Monday, December 14, 2009

Walnut Coffee Cake (gluten-free)

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 cup organic sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder (check to make sure its gluten-free and aluminum-free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk


3 Tbsp gluten-free flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp salt

Put dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk or stir together to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Lightly beat egg and then blend in canola oil and milk. Stir wet ingredients into the dry until completely moistened. Combine topping ingredients in a separate bowl. Butter a 9x9 baking dish and pour in batter. Then sprinkle on topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not Enough Turkey Leftovers?

For all you turkey lovers and especially for those who can't find the time to spend all day cooking a whole turkey, please read on!!! We didn't get to have any turkey at all since we were traveling on Thanksgiving this year. I went to Sunflower Farmer's Market over the weekend for their $1.27 /lb turkey special. They had some fresh turkeys left but only in 20 or more pounds. So, I asked them to cut the whole turkey in half down the breastbone for me. Then I froze one half. The other half I cut up in three pieces, breast, leg and wing. I used the wing to make a soup. The leg and breast I cooked in only 2 hours in my oven. I placed the leg and breast on a large baking sheet and rubbed with a spice blend and olive oil and put it uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then I covered the entire pan with foil and turned down to 350 degrees, cooking for another 1.5 hours (this will depend on how big your turkey is.) I used a meat thermometer to make sure it was done, but not overcooked. This is the easiest turkey you will ever make! The meat was flavorful, tender and delicious. And now I have tons of leftover turkey to munch on all week or use in soups and casseroles. Yay!

Friday, October 30, 2009


I've been baking like crazy the last few weeks. Too busy to even post anything. Sometimes its more important to just do something than to write about it or even think about it. Although I am too much in my right brain to properly blog everything at the moment, I want to at least write briefly about it so that maybe I'll remember the important details later.

For a few weeks I experimented with gluten-free sourdough bread. I kept thinking that the next loaf would be better, but I was never satisfied. Most of the loaves were a complete disaster. A few were edible and actually pretty tasty, but not quite there.

Then I went on to converting my grandma's pumpkin bread recipe. That one worked out really well. I'll post that soon. I added chocolate chips to the original. I tend to add chocolate chips to my baking a lot. I guess its not quite like grandma used to make. But I like to roast and puree the pumpkin instead of using canned.

Then I tried to make caramels. Without corn syrup. Still working on that one...

Now I'm on to perfecting the gluten-free brownie. I can make some darn good brownies, but of course I am looking for the perfect brownie. This should be easier to achieve than the sourdough bread. I hope.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer Squash Bread (gluten-free)

Summer squash seems to be able to grow 6 inches overnight. I went out to my garden this morning to find an abundance of good-sized yellow squash. I was holding off on picking them the other day because they were just a tad too small.

This year I somehow ended up with all yellow summer squash and no green zucchini at all. I think someone mixed up the seeds at the plant store. I didn't get my own squash seeds started in time, so I was happy to have any at all. I do have two different varieties of the yellow this year and both are doing well. One is straighneck and a very vibrant yellow. The other is a pale yellow crookneck.

I used the largest straightneck one to make this bread and used two others in a casserole. At first I thought the batter was going to be too runny and never firm up, but it actually turned out very well. It is moist and somewhat spongey--not dry or crumbly and does not fall apart when you slice it.

Next time I will add nuts and/or chocolate chips or maybe some different spices. I made this earlier this evening, let it cool, and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap. I am hoping it will be wonderful in the morning lightly toasted with a pat of butter and cup of coffee.

2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups grated summer squash
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together flour, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. Stir in grated summer squash. Stir in dry ingredients.
Turn into greased loaf pan (1.5 quarts) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove carefully and cool on a wire rack.

Pizza Sauce

The hardest part about being gluten-free for me is giving up Pizza. I have gotten excited going out to a pizza place and discovering they offer gluten-free pizza, only to be extremely disappointed in the cardboard crusted, previously frozen tasting, overpriced excuse for a pizza that was served to me. I have concluded that the only way I am ever going to get to enjoy pizza is to make it myself. Bob's Red Mill makes a great pizza crust mix. I am still working on perfecting my own crust recipe. But I think what really makes my pizza amazing is this sauce. It's very easy to make and really enhances the flavors of whatever you decide to top your pizza with. This recipe usually makes one very large pizza or two medium to large pizzas.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar (or to taste)
Salt to taste (how much depends on the salt content of your canned tomatoes and paste)

Heat olive oil in small saucepan.
Add spices and garlic.
Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
Add sugar.
Let simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.

About Eggs...

I am starting to feel guilty about eating eggs. After the recent news story about the animal activist who posted a YouTube video taken in a hatchery of male chicks being pulverized, I am feeling uneasy. I have been vegan before but I sensed I needed protein, so I began eating meat, dairy and eggs again. This later made sense after my celiac diagnosis because the damage to my digestive track was so severe I was barely absorbing protein. My body was craving it. Now that I've been gluten-free for over a year, is it too soon to cut out protein again? Yes it is probably too soon. But maybe I will start cutting back on eggs and meat gradually and see what happens. Some of my best muffin recipes have no eggs or dairy, so it doesn't always have to be a sacrifice in taste. Just another challenge in the cooking and baking arena for me to tackle!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gluten-Free Coconut Cupcakes (Spiderman frosting is optional!)

I love coconut! I didn't like it so much as a kid but maybe that was because my first taste of it came in an overly sweet, corn syrup laden Almond Joy candybar. Or maybe it was one of those pink snowball things. Eeew!

Anyway, these cupcakes are pretty yummy. I frosted mine with a Spiderman theme for my little guy. He was pretty psyched. But you could eat these without frosting (goes well with a cup of joe) or how about serving them with coconut ice cream...yum!

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place 12 paper liners in your muffin pan.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add milk, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla, beating until you have a smooth batter.
Stir in shredded coconut.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then frost.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins (gluten-free)

Truthfully, muffins are not that hard to make--even gluten-free muffins. But this recipe has turned out amazingly well every time I've made it. I think oat flour makes a very good muffin. It's very healthy and filling. Gluten-free oats can be somehwhat expensive in comparison to regular oats, but they are definitely worth it! Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour is fairly healthy for a gluten-free flour since it contains a high percentage of bean flour which makes it higher in protein and fiber. Many of the pre-made breads you can buy in the grocery store are made with mostly white rice flour and tapioca flour. These flours may mimic white flour in gluten-free bread, bagels, and english muffins but offer virtually no fiber and are extremely high in carbohydrates.

I like to add semi-sweet chocolate chips to these muffins. This is optional but chocolate is supposed to be good for you so that's my excuse. Plus my little munchkin Camden is thrilled to have chocolate chips in his breakfast and I am pretty sure that even with a few chocolate chips these muffins are far healthier than the sugary cereals and pop tarts I grew up on!

Please let me know how they turn out for you. So far they have been pretty foolproof for me. Remember I am at 5300 feet altitude so cooking times might be slightly different.

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free(optional), dairy-free, nut-free)

(makes 12 large or 18 small)

1.5 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats (ground to a flour in food processor or blender)
1.25 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
1 egg OR egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup cinnamon apple sauce
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)


mix wet ingredients in small bowl
mix dry ingredients in large bowl
add the wet ingredients to the dry
stir in chocolate chips
line muffin tin with paper muffin cups
bake at 350 degrees approx 20-25 minutes or longer if making large muffins

Banana Variation:
Just use 1 cup mashed banana in place of the applesauce

Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach Crisp (gluten-free)

Colorado has wonderful peaches. They are abundant throughout the late summer. Recently we purchased a large box of them to support a local fundraiser. I kept them in the fridge as they were already ripe and ready to eat. We've been enjoying them for a week now, but still had a dozen or so left. I hate to waste food, but how many peaches can two adults and a child eat in a week? I've had peach crisp on my mind for the last few days but hadn't found the time to make one until today. I split this recipe into two baking dishes since I was attending a ladies event this evening and wanted to have some for my boys at home too. This recipe was a big hit with the ladies. The boys haven't tried it yet. I served it with Vanilla Breyer's Ice Cream, which is the perfect compliment!

10 large peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix (such as Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose)
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put chopped and peeled peaches in a 9 x 11 pan. Mix all dry ingredients except walnuts together and cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir walnuts in the dry mixture. Spread crumb mixture evenly on the peaches and press down slightly. Bake uncovered approximately 45 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gramma Janie's Blueberry Cake

Camden loves his Gramma Janie! She is a great cook and likes to spoil us. This weekend she was visiting us so I got to spoil her instead. She sent me this recipe for Blueberry Cake so I could experiment with a gluten-free version. I picked up the blueberries the other day in anticipation of making this for her while she is here. Gramma Janie says she got the original recipe from Chateau Madeline, a resort at the southern tip of Lake Superior on Madeline Island but likes my gluten-free version even better because it is more crumbly like a coffee cake.

1 1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter
¾ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt

1 pint blue berries

¼ butter (hard)
1/3 cup gluten-free flour
½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour one 9x13-inch pan.

Cream together the sugar and butter, and blend in milk, vanilla and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and add to the creamed mixture, beating for a minute or two until blended. Pour batter into pan.

On top of batter, sprinkle the blueberries evenly. Cut the topping ingredients together until crumbly and sprinkle all over the batter with blueberries. Then, with knife or spatula, press the blueberries and crumb topping softly into batter and swirl with knife a bit. (You don’t need to get it all into the batter, because the batter will rise around the berries while baking.)

Check after 40 minutes to see if a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I am at 5300 ft. altitude and baked mine for an hour.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Double Chocolate Muffins

There are mornings when I cannot get my 3-year-old, Camden to be interested in breakfast and other days when he asks for something to eat right away. Today was one of the days where he asked for something. He of course wanted "chocolate muffins" of all things. These are really decadent but I don't feel too guilty serving them because Camden does not get to indulge in the cookies, breads, muffins and cakes that are so abundant at every social event and even served at daycare.

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum or 2 tsp glucomannan powder
3 heaping Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup milk (can sub rice, almond or hemp milk)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just blended.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cups and fill.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Variation: Bake in a mini-muffin pan. (bake time will be shorter)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gluten-Free Granola

Lately I have been feeling very envious of my husband's artisan granola. Since it is not made with gluten-free oats, I cannot indulge. I started thinking about how easy it would be to make my own granola and that I probably even have all the essential ingrediets already in my pantry. I researched granola recipes and realized that making granola has a lot of flexibility. I invented this recipe based on what I had in my pantry and what I thought would suit my personal tastes. But you can totally change this up however you want. Just watch that it doesn't get over-browned. I was babysitting the morning I made this and got hung up changing a diaper and entertaining the 3-year-olds and mine got just a little more toasted than I would have liked. But still the yummy sweet crunchiness I was craving!

4 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts of choice)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup chopped dried fruit (such as papaya)
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup banana chips, broken in pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together and make sure to break up any brown sugar lumps. Whisk together the canola oil, maple syrup and applesauce and add to the oat mixture. Make sure to coat all of the dry ingredients with the wet. Spread into a very large roasting pan and roast in the oven until lightly browned. Stir every 10 minutes during cooking to ensure even browning. Cool for 10 minutes then stir in dried fruit, craisins, raisins and banana chips. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What joy food brings!

Delicious food can work magic on us. On a cold wet day, food can provide comfort and warmth. When we are sick, food can be medicine. When we want to celebrate, we can express joy through cooking and eating together. There is something so intriguing about this magic that has always captured my interest. I want to make that magic happen. Sometimes it is spontaneous. The best dishes are often created by using whatever is left in the fridge that needs to get used up. Sometimes a new dish is created by extensive research. I may have an idea of what I want to make, but not know exactly how to make it or all the seasonings and ingredients. I will look up many versions of the recipe online, read hundreds of comments from other cooks, and then I will start to design my own recipe according to my own tastes and nutritional needs. Whatever the process, when the magic happens, it brings me joy.

I am not sure that I would be so joyful about creative cooking if there were no one to share the fruits of my labor with. Occasionally, I will truly enjoy a dish I’ve made only for myself. But I don’t think that the experience would be so enjoyable if no one was ever going to taste my food. If I were alone on the planet, I don’t think the experience would be the same. There is something magical about the sharing of good food and good drink amongst good company. A convivial atmosphere sparks the alchemical reaction of transmuting food into joy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ready to Start my Life at Age 40!

I recall from my youth that women's lives seemed to be over at 40. There was always that dreaded "4-0" birthday approaching. Women were considered old and over-the-hill upon reaching this milestone.

Things have changed since then, thank goodness. As I approach my 40th birthday in a few weeks, I am getting ready to celebrate. After being gluten-free for a year now, I am finally ready to LIVE!

Without going too much into the depressing details, suffice it to say that I have suffered on multiple levels from undiagnosed Celiac disease for the majority of my life. I have still managed to accomplish quite a bit, but have always felt that something was holding me back. I have researched, fought and struggled to discover the answer or cure for my ailments so that I can finally live up to my potential. My goal is to feel 40 and fabulous on my birthday and wipe the slate clean of all the Ghosts from Gluten's Past!