Friday, December 2, 2011

tator tots, eggs, and cheese

leftover tator tots, crumbled into pieces


4 eggs beaten, salt & pepper


shredded cheese sprinkled on top

350 degrees for 15-20 minutes= NOM

P.S. Would have added spinach or ham or peppers, but I need to go grocery shopping real bad.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


If you read this blog, I think it's okay to assume that you know what I'm talking about when I say, Don't you hate it when your belly goes crazy for no apparent reason?

Then you start to wonder what had the gluten, or if something carelessly got contaminated, even if my family are veterans when it comes to preventing it. Or maybe my body just can't take the overindulgence of a holiday weekend. It seems that on holidays or when I travel, it's an almost guaranteed stomachache. I suppose that it just becomes easier for the gluten to slip in there, or I just assume that what I'm eating should be okay.

Whatever it is, I spent my night with the heating pad instead of at a well-anticipated party.
I don't want to whine and bitch about how it's not fair, but man, sometimes it just really sucks.

And yet again I'm reminded to be more careful.

Take heed! Just a reminder, as the holiday season rolls around, be vigilant about what goes into your stomach. Gluten doesn't take a vacation just because we do!

On another note, I'll have a recipe for pineapple upside down cake in a bit. :o)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Joe's Crab Shack Eat-at-Home

I caught these new Joe's Crab Shack steamable meals on sale at HEB a few weeks ago.

Intrigued, I picked then up and saw that the salmon with dijon mustard was labeled gluten free. Sweeeet. They're not all gluten free, but this particular one is.

Quick shot- because I was too hungry to fool with picture-taking.

It's ridiculously easy. It all comes packaged in pouches, which you microwave, then pour out onto a plate. Pretty good hunk of meat, tasty sides. Dinner for two in 10 minutes with hardly any dishes to clean. I really couldn't ask for more. Except for a cat who doesn't go berserk because I cooked fish. And, you know, someone to eat the other serving. (Shmoop alert: One month till he is out of that war zone and back in my arms. Shmoop over) At least I get some good leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

The only con is that when the fish is done cooking it looks kinda funky- like when you boil chicken and it gets that residue on the pot. But they give you sauce to pour over it and then you can't even tell.

Anyway. Good product, will be buying it again.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

White bean soup with herb bread

My contribution for the annual pumpkin carving party:

White bean (butternut squash) soup with herb bread


Soak 1 1/2 c. white beans overnight

Put a large pot over medium heat and add 1 T. olive oil.
Chop and add to the pot:
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 potato
1/2 red onion

Cover and let the veggies heat up and get slightly tender, mixing frequently.
Pour in vegetable broth, or some butternut squash soup (like this). If you use the soup, thin it out with some water because it's kind of thick.

Mince and add in:

2 cloves garlic
1 sage leaf
6 basil leaves
few sprigs of fresh parsley

Season with salt, pepper, and ground thyme. (I didn't have any fresh)

Bring to a boil, then cover and bring the temperature down to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the beans are tender.

The butternut squash makes it less savory and a tad bit sweet, even with all the herbs.

Serve with herbed bread.

Herbed Bread:

Proof your fast-rising yeast by adding 1 t. sugar to 1 c. water at 110-115 degrees. Add in the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix into a large bowl:

1 1/2 c. gluten free flour mix (see sidebar)
1 t. xanthan gum
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

In a smaller bowl, beat 1 egg and mix in 1 T. light olive oil.
Mince 2 sage leaves and a few basil leaves, and add it to the flour mixture, along with 1 t. dried oregano.

Mix the yeasty mixture (if it's good, it will be foamy on top) and the egg mixture into the large bowl with the flour. Form a wet-ish dough.

Pour it into a greased 8x8 pan and cover it with a towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place it in a warm place to rise for about 20 minutes, then bake at 425 for appx 20 minutes.

Has a subtle herb taste- to punch it up, simply add more.

Let it cool and cut into squares and serve with soup. Perfect fall meal.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin, chocolate chip, oatmeal... cookies

I had leftover pumpkin after making some muffins, so these cookies were born. I was actually laying in bed this morning thinking of what kind of cookie to make. Once I had it all figured out in my head, I had motivation to get up.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 large egg
1/4 t. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cups gluten free oats
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. potato starch
1/8 t. xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

cinnamon & sugar (1/2 c. sugar + 1 T. cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat shortening and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to wet mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with cinnamon/ sugar mixture. They won't spread. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.

These cookies bake up not too sweet, with a hint of every flavor.

Makes appx 18 cookies

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Inspired by the movie, of course.

Real ratatouille has zucchini and eggplant and peppers and stuff, and I only had an abundance of squash and a small sweet potato in the pantry. There was no way I was going to the store, so I improvised.

The vegetables turn out tender but not mushy.

I was surprised by how good this is. I figured it would just be vegetable-y and meh. But it's flavorful, has a perfect texture, and is very satisfying.

Overall, this is just a really tasty dish and I will absolutely be making it again-- even if I don't find myself with a ton of squash needing to be eaten.

I used:

5 small yellow squash
1 small sweet potato
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
5 basil leaves, chopped finely
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 375.

Slice your sweet potato and squash thinly. Pour the tomato sauce into the casserole dish and stir in the garlic and basil, as well as the pepper, any small bits of veggie that will be too small to arrange nicely.

Arrange your veggie slices around the edge of the dish, then on the inside. Jam any leftovers wherever they can fit.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top. Generously salt and pepper the dish, and sprinkle on a little thyme.

Cover the dish with a lid or foil, and bake for 45 minutes, until the veggies are tender.

I served this over leftover brown rice and it was soso good.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin gingerbread muffins

The inspiration for this post comes from Oh She Glows. To be honest it was the spiced buttercream that caught my eye- what a great idea.

The muffins have a stronger gingerbread taste and a subtle pumpkin taste, and the pumpkin helps keep them moist.

The recipe was modified a bit to make it gluten free and use what I had on hand.

Again, the original vegan recipe is here.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

1 c. plus 2 T. canned pumpkin
2/3 c. loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 c. light olive oil
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg, beaten
1 1/3 c. gluten free flour mix (See sidebar -->)
1/2 T. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. ground cloves

Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl. Use the same measuring cup for the oil and the molasses- after you measure the oil, the molasses will slide out easily. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and combine the wet & dry ingredients well.
*Don't forget your xanthan gum. I did, and they turned out a little crumbly.

Scoop into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

These muffins are very tasty on their own.
To get more of a dessert taste, top with spiced frosting.
I combined cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, a ton of pumpkin pie spice, and a tiny bit of milk to make an icing/ glaze. For an actual recipe for spiced buttercream, see the original recipe at Oh She Glows.

Since the recipe doesn't use an entire can of pumpkin, expect another pumpkin recipe soon!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cupcake win

Chocolate cupcake (made with black beans!) + Nutella frosting* = WIN

*To give the Nutella a stiffer consistency for piping, mix 1/4 c. Nutella with 1 t. corn starch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This is first time I've EVER cooked pork. I know, such a milestone.

Six of these "boneless wafer thin center loin chops" were on sale for less than 2 bucks, so I grabbed them. Then I coated them in a tangy marinade/sauce. Good call. It's tangy with a hint of fruity, balanced with a little bit of sweetness.

Then I made a rice pilaf to go with them. Actually, I just throw sliced almonds into some rice and some other stuff and call it a pilaf. It works for me.

Anyway. Recipe.

Preheat a heavy skillet on medium/high heat. It's ready when water droplets dance around for a second before evaporating.


1/3 c. yellow mustard
2 T. balsamic vinegar (Used this fabulous pomegranate balsamic vinegar that I got at the farmer's market)
1 T. brown sugar

*I didn't have time to actually marinade them, and they still turned out tasty. Next time I'll try leaving them in there for a few hours.

Coat the meat in the sauce/marinade, and throw it in your pan. Cook it literally about a minute on each side, because they're so thin. After they're all done, splash a small amount of chicken broth (2 thawed cubes) into the pan and make a sauce with the stuff that carmelized in the pan. Serve with rice pilaf.

Rice pilaf-ish:

1 c. brown rice cooked in 2 cups beef broth
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1 handful of finely chopped spinach
2 T. toasted coconut
sprinkle of paprika

Mix it all up. Done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

slightly cooking: pizza bagels

I still have a bag of Udi's bagels in my freezer. I've tried using them up as much as I can, here and there. But I still had more!

Tonight I wanted to use up some tomatoes that have been sitting on the counter. The next logical step was pizza bagels.

And it's not really cooking, but at the end your belly's not hungry anymore and all you have to wash is a knife, a cutting board, and a plate. Dinner WIN.

Take a bagel. Toast it.

Top with sliced tomato. Cover up the hole so no toppings get lost.
Layer on fresh chopped basil and spinach leaves.
Sprinkle on pepper and oregano.
Sprinkle on shredded (or bits of) mozzarella cheese.

Broil for a few minutes-- watch it, because as soon as you walk away, they will burn.

Enjoy dinner.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oat and Cranberry Muffins

The other day I found myself checking out a blog called Frills in the Hills. I saw this muffin recipe and HAD to make it.

photo courtesy of Frills in the Hills- hers just looked SO pretty.

So I converted this recipe to be gluten free, and it turned out really well. I love the oats in the batter- they make it more of a rustic texture. You can find the original recipe here.

1 c. gluten free flour (1/3 c. each of brown rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch. Plus 1/8 t. xanthan gum)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup craisins or dried cranberries, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
2 T. light olive oil
1 egg
1/2 + 1/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt)
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients together, and mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Mix them all together. Drain the cranberries and mix those in, too.

Pour the batter into 6 lined muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Post gluten free cereals

Kellog's and General Mills aren't the only mainstream cereal brands jumping on the gluten free wagon.
Did you know that Cocoa Pebbles are gluten free??

I didn't. One of my coworkers eats Cocoa Pebbles every day for breakfast like I eat Cinnamon Chex. She asked me the other day if I ate Cocoa Pebbles. I said no, because they're not gluten free. She was all, "Yeah they are. Says it right on the box." And I was like, "Whaaa?"

Sure enough, I went to the store and they were there, with a huge GLUTEN FREE right on the box. So are fruity pebbles and the marshmallow ones. And so are the snack bars.

I don't know when this happened, but it happened under my radar. And I totally had cocoa pebbles for breakfast today.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee cake muffins happened today. Moist, cinnamon-y muffins. With pretty liners I found in the back of the cabinet- left over from my sister's bridal shower.

Used this as a base and modified it to use up whatever I had lingering in the fridge. Also, I find that gluten free muffins don't dry out as quickly when you substitute applesauce for oil and throw some yogurt in there.

Coffee cake muffins:

1/3 c. each brown rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch
1/8 t. xanthan gum
2 T. flaxseed meal
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon

1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. vanilla or plain yogurt
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/3 c. applesauce
1 egg

"Streusel" topping: 2 T. almond meal (take some almonds and grind those babies up), 1 T. sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. Combine the wet & dry ingredients. Spoon into a lined muffin tin (makes 6).

Since there's no oil in the batter they like to stick, so spritz each paper liner with cooking spray before filling. Sprinkle the almond/sugar mixture over the top and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Currently eating...

There's nothing like a good meal.

The past few weeks have been takeout, Amy's, cereal, and random snacky meals.

I've been craving something substantial and hearty.
So last night I set up my crock pot with a frozen cornish game hen, some sad back-of-the-fridge celery, the last of some white wine and leftover chicken broth, a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of thyme, and some fresh oregano. ASH: I PUT IT BACK IN THE FRIDGE OVERNIGHT. haha

I set it on low when I left for work this morning, and came home to the smell of delicious chicken. And a frantic cat who must have been going berserk smelling chicken cooking all day.

Chopped some carrots and added them to a small pot on medium heat. Splashed in a little of the chicken broth from the crock pot, and after it started to boil I turned it to low and covered it. Meanwhile I took the meat off the bones and seasoned it with pepper. I squeezed a little honey over the carrots when they were tender, and enjoyed a simple meal of chicken and carrots.

I love putting chickens in the crock pot because you really can't go wrong. Just throw it in there, even frozen, with a little bit of seasonings and liquid. I usually let mine go for 10-11 hours so I add a little more liquid to keep it from drying out. Then, since it's just me, I have enough for leftovers the next day. I'm thinking chicken salad.

Currently enjoying a dessert of chai tea and cookies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate cookies

picture from the Ocean Spray website

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate cookies. You really can't go wrong with that.

I've been a Craisins fan for years. [PLEASE bring back the chocolate covered Craisins!]

And over the years, I've read the back of the bag, and this recipe. And for years, I've wanted to make them. Today, I did. And they are delicious.

I halved and made a few changes to the original recipe, which I'll include here.

1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 large egg
1/4 t. vanilla
3/4 cups gluten free oats
1/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. sorghum flour
1/4 c. potato starch
1/8 t. xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 c. Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat shortening and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

P. S. If you use butter instead of shortening, they'll spread a little more. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bob's GF Brownie Mix

So last night I crashed a casual dinner party of sorts. It wasn't a gluten free meal, so I brought my own meal* and joined in on the fun. This is why my friends are awesome, haha. Even more awesome was the gluten free dessert, Gluten Free Brownies from Bob's Red Mill.

I'm not including a picture because we all know what brownies look like, and I can't find my camera.

So how were they? I thought they were good. They've got a richer chocolate texture than most brownies and a cake-like texture. There were a couple comments from the gluten-eaters that they were slightly grainy, and that they left kind of a slimy aftertaste (presumably from the xanthan gum and various starches?) but I guess I'm just used to that kind of thing because I didn't really notice it until it was pointed out.

I'd say they are my third favorite brownies, under Nestle's and Betty Crocker's- which has little tiny chocolate chips in it.

*I absolutely LOVE Amy's gluten free frozen meals. Especially the enchiladas- the sauce is amazing. The baked ziti is fantastic, too. As is the mac n cheese. I don't think I've ever tried anything bad from Amy's; those are just my favorites.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creamy Chicken Soup

I know! No picture! I suck! But I forgot and just ate my meal. I always hate when people post recipes and neglect to post a picture. But, sigh, it happens occasionally. 

Instead of chicken soup, you get a picture of kitties in a bowl:

I recently discovered how wonderful corn flour can be as a thickener. I prefer the texture to dishes thickened with corn starch. I'm also a big fan of using milk in place of cream, mostly because I just don't buy cream. This works great and keeps the dish lighter.

Creamy Chicken Soup

2 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 c. chopped bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped
large chicken breast, cut into pieces

3 c. chicken broth (make sure it's gf)
1/4 t. thyme
1 t. pepper
1 T. corn flour (NOT corn meal or corn starch)
salt to taste
1/4 c. milk
2 T. sour cream

Toss your veggies in a pan over medium-high heat and cook them for a few minutes to soften. Add in the chicken and garlic and cook for another minute to get a sear on the chicken. Pour in the chicken broth, herbs, and spices and bring to a boil, cooking the chicken through. Sprinkle the corn flour over the top and stir it in, boiling until it starts to thicken. Turn the heat off and let it stop boiling for a few minutes before stirring in the milk and sour cream. Salt to taste (will vary depending on how salty the broth is).

Serve it with some corn bread muffins, crank down the ac, and pretend it's cold outside.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ruggles Green

Last night I FINALLY tried Ruggles Green, who I've heard for years has had a gluten free menu, or at least gluten free menu items.

I hit the location at City Centre and happened to choose an incredibly busy time. I ordered the gluten free fish tacos, and was slightly worried that because they were so busy that the gluten-free-ness might be overlooked.

When the server brought the tacos, I asked him if they were gluten free and he said yes. I was skeptical, but then, when he set the plate down, I was surprise to see this:

Tucked under my tacos were little notes stating that they were prepared gluten free! Way to give me peace of mind, Ruggles Green. I dug in and they were delicious.

I will definitely go back, to try the rest of their gluten free fare; some of it looks really good.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jason's Deli NOM

Just finished eating a fantastic sandwich- from Jason's Deli.

I'm a fan of this place. Huge baked potatoes and a new gluten free menu. Although the cross-contamination issue has been sketchy (I found a noodle in my baked potato once. No idea how it got there), I generally don't feel icky after my meal and I'm confident that I'm not being glutened.

The parentals were ordering dinner and I declined because I wasn't really hungry. Then mom mentioned the gluten free menu. Wellllll I guess it couldn't hurt to check it out...

It was actually really really cool. You order it online, specify gluten free (they use Udi's bread), and then all of these special instructions pop up that tell the server to change gloves, etc.

The next thing I knew, the delivery guy was at the door and I was holding this glorious sandwich in my hands.

Crappy phone pictures were all I had time for. It was SO GOOD.

I also ordered the red pepper hummus and blue corn chips. HEAVEN.

Bonus: I didn't have to cook, or put on clothes appropriate for venturing out in public.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bread pudding

To be honest, the first time I'd heard of bread pudding wasn't until after I was diagnosed with Celiac, so I've never tried it. I've also never been a huge fan of bread, so the idea of bread pudding never really struck me as something delicious. But, everyone I know raves about it.

Well, today I had stale bread. I bought some Udi's hamburger buns on clearance and haven't been able to use them for actual hamburgers yet. They were getting pretty old, so I wanted to use them up quickly. I get the idea- kind of like a custard but with bread in it.

So I tried it out.

Bread Pudding

1 1/2 c. milk
1 T. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 t. vanilla
3 1/2 c. stale gluten free bread, torn up into pieces
1/2 c. pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Place the bread and pecans into a 1 qt casserole dish, mixing them up. (I placed them in the dish, put the lid on, and shake it around.) Beat the eggs in a bowl.

Heat the other ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat,stirring frequently until the butter has melted. Turn off the heat. Mix a spoonful of the warm mixture into the eggs- mixing quickly and using a spoonful at a time so that the eggs don't scramble.

When half of the warm mixture has been added to the eggs, stir the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan. Pour the entire mixture over the bread, soaking each piece, and bake covered for 40-45 minutes. I removed the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking to get kind of a crusty top.

Rather than fiddling with a sauce, I poured a smidgen of straight brandy over the warm bread pudding.

It tasted kinda like a glorified alcoholic french toast. Definitely not bad.

Now, I can't compare it to normal bread puddings, but I wont have a problem finishing the rest of the batch. Second breakfasts are going to be good this week!

**I suppose that heating up the milk and tempering the eggs wasn't necessary; you could probably just mix it all up cold and pour it over the bread with the same results.

*** Update: Maybe not. Check out the comment regarding cooking time/ texture changes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

GF Bisquick SnickerDOODLES

Old box of gluten free bisquick in the pantry. Decided that today was the day it was going to be used up.

After a quick google search, I suddenly HAD to have snickerdoodles.

photo snagged here

Oh yes.

I halved the recipe, used less sugar, added some vanilla, and used brown sugar for the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

GF Bisquick Snickerdoodles

3/4 c. GF bisquick
1/4 c. rice flour ( I ran out of Bisquick)
1 egg
2 T each softened butter & shortening
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
3 T. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon

Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour and bisquick and mix up into a dough. Roll the dough into balls and coat in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. (I used my Xpress Redi Set Go again, baking them in the mini muffin insert for 5 minutes. That thing is AMAZING in this summer heat)

Made about 12 little cookies.

They come out like a cross between a muffin, coffee cake, and a cookie; definitely a cake-like cookie rather than a crispy cokie. I can't wait to eat them with coffee during my break tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

cherry coconut muffins

Perfect for an afternoon off work when there's no food in the cupboards.

Found cherries and coconut in the freezer, and it seemed too easy.

And in case you're wondering, heck no my oven did not turn on. I used the Xpress Redi Set Go I got last Christmas, and I wanted it for this very reason.

Cherry Coconut Muffins (mini!)

1/3 c. each sorghum, brown rice flour, and corn starch
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 c. milk
1 T. light olive oil
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. each chopped cherries and shredded coconut

Mix it all in a bowl.
I spooned the batter into the mini muffin insert, topped with some more coconut, and cooked for 5 minutes.

For conventional ovens, preheat to 350 and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. For regular muffins, 10-15 minutes.

The cherries give the batter a funny color, but they taste great, with a hint of every flavor.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tonight's dinner


Chicken, white beans
white wine, balsamic vinegar
spinach, carrots
seasoned with thyme, bay leaf, garlic.

(with brown rice)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pasta with creamy pesto-ish sauce


I overheard somebody call these the dog days of summer. Everyone's seeking solace in air-conditioned havens, myself included. You think I'm going to heat up my kitchen? Don't think so. It's been lunchmeat and cereal city over here. For a while.

But my belly is hungry, and getting tired of mediocre meals. So in one simultaneous move, I cranked the AC on full blast and turned on the stove.

The only thing to survive in my herb garden this year is a basil plant. Apparently this particular plant loves the drought and 100+ temperatures. In fact, it's going pretty strong. If it looks droopy I just water it and it perks right up.

This was inspired by leftover spinach that needs to be eaten soon. No, I can't eat another freaking salad. Was going to make a pesto but I also had cream cheese to use up. So I changed the plan a little, with great success.

I give you, this.

Okay, I'm not a food photographer.
Please, it tastes much better than it looks.

Have you seen that cooking creme? It's like that, but better.

Heat up your skillet to medium-high heat, salt & pepper your chicken, throw it in the pan and cook it until it's done.

Meanwhile, bust out your little tiny food processor that's cracked and old but still works.

Add to it:

1/2 block of softened cream cheese (or neufchatel cheese)
a splash of milk
a dash of garlic powder
1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1 handful each of fresh basil and spinach leaves
as much pepper as you like

Process that until it's relatively smooth, and pour it into the pan. Remove it from heat, and toss with your favorite gf pasta.

Then have ice cream for dessert, kuz it's just too darn hot not to.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Black Bean... Cake!

We've all heard of the chocolate cake or brownies made using black beans instead of flour. After trying one of these cupcakes that a friend made, I was amazed and finally decided to try it.

It's so freaking easy, and I have to admit I was skeptical as I was mixing the batter together. It's very wet. And even though I pureed the heck out of the beans, there were little bean skin pieces floating around in it.

However, when they came out of the oven and eventually made their way into my mouth, I was a believer all over again.

I used the recipe provided at Chocolate and Carrots (darling blog). Instead of all the embellishments, I made the basic cake recipe and added store-bought german chocolate icing for my sister's favorite birthday cake.

Unfortunately, the only picture I took was one with my crappy camera phone, sent to her with a note: Come over after work. (She did.)

They are moist, a bit dense, and perfectly chocolatey.

I fed them to my family, watched them eating, and asked, "You wanna know what's in there??"
They stopped eating and their faces became skeptical. When I told them, they were all, "No way!" and polished them off. You really can't tell there are beans in the batter.

One thing to note: they don't rise very high and get that traditional domed cupcake shape; I suppose it's just the nature of the recipe, but it's ok because you get to put more icing on that way. :o)

So, whether you make the surprise cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (which are, by the way, AH-MAY-ZING) or just use the plain chocolate cake recipe, it's all good.

Just make them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

GF Expo in Dallas

Hey! Spotted at simply sugar and gluten free, a GF expo in Dallas!

I've seen other bloggers posting about expos, and have been waiting for one to come to Houston, but Dallas is close enough! I could totally go up there for a weekend. How fun would that be?? Road tripppp.

I'm pretty darn excited about this.

Friday, July 1, 2011

GF Rice Krispies!

I finally found the new Gluten Free Rice Krispies on shelves!

At first I was excited to see them, but then the price tag kinda put a damper on it. $4.19 for a  box of the gluten free stuff, and $2.88 for a box of the regular stuff. I was looking forward to mainstream cereals being a little cheaper than the specialty stuff. Especially since the website advertises that they're the same price! Still, I bought them. At least it was a big box, unlike most GF cereals that are like 5 bucks for a tiny box.

I had a big bowl for breakfast today, complete with bananas, just the way I like it.

I don't remember how regular Rice Krispies taste, but these are pretty good. They even snap, krackle, and pop. So you don't miss out on the Rice Krispie experience.

All in all, another win for GF awareness, and my tummy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Local GF Resources

My sister had me jot down some GF notes for someone she recently met who was new(ish) to the Celiac world. I figured I'd share it here too:

Places with gluten free menus in the Sugar Land/ Houston area:

Pei Wei- ask for it at the restaurant
PF Changs- at the restaurant
Souper Salad- online
BJs Brewhouse- at the restaurant
Chick fil A- online- last time I checked they used a dedicated fryer for fries
Wendy’s- online
Outback Steakhouse- at the restaurant- they even have a chocolate cake
Chili’s- online
Pepperoni’s makes GF pizza
Russo’s NY Pizzeria at the Galleria location makes GF pizza
Cheesecake factory- I haven’t seen an official gf menu, but they were pretty helpful and knowledgeable when I ate there
Jason’s Deli- have an allergen menu and the last time I was there they offered GF bread- AND deliver!
Sprinkles in the Galleria sells a GF red velvet cupcake
Paciugo- used to get gelato from there all the time- they have GF status on the back of the cards that display the flavor- just ask
Bucca di Beppo- the last time I was there, there was no GF menu, but apparently now there is.
Grocery stores with large GF selections:
Whole Foods
Kroger on Sweetwater
HEB on Hwy 6 @ Austin Pkwy

Udi’s is the best bread I’ve come across. Not perfect, but not as terrible as some that I’ve tried. Schar also makes decent rolls.
The Glutino pretzels and crackers are good
The Betty Crocker mixes are fantastic
There’s a gluten free bakery off I-10-
Also one up north- Mary’s-

Not an all-inclusive list, but it's a nice start.

I didn't realize how many places have gotten gluten-savvy in recent years until I started to list them. Definitely an upside to the recent celebrity gluten free trend!

Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baker's Challenge Giveaway Winner

The winner of the GF prize pack giveaway (by Betty Crocker and myblogspark) is


Enjoy the goodies, and for all those interested, the GF Baker's Challenge is open for entries for another week or so.

(I like the guy at the end, haha)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gluten Free Baker's Challenge & Giveaway

So. Myblogspark alerted me that Betty Crocker is having a gluten free baker's challenge. I've heard of the regular baker's challenges, but the gluten free one is new to me!

You just submit your awesome GF recipe made using one of the Betty Crocker mixes by June 30th and get a chance to win a grand prize of $5,000, or receive a gluten free baking gift basket as one of 10 finalists.

Baking + a chance at cash or free stuff? Sounds good to me!

Also, even if you don't participate in the contest, you can get discounts on the gluten free Betty Crocker mixes when you visit the gluten free online store  at

Aaannnddd, to sweeten things up a bit and maybe help us get jump-started on our entries, Betty Crocker (via Myblogspark) is offering a GF prize pack! Yay!

Oh, the possibilities.

To enter the giveaway, spread the word about the Gluten Freely's 20% off sale going on through June, and also leave a comment- I'd love to know which GF mix is your favorite. You have through June 17th to enter!

Personally, I love the yellow cake mix. I even used it for my sister's wedding cake and everyone loved it, no one knew it was gluten free. Heck yes. I can't wait to play with it and create something worthy of the grand prize. And also, get to eat it, haha.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


chocolate chip waffles

Today was a waffle-making kind of morning.

Before Chris left to do Marine-type-stuff, we'd have a late, leisurely breakfast on most Saturday mornings. Eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon, hashbrowns, whatever. Wake up late, put on a pot of coffee, and slowly get around to cooking breakfast. He got me a waffle maker, and then started requesting these waffles a lot. They were good, but there were points where I had to veto waffles because I was getting tired of eating them!

They're easy peasy to make, and come out soft with just the right amount of toasted crunch. They freeze really well, too.

I actually haven't made them in over a year, but I felt like it this morning. I made a large batch to freeze and pull out for mid-morning "second breakfast" at work.

Basic recipe:

2 c. GF Flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 T. oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c. milk

Mix your dry ingredients with a whisk. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and stir the dry ingredients into the wet. It should be pourable, but not too runny or thick.

Pour ~1/2 c. of batter into a preheated waffle iron and cook for a few minutes- I check to see if they're done when the steaming has calmed down.

I've made them several ways, using the basic recipe and adding:

-chocolate chips, fruit, or peanut butter
-1 t. vanilla and 1/2 t. cinnamon
-1/2 c. shredded cheese and bacon. <-- Freaking YUM.

Makes 6 waffles.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Balsamic and Orange Chicken

I have a lot of these lying around.

photo links to recipe

Sometimes they get lost, thrown away, or stuck in a pile with other recipes torn out of magazines that I'd like to try some day.

But this one, this one actually got made. And it was pretty good. I don't think I've ever tried orange and balsamic flavors together before. The first bite was ok, but by the end I was pretty much diggin it. There's a nice tang from both the orange juice and the vinegar, but they balance each other nicely.

I just used some gluten free flour (see sidebar --> ) in place of the all-purpose flour. I paired mine with green beans and served the chicken & sauce over wild rice cooked in chicken broth. Delish.

Looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Udi's muffins

I would like to start by saying that I generally do not care for blueberry muffins. I know... but I don't.

However, I really like the blueberry muffins from Udi's.

Kroger had them on sale a few weeks ago, so I tried them, the cinnamon rolls, and the double chocolate muffins.

My favorite turned out to be the ones I thought I'd like the least- blueberry. I just love the texture and the flavor. I pop them in the freezer at work and take one out for my "second breakfast" and they keep me going for a couple more hours.

The chocolate muffins were ok. They were really sweet; more brownie-like than muffin-like, and they were kind of dry. Overall I didn't care for them as a second breakfast, but as a dessert they were ok.

I thought I'd like the cinnamon rolls the best, but it turns out I liked them the least. They were very tough, so that I couldn't cut them with a fork, and the flavor was so-so. Definitely not worth the calories. Homemade are ten times better.

I did not get to try the lemon ones included on this page, but judging from their other muffins, if I found them I'd try them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lemon Basil Bean Soup

My hands smell like lemon, garlic and basil. Mmmm.

Please forgive my terrible photography skills.

This was one of those "pull everything from the fridge that needs to be eaten" types of meals. I really loved the combination of bay leaves and lemon when I made the artichoke, so I created the same kind of taste here.

Chicken broth, a half-used lemon, and some sad-looking celery and carrots were pulled out and paired with some dried beans from the back of the pantry and some fresh herbs from the garden. I could be getting the hang of this.

Lemon Basil Bean Soup

1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 chopped carrot
1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 T. crushed bay leaves, or 2 whole ones
1 1/2 c. dried beans
Fresh parsley, handful-ish, roughly chopped
Fresh basil, handful-ish, roughly chopped
3 c. chicken broth
zest and juice from 1 lemon

1/4 c. fresh basil and parsley, finely chopped, to add after cooking
salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight, or quick soak: Rinse, bring to a boil in some water, cover and turn the heat off, let them sit for an hour. Drain before using.

In your soup pot, heat up olive oil. Sautee the carrot and celery for a few minutes until they start to get soft. Add in the garlic for a minute. Toss in the drained beans, herbs, lemon juice & zest, and broth. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the beans get soft but aren't too mushy yet.

I like to mush up a few of the beans and add them back into the soup. Reserve 1/4 of the soup. I recently discovered that I have this badass immersion blender. That thing is fun. Blend it with the extra 1/4 c. herbs, and add it all back to the pot.

Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cooking an artichoke

Today I cooked an artichoke.

I found them on sale at the grocery store and thought I'd give it a try.

And it's not that hard!

First cut off the stem. I found that a serrated knife worked best.

Then, trim off the top third. In hindsight, I don't really know if this is necessary. I kinda cut of some of the good parts of the leaves.

Then, I steamed it for 30 minutes.

I don't have a steamer, so I just added to a pot: a couple inches of water, a garlic clove, a lemon slice, and some bay leaves. I stuck the artichoke in, put the lid on, and brought it to a boil. Once it was boiling, I turned the heat to low and set the timer for 30 minutes. The smell was awesome.

When it was done, it looked like this

The leaves just kinda fall off and you eat them. A certain way, apparently. I had to google it. You grab the wide part and put the white end in your mouth, and scrape off with your teeth. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it.

Then, don't be like me and throw away the heart. I got to the middle, tried to eat some of the leaves, but they were pointy! I had to google again to figure it out, and dig it out of the trash. (It was just on top, haha). This link was very helpful. There's going to be a fuzzy part. Scrape it out. The bottom of that is the heart. How easy is that?

Most of the time you dip the leaves in a sauce and then eat them. I wasn't feeling it, so I scraped some of the leaves with a spoon and added it to the pasta I was making for dinner, along with the hearts. Pretty yummy.

I feel like this would be a fun thing to have with friends over. I just need a good dip.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Currently Eating

Sunday breakfast: cheesy scrambled eggs, jelly toast (Udi's), and strawberries.

For fluffy (vs creamy) eggs, add a little bit of water before you whisk.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Melting Pot

Last night I went to The Melting Pot. I heard of it years ago and have been wanting to go, but for some reason I never went until now. And I had so much fun! And I didn't leave hungry!

I did not go anticipating a blog post, so there are no pictures. You should just go and see for yourself.

We went for happy hour to celebrate Missy's birthday, and sat in the bar area for fondue. She, being awesome, had checked it out beforehand and said there was a GF menu. (It's right on the website)

Right after we ordered, I inquired about the gluten content. Our waiter said he could make both the cheese and chocolate fondue gluten free. I was happy that he even knew what I was talking about.

They made the fondue right at our table, and starting by pouring in a type of (my guess) cornstarch slurry and beer. Um, beer? (slightly panicked) Excuse me, was that beer? The waiter just laughed and said it was cool; he wasn't going to poison me. It was some kind of gluten free beer. AWESOME!

By the way, the waiters there were really friendly and personable, not like some places where they dryly ask you what you want to eat and that's about it.

Then they brought out plates of dippings; vegetables and fruits and breads and chips. He handed me a tray of fruits and veggies before they got contaminated. We had two pots and were originally going to keep one gluten free and the other one glutened, but I ended up taking a small bowl of fondue for myself and letting everyone gluten to their hearts desire. Next time I will try to bring some Udi's bread or crackers to dip.

And THEN. The dessert. We ordered the disarrono chocolate fondue. It came with an assortment of fruits and brownies, cheesecake, pound cake, and marshmallows. We were given two plates- one gluten and one gluten free. I love how conscious they were of cross contamination.

Let me tell you about this particular chocolate fondue. It's brought out and flambeed, which was really cool. The first bite I chose was a marshmallow dipped in heaven. Now, I generally don't exaggerate just for the sake of exaggeration, but I literally said, "Oh my God" out loud. It was amazing.  At one point Akhtar looked at me, ready to dip a marshmallow, and said excitedly, "This is going to be so awesome!!" It was that good. I just can't begin to tell you how good it was.

Overall a great experience and good company. I'm definitely going back.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is a super easy dish that ends up tasting like you spent hours cooking it.

It's kind of like a spaghetti sauce with chicken. Kind of. At least this version is.

I love to use my crock pot for this dish, and I either use chicken breasts or a cornish hen, because a real chicken is too big to fit in my little crock pot. I don't brown the chicken before tossing it into the crock pot, because I hate doing extra dishes. It tastes great without it, but feel free to add this step.

Also. This does not make a large amount of food, since I'm just cooking for one person.


1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh basil leaves, picked fresh from your herb garden. Don't have one? Start one. It will change your life life.
1 tsp dried (or fresh!) oregano (My oregano didn't grow so I used dried)
2 chicken breasts or 1 frozen cornish hen
salt and pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes
Most chicken cacciatore recipes call for mushrooms, but I don't like them so I don't use them. I love being able to do that.

My crock pot directions are all the same: Toss everything into the crock pot the night before, put it in the fridge overnight, and set it on low when you leave for work in the morning. I can't stress this enough: Don't forget to plug it in and turn it on!

When you come home hungry, it will be ready. If you've cooked a whole bird, fish it out and remove the bones.

Serve over rice or pasta, or not.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Around town

So I recently discovered that I do not have to go hungry in Galveston!

Tried a couple new places this weekend.

I will start at the beginning.

About a month ago, my friend who lives in north Houston happened to drive by Mary's Gluten Free Bakery and told me about it. So, like everything else, I made a mental bookmark until I was in that part of town. BTW, my friends are kickass for noticing stuff like that.

I was at the airport Friday picking up my Marine on pre-deployment leave [had to put that in there- so proud!] when I realized that Mary's was close by. So Mr. Awesome found it on his smartphone and we found our way over to the bakery. Deliciousness followed.

Talk about every single thing being absolutely wonderful. The carrot cake was BY FAR the best I'd ever tasted. The lemon squares were tart and smooth. The cookies were amazing. I left with a large bag of goodies and a satisfied sweet tooth. I should note they don't have fresh-baked bread, which would be just heaven. Maybe one day...

Also, in anticipation of being hungry at some point in Galveston, I researched on the internet and called a few places that were deemed "gluten friendly." I ended up finding 4 and was overjoyed.

Joe's Crab Shack- have a gluten free menu

Olympia Grill- have a gluten free menu

Courtyard Cafe- don't have a gluten free menu because their menu changes, but she assured me that they have something gluten free every day. You pretty much just walk in and say, "What have you got?" and they feed you. I really want to try this place.

Mario's- We ended up eating here. They offer gluten free pizza and pasta. When I got there, I noticed that on the menu there is a little area that advertises gluten free pasta and pizza. So, I asked the waiter how I go about ordering something gluten free- do you just order a regular pasta dish and ask to substitute gf past or what?

He had no idea. Uh, okay.

So he went to go ask and came back with a half-assed explanation and said he really didn't know and shrugged. Uh, okay. I figured at that point I'd just order plain pasta and sauce, and hope the kitchen knew what he was talking about.

Then Mr. Awesome jumped in and told him to go find out exactly how to order it. And he did. And you pretty much just order any pasta dish (besides stuff that's pre-made like lasagna or ravioli) and you get gf penne instead. I could handle that.

So my order came and I was slightly nervous about whether or not it was gluten free. (Un?) fortunately, I could tell right away, just by the way the pasta looked. It was slightly overcooked, as it's easy to do with gf pasta, but it tasted fine and the rest of the dish (some kind of shrimp tomato thing) was really tasty. I was happy to have something besides salad in a restaurant.

Friday, March 11, 2011

GF media

I would like to thank this month's Good Housekeeping. They have a great short article about how trying a gluten free diet to lose weight is not the best idea.

After all these celebrity diets and stuff, people are becoming familiar with the phrase "gluten free," but not necessarily in the correct ways.

I get really tired of people hearing that I don't eat gluten and saying, "Oh THAT's why you're skinny- you don't eat gluten. I want to try that diet."

It's frustrating to say the least.

So yay for finally putting some good info out there!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pizza for dinner, ice cream sandwiches for dessert

Yesterday was a great day for my belly, thanks to tips from gluten free in the 713.

After we worked up a hunger shopping at IKEA, my buddy and I headed over to Pink's pizza.
When you walk in, you can see the entire kitchen and it's kinda neat. I asked the guy at the counter how they prevent contamination of the gluten free pizza. His response? "Well, if you have Celiac we don't recommend that you eat the gluten free pizza."

My heart fell!
I asked him why even make gluten free pizza at all if Celiacs can't eat it and he said something about intolerances. Still, I pressed on. I asked if they use separate pans and he said: they did, that the crust comes pre-made and they use separate everything, but it's clear to see that there's flour flying around everywhere.

I told him I'd chance it and would like to order a gluten free pizza.

And then I got to watch him make it. The only significant source of contamination that I could see is that they use the same ladle for the sauce as the regular pizzas.

But I was starving and I ate it anyway. It was heaven. The crust itself was okay- it was a thin crust, a tad gummy. But the toppings completely made up for it. Oh my gosh. I don't know what the secret is, but it was amazing. And I haven't had any belly problems either. I'm not sure if I'd go back knowing that there are possible contamination issues.

Afterwards, we headed down the street to Kroger to see if I could find some gluten free ice cream sandwiches, something I've been trying to track down for years.

And I found them!

Julie's GF ice cream sandwiches. And they were amazing. SO GOOD.
They'd better be- I paid about $8 for a box of 4! A splurge, but worth it. Plus, I've gotten used to paying ridiculous amounts of money for gluten free fare.

P.S. I found these at Whole Foods for $4-something. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

French Meadow Bakery

Part of eating gluten free is trying new products. All the time. You never know when you're going to find the best bread or pasta or whatever it is that you miss. Some turn out to be awesome, and some turn out to be bad.

My boss mentioned the other day that she saw some gluten free items at the local grocery store.

Of course, I headed over to check them out. I was so excited when I saw a freezer display with some gluten free products from French Meadow Bakery.

There were some sweets like brownies, muffins, and cookies, but I was interested in the harder-to-make-myself products like bread and... flour tortillas!

I was super excited to try them out, especially the tortillas, because I was planning to make some pinwheels at my sister's upcoming bridal shower. And how sweet would it be to make some gluten free ones??

Well, I took a few tortillas out to thaw and went about finishing some errands. What I came back to was tortillas that had thawed, but had mysteriously curled up and hardened. When I tried to roll them up, they cracked and sprang back out into the curled-up shape. Determined, I made a wrap anyway and tried to eat it.
Tried. The tortilla was so hard that I couldn't take a decent bite without tearing apart a huge chunk, destroying the integrity of the wrap, and chewing for a good few minutes. I tried thawing them in the microwave, heating them up a little after they thawed at room temperature, etc etc. Nothing changed the texture and inedible-ness. I was very bummed and also annoyed that I paid 4 bucks for a product that advertised "soft and delicious" on the packaging. They were neither.

The bread was nothing to write home about, either. Just your standard kinda dry and crumbly gluten free bread. Good thing I still have Udi's!

So yes, I was very disappointed with these products, but at least now I know! And you do too. I always try to post the stuff I don't like along with the stuff I do like, because there have been plenty of times that I've wondered about a product and read a review on someone else's blog and either been relieved that I didn't waste my money, or been excited to try it.

I don't know if I got a bad batch or something, but my advice is don't waste your money!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Glutino Cheddar Crackers are not like Cheeze-its.

I really miss Cheeze-it. I love those little intense cheese crackers.

I caught some of the Glutino cheddar crackers on sale and thought with a watering mouth that they'd be my gluten-free substitutes for Cheeze-its.

It might just be me, but I can barely taste the cheese! I would not have thought they were cheddar if I didn't already know they were supposed to be. The word "cheese" doesn't even cross my mind when I eat these. It's almost like an aftertaste.

Not that they're bad crackers- they just aren't very cheesy.
So now you know.

Has anyone tried any truly cheese-flavored GF crackers? Or have a good recipe? My homemade crackers never have that awesome cracker texture.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Hummus and Sweet Potato tortilla chips. Surprisingly good combination.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swiss Roll Substitute

I couldn't get rid of the craving so I made a substitute: brownies with vanilla frosting. I get the frosting part and the chocolatey part. They weren't the same, but were good enough.

Horray for resourcefulness!

Friday, January 21, 2011


I saw a box of swiss rolls in the pantry. Instant craving.

Now I'm eating everything else in the world trying to get rid of that craving. Nothing is helping. The thing about cravings is, only the thing that you're craving makes it go away!

I don't want to break down and eat one- I know I will regret it.

I also don't have the time or ingredients to try and recreate one.

What do you do when this happens??