Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Carmeled Cookies

I can not take credit for this recipe, my 7 year old son dreamed this up with his friend the other day and I came into the kitchen in the middle of them making it.  I have to say, they came up with a delicious recipe.  Basically, it is a twist on Rice Krispie treats.  The name is also a result of my son as he named them.

The Concoction (printer friendly)
4 C miniature marshmallows
1 C chocolate chips
10 caramels, unwrapped & quartered
1/2 C coconut
2 T butter
5 C corn or rice check
1/3 C whole almonds

1. In a large microwave bowl combine the marshmallows, chocolate chips, caramels, coconut, and butter.

Microwave for about 2 minutes.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn't go over the bowl.

2. Meanwhile, chop the almonds.
3. When the marshmallow mixture is done, stir it and add the Chex.  After it is mixed well, sprinkle with chopped almonds and stir again.
4. Place spoonfuls on wax paper and allow them to cool (if you can wait that long).  Makes about 2 doz.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


For our kids birthdays we always get them a book.  This year for my son, who is just starting chapter books, I found these Magic Tree House-like books called The Enchanted Tunnel series.  It is an LDS (Mormon) series and the first book finds the brother and sister arriving on a pioneer trek.  My son has LOVED this book.  For him, one of the best parts is a recipe for "Johnnycakes."  Pioneers often cooked these in the morning and then they would wrap them up in a handkerchief and put them in their pockets where they would stay warm.  While not especially hygienic, they were practical for "fast food" on the long walk West.  Since my son started the book the number of times he asked for me to make these is incalculable.  Finally, I relented, and it was one of the best decisions I made.

Basically, they are a cross between a Southern cornbread and a pancake.  The first time we ate them we treated them like a pancake with butter and syrup.  This time thought I thought we would branch out and offer pancake toppings and taco toppings, kind of a Navajo Taco without fry bread.  Both ways are delicious. I then sent them as the bread for a sandwich the next day.  I also think they would be great served plain, perhaps as a side in a meal. 

Johnnycakes (printer friendly)
1 1/4 C flour mix
3/4 C cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 t xanthan gum
1 egg beaten
1 C milk (whatever kind you have)
1/4 C melted butter (or oil)

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum.  In a separate bowl combine the egg, milk and melted butter.  Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until combined.
2.  Cook one of the following ways:
--Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake on 400-degrees for 30 minutes
--Heat a greased skillet (or griddle) on medium-high heat and pour 1/4 C batter for each "cake."    Turn when the top looks bubbly.

Here are photos of two of our favorite ways to eat them.
 Main Course


Monday, October 25, 2010

Choose Your Own Lettuce Wraps

A while ago I was planning on making chicken tacos and got them almost made only to realize I didn't have tortillas or chips.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.  After searching the fridge, freezer and cupboards I found some Romain lettuce and decided to just use the lettuce as the "tortilla."  They were wonderful, and I felt so healthy.  That said, I have found that butter lettuce works a lot better, but Romain works in a pinch.  The other night I decide to do a "clean out the fridge" and do lettuce wraps.  It turned out wonderfully.  I basically took anything and everything out of the fridge and cupboard that needed to be eaten, along with browning up some hamburger with onion and salt & pepper, although chicken or pork or no meat would work just as well, and set it all on the table.

I know the table looks crazy!
We then all sat down at put together whatever looked like a yummy combination.  Often, one of us would come up with a good idea and we would all copy.  It was such a fun, quick, and easy meal, and now my fridge is cleaned out.

Basically just put the ingredients in the middle of the lettuce and roll it up and enjoy

Here are a few of our favorites: (Printer Friendly Recipe)

Mexican Wrap
taco sauce
sour cream

Asian Wrap
red pepper
soy sauce
chinese noodles (I realize they aren't GF but this was my plate, and I added them)
Pizza Wrap
Turkey Pepperoni
Mozarella cheese

 Veggie Wrap
Red Peppers

Spicy BBQ
Mozzarella Cheese
A1 Sauce
Green Taco Sauce

Coconut Shrimp
Cooked Shrimp
I must admit this wasn't my favorite, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had had Cocktail Sauce -- Next Time

So next time you have lots of leftovers grab some lettuce and get wrapping!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Tomato and Onion Salad

Okay, I know your mouth is watering.  I know mine is just from seeing the picture.  You really should make this, especially since you can actually find yummy tomatoes right now -- Mine are from my garden, oh, how I love my garden (My husband's more precisely since I don't do much, but prepare food from it, but marriage is about sharing so it is mine - right).  Make this -- TONIGHT.  It is so easy it is almost scary.  The recipe is from Rachel Ray's "Chicken Clubs" in her 30 Minute Meals cookbook and when I found it I didn't have bacon and I was so disappointed the rest of the night that the minute I got bacon it was the first thing I made for dinner.  It is meant to be a sandwich, which is how about 1/2 my family ate it as, but my daughter just wanted it without bread so it is easily eaten wrapped in lettuce.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Tomato Salad (printer friendly recipe)
8 slices bacon
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 1/2 breasts)
4 toothpicks
Tomato & Onion Salad (recipe below)
Romain or Bibb lettuce
Toasted buns, or toasted bread

Pound the breasts so they are uniform thickness.  Criss Cross two pieces of bacon and place the chicken in the middle and wrap the bacon around it (like you do a ribbon on a present) Secure with a tooth pick.  Heat either a griddle to medium high or an outdoor grill  to medium or medium low and cook chicken for about 6-7 minutes on each side until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.  While the chicken cooks make the Tomato and Onion Salad.  When the chicken is cooked make a sandwich with the chicken and salad, wrap it in a lettuce leaf, or just sprinkle the salad over the top of the chicken and enjoy.

Tomato & Onion Salad
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 medium onion, minced
handful of chopped, fresh parsley or 1 tsp of dried
1/2 tsp dried chervil (opt. but yummy)
Salt & pepper to taste
About 1 T olive oil

1. Mix all ingredients together and let sit until chicken is done.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


As you can see, I have been doing a little organizing of my blog.  As such, I have found tons of food inspiration which I have been sorely lacking.  There were a few times I wanted to hop up and start cooking something (Cookie Dough Brownies anyone?)  only to realize that would defeat the purpose of sitting here to organize.  I hope this helps you find some inspiration too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

I posted last week a recipe for meatballs.  Here is one way to use them that we LOVE!!!

Sweet & Sour Meatballs (printer friendly recipe)
1 C sugar (brown or white, your preference)
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1/2 C Ketchup
1 20 oz can pineapple tidbits, including juice
Approx 20 Meatballs
Rice or noodles

In a medium saucepan combine ingredients and about 20 meatballs over med heat.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve over rice or noodles.  Makes enough for 6 people.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Aloha Bread

I love sweet breads, with the exception of fruit cake, I have yet to find one I don't love.  When I found some 1/2 dead bananas at the store the other day I immediately thought, I NEED banana bread.  So I bought some thinking I had enough for a GF batch and a regular.  OOPS, only enough for one batch -- who knew banana bread takes so many bananas.  So I went looking for something else to do with the bananas, because I didn't want my daughter to go without, or for us to eat all her treats.

I was looking in my Lion House Desserts cookbook which I LOVE.  On a side note these recipes are wonderful and since The Lion House is a restaurant in Salt Lake City all the recipes are created for high altitudes, which if you live in Albuquerque is a must.  I really need to get all their cookbooks because they are fabulous!  I have already adapted others for to be gluten free like their doughnut balls (which we had for an after-school snack yesterday), butter-pecan squares, or their wonderful, egg-free chocolate pudding.  In case you are wondering, I plan to continue until just about every recipe has a GF version written to the side of it!

Anyway, they had this recipe which called for just 1 C of mushed banana and then added pineapple, pecans, and coconut -- which if you've seen my carrot cake recipe you know is the trifecta of goodness so this recipe was just begging to be made.  After a little consideration I adapted it for GF and here it is.  I personally think it turned out fabulous and my daughter ate a whole loaf herself in about 2 days.  She loved it toasted for breakfast, and as an after school snack, in her lunch, etc.  I have some left in freezer that is waiting for me to surprise her with later.

Aloha Bread (printer friendly version)
1 C butter
2 C sugar
5 eggs
1 C mashed bananas
4 C GF flour mix
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 C chopped pecan
1 C coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease 2 large 9x5-inch loaf pans and set aside.  In a medium size bowl mix the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, soda, and salt.  In a separate large bowl cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Stir in the bananas.  Add dry ingredients and blend well but do not over mix or else there will be tunnels and a coarse texture.  Add pineapple, pecans and coconut and mix together on low until blended.  Pour into the prepared pans (they should be about 2/3 full, use a 3rd pan or make muffins if necessary and cook a little less).  Bake for 60-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pans about 15 minutes and then dump onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Sauteed Veggies

The other night I was trying to figure out what to cook.  I wasn't really in the mood to cook and since it was the end of the month we were low on supplies and I was trying to be good and not buy anything.  So after rumaging through my fridge I found 3 large baked potatoes from a previous dinner in the fridge and decided to add some other veggies to them and fry them up with a little seasoning.  It was delicious.   I was afraid I would miss the hamburger which is something I often fry with leftover baked potatoes, but I didn't.  I think we will be eating this more often.

Sauteed Veggies (printer friendly version)
1 T bacon grease (optional, but adds a great flavor you could just sub butter)
1 T butter
4 carrots, sliced
3 slices of onions cut into 6ths (see photo below)
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 large or 3-4 small/med baked potatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cumin

1. In a large fry pan or skillet melt bacon grease and butter.  Add carrots and sautee for about 5 minutes.
Add onion
 one slice cut into sixths

and green pepper and cook until onion is soft.  Add potatoes
and seasonings.

Cook until all heated through and some of the veggies are slightly crispy brown.  Enjoy as the main dish of dinner with bread or as a side.  It would be yummy with meatloaf don't you think.  Hmmmm I think I need to buy some hamburger and make meatloaf now.

Monday, October 4, 2010


This is a recipe we love.  My mom created it and it is delicious.  I have to admit it may not be as moist as some since it doesn't have bread crumbs, but that is why I like it.  It is too much of a pain to come up with good GF breadcrumbs.  You can enjoy these with anything you might put meatballs on.  I will occasionally be posting some recipes that use these.  If you want to use turkey instead of beef I imagine it would work, however you might want to add a little olive oil since turkey can be so lean. If you want to make the meatballs more Italian flavored the adaptation is listed at the end.  I've been thinking of coming up with other flavored meatballs, such as Mexican that you could make a sandwich with or soup etc.  If you have any ideas for other flavored meatballs or recipes to use them in let me know.

Meatballs (printer friendly recipe)
approx 12 per 1/2 lb of meat

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbs minced green pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Mix ingredients together until mixed well

Mold into small balls about 1" in diameter
Horrid photo I know but you get the idea.  I love Cookie scoops for this!

Place on a greased pan

Bake at 375-degrees for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool and then place in a freezer bag for later use.

Italian Meatballs 
follow the above recipe, but add the following to the ingredients before you mix them together.

1 T dried Italian Seasoning
3 cloves of garlic minced

Monday, September 27, 2010


We love biscuits at our house, as I'm sure you do at yours too.  We had vegetable soup the other night and biscuits were a must.  I really like Carol Fenster's recipe in her Wheat Free Recipes & Menus book. It is just perfect, a few more ingredients than regular baking powder biscuits, but worth it.

Carol Fenster's Biscuits (printer friendly recipe)
1 C rice flour blend
1/2 C cornstarch
1 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum*
1 tsp guar gum*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp shortening
1/2 C milk (or substitute)
1 egg (or equivalent)
White rice flour, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees (375 works best for me, so see what is best for you) and grease a large cookie sheet.
2. Combine the flour, cornstarch sugar, baking powder, xanthan & guar gum, salt and baking soda in a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine (or place in a large bowl and whisk until combined).  Add shortening and pulse until the mixture as the texture of large bread crumbs (or cut in the shortening until the appropriate texture is reached).
3. Combine milk & egg and add to the flour mixture and process until it forms a ball (or use a fork and stir until the same thing happens).  If for some reason, you don't get a ball, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it does.  The dough should be soft.
4. Lightly flour the countertop or the cookie sheet or I prefer a rolling mat.

Place dough on surface and turn over so both sides are floured.

Roll or pat the dough to a 3/4" thickness and cut into 2" circles.
I have never had a biscuit cutter, I just use a cup and it works perfectly

Reshape leftover dough and pat again to a 3/4" thickness and cut again, repeat until dough is used.  I usually take the last bits and form into a biscuit.  It is ugly and not as soft, but it still tastes good.
5. Place biscuits on cookie sheet next to each other
You can see my hand formed one on the bottom of the photo.

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly.  Then enjoy!

Rolling Mat

A few years ago (before Celiacs entered our lives) my sister made me a rolling mat for Christmas.  I have loved it, although I have been meaning to make a bigger one.

Basically you use it to roll out pie crust, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, rolls, cookies, etc.  I have loved using it and not having to clean the flour off my counter.  When you are done you shake the excess flour off and fold it up and put it in the freezer for next time.  Wonderful!  I usually only wash it when I make things like Cinnamon rolls and get cinnamon & sugar on it, or if oil gets on it, which is usually about once or twice a year, which may seem like it is not enough, but the point is that the more you use it the more the flour gets in the mat and the less flour you have to use in the future, it is great!

Since my daughter was diagnosed 3 years ago I have been meaning to make me a GF one.  And since we moved earlier this year into a home with tile countertops I knew the time had come.  Let's just say that rolling things out on tile is for the birds, and crazy people.  I first went to Jo-Ann's and bought some duck cloth.  I had planned on buying cream colored but they were out.  Which was just as well, since I wouldn't have bought pink instead.  And I love the fact that the pink is stark contrast to the cream and I won't get them confused on accident (which I have been known to do more than once).

So first I soaked the cloth in the hottest water I could get out of my tap for about 30 minutes.
The green was going to be for my non-GF bigger version, unfortunately I was about 1/4 yard short

Then I dried it on the highest setting of my drier.

I then measured the depth of my countertop and used that measurement to cut the fabric to a square that would fit nicely on the counter.  Then I got bias tape that matched (I ended up making my own) and pinned it around the edge.

I then sewed the bias tape all around the mat. folding the end under where the two ends of the tape meet.

And voile, I'm done!

Don't look too close since I decided not to worry about perfectly straight seams or binding, I was just throwing it together.

When you are done using it just fold it up and place in the freezer (mine fits in a quart size Ziploc freezer bag.)
My 2 mats, size by side.  My happiness is overflowing. 

Here are some recipes that this would work great for:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't Wake the Baby!!!

My 1 year old and my 6 year old boys share a bedroom.  For the most part this isn't a problem, except when the 1 year old is taking a nap and the 6 year old feels he must go in and doesn't pay attention to whether the baby is sleeping or not.  The other day when he had been woken AGAIN I had had enough so I made a sign.  I cut 3 1x2's 6" long and glued them together with wood glue.  Then I painted them with craft glue and used my new Silhouette SD (which I am in LOVE with) and cut some vinyl lettering.  Then I drilled 2 holes and tied a ribbon to hang.  Now the kids know when the door is shut because the baby is sleeping and that there will be consequences for opening the door.

I do have some GF stuff to blog I just have to finish a few pictures.  Let's just say I finally made a tool that I have been wanting for 3 years that will make my GF baking easier.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why I LOVE my fridge!

Last year we bought a new fridge and my #1 criteria: I had to be able to put a cookie sheet with Fruit Pizza easily inside without a lot of shifting and leveling.  I realize this is a strange criteria.  Afterall, I generally only make fruit pizza once or twice a year.  Nevertheless, when I need the space I need the space.  So I recently made fruit pizza and once again fell in love with my fridge.
And closer:

Mmmm I think i need to make another one!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I know that most people have their version of Shepherd's Pie.  Basically, meat and veggies with some sauce/gravy, covered in mashed potatoes.  My mother's was done using Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup (I know it is bad for you, but it tastes so good!) for the sauce.  Always Campbell's Cream of Mushroom, all others just tasted wrong!  It is one of my favorite meals and it was an easy meal my kids LOVED.  Then came in came Celiacs and out went casseroles.  For the most part I wasn't a casserole maker to begin with, but I had a few staples and this was one.  As with most starting out with gluten free cooking I shied away from all things that were inherently gluteny (I know it isn't a word, but it works so well).  Eventually, I started experimenting, but this was still a recipe I stayed away from.  How could it possibly be as good.  After a year or so I braved this dish.  At the time my daughter was off dairy and eating soy milk which I couldn't stand (thankfully she liked) so I decided to cook all the components and then right before adding the sauce, I pulled a little bit of the meat and veggie mixture out and added a mushroom white sauce I made from scratch.  Thankfully, she loved it.  I personally find it yummier now that I can use regular milk for the sauce, but I have to admit I still make two dishes and use Campbell's soup for our sauce and a homemade GF sauce for hers.  Not really sure why, I really like the sauce I make for my daughter, I always make extra to use as gravy over some extra mashed potatoes. I think it is, mostly, because for me Shepherd's Pie reminds me of home and of my mom.  It is my ultimate comfort food.  Hopefully, for my daughter this recipe will do the same for her.  This recipe makes about 5-6 servings depending on how much you want.

Shepherd's Pie (printer friendly)
4-5 lg potatoes
milk & butter for mashed potatoes
1 lb hamburger or ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced and divided
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained and reserving the liquid.
1 can green beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom Sauce (recipe below)

1. Cut up the potatoes into about 1/2"-3/4" cubes and boil in salted water until soft, but not mushy.

2. Meanwhile, in an oven proof skillet, brown the meat with the onion, reserving about 1 Tbsp of onion for the sauce.

When the meat is mostly cooked add the mushrooms.

When fully cooked add the green beans and bring to a boil.

Add enough of the sauce to make it really thick, it probably won't take all the sauce.

Cover with mashed potatoes,

leaving a hole down to the sauce to allow the steam to escape and not boil over (or at least not as much).

3. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Serve.  YUM!

Mushroom sauce
2 T butter or oil
2 T diced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 T potato flour
Reserved mushroom liquid
Milk (choose your favorite, I prefer soy)
1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil

1. In a small pan melt butter.  Saute onions until lightly browned. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and potato flour.

Stir until lightly brown and somewhat smooth.  It might be a little crumbly

2. Add milk to mushroom liquid to equal 1 C and add Worcestershire sauce and basil.  Pour a little at a time into pan making sure to fully mix in the onion/flour mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until thick.


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