Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Not a moment too soon!

I got to spend Black Friday my absolute favorite thing in the whole world. We spent the day in Frankenmuth, MI. Michigan's little Bavaria. It had snowed on Thanksgiving, so there was still remnants of snow on the ground around town.

We started our visit to Frankenmuth at the world's largest Christmas Store, Bronners. It was a tad overwhelming this year. We arrived early, but by the time we left it was PACKED. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting Wally Bronner and having our picture taken with him (I'll post later). In my 13 years of knowing of Bronner's existence, I'd never seen nor met him. It was a real treat.

We had lunch at the Kaffe Counter at Satow Drugs. Where I picked up a calendar which is always a lot of fun to read, quite a hoot! I did my best and ordered a salad with grilled chicken.

Then it was time to shop around town and hit the Cheese Haus, the Mac's Fudge, and the leather shoppe. We also strolled further uptown to the new shops at River Place. We finished the afternoon with a horse drawn carriage ride around town, so beautiful. Dinner was at Bavarian Inn. Usually it would have been a flour laden dinner of noodles, fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, beets, etc....a german chicken dinner. Once we were seated I started to look at the menu to see what I could possibly have. I was nervous, to say the least. When our waiter Teddy arrived, I said "I have Celiac"...he said, "Oh would you like our Gluten Free Menu?". BAVARIAN INN HAD A GLUTEN FREE MENU!!! I was ecstatic!!! Teddy was amazingly up to date on the procedures of what I could and couldn't have and if he was unsure he ran to the chef to find out. Not only do they have a gluten free menu, but all gluten free items were prepared in a separate kitchen to avoid cross contamination. To say I was impressed was an understatement.

So, if you ever find yourself in Frankenmuth, MI, be sure to check out the fabulous gluten-free service at the Bavarian Inn.


So...now, it's official, Christmas is coming. The tree will go up over the weekend and the shopping has started. Soon, the task of relearning all of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, and making them gluten free will begin. The first will be the "Monster Cookie" which I plan to make in a few days. I'll post the recipe as soon as it's successful!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Cranberry Sausage Cornbread Stuffing/Dressing

"Just Keep Moving Forward" For those of you who have seen "Meet the Robinsons" you'll understand that. "Keep moving forward" is the motto of the movie. Basically, each failure is a stepping stone to success. I have to say I love the message of that movie...but, this is about cooking.

Moreover, this is about stuffing.

I was afraid I would live a live devoid of the good stuff. That on Christmas Day, family and friends would be sitting around my table staring at the obvious lack of stuffing and saying "oh great, she wouldn't even make the regular kind for US...".

Thanks to Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl (her link is in my list, give her a look, she's got some great recipes over there), I decided to try again today.

Now mind you, in my gluten eating days, I lived on stuffing. We had the Stove Top kind at least twice a month, either as a side or factored into the recipe in some way. I have not had ANY stuffing since going gluten free.

Well...The recipe starts with Corn Bread. Instead of baking in a 8" square or pie plate, I actually baked in a 13X9 so it was a REALLY thin layer, and made smaller/crustier bread cubes.

Cranberry Sausage Cornbread Stuffing/Dressing (w/Walnuts)

Corn Bread Cubes:

1 "loaf" cornbread (recipe link above), cut into 1/2" cubes
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
1 Tsp Salt

Place cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Mix gently, but well, to coat all sides with the olive oil. Sprinkle over the salt and poultry seasoning. Mix again, very gently.

Lay in a single layer on a large sheet pan and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes OR until the cubes are crispy. Set aside to cool.

1 lb bulk pork sausage
1 medium white onion, small dice
3 stalks celery, small dice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
dash pepper
2 cups chicken stock (I used Pacific Foods)
2 Herb-ox boullion cubes

Brown bulk sausage in a large saute pan. When almost all complete add onion and celery. (do not drain off fat, I know that sounds odd, but you need it for cooking the veggies and it adds sooooo much flavor!) Add poultry seasoning (sprinkling around pan) and pepper (I did like 10 grinds of fresh pepper). Saute for about 5 minutes until veggies are crisp tender. Add cranberries and walnuts. Stir thru just to warm them up.

Pour pork/veggie mixture over the cooling cornbread cubes.

Return pan the the stove and add the chicken stock and boullion cubes. Heat until low boil and cubes are dissolved.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup at a time to the bread cubes/pork/veggie bowl. Gently stirring thru each addition. Leave about 1/4 cup left in pan.

Once all but 1 cup of the liquid is incorporated, lay into a 13 X 9 Baking dish (greased). Gently sprinkle remaining liquid overtop. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 to reheat (cover with cooking spray covered foil).

OR...allow to cool completely and stuff in the bird. I have not stuffed it yet b/c we're not having a full bird for Thanksgiving. But you can bet cash money that I'll be doing it for Christmas!!!

I hope you try this. I hope you enjoy this. :D And again, thanks a BUNCH Ginger Lemon Girl for encouraging me to keep moving forward! :D

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"O Take THAT" Candies

Okay, after a week of flopped stuffing recipes, I've just decided to put it on hold.

Pre gluten free days, were filled with "Take 5" Bars by Hersheys. I was convince the name had more to do with the addictive nature of the candy, that you can't just take one, you have to take 5! LOL. Very delicious. Of course, they could be considered the perfect food. A pretzel, covered in peanutbutter, carmel, peanuts and then chocolate enrobing it all. Crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet. Heaven. :D

I have missed them.

I set out this evening to recreate them! And I did. Or in my best "Rocky Horror Picture Show" audience response in Dr. Scott voice "Unt I deeed".


I started with Wylde Gluten Free Pretzel "O"s by EnerG.

I took half a milk caramel (like Kraft) and cut it in half, rolled into a circle and flattened. I then "mushed" (yes, that's the culinary term....mushed) the carmel under the "O".

I then filled the O with crunchy peanut butter and topped with another O.

I chilled them for about an hour, and then rolled in melted milk chocolate to cover. Yes, I used Hershey's. And Yes, I do know that they won't guarantee gluten-free-edness....but I've not had a problem from them yet...and living about 60 miles south east of Herheys mean's it's plentiful and cheap!

I rechilled them...

And I ate half of them.

If you miss Hershey's Take 5 Bars, and don't mind a little work, I recommend trying it. :D

Friday, November 16, 2007

:( Just not going as planned!!!

I had really hoped to share with you all a yummy recipe for Cranberry Sausage Stuffing w/ walnuts this week. To no avail. My attempt has been a HUGE failure.

I have one last try I'm doing.

I'm going to prepare a loaf of Lorka Gluten-free Flax Bread and then try again.

I've been given a recipe from Whole Foods, that I may try to adapt by adding the sausage, cranberries and walnuts.

If I get it to work, I'll post for you.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Okay, so I'm still not brave enough to try a pie crust. And being that we'll be travelling, I'm not sure I want to try a pie crust on the road, especially.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts was a recipe from my husband's Stepmother, Joyce. Though Joyce may never admit to it, she is one of the greatest "country" cooks I've ever known. You know the kind I'm talking about. The ones who can whip up fresh biscuits without looking at a recipe. Or the ones whose recipes in their box are written in "old fashioned" writing, are dusty and flour covered, folded and stained from overuse.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to her cranberry mold this year for Thanksgiving dinner, it has been close to 7 years since I've had it last. I will post this recipe too, but, I confess I've never been able to replicate it. There's just something special about how she does it.

Anyway, I digress. Pumpkin Squares were a favorite dessert of mine. And for a person who's not all that keen on pumpkin, this one just won me over. Cakey crust, creamy moussy type filling, crumbly top. Oh, and add a dollup of whipped cream and I'm a total goner.

The original recipe called for a boxed cake mix. Well, we all know THAT is not gluten free. So, I adapted the Gluten Free Yellow Cake recipe - omitting wet ingredients, and halving the recipe to match this. To make it an "easy" recipe, feel free to use a prepackaged gluten-free yellow cake mix - Like Gluten Free Pantry, Cherrybrook Farms, or Pamela's. Just make sure it's a size that makes a 9" round cake or 12 cupcakes. (Note for gluten gluttons replicting this recipe...I've posted the original recipe on my OLD blog, here!)

Pumpkin Squares

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


3/4 Cups White Rice Flour
1/4 + 1/8 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Xantham Gum
3 Tbs Dry Milk Powder
3 Tbs Vanilla Pudding Powder
1/2 + 1/8 Cup sugar (granulated)
1/4 Cup melted butter
1 egg white

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside to be used for crumb topping. Combine the remaining dry ingredients with melted butter and egg white. Press into the bottom of a greased 8" square cake pan (or 9" round, or pie pan will work too).


1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Mix all together very well and spread over pressed cake mix layer in pan. (NOTE: You can use 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice in place of all of the spices).


Reserved 1/2 Cup of cake ingredients
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix cake mix, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or pulse a few times in a food processor to make crumbly). Sprinkle liberally over the pumpkin layer. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is browned but not burned.

Allow to cool completely, and refridgerate for a couple hours, or overnight. (honestly, like you'll really be able to wait that long! LOL :D)

Serve with whipped cream. OR ice cream! :D

The recipe will double easily to make a 9X13 pan. I recommend baking for 45-50 minutes if you increase the size of the squares.

If you try them this year for your holiday, PLEASE let me know if you liked them as much as we do! THANKS!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanksgiving is Coming...

Okay, so for lots of folks their favorite holiday is Christmas. Well, for a long time, Thanksgiving has been much more important to me than Christmas. I have A LOT to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband who works very hard so that I can be home to take care of and educated my 3 beautiful children. And they are beautiful! I live in a nice warm home. I have food on my table every night. And I have no serious, life threatening illnesses and neither do any I love. That's a good thing.

Well, as we get close to Thanksgiving, I'm hoping to update a few of my favorite recipes and make them gluten-free. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it with some! corn bread stuffing with cranberries and walnuts is the one that is going to be toughest, I think. Of course, there's also my husband's stepmothers (did you follow that one?) Pumpkin Squares, which traditionally uses a boxed yellow cake mix. Or how about Green Bean Casserole when you cannot use cream of mushroom soup OR french fried onions.

These are my goals in the next week to test these recipes and make them work in gluten-free lifestyle.

I will only post my successes!

As the day draws near, lets take time to remember all the things we have to be thankful for. And lets give our troops our thoughts and prayers as they are across the ocean, away from their families, defending the freedoms we hold so dear.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Okay, so Banana Oatmeal Breakfast bars were a favorite treat of my kids before I went gluten free. I admit, I like them too. I've missed oats and am so glad to have certified gluten-free brands out there again. Yes, I know that they are costly. But sometimes, you just gotta do it!

I also received a free bag of Teff from a friend (THANKS ANNE!). I am beginning to really love this flour, I would definitely say you should expect to see it in future recipes of mine. I love it's soft, non-gritty texture AND that it's higher in protein. The protein content being higher lends to a higher rising, fluffier yield in a baked good, and teff's protein mimics gluten really well.

I hope you enjoy these - I've given the recipe as "bars" because that is how I usually make them. This last time I made them as mini muffins (hence the picture), there's a slight adjustment in cooking time (about 12-15 minutes vs. the 25).

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1/2 Cup Teff Flour
1/2 White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 Cup corn starch
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (can use up to 1 cup if you want them sweeter)
1 egg
3 med mashed bananas (overripe)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup raw quick cooking oats (certified gluten free, of course)
3/4 cup chopped nuts, raisins, or dates (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Grease & flour 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Sift together flours, salt, soda and spices, set aside. In large bowl, beat until light & fluffy: butter, sugar, egg. Add bananas and vanilla beat until smooth.

Gradually stir in flour mixture & oats until well combined. (if seems to be getting a little thick, slowly add 1/4 cup milk as needed). Stir in nuts.

Bake until golden (about 25 mins).