Printer Friendly...

To print any of the recipes on this blog go to the words "LINKS to this post" at the bottom of your selected post. A printer friendly button will then appear, click the button and it will print the recipe. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Mom's No Bakes...A Christmas Tradition!


Hi all. I know its been awhile but so much has happened over the past few months I don't know where to begin. Loosing several of our loved ones over the past months has seriously taken a toll on our family, myself included. After loosing my mom the stress has just seemed to pile up like a ton of bricks. Not only have I become mentally fatigued but it has wreaked havoc on my body physically as well. I have now had a cold since before Thanksgiving and am trying just about everything I can think of to get rid of it as I am scheduled for surgery on the 11th...You know the old saying, "It never rains but that it pours"...Speaking of rain, I can hear it hitting the roof above as I type.

Christmas is now exactly 25 days away and since I wont be able to do much of anything after my surgery and Christmas will then be only two weeks away at that point, I need to have my house decorated, cookies baked, presents bought and wrapped, fudge made....well you get the picture. The inside is already decorated and the tree is up so I can cross that off my list, although the outside this year is going to look rather dreary. Just too much to do and so little time!

The Buckeyes are made. This is the first time ever that I have made them and if I do say so myself they came out rather good looking, and rather tasty...YUM! Okay, so I have to give some credit to my daughter Jammie as she did help to shape them.

Christmas is not Christmas here without my mom's no bakes, and I am extremely pleased that these will freeze well so I can get them make ahead of time along with my other Christmas cookie assortment. I have my work cut out for me over the next week for my cookie trays to become a reality for the Holiday feast..

Daily chores, baking, shopping, its overwhelming when you are not feeling up to par. These cookies are on every ones favorite list and are definitely a must have. Although they are not fancy, colored, or decorative, they are loved by everyone, and a remembrance of mom.

We hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do and include them in your Christmas family tradition.

Sharon (Lee)

Mom's No Bakes:

2 cups granulated sugar
4 T cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
3 cup Quick Oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teas vanilla

Over LOW heat  (mom said this is the trick) heat the sugar, cocoa, and milk, constantly stirring until sugar is dissolved.. Once you are sure the sugar is dissolved you can turn the heat to medium and bring to a boil, Do not boil for more than 1 minute! It should have reached a soft ball stage when dropped into cold water at this point.

Remove from the heat and add the rest of ingredient at this stage. Mix until thoroughly combined. Drop by tablespoons onto waxed or parchment paper, I use a cookie scoop to make them more uniform, let set until firm and completely cooled. The cookies can be stored in freezer at this time to await the Holiday festivities!!!
                                                                                

 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin season....and Pie in the sky!!!




Wow...where did this icky weather come from? It seems like yesterday fall had just begun, and now Halloween is less than a week away. Next thing you know Thanksgiving will be here, and then Christmas. Well I myself am at least going to try and be ready for Thanksgiving this year before it comes, so therefore I am trying out a few new recipes ahead of time. One being Pumpkin pie cupcakes.

Although this recipe turns out to be more pie like in texture than a real cupcake that's fine with me, because then I don't have to roll out pie dough and clean up the mess that comes with it on a already busy holiday. As the saying goes....I can have my cake, and eat it too. Or in this case PIE! Another nice thing is that the servings are smaller so your guests can always go back for seconds, that is after they have sampled all the other goodies we tend to busy ourselves making in the kitchen to celebrate this special holiday.

I use my own flour mixture here which makes a full cup of 140 grams, so for this recipe you will only use 93 grams of the mix or 2/3 cup. I like to weigh my flours for better accuracy.

Flour mix:

45 gr white rice flour
35 gr brown rice flour
18 gr sorghum flour
25 gr tapioca starch
17 gr potato STARCH not flour

*140 grams total = 1 cup

                                                         Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

15 ounces canned pumpkin  (not pie filling)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk ( makes creamier)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teas vanilla
93 grams flour mix from above
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1/4 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
2 teas pumpkin pie spice ( recipe to follow below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cupcake pan with spray. Using liners will make cakes stick...
Sift together all dry ingredients except the sugar.
Mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and evaporated milk..
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until evenly combined. A mixer on low speed works well for this.
Using a little over 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup  fill each tin in the pan.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. Let the cupcake/pies cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely on rack. Store in the refrigerator covered when cool. These are quick, easy and delish. Why not give them a trial run before the Holidays.....they won't last long, I promise!


                                                Homemade Pumpkin pie spice mix:
(makes about  31/4  teas but you only need 2 teas for above recipe)

2 teas ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teas ground ginger
1/4 teas ground cloves

Mix and store in small airtight container.



Friday, October 16, 2015

If at first you don't succeed....fallen leaves, oops.....loaves that is.

                                                                             

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months, where nothing seemed to go right, or was just a little off ? Well this is one of them for me. I have been faithfully searching the web for a place for my sister to rent to no avail. It seems that even if you are aloud to have pets, they must be small or weigh less than 20 pounds....Since she has a large German Shepard it is virtually impossible to find anything at all for her. She has till the end of this month to be moved and I have no idea how this job fell onto my shoulders to find her a place, but it has.

Since loosing my mom in July I have had this overwhelming pressure of responsibility that sometimes takes my breath away. Since we have no parents, or grandparents left, I now have the role of "Top Dog" as my husband puts it, in the role of this family. Its funny how being only 3 years older than my sister that I feel such pressure to make sure she is safe. She's not a child anymore by any means, she's a grown woman, yet I feel responsible now.

I have an allergy to dogs, and since we live in a restricted pet community, a dog of that stature is not aloud. Also I have a 19 year old cat that would not withstand the pressure of such a massive creature being in the home.

I understand her dilemma, and being a pet owner myself would hate to see her have to give up her two year old pet, but life is sometimes about survival, is it not? Its kind of like baking bread, if at first you don't succeed, then try and try again.

Well thank God I am not under pressure about baking that perfect loaf of bread...Or am I? I set the bar pretty high for myself. Seems the older I get the more I expect from myself. I have a tendency to attempt the best from myself and when I don't reach that goal I can get pretty down on myself. Therefore I am still seeking that perfect loaf of bread that may never happen, but I strive on. I guess anything is better than most of those store bought frozen loaves, right?

I made a loaf yesterday that fit every criteria. Soft and spongy, excellent taste and mouth feel, perfectly browned, flexible.. Wow I thought I was on the right track, that is until the top sank after cooling. So I cut out some water from the recipe for the second loaf I made, and although the top did not rise very high, it at least didn't sink.

I have to say that the recipe is getting pretty darn close to being posted for you also to also enjoy. Be patient and give me just a little bit more time, and I promise to post the recipe soon!

Until then, enjoy your gluten free week.
Sharon

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

GF Bread baking..If at first you don't succeed....try and try again....


Another day has come and I am excited to head to the kitchen for some more "trial and error'. To be perfectly honest, I'm becoming a creature of nature in this area. I have plopped more baking efforts into the trash than I care to mention. Like the old saying goes...If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

You are probably wondering why I don't just give up trying to find that "PERFECT" flour blend and use what's out there on the store shelves. Well to be honest, sometimes so do I. My own family thinks I have a bad case of PROFESSIONALISM, but my thoughts on the subject are that I just want my baked goods to taste like my mom use to make, plain and simple!

In case I have peaked your curiosity I will straight out mention that yes I have tried almost every "Cup for Cup" flour out there on the market, and although there are some pretty good ones, to me everything tastes the same. Same texture, same mouth feel, same....same....same!

I have even tried almost every flour mixture recipe I could get my hands on. I have followed the mixtures, and the  recipes to the tee, and still had major flops! What is a girl to do? I lost my mom this July and her recipes have now become mine as my sister is not a baker by heart. Some of the recipes are hand written and are now my treasures and keepsakes. Oh what I would give to make her famous Texas sheet cake and remember the exact taste from my childhood! Getting close, but no cigar yet!

Recently I have been working on that perfect loaf of gluten free bread. To be honest I have several loaves of store bought in my freezer for emergencies, but they just lack that taste and texture I am looking for. I am getting close though! At least close enough that I can say the past few loaves have gone into the freezer, not the trash. OK, so my bread may never completely look like a loaf of  wheat bread, but it will be spongy, has a nice bend, hold up to sandwiches, and have a great taste. When I have it to where I think its as close to the perfect "wheat" laden loaf I remember from my moms kitchen, then I promise to share.

Well I have things to do, and bread to bake, so I'm off. Have a great day, and stay gluten free!
Sharon

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gluten free pesto for the soul!



Hello everyone. I trust your day is going well. I got off to a shaky start this morning but things are hopefully back on track. It has been a really hectic week. I have been trying to help my sister find a new place to live that will be closer to her job. I watched my five year old grandson yesterday as he was running a fever and couldn't attend school. I have to drive my oldest grand child to an appointment today as she doesn't yet have her drivers licence. All of this while still trying to perfect a vanilla cupcake recipe...

I have been up since 7:00 AM today and already have unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, made a batch of cupcakes, which I have yet to sample. I have tackled several chores and I am about to get ready for the rest of the day, but wanted to share a great pesto recipe with you first.

I love pesto, that is if done right, and I hate all those added "things" they contain when purchased in the store, especially pine nuts as I am allergic, so this is a nice recipe for me as I can sub walnuts, and I know it's fresh. My friends at Miracle Noodle had this great recipe on their site that I really, really  like, so I will post it here.

This is the easiest recipe I have made to date for pesto, and the taste really is super. So I hope you  enjoy. In my book it rates a #10....Oh....Did I mention that their noodles are great too....and 0 calories!!!

Sharon

 


Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 medium cloves garlic
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (you can sub chopped walnuts)
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 ounce) finely grated Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Rinse the basil leaves and spin dry. Place them together with pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times. Add the peeled garlic and pulse several times more to mix.Slowly add the olive oil to emulsify until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Transfer the contents to a separate bowl and mix in the grated cheeses with a spoon or spatula. At the end stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serving suggestion:

  1. Pesto can be served with rinsed package of Miracle Noodle pasta right away or on any of your favorite gluten free pastas.
 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Not in the mood...but need some food...Hurry up scramble eggs!

Hey everyone. Its another day starting, and although I would rather still be tucked under the covers with my cat, I gotta push myself and get up...I haven't been in the mood lately to cook, guess its the changing season. I'm sure there are others out there who feel the same.

I know I have to eat, so I brought out one of my quickie recipes to share,  Hurry up scrambled eggs.
These are quick, easy, and just right for a total of 1...

Ingredients:

1 egg and 2 egg whites
dash of water
dash of hot sauce , optional
chopped chives, optional
salt & pepper to taste
cooked ham chunks, optional
shredded cheese, optional
fresh spinach, optional
Directions:

Whisk the eggs and water together. Add chives, salt & pepper, cooked ham chunks, shredded cheese, fresh spinach, the sky is the limit. Pour into a mug lightly sprayed with Pam.

Microwave for 30 seconds, check to see if done, cook in 30 second increments if needed until done.
This is a quick meal, quick cleanup, and pretty filling, even on those hectic days. I like to top mine with a scoop of cottage cheese and some salsa. Yum.

This has saved me many times from eating something bad when I was hungry and in a hurry to eat.
So I hope you enjoy, and will leave a comment as to what  you like to add to yours.

Till next time....have a great GF week!!!
Sharon 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roasted Vegetables over Quinoa... Yummy, yummy to the tummy!



                                                                        

Good morning everyone. Wow....I am feeling pretty good this morning, I must have gotten up on the right side of bed", as the saying goes. Life lately has been a little hectic to say the least, but I am trying desperately to get myself, and my life back on track.

I had signed up for a Gluten Free Wellness conference being held last night and had woke up yesterday not feeling so well and I almost blew off attending. I am so glad I didn't. I have to say it wasn't the biggest seminar I have attended over the years as it was local, but I was surprised at the knowledge and experience I walked away with.

I met a few new friends, Carol being one, and gained more knowledge in those few hours than I have over the past months. I got to watch two cooking presentations, listen to two knowledgeable  Doctor's in the field Celiac disease speak....well I actually listened to one as the second cooking demonstration overlapped with the second speaker, and I was more interested in the FOOD...

I acquired pamphlets pens, a tote, and got to taste various products from companies who had traveled hours to attend. There were soups from Full Flavor Foods which I didn't try as I was too full at the time but looked absolutely delicious, and from the comments of others attending the seminar they were a big hit.

Our local Aviva Brick Oven was on site with delicious gluten free pizzas. So yummy. My husband and I had eaten at their restaurant this summer and not only is the gluten free pizza delicious but the atmosphere  with the outdoor tables felt like we were at a ocean resort...If you are ever in the area of Route 19 in Wexford Pa stop in and see them.

Sunny Bridge Cafe did a great presentation of making Roasted Vegetables Over Quinoa which was absolutely out of this world! If you have never tried quinoa before you are missing out. It has a great nutty texture and is on the list of the top 10 foods you should be eating.  I will post the recipe at the end for you to enjoy. They are located in McMurray Pa. You can check out their web site at SunnyBridgeNaturalFoods.com This was absolutely my favorite cooking demonstration.

GF Chang' were there with samples which made me want to go back for more, but being as nice as I am and not wanting to be greedy I moved on to the next table.

Edible arrangements was also there and I have to say the chocolate covered strawberry was out of this world!!! The arrangements they make to look like flower arrangements are beautiful, and if you are allergic to flowers like me, this is a great alternative for those special occasions from those you love. Hint...Hint...
The last cooking demonstration was from Grandma Whimsy at http://GrandmaWhimsy.com Although they are working on the new site and it may not be up for a month or so please check them out. She offers a gluten free brown rice flour blend with no added gums...I was impressed with this! She told us this blend can be used cup for cup in any favorite recipe you might have. Although her flours are not found local at this time, and she is over 3 hours away I did buy a bag of flour to give it a test. If your in the mood for waffles, pancakes, cookies, cakes, then bake away, however this is not a good flour for baking breads.

I love sampling new products and "paying it forward" as it were. I just made a bread from a new mix this morning and will give a review on it later this week.....

However here is the recipe I promised at the beginning of the post...

Roasted Vegetables Over Quinoa

1 large head broccoli, chopped, no stems
2 red peppers, julienned
2 medium zucchini, julienned
1 large red onion, julienned
1/2 cup gluten free balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp. garlic salt or garlic powder
Course black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Cut all vegetables accordingly and place in a large bowl. Add the garlic salt, balsamic vinegar, and oil to the vegetables and toss with your hands until all are well coated. Add the black pepper.
Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Stir the mixture several times through the baking process or the broccoli will blacken if not rotated.

To make the quinoa. 

1 cup red quinoa
1 cup white quinoa
4 cups water salt to taste

Add both the water and quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt to flavor.
Cook for approximately 15 minutes on med for approximately 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed.

Place the quinoa on a plate and top with the roasted vegetables, top with crumbled feta cheese,  and enjoy! This is absolutely a warm inviting dish...

I hope you enjoy the recipe and will come back for more. Until next time, have a great gluten free week.
Sharon




 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sugar Cookies...Ho, Ho, Ho...Christmas is coming!


                                                                              





The other night my grandson wanted to spend the night, and since he loves pizza I took him out to our local Pizza Hut. OK....ya caught me! No I didn't have pizza, but opted for salad instead, so I am just a wee bit proud of myself. Can I pat myself on the back now???

When we got home I decided we ought to make cookies to occupy some time. Its really hard to keep a 10 year old boy who's full of energy at my age,  and I thought this would be a rather tasty diversion. With that being said, and being to tired to make cookies from scratch as I normally do, I opted for a box mix.

Several weeks back I had received several mixes from Cherrybrook Kitchen to review so I opted for the easy way. The mix calls for melted butter, rice milk, vanilla, and the box mix. Well I didn't have rice mix on hand so I used regular 2% milk, which is always on hand.

I am a stickler with following directions, my daughter swears I  have a slight case of OCD  ..think that's what she said...Oh well, I just like things done a certain way.

When I assembled the mix it was more like a crumble that you might put on top of a coffee cake. Oops... The directions say you are suppose to roll the cookies in balls before you bake them. If I would have done this they possibly would have turned out ok, but being who I am I didn't want to take the chance of having to throw everything in the garbage. So I did the only logical thing I thought I should do, and that was to add a egg.

The dough at this point actually resembled cookie dough, so I scooped them out with my cookie scoop, flattened the tops just slightly with the back of a spoon, and baked.

I have to say these really surprised me! They tasted exactly like a sugar cookie should, rose nicely, and were tender and moist. Oh, did I tell you I added a sprinkle of sugar to the tops before baking?

I have no idea how they would have turned out if I hadn't added the egg, so for that reason alone I can't give a honest review, as I didn't follow the directions on the box....Sorry Charlie.

But I can say this... if you want to give this product a try, then be sure and add a egg, unless you are adventurous and want to follow the directions exactly as stated on the box! If you do I would love to hear back from you as to how they actually turned out.

Until next post, have a blessed gluten free week!
Sharon
 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Enjoy Life....Top of the muffin to ya!



Good morning all. Today I posted on Facebook that I was going to make this the best day I possibly could. Having lost my mom recently the days just seem to run together. So I am determined to pick myself up and try and make today as normal as possible. Baking has always been a sort of go to project that seems to help make all things seem right, so therefore  I baked!

Several weeks ago Enjoy life sent me this incredible box of goodies. I was tickled when I received it and excited to finally be able to give their new "box mixes" a try. I have tried many of their shelf items and am so thrilled that they finally are offering mixes that I can make from scratch and enjoy warm, straight from the oven.                                     

                                                                               

The mixes are not only gluten free, but also free from dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shell fish, so they are very allergy friendly. They are made with Ancient Grains like teff, buckwheat (has no wheat), millet, quinoa, with rice flours being last on the list. They are developed with probiotics which also make them good for your gut....Well enough dousing your brain with ingredient information, I was getting a little brain fog there also...

The muffins were even more than I had hoped for. They were light, fluffy and had a great flavor, unlike mixes based on strictly rice flours, there are actually hearty tasting. I felt like I was doing something special for my body :-)

They rose nicely and were soft and moist. I had to stop at two...didn't want to get too carried away, and I added some frozen blueberries for a extra added treat.
                                                                                
So if you are looking for a great hearty muffin mix, then look no more. Stop by the Enjoy life  site at http://www.enjoylifefoods.com and pick up a box or two. Since this is a brand new item it make take awhile to be found in your local stores.
 
So shop away, and as always have a great gluten free week. See you real  soon....
Sharon "Lee"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Next On the List Is - Blueberry Quenchin Bliss!


I am definitely not a big water drinker, and with the hottest days of summer upon us I needed to find a way to keep myself  hydrated...I find water tasteless, so it does nothing to satisfy my taste buds, or quench my "mental" thirst. I do however realize it is something my body needs to survive. So when I came across this delicious recipe for a blueberry soda I decided to give it a try.

Everyone knows blueberries are not only an excellent source of fiber, but they also contain vitamin C, as well as manganese, potassium, and vitamin K. I figured this way I would be getting the much needed water which I seem to avoid to keep my body healthy, along with quite a few added benefits. I found it was not only refreshing, but quite delicious, and satisfied both needs. With blueberries at the peak of their season it is a drink that is not only good for you, but also cost efficient.

As "Mikey" use to say in the cereal commercial from years ago..."Try it, you'll like it". Oops...did I just give away my age????? The directions are quite easy, and it is well worth the few minutes it takes to prepare. I hope you enjoy...


Ingredients:
 
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
9 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
 
Directions for making Syrup:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Slowly bringing to a simmer over medium heat, stir constantly until all the berries have popped, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from the  heat and let cool.
  2. Pour syrup into an airtight container, like a mason jar, and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To use, take out of the refrigerator and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (in the refrigerator)
To make the drink you will need ice; blueberry syrup from the above recipe; and sparkling mineral water.

Directions:
1.  For one drink, fill a tall glass with ice. Add 3 Tbsp. of the Blueberry Syrup and then top with seltzer water. Top glass with a lemon slice for that extra zing a ling, toss in a few fresh blueberries just for the heck of it,  then stir gently.  It is so refreshing, and great for hot summer days! 
 
 
Sharon
 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cherrybrook Kitchen Pancake & Waffle Mix review...

Hi all. As you well know there have been several things going on in my life lately and the blog has taken a backseat to all my life's crisis so to speak...

My mom is still in rehab after breaking her hip and having surgery three weeks ago, and it seems she fell again last night while trying to get up by herself. They say she is okay, so I guess I' ll  know more when I visit this afternoon. I would like to thank all my friends and followers out there for your prayers.

So needing a break from my continual "THINKING" this morning about what else could go wrong in my life,  I decided to try a pancake & waffle mix that Cherrybrook  Kitchen was so kind to send me to sample and review.

This product is all natural, peanut free, dairy free, nut free, and egg free, for those of you who might have allergies to any of these things.  Looking at the ingredients list on the box I find that the main ingredients are white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Basic enough. Maybe a little too basic as it comes down to being basically starch, starch, starch...I personally like a little protein added for bulk and substance. Although if you read the labels on most of their competitors products you might just find the same ingredient list or pretty darn close with a few exceptions along the way.

The directions on the box calls for the mix, rice milk and vegetable oil. It notes that you can switch out the rice milk for soy or regular milk if you prefer.  I thought I would use buttermilk instead, just for the added extra Vitamins A, D, and also calcium.  I then ended up adding about 1/4 cup more regular milk to thin it out as the batter was way to thick at this point. A miscall on my part...

The pancakes browned and rose perfectly. The taste was a little sweet, (the mix includes cane sugar) but all in all had a very good flavor. I must admit with all honesty though that they seemed a little dense and doughy.

To be fair I  decided to remake another batch of pancakes and follow the directions on the box to a T... The pancakes once again browned beautifully and rose to perfection. I used regular milk as I had no rice milk on hand, and personally felt like there were enough rice ingredients in the mix itself as it was.

The pancakes still seemed a little dense and doughy for my liking, but once again had a good taste. I guess I like my pancakes a little dryer in texture so that once I smother them with butter and syrup and they will still hold up.

Since the company was kind enough to send me the samples to review and I have no idea what this product cost in the stores so I checked the Internet to get a pricing of several different products similar to this one. With the ingredients list in mind I feel the pricing to be much in the same range as similar products.

If you have followed the blog and tried any of my recipes  you know I love using sorghum and a few others in my home made flour mixes in addition to rice flour. I guess in my own personal opinion the only thing this mix might be needing is a little protein...

Rating:

Browning  5
Rising  5
Texture  3+
Taste  4
Cost  4






Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Trader Joes gluten free chocolate chip brownie mix...



On our days off my husband and I like to stop in various stores that are either new to us or we haven't been in for awhile. On a recent trip we stopped into a brand new Trader Joe's that had just recently opened. While there I like to scour the isles for new and interesting items that are gluten free. I am always up for new challenges when it comes to gluten free baking even though I like to use my own blends of flours. However,  I am always open to trying prepackaged mixes for convenience at times.

While recently visiting the new store I came upon their "Baker Josef's" Gluten free Chocolate chip brownie mix. As you all know by now I could probably live on all things chocolate if no other food groups existed, so I decided to buy a box and give them a try.

Although I don't remember the cost, and have actually thrown away the receipt by now, I do believe they were between $3.99- $4.99 for the box....The mix will make a 8x8 inch pan and the chocolate chips in the mix are a pretty good size.

One egg, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil, are all that is needed to assemble. I actually used a large slotted spoon to mix all the ingredients together so it couldn't get any simpler.

I used a glass baking dish, well greased and baked for 35 minutes, checking to see if they were done with a toothpick at that time and they were baked to perfection. The directions say to bake 35 minutes to 42 minutes and since my oven seems to be pretty spot on, It only took 35 minutes total.

I must warn you though that these brownies can become pretty addictive. I knew this even after my very first bite. They were moist, held together nicely, even while warm....YES I couldn't wait!!! The top was that crispy layer that you get on  wheat laden brownies, although not as shiny of a texture. I only had one problem....the fact that I actually had no milk in the house, but a little thing like that wasn't going to stop me from enjoying.

I must say that I was pretty darn impressed with this mix, and would definitely have to rate it 5stars. I have no idea when I will be going back that direction to pick up a few more boxes, but I hope its soon, as this will definitely be a must have staple in my cupboard for emergencies.

If you live local to a Trader Joe's stop by and pick up a box or two, and enjoy!!!

Sharon

 

Everyday living...

Hi all. As you have noticed there haven't been many posts as of recent...As it goes everyday living has caught up with our family.

My mother fell several weeks back and broke her hip, for which she had to have surgery, so life as I know it has taken a detour. Trying to maintain a regular work schedule, long drives and visits to the hospital, have all taken a great deal of my time. Therefore the blog has taken a back seat, along with my baking, as it should.

Trying to take a few minutes to relax this morning I sat watching the sparrows who have nested in the birdhouse outside my kitchen window. It amazes me how they work, and work, just to feed their young. One leaves the nest as the other returns with food for the babies. I see the baby birds tiny beaks rising up into the small opening with the expectation of the food that their parents have worked so tirelessly to bring each time one of the parents return to the nest.

My mother has always been that way with me. Working tirelessly to put food on the table as I was growing up. Taking me to doctor's appointments, and functions, until I was old enough to drive on my own. Teaching me the love of baking and cooking.

I don't know how much longer the baby birds will stay in the nest before they are ready to learn how to fly. Nor do I know if their parents will miss them when they fly away on their own. I know I will be sad to see them go as it has been an adventure watching the magic of it all through my kitchen window each day.

So please bear with me if the posts are sparse in the next few weeks because my role in life seems to have been reversed for a little while. The mother who has always been my leader in life at the present needs a little leadership from me, and hopefully I can do as good of a job as she did!

So until next post...have a great Gluten free week.
Sharon







 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gluten Free Broccoli Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa...I just can't seem to get enough of this tasty little thing. Its everywhere now days. Chips, soups, salads, and even stuffed peppers (a recipe I shared in a recent post ).
It has actually become on of my husbands favorites recently also since he tried it at the "First Watch" for breakfast one day..

This recipe is a filling salad to enjoy without all those "rabbit" foods as my mother in law calls them. Its loaded with protein, veggies, and flavor. Now don't get me wrong, I still love my rice dishes, but since quinoa is loaded with protein, and I am not a big meat eater, I try to incorporate it as much as I can into my recipes.

I hope you enjoy it and share the recipe with a friend!

Here's to a great gluten free week!
Sharon


Ingredients:

12 ounces fresh broccoli
2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 large cucumber, cubed
6 ounces diced cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably sea salt
pinch of pepper

Dressing:

1/4 cup Dijon GF mustard
3 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T pure GF maple syrup


Cook the quinoa according to directions using either water or your choice of GF broth. Let cool.

In a small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Place the broccoli in a blender or food processor and pulse until minced, or mince by hand. Place in the microwave on high for two-three minutes.

Toss the cooked quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, almonds, and broccoli together in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix together until coated. Add the salt and pepper. Refrigerate two hours until flavors blend together, then serve.

Yields about 6 servings

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Gluten Free Quinoa fried rice

  • Hi all. I ran across this recipe the other day on the web somewhere and decided to share it with you. I can't remember where I found it or would give credit where its due....sorry! After visiting the "First Watch" in out area a few weeks ago at which my husband tried one of their quinoa dishes, which he absolutely loved, I thought I might like to surprise him with this dish.
  • It was a slam dunk hit!!! The best of both worlds...The Chinese flare which we love, but also the goodness of the veggies and protein from the quinoa.
  • If you have never tried quinoa before, or if its one of your favorites, then this recipe is a must try, as it will not disappoint.
  • Drop me a line and give me your feedback. Until next post....Enjoy.
  • Sharon
  • Quinoa fried rice...
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 minced cloves garlic 
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 8 Oz mushrooms (chopped)
  • 10 ox frozen broccoli, or 1 head fresh broccoli (chopped) 
  • 1 small zucchini (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup carrots (grated)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp ginger (grated)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
Instructions:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and onion and cook for a few minutes until tender.
  2. Add mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. Cook for a few more minutes until veggies are tender, stirring often.
  3. Add corn, peas, and quinoa. Cook a few more minutes, mixing to distribute heat, until everything is completely heated.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir to combine. Then add green onions and eggs, and mix until combined.
  5. Serve and garnish with additional green onions, and sour cream.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gluten Free Chicken & Dumpling soup...

I woke up today to the rain after several sunny days in a row. It seems like the weather lately is about as predictable as the visual migraines I have been having. The past few weeks I have probably consumed more wheat than my body can tolerate on any given year, let alone day. Yet with all that has been going on in the family the past few months it has been virtually impossible to maintain a strictly gluten free diet unless I want to eat "rabbit food" as my mother in law calls it, for every meal....Today I have great hopes of getting back on track.
 
Searching the web for something that is quick and can last a few days with all the commotion going on in my life at the moment, I came across this delicious looking recipe, one almost identical to one I have made before with the exception of the thyme, or the dumplings.
 
So as usual I am off to the store in a few to pick up a already roasted chicken to make the process quicker and easier. I hope you will give it a try and drop me a line as to how yours turned out.
 
As always...Enjoy.
Sharon
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gluten Free meatloaf....

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I'm in the best mood I have been in for weeks. Seems like spring has sprung and there is a lightness in the air.

Sunday is family day here, and everyone was coming for dinner. I had no idea what I was going to make for the main course.. Gluten free cupcakes and brownies were a given, as my family has really adjusted to these treats and actually look forward to them now,  but the main course was my dilemma. I needed something that would stretch, not cost a arm and a leg, that was  going to be delicious enough for family, and still gluten free for myself.

As I was checking one of my customers through my register while  at work, she mentioned she was making meatloaf for dinner that night, and the light bulb went off in my head! I haven't made meatloaf in quite some time and the sound of it actually made my mouth water.

Now how was I going to make it safe for myself and delicious enough for my family to enjoy? I remembered a few years back...yes, I can actually remember that far back....I'm not totally comatose yet, and I recalled seeing several recipes on the web that used oats in the recipe instead of bread crumbs, so my search began.

The following recipe is one I found and used, with a little tweaking on my part. My family really enjoyed the dish and would have never have known there were oats in it if I hadn't shared the recipe when asked. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. The recipe makes two 1 1/2 pound meatloaves. If you are serving less then by all means cut the recipe in half. Better yet make the full recipe and pop the second meatloaf in the freezer to bake in the future...

Gluten Free meatloaf:     

3 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup diced green pepper
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cups uncooked gluten free quick oats ( I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup ketchup
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl mix all ingredients by hand until the green pepper, celery and onion are evenly distributed. Shape into 2 separate 1 1/2 pound meat loaves and place evenly spaced apart in a lightly sprayed 13x9 inch baker.
Bake in a 350 degree oven, covered with foil for approximately 60 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more until lightly browned. This was great served with mashed potatoes and green beans as side dishes.

Enjoy!



 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gluten Free flours...

Today I wanted to share a gluten free comparison flour chart with you. When you are  mixing your own flour blends together for gluten free recipes, this is a handy tool to have. It helps you decide which flours will work best for your own personal diet needs. The chart basically tells you which flours are the "healthiest' to use based on carb count, fiber, proteins, and calories. The flours highlighted in RED are NOT gluten free but are on the chart only to give you a example of their properties in comparison to the gluten free flours....

Although the top flours on the chart would indeed be the healthiest to use, we must be logical  in  the knowledge that when baking gluten free no single flour will work  as well alone as it does when mixed with other flours and starches.

I personally love using oat flour. It has a mild, sweet taste that I am use to. I also like to use Millet, as it is easily digestible and contains fiber, which can be missing in many baked goods. It gives the finished product  a somewhat nutty taste. However, use this flour sparingly because it can be overbearing and some people won't like the taste of your baked goods as well. Sorghum is also one that you will sometimes find in my mixes. Although it is not as easily digested, it does add structure and a nice taste to baked goods. Rice flour is always in my pantry as well. I avoid bean flours, as they and I just do not agree with one another. I have not had as good of luck with coconut flour, but love to use coconut oil in place of the oil and shortening in my recipes. Its loaded with fiber, healthy,  and gives baked goods a great taste. ( you can order coconut oil to the right of this site)

 Don't forget your starches....Although they do carry their weight in carbs and calories they also add texture, browning power, and lightness to your desserts. I personally like using arrowroot powder, tapioca starch , and potato starch  in  my baked goods. Arrowroot basically has no flavor so it doesn't take away from the finished products taste. Tapioca helps your baked goods brown nicely, and a blend of all three in my mixes really gives my desserts the taste and texture they need.

 I hope the chart helps.  So mix away, and Good luck! Also drop me a line and tell me what  flours you use in your favorite mix, and why you believe it works for you...

Sharon

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Goat cheese stuffed tomatoes...






Tomato's, tomato's, tomato's....No mater how you slice it they are one of my favorite fruits...Yes I said fruit! I love anything with tomatoes in it, on it, or cooked in them... Pizza, pasta, and fresh from the garden with some salt and pepper. I am so excited that Spring is only weeks away and I can't wait to start my raised veggie garden this year after recently moving back to my home state.
 
I thought I would jump ahead a little to Spring and share a great light and refreshing recipe with you all. Anything to hopefully take your mind off this cold weather...That's what friends are for ya know :-)
 
Anyway here is the recipe which you can use even now as there are some pretty of good tasting tomato's in the stores right now. I hope you will give it a try and drop a line and tell me what you think.
 
Until next post....
Sharon
 
 
 
 
 Goat cheese stuffed tomato's:
 
8-10 small vine-ripened tomato, even Roma's will do...
½ cup goat cheese
5-8 fresh basil leaves, minced
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (plus a little to garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
 
Hollow out the tomatoes by cutting carefully into the top to remove the top and stem. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. The remaining hollowed out tomato will look similar to a tulip.
Mix the goat cheese, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Stuff the goat cheese mixture into the tomatoes.
Serve on a plate and garnish with a little olive oil and strips of fresh basil.

* If using Roma tomatoes take a small slice off bottoms so they will stand upright on the plate...
 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Gluten free cookbook...

Hi all. Well I have had the past few days off from work as we are having some issues with our washing machine that seriously needed to be taken care of. It sounded like a helicopter taking off when it was on the spin cycle, and spitting black stuff onto my floor....I sometimes feel that life is out to get me, along with the washing machine!

A few days ago I posted that I was going to try agar agar in my bread recipe and let you know how it turned out. I have only made one loaf so far and I had actually tried a new flour mixture at the same time, so I honestly can't give a reasonable opinion. I will say however that I did keep the finished loaf and its in my freezer, so I guess it wasn't all that bad!!!

For the past month I have been feeling out of sorts with a irritated stomach most of the time, and when searching the web on gums and their affects I  found out that I had  many of the symptoms that others who can't consume xanthan gum have had...Seems not only was it affecting my gut, but also the lining of my nose and its membranes. Since I have been careful not to consume products the past few days with any xanthan gum in them my symptoms seem to be clearing up. I will keep you further posted on this matter when I have been off  it for a longer period of time...

Also I have been doing some intense research on the web about using a gum replacement along with the agar agar, or on its own, and have ordered another product that I am hoping will help solve my dilemma. I will also keep you posted on this venture.

Tomorrow it will be back to work as usual :-( , and after being retired once, I am definitely looking forward to that day soon again. Its hard working on new recipes and flour mixtures when I am so tired after a day of work...All I want to do is prop my feet up and try and relax. Maybe someday I will finally be able to complete the cookbook I started over a year ago....

Well that's all for today. Hopefully my "surprise" gum replacement will arrive this week and I can post some hopeful results for you all soon.

Until then have a great gluten free week.
Sharon

 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Agar Agar Powder

Today is my day off and naturally instead of sleeping in I woke up at 5:30 AM....So far I have cleaned, made cookies, and taken a cat nap with my cat Angel.. LOL All joking aside it has been a prosperous day so far I believe.

 Lately I have been contemplating about some of the gluten free flours and products I have been using. I have been doing some extensive  research about the binding ingredients used in gluten free baking such as Xanthan gum, and the other gums.

I know you need some sort of binding as there is definitely NO gluten's in the flours I use so I started researching some alternatives to use,  as it seems the gums seem to be giving me some issues as of late.

I came upon a article online that states you can use a product called Agar Agar  Powder in place of these gums, and therefore I have ordered a jar and hopefully plan to give it a try in my recipes in the very near future. As soon as I have some results I will post them.

In the mean time I am still "mixing it up"  with several flour combinations trying to find the best flour blends for different baked goods. I hope your gluten free living is going well and I'll be back online soon with more fun recipes...

Until then if you have any suggestions or recipes you would like to share drop me a line in the contact form.

Sharon

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

QUICK Homemade Vanilla Pudding ...

Hi all. As you all know by now I am a BIG chocolate fan :.) Lately I have been fighting off a cold and the other night I was in the mood for something warm, creamy, and of all things....VANILLA! Go figure. I racked my brain, searched through my cupboards, thought about driving to the store but didn't have the energy,  all to no avail...
 
Then I started reminiscing about being a child and how my mom always made something special for us when we weren't feeling well. Then it hit me...I remember how she use to make vanilla pudding on the stove from scratch and the sweet aroma that use to fill the kitchen as it cooked on the stove. So even though I wasn't feeling well I searched my pile of recipes until I came upon a old family favorite.
 
The great thing about this recipe is even though it takes a few minutes to make  it is not loaded with preservatives and all that added gook of store bought varieties...and I can eat it while its still warm and soothing.
 
So here is the quick, simple recipe, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....YUM!!!
 
Quick Homemade Vanilla Pudding:
 
Ingredients:
 
2 cups milk
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
Directions:
 
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges.

In a small bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter.

Pour into serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap laid across top of pudding so a film does not form. Chill before serving or eat while warm, either way it's delicious.
 
Have a great gluten free day!
Sharon

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fresh Farm Berry Mix


  I just joined a new site with great products....Hope you will stop by and visit  :-)
Farm Fresh Berry Mix This is just one of the many items available for your home.

Sharon