November 25, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving

I know it's only Tuesday, but I want to say happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I will be spending time with extended family tomorrow through Saturday and won't be blogging. I hope all of you will have an enjoyable time with family or friends, in large gatherings or small. I hope you enjoy delicious gluten-free food and don't get glutened. I hope that the need to eat gluten free and watch out for cross-contamination does not cause a lot of stress or take away from enjoying time with people. I hope that you can find plenty to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for...

Well, the list could go on and on. I hope yours does too. Happy Thanksgiving!



Kitchen Cleanup

We love Thanksgiving. We love food, fun, family, and friends. However, lots of people and lots of food make for lots of clean up. I suppose there are a few people in the world who enjoy doing dishes and cleaning up greasy, splattery messes, but most of us don't. I'm no expert, but here are a few ideas to consider that might help make clean up easier.

I'm sure there are other great clean up tips out there. Please leave a comment if you have a tip to share.

For more kitchen tips visit Tammy's Recipes.


November 24, 2008


Gluten-Free Recipe Links

I came across some good gluten-free recipes at and thought some of you would be interested.

Macaroni & Cheese - I haven't tried this recipe, but it took delicious.

French Bread - This egg-free recipe is by Carol Fenster. I have tried a similar recipe of hers, and it's great. My family loves it!

There are links to more gluten-free recipes at the bottom of those pages. If you try any, let me know how they turn out.



Mexican Dip Appetizer

Do you need an appetizer for Thanksgiving? This Mexican dip is easy, and people like it. In fact, I took it with me the other night when I played cards with some ladies, and it was a big hit.

Mexican Dip
  • 1 c. sour cream 
  • 2 Tb. shredded cheese 
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder 
  •  chopped lettuce 
  • shredded cheese

Saute the ground beef and onion. Drain. Add the chili powder, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix and heat to boiling. Spread into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate.

Combine the sour cream 2 Tb. shredded cheese and 1/4 tsp. chili powder. Spread over the beef mixture. Sprinkle with lettuce and cheese. Serve with corn chips.

This is based on a Betty Crocker recipe. You can view a similar but slightly different recipe here.

View Printable Recipe


November 21, 2008


Egg & Potato Skillet

I was cleaning up when I came across this recipe that I clipped from a Woman's Day magazine. I decided to fix it for lunch. My youngest son shared it with me, and we both liked it. The picture is taken before I added salt and pepper. It definitely needs some seasoning, and next time I might try adding some dill or Italian seasoning.

Egg and Potato Skillet
Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Add diced potato and chopped onion. Saute until almost done. Add diced zucchini and cook until almost tender. Add about 1 Tablespoon of water, break an egg (or more) on top, cover, and cook until the eggs are done, about 5 - 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

There are many tasty, healthy recipes that are naturally gluten-free, and this is one of them!

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Why I Love Soup

Money Saving Mom is rounding up Thanksgiving on a Budget ideas. Soup might not be a Thanksgiving day dish, but it's great for Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are some reasons why I love soup.

  1. It's economical. Using leftovers is certainly frugal, and since you're putting the food into a new dish, your family might not even realize they are having leftovers! If you don't have leftovers, great soup can be made with inexpensive ingredients. Less expensive cuts of meat can be used, or you can make it meatless and add beans for protein.

  2. It's extremely versatile. I'll list some ideas below.

  3. It tastes great and hits the spot on a cold evening.

  4. It's healthy. You can pack it full of healthy foods. If you have picky eaters, they might enjoy their vegetables cooked in broth more than they would a plain veggie.

  5. I love it because my family loves it. That makes my job easier.

I'm sure there are more reasons that aren't coming to my mind right now, but that will do to get you thinking about soup. Why do you like soup?

To make soup I start with:

    4 c. broth
    3 c. water

Add ins (as many and as much as you like):
    onions or leeks
    green beans
    beans (cooked/canned)
    olive oil
    seasonings (salt, pepper, thyme, basil)
    Parmesan cheese
I cook my soup in a pressure cooker, but you can certainly do it on the stove. Just cut everything to the size needed for them to get done about the same time. Things like potatoes or quinoa can be cooked with the soup or added at the end if it's already cooked. I've listed some possibilities, but there are many more. Add the foods you like and you're sure to enjoy it.

For more Thanksgiving on a Budget ideas visit Money Saving Mom.


November 20, 2008


Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I feel I've let my readers down by not posting any holiday type recipes. There are a couple of reasons why I haven't. One is that I don't have pictures of the recipes, and I don't want to make them now just to get a picture.
The other reason is that I don't remember the last time I was in charge of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner. I have contributed to the meal, but my brother is the real cook in the family. He enjoys it, and he's good at it. I won't argue, especially since he's very good about making most of it gluten-free. I am planning on taking a gluten-free dessert and a side dish, but the main meal is really not on my mind.
For my readers, however, I will overcome those obstacles and post a recipe without a picture! This dish is naturally gluten free. It has quite a bit of sugar for a vegetable dish. However, the kids love it (adults too), and it is for a special occasion.
 Sweet Potato Casserole
    4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
    1/4 c. brown sugar
    1/4 c. butter
    1/2 tsp. salt
    8 oz. crushed pineapple (drained)
    1 tsp. water
    1 Tb. brown sugar
    1 Tb. butter
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows
    1/4 c. pecans, chopped
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes. Cook in water until done, but not overdone. Drain. Add the sugar, butter, and salt. Mash. Mix in the pineapple. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Heat in the oven at 350 degrees until hot (about 20 minutes).
Topping: Heat the water, sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a pan until melted. Add the marshmallows and toss to coat. Put on top of the sweet potatoes and heat until the marshmallows are melted. Keep an eye on it because the marshmallows will puff up. Sprinkle the pecans on top.
If you're planning a Thanksgiving meal, remember that corn bread is easy to make and enjoyed by all. Also, you don't have to stick with traditional foods. People might enjoy applescotch dessert as much as apple pie.


November 19, 2008


Uno Chicago Grill - Gluten-Free Pizza

Uno Chicago Grill is trying out the addition of gluten-free cheese and pepperoni pizza to their menu. It is currently being offered at restaurants in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts.

To read more about it, check out these articles at Digital City and Market Watch.

I'm interested in hearing about people's experiences at Uno Chicago Grill. I ate there once. I was very excited when I saw their list of gluten-free menu items. However, I did seem to have a reaction after eating there. It's been a while so I don't remember the details. I do remember thinking there was a lot of opportunity for cross contamination because of the types of food made there. That would make me hesitant to try their pizza. On the other hand, if they offered it in Maryland, I think I would overcome that hesitation to have pizza in a restaurant again. If I got sick, that would be the end, but I think I would have to try it.

What do the rest of you think? What kind of experience have you had eating there?



A Few Computer Shortcuts

It's Works for Me Wednesday time again, and I thought I would tell you about a few computer shortcuts I have recently discovered. I really like some of these and thought you might too. Did you know that you can:

  1. Highlight a word in any document, e-mail, or Web page by double clicking it. Triple click to highlight the whole paragraph.

  2. Enlarge the text on any Web page. In Windows, press Ctrl and the plus or minus keys (for bigger or smaller fonts); on the Mac, it’s the Command key and plus or minus.

  3. Enlarge the entire Web page or document by pressing the Control key as you turn the wheel on top of your mouse. On the Mac, this enlarges the entire screen image. This also works in Word documents.

  4. Scroll down on a Web page one screenful by tapping the space bar once. Add the Shift key to scroll back up.

  5. Hide all windows, revealing only what’s on the computer desktop, by hitting the Windows key and “d” simultaneously in Windows, or press F11 on Macs (on recent Mac laptops, Command+F3; Command is the key with the cloverleaf logo). Press the keystroke again to return to what you were doing.

  6. Switch from one open program to the next by pressing Alt and Tab (Windows) or Command and Tab (Mac). While holding down the Alt key, press Tab once. A small window will pop up showing the programs that are open. You can then tab to the one you want to view next. When you release the Alt key, that program will be the one in view.

  7. Highlight one space at a time going to the right or the left by using Shift and the right or left arrow keys. Highlight one line at a time going up or down by using Shift up or down arrow.

  8. Jump to the beginning of the next word by hitting Ctrl and right arrow. Jump to the beginning of the previous word by hitting Ctrl left arrow.

For other great ideas visit Rocks in My Dryer Works for Me Wednesday.


November 18, 2008


Getting Plastic Wrap to Stick

I have a set of old Pyrex mixing bowls. Each bowl has its own color. They came from my grandmother, and maybe that's why I love using them. Sometimes I mix dry ingredients for muffins or cakes ahead of time and cover the bowl until I'm ready to mix it later. The problem is that plastic wrap doesn't seem to stick to these bowls well.

When that happens, I wet my fingers and then wipe them on the underside of the plastic wrap. Voila! The plastic wrap sticks to the bowl!

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.


November 17, 2008


An Interesting News Story

Janet McKenzie Prince, who has celiac disease, has written a gluten-free guide to Knoxville, Tennessee. I found the article Dining guide helps those with gluten problems to be intersting and inspiring. Janet put a lot of time and effort into a book which she sells, but she has also given away many copies to a children's hospital. Even if you don't live in the Knoxville area, you might want to take a look at the article.


November 16, 2008


Egg in a Nest

I usually take a break from blogging on Sundays, but I have to share with you something I made. It is a combiniation of ideas I got from Carol Fenster's Gluten-Free Quick & Easy. I only had part of a loaf of gluten-free bread so I made these sandwiches using half slices.

I buttered half of the slices of bread and put them buttered side down on a cookie sheet. I then put a slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Next, I used a small (about 1 1/2 inch) round cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle of the remaining slices of bread and in slices of ham. I put the ham on the cheese and topped it with the slice of bread. With the holes in the ham and bread lined up, I broke an egg into each hole. Then I topped each sandwich with a little grated cheese. I baked them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

The family loved these sandwiches! The slices of bread and ham were fairly thick so even though we each got only half slice sized sandwiches they were filling. Give it a try some time. I bet you'll like it too.

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November 15, 2008


Eat Gluten-Free at Bonefish Grill

There is an Outback Steakhouse a couple of miles from my house, and I love having a restaurant with a gluten-free menu so close by. We don't go out to eat often, but when we do, it's usually Outback. Until recently.

I discovered Bonefish Grill, and they also have a gluten-menu. Unfortunately, I have to travel 30 - 40 minutes to get to the nearest one, but once in a while it's worth the drive. I've been there twice with my most recent visit being last night. I still like Outback, and it's certainly a good place to take the whole family. Bonefish Grill on the otherhand is a nice place for my husband and I to go. It has a nice atmosphere, good food, plenty of gluten-free choices (including TWO gluten-free desserts), and reasonable prices.

I'm sure most of you find this very boring, but I tend to get the same things when I go out to eat. I always get the salmon at Outback, and I have gotten salmon both times at Bonefish Grill. The first time I had grilled salmon with mango salsa. It was different, but great! This time I got a special which was salmon with spinach, gorgonzola cheese, and bacon pieces. The specials were not listed on the gluten-free menu so I had the waiter check on it. He informed me that it was gluten-free, and I wasn't surprised because nothing about the ingredients concerned me. It was very good, although I found it to be a bit too salty.

(Note: For information on the gluten-free status of gorgonzola and other blue cheeses, see this post.)

Items on the main menu are served with vegetables and a choice of a side dish. Three of the five side dishes are gluten free. The second time I wasn't too impressed with the vegetables. Apparently they didn't read my popcorn post explaining that corn is not a vegetable. :) My side of garlic whipped potatoes was very good though.

As I mentioned earlier, there are two gluten-free desserts. They have a flourless brownie (as does Outback) which I have not tried. Both times I have gotten the creme brulee and simply loved it. It has a nice thin crust on top with a great carmel flavor and the rest is so smooth and creamy. I just love the feel of it! It's probably a good thing I don't live close to the restaurant because I might go there all the time just for dessert. This time, the creme brulee was half covered with a big pile of whipped cream. I just moved it aside. Next time I'll ask them to hold it.
Bonefish Grill is located in 31 states. If you haven't gone to one yet, check their web site and see if there is one near you. Or maybe there is one in a location that you travel to. You can find their web site here. Click on Today's Menu and look on the right side for the menu download. Below that is listed other menus, including a gluten-free menu.

If you have gone to Bonefish Grill, I hope your experience was as good as mine. Let me know what menu items you like and maybe, just maybe, I'll try something other than salmon next time!



A New Test for Detecting Gluten

This is a news update for my gluten-free readers. The brief article Celiac Disease: Faster Gluten Test explains that scientists in Spain have developed a new test to detect gluten in foods. This test takes only 90 minutes and is highly sensitive. The test is designed for food manufacturers, and they are working to make it even faster.


November 14, 2008


Frugal Wall Decor

I'm not good a decorating. I don't have a natural talent for it, and I hate spending lots of money on something that just hangs on the wall. However, I do want our home to look nice, and I prefer to not have totally bare walls. As a result, I have come up with a few inexpensive decorations over the years.

When I wanted something to decorate a long stretch of soffit in our kitchen eating area, I decided to go with a bird theme. I bought a box of note cards. Each card has a different bird on the front. I then bought some inexpensive frames at Ross or somewhere similar. If you look closely, you can see that the card is a little smaller than the frame on the sides. I suppose some matting would take care of that, but like I said, I'm not a decorator, and it's hardly noticeable when they are high up on the wall. I don't remember how much I paid for the cards and the frames, but it was relatively inexpensive.

Here is a picture I bought years ago at a yard sale for a few dollars. I did replace the frame at some point.

Here is a picture I got from my local freecycle group. It was free!

These wall plaques I bought at Kohl's when there was a good sale and I had a coupon. They were pretty inexpensive. They are small so they look nice in bathrooms or other small areas.

I have a fruit theme in the cooking area of my kitchen. Inexpensive plates like this can be found at thrift stores, dollar stores, and yard sales. Maybe you'll even find a plate hanger to go with it. While this one isn't anything fancy, it helps fill in some space.

A few other ideas:

For more Frugal Friday ideas visit Biblical Womanhood.

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November 13, 2008


Gluten-Free Muffins

I'm not sure why I haven't made muffins in a while. They're good for breakfast and snacks. I usually make a double batch because one batch just doesn't last very long. If I want to have them for breakfast, I save time in the morning by either mixing the dry ingredients together the night before or making the muffins the night before.

This is a basic recipe which you can vary in many ways. It doesn't have a lot of starch in it so the muffins aren't tall and fluffy. They are soft, however, and using whole grain flour adds to the nutritional value. I realize that most people cannot find brown sweet rice flour. I don't think I've ever seen it for sale. I buy brown sweet rice at the health food store and mill it myself. The sweet rice flour helps keep the muffins moist. I think it will work as well with white sweet rice. I made some of these muffins yesterday and had some for breakfast this morning without warming them up! They were a little cold (room temperature) but still soft! The only addition I put in these was crushed pineapple, but you can have lots of fun trying different additions, flavoring, and spices.

Basic Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe

    1/2 c. brown rice flour 1/4 c. + 2Tb. brown sweet rice flour 1/2 c. sorghum flour 1/2 c. tapioca starch 1/3 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum 1 Tb. baking powder 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin (optional) 1/2 - 1 tsp. spice (optional depending on what additions you are using and what flavors you like) 1/4 c. oil 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or other flavoring such as lemon) 1 - 1 1/4 c. liquid/milk 1/2 tsp. salt additions (see note)

In a medium sized bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients. (If you are using wet additions such as canned fruit, use 1 cup liquid.) Mix just until moistened. Fold in additions. Put in greased muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes.

fresh fruit, chopped
canned fruit - Use the juice as part of the liquid. I add 20 oz. crushed pineapple to a double batch of muffins. For pears or peaches, chop the fruit before adding it.
chocolate chips
grated zucchini

View Printable Recipe

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November 10, 2008


Crockpot Beef Stew

The other day I was in the kitchen when a heard a noise coming from one of my cabinets. I was pretty sure we didn't have mice, but what could it be? I opened the door cautiously. Imagine my surprise when I heard the noise again and realized it was my crockpot! Yes, she was crying out for attention. You see, I have been very guilty of crockpot neglect. I didn't just forget to get her out after the hot summer months were over. She's been neglected for a long time.

I do have an excuse. There's been a new love in my life--my pressure cooker. He's very sleek and handsome and cooks meals in minutes rather than hours. But my poor crockpot. It's not as if she's totally useless. I pulled her out of the cabinet and gave it some thought. Then I remembered there is one thing my pressure cooker is not good at. One thing that we like to eat and my crockpot is great at. One thing that I happened to have the ingredients for. Beef stew!

My pressure cooker is not good at making beef stew because the vegetables cook way to quickly. In a crockpot, the vegetables cook slowly. So slowly they need to be cut small and/or thin. I set to work making beef stew, and boy was my crock pot happy! She proudly sat on my counter all afternoon and as expected, produced a fine pot of beef stew by dinner time.

The recipe follows, but before I get to that I want to mention a crockpot tip that some of you might not know. When cooking potatoes in the crockpot, cut them up and swish them around in a bowl of water that has about 1 tsp. cream of tartar added to it. This prevent the potatoes from turning brown. Drain the water and add the potatoes to the recipe as normal.

Gluten-Free Crockpot Beef Stew

2 lbs. stew meat, cubed
1/4 c. rice flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
3 large carrots, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 1/2 c. beef broth

Place the meat in the crock pot. Sprinkle the flour, salt, and pepper over top and stir to coat the meat. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or high 4-6 hours. Stir and remove the bay leaf before serving.

For more crock pot recipes visit Smockity Frocks.  For more great recipes and ideas check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

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November 7, 2008


Pumpkin Pudding

This is a quick and easy fall dessert. I can't remember where I recently found the recipe, but I have modified it to suit our tastes.

2 sm. pkgs. butterscotch pudding
15 oz. canned pumpkin
2 Tb. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the pudding according to the package instructions. Put it in the refrigerator while you do the next step. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir the pumpkin into the pudding mixing well. You can top it with cool whip if desired.

If you use vanilla pudding, it tastes very much like pumpkin pie filling. We like butterscotch which gives a twist to the flavor but still has a hint of pumpkin pie.



Pizza Casserole

If you don't have time to make gluten-free pizza from scratch, but you don't want to disappoint the family, try a pizza casserole. No, it's not the same, but it's still good. It's a cross between pizza, spaghetti, and lasagna. How can it not be good?

This is a recipe that you can easily adjust in quantity and to your taste. As I made this tonight, I was remembering how much I used to depend on recipes that gave exact amounts. Now, even in baking, I'm much more comfortable with some of this and a little of that. I will try to be more specific for the sake of those who need it, but it really doesn't have to be exact.

Gluten-Free Pizza Casserole
12 oz. gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada penne)
1 lb. ground beef (bulk sausage would also be good)
1 onion, chopped
Pepperoni (Hormel is GF; sorry, I can't be exact on this because I had a 1 lb. package. A small package should be plenty)

29 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (The amount can vary to taste)


Cook the pasta and quickly rinse with cold water. Drain. Cook the beef and onions and drain. Spray a large casserole dish. Mine is a little bigger than 9 x 13. Put a small amount (1/4 c.?) of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the dish and spread it out thinly. Add half the pasta. Top with half the beef/onion, and half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Top with half the cheese and add a layer of pepperoni. Repeat pasta, beef/onion, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.



Wholesale Club Membership Fees

Wholesale Clubs like Costco, BJ's, and Sam's can save you money on groceries and other items. However, there is an annual fee for all of them. That means you only save money after you have saved more than the amount of the membership. If you do a lot of shopping at these stores, you can save more by going with a higher level membership that costs more but offers rewards. Here is a summary of what each of these stores offers.

Regular membership = $45
Rewards Membership = $80 with 2% back on most purchases up to $500 per year. Reward checks, payable to BJ's, are mailed twice a year.
  • If you spend $1750 per year ($146 per month) you get back $35 and it costs $45 which is the regular membership price. Therefore, if you spend over $1750 per year, you save money on your membership fee.

  • If you spend $4000 per year ($333 per month) you get back $80 covering the whole membership cost. Anything over that amount and you are making money.

Regular membership = $50
Executive Membership = $100 with 2% back on most purchases up to $500 per year. Reward certificate is mailed annually.
  • If you spend $2,500 per year ($208 per month) you get back $50 and spend as much as a regular membership. If you spend over $2,500 per year, you save money on the membership.

  • If you spend $5,000 per year ($417 per month) you get back $100 in rewards money and the membership costs you nothing. Anything over that amount and you are making money.

Regular membership = $40 with up to 1% back with Sam's Club Discover
Advantage Plus Membership = $100 with up to 2% back with Sam's Club Discover

In this case the regular membership is the best deal. Here's why
  • Regular membership - spend $3,000 - $1,000,000 and get 1% back. You break even when you spend $4,000 and make money when you spend more than that.

  • Advantage Plus Membership - spend $3,000-$5,000 and get 1% back; $5,000 - 10,000 get 1.75% back; more than $10,000 get 2% back. You have to spend $5,700 to break even.

Shopping at these stores isn't always the most frugal way to go. They seem to be most beneficial for people who are feeding a family and buy a lot of food. When gas prices were high, it didn't make sense to be running to several stores every week to catch special sales. I shopped mainly at BJ's. They take manufacturer's coupons and offer store coupons. Since I now use their Visa card, I get an additional 2% back. I would occasionally go to Shoppers Food Warehouse to get items I couldn't find at BJ's, and would only stop at other stores if it was on my way. With gas prices lower however, I am buying less at BJ's and venturing over to a new Aldi's which is a bit out of the way, but offers better savings.

What stores do you shop at to save money on groceries?

You can see more Frugal Friday tips at Biblical Womanhood.


November 6, 2008


Delightful Drop Biscuits

Do you need a gluten-free biscuit recipe? These biscuits are easy to make, taste delicious, and the texture is heavenly.

gluten-free biscuit

Gluten-Free Drop Biscuits

3/4 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 c. corn starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tb. sugar

1/4 c. butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 c. milk

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In your mixer bowl, combine the butter, egg and milk. Add the dry ingredients and beat on high about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and make sure it is mixed well.

Spray a large spoon (serving spoon) with cooking spray and drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees about 12 minutes until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

You can take a little more time to make these look nice by smoothing them with the back of the spoon, or try using an ice cream scoop to drop them onto the cookie sheet. As you can see, mine aren't the most attractive because I wanted to get them in the oven. No one cared how they looked, but everyone loved the taste and texture. They are not flaky, but they are very soft. Trust me, you'll love them.

View Printable Recipe

For more baked goods recipes (though not necessarily gluten free) visit the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.


November 4, 2008


Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini and Onions

In an earlier post I explained why I don't menu plan, but I do think it's helpful to people when menu plans are posted. Many people new to the gluten-free diet can benefit from knowing what a "veteran" eats for dinner. In an effort to help those people, I would like to start posting some dinners I prepare. If you want to share your gluten-free dinner with us, please leave a comment telling us about it or leave a link to a post at your blog. Here's what we had tonight.

I cooked some boneless chicken breasts in my pressure cooker then cubed it. I added it to a jar of Classico Alfredo sauce and heated it. I cooked Tinkyada brand spaghetti and served the chicken and alfredo sauce over it.

One of our favorite vegetable dishes is zucchini and onions. I don't have a recipe, but it's real simple. Melt some butter in a skillet, add onion slices and cook partially. Add zucchini slices and dry dill weed. Cook until zucchini reaches desired tenderness. I like my onions well cooked, but the zucchini a little crunchy.

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Are You Sure That Counter is Clean?

Dinner is over, and you've wiped the table and counter tops. You think they're clean, but are they really? I'm not talking about germs and bacteria. I'm talking about what you can see with your eyes. "They look clean to me," you say. But do they pass the eye-level test?

Try this. Squat down until you are eye level with the counter or table. Now what do you see? Most likely you see at least a few crumbs or traces of flour. Maybe you see a lot. Stand up and wipe again. Did you get it all? Maybe not even on the second try.

Now I don't clean like this every day, but doing it once in a while keeps me in the mind set that there is probably more there than what I realize. It reminds me to do the job well. It's especially important to people like me who have celiac disease. I get sick from a small crumb that contains wheat. I take other precautions such as keeping the gluten my family eats in its own cabinet at the end of the kitchen. But they still eat at the kitchen table, and their plates still get carried to the dishwasher, or the sink, or maybe the counter next to the sink. So I'm especially careful.

Think about it, though. If that many crumbs are still left, how many germs are still left? Give your counters the eye-level test and let me know what you see!

For more kitchen tips visit Tammy's Recipes.


November 3, 2008


Beef & Bean Casserole

It's time to go grocery shopping, but I won't get to it until tomorrow or Wednesday, so this evening I'm dependent on what's in the freezer. Last month I bought a large pack of ground beef and a bag of onions at BJ's. I divided the meat up by the pound and fried it with some onion. I then froze each pound in a quart size freezer bag with the meat spread out so the bag would lay flat and thaw quickly. I also chopped and froze the onion that didn't get put in with ground beef. Having food like that in the freezer makes dinner time much easier.

Here's is an all in one type casserole recipe. I like putting tater tots on top, but if you don't have or don't like them, just top it with cheese and fix another side to go with it.

Gluten-Free Beef & Bean Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion (more or less to taste)
1 recipe cream soup (mushroom or chicken)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
16 oz. frozen green beens
shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 bag tater tots

Cook and drain the green beans. Cook the beef and onion in a skillet. Drain the fat. Prepare the cream soup. (Cream of mushroom is good with this recipe. You can use chopped canned mushrooms and add the liquid to the soup.) Add the salt and garlic to the soup and mix well. Add the beef and onions and stir.
Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Put half the beans in the bottom of the dish. Spread half the meat mixture over top. Sprinkle with grated cheese to taste. Repeat bean and beef layers. Top with a layer of tater tots.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Your Gluten-Free Child at School

Do you have a child who is on a gluten-free diet and attends school? I thought you might be interested to know that Kirsty Cussens has written an article, Your Celiac Child at School: Seven Strategies to Maintain a Gluten Free Diet Monday - Friday. Take a look, you might find some useful tips.


November 1, 2008


Cookbook Giveaway Winners

I really enjoyed hearing from everyone who entered the giveaway. In fact, with so many people in need of a good gluten-free cookbook, I decided to give away two (with the help of my Borders Rewards Bucks). The winners are:

Jennifer from Ohio
Katie from Arizona

I have communicated with both winners and they are very excited about receiving a new cookbook. Both will be getting Gluten-Free Quick & Easy by Carol Fenster.

I wish I could have given away many more, but for those who didn't win I have a couple of suggestions. First, check out your local library. The libraries in my area carry several gluten-free cookbooks. Second, if the library isn't much help, visit bookstores and look through the cookbooks. Find one or two that you think would be most helpful to you, and look for deals online. I saw some good prices at By the way, when I was at Borders, the gluten-free cookbooks were in the celiac disease section near diabetes, etc. They were not with the other cookbooks, even the special diet ones.

I look forward to doing another giveaway during the next bloggy giveaway carnival in January.



Pizza Crust - Single Recipe

pizza slice The first gluten-free pizza recipe I posted makes a lot a pizza and might be overwhelming for some people. Since it was more than just a double recipe, it would be hard for someone to figure out how to make one pizza. I have figured it out for you and given it a try. I also simplified it just a bit by using milk or water and eliminating dry milk powder. The instructions below are for using a standard metal pizza pan.  I make mine on a pizza stone which requires a little longer bake time. If you've been craving pizza, you just have to give this a try. Even the flour combination can be simplified (see notes next to the ingredients). If you do give it a try, please let me know how it turns out!


3/4 c. brown rice flour (you can use white rice flour)
1/4 c. sorghum flour (you can use rice flour if you don't have sorghum)
1 1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. instant or bread machine yeast

2 Tb. cooking oil
2 egg whites
3/4 c. warm milk 105-115 degrees (you can use water if milk is a problem)


Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer. Add the oil and egg whites and mix on low. Add the milk and beat on high for 2 minutes.  Your dough should look like this:

pizza dough in bowl

Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray. Put the dough on the pan and spread out to the edges using your hand covered with a baggie that is sprayed with cooking spray. Let the dough rise about 20 minutes.
pizza dough after rise
About half way through the rise time turn your oven on to 400 degrees to preheat. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. It should be a little golden on top.

pizza crust after first bake

At this point you can just add sauce, cheese, and toppings.  However, what I like to do is brush the crust with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Then I add the sauce, cheese and toppings.

pizza with toppings unbakedReturn the pizza to the oven for 15 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven or the sauce will run.
pizza whole baked
View Printable Recipe


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