Three Year Blogiversary

(I know the picture above doesn’t have to do with food but daisies are my favorite flowers of all time) 

This month I’ll be celebrating my three-year blogiversary – June 27th to be exact. I have been trying to think about a great way to celebrate it and I think I’ve finally figured it out.  I’m going to do a giveaway!  This is not a giveaway sponsored by anyone or company in particular.  What I am planning to do is get a good-sized box and fill it with all different kinds of goodies: gluten-free treats, coupons, kitchen items etc.  Below you will see a list of what has been included in the box so far.  I’ll continue to add to the box as I find things I think you all might like.  There are going to be plenty of opportunities for all of you to enter so be sure to read them all and post a separate comment for each entry.

I started Creative Cooking Gluten Free as a way to release my frustrations in this new lifestyle.  I knew from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be a very easy transition for me.  I am Italian and French and lets just say we love our bread and pasta in my family.  I couldn’t imagine life with out the two but was determined to find amazing substitutions that were suitable for this new adventure in my life.  Over these past three years I have tried many different gluten-free items, many of which have been sent to me from the companies directly (which I am beyond thankful for and feel very fortunate to work with these companies).  However, in the beginning of this new lifestyle I tried so many different foods that made me want to cry – and not in a good way.  I couldn’t believe that people actually ate some of this food and thought it was good.  The bread was absolutely disgusting – looked and tasted like a brick (I won’t mention brand names).  So instead of giving up and eating what I wanted to eat I did research, read books, but most of all I found some pretty amazing gluten-free bloggers who gave me hope.  With out these lovely ladies I don’t know if the transition would have been as easy as it was.  It was such an amazing feeling and relief to see that there were others out there with Celiac Disease and their food looked amazingly delicious.  Almost too good to be true, but thankfully the look of their food and the taste were spot on.

I have been sick for most of my life.  I was diagnosed when I was younger with IBS and Lactose Intolerance, however I don’t know if I have either – I know for sure I am not Lactose Intolerant because I could eat all the dairy I want and be fine, it was everything I was eating with it that made me sick.  Since going gluten-free I have never felt better.  My Fibromyalgia also has improved greatly.  There used to be days where I couldn’t even get out of bed but I haven’t had one of those days in years – Wooo Hooo! (If you are someone who also has Fibromyalgia, you know how exciting that is). It was so nice to finally have an answer to all of my symptoms, even if it took them almost twenty years to figure it out.  I’m much happier and healthier now.  I don’t really miss gluten much.  Every once in a while I will crave a nice piece of Italian or French Bread but when Bryan buys a sandwich or something containing lots of gluten, I ask to smell it🙂 no, really I do and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Thankfully he is used to it now and will even offer me a sniff.

The majority of the recipes you will find on this blog are recipes that I enjoyed before going gluten-free and adapted them to be gluten-free.  Some of my favorite recipes to adapt are my grandmother’s and the recipes found in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine.  These recipes are simple, easy to find ingredients, and delicious.  I’m also a huge fan of Asian food so you will see plenty Asian inspired recipes on here with a handful of recipes that I adapted from P.F. Chang’s.

I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect and neither is this blog.  I have no problem talking about my mistakes and failures on here.  As I mentioned, this was first started to release my frustrations and track my progress and in three years it has turned into what it is.  Creative Cooking Gluten Free is a forever changing blog and it will continue to evolve over the coming years especially when I begin my culinary labs.

If you weren’t aware already, in March I enrolled in my dream college to pursue my dream of being a chef.  My goal is to complete my degree in Culinary Nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian – and to do this whole program as gluten-free as I possibly can.  Thankfully the Chefs that Johnson & Wales University are very accommodating.  So please stay tuned to more of my adventures.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes/posts over the last three years:

I would like to thank my inspirations and all of my readers and followers.  Without all of you this blog truly wouldn’t be what it is today.  I can’t thank you enough for all of your support, kind words, encouragement, and wisdom.

To thank YOU I am doing a giveaway! As I said, there are plenty of ways to enter and this list will continue to grow as I find different items to add, but for now here is a list of the items to be included in the box (even if you don’t like/or can’t use everything enclosed in the box you can share with a friend!):

  • 1 Package (22oz) of Bob’s Red Mill All Purposed Baking Flour
  • 1 Package (21oz) Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix
  • 1 Bag of Mini Pops (3oz)
  • 1 Cute little cupcake holder
  • 1 Set of 2010 Chef Series Recipes from POM Wonderful
  • 2 POM Wonderful Rubber Bracelets
  • 1 Carton (12oz) Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup
  • 1 Carton (12oz) Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream of Celery Condensed Soup
  • 1 Carton (12oz) Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup
  • 1 Small Bamboo Cutting Board
  • Coupons: Thai Kitchen (1-free item), Coffee House Breve Creme (1-$.55), Breakstone’s Sour Cream Dip (3 – $1.000), Breakstone’s Sourcream Zesty Blends (3 – $1.00), World Harbors (1 -$1.00), Tribe Hummus (1- $1.00)
  • 1 POM Wonderful Apron
  • 2 Small Flex Cutting Boards
  • 1 Reusable Tote/Grocery Bag from
  • 1 Box (6.3 oz) of Enjoy Life Food’s Crunchy Sugar Crisp Cookies
  • 1 Bottle *16.9 Fl oz) of “Pre-Brus Whitening Mouth Rince” from the Natural Dentist
  • 1 Tube (5 oz) of “Healthy Teeth and Gums, Anticavity Toothpaste” from the Natural Dentist
  • 1 Tube (5 oz) of “Healthy Teeth and Gums, Whitening Toothpaste” from the Natural Dentist
  • 1 Box (10oz) Lundberg Plain Roasted Brown Rice Couscous
  • 1 box (10oz) Lundberg Mediterranean Curry Roasted Brown Rice Couscous
  • 1 Package of “No Pan Required” Cupcake Liners (Brown and Teal)
  • 1 Box (12oz) Kellogg’s Gluten-Free Rice Krispy Cereal

Ways to enter:

**Please be sure to leave a comment for EACH entry – and if you already do one of these please leave a comment below saying so – Thank you!!

Mandatory Entry:

Leave a comment below saying what you would like to see more of on Creative Cooking Gluten Free

Optional Entries:

Subscribe to Creative Cooking Gluten Free

“Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook

“Follow” Creatively_GF on Twitter

Leave a daily entry saying “Daily Entry” and then the date

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @Creatively_GF and #3Blogiversary

Mention either on your blog or on Facebook (and be sure to link back to this post)

The giveaway will run until Thursday June 30th at 11:59 pm (EST).  The giveaway is open to US Residents (continental) only.  One winner will be chosen and will have 48 hours after they receive an e-mail notification from me to respond with their shipping details.  If the original winner does not respond within the allotted time another winner will be chosen.  I use Random.Org to pick winners of any and all giveaways on this blog.  

Thank you all for an awesome three years- you are all awesome!  It has been a huge learning curve but I wouldn’t really change much about it.  I’m looking forward to many more years to come and plenty more recipes, reviews, restaurants, and more to share with you.

Good Luck!

POM Wonderful Dinner Party (Recap)

About a month ago I entered a contest to host a POM Wonderful dinner party.  POM would pick 100 people to host a dinner party inspired by, Pomegranates (of course).  I entered at first because Bryan and I love pomegranates, and I really wanted to try to incorporate them into some recipes other than just drinking the juice and eating the seeds.  To my surprise I got an e-mail back saying I was one of the 100 picked and I would be receiving two cases of pomegranates and some goodie bags for my guests.  After getting this e-mail I had about 9 million thoughts running through my head of what to make, how many people to invite and oh I can’t forget the decorations! After sitting back and relaxing for a little bit I decided that simple was the best way to go.

Bryan and I will hopefully be in New Jersey for Thanksgiving this year and my dad, stepmom and stepsister will all be in upstate New York, so I figured we would do a pre-Thanksgiving inspired dinner together yesterday, just the five of us. Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme our menu was as follows:


Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and a Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing


Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce



Hard Pomegranate – Apple Cider


Brownie Cupcakes topped Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

Pomegranate Sorbet

Over all our dinner was great- with a few minor setbacks of having a small kitchen, sink and not being happy with my frosting!  It was nice to have my family here for a relaxing afternoon filled with football and a very tasty dinner (If I do say so myself).  Our decorations were simple – some small pumpkins in the center and on each plate was a pomegranate and an instruction card on “how to open a pomegranate”. Most of the recipes used were ones that we make often, simple yet very tasty and all 100% Gluten Free! Below are some of the recipes with photos.  (I must note that I got caught up in feeding everyone that I forgot to take a few photos, such as the roasted chicken when it came out of the oven-sorry!)

Salad with Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

(We usually have mixed greens and what ever else we can throw into the salad, it is completely up to you)

One -two large romaine lettuce heads, chopped (Or mixed greens)

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cucumber sliced

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate-Balsamic Dressing

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup of good olive oil

1/4 cup pomegranate juice

1/8-1/4 cup balsamic dressing

Add all ingredients to a covered jar or salad dressing mixer.  Shake well and enjoy (you can adjust the measurements to your flavor liking)

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

1 Whole Chicken (about 9 pounds)

1/4 cup room temp butter

1 1/2 tablespoons of Seasoning of your choice – I use a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage.

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the softened butter and herbs until well combined. Set aside

Make sure the giblets and neck are removed from the chicken cavity.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper – also season the cavity. Place your chicken in the roasting pan and gently lift the skin using your fingers – be sure not to tear any of it.  Once the skin  has been lifted, take  half of the butter and herb mixture and spread evenly under the skin.  Take the remaining butter and herb mixture and do the same over the top of the chicken.  Place chicken in oven.  About thirty minutes into cooking add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan and baste the chicken.  Continue to baste the chicken every 30 minutes.  (please be sure to check the size of your chicken to determine how long it should roast for).  For a 9 pound chicken, cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours.

During the last thirty minutes of the chicken brush it with the pomegranate glaze (see recipe below) every ten minutes, do this again when your chicken has been removed from the oven. This sauce can also be drizzled over the meat on your plate (which I did)

Pomegranate Glaze

(Very concentrated flavor, and very good)

1 cup POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice

In a small sauce pan heat the pomegranate juice over medium heat.  Simmer until juice has reduced about half, about 10-12 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

(We love mashed sweet potatoes, especially with the cinnamon added.  We tend to eat more sweet potatoes than regular ones)

1 – 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2  – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup soy milk

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan add sweet potatoes and cover with water.  Boil for ten minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain well.  Either by using a potato masher or using a stand mixer add your potatoes to a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), add butter and soy milk and begin mashing (or whisking), until smooth.  Season with cinnamon and mix again until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.

Garlic Green Beans

(one of our favorite side dishes, quick, easy and very flavorful.  This replaces the green bean casserole on our table)

1-2 pounds of fresh green beans

3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lightly steam the green beans until bright green yet still crispy.  Drain well.  In a medium-large pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir in the green beans.  Toss the green beans so they are all coated in the garlic and butter/oil sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce

(I usually make this a day in advance)

1 Bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup sugar – you can use either with sugar or packed brown sugar (I used the brown sugar this time)

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

salt and pepper

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan – over medium/high heat add the pomegranate juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.  Add the fresh cranberries, once the berries start to pop open reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until most of the cranberries have burst open and the sauce has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add in the pomegranate seeds.  Cool  to room temp before serving (or if you are making this in advance like I do (I think it tastes better the next day) cool completely and transfer to an air tight container.


I used the recipe on the back of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick box.

2 cups Gluten Free Bisquick mix

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup milk (I use soy)

3 eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Cut shortening into mix, using fork, until particles are size of small peas.  Stir in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms.  Drop by spoonfulls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 10 biscuits.

Hard Pomegranate-Apple Cider

(We used a local hard apple cider from Newport Vineyards, which is right down the road from us)

Serves four

3 parts hard apple cider

1 part pomegranate juice

In wine glasses (or any fun glasses you might have) add three parts hard apple cider and one part pomegranate juice and stir lightly.  Serve chilled.

Brownie Cupcakes with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

12 Brownie Cupcakes (I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix and made them in a cupcake pan – you can use which ever brand you like).  Make these the night before so they can cool and that is one less thing to bake the day of.

Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

(sadly below isn’t the recipe that I used, I made my own but it didn’t have much pomegranate flavor so I suggest using this one instead)

8 oz cream cheese softened (room temp)

4 oz butter softened

3 oz of pomegranate juice (juice from 3-4 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates,* or 1-1/2 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice)

14 oz Powdered sugar

1 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful

Prepare fresh pomegranate juice*, score 1-2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water, break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs), the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top, sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside, (refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use), reduce the pomegranate juice, over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute, add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes, turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction, mix until the sugar is fully combined, remove icing from the mixer and place into a piping bag with a round or star tip.

Pomegranate Sorbet

(I have never made sorbet before so I asked my stepmom to use her ice cream maker so I could attempt making pomegranate sorbet.  I found the following recipe online at Saveur and it is very flavorful and refreshing!)

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups pomegranate juice

1 Cup water

Place sugar, 1 cup water, and pomegranate juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds. (This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #9)


Our table setting

Our POM Wonderful inspired meal

To make our Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider we used a local hard cider from Newport Vineyards (It’s the best we’ve had)

A light refreshment – Hard Apple-Pomegranate Cider

“How To Open A Pomegranate”

A simple yet flavor packed and refreshing dessert – Pomegranate Sorbet

Each guest got a POM Swag-Bag which included a POM bracelet, POM recipe cards, POM pamphlet, a free coupon for a bottle of POM wonderful juice and an awesome reusable POM wonderful tote.  They also got to take home a few pomegranates.