Posts Tagged gluten free blog

Gluten Free Baked Apples

gluten free apples Fall has arrived!  Well, at least here in New Jersey…  I eagerly await turning the calendar to September so I can plant my mums and put out my Fall decorations.  I also really enjoy using the seat warmer in my car.  And my Snuggie (it’s a blanket with arms – totally stylish!).  The family recently went to a local farm to pick apples.  As always, we picked entirely too many!  This year I was determined to use each and every apple before they turned into a science experiment in my kitchen (been there, done that).  Feeling lazy but wanting an apple pie, I came up with a much easier but equally tasty recipe.   The hardest part for me was coring the apples by hand.  Apparently some genius created an apple corer.  Yeah, I totally need one of those!

Gluten Free Baked Apples

  • 4 medium apples (I used Gala)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • apple cider
  • butter
  • maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Core the apples (be sure not to go all the way through).  In a baking dish (or large muffin tin), pour approximately 1/2 inch of apple cider in the bottom.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  For each apple: put 1 tbsp of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture in the cored out portion.  Top with 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans.  Add a pat of butter to the top and drizzle with real maple syrup.  Bake approximately 30 minutes.  Serve warm apples with vanilla ice cream.  Take the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle on top.

You can also sprinkle 1 tbsp of gluten free granola on each apple before baking!

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Carol Fenster’s 125 Gluten Free Vegetarian Recipes Cookbook

I was sent a copy of Carol Fenster’s latest cookbook 125 Gluten Free Vegetarian Recipes.  I have huge respect for Carol Fenster as when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease six years ago, Carol’s books were the first I read.  They helped understand the gluten free “lifestyle” as well as what the heck to eat/cook.  I was a vegetarian for 15 years prior to going gluten free (well except for bacon, but that’s another story) and struggled to find gluten free vegetarian recipe ideas.  I love the concept of this recipe book and the vegan recipes are definitely a bonus!.  Carol has penned an impressive nine cookbooks and decided it was time for a gluten free vegetarian primer.  “With over 22 million people following a vegetarian-inclined diet and seven percent adhering to a gluten-free diet, the time is right for a cookbook that combines these two popular diets into one practical guide,” says Fenster, who has been gluten-free for over 20 years.  I made the gluten free granola recipe and LOVED it!  The recipe was easy, quick and the granola bars were moist and tasty.  The possibilities of what nuts/dried fruit to use as add ins were endless (I’m all about variety).  Overall, this is a great cookbook if you are looking for new gluten free vegetarian recipes.

 

Review of 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster, Ph.D

Pros:

  • Excellent assortment of gluten free vegetarian recipes.
  • Bonus vegan recipes.
  • Details the calories, fat, protein, carbs, cholesterol, sodium and fiber for each recipe.

Cons:

  • No food photographs.  Prior to going gluten free, I didn’t cook much at all.  After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I was essentially forced to get in my kitchen. I need pictures of what the end result will look like!

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Jazz Up Your Gluten Free Breakfast!

Breakfast:  noun \ˈbrek-fəst\  the first meal of the day especially when taken in the morning

Want to have an awesome and tasty gluten free breakfast?  Included are some recipe ideas as well as cool suggestions for jazzing up your morning meal!

gluten free breakfastFun with Food

Egg in a Hole – I learned this simple yet fun recipe in 8th grade Home Economics class.  The teacher also tried to teach me how to sew a pair of shorts.  That lesson did not go as well as the cooking portion of the class, but I digress…  Here’s how to make this dish:  using the mouth of a glass, press down to cut a circle into a piece of gluten free bread.  Remove the circle.  Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Place the bread along with the circle in the skillet and toast on both sides.  Once toasted, crack one egg into the hole of the bread and season with salt & pepper.  Cook about two minutes.  Flip the egg and toast and the circle of bread.  Add more butter if needed.  Cook another 2 to 3 minutes depending on if you like your egg runny or more firm.  Transfer to a plate and enjoy your Egg in a Hole!  You can use the circle part of the bread to dip or just enjoy it with a little jelly.

Pancakes – take your ho hum pancakes and make them extra special by adding berries (frozen or fresh) or white/chocolate chips.  Check out the gadgets section of my article for more pancake fun.

French toast sticks – french toast just seems more fun when you can pick it up and dip it into maple syrup!  Make your french toast using gluten free bread and then cut into three sections.  Dip into warmed maple syrup.

Bacon Egg & Cheese Sandwich – Nothing says breakfast like bacon!  Well, for me, any meal with bacon is a wondrous meal.  Why not put your bacon, egg & cheese on a gluten free bagel or even between two waffles?

Groovy Granola Bars – use gluten free oatmeal mix as a base to make homemade granola bars.  Add in your favorite nuts, dried fruit, and spices.

Gadgets for Gluten Free Tastiness

Waffle maker – I LOVE my waffle maker!   You can make up a batch of waffles for breakfast and freeze the rest for later.

Pancake molds – who wouldn’t want to eat pancakes shaped like star wars figures (or hearts, trucks, flowers and dinosaurs?  Pick up some pancake molds at your local superstore or online.  They are so easy to use.

Toaster art – get creative with your toast!  Toasters now have “stencils” that toast an impression (a sun, princess, words, etc) onto your bread.  Just remember to keep this toaster designated “gluten free” to avoid cross contamination.

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How to be a Happy Gluten Free Camper!

gluten free smore

Ahhhh, the great outdoors.  There’s nothing quite like enjoying the company of family and friends while kicking back in nature.  If you are planning on getting your recreation on, here are some tips and advice to a fun and successful camping trip!

Breakfast Menu

Just because you are away from home (and your kitchen), doesn’t mean that you can’t have a tasty and filling breakfast.  How about toasting a delicious Udi’s bagel and topping it with cream cheese or even making it into a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich?  Break out the cast iron pan and whip up some chocolate chip pancakes using Gluten Free Bisquick.  Gluten Free Chex Cereal with fresh fruit is a great start to the day as well.  Don’t forget your percolator for freshly brewed coffee!

Lunch

Lunch is time to recharge and refuel.  What’s more filling than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Udi’s Whole Grain Bread?  You could get really adventurous and try my favorite sandwich – peanut butter and bacon!  It sounds a bit vile, but I promise you’ll be hooked once you taste it.  Homemade or store bought soup warmed over the campfire is another great choice.  You could always keep it light with yogurt topped with gluten free granola and mixed berries.

Mid-Day Snacks

I am obsessed with making my own gluten free Chex Mix!  It’s so easy to make and very portable.  The Chili and Garlic Chex Mix is my favorite, but the possibilities are endless.  Another great snack option is fruits and veggies.  Crunchy apples or carrot sticks will tide you over till the dinner bell sounds.  Some grab and go ideas are Larabars, Nature Valley Nut Crunch bars, or Glutino Pretzels.

Dinner

Pack some gluten free hamburger or hot dog buns so you can grill up a gluten free sausage with peppers and onions or a double decker hamburger.  Roasted potatoes and veggies cooked in a tin foil pouch are an easy side.  Premix all of the dry ingredients at home for skillet cornbread and add the wet ingredients at the campsite for traditional camping fare.  Get shucking and serve up grilled corn with chili-lime spread.  Grilled corn on the cob has such awesome flavor!

Dessert

What’s a camping trip without s’mores?  I’ve taste tested the Kinnikinnick GF Graham Crackers and they are awesome for s’more making?  Or be creative by using two Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookies to sandwich your chocolate and roasted marshmallow.  Just bake the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in your cooler.  Premade Gluten Free Brownies or Gooey Rice Krispie Treats are also a well-deserved treat after a day of exploring.

A little pre-planning will help to make your camping trip an awesome experience.  Remember to pack your own utensils and pans to avoid cross contamination.  Be sure to educate your fellow campers of your gluten intolerance and the need to keep your foods separate from their gluten filled eats.

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California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza and More!

For six long years, I’ve been on a quest to find a mouthwateringly delicious gluten free pizza.  Back in my gluten eating days, we’d enjoy a Trenton Tomato Pie — the kind you fold in half before eating (if you’re from Jersey, you know what I’m talking about).  After going gluten free, I tirelessly sampled countless pies looking for that illusive holy grail.  I came very close today at California Pizza Kitchen!  I feasted on the Gluten Free Wild Mushroom Pizza and it was pure fabulousness.  The cheese was uber-cheesy, the toppings were generous, and the fact that I could eat something other than a (yawn) house salad was priceless.  The only minor glitch in the meal was that the gluten free crust was a bit undercooked.  However, that didn’t stand in the way of me scarfing down the entire pizza.  There are 27 (holy crap!) gluten free pizza options. Note that two pizza options are NOT available gluten-free.  They are the Thai Chicken and the Roasted Artichoke & Spinach.  CPK’s gluten free menu is impressive and I’m thrilled that they are aware of their gluten free customers’ needs.  California Pizza Kitchen has locations throughout the US.

Prior to our visit, I did contact California Pizza Kitchen via e-mail and here is their response.  FYI, this response is from Barbara Cason, Guest Relations on May 12, 2011.  As of June 29, 2011, CPK now offers the gluten-free pizza crust option at all locations.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in California Pizza Kitchen. The following items from CPK are acceptable for a Gluten Free Diet: Small Cravings Asparagus & Arugula Salad White Corn Guacamole & Chips The Wedge Salad Soups Tuscan White Bean Minestrone **Order Without Croutons Sedona Tortilla Soup Salads Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad Roasted Vegetable Salad Original Chopped CPK Cobb Salad Moroccan Chicken Salad Waldorf Chicken Salad Field Greens Specialties Wild Caught Mahi Mahi Served with wok-stirred mixed vegetables. Served blackened upon request. Pan Sauteed Salmon Served with wok-stirred mixed vegetables. Served blackened upon request. Desserts Hot Fudge or Caramel Sundae CPKids Grilled Chicken Breast Served with baby broccoli. Fresh Fruit Available with the purchase of a CPKids Meal. As CPK does offer many items that do contain some form of gluten, we also recommend mentioning your dietary restrictions to your server or a manager on duty to ensure proper precautions are taken to prevent cross-contamination.”

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Gluten Free Cake Pops!

Gluten Free Cake Pops

Birthdays are a time of celebration (and an excuse shamelessly to eat lots of cake!).   I’m beyond happy that gluten free dessert options have come such a long way!  I remember my first gluten free birthday.  Truth be told, “pre-celiac” my version of baking involved going to the bakery and buying something.  It was safer for all involved if I steered clear of the oven.  Then I went gluten free and I was basically forced to become one with my kitchen, 15 different types of gluten free flour, and a strange ingredient called Xanthan Gum.  I baked my first birthday cake and it was a disaster.  It tasted like burnt cardboard and looked like a squashed pancake.  However, in the past six years, I’ve learned to (gasp) enjoy baking!  I love creating new gluten free recipes and coming up with fun and tasty treats.  If I can do it, you can too!   Want to get creative for your next sans gluten birthday dessert?  This recipe was a huge hit with adults and kids alike.

gluten free cake pops

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Pops Recipe

Cake:
1 box of Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 stick of butter
3 eggs
1 cup water

Icing:
8 ounce cream cheese (softened)
¼ cup of butter (softened)
1 cup confectioners sugar
½ tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Additional Items:
2 packages of lollipop sticks (from local craft store)
Parchment paper
2 packages (four cups) white or dark chocolate chips
Sprinkles, non-pareils, sugar beads, or shaped sprinkles

I followed the directions on the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix box.  Let the cake cool completely.  Now for the fun part, plop cake into a large bowl and begin breaking it up with your fingers.   In a separate bowl, cream together one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese, ¼ cup softened butter, 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk, & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.   Once the mixture is fully creamed and smooth (if necessary, add a bit more milk), transfer the mixture into the bowl of crumbled cake.  Using your hands, combine the cake and icing.  Transfer cake/icing mix to refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Once all balls are formed, insert a lollipop stick into each cake ball.  Pop the cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes.  While cake pops are freezing, begin melting your chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave) in a deep bowl.  Begin dipping each cake ball completely into the chocolate.   Get creative and sprinkle on whatever toppings you’d like!  Place lollipop back on parchment paper and allow chocolate to harden.  FYI, these can be frozen for a future celebration!  Makes approximately 40 cake pops.

gluten free cake crumbsgluten free white chocolate

gluten free decorated cake pops

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Hello Summer! Gluten Free Snow Cones

gluten free snow cones

 

It was totally because of the needs (whining) of my children that I bought these Back To Basics Syrup for snow cones, slushies, and ice pops.  Ok, I admit it, I also was feeling a bit nostalgic for my Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.  Snow cones are an awesome way to celebrate Summer.  What’s more exciting than grinding up ice, pouring some sugar-filled liquid on it, and eating it?  Can I get a “yum”?   However, as I was making snow cones yesterday for the kids, my daughter shouted out, “Hey Mom, these are gluten free!”  There it was, printed on the back of the bottle “CONTAINS NO GLUTEN“.  Whenever I see a gluten free label on anything (heck, it could be my living room couch) I get excited!  So I had to share my tasty summer treat with my fellow gluten free peeps.

Enjoy!

 


gluten free snow cones

 

gluten free snow cones

 

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Enjoy Life Gluten Free Product Review

Strawberries and gluten free granola

It was a no brainer when Enjoy Life contacted me to taste test their double chocolate crunch gluten free granola as well as their  semi-sweet mega chunks.  I personally consider chocolate one of the major food groups, so I was excited to sample their new products!

Double Chocolate Crunch Granola Review
Pros:

  • Gluten, nut, and casein free, vegan, kosher pareve
  • There are only 3.5 grams of fat in 1/2 cup of granola!  Many granolas are high in fat content.
  • Very crunchy and tasty.  Perfect topping on greek yogurt and berries.

Cons:

  • Do your pricing research!  In doing a search on-line for Enjoy Life Granola, I found that the price point varied greatly by retailer.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks Review
Pros:

  • Gluten, soy, nut and casein free, vegan, kosher pareve
  • Delicious, HUGE chocolate chunks!  They aren’t kidding around with the “mega” title.
  • Would be wonderful to add to cookies or brownies.  Sadly I did not bake anything as I ate the entire package over the course of two days handful by handful.

Cons:

  • Pricing.  Sadly pricing online was very high due to shipping costs.  A 10 ounce bag cost as much as $10.00 online after shipping charges.  Unless you can locate these in your local grocery store, these mega chunks would be very expensive.

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It’s Easy Being Green!

There are many ways we can each make a difference in taking care of Mother Earth.  One of which is buying naturally gluten-free fruits and veggies as close to your home as possible.  Shopping for gluten-free produce is easy!

gluten free

Join a CSA.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  In a CSA, people in the community pay a local farmer a set fee for a “share” of their crops during the growing season.  Typically from June until October, members pick up their weekly allotment of freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

Visit your local farm stand or farmer’s market.  I love stopping by the farm stand and picking up ingredients for that evening’s dinner.  During one “veggie run”, I asked the farm stand owner for lettuce.  Much to my amazement, he promptly dug up two heads of lettuce from his crops.  You can’t get any fresher than that!

Grow your own garden.  Whether you try your hand at container gardening or have a patch of land you can cultivate, growing your own can be a fun and satisfying activity!  Crops such as zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, and peppers are a great starting point for beginner gardeners.

What to do with all of this fabulous local gluten-free produce?  Here are a few seasonal recipes to enjoy!

Tomato, Watermelon and Mint Salad

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I like to use a combination of red and yellow tomatoes)
4 cups of watermelon balls
½ cup chopped fresh mint
4 teaspoons lime juice
Dash of salt

Combine all ingredients and toss gently.

Homemade Basil Pesto

3 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of peeled garlic
1/3 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts (toast in a small pan over low heat till golden brown in color)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of water

In a food processor, puree all the ingredients listed above until combined. Taste and make adjustments as needed (I sometimes add a bit more basil or cheese).

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup sugar (I used demerara raw cane sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, canola oil, agave nectar, sugar, and vanilla extract. Shred zucchini and place in a clean dishtowel. Use the dishtowel to wring out excess water (this will help prevent your bread from becoming too mushy). Stir in shredded zucchini into mixing bowl. Using a sifter, sift brown rice, millet, sorghum, and potato starch flours as well as baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Add into mixing bowl. Stir until combined and then fold in mini-chocolate chips.

Divide batter into four mini-loaf pans. Bake 25 – 30 minutes (until tester inserted in the center comes out clean).

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Traversing the Grocery Store – Gluten Free

I remember when I first went gluten free; I would spend hours at the grocery store.   Fear not!  You can easily tackle gluten free food shopping with some important tips in mind:

1)      Do your research and create a list before you shop.  Compile a “cheat sheet” of what is gluten free before hitting the supermarket and bring your reference guide with you.

2)      Stop by the customer service desk.  Many grocery stores are now providing a list of gluten free products they carry in store.  Some stores even have a downloadable version you can access online.

3)      Shop the perimeter of the store.  Naturally gluten free fruits and veggies, meats, poultry, fish and dairy products can be found in the outer aisles of most grocery stores.

4)      Explore the inner aisles for gluten free finds such as canned goods, rice, corn tortillas, Frito Lay snacks, Chex gluten free cereal, Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake, cookie and brownie mixes, and Gluten Free Bisquick.  Chain stores as well as food stores such as Target, Trader Joes, Wegmans, and Whole Foods also carry a nice selection of gluten free food products.

5)      Speak to the store manager.  Is there a certain gluten free food that you are wishing your store would carry?  Talk to the manager and ask to fill out a product request form.

6)      Read all labels.  As time consuming as it may be, reading ingredient labels is the one way you can make absolutely certain if a product is gluten free.

7)      Shop during non-peak times.  If at all possible, plan to do your shopping during a time when your grocery store is not busy (early morning, late evening, weekdays).  You’ll feel less pressured when the aisles aren’t jam packed with frenzied shoppers.

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