December 31, 2009


A New Year Recipe Review

I’ve not been feeling well this week, so I don’t have a New Year’s recipe for you.  I thought I would give you a new year greeting using a few of my old recipes.  I intended to use only recipes from 2009, but I found a couple of the letters in the acrostic to be challenging and had to pull a few from 2008.   I do hope that you all have a safe celebration tonight and a blessed new year ahead of you.
apple strudel 4
Ham & Potato Casserole
Apple Strudel
Pine-Applesauce Cake
Pumpkin Pie
Yellow Cake 


Nacho Casserole

cinnamon roll

Yummy Cinnamon Rolls
Eggs, Deviled
Apple & Cranberry Salsa
Rotini, Zucchini


December 29, 2009


What can I eat that’s gluten free?

What can I eat

Next week
is the first week of the month and the theme is cookies!  You can post something new or link to one of those Christmas cookie posts you wrote this month.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a good one.  We enjoyed time with my husband’s family on the 24th and my family on the 26th.  I hosted my family gathering and served rib roast, gold potatoes, and green beans almandine.  It was delicious!  Christmas day we had our traditional breakfast with cinnamon rolls, eggs, sausage, and fruit salad.  We snacked on an assortment of appetizers the rest of the day.

With Christmas last week and New Year’s this week, many of you are busy cooking special foods.  I’d love to hear about them.  I don’t have a holiday dish to share this week, but rather a really good, every-day, kid-friendly casserole.

spinach casserole on plate

Spinach Casserole

Please join in and add a link to your gluten-free eating idea, recipe or review.  Remember to link to the actual post and not your home page, and please include a link back here so others can join the fun.  If you’re new, you can read the guidelines here.
1. Alea @ Premeditated Leftovers (minestrone soup)
2. Lauren @ Celiac Teen (Cranberry Loaf)
3. Shirley @ gfe--gluten free easily (Double Chocolate Clementine Cake)
4. Heather @CeliacFamily (Chocolate Martinis)
5. Yadi-Buttermilk Biscuits
6. Iris at The Daily Dietribe: dairy-free potato soup

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December 28, 2009


Gluten-Free Spinach Casserole

spinach casserole on plate 
This recipe came to me years ago through a friend at church.  I’ve made only a few small changes.  My family enjoys this dish, and it is one of the few ways they will eat cooked spinach.  Don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredient amounts in this recipe.  You can make it beefier or add more spinach.  Make it cheesier, or add more mushrooms.  You get the idea.  You can also use fresh spinach instead of the frozen (probably one bag).

I did not have any mushrooms when I made this the last time, and it is good without them.  My husband would say it is much better without them!  I included them in the recipe, though, because if you like mushrooms, they are a very nice addition.

The tater tots are completely optional, and I have often made this without them.  The kids really like tater tots and it does make it a nice all-in-one dish.

Gluten-Free Spinach Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 if using cheese on top, 375 if using tater tots.
Cook and drain the spinach.  Make sure you get most of the water out by pressing it against the side of a colander.  Cook the ground beef and drain.  Sauté the onion and mushrooms.  Make the cream of mushroom soup.  After it has thickened, add 1/4 cup water and whisk to combine. 

Combine the beef, onion, mushrooms, and spinach. I use the skillet I cooked the beef in (after draining it).  The spinach will be somewhat stuck together after squeezing the water out.  Break it up with your spoon or spatula and get it mixed in with the other ingredients.  Then add the soup and cheese. 

spinach casserole in skillet

Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cheese if you are not using tater tots.  Spread the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  

spinach casserole in dish

Top with tater tots or the additional cheese.  If using cheese on top, bake at 350 for 20 – 30 minutes until hot and the cheese is melted.  If using tater tots, bake at 375 30 – 40 minutes until the tater tots are hot in the middle. 

spinach casserole with tater tots

*I used mini tater tots for this because they don’t take as long to cook.  If you use regular ones, you will have to bake the dish longer.

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.


December 23, 2009


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I'll be taking a blogging break, but I will have a dinner recipe for you next Tuesday, and "What can I eat that's gluten free?" will be up on Wednesday.  I so appreciate the comments and emails I have received recently letting me know how my recipes are working out for you.  I appreciate all of you.  Enjoy the holidays!

December 22, 2009


What Can I Eat That’s Gluten-Free?

What can I eat

“What can I eat that’s gluten free?” is a question many of us will be asking in a few days as we celebrate Christmas with family and friends.  I hope you will each have plenty of delicious gluten-free food to enjoy, even if you can’t eat everything. 

If you are planning a dinner at your house, I hope you saw Chelsey’s post from last week: Cooking 101:  How to Roast a Turkey.  Her process is not easy, but I’m sure the results are amazing.

I usually try to submit a dinner recipe for this carnival (unless it is a theme week), but this week I decided to stick with a Christmas recipes.

candy coated pretzels - in bag

Candy Coated Pretzels

spritz cookies on plate

Spritz Cookies

Please join in the carnival and enter a link to any gluten-free eating idea.  Please leave your name then put what your post is about in parentheses.
1. Katrina @ Gluten Free Gidget- Vegan "Cheddar" Biscuits
2. Heather @CeliacFamily (Gingerbread Houses)
3. Brian (Rocky Road Squares)
4. Shirley @ gfe--gluten free easily (Pan-Baked Potatoes)
5. Amy @ SS&GF - Cranberry Walnut Bread
6. Yadi@Gluten Free Diaries- Chicken a la hubby
7. Chaya - Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood
8. Sweet & Savory - Is Butter Bad for You?

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December 21, 2009


Candy Coated Pretzels

I had a casserole recipe all ready to share with you this week, but it didn’t seem appropriate for Christmas week.  I don’t have any great dinner ideas for you (I’m still working on that myself) so I though I would share an easy peasy snack idea that also makes great little gifts.

While these are very easy to make, it does take a little time.  After all, pretzels are pretty small and you can only do one at a time.  If you have kids, get them involved.  It’s fun and you’ll get them done faster.

Candy Coated Pretzel Recipe

I bought two bags of candy wafers ($1.79 each in case you’re wondering).  I didn’t know how much I would need, but they actually go a long way.  It is the sprinkles that I have run out of. 

candy coated pretzels - wafers

Start by melting a small handful of wafers in a bowl.  Follow instructions on the package for melting in the microwave.  Don’t use too many, because it starts to cool and harden after a while.  Once the wafers are melted, I find it easiest to use a soup spoon to dip up some of the coating .  It is easier than getting the pretzel down into the bowl, but do whatever works for you.  Spin the a pretzel stick around in the coating covering about half the pretzel.

candy coated pretzels - coating

Have some sprinkles pour out onto a plate.  Lay the pretzel on the sprinkles then lift it up and turn it. Put it down again and continue until it is cover in sprinkles.  If you try to spin the pretzel, the coating will bunch up so it works better to lift and turn.  Place the pretzel on a piece of wax paper and keep going until you run out of coating.

candy coated pretzels - red

The above picture shows red sprinkles on a red coating.   I found that the colored coating didn’t make a lot of difference and it limited me to using a matching color of sprinkles.  Next time I will buy only white and skip the food coloring.  Red sprinkles on white coating looked almost as good.  Can you tell the difference?

candy coated pretzels - reds
You probably see a little white showing on the bottom one, and the red color isn’t quite as strong, but really no one will care.  I also added green sprinkles to the white coating and mixed colors.  I like the mixed colors with the white showing through.  I achieved the look by dropping or shaking sprinkles onto the wet coating.

candy coated pretzels - red & green
Once the pretzels have cooled to room temperature the coating should be hardened.  You can them store them in an airtight container or try putting them in candy bags to give a gifts.

Note:  I tried using twisted pretzel shapes, but it was much more difficult and not worth the trouble.

View Printable Recipe

This recipe is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.


December 20, 2009


Gluten-Free Spritz Cookies

It’s really a lot of fun to make cookies in different shapes.  There are basically two ways to do it: roll and cut sugar co0kies or make spritz cookies.  Spritz cookies are my favorite, but if you want particular shapes such as an angel or bell, then you have go with sugar cookies.  These cookies are light, crisp and buttery.  They are also easy to make, but they do require a cookie press.  Mine looks like this:

cookie press
Update:  I have successfully made these cookies dairy free using Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks or Earth Balance shortening sticks.

Gluten-Free Spritz Cookies

Preheat oven to 375
In your mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar by beating on high for a couple of minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and extracts.  Beat again for a couple of minutes.  Combine the dry ingredients and add them to the mixer bowl.  Turn the mixer on low to get the flour incorporated, then turn to medium for about 30 seconds to get it mixed.  Remove the paddle and scrape the sides of the bowl.  Your dough will look like this:

spritz cookie dough

Put the dough into the cookie press.  I did this by using an ice tea spoon and pushing hunks of the dough down the tube.  Place desired shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  The cookies don’t spread much so they can be pretty close together.  Add sprinkles to the tops of the dough if desired.  Using the cookie press and decorating the cookies is fund to do with kids.  Here’s how they look before baking:

spritz cookies uncooked
Bake the cookies in a 375 degree oven for 6 – 8  minutes.  The edges will be lightly browned.  Here’s how they look after baking:

spritz cookies baked
I was disappointed that my red sprinkles turned pink as the cookies baked.  I made some with red and blue sprinkles that ended up looking like they were meant for a baby shower!

spritz cookies on plate

This recipe is my submission for Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free.  This month it is hosted at gluten free by nature with a theme of holiday cookies.

This recipe is also submitted to 2010 Gluten-Free Holiday Desserts.

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December 16, 2009


Coconut Cashew Clove Cookies

CCC Cookies 
I just couldn’t resist using a little alliteration in the title of these no-bake ball type cookies.  The clove is what really makes these, and it doesn’t take much of that spice to add wonderful flavor.  These cookies are great for holiday parties and can be made ahead and stored at least a week in the refrigerator.

This recipe came to me from someone on the celiac Listserve (the only email forum around when I was diagnosed).  Whoever that was, thank you.  We enjoy these every year, and my sister-in-law loves them.

Gluten-Free No-Bake Coconut Cookies


Empty the can of sweetened condensed milk into a heavy pot.  The milk is very thick so it is best to remove the top of the can and scrape all of it out with a spatula.  Add the butter, coconut, and cloves and cook over medium heat at least 10 minutes, stiffing frequently.  As the mixture gets hot you will need to stir almost constantly.  It should begin to thicken slightly.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Stir in the cashews.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate until it is chilled all the way through.

CCC Cookie mix in bowl

Dip a spoon into the mixture which should be much firmer now, but still soft.  Roll into balls which are about 1 inch in diameter.  Mine are usually slightly bigger than that.  Roll the balls in granulated sugar.  The sugar keeps them from being sticky on the outside.  You will find that your hands become very sticky from making the balls.

Place the balls in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Makes about 3 1/2 dozen 1 inch cookies.

For more holiday desserts, visit Life as Mom.

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December 15, 2009


What can I eat that’s gluten free?

What can I eat

Welcome to this week’s edition of a weekly blog carnival that is all about getting ideas for eating on a gluten-free diet.  If you have a blog, please add a link to an individual post (not your home page).  Your post can include any gluten-free eating idea.  It doesn’t have to be a recipe.

This week I thought I would highlight two of last week’s entries which used spinach. I tried Amy’s delicious recipe because I just happened to have leftover chicken and butternut squash.  I haven’t tried Cinde’s recipe, but it looks wonderful. Be sure to check them out if you didn’t see them last week.

Amy at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free
Chicken & Butternut Squash Spinach Salad

Cinde at Gluten Free Taste of Home
Fresh Creamed Spinach

My submission for this week is a large (feeds multiple people) hot sandwich using my focaccia bread recipe.

focaccia sandwich slice

Focaccia Bread Sandwich

Please leave your link below and remember to link back here so others can join us.
1. Jessie (Christmas Cookies)
2. Lynns Kit Adv (overnight coffee cake)
3. Yadi-Corn Flake Crusted French Toast
4. Iris at The Daily Dietribe: Gluten free product reviews
5. Heather @CeliacFamily (Baked Salmon)
6. Shirley @ gfe--gluten free easily (My Firrst Raw Pie)
7. Chelsey - How to roast a turkey
8. Amy @ SS&GF (Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies)
9. Shirley @ gfe--gluten free easily (Garlic Cheese Biscuits)
10. Gluten Free Taste of Home (Broccoli & Pasta Alfredo)
11. Cheryl (naturally gf desserts)
12. Katrina @ Gluten Free Gidget- Chana Saag Chickpea Spinach Curry
13. Lauren @ Celiac Teen (Chocolate Almond Wafers
14. Comfy Cook - Red Soup turned Green

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Focaccia Bread Sandwich

focaccia sandwich sliceMy family has come to expect something special for dinner on Friday nights.  Often, that means home made gluten-free pizza, but I get tired of the same thing every week.  Of course, I do use differing pizza toppings and I vary the thickness of the crust, but sometimes I don’t have time for pizza or I just want something different.  Recently I’ve added calzones to our Friday night fare, but this focaccia bread sandwich has long been one that my guys are happy to eat instead of pizza.   They actually become quite excited about this meal.  It’s not particularly special, but it uses my gluten-free focaccia bread.  Even though they are all gluten eaters, they love this fresh, soft, and delicious bread.

I can’t say that this is a quick meal because you have to make the bread and then let it cool before slicing it, adding the fillings and reheating it.  However, you can make the bread earlier in the day so that there’s not as much to do at dinner time.  This recipe is extremely versatile because the sandwich filling is up to you.  Use whatever you like on a hot sandwich.

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread Sandwich

First, make one gluten-free focaccia bread recipe, putting the dough into two large round cake pans.  I use one springform pan, and one 9 inch cake pan.  I don’t put the seasonings on top when I’m making this, but you could. Bake according to the recipe.

Let the bread cool completely or until no longer hot.  Slice each loaf horizontally. Brush the inside of the bread with olive oil and place your sandwich fillings on the bottom half of each loaf.
focaccia sandwich This picture shows cooked turkey sausage and turkey pepperoni pieces. You could use deli meats or leftover meat that is sliced or chopped.  Just make sure everything is cooked.
focaccia sandwich 2Top the meat with some cheese (if you eat dairy), and add a sauce.  Salad dressings work well, especially Ranch or Italian.  You could also use barbecue sauce if it goes with your meat.  You can spread the top piece of bread with mayonnaise and/or mustard.  Or just drizzle the fillings with a little olive oil.

Put the tops back on both loaves.  Wrap them in foil and place them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
focaccia sandwich 3 Slice each loaf into sandwich pieces.  An electric knife or large bread knife works well.

I don’t make this recipe frequently because I have to let the bread rise, bake the bread, let it cool, reheat the oven, and heat the sandwich.  It takes time, and often I don’t like heating the oven twice.  It’s definitely worth the time, but is not something I take the time to do on a regular basis.  That  makes it a special treat, which isn’t a bad thing.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

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December 13, 2009


Christmas at Our House


Since the Christmas Tour of Homes is going on this week at Nesting Place, I thought I would deviate from my usual food posts.  I hope you don’t mind.  My hope is that it will give you a better feel for who I am.

I’m not a fancy person.  I guess it’s a good thing because I have three boys (and no girls) and they just don’t “get” fancy.  In addition, my husband grew up in the mountains of northern Idaho.  So over the years we have tended towards a more rustic look.  Not too rustic, but you’ll see what I mean in the pictures below.


Christmas Tree 09


This year we went with simple decorations on the tree.  I have some pine cone garland wrapped around it which you can’t really see in the picture and red ball ornaments.  We have lots of other ornaments, but we decided we liked the simple look this year.

Notice the tree skirt has a plaid border, pine trees, and a moose.



Christmas stockings


The kids’ stockings follow theme of the skirt.  They are hung on the rough wood mantle of our fireplace which has a stone wall surrounding it.  (This is in our living room.)



Christmas decorations-creche


The crèche is in our dining room and I like the way the manger is made of rough natural materials.  This set was a gift from my mother in law.  She had a tradition of buying one for each of her children they year they were married.


Christmas decorations - wall plaque


Finally, here’s a decoration that I found at the thrift store this fall.  I wasn’t looking for it, but I happened upon it and it was in great shape.


We do have some outside decorations and lights, but I don’t have a good picture.  What are some of your favorite holiday decorations? 



Gifts for the Gluten-Free Cook

I love getting new useful things for the kitchen, but I would spend all our money if I bought every kitchen gadget, tool, or appliance that I liked.  They are just the kind of things I like getting as gifts though.  The holidays are a nice time to purchase an item your gluten-free cook would enjoy.  Below are a few of my favorites.  While I don’t necessarily own the exact item shown, but do own similar type items and love them all.

I’ve mentioned themes in my previous posts about gifts.  Here are a few ideas that include the following items and a few others:

Baking – mixing bowls, spatula, silicone mat, cookie sheets, a gluten free baking mix or the mixer and a baking mix

Bread – bread machine and a gluten free bread mix

Cooking – food processor, cookbook, and cooking utensils like the silicone spoon

Tea Time – electric tea kettle, boxes of tea, honey

Smoothie Time – magic bullet, fresh fruit such as apples, pears and bananas


Cookbooks can be fun to receive.  They give a cook new ideas and inspiration.  There are many great gluten-free cookbooks available.  Carol Fenster is one of my favorite authors.   


A KitchenAid Mixer is an expensive item, but something that every gluten free baker should own.  I love my old mixer, but hope to one day replace it with a nice red one with a tilt back head.


Many bread machines like this Breadman Ultimate Plus have a gluten free bread setting.  A bread machine isn’t necessary, but it is nice.


Silicone baking mats like this one are very useful.  I use them to line cookie sheets and for rolling dough.


Food processors are indispensible.  I use mine all regularly.  They come in different sizes, so you don’t have to get a huge one.  


I have a Silicone Spoon similar to this one that I absolutely love.  In fact, I have two.   I use at least one every time I cook.


I use an electric tea kettle to heat water for everything from tea, to oatmeal, to cooking pasta.  


Mixing bowls are essential.  I like colorful ones and it’s good to have a set with 3 or 4 sizes.


The Magic Bullet is something the whole family enjoys.  It’s so easy to make individual smoothies or fruit slushies.  You make it right in your own cup.  

This is my last post in this series of gift ideas for your gluten free loved one.  If you missed the other posts you can find them here:

Gluten-Free Gift Baskets
Gluten-Free Food Gifts
Gluten-Free Baking Mixes as Gifts


December 11, 2009


Gluten-Free Baking Mixes as Gifts

I do most of my baking from scratch, so although it is nice to open a package of cookies occasionally, I mostly enjoy the convenience.  Homemade always tastes better.  I seldom by baking mixes, but they are one way to combine convenience with homemade taste.  Although a mix definitely takes more time than something pre made, it can be a time saver.  If your gluten free loved one is like me, baking mixes might be a thoughtful gift.  They would also be nice for someone who is trying to branch out in the area of gluten free baking. Maybe they started on the gluten free diet only recently and don’t have all the ingredients needed to bake from scratch.  Baking mixes would allow them to make some fresh goodies easily.

Remember, only get mixes for someone who actually likes to bake or wants to learn.  You could combine some mixes with baking pans, mixing bowls, spatulas, or measuring cups/spoons for a nice baking themed gift.


Pancake & waffle mixes are nice to have on hand for a special weekend breakfast.  


Cake mixes are especially useful for birthdays! 


Cookies are a hit with almost everyone.


Bread is one of the first things many people miss. 


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