Follow me on:

Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas...

I will be away for the Holidays so I wanted to take the time to wish each and everyone a very Merry Christmas. I hope that as you gather with family and loved ones you will embrace the special time spent with them, to hold the memories close in the coming years.

I also hope Santa leaves you all that you ask for. My list is small this year. My greatest desire it to be able to move back home to be close to my family and all those I love...I miss the large family dinners, the grab bag gifts, and watching the eyes of the little ones twinkle as they see gifts under the tree.

Good health, good friends, and peace, is at the top of my list. My husband and I no longer exchange gifts, and that is okay with me, as long as those I love are safe, happy,  and healthy.

So whatever you are wishing for this year, I hope you have been nice and not naughty, so your stocking will not been filled with coal :)   However you celebrate.... Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New year!!!

Sharon

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Good afternoon Everyone. Today is another baking day, as I need to get my Christmas cookies baked, and my gift trays assembled. I tried a new gluten free Peanut Butter cookie recipe this morning, once again from one of my favorite standbys, Betty Crocker. I used their Gluten Free BISQUICK pancake and baking mix .

I found the recipe on their home site, and it was a really easy, quick recipe. Just by using the gluten free mix, and adding a few ingredients from my pantry I had cookies in no time at all. Once again I was not disappointed. In fact these are probably the best Peanut Butter cookies I have ever tasted!

I did however tweak the recipe slightly by substituting Splenda's Brown sugar blend mix in place of the sugars called for, as my husband is a Diabetic. The cookies came out lightly browned and are soft and moist. I used regular sugar to make the criss cross design on top and to flatten slightly, but you could use colored sugars as well to make them more festive.

The only disappointment I had was the recipe states that the recipe will yield 2 1/2 dozen and I only actually got 20 cookies from the recipe. I did however use a cookie scoop to make the cookies uniform in size for a more visual effect on the trays, so this may have been the reason. Other than this one minor issue, this recipe will be added to my Christmas cookie list for many years to come. Also from now on, I will double the recipe each time.

If you are a Peanut Butter lover these are a definite must try!

Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten free)

1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
(or omit both sugars called for and use a total of 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend in recipe)
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/4 Cup shortening
1/4 Cup margarine, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cups Bisquick Gluten free mix

1. In large bowl mix the sugar, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg. Stir in the Bisquick mix. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. On a ungreased cookie sheet place the balls about 3 inches apart. With a fork dipped in sugar flatten the balls in a criss cross pattern.

3. Bake 9-10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

Recipe states that it makes 2 1/2 dozen. I got 20 cookies from the recipe.
You can find other Gluten free recipes on their site at http://www.bettycrocker.com

Have a great wheat free day!
Sharon


   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School...

Today I was blessed by a friend  through a email with the following poem.  This tragity at Sandy Hook Elementary will not soon be forgotten. Being  myself a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, daughter, and sister my  heart grieves for those who have suffered such a loss. Tears fill my eyes with every thought and image of this terrible wrong doing. I thought I would share this poem with you, and ask that each and every person who reads this post will stop and  take a minute to please pray for those morning the loss of a loved one due to this tragidy.

I do not know the auther personally, but I thank them for touching my heart with such a beautiful gift of words.


Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air,
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say,
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy, “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King.
As they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had,
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”,
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
 Then I  heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”


Written by...Cameo Smith

May God bless each and everyone...
Sharon

 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Cups...

Hi everyone. Today was my first cookie baking day before Christmas. I am running late with my baking this year, and being my first Christmas of going totally gluten free, it has left me quite overwhelmed to say the least.

I did however run across this great recipe on the Betty Crocker site, and I decided to make it my first attempt of gluten free cookies for my cookie trays this year. I needed something that was going to taste good enough to please my family members who are definitely not gluten free eaters, and for myself and husband who are totally gluten free.

Although it uses their gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix, and is not a recipe from scratch, I am well pleased with the results. Not only was it quick and easy, but tastes delicious. I must admit it took a little more time than conventional drop cookies, but the effort and decorative look of the cookies will look quite pleasing on my gift trays.

The recipe made 54 cookies, and with a quick tip I used, helped to speed the process along.  After mixing the dough I divided the dough in half down the center of the bowl. I used a cookie scoop, leveling the batter to the top of the scoop, then divided the portion into two. So all in all, I got about 12 scoops per side, with two cookies per scoop when divided in half. This was a quick easy way to insure the same amount of dough was used per each cookie.

I also made sure I had all the miniature peanut butter cup candies unwrapped before I started  mixing the dough, as once the cookie cups come out of the oven these treats need to be placed in the center of each cookie cup immediately.

I had found these cute little Christmas cup liners at our local Dollar Tree for the mini muffin/tart pans in which to drop the rolled balls of dough. Aside from rolling the dough balls, and pressing the mini peanut butter cups into the center as soon as they come from the oven, this was a rather quick process, and I was done in no time at all it seemed.

You will find this and other gluten free cookie recipes on their site at http://www.bettercrocker.com but I wanted to share this recipe with you in time for the holidays. The cookies are really delicious and look quite festive. These would be great for a cookie exchange, or as a gift for someone you love. Hope you enjoy!

By the way...If I were rating the results of this mix  and recipe, I would definitely give it 5 Stars!

Gluten free Peanut butter cookies...

1 Box 19 oz) Betty Crocker GF chocolate chip cookie mix
1 egg
1/2 C softened butter
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
Approx 60 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the mini paper baking cups in each of 24 mini muffin/tart tins.

In a large bowl mix the cookie mix, egg, butter, and vanilla with a spoon. (I used my hand mixer on low speed)  Stir in the peanut butter. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls (using method I previous mentioned above to divide) Place in the lined mini muffin/tart tins.

Bake 9-11 minutes (I baked mine for 11 Min), or until just lightly browned. Immediately press the unwrapped peanut butter cup candies into the center of each cookie. Cool entire pan on a wire rack at least 5 minutes before removing cookies from tins to a cooling rack. Cool completely and enjoy.

Hope you have a great wheat free cookie kind of day!
Sharon
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Kit's Organic bars product review...

 I just realized today how back logged I am with products that need to be sampled and reviewed. So many wonderful companies have been generous enough to send products to be reviewed that it seems catch up is definitely in order. Kit's Organic was kind enough to send me three of their flavored bars to sample and review a while back, so since I needed a quick snack on the run this morning I will talk about their products today.

First lets talk about their Cashew Fruit & Nut bar. When you think cashew, you think nutty, crunchy...right? This was my initial impression also. Now I need to be in the mood for nuts of any kind, especially if I am in a hurry and don't feel like taking the time to chew...

I was pleasantly surprised. Not only with the ingredients on the package, but also with the flavors they incorporated together. Just four ingredients total are blended to make this tasty, filling, and what is a rather healthy snack treat. Organic dates, organic cashews, organic almonds and sea salt. Quite simple ingredients, and also delicious. This bar has only 170 calories. 27g of carbohydrates, 3g of  dietary fiber, 15g sugars and 3g of protein.

I figured that I was going to be overwhelmed with the taste of the dates, being they are listed first on the ingredients list,  but was quite frankly I was surprised. After the first few bites I could taste the flavor of the cashews and almonds, which blended with the texture of the dates quite smoothly. The texture of the bar was smooth, with just the right feel for a good "chew".

The second bar I tried was the Berry Almond Fruit & Nut bar. Wow! The burst  of the Organic barberries and bilberries was quite a experience, and left me wanting more. This bar once again has minimal ingredients. Organic dates, organic almonds, organic barberries, organic bilberries, and sea salt. Except for the smooth chewiness, this tasted like a fresh bowl of berries topped with almonds! This bar has 27g of carbohydrates, 5g of fiber, 16g sugars and 4g of protein.

The third bar I sampled was their Chocolate Almond Coconut Fruit & Nut bar. Quite surprisingly this tasted very close to a Mounds candy bar, but with healthier ingredients, so I got the best of both worlds! The ingredients in this bar were: Organic dates, organic almonds, unsweetened chocolate, organic coconut, organic virgin coconut oil, and seal salt. This bar contains 25g carbohydrates, 5g dietary fiber, 15g sugars, and 4g protein. Although I enjoyed all  three bars immensely I recommend this bar highly because of my love for anything CHOCOLATE!

The company uses organic ingredients in all their products. Free from the use of toxic pesticides or synthetic chemicals. Ingredients that are not only better for the planet, but also for the body and soul. Their foods are not only free of trans fats, but also hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrups for a healthier life style.

For more information about Kit's organic bars you can visit http://www.clifbar.com The company offers many kinds of bars, all of which are NOT gluten free, although they offer many products that are.

Products that are listed as gluten free:

Kit's Organics....(brand name)
Berry Almond Fruit & Nut bar
Cashew Fruit & Nut bar
Cashew Almond Coconut Fruit & Nut bar
Peanut Butter Fruit & Nut bar

Clif Kid...(brand name)
Fruit Punch
Grape
Mixed berry
Sour Apple
Strawberry
Tropical Twist

Luna...(brand name)
Chocolate
Chocolate cherry Almond
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Cookie Dough
Mint Chocolate Chip

Rating:

Cashew Fruit & Nut bar   5 Stars
Berry Almond Fruit & Nut bar    5+  Stars
Chocolate Almond Coconut Fruit & Nut bar   5+  Stars

Enjoy, and have a great wheat free day!
Sharon






 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pamela's Baking & Pancake mix review...

Hi all. Today I want to share with you a product from Pamela's, their Pancake & baking mix. I pulled the product off my shelf this morning with all intentions of making the Chocolate Chip cookies from the recipe on the bag, but suddenly had a urge for chocolate Chip pancakes, as I hadn't eaten breakfast yet.

Mixing the batter for the pancakes was so easy. Pamela's mix, 1 egg, water and oil...1-2-3...I always use a pastry whisk to make sure I get all the lumps out of the batter. The bag says it will yield 6 - 4" pancakes and that was pretty much spot on. The pancakes were light, fluffy and with a few added chocolate chip morsels, delightfully delicious. Who says you can't have chocolate for breakfast? Baa humbug!!!

This is the second product from Pamela's I have tried, their Anise Almond Biscotti being the first, and I have been well pleased with both. Their products have been formulated and produced to be wheat and gluten free. The products however are produced on equipment that also makes products containing tree nuts, soy, eggs and milk, so if you have any allergies to these products please bear this in mind.

I like the fact that this mix contains almond meal for that extra little added fiber. Ingredients: Brown rice flour, white rice flour, cultured buttermilk, natural almond meal, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, potato starch, grainless and aluminum free baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, potato starch, baking soda, sea salt and xanthan gum.

Pamela's never uses any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives. They also never use high fructose corn syrup. They have statements from all suppliers verifying their ingredients are also non-GMO.  They are currently in the process of preparing to join the non-GMO Project, and are working closely with their vendors to assure the quality and source of all ingredients.

I will be making Christmas cookies soon and plan on using this mix with the Chocolate Chip recipe posted on the bag. Chocolate Chip cookies are a all time favorite of my family, even during the holidays. I will keep you posted on the results. It is nice to have a mix readily available that is so versatile.

I can't wait to try a few of the other recipes on the bag to see if I get the same great results! You can visit their site at http://pamelasproducts.com for more information and recipes. You can also order their Baking & Pancake mix in either the 24 oz size for $8.19, or the 64 oz size for $19.69, on the right side of this post, from gluten free.com. Click on their site button, then click on Pancakes & Waffles listed under the title BAKING MIXES to the left of the sites home page.

 You can also order the mixes from Pamela's home site directly, but be aware you must purchase  multiple bag orders from there. Either way, I hope you try the product, as I believe you will be well pleased.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken & Rice Bake

Its all about quick and easy this holiday season with all the shopping, gift wrapping, and cookie making I will be doing, so I decided to try a new recipe that seemed to look quick and easy. I have never really experienced Moroccan cuisine before, and I am so glad I gave this recipe a try. I may even be searching for more GF recipes in this category as I found the blend of spices quite different and enjoyable.

I found this recipe strange enough, in a Nestle cook book of all places. Except for cooking the rice, which took about 15 minutes tops, and the 40 minute baking time, the recipe was quite easy. It calls for rice and chicken, my two favorite staples, and the flavor combination was really delightful.

The flavors were mild and soothing to the taste, and although  the blend of ingredients for the rice mixture itself seemed strange, each played off  of each other for a comforting, delicious dish. My family enjoyed it as much as I did, and it will be a regular on the table from now on. I hope you will give it a try, and that you will enjoy it as much as we did. Until next post,  have a great wheat free day!

Sharon

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken & Rice Bake

6 C cooked long or medium grain brown or white rice
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 teas salt
1 teas ground black pepper
1 1/2 teas ground paprika
6 chicken thighs, skin removed
2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (12 oz) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk (I used Fat Free)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) petite diced tomatoes, drained
2/3 cup raisins
3 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Combine the cumin, salt, black pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle 2 teas of the blended spice mixture on both side of chicken thighs. (save remaining for rice mixture).

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the seasoned chicken in the skillet and cook on each side for about 4 minutes until browned.

Combine the cooked rice, evaporated milk, drained tomatoes, raisins, lemon juice and the left over spice mixture in a large bowl. Pour the rice mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place the chicken thighs on top of the rice mixture.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.

This is a filling, quick, one pot gluten free dinner that everyone will enjoy, even the finickiest of eaters....











 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bisquick GF Pancake and Baking Mix...





Good evening all. It is rainy here in Ohio today and I could think of nothing better to have than a comfort food such as pancakes, topped with rich butter and creamy maple syrup.....Mmmmmmm!

I remember my Mom mixing up Bisquick pancakes when I was growing up on those cold damp days of Winter. The whole house smelled warm and comforting while they cooked. Now I can still enjoy that same great taste even in my new gluten free lifestyle.

I must admit that I even like the gluten free mix better than the original. The pancakes are light, fluffy and moist, actually moister in my opinion than the original mix. I also have always loved making Strawberry Shortcake from their mix, so it seems I am in Bisquick heaven at the moment!
I love the ease of working with gluten free mixes, and to be able to stay with a company I have virtually grown up using, is a great feeling.

Although the price is definitely higher for the gluten free version, it is a product I will definitely keep on my shelf. The mix is very versatile, from making pizza crust, chicken fingers, oven baked chicken, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and strawberry shortcakes to cookies.

The ingredients list is fairly short, with words even I can pronounce:
Rice flour, sugar, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Modified Potato starch, salt, xanthan gum.
*May contain soy ingredients.

The mix is distributed by General Mills, which is a sponsor of The Celiac Disease Foundation, and is made in a gluten free facility. This mix also contains no artificial colors or preservatives. The 16 ounce box costs just a little over $4.50 but there is enough mix to make a few of the recipes that are listed on the side of the box.

Mix, milk, oil and 1 egg are all that is needed for sweet, delicious pancakes to enjoy within a few minutes! You can even refrigerate leftovers, if there are any that is, and reheat for about 1 minute in the microwave. Try adding a few chocolate chips before flipping for some added sweetness...and a little added bliss!

*I used Coconut oil to fry these delicate morsels to add more fiber. Although you can smell the coconut scent as they cook, it does not leave any coconut taste to the pancakes themselves.

Rating 5 Stars

Have a great wheat free week!!!
Sharon