half and place both halves on a plate, cut side up.
Spread peanut butter on the cut side (this takes a little finesse. . .be patient).
Drizzle honey on top of the peanut butter.
If you REALLY love your kids, sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips onto the honey.
Dust with a little cinnamon sugar (fill a shaker-top spice jar with 2 t. cinnamon and 2 T. sugar).

Serve them to two happy kids and watch them disappear before your eyes.
Happy Summer!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rosaleen's Dijon Vinaigrette

This is my favorite, most versatile salad dressing recipe. It makes a fabulous vinaigrette, marinade and pasta salad dressing. My friend, Rosaleen, has good taste!

Rosaleen's Dijon Vinaigrette
1 T. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 c. olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Combine all, shake and enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kale Chips

My kids LOVE kale chips! A perfect combination of nutty, salty flavors and a crunchy texture makes them an irresistible, nutritious snack.

Kale Chips
10 curly kale leaves (about one bunch)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. coconut minos or gluten-free soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
dash of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Rinse kale leaves and cut off their ribs and stems.
Dry and tear each leaf into 6 or 8 pieces.
Toss kale pieces in a large bowl with oil and soy sauce.
Spray 2 cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray or rub with oil.
Place leaves on cookie sheets (don’t overlap edges).
Bake at 250 degrees for 32 minutes, or until crisp.
With metal spatula, move leaves to a wire rack to cool.

Snack to your heart’s content!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Easy as Apple Pie

Everybody needs a handful of simple recipes that can impress guests without a lot of fuss. This is one of them -- it is predictably delicious every time I bake it. This is an extraordinary treat when apples are at their peak in the fall, but I couldn't wait that long to share this.

My childhood neighbor, Mrs. Roessing, created this recipe years ago. I've never tasted a better apple pie. I've used her filling recipe, and Bette Hagman's pastry recipe for a winning GF/DF pie.


Tender Vinegar Pastry
From Bette Hagman’s “Gluten-Free Gourmet” cookbook.

1½ c. rice flour
½ c. potato starch flour
¼ c. tapioca flour
     (or use 2-1/4 cup of your favorite GF flour blend -- Bob's Red Mill works well)
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 t. xanthan gum
¾ c. shortening (Spectrum Non Hydrogenated Shortening is good)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. vinegar
2 T. cold water

Sift flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening. Blend together egg, vinegar and cold water. Stir them into the flour mix. This will seem quite moist, but a rice crust needs to be more moist than a wheat flour one. (I simply combine all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse to "sift", add shortening and pulse to "cut in," then pulse again to mix in egg/liquid). Knead the mixture into a ball.

Separate into two balls and roll, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Remove one sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie tin. Remove final plastic wrap sheet.

To bake a pie crust to be used later, bake in preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 crusts.
(Double the recipe to freeze extra pastry dough -- flatten into quart-sized Ziplock freezer bags.)


Apple Pie Filling
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1½ t. cinnamon
8c. apples, peeled and thinly sliced
     (5-6 Granny Smith or Mutza apples)
1 T. butter

Mix together dry ingredients for pie. Toss with apple slices. Pile apples in crust. Dot with butter. Cover with vented crust or lattice.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Done when juices are boiling and apples are tender.


Try variations based upon available fruit. 
One day I only had 5 cups of apples in the house, so I substituted 3 cups of frozen blueberries -- it was spectactular.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Mom, can I have more Brussels sprouts?"

For those of you who have small kids at home, the words of this blog title aren't often uttered. But honestly, I heard them this evening!

Almost all vegetables, no matter how they are prepared, are gluten free and dairy free. The big challenge lies in getting your kids (or yourself) to enjoy them! Besides plain steamed broccoli or asparagus with sea salt, this recipe is a hit in our home every time it's served:

Buttery Brussels Sprouts

Three big handfulls of Brussels sprouts
1 T. Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
1 T. Butter (or Nature's Balance Buttery Spread or olive oil)

Wash Brussells Sprouts, and remove any damaged outer leaves. Create a fresh cut on the stem end of each sprout, and make an "X" about 1/4" deep with a paring knife through the stem area. Place in steamer and steam 10 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached. Place in serving bowl. Squeeze a splash of Bragg's and melt butter on top. Stir.

Serve immediately with confidence.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nine-Broken Egg Frittata

An innocent-looking speed bump accosted me today.

I swear I was going the speed limit (or really close to it. . .). I felt a sickening thud as my groceries leaped, then crashed in the back of the minivan. I cringed the rest of the ride home. When I opened the hatch of my minivan, I looked with dismay upon my flat of 30 once-flawless organic eggs as I counted no less than 9 newly broken eggs!

When life gives you lemons, you simply make lemonade, or in this case, a huge frittata.

Nine-Broken Egg Frittata

9 eggs (preferrably not broken, but if the opportunity presents itself, why not?)
1 lb sausage or cubed ham
2 T. olive oil
1/2 large onion
1 large clove garlic
5 sun-dried tomatoes, minced
6+ cups fresh spinach, chopped, or a package of frozen spinach
3 russet potatoes, or 5 small red potatoes, cubed or sliced thinly (hash browns work well, too)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes, fresh herbs, fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown sausage or ham nicely in a very large (oven proof) frying pan. Drain fat from sausage, and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

Soak sun dried tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes if needed to soften. Mince.

Heat olive oil in pan, and sauté onion until slightly browned. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.

Mix in sun dried tomatoes and spinach. Set aside in large bowl.

Brown potatoes in olive oil until tender. Combine all ingredients except egg into the large bowl.

Preheat frying pan on medium heat. Scatter all ingredients except egg into the bottom of frying pan. Beat eggs, and pour evenly over all ingredients. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is set, about 5 minutes. Place frying pan into oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until set completely.

Cut into pizza-shaped wedges (my kids call this breakfast pizza), and serve with a liberal sprinkling of fontina cheese if you wish.

This should make enough for dinner plus breakfast or school lunches the next day. Bon appetit!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Midwestern Chicken Pot Pie

We all crave Midwestern, homestyle cooking now and then, even if you call the Rocky Mountains your home. This recipe hits the spot when you're longing for gluten-free comfort food.

Make a double batch of the filling and freeze it for a quick weeknight dinner later. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and top with pastry just before cooking.

This one's for you, Mom.


Chicken Potpie
loosely based upon Carol Fenster's "Gluten-Free Quick and Easy" recipe

2 T. butter, dairy-free buttery spread (I like Earth Balance), or olive oil
1/2 c. celery
1 c. carrots
1/2 c. onions
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. celery salt
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1 c. peas
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
2 c. cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
1/4 c. white wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease 4 ovenproof 4" ramekins or a 2-quart ovenproof baking dish.

Sauté onion, carrots, celery in butter in a large skillet until almost tender. Add 1-1/2 cups chicken broth, seasoning and peas and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir the sweet rice flour into the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth to form a smooth paste. Add to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken and wine. Spoon into serving dish(es).

Divide half the pastry recipe (below) into 4 balls. Roll each ball between sheets of plastic wrap to a circle just slightly smaller than the diameter of the ramekins and place a circle of piecrust over filling in each ramekin. Or roll one pastry crust to fit the baking dish. Optional: brush the crust with beaten egg to brown nicely, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 15-20 minutes for individual ramekins, or 20-25 minutes for the large baking dish, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned.


Tender Vinegar Pastry
From Bette Hagman’s “Gluten-Free Gourmet” cookbook.

1½ c. rice flour
½ c. potato starch flour
¼ c. tapioca flour
     (or use 2-1/4 cup of your favorite GF flour blend -- Bob's Red Mill works well)
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 t. xanthan gum
¾ c. shortening (Spectrum Non Hydrogenated Shortening is good)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. vinegar
2 T. cold water

Sift flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening. Blend together egg, vinegar and cold water. Stir them into the flour mix. This will seem quite moist, but a rice crust needs to be more moist than a wheat flour one. (I simply combine all dry ingredients into a food processor, pulse to "sift", add shortening and pulse to "cut in," then pulse to mix in egg/liquid). Knead the mixture into a ball.

Separate into two balls and roll, one at a time, between two sheets of plastic wrap. Remove one sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie tin. Remove final plastic wrap sheet.

To bake a pie crust to be used later, bake in preheated 450° oven for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 crusts.

This pastry recipe is delicious for pumpkin pie or apple pie (brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar for fruit pies). Double the recipe to freeze extra pastry dough flattened into quart-sized Ziplock freezer bags.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Simple Marinades

I am a lucky woman – my husband loves to grill, and he's good at what he does. Darn good.

Creating simple, delicious meals is essential to keeping your sanity while eating gluten free. We've found that basic dinners of grilled meat, steamed veggies, and a starch win over complex meals almost every time.

Many pre-marinated meats contain gluten, so it's best, and quite easy, to create your own marinades from a few ingredients in your pantry.

One of these three recipes adorn nearly everything my husband tosses on our grill. Enjoy!


Atchison #1 Marinade

2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
     (Lea & Perrins® Original Worcestershire Sauce is GF)
2 T. Tamari Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (GF soy sauce)
2 T. olive oil
     (or less, depending on the meat’s fat content)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

chile flakes, herbs, ginger, your favorite seasoning blends

Mix all ingredients together and marinate steaks for an hour or two. Double the recipe if grilling more than two to four steaks.

This is equally good on chicken and pork.

Bon Appetit!


Asian Marinade

2 T. Tamari Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos (GF soy sauce)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. sesame oil
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. lime juice
2 t. grated ginger (fresh or available in glass jars in the produce section)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and pour over skin-on salmon and marinate about 30 minutes. 
Delicious on beef, pork or chicken.


1 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

1 pound tilapia, striped bass, or sturgeon fillets

Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer.

Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Kid Tips

A big challenge for GF kids is helping them to eat healthfully while away from home. Here are a couple of tricks to make it an easier transition.

I make sure that my child's school has gluten-free birthday cupcakes in the teacher's lounge freezer (6 fit nicely in a quart freezer bag). They're easily on-hand for last minute celebrations. My son loves to strut into the teachers lounge to get himself a treat when needed.

At school, my kiddo has "emergency lunches" in the school cafeteria shelf if the GF school lunch on the menu that day is changed, or if a lunchbox is forgotten. I made ours out of several shelf-stable items -- peanut butter to-go containers, snack-sized corn chips, applesauce containers, pickle containers, and cut fruit containers.

Gluten-free pizza can be sent to pizza parties. Amy's had several good GF and GF/DF frozen pizzas, or you could send a few slices your own. Udi's is a fabulous GF frozen crust, and Bob's Red Mill makes a wonderful Pizza Crust Mix.

Send Gluten-Free "Kits" with your kiddo to have in the classroom and at play dates. This could include a couple GF granola bars, GF cookies, GF crackers, GF pretzels, etc in a plastic container. It's good to include a note describing gluten intolerance to the teacher or parent. I have posted our note below.

Now, get out there and play!

You may modify this note to suit your child's needs.
(Kiddo's name)'s Gluten-Free Snack Guide
(Kiddo's name) has an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease, also known as gluten intolerance. This means he can't eat regular bread, cake, crackers, granola bars, cookies, pasta or pizza.
His body thinks that gluten is a poison. Gluten is in wheat (wheat, spelt, kamut), rye, oats, barley and malt. When he digests gluten, his antibodies in his small intestines come to fight the "poison", and end up hurting his small intestines. Digestion and nourishment can't happen after repeated ingestion of gluten.
(Kiddo's name) CAN EAT lots of things. Some snacks include yogurt, cheese, milk, nuts, fruit, veggies, pickles, pudding, Jello, corn tortillas, Fritos, Cheetos, potato chips, juice, soda, and the gluten-free snacks included. He can eat all candy except Nestle Crunch, Kit Kat, Twix, Twizzlers Licorice, and Whoppers.
Good lunch and dinner items are eggs, hot dogs (check package to see if they are gluten free), meat, cheese, potatoes, corn, rice, peanut butter & jelly, corn tortillas. Breaded items, pasta and many soups are not allowed.
If (Kiddo's name) does eat gluten, it is NOT AN EMERGENCY and (Kiddo's name) will not immediately get sick. He usually tells us if he thinks he ate gluten. We consider this kind of error a step in the process of learning about his new diet (he was diagnosed in _________), and we do not shame or criticize him for it. We simply talk about the risks of doing so.
THANK YOU for your concern and for keeping (kiddo's name) healthy! Please call me if you have any questions.
(Mom and Dad's name and phones)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper Recipe

Okay. . .let's be honest.
Even if you are enjoying the health benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle and feel great, I'll bet you can't walk down the grocery store aisle and not gaze longingly at the brightly-colored boxes of sodium-laden instant comfort food. I know you want them. So do I!!

My kids are a fan of a Homemade Hamburger Helper recipe I created by using a basic white sauce recipe from Karina's Gluten-Free Goddess blog. Try this on an evening you're wanting a taste of processed food nostalgia while remaining dairy and gluten free.

Homemade Hamburger Helper
1 pound ground beef
1/4 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt, or your favorite seasoning (Lawry's is GF!)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped chives or parsley
1/2 bag (8 oz.) of Tinkyada Pasta in your favorite shape (we like spirals)

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1-1/4 cups almond or hemp milk

Boil pasta in large stockpot until almost tender.

Brown beef in a large skillet with onion. Drain well. Season with salt and Lawry's.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and stir in the rice flour (I like to use a whisk to do this). Cook and stir the flour for about 10 seconds, then slowly add in the almond milk, whisking to blend the flour paste and almond milk. Bring the mixture to a bubble (it will thicken as it heats) then remove from heat.

Combine beef, pasta and sauce in skillet and warm together a moment.

Serve with a yummy side salad or steamed broccoli.

(For a grain-free version, mix 1/2 c. cashew cheese with 1/2 c. water and use in place of the white sauce above)

Visit your local health food store and see the plethora of gluten free products available (don't be afraid to ask -- you'll be pleasantly surprised). These small companies are the ones who created the initial gluten-free product lines and public awareness of gluten-free living. Give thanks by taking home a package of gluten-free goodness today.

Believe it or not, large corporations like Betty Crocker are listening and answering the call for gluten-free fare with Gluten-free Hamburger Helpers, Gluten-free Bisquick, and Cake, Cookie and Brownie Mixes, among other products. I'm a fan of some of their dessert mixes. I still can't endorse eating products laden with MSG and dozens of ingredients that I can't pronounce, but I'm thankful for the increase of awareness that these corporations are creating.

Peruse your grocery aisle today. . .you may be surprised at what you can take home.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cindy's Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread

I don't have many claim to fames, but this is one of them. I've actually made women cry over a warm loaf of this whole grain gluten-free goodness, and I've never been so proud.

Over a decade ago, after I was sick and tired of consuming pasty, white rice flour gluten-free bread options, I created this recipe. I want to my local health food store, took a sample of every gluten free grain and seed there was available, and went to work.

This bread is [loosely] based upon Red Star Yeast's "Our Favorite White Bread" gluten-free recipe.

I like to create a dozen or so bread mixes comprised of 1.) the dry ingredients mixed together in a quart ziplock bag, 2.) the seeds in a snack-size Ziplock bag, and 3.) the grains in a sandwich-sized Ziplock bag. It makes the 20-ingredient list less daunting to mix this ahead of time.

Cindy's Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread 
for bread machines

Wet Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup water

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour 
1 cup quinoa flour 
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon egg replacer
2/3 cup dry milk (or powdered soy milk, or add an extra egg and 1/4 c. less water)

one yeast packet (2-1/8 teaspoons dry yeast -- not rapid-rise)

6 tablespoons Buckwheat (or kasha)
3 tablespoons Quinoa grain
3 tablespoons Amaranth grain

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons flax seed (coarsely ground in coffee grinder)

1. Pour 1-1/4 c. boiling water into a ~4c. container. Add the grains, stir, and let set for 10 minutes to soften the grains.

2. Place several ice cubes into a 1-cup measure, and fill the remaining space with water to make 1 cup. Pour ice and water into the grain container to cool the grain mixture (you don't want to cook your eggs or kill your yeast with the hot water!)

3. Place eggs, vinegar and oil into bottom of bread machine container. Once the ice cubes are melted, add the grains and their water.

4. Add the dry ingredients atop the wet.

5. Add the seeds atop the dry ingredients.

6. Sprinkle the yeast on top.

7. This bread bakes well with the 3-hour rapid cycle. Scrape the sides of the pan ~5 minutes into the mix cycle if ingredients are sticking to the sides.

8. Remove from baking pan immediately after completion, and cool on a wire rack, covered with a dish towel to allow for a slow cooling process)

This is a forgiving recipe -- feel free to substitute nuts, pumpkin seeds, grains or starches to customize for your dietary needs or taste preferences. Happy baking!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Gluten-Free Beginning

You can have a good life without gluten.
And it won't be as hard as you think.
This is the beginning of my online health and wellness empowerment journey, direct to you. . .