World’s Easiest Cookies {Bake Around}

World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover 600

Elizabeth Barbone (Gluten Free Baking) has done it again, this time with her latest cookbook “The World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” which is loaded with recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and no refined sugars!

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth a few years ago at the Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ. She is simply amazing, funny, and beyond talented. When this latest book was released (January 2016), she asked if I would like to be part of the “bake around” for it along with a handful of other bloggers, of course my answer was YES! I am not paleo (however some of my recipes just happen to be paleo), I do have celiac disease and a dairy allergy so these recipes are perfect for me and anything to support Elizabeth.

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(in true “Jenny” fashion, my eyes are closed)

The recipe we were asked to make and share with all of our readers is accurately named “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I kid you not, these are the world’s easiest cookies…except for those that you buy in a package, but why would you do that when you can make these?? They are delicious to top it off. Light and fluffy bites of goodness. I made the batch and Bryan proceeded to eat more than half of them. I was lucky enough to grab a few for myself.

Elizabeth is kindly letting us share this recipe with all of you and is also giving away 5 copies of her new book. So check out the recipe below and be sure to enter Elizabeth’s giveaway here: GIVEAWAY

World’s Easiest Cookies

World's Easiest Cookies _ World's Easiest Palelo Baking _ Elizabeth Barbone
Active Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free
store-bought

100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing
bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla
extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced
about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly
with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass
sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer
cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then
transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.
Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

See how easy these cookies are? And did I mention DELICIOUS?!? Be sure to check out all the bake around posts on Elizabeth’s website; Gluten Free Baking

*all comments and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Elizabeth for including me in this “bake around”

Gluten Free Classic Snacks {Review + Giveaway}

Classic-Snacks-e1436337195890This giveaway has now closed

Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring is one of my favorite gluten-free cookbook authors and bloggers. The woman is a genius when it comes to taking your favorite gluten-filled recipes and reformulating them to be gluten-free and she hit the nail on the head again in her latest cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks. With 100 recipes (YES 100!) for everything from cookies, brownies, snack cakes, and pies to buttery crackers, cheese crackers, pretzel rods, candy bars, and licorice–along with helpful tips and tricks for easy prep, extensive information on ingredients and substitutions, and basic recipes for homemade flour blends– Gluten-Free Classic Snacks will help you to bring back all the flavors and fun of the treats you remember. In the last two months I have had to change my diet a bit and am now not only gluten-free but also dairy free. I was please to see that Nicole included easy substitutions for her recipes. I made one recipe from the cookbook without any substitutions and had other try it out…the response DELICIOUS and then we tried a few others with substitutions and again the response was DELICIOUS. Bryan has a handful of his own food intolerance including quite a few FODMAP’s, OAS, and a wheat intolerance. I had him go through this cookbook (like I do with many that I receive in the mail) and had him mark which recipes he wanted to try first…I would say that more than 80% of the book was marked. To me that is always a good sign. I was given a list of recipes to choose from to review and without any hesitation we decided on the Kellog’s frosted strawberry pop-tarts toaster pastries. Probably one of the best decisions we’ve made recently (at least food wise). They were delicious! The only ingredient I didn’t have was gluten-free sprinkles. I can’t wait to make these again, and a bunch of the other recipes in the book. I have a lot of baking to do in the near future and I am okay with that.

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Gluten Free Kellogg’s Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries

Prep time: 1 hour 40 minutes    Cook time: 10 minutes    Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Author: Nicole Hunn from Gluten-Free Classic Snacks    Serves: 12

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 4–6 tablespoons milk, room temperature

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup seedless strawberry jam or jelly

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, plus more by the half-teaspoonful
  • Multicolored gluten-free nonpareils for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar to combine well.
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, vanilla, egg and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, adding more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and dust it lightly with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ¼ inches thick and slice it into 3 ½ x 4 ½-inch rectangles (there should be at least twenty four rectangles). If the dough becomes difficult to handle at any point, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer to chill briefly.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of strawberry jelly on the center of the half rectangles of dough, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a ¾-inch border clean on all sides of the rectangle. Cover with the remaining rectangles of dough and press all around the clean edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, pastry or pasta wheel, cut off about ½ inch of dough around all sides of the pastry. Place the pastries 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the pastries by piercing them randomly on top with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the pastries are very lightly golden brown around the edges and just set in the center, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the pastries from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of the water until a thick paste forms. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to create a thickly pourable glaze. Spread the glaze thickly on top of each cooled pastry and sprinkle them lightly with nonpareils. Allow them to set at room temperature before serving.
  8. The finished pastries can be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature and should maintain their texture for at least 3 days. For longer storage, wrap them individually in freezer-safe wrap, and freeze them for up to 2 months. Defrost the pastries at room temperature or unwrap and defrost them in the toaster.
IMG_6917From Gluten-Free Classic Snacks by Nicole Hunn. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, 2015

{GIVEAWAY}

In addition to being able to share this recipe with all of you I am also giving away THREE copies of this incredible cookbook – get ready for some childhood food memories to come rushing back. Please read the giveaway instructions carefully! Giveaway is open to both residents of the United States and Canada!! How to enter – please leave a separate comment below for each entry! There is one mandatory post and all others are optional! Giveaway ends on Friday July 24th. Winners will be chosen using random.org and will have 48 hours to respond, if no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Good luck to all who enter!

  • Visit this page and leave a comment below telling me what you would make first (MANDATORY POST)
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Rawtella “Cheesecake” Brownies {37Cooks}

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I love being a part of 37Cooks – even with my beyond busy schedule this year and turning a few submissions in late (sorry guys!), challenges like this help keep me on my toes and my creativity flowing. This challenge wasn’t for a sponsor but instead a fun little “Surprise Food Exchange” between the bloggers. We were asked to some something(s) from our state…I was chosen to send items from RI (or close by) to Donna of Cookistry. Sadly however her first box is M.I.A. so I sent her a second one which I hope was equally as good. I received some awesome gluten-free goodies from Linda…seriously these items were perfect and right up my alley. I received two bottles of Ginger People Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce and a jar of Rawtella.

Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce

(Image: ]http://gingerpeople.com/gluten-free-products/hot-ginger-jalapeno-spicy-dip.html)                                                        (Image:https://www.facebook.com/Rawtella/photos_stream)

Our challenge was to come up with a recipe using at least one of the products we received. At first I was pretty torn on which one to use. I had made a delicious burger with a bit of the Hot Ginger Jalapeno Sauce mixed into the meat, and topped with a Hot Ginger Jalapeno Aoli and avocado, and don’t get me wrong…it was delicious, however I forgot to actually get a good picture of it. Seeing as money is, lets say…tight right now I couldn’t actually recreate the recipe just yet so I went through my pantry to see what I had on hand. Turns out I had everything to make some delicious brownies…using a box mix of course. I have a great recipe for homemade brownies but I had a box of the Stonewall Kitchen Gluten-Free Brownie Mix, which I LOVE. It has such a great flavor (which is thanks to the coffee that is in it!). I’m not a huge chocolate person…I like it a lot better when it is mixed with something else, like nuts. I knew that I was going to use the Rawtella (obviously!) in this recipe but I was trying to think of something to break up all the chocolate. When walking through the grocery store this morning I saw some beautiful brownies with cream cheese swirls running through them and a light bulb went off, “I have that at home too!!”.

I have to say these are pretty easy and quick to make, especially if you are using a box mix. However, you do not have to…use whatever your favorite recipe is and even though the Rawtell is vegan, this recipe is not. I couldn’t afford to buy the alternative ingredients to make it that way so if you want to make it vegan, simply follow your favorite vegan brownie recipe, use the Rawtella and then use a vegan cream cheese. If anyone tries this…please let me know how it turns out.

Thank you Linda for the awesome, delicious ingredients to play around with. Hope you all enjoy the recipe!

Rawtella “Cheesecake” Brownies

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Brownies

  • 1 package of gluten-free brownie mix, prepared according to package or your favorite homemade gluten-free brownie recipe

Topping

  • 4 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg (separated)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup Rawtella

Method of Preparation

  1. Pre-heat oven according to package or recipe
  2. Prepare brownie mix according to package or recipe
  3. Pour prepared brownie batter into an 8×8 baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper or to make individual brownies use the Good Cook Dessert Bar Pan
  4. In a small bowl add the softened 1/3 fat cream cheese and the yolk from the egg.
  5. Mix with a spoon until completely incorporated and there are no lumps.
  6. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix well.
  7. In a second small bowl combine the Rawtella and egg white, mix until evenly incorporated.
  8. Place 1-2 teaspoons each of the cream cheese mixture and the Rawtella mixture of top of each brownie (if using the dessert pan) or evenly distribute globs of each on top of the brownie mixture in the 8×8 pan.
  9. With either a toothpick or knife, swirl the cream cheese and Rawtella mixtures together.
  10. Bake according to package or recipe.
  11. Cool completely, remove from pan and serve with fresh strawberries.

 

 

 

 

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes {37 Cooks & Good Cook}

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I love being a part of both 37 Cooks and Good Cook Blogger/Kitchen Experts – and I love that they have combined forces for this event. Each of the 37 Cooks received the following items from Good Cook as part of the recipe challenge: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Mixing Bowl, Spatula, and Chopping Mats. We then had a choice of one of the following items to play around with: Nonstick Round 9″ Cake Pan (Set of 2 for layer cakes), 13″ x 9″ Nonstick Covered Cake Pan, Dessert Bar Pan, or 4-Cup Loaf Pan. I ended up choosing the dessert bar pan because I thought that would be pretty versatile.

This was no ordinary challenge though – this was the Good Cook Potluck Pantry Challenge. The key word in that name is PANTRY, meaning we had to cook or bake with whatever we had in our pantry (including fridge) and not buy anything at the store. Thankfully my pantry is pretty well stocked and happened to have a fresh pineapple on hand! We had to use two of the Good Cook items – one from the core items received and the second item was whichever pan we choose.

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I knew right away that I wanted to make pineapple upside down cakes – this was my favorite cake growing up because it did not have frosting on it! I kid you not…to this day I still do not really like frosting unless it’s my own frosting which I do not sweeten much. My sweet tooth is not that strong I guess. This goes perfectly with a little dollop of lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. Even though I chose to do a sweet recipe, this pan can be used for so much more than desserts – you can bake cornbread, risotto (yes risotto squares!), meatloaf, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless – you just need to be creative.

I used the following items to create my Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Spatula, Chopping Mats, and Dessert Bar Pan – I loved using the pineapple corer/slicer – super easy to use, say good-bye to canned pineapple rings!

The recipe is below however, here are a few substitutions that can be made:

  • If you are not gluten-free feel free to use a “regular” cake mix
  • The recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free – the picture does show whipped cream but you can omit that.
  • Don’t like pineapple? Use a different fruit…raspberries, cherries, etc.
  • I used earth balance sticks – feel free to use whatever butter or butter alternative you want…I haven’t tried anything besides this and butter so I can not guarantee any results

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

photo(10)Ingredients

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions (use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often if using a stand mixer)
  3. Evenly divide up the 2-3 tablespoons of earth balance into the 12 wells of the dessert pan
  4. Place pan in preheated oven to melt the butter – once melted remove from oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly into the wells of the pan
  5. Top the brown sugar and melted butter with one 1/2 chunk of pineapple and 1 natural maraschino cherry (halved or whole is fine)
  6. Pour in prepared cake batter evenly into wells of pan – leave about 1/4 inch room to let the cake rise in the oven
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and using a heatproof serving plate or cutting board upside down onto pan,  turn plate and pan over.
  9. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan.
  10. Cool 30 minutes.
  11. Can be served either warm or cool with either ice cream (dairy free alternatives available), or whipped cream (or coconut cream)
  12. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Good Cook provided us with these products free of charge – all opinions are 100% my own.

Olio d’oliva Pagnotta Senza Glutine {Sweet Creations}

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I’m loving the Nonstick Mini Loaf Pan from Good Cook! You can do so much with this pan, and I know this will come in handy next Easter as I continue to work on converting my Grandmother’s Easter bread recipe (it is not Easter without this bread!). For now however I was asked to “Be a Sweetie” and make a Sweet Creation with this pan. I was a bit indecisive on what to make because there are so many options…did I want to make meatloaf? Something sweet? Savory?  I finally decided on a combination of sweet and savory…a take on an Italian classic; Olio d’oliva Pagnotta – Olive Oil Loaf. Most recipes I have seen or made in the past are made with lemons, however substituted organic Valencia oranges instead and added a nice little crunch of pine nuts (another Italian classic).

The pan is great – you can make four mini loaves of whatever your heart desires which is perfect for any holiday because these little loaves make awesome presents! I’ll be bringing my extra loves into work to share.

 Olio d’oliva Pagnotta Senza Glutine  (Gluten Free Olive Oil Loaf)

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Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs (large)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar + 2 Tablespoons (divided)
  • Zest of 1 large Valencia Orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil (make sure its a good one)
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Flour (I use Cup4Cup)
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts

Glaze (Optional)

  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400•F
  2. In a large bowl add eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar – beat with a wire whisk until pale and you see a bit of foam.
  3. Add orange zest, , salt, orange juice, and olive oil.
  4. Beat with wire whisk until well combined.
  5. Add baking powder and gluten-free flour, mix with a rubber spatula to combine all ingredients well.
  6. Add 1/3 cup of mixture into each of the four wells of the pan.
  7. Top each loaf well with even amounts of sugar and pine nuts.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes – turning 1/2 way through to ensure even browning.
  9. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. If using a glaze – prepare it now: in a small bowl add powdered sugar and orange juice, mix until well combined and drizzle over warm loaves.
  11. Enjoy!

IMG_8295_7876(Check out the super cute White Snow Flake parchment paper – also included in the giveaway below!)

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review – I was provided products for review from Good Cook. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources of any kind. Good Cook has kindly offered one Creative Cooking Gluten Free reader the chance to win one Nonstick Mini Loaf Pan and Decorate Parchment Paper (great for wrapping up the loaves!). Winner will be chosen using random.org and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, another winner will be chosen.

Chai Pumpkin Cheesecake

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I know that pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere right now but I received some amazing spices from The Spice House for a 37 Cooks challenge and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make another pumpkin recipe. This one combines two of my favorite fall beverages…a Tazo Chai Tea and Pumpkin Spice Latte. All I did was take my pumpkin cheesecake recipe and added a little bit of the The Spice House Chai seasoning – perfect combination. Great fall recipe and if made in the cupcake format (see below) they are a suitable portion size! Try these out instead of your traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Chai Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 cups of gluten free gingersnap crumbs

6 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 8oz packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese – softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 15oz can of organic pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

1  teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoon chai spice

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tins with paper liners. I only have one regular cupcake tin and an mini cupcake tin, so I used both.

Crust:

Crumble the ginger snaps either in a plastic ziplock back with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and butter to the crumbled ginger snaps in a medium bowl and mix until all crumbs are moist.

Scoop about one table spoon into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down (I used the bottom of one of my spice jars…it fits perfectly for the regular tins, for the mini tin I used the back of my coffee scoop).

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, let cool in pan on wire rack.

Filling:

In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth, add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin spice, chai seasoning, and salt. Mix well. Add one egg at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners. I used the same coffee scoop that I used to press the crust into the bottom to do this. It was the perfect size – three scoops for the regular tin and 1 1/2 – 2 for the mini ones.

For the regular tins bake for 40 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through. For the mini tins bake for 30 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through.Cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours.

Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or candied pecans if you wish. I hope you enjoy these tasty little treats!

Strawberry Chia Scones {Product Spotlight}

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I’m going to attempt a new feature on CCGF – I’m not 100% set on the details just yet but here is what I am thinking.

  • Either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly I am going to do a product spotlight.
  • I do a bunch of reviews on the blog already but I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite thing.
  • These products are not necessarily going to be a food item, they may be kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, etc.
  • I plant to talk about the item, the pros, cons, how to utilize it, etc.
  • I just want to have fun with this and share with all of you my favorite items.
  • I started working at a natural foods store with tons of gluten-free options, many of which I have never tried so I thought I would incorporate some of those items as well.

What do you all think?

Below is my first product spotlight…

Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix

By: Pamela’s Products

I love Pamela’s Products – it is one of my favorite packaged gluten-free goods. Lately I have been making my own flour blend to use but this is one that I would definitely go out and buy, especially her pancake mix (I’ll be taking that with me next week when we are fly fishing in Maine for a week). Below is a little bit of information about Pamela’s Products:

Here are some of the reasons why Pamela’s stands out from the crowd:

  • High quality sugars including, fruit juice, agave, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup and molasses create better tasting, decadent food.
  • The palm shortening is made from the most healthful part of the palm and is sourced from companies with fair trade and environmental stewardship track records.
  • Our nuts are from American suppliers to ensure freshness and quality.
  • Minimally processed grains like certified gluten-free oats, brown rice, millet and sorghum are used whenever possible to provide the benefits of whole grains they offer.
  • Sweet creamery butter (non-rBGH of course) and the highest quality monounsaturated safflower oil are used. Pamela’s does not use low quality oils.
  • The cardboard used in our packaging is made from recycled materials and are recyclable. Soy ink is used in all cardboard printing. We continue to seek additional sources of recycled materials.
  • We are in the process of changing our plastic trays to 100% recycled material.

What we leave out is as important as what we put in:

  • We never use any artificial colors, flavors, preservatives.
  • We never use high fructose corn syrup.
  • We have statements from all suppliers verifying our ingredients are non-GMO.  We are currently preparing to join the non-GMO Project, and are working closely with our vendors to assure the quality and source of all our ingredients

Biscuit and Scone Mix Ingredients: Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Sorghum Flour, White Rice Flour, Sweet Rice Flour, Grainless & Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Potato Starch), Natural Evaporated Sugar, Sea Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Soda.

Allergy Information: Free of gluten, wheat, eggs, dairy*, nuts*, soy*, corn,

*=depends on if you use butter or a butter alternative, and if you use almond or soy milk.

Pros: easy to follow directions with several recipes listed on the package itself. No sugar in the mix so you can add as much or as little as you want (I didn’t use much). You can use whatever ingredients you wish making your biscuits or scones either savory or sweet.

Cons: Can’t find it in a store near me but will contacting them to carry it.

How I used it: After reading the recipe options on the packaged (which all sounded delicious) I wanted to try my own thing. B went to the store yesterday and picked up two packages of strawberries that were out of this world delicious. So I thought of making a fresh strawberry and chia seed drop scone.

Strawberries are a good source of folate and potassium, and very good sources of dietary fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Chia seeds are amazing little things. In just one tablespoon they pack 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids! These are also great in smoothies, yogurt, and other baked goods.

These are delicious! I can however see why they say to use dried fruits in the recipe on the package…the fresh fruit makes it a bit sticky and uneasy to cut so I just made them into drop scones…don’t know if that is a real thing but it is now!

Strawberry Chia Scones

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1 Package of Pamela’s Products Biscuit & Scone Mix

8 Tablespoons of Butter or Butter Alternative (Earth Balance), Cold

1/3 Cup Wholesome Sweetener Organic Sugar

1 Cup Almond Milk

3/4 Cup Fresh Strawberries, Diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds

Follow directions on package – however when mixing in the fresh fruit mix by hand to prevent the fruit from becoming over mixed.

Place rack in top third of oven and pre-heat oven to 375°.

Combine dry mix and sugar. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or pastry blender, cut in butter until pea-sized crumbs are formed. Add milk. Add strawberries and chia seeds, mix until well incorporated. Take two large spoons and scoop scones onto a prepared baking sheet (either greased or parchment lined.You can sprinkle the top with a little bit of sugar before baking if you wish. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool slightly and enjoy.

These came out moist and delicious! Hope you enjoy this recipes and give this mix a try. So versatile…you can make savory scones or biscuits as well!

*I was sent this mix from Pamela’s Products for a review – I was not compensated in any way and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

I am very excited to be part of second annual The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap started up last year by Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen. This event brings together hundreds of bloggers from all over to be “Secret Santa” to one another by baking and sending cookies. This year they partnered with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer and OXO (who will match donations up to $100,000.00! Read more about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and how you can donate to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer on their website.

I was given the names of three lovely bloggers: Desiree of The Unconventional Kitchen, Lesley of Chef Lesley Palmer, and Heather of A Sweet Simple Life. I decided to go to the little book that my aunt, sister, and I made a few years back of my grandmother’s recipes and convert her chocolate chip cookie to be gluten-free. Who doesn’t love a classic chocolate chip cookie? I know I do. Just in case there were any nut allergies I left out the chopped nuts but feel free to add those in.

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In return for baking a dozen cookies for each of my three matches, I was also sent cookies from three other bloggers! All of the cookies were delicious. The three bloggers that I received cookies from are Alicia of Alicia Carlson Photography: Food. Family. Life, Karen of FabGrandma, and Gina of Health Love and Chocolate.

Are you a blogger that wants to participate in next years event? Visit this link to fill out the contact form to receive information when the event gets closer!

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Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Inspired by my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe that I re-worked to be gluten-free.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used a mock version of Cup4Cup from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your all-purpose flour already contains this)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon grey salt (kosher, table, etc. is also fine)

¾ cup dark brown sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

¼ cup white sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

2 sticks/1 cup butter – cold, cut into cubes

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (make sure this is gluten-free)

1 ½ cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, or dark – whatever you like the best)

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Method of Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat (do not grease either one)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, xanthan gum (IF needed), baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large glass bowl if using a hand mixer), add the sugars and mix on low to combine well.
  5. Add the cold butter and mix on low until combined – do not over mix.
  6. Add two eggs and vanilla extract, mix until combined – do not over mix.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture while on low-speed.
  8. Just when everything is incorporated, turn the mixer off and add in the chocolate chips and nuts (optional).
  9. You can mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the chocolate chips and nuts (optional) or you can mix it with your hand…that is my preferred method.
  10. Using a tablespoon scoop out cookie dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. If using a large baking sheet you should be able to fit 12 cookies – these do not spread that much.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool immediately on a wire rack.

 Makes about 40 cookies! Perfect for the holidays!

 Enjoy

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Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is here! My favorite time of year. At school we have a Starbucks on each campus I see everyone enjoying the pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffees etc. and it drives me crazy that I can just run in and grab one of those delicious looking muffins with the cream cheese on them…you know the ones I’m talking about!

I am always stuck for breakfast ideas during the week because I’m usually up by 4am and out of the house by 5 so making a big breakfast or anything just doesn’t work for me. I needed something new, something besides my lovely quinoa muffins, which are delicious but its time to mix it up a bit.

So here is my attempt at those beautiful looking pumpkin muffins that you are seeing out right now – we should all be able to enjoy the lovely tastes of the fall, gluten-free or not. I gave one of these to a co-worker and she said you can’t tell they are gluten-free so I’m going to say that this was a success! These are super moist and delicious. I think it has just the right amount of spice to it.

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Agave Cream Cheese Filling

Muffins:

1 Cup Brown Rice Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/3 Cup Potato Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons of Tapioca Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

3/4 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt

2 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

1/4 Cup Almond or Soy Milk

1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin (Fresh or Canned – not the pumpkin pie filling if you use can)

Maple Cream Cheese Filling

4 Ounces 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese – room temperature

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1 Tablespoon Maple Agave Nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

Method of Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350•
  • Line a cupcake pan or muffin pan with liners and set aside
  • In a bowl add brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt – mix until well combined.
  • In another bowl add the Sugar and Eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Add the oil, milk, and pumpkin puree – mix until very smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet slowly and mix until fully blended.
  • Fill each muffin liner about 3/4 of the way with the pumpkin mixture, set aside.
  • For the filling: In a stand mixer (or small bowl and use an electric hand mixer) add the cream cheese and beat until smooth – about 1 minute.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and beat well.
  • Finish by adding the maple agave nectar and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin tin – you can leave it as it is, or press them down a bit, or even add a little bit more pumpkin over the cream cheese. Either way you do it, its delicious!
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few crumbs on it.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in the refrigerator!

Berry Cornbread Muffins

For me breakfast is the hardest meal of the day. For starters, I get up at 4:00 am and I just can’t eat that early, so I normally take something with me and eat it on my way to campus. My breakfasts usually consist of a Greek yogurt or a scone that I have baked.  This is also the only meal that I get jealous of people with out celiac disease, because they could eat just about anything they wanted for breakfast. We with celiac do not have the convince of stopping at Starbucks (which we have two on campus) to grab something quick to eat.

Making eggs, or pancakes in the morning is just not an option.  It would take too long, can’t really eat it on the go, and I would take the risk of making too much noise and waking up Bryan who gets to sleep in a few hours before he needs to head off to class. Stocking up on pre-made gluten-free items like bagels is also out of the question as we just can’t afford that. So I am on the hunt for new breakfast recipes that I can make on the weekends and have for the school week.

As I looked at the ingredients I had in the house: all-purpose flour blend, corn meal, frozen raspberries, various gluten-free flours, and an orange I thought why not try to make some cornbread muffins for breakfast. Thankfully it was a success! They are mighty delicious and you could use whatever berries you happen to have, fresh or frozen in this recipe. We tend to have a decent supply of frozen fruit on hand – they make tasty and healthy snacks and we love to make smoothies with then.

We are also cutting back on our sugar intake – so the amount in the recipe below is not a lot at all, however you can feel free to add 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 the recipe calls for if you wish for a slightly sweeter muffin. I really wanted to taste the corn and berries in this, however I did sprinkle on a little bit of Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi (love this stuff), for that “coffee shop” look to the muffins.

I think these muffins will be a very satisfying breakfast – they are filling but still fluffy and moist.

Berry Cornbread Muffins

1 Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Corn Flour

3/4 Cup Corn Meal

1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (only if your mix does not have it already)

1/4 Cup of Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners Natural Cane Sugar from Malawi)

4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder (make sure it is gluten-free)

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Zest of one Orange (reserve some to sprinkle on top after removed from the oven) – You could also use lemon zest.

1/4 Cup Egg Beaters (Or 1 Large Egg)

1 Cup Soy Milk (Almond or other nut milk would work just fine)

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (pure if possible)

1 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Do not over mix the batter, as it will result in tough muffins.
  6. Gently fold in the berries.
  7. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  8. Scoop the batter evenly into each paper lined muffin cup.
  9. Optional – Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little bit of the Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  11. Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffins, if it comes out clean or will little stuck to it, the muffins are done.
  12. Optional – Sprinkle with reserved zest
  13. Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  14. May be eaten warm with a little butter, honey, or agave  if you wish.

 

Gluten Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (Review)

Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry is one amazing woman and in my mind a genius when it comes to coconut and almond flour! Her website is the first one I came across when I was diagnosed almost three years ago and it is one that I continually go back to for inspirations.  Her recipes are straightforward, simple yet unbelievably delicious and you don’t ever miss the gluten or the refined sugars.

While searching her website one day I found a recipe for cupcakes made with coconut flour so I went online ordered some coconut flour and have been making those cupcake ever since.  I’m a huge lover of cupcakes and extremely picking when it comes to them.  There was nothing to pick apart with these cupcakes so when I first heard that she was releasing a new cookbook all about cupcakes I put it on my wish list right away.  Her cookbook has 50 (yes 50!) recipes all made from coconut or almond flour.  When I received my review copy I went through the cookbook about ten times before deciding which to make first.  This cookbook doesn’t only have delicious sounding recipes the photos make your mouth water. I finally decided on making the Garlic Cheddar Muffins and for a sweet treat the Marble Cupcakes. Another great thing about this cookbook is that each recipe has a sweetness scale next to it!

I started with the Garlic Cheddar Muffins because I wanted something more on the savory side and planned to eat them more as a biscuit with dinner.  I ended up taking these to school the next day for breakfast.  Again her recipes are simple and not many ingredients, yet these had so much flavor to them packed in to them and they are nice and fluffy.  So as you can see you can eat these as a snack, along with dinner and even for breakfast ;)  I’ll be making these again soon.

For a sweet treat yesterday, because it was just one of those days that called for baking.  I went for the marble cupcakes made with coconut flour.  We’ve been trying to get away from refined sugars in our house and this cookbook is perfect for that.  I love baking with agave, it adds just the right amount of sweetness and it has a low glycemic index.  I’ve made Elana’s coconut cupcakes for Bryan in the past but he forgot about them so he was a little hesitant to try these yesterday but he really really enjoyed them (in fact he just had another one).  Next week I’ll be making Mocha Chip Cupcakes for a classmate of mine to celebrate her month-long Paleo Diet Challenge.  I can’t wait to make her Strawberry Cupcakes soon, just waiting for my farmers market to open up next month.

I don’t have Elana’s first cookbook – The Almond Flour Cookbook (yet) but if you have that one and loved it, I’m sure you will love this one also.  Who doesn’t love cupcakes?  And who doesn’t love them when they use such fantastic ingredients such as coconut flour, Almond Flour eggs, and agave.

Elana is absolutely amazing, I can’t say enough good things about her and her recipes.  Her website has helped me so much over the years.  She was always very friendly and informative when I had questions for her.  Check out her website and you can purchase her book on Amazon.  Trust me you are going to love this cookbook. Thank you Elana for making this beautiful cookbook and sharing all of your wonderful creations with all of us.
Check out these other great reviews (and some might even have a giveaway) of this fantastic cookbook:

Shirley of GFE-Gluten Free Easily

Kim of Cook It Allergy Free

Sea of Book of Yum

Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom

Stonewall Kitchen – Gluten Free and Delicious (Review)

In the last few months Stonewall Kitchen has rolled out some gluten-free products and they are absolutely delicious.  I have always been a fan of Stonewall Kitchens products, especially before being diagnosed with celiac disease.  They have always had the best jams, sauces, dips and mixes so when I heard that they were coming out with gluten-free mixes I got very excited.  I wasn’t sure how they would taste compared to their regular mixes but they exceeded my expectations.

I was sent some complimentary gluten-free mixes form Stonewall Kitchen to try.  They sent me their Chocolate Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cupcakes and Pancake/Waffle Mix.  Of course I started with the cupcake mix which comes with a chocolate frosting mix in the box.  The cupcakes mix has a hint of coffee too it, which balanced very well with the chocolate flavor, not too over powering.  The cupcakes were very flavorful and moist and the frosting was just perfect, not too sweet and the perfect amount to cover all of the cupcakes.  These cupcakes were so good you couldn’t tell that they were gluten-free – no one could!

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Don’t these look amazing?)

Next up were the brownies (not in the same day!) and I have said many times before I’m not a huge brownie fan but slowly I am becoming one.  I decided to make some peanut butter brownies with this mix.  I made the brownies according to the package and poured the mix into a prepared pan.  I then I took about 1/4 – 1/2 cup peanut butter and softened it a bit in the microwave, then dropped tablespoons of peanut butter onto the prepared brownie mix and using a sharp knife made figure eights to incorporate the peanut butter into the brownie mix and baked according to the package instructions.  Absolutely delicious.  I love chocolate and peanut butter together and these brownies came out perfect. I had to give most of them away so I wouldn’t eat them all🙂

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Imagine them with peanut butter, little squares of heaven)

When we had our great friends Warren and Joyce up one weekend I thought instead of going out to eat for breakfast we would have them over, I would make a big meal and then we would be off on our little adventure.  Perfect time to try the pancake mix…most people wouldn’t want to try a new product when you are having guests over especially if they aren’t gluten-free.  But, seeing as we both enjoyed the cupcakes and brownies so much I had confidence in the pancakes as well.  Talk about delicious and fluffy pancakes, wow are these good.  Bryan who absolutely loves the pancakes I make with the gluten-free Bisquick loved these even more.  They have a slight hint of sweetness also.  I can’t wait to make some waffles next with this mix. Everyone loved these and we didn’t have any left overs.

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died. Perfect pancakes, delicious, fluffy and a little bit of sweetness so less syrup)

If you haven’t tried Stonewall Kitchen’s new gluten-free mixes you really should.  You can order them online and also check your local stores for them.  I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed.  In addition to the three mixes I reviewed above they also have a chocolate chip cookie mix and a vanilla cupcake/frosting mix. Stonewall kitchen got it right with these mixes.  I’ll be sure to let you know if they come out with anything else that is gluten-free.  Well done Stonewall Kitchen – fantastic job on making these mixes and keeping the prices reasonable to your normal mixes.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

First before I get started on the recipe portion of this post, I want to say sorry for not being very active lately.  School started on March 8th and I’ve been consumed by it.  This is my first trimester and I am taking all academic courses (no actually culinary courses until the Fall).  What some might thing isn’t a big deal, taking Biology, Public Speaking, Leadership and Menu Planning and Cost Control really is to me.  For starters, I haven’t taken Biology in at least 14 years, I’ve never taken any of the other courses and I truly hate public speaking.  I’ve been out of college for about six years now so jumping back into this with both feet has been at times a little overwhelming for me.  It’s also been a little challenging for Bryan and I…we’ve kind of grown used to me being home all day, taking care of the house, making at least two meals a day etc. Now I am up at 4:00 am, getting the bus at 4:50 to Providence, walk three blocks to the Downcity Campus, wait about 30 minutes to get the shuttle to the Harborside Campus (where the culinary arts program is) and then starting class at 7:00.  Thankfully though I am done with classes by 11:15 M-Th and have Fridays off.  Now you are probably wondering why I get up at 4 and take the bus to school.  Several reasons.  One I don’t drive, two if I did we only have one car and with gas prices being as they are…it is more economical for Bryan to be taking the car to class than me driving to and from Providence each day.  Plus with my student ID, the bus is free anywhere in the lovely state of Rhode Island.  Honestly, I don’t mind the early mornings at all.  I thought I would but being done at 11:15, coming home, studying/doing homework making dinner and actually having time to relaxing with Bryan for a bit before I crash around 9:30-10:00 is worth it.  If my classes were in the afternoons I wouldn’t be home until about 8 or 9 at night.  Plus this is my dream and I would do just about anything to make it happen.  So you can think I’m crazy, that is just fine but I choose not to focus on the “oh my goodness you get up at 4 am, that is just crazy” comments, and push on towards my goal.

Speaking of my goal – after planning out my next few trimesters, which will mostly be culinary labs (yay!) and two more academic courses I will have my Associates Degree next summer!!  Next winter I need to apply for the BA in Culinary Nutrition, which I have been told is really hard to get into, so I am doing my best, studying hard and trying to get all A’s. I put a lot of pressure on myself for several reasons, I want this so badly.  As I said above, I’ve been out of school for a while now so none of this is fresh in my mind, and also I am at least 11 years older than the majority of these students.  Seriously I feel old, have little to nothing in common with them, but I’m doing my best.  Thankfully though most of them think I’m about 17 years old and when they hear me say 29 they laugh and don’t believe me…well its true I am, just don’t look at all the gray hairs coming in (and yes they are there, I promise you, lots of them!)

So again, I am sorry for my absence but please be patient as I get used to this new schedule and figure out a balance of home life, school/work and my blog.  I have a lot of respect for those other bloggers who blog everyday, some times several times a day and have jobs and families – you are all rock stars!

Now on to the recipe!

We saw some commercial the other day, I think it may have been for subway- anyway they were advertising a chicken cordon bleu sandwich and Bryan made one of those “mmmmmmm” sounds.  To me having a sandwich like that from subway just sounded nasty.  The “mmmmmmmm” sound wasn’t really for the sandwich its self but the idea of chicken cordon bleu.  I tend to associate those with weddings or banquets of some sort so I never really thought of trying out a gluten-free version of one.  Apparently Bryan really likes them so I said we could either buy you some frozen ones or I can attempt to make some – he obviously chose me making one instead.  I did a bit of researching online to see what was actually in the breading of it, I knew that it was chicken, Swiss cheese, ham and breading but wanted to get the flavoring right.  Honestly this is a really simple meal to make, I based mine off of a Tyler Florence recipe found on Food Network and we really enjoyed it…well mostly, Bryan isn’t so much a fan of the Thyme so I think next time I might leave it out completely or add a different kind of seasoning.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 4 double chicken breasts (about 7-ounces each), skinless and boneless
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 thin slices deli ham
  • 16 thin slices  Swiss cheese
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Jeanne’s of Art of Gluten Free Baking mix-see below for recipe)
  • 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or gluten-free rice crumbs (I used Orgran’s Rice Crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness (FYI a small fry pan or empty wine bottle work just fine, if you are like me and don’t own a meat mallet). Take care not to pound too hard because the meat may tear or create holes. Lay 2 slices of cheese on each breast, followed by 2 slices of ham, and 2 more of cheese; leaving a 1/2-inch margin on all sides to help seal the roll. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll. Squeeze the log gently to seal.

Season the gluten-free all purpose flour with salt and pepper; spread out on waxed paper or in a flat dish. Mix the Gluten-free breadcrumbs or rice crumbs with thyme, kosher salt, pepper, and oil. The oil will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and water, the mixture should be fluid. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, then dip in the egg mixture. Gently coat in the crumb mixture.  Carefully transfer the roulades to a shallow baking dish (I used my Le Creuset because, I love them and they are the easiest baking dishes to clean up!) and bake for 20 minutes until browned and cooked through. Cut into pinwheels before serving.

Here is Jeanne’s All Purpose Flour Recipe:

Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C (170 g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205 g) white rice flour
1 C (120 g) tapioca flour
1 C (165 g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)

Hope you enjoy this recipe, its simple, flavorful and most ingredients you probably already have at home.  We served ours with some garlic broccoli and a side salad.

I have more catching up to do – product reviews and a giveaway I promise it will happen soon!  Please stay tuned.

Making Snacks At Home

Before we go grocery shopping I start by getting out that weeks ads to see what is on sale, and then try to plan meals around that.  I also look at the coupons we have, new ones that have come in and also search online for them (at first Bryan made fun of me and my coupon clipping but once he saw how much I save each time he’s pretty thankful) I then make a list of all the items we need and next to it I write what the sale is and at which store, I also write if we have a coupon for it.  For the most part we try out best to stick to the list as best we can, but every now and then we find a thing or two that we really want and that is usually a snack or two.  Well actually it is mostly Bryan that finds these things because for me it is a bit harder to find gluten-free snacks.

He will usually grab some cinnamon buns, beef jerky or corn muffins, all of which I love but sadly can’t find gluten-free options in the stores so I decided that I could learn to make a few snack items at home.  I’ve made cinnamon buns and corn muffins/bread before and they came out great.  I hadn’t attempted to make beef jerky or granola bars and those are two things I have been wanting to attempt for a while, so I finally did.

Making snacks at home is easy, a great way to control what you and your family are consuming but also it is a great way to save money!

Beef Jerky

Bryan and I both love beef jerky and we usually buy him a bag of it but its gone in one sitting!  Before moving back east I bought a great cookbook “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It And Other Cooking Projects” by Karen Solomon.  Including in the cookbook are recipes to make your own bacon, cheese, marshmallows, limoncello and so much more.  The recipe calls for very lean top sirloin or flank steak, I choose the flank steak because at BJ’s you can get two pounds for the same price, if not less than one pound of flank steak at our local grocery store!

I used the recipe listed in the cookbook just as a guideline and made it gluten-free and adjusted the ingredients to our spice level.  My recipe is below – I checked their website and they don’t have the beef jerky recipe listed so I can’t link to it, however you should really buy this book, you will love it!

Gluten Free Beef Jerky


2 pounds lean flank steak (remove every bit of fat from the meat!  this is very important-if you leave the fat on it will like go rancid!)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (you can adjust this to your taste level, we really like heat)

Advanced Prep: Freeze steak for 30 minutes – this will help with the slicing. Line two sheet pans with foil and oil (canola or gluten-free cooking spray) two racks.  Place one rack in each of the pans, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees – if your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest temp that it will and leave the oven door cracked open an inch or two, or use a wooden spoon to keep it ajar.

Remove steak from freezer, and make sure that all the fat has been removed (see note above).  Thinly slice steak 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces.

In a large bowl mix together salt, gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add meat and let marinade in the refrigerator for two hours (or over night).

Lay the meat on the racks in a single layer, but don’t let them touch or over lap.

Dry the meat in an oven for 5-7 hours.  Check for doneness for the first time around 5 hours.  The jerky shouldn’t be brittle but should be able to be torn into strings and not look raw in the inside.

Allow jerky to cool completely and enjoy!

Store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Granola Bars

I love granola bars, but since going gluten-free I haven’t had one, and I’ve really missed them.  They are the perfect take along snack.  I’ll be making more of these when it comes time for school.  They are super easy to make and you can add in pretty much anything you like.  I think next time I might add in some peanut butter chips.

Gluten-Free/Allergy Free Granola Bars

The recipe listed below is from Martha Stewart’s website.  I did a few little tweaks to the recipe and they are noted in red below.

Makes about 16 bars

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal (I used 3 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats)
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free crisp-rice cereal (I didn’t have any so I omitted them)
  • 1/2 cup mini gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions

  1. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; line baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Place oatmeal and rice cereal in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to oatmeal mixture; stir until oatmeal mixture is fully coated and well combined.
  4. Evenly pour oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with chocolate chips. When mixture is cool enough to touch, press down into pan. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 (1-by-4-inch) bars. Granola bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and frozen up to six months.
From The Martha Stewart Show, April 2010

*I would recommend following the directions – I got distracted when making these and ended up adding some of the chocolate chips in with the oats and when I poured the liquid over it they all melted so it became chocolate granola bars. Woops – I mean they still came out pretty good.  I would also suggest that if you have the gluten-free crisp rice cereal, use it.  Also Martha’s photo is WAY better than mine!

Hope you enjoy these two homemade snacks!



The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free! (Giveaway)

I heard a rumor months ago that Anne Byrn, Author of the The Cake Mix Doctor books was to release a gluten-free book.  I got a bit excited about it seeing as I have given her regular books as gifts many times.  I was generously sent a copy to review and sadly I didn’t get to bake anything as quickly as I had hoped but I did get a chance this week to finally bake her Honey Bun Cake (think cinnamon rolls in a coffee cake form, yummm).  We were gone for two weeks to New Jersey to visit Bryan’s family and some of our friends and then of course a few days before heading home, I get a nasty cold which is still holding strong.

If you aren’t familiar with Anne or her books please take a second and visit her website: www.cakemixdoctor.com.  Her latest book, The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free is fantastic! There are 76 recipes for cakes and other desserts.  She uses gluten-free cake mixes that you can find at most of your grocery stores (Betty Crocker etc.)  She also lists in each recipe how to make these recipes dairy-free (if possible).  So this cookbook is great for families with multiple allergies.   Here is a little information from her website about her new book and why she decided to make a gluten-free version:

Now comes sweet news for people on gluten-free diets. They can bake their cake and eat it, too. Anne Byrn shows how to transform gluten-free cake mixes into rich, decadent, easy-to-make, impossible-to-resist desserts. Performing the magic that’s made her a best-selling baking author with more than 3.3 million copies of her books in print, she doctors mixes with additions like almond extract, fresh berries, cocoa powder, grated coconut, cinnamon, lime zest, and more – naturally, all gluten-free ingredients. Dessert is back on the menu!

My readers pleaded with me to write a gluten-free Cake Mix Doctor! Many had baked my cakes for years until someone in their family could no longer eat gluten. For five months I baked nothing but gluten-free cakes that began with a mix. At times I felt like a mad scientist, turning a yellow cake mix into cookies, bars, even gingerbread. And when I was able to bake the Darn Good Chocolate Cake gluten-free…that was a big day! You don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy these recipes. You just have to love cake.

I decided on the Honey Bun Cake because I really was craving cinnamon rolls and don’t have the flours to make them from scratch right now so this was the closest I could get to them, and this cake was awesome.  I made it for breakfast one morning, seeing as it’s a coffee cake it worked really well.  I did however leave off the glaze (by that I mean, I forgot about it) that normally is on cinnamon buns – but I am sure it would taste fantastic with it.  The cake is very easy to make with ingredients that you probably already have on hand.  The flavor was perfect, not to sweet and very moist. This is a recipe that we will make again and again.  I can’t wait to try more of her recipes, which I think my next one will be the Holy Cow Cake (chocolate cake with butterfingers, caramel and whipped cream on top!). This cookbook sheds a whole new light on boxed cake mixes and plenty of ideas for cakes, cookies and bars.  I wish I had this when I was making my birthday cake this year – next year will be a much better cake🙂

In addition to the copy that I received to review Anne has offered two additional copies to give to my readers!  It is simple to enter for awesome giveaway, just follow the instructions below. Don’t forget to leave a comment for each one:

  • Subscribe to Creative Cooking Gluten Free
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  • Click HERE and “Take A Look Inside” at the Index and tell me what recipes you would like to try
  • Tweet about this giveaway (use button below, and leave a comment each time you tweet)

Two lucky readers will be chosen to win a copy of this great book.  The giveaway will end on Thursday January 13th at 11:59pm.