Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dunkin' Who???

Or a.k.a. Ode to a Donut munchkin...

Every Sunday Morning, my brother-in-law shows up with a bag of Dunkin' Donut Munchkins. A treat that I would enjoy before going gluten free. Sigh. Dunkin' Donuts had become Dunkin' DO NOTS. BOOO HOOOOO!!!! I'd have to watch my kids, powdered sugar around thier lips. Knowing all the while that I could not eat them. My heart would sink every Sunday morning when he would arrive with that blasted pink, orange and brown bag in his hand. I know he was not being malicious. At least, I don't think he was!

I went in search of (see, where's Leonard Nimoy????) a donut recipe. I was shocked at just how many there were out there. I took one and sort of adjusted it according to other recipes.

Well...I have outsmarted Mr. Donut Man....HA HA!!!

Truly, days like today are the ones where I am thankful I am gluten-free. I really am. These things I'm trying, experimenting with are things I would have never tried without motivation. I would have NEVER made my own doughnut holes. I am thankful now that I have learned. How silly is that?


Gluten Free Punkins

1 1/2 Cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
2 teaspoons Xantham Gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar ( a little more is okay, but don't overdo or they'll be too sweet)
3 eggs
1/2 Cup Milk (take out 2 Tbs and reserve just incase you need to thin it a little)
Oil for frying
Powdered Sugar for coating

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Using an electric mixer (yes, I used my metallic-chromed beauty for this one!) beat together milk and eggs until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix very well.

Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.

In a deep fryer or deep saute pan heat 1" of oil to 375 degrees.

After dough has rested, drop by tablespoons full into hot oil. Holes will flip to the next side when first side is complete. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

BE CAREFUL that your oil is not too hot...if it is the outside will burn before the inside gets cooked, I learned the hard way.


Shake in powdered sugar, or powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon to coat the outsides.

Serve with tea or coffee and feel normal. Be careful, they are very addicting. :D

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Search Of....

Navigating the waters of gluten free baking is sort of like an episode of "In Search Of..." . While I'm doing it, I feel like Leonard Nimoy should be leaning over my shoulders narrating each move. So many flours, so many starches, so many binders. Sometimes it feels like guess work. In my gluten days, baking was one of my passions. Not just a hobby, but a way to calm my soul and spirit. Always rewarded with a great tasting adventure.

I was not so lucky with Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've tried them several times. Each time elated to try something new, and then deflated when they spread to far, wouldn't rise, and generally didn't come close to what they were supposed. Of course, they always tasted good - but they would not pass for their gluten-filled counterparts.

Well, thanks to Gluten Free Mommy I found a great blog today. The blog is Easy Gluten Free Baking . After reading through her posts, I decided to drive to NY to attend a class. JUST KIDDING. I was once again inspired to find a gluten free chocolate chip recipe to try.

Armed with my flours, starches, and xantham gum (not to mention my new kitchen beauty), I decided to give THIS ONE a try.

Very easy to make, bake and they have a really nice mouth feel too them. My only suggestion is to give them room on the tray and use a large wide spatula to get them off so that they don't get mis-shapen. My husband's response was "You can't eat these, they MUST have regular flour in them."

So...time for me to log off and dip a few in a glass of milk. Hope you enjoy them too!!!!

Articoke Spinach Chicken Casserole

One of my all time favorite appetizers at a restaurant is Artichoke Spinach Dip. Due to the gluten factor, I can no longer order it out. I have made it at home many times. I serve the leftovers over a grilled chicken breast. I've decided to adapt this to a more "casserole" type dish. This takes an appetizer, and makes it a meal. Make sure to see notes at the bottom for different ways to prepare.

Another note: when using canned artichoke hearts, make sure to cut off the top 1/4" of leaves so that it's not too woody. You should not have this problem if you use frozen/thawed artichokes or fresh artichokes.

Artichoke Spinach Chicken Casserole

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed out
1 14.5 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (or 10 oz frozen/thawed & drained)
1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 Cup Mayonnaise (Hellman's) or Sour Cream (or combo of the two)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, sliced thin
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 Cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breast, grilled & sliced on a bias in thin strips

Mix spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, may, garlic, scallions, 1/2 Cup of the parmesan cheese and salt & pepper in a large mixing bowl.

In a 2 quart baking dish, lay out a layer of the chicken strips. Top with half of the artichoke/spinach mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat Layers. End with the last of the mozzarella and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly.


1. OMIT chicken, bake artichoke spinach mix as directed. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.

2. CUT chicken into bitesized pieces and mix in with the artichoke/spinach mix before baking. Mix the Mozzarella cheese in too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Miss me?

Where have I been? Well...let me tell where. Here, in my home. Busy, crazy and no time for real life cooking. Well, maybe we're doing more real life cooking (out of jars and cans) lately. Completely nothing inspired.

I've been gearing up to try some new recipes, then on Sunday, fell while holding my toddler. In effort to keep the little one from cracking her skull open, I sprained my ankle. On the mend, yes, I am. Dinner last night was tuna salad on rice cakes for me! And on bread for my gluten-gluttons. Night before was hot dogs (bunless for me), night before that was leftovers, I think???

Well, tonight I actually plan on cooking - if my ankle holds out :D - and hoping to post it.

To hold you over, here is one of my favorite Salad Dressing recipes - homemade, in a pint jar, shaken, not stirred.

Balsamic Viniagrette

1/4 Cup GOOD Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbs White Vinegar OR Lemon Juice
1 Tsp white sugar OR honey
2 tsp dijion mustard
1/2 cup GOOD olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a 1/2 pint mason jar, cover tightly and shake vigorously. Shaking provides emulsion and creates a creamy delicious dressing.

One of my favorite salads to serve this one on is thinly sliced romaine, thinly sliced scallions, thawed & drained frozen corn and dice tomatoes. Reminds me of ZuZu's Mexican Restaurants. :D

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tortilla Soup

The weather here on the east coast is still cold. Soup is a great food when you're cold. Well, to call this soup would be like calling whipped cream skim milk. It's more like a stew and really filling. I've adapted this recipe many times. It was really great and thick tonight.

Tortilla Soup

1 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 Cups Salsa (choose heat level)
2 Cups frozen corn kernels
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 Cups chicken broth (this time I actually used 3 cups water and 3 Herbox Boullion cubes - GF as of today confirmed)
2 cups crushed tortilla chips (or 6 uncooked corn tortillas cut into thin strips)


Grilled Chicken or Steak
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
Avocado dices
Sour Cream
Crushed Tortilla Chips
Sliced Scallions

Put beans, salsa, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tortillas in a large soup pot. Heat to boiling, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 1 hour (so that the tortillas can become part of the soup and break down completely).

Serve with optional toppings and top your favorite way. Mine is always a dollup of sour cream, a sprinkling of cheese and a generous portion of avocado dices! :D

Feliz Dias!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever"

I must be fair and let you know that those are not my words. Those belong, of course, to John Keats. We've also heard "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." The author of this statement is unknown. Shame, really, someone deserves the credit.

Wait, I need to step back in time a few moments. As a child, one of my first memories is making Nestle's Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies in my grandmothers kitchen. Flour dust on my face, sneaking chocolate chips out of the bag before they would get poured into the bowl to mix in. My grandmother wasn't much for cooking (even though she's a great cook), but she loved to bake. And she had a 1940's Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer. The one with the spinning wheel so the bowl spun around as the beaters mixed the contents. I can still smell the bac-a-lite cord that would burn everytime it was plugged in, I can hear the sound of the motor struggling to cream the butter and sugar, and the sheer weight of it to put it away. I had always hoped one day that I would inherit Gram's, but she's not done with it yet. It still whirs every once in a while when she wants to whip up an old family favorite. I'm still testing the Joseph Family Apple Cake recipe, as soon as it's blogworthy, it will make an appearance.

Anyway, okay, okay, back to yesterday....hope you didn't get nauseous in the time warp....

Well, this weekend, my love, my husband of almost 13 years, and I got to get away for the weekend (THANKS MOM!). We travelled west to Lancaster County. We stayed at a picturesque victorian inn in the town of Bird-in-Hand. (Sorry Dopps, we wanted a weekend time we'll call, okay?). Our room was beautiful, comfortable and wonderful.

We were so close to the outlet shops that we decided to hit a few. Hubby is starting a new job in a few weeks, so we hit the clothing stores to update the wardrobe, shoes stores for new dress shoes, a toy store for games for us and stuff for the kids. We also made a trip to the Le Gormet Shop. Cooking is a love and a hobby for both of us. As we were wondering around, he spotted a box. Several of them, sitting there, all stacked neatly. The box was stamped "REFERBISHED". On top stood a sign announcing that the treasure of all treasures sat inside. For a chef, no, a baker, that is the only treasure that can truly make our hearts soar....a Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer. Metallic Chrome Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer. Five Quart Professional Metallic Chrome Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer. As I quoted, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." It really should be a piece of artwork. But to quote Alton Brown, "I hate unitaskers".

Now, will this kitchen appliance survive armageddon? Solve world hunger? (well, maybe in MY world). Save just one life? No. Of course not, and it truly won't stand forever. I do hope that one day, I'll be able to hand it down to my daughter. I also hope that I can pass down the dreams and memories as well. Of course, the flour dust will be rice flour.

WOW! Thanks to all who voted...

I can't believe I came in 2nd Runner UP!!! I'm so excited!!! Thank you so much to all who voted and supported me through the whole process.

Please make sure to take a minute to check out all the winners.

The Best of Blogs

And again, thanks from the heart of my bottom, I mean, bottom of my heart :D.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Banana Walnut Muffins

Last night, I was preparing to attend a MOPS function today, knowing that there was going to be lots of good food there - none of which I would be able to eat - I decided to make myself a treat. I was going to make a Marbled Cinnamon Swirl Bread, but I noticed the 3 overripe bananas hiding on the counter. They've been mocking me for days now. Sitting there on the counter, turning darker brown each day. I bet they were thinking I wouldn't notice them there. Ahh, but they were wrong. "Muffins", I thought. "If I make a banana bread as muffins, it won't take as long to bake."

The recipe for these muffins, started out as a banana bread recipe that is originally from a bag of Acme Walnuts. Acme on the east coast - Albertson's on the west. When we lived in Phoenix, the same recipe was on the bag of Albertson's Walnuts. :D I actually still have the original bag somewhere where I've cut it out. I've made this bread for 12 1/2 years following the recipe as a gluten glutton. After going gluten free on January 1st, I tried making with just white rice flour. While it tasted okay, and it was eaten; it lacked the depth that the gluten containing bread had. It also took so long to bake, that the edges were almost burnt. Not good. Since I have a boatload of flours to choose from, I decided to mix them up a bit and see what would happen. The results are delicious.

I'll tell ya, they are good. Lightly banana flavored, lightly sweet, crunchy tops, and moist insides. That sounds like a Banana Walnut muffin to me. How about you?

Banana Walnut Muffins

1/2 Cup Sorghum Flour
1/2 Cup White Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
2 tsp Xantham Gum
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Ripe Bananas
3 Tbs Milk
1 Cup chopped Walnuts

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Whisk well to aerate the flours as they mix.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and bananas. Mix until bananas are well mashed. Add milk and flour. Mix until combined.

Fold in Walnuts.

Fill muffin pan with liners. Fill liners to 2/3rds full (for me, this made 16 muffins). For a decorative touch, I put a shelled walnut half on top of the batter before baking.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

A Steak Dinner

Sirloin Steak, Roasted Dijion Red Bliss Potatoes, Iceburg Salad Wedge

A fancy steakhouse dinner, at home, for less than 1/4 the price! My local deli/meat market was running a special on Sirloin Steaks yesterday. I could not resist my urge for red meat.

The steaks were prepared very simply, salt and pepper both sides and grill to desired doneness. In this house, it is most certainly medium-rare.

The perfect accompaniment to a steak is, of course, potatoes. But not just any potatoes, roasted red bliss potatoes. Sometimes potatoes can be bland, lets face it. Well, here's what I did...

Roasted Dijion Red Bliss Potatoes

2 lbs red bliss or baby red bliss potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces.
1/3 cup Dijion Mustard
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbs Dried Parsley Flakes
dash salt, generous dash pepper

Mix potatoes, mustard, olive oil and spices together well. Pour into a 9 X 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 for approximately 1 hour. Stirring every 15 minutes.

And of course, in order to have a steak, you must have mushrooms! Heres how I did the mushrooms:

Merlot Mushrooms

1 10 oz package White Mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 half White Onion, cut in half, sliced thin
1/2 cup Merlot
1/2 cup Beef Broth (I used the indoor grill drippings from cooking the steaks)
freshly ground black pepper

Saute mushrooms and onions until soft. Add red wine and bring to a boil, allow wine to reduce. Add beef drippings or broth. Again, bring to boil and allow the sauce to reduce by at least half. Spoon over steaks before serving.

And last, but certainly not least, an Iceburg Wedge Salad is the perfect steakhouse salad to go along with the rest of the players. A simple wedge of Iceburg Lettuce, drizzled with Kraft Blue Cheese dressing (confirmed again with company yesterday that it is indeed gluten free).

So, who needs a steakhouse to have a steakhouse dinner. All told, this meal took me 30 minutes to prepare. What's even more amazing is that it was less than $5 a plate to prepare, as well. Even Rachel Ray would be proud of that! :D

Monday, April 9, 2007

Amazing Spinach Salad (aka Sader Salad)

Easter always take me back to St. Georges Church in Ardmore. A very large stone, stately church on the corner of Darby Road and Ardmore Avenue in Havertown, PA. I started attending there when I moved to the area as a young teen. Father Jim McKendrick was a great man, at least in the eyes of a 13 year old. Even well heated the church building was always cold. To stand in it now, I'm sure the hymn "How Great Thou Art" would still echo thru it, as sung by an old family friend in a deep bass voice. It echoes in my brain as I type, just as if I were standing in the stone church's large sanctuary.

Our pastor knew the value of the Passover lesson and what it meant to us as a church. The beauty of it's ceremony and the celebration of it's meal. The food, oh the food. I remember this amazing salad that was brought each year. I added one variation, which I don't know if it was kosher or not. It is an AMAZING salad. I made it this year. For the first time in 21 years it passed my lips. I made it to take to Easter dinner with close friends and their family. And it was devoured on Easter Sunday, just as it always was those Saturday Eve's before Easter. I am showing you the recipe halved because it is a HUGE salad to feed like 15 people or something.

This salad could very easily be made into a meal by adding grilled chicken, steak, pork or fish.

Again, I did not photograph it. My friend did, so I hope to post the picture as soon as she sends it to me. (She IS 8 1/2 mos pregnant right now, so it may be a while! )

Spinach Salad (a.k.a. Sader Salad)

1 9 oz package Baby Spinach Leaves
5 oz sliced white mushrooms
8 oz bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (I used a slicer and then cut in half)
2 Tbs freshly chopped chives

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup FRESH lemon juice
1 tsp dijion mustard (more if you like it's tang)
1 tsp honey (more if you like it sweeter)
1 clove garlic, minced very fine
dash salt & pepper

Put fresh lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic and salt & pepper in a small non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic). Slowly whisk in the olive oil so that it emulsifies. Whisk well so that ingredients are the texture of heavy cream.

Layer spinach, mushrooms, eggs and bacon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss well, so that each piece is covered in dressing.

Sprinkle chives over top.

Serve imediately.

This salad will not preserve well since it is dressed before serving. I do not think you will have to worry though. There is not ususally leftovers.

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me.


The word ambrosia means "food of the gods". Something that makes your mouth water at the mere thought of it's existence. Foolish me, when I was a child, I was afraid of Ambrosia because it had coconut in it. Also, most Ambrosias I'd seen were a soupy mess. The marshmallows got mushy and turned into liquid and it was not really a pleasant appearance. As I aged, and my palate matured, along came with it a love for coconut, and the ability to overlook the appearance of a food in order to try. (I mean, seriously, whoever thought of salivating over a bowl of green mush we've come to love as guacamole?). And 5 years ago, as I sat an an Easter table with friends, there was this stuff there. It looked like a white mound of mush with sparkles of orange and flecks of coconut. To be polite, I put a mouthful or two on my plate. It was the last thing on my plate that I ate, dreading it. Well, to my surprise it was just so delicious that I asked the host for the recipe. Thank you, Lois, for this scrumptious salad, which I don't make often b/c it is NOT figure friendly! :D


1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 11 oz cans of mandarin oranges, drained and patted dry with paper towels
1 20 oz can of chunk pineapple, drained and patted dry with paper towels
2 cups mini marshmallows (I used Kraft, as per the company they are gluten free)
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut (check for one in your area, I know they can add wheat starch to keep it from clumping)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and chill for 2 hours. If you must prepare ahead, do not add marshmallows until 2 hours before serving or they will get too mushy.

VERY good. :D

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Caprese Pasta Salad

My favorite salad, by far, is a classic Caprese salad. Layers of Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese and basil, dressed simply with olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt & pepper. It is truly divine. I wish I could visit Capri. If it's on the menu, I order it. Make it with Buffalo Mozzarella and I'm in heaven. Literally. Years ago, I adapted this for a pasta salad. It was delicious and was gone. Having leftover cooked pasta from last night, I was inspired to make it again to see how it would turn out with brown rice pasta.

The picture is a little blurry, but hope that it gets the idea accross...

Caprese Pasta Salad

8 oz cooked, cooled brown rice pasta
16 oz container grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz block of mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
4 or 5 fresh leaves of basil, jullienned
3 tbs GOOD olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix together and let sit in fridge for about 20 mins to half hour. Serve in lettuce cups, or on a nice bed of romaine.

My caution would be to not over dress OR let sit too long. Brown rice pasta continues to soak in dressings and will become mushy.


Turkey Dijion Mushroom Pasta

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe that my husband first made when we were dating. In fact, it was the meal he cooked when I decided he was a man I could marry. HECK, who wouldn't want to marry a man who was handy in the kitchen? Once a week, still, he cooks for me (and our three children). He's usually more adventurous than I, and it is always wonderful. I've had to adapt this slightly to make it Gluten free friendly. It is still a big favorite with me.

Turkey Dijion Mushroom Pasta

8 oz Tinkyada Pasta (I use the tube shaped one for this)
1 lb ground turkey (or beef or chicken would work for this too)
10 oz white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
1 can Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup (yes, really, it's gluten free!!!)
2 to 3 tblspoons Dijion Mustard (French's is gluten free)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large saute pan, brown turkey. Once browned, push to one side of the pan. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic. Saute until mushrooms are soft. Add Creamy Mushroom soup and dijion mustard. Mix well. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes so that the flavors blend. Add salt or pepper if desired.

Meanwhile prepare pasta and drain well.

Mix with the sauce and mix well. Stir in grated parmesan. Serve with extra parmesan for sprinkling on top.


Sweet & Sour Pork

Well, I've sort of abandoned my calendar this last week! I will post for next week. I ran into a mental block and have been winging it for a few days! :D Going with what I have in my freezer and what sounds good. Well, after almost 3 months of abstinence from Chinese food, I decided that I MUST have some. As we all know, being gluten free means that ordering chinese from our local take out place (safely, anyway) is a near impossibility due to the prevalence of soy sauce. Thank you San-J for creating a gluten free soy sauce that made this recipe possible. It hit that sweet spot in me last night, I was looking for the fortune cookies afterward.

Sweet & Sour Pork

1 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into thin strips
1 medium green pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 medium red onion, sliced in thin strips
10 oz to 1 lb snow peas
1 large carrot, cut thinly on a diagonal
1 14.5 oz can pineapple in juice
2 cups chicken, beef or pork stock (make sure your source is Gluten Free - I used Pacific Foods)
1/4 cup San-J Gluten Free Soy Sauce
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs sesame oil

Drain pineapple juice into measuring cup, add water so juice measures 1 cup. Remove 5 or 6 slices and cut into bitesized pieces, set aside.

Mix pineapple juice, stock, soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl, set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil on medium high heat. Add pork strips and saute until just tender. Add pepper, onion and carrot, saute for a few minutes until veggies are just tender-crisp. Add snow peas and pineapple. Pour stock mixture over top and continue to heat on medium high until just boiling. Reduce heat and allow sauce to thicken.

Serve over Brown Rice. And enjoy.

My husbands only comment is that he would add water chestnuts. I do agree, and will be an addition next time. :D

Monday, April 2, 2007

It is an honor just to be nominated...

Well, it truly is. I know stars that walk the red carpet say this often when they are up for Grammy's, Oscars and Emmys. I always thought they were joking. But it really is.

This humble little blog, with no pictures and just recipes and talking about my gluten free journey has been nominated for the Best of Blog Awards.

If you would like, please vote for will be a vote for the whole of the gluten free community. :D


Thanks so much!!!!