September 30, 2010


Squash Fest: Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


Wendy Gregory Kaho left a freelance writing career to home school and to find a diagnosis for herself and her children. After a decade of searching and numerous doctors, she discovered that she and her children had celiac disease. Wendy became a blogger and activist in the celiac community. With her blog, Celiacs in the House, Wendy chronicles the challenges and the joy of creating tasty gluten-free food for her family.

It’s always a bittersweet moment when the first pumpkins and squash make their appearance at our farmers’ market and grocery stores. Even though fall is my favorite time of year and this summer has been uncomfortably hot, I know it won’t be long before the snow flies. I then remind myself to savor all the flavors of the season and get into the kitchen with my favorite-butternut squash. It is usually the first soup I make as the nights cool and I wake up to rainy, gray days. There are many recipes for roasted butternut squash soup, but my favorite is a Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

butternut squash at the store

The curry powder and a little honey bring out the sweetness of the squash and the coconut milk and toasted coconut combined with just a hint of heat from the chipotle warm up a cool autumn day.

curried butternut squash soup

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down in baking pan and add ¼ cup of water or about an inch of water. Roast in oven for 45-55 minutes at 350. Remove from oven when done and allow to cool with cut side up. Scoop out the cooked squash.

In your soup pot, sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil for about 8-10 minutes. Add the vegetable or chicken broth and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the cooked squash, stir in salt to taste, curry powder , cayenne, and honey and simmer another 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Puree most of the soup in a food processor, Vitamix or blender leaving some of the chunky bits behind in the soup pot if you like a chunkier soup. (I do.) Pour the puree back into the pot and warm though. Serve with toasted, shredded coconut and smoked paprika sprinkled on top.

For an in depth tutorial on winter squash look at Shannon’s post at Simple Bites on How to Select, Prepare, and Cook Winter Squash.

Visit Celiacs in the House this week for my first ‘Cooking School’ session with my 20 year-old son where we make a butternut squash lasagna with kale, caramelized onions, spicy Andouille sausage and the Gluten Free Girl’s homemade pasta recipe. We’re quite proud of our collaboration.


September 28, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 9/29/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

September is winding down and this is the last week of the pancake or waffle challenge.  Be on the lookout for October’s challenge and a book giveaway (not a cookbook) coming up soon.

Last week’s gluten-free carnival had lots of terrific recipes and tips linked up.  I’m loving the picture linkies as I look back over the post.  We had two pancake entries.  One is actually crepes, but that’s close enough.
Flourless Apple Pancakes from Z’s Cup of Tea
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Crepes from Brenna Kater, the Ocean Skater
I hope you all will come back on Thursday for the start of the Squash Fest.  I used butternut squash in my pancake entry this week:

Butternut Squash Pancakes

butternut pancakes

If you are new to this carnival, I’m glad you’re here!  Please read the guidelines.   I'm trying a new linky tool this week to see which one I like better.  Submitting your link will be slightly different, but I'm sure you can do it!  Thanks for everyone’s participation.

This linky list is now closed.
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Squash Fest

SquashFest3 A few weeks ago I started receiving squash in my CSA box.  I’ve mostly gotten butternut squash, but also an acorn squash.  Although zucchini is one of our favorite vegetables, I’ve done very little with other squashes.  Last year I made a butternut squash soup that I really liked, and I cooked spaghetti squash a few times.  Really, my squash experience is very limited.  However, in an effort to eat more seasonally I decided I want to try more squash recipes this fall.  That gave me the idea for this Squash Fest (actually Wendy of Celiacs in the House came up with the name). 

What is the Squash Fest?  I have asked eight bloggers to do a guest post including a squash recipe or squash tips.  Those guest posts will show up here on Thursdays beginning this week and going until the week before Thanksgiving.  A big thank you to all these bloggers.  Here’s the line up:

September 30 Wendy of Celiacs in the House
October 7 Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl
October 14 Aubree of Living Free
October 21 Alta of Tasty Eats at Home
October 28 Shirley of Gluten Free Easily
November 4 Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom
November 11 Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
November 18 Iris of The Daily Dietribe

By the way, if anyone is interested in doing a holiday themed guest post for me in December, just let me know.


September 27, 2010


Butternut Squash Pancakes

butternut pancakes
There’s not much time left for this month’s create a gluten-free pancake or waffle challenge.  Of course, I hope you keep working on creating great gluten-free food even after each challenge ends.  My goal for the month was to make one new waffle recipe (multigrain waffles) and one new pancake recipe.  I have been wanting to make a pancake with some type of fruit or vegetable added, and since I had lots of butternut squash from my CSA box, I decided on that.

Now I fully expected these pancakes to be good, but I didn’t expect to take my first bite and think, “This tastes like pumpkin bread!”  It really does.  So if you like pumpkin bread, you will like these pancakes.  If you like other spices in addition to cinnamon in your pumpkin bread, I’m sure they would be tasty in this recipe too.  I can’t handle much nutmeg, but I think next time I will try a little ginger.

I have added brown sugar to this pancake batter making it sweet enough to eat on it’s own.  If you really want to add syrup to your cakes, omit or cut back the amount of sugar.  We liked them like this, and the leftovers stayed moist for a couple of days.  Since they don’t need any sticky stuff on them, these would be great for an on-the-go breakfast or packed lunch.
butternut pancake cut

Gluten-Free Butternut Squash Pancakes

To prepare the squash, peel it and cut off the ends.  Slice it in half lengthwise and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon, scraping it to get all the strings off.  Then cut the squash into chunks.  I used a small squash which yielded two cups or slightly more of chunks.  Steam the squash by using a steamer basket in a pot with water.  If you don’t have a basket, just add some water to the bottom of a pot and cook until the squash is tender. 

Remove the squash to a medium size bowl.  Mash with a hand masher.  Add the brown sugar to the squash and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the eggs and beat them into the squash with a fork.

In a small bowl, combine the millet flour, potato starch, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon, whisking them together.   Add this to the squash mixture and stir with a large spoon or spatula until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Let sit while you preheat your skillet.

butternut pancake batter
Use a little oil (about 1 Tb.) to coat the bottom of your skillet.  Heat it until a drop of pancake batter sizzles on it.  Spoon or ladle the batter onto the skillet.  Cook until bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes, then turn them over and cook for a minute or two more, watching to make sure they don’t burn.

Makes about 10 pancakes.

View Printable Recipe

butternut pancake

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

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September 26, 2010


30 Processed Foods that are Usually Gluten Free

image Last week as I read comments and tweets, I was freshly reminded of how difficult it can be when you first start on the gluten-free diet.  It takes time to learn what you can eat, and while I don’t recommend a diet high in processed foods, they are a fact of life for many of us.  I’m also reminded that people starting on a gluten-free diet are of all ages and with varying degrees of cooking skills.

If you are new to this diet, walking through a grocery store can be overwhelming. The first thing you should know is that all fresh fruits and vegetables are gluten free.  They are also delicious and healthy.  There are other fresh food options like milk and eggs, but that’s not what this post is about.  This post is for those of you who walk down the isles of condiments and wonder if you can eat any of it.

This list is a bit tricky for a couple of reasons:
  1. These items usually do not have gluten in the ingredients.  That does not mean they never do.  You have to read labels.

  2. Even when an item does not have gluten in the ingredients, it can have cross contamination.  People are on a gluten-free diet for different reasons.  If you have celiac disease or for some other reason need to avoid cross contamination, some of these items may not be a good choice for you.  Items that I believe run a high risk of cross contamination (like mainstream cereals) are not on this list at all.  When reading labels, look for allergy statements about being produced in a facility that makes wheat products.
So here you have it.  A list of processed foods that are likely to be gluten free.

Other posts that might be of interest:


September 25, 2010


Surfing Saturday 9/25/10

imageHappy fall everyone!  We’ve had weather in the 90s for the past couple of days, but at least it cools down at night.  I know that cooler weather is on the way.  Here are a few links for you to look at this weekend.

Food (not necessarily all gluten free)
Shrimp Tostadas with Avocado Salsa
50 Easy Soups
Chocolate Puddle Cookies

27 Tips for around the house
Plant Garlic in the Fall

Web Browser Performance (Are you still using Interned Explorer?)
Top 10 Windows 7 Booster Apps

Animal/Nature Photos
Bird coming in for a landing
70 Cute baby animal photos
Baby platypuses


September 23, 2010


Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Review & Giveaway

image I like to read cookbooks, not just use them to look up recipes. A really good cookbook is one you can read and learn from.   Not many cookbooks end up beside my bed, but Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna James Ahern and Danny Ahern did.  I haven’t finished reading all of it yet, because I am savoring it.  I am giving it time to work its magic.  This book is not a commonplace cookbook, it’s not a really good cookbook, it’s a great book.  It is entertaining, inspiring, motivating, and educational.  It has helped me to look at food and cooking in a new way.

If you have read Shauna’s blog or her previous book, Gluten-Free Girl,  you know she is an engaging writer.  In this book she tells her love story, how she and Danny met, became engaged, got married, and live life together.  Because Danny is a chef, that story is full of experiences with food, cooking, and eating. But Danny is a co-author of this book and I love reading the colored pages that have his cooking tips like “How to Season Food” and “How to Make Sauces.”  Sometimes the smallest tips make a huge difference.

Of course, this is a cookbook, complete with 100 recipes and numerous color photos.  The recipes are terrific, and I’m sure I’ll be trying many of them for everyday and special occasions. They are not what I love most about the book, though.  I love the way the story, the recipes, and the information all come together.  The different parts are melded together into a book that you want to read from cover to cover.  It’s like a dish with well blended but distinct flavors.

I have one criticism to offer and it’s regarding one page of the book: the recipe list. The 100 recipes are divided into two sections: “At Home” and “At the Restaurant.”  After I’m done reading this book, it will mostly be used as a reference book for recipes and tips.   A categorized list would be very useful.  The book does include an index with both ingredients and categories which helps.  I would just prefer to have the recipes  list broken down more.   It’s a small criticism, but one I thought was worth noting.

Danny's potato puree
So far, I have made two recipes from the book:  potato puree (mashed potatoes) and millet tabouleh.   Both were very good. I should note that many of the recipes contain dairy products, such as the potato puree which uses butter, milk and cream.  After cooking the potatoes, I removed a small amount to make a dairy free version for me.  I wanted to follow the recipe as is for the rest of the family, though.  My one picky eater didn’t like them for some reason (maybe just because they were a little different), but my husband and other sons thought they were great.  I love the tips Danny gives in the recipe such as letting the potatoes dry off for several minutes before mashing them.

millet tabouleh
The millet tabouleh was full of flavor—a little too many flavors for my family, though they did eat it.  I, however, loved the flavors and didn’t want to stop eating it!

The book seems to have a nice mix of everyday recipes like the ones I made, and more sophisticated or unusual recipes like Smoked Duck Breast Ravioli and Rabbit with Mustard.  I look forward to trying some things I wouldn’t usually make, because I’m confident in these recipes and the instructions given.  If a recipe intimidates you, though, don’t give up on it.  Take a look at the notes in the margin which often recommend optional ingredients such as using chicken in place of rabbit.

The Giveaway
If you would like to have your own copy of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, you have a chance to win one.  To enter, leave a comment on this post.  You must leave separate comments for each entry:
You must be a U.S. or Canadian resident to win.  The giveaway will end on Tuesday, September 28 at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.  I will notify the winner by email and will announce the winner on my Facebook page.
Disclaimer:  I was provided a free copy of this cookbook for review.  The opinions in this post are my own.

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September 21, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 9/22/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Cookbook Giveaways:
If you haven’t yet done so, you can still enter to win a copy of Cooking for Isaiah, but the giveaway ends Wednesday night.  Also, be on the look out for my review of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef as well as a chance to win a copy of the book.

Last Week’s Highlights:
There is still time to enter recipes for this month’s pancake or waffle challenge.  Just link them up to Gluten-Free Wednesdays any week this month.  Last week we had two great looking waffle recipes.

Banana Waffles from Lynn’s Recipe Adventures

Pumpkin Pie Waffles from Cook It Allergy Free 

This Week:
The picture linky seemed to be a hit, so I will continue with using it.  Let me know if you are having any problems.  My submission this week is a slow cooker recipe:

herbed chicken & vegetables

Herbed Chicken and Vegetables

Please remember to read the carnival guidelines if you haven’t already.  I am taking time on Wednesday and Thursday mornings to visit and stumble the links (morning seems to be the best time for stumbling).   I appreciate everyone’s participation and I look forward to seeing what you link up this week!  


September 20, 2010


Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken & Vegetables

herbed chicken & vegetables
Since I purchased a new crock pot a couple of months ago, I’ve been using it more.  Some days it really helps to have most dinner preparation done earlier in the day.   This recipe is pretty easy.  The time consuming part is chopping vegetables, but that can be done whenever it fits into your schedule, such as the night before.
My new crock pot is not overcooking and drying out everything I put in it like my old one did, but I still find that most food cooks pretty quickly.  For example, this recipe only took 4 hours on low and the chicken would have been way too dry if it had cooked 6 – 8 hours.  That means I get dinner started in my slow cooker in the afternoon, which isn’t convenient for someone who is at work in the afternoon.  So unless you have an old crock pot that you know you can leave all day, don’t expect this recipe to cook while you are at work.  Instead, try it on the weekend.

Chicken breasts have become one of my favorite things to put in the slow cooker.  Since I have a large crock I usually cook plenty of it.  The leftovers are used for lunches or turned into chicken salad.  Feel free to cut this recipe in half, but only if you have a 4 quart cooker.

Herbed Chicken and Vegetables
Place the vegetables and chicken broth in the bottom of the crock pot.  Place the chicken breasts on top.  Add the garlic, spreading it over the chicken pieces.  Sprinkle the thyme, basil, salt and pepper over everything.  Cover and cook on low about 4 hours or until the chicken is done.  Serve with rice, pasta, potatoes, or quinoa.

View Printable Recipe

This post is linked to the following food carnivals.  The links there are not necessarily gluten-free, but many are, and others can be converted.

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September 19, 2010


Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

I think I mentioned recently that I’m back to eating dairy free.  I’m also mostly soy free.  The reason for these additional diet restrictions is related to my thyroid problems.  I will probably write a post about that at a later date after I’ve seen what effect it has. 

It’s been hot since these diet changes, and so I’m just now getting around to trying my hand a baking.  I thought it would be a good time to remind you that many recipes can easily be made dairy free and soy free by substituting.  Soy is often used in dairy substitutes, so it can be a bit challenging.  I have been using Spectrum organic palm oil shortening which is not hydrogenated.  I found a soy free version of Earth Balance spread, but not the sticks, so I haven’t tried that.

I recently made my favorite gluten-free chocolate chip cookies using the Spectrum shortening and Ghirardelli chocolate chips which are dairy free but contain soy lecithin.  I didn’t change anything about the recipe except to replace the butter with shortening.  They turned out great!

chocolate chip cookies - dairy free 2

A few of my favorite bread recipes are naturally dairy free including my wonderful French bread which I made the other night for dinner.  I used millet flour in place of sorghum and loved the bread even more than before.  How I wish I had taken a picture of it.  It rose so nicely, and my husband said, “This is just like regular bread.”  Here’s a picture of the bread made with sorghum:

French bread with garlic butter

I also like making that recipe as French bread rolls, but with more whole grain and less starch.  This version uses sorghum and millet.

French bread rolls in basket 2

Then there’s my favorite focaccia bread and hamburger buns recipe that uses olive oil and water.


If you haven’t tried these recipes, yet, all of them are favorites in this house.  I think you will enjoy them, and there is no need to apologize for the fact that they are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free.

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September 18, 2010


Surfing Saturday 9/18/10

Emma & Esca
Since I link to quite a few animal photos, I thought I would introduce you to my dogs.  They are miniature Australian shepherds.  Emma on the left is red merle.  She is a sweet but rather bossy girl who likes to snuggle.  She has one blue eye and one brown eye.  Esca is a blue merle with two blue eyes.  His name came from the book Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff.  The character is very masculine, and we didn’t realize until after the name had stuck that everyone thinks it’s a girls name.  He is very boyish and loves everybody.  On to today’s links…

Seasonal Fruit & Vegetable Calendar
10 Power Food Combos
Drunken Irish Stew
Hot Spinach Dip
Quick Guide to Herbs & Spices
Stuffed Tomatoes

How to Give  1st Aid to Your Dog
A Quicker Way to Clean House

The Internet Clipboard
Gmail Tip
Anchor Text Optimization (for bloggers)

Nature Photos
Birds - Hyacinth Macaws
Cool Lake Photo
Baby Hugging Dog

Have a great weekend!


September 16, 2010


Cooking for Isaiah book Review & Giveaway

Cooking for Isaiah has a lot of things about it that I love.  I love the fact that it is written by a mom who was motivated to develop great tasting recipes for her son.  I love that the recipes are kid friendly, but also the kind that adults will enjoy.  I love that the recipes are both gluten and dairy free.  I love the numerous color pictures in the book.  There is a lot to love (or at least like) about this book.

One of the many pictures in this book that really grabbed my attention was the Raspberry-Lemon Meringue Layer Cake.  We love lemon desserts and I just had to give this one a try.  It didn’t disappoint.  It was pretty easy to make, looked beautiful, and was quite the combination of sweet and sour.  The picture in the book is better, but this gives you an idea of how lovely it is.

raspberry lemon meringue 2
The book contains 135 recipes that cover most of the typical food categories.  There is also a section at the beginning on the basics that includes Sylvana’s all-purpose flour blend and her pancake mix.

There are a couple of things I don’t like about this book.  I have gotten to the age where I use reading glasses, but the distance at which I prop my cookbook is too far for reading glasses.  I really wish the ingredients list in the recipes was a slightly larger and easier to read type face. The instructions I find easier to read. 

In addition, I was not thrilled with some of the ingredients used in the recipes.  I think it’s helpful to know what kind of ingredients are used before you buy a book.  There was an obvious lack of whole-grain flour.  Silvana’s flour mix uses white rice flour and starches. The only whole grain I noticed was cornmeal.  I’m not terribly bothered by this, since I am comfortable with making flour substitutions.  I also noticed the use of corn syrup and vegetable shortening in several recipes.  These are ingredients I don’t use.  They mainly show up in the desserts and more than once made me pass over a recipe.  Having said that, I should note that there are plenty of healthy ingredients such as olive oil and vegetables in many of the recipes.

To end on a positive note, I’m looking forward to trying some of the recipes in her sandwiches and pizza chapter.  She doesn’t provide any loaf bread recipes, but there are recipes for waffle bread, olive oregano bread slabs, bialy bread slabs, and pizza crust.

To learn more about the author Silvana Nardone, this book, and to find other recipes, visit the web site dish towel diaries.

The Giveaway:

You can enter to win a copy of this book by leaving a comment of this post.  You must leave separate comments for each entry:
You must be a U.S. resident to win.  The giveaway will end on Wednesday, September 22 at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.  I will notify the winner by email and will announce the winner on my Facebook page.

Disclaimer:  I was provided a free copy of this cookbook for review.  The opinions in this post are my own.

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September 14, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 9/15/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Welcome back to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!  I have a change for you this week.  I’m not using Mr. Linky, but instead I’m trying out Inlinkz which allows you to add a picture!  You are more limited in the text you can enter, though, so just put a description of your post, such as the recipe name and not your name or blog name. 

I went back to last week’s post to look for links to highlight and realized I had not closed the carnival and there were several more entries since I last looked.  If you didn’t get a chance to browse all 25, you might want to go back and look at last week’s carnival.

September’s challenge is to create gluten-free pancakes or waffles, and a couple of related posts were linked up last week.
Sweet Potato Pancakes – a recipe from Alea @ Gluten-Free Flavor Full
Breakfast Waffles & Sandwich Waffles – A recipe review and ideas for using waffles from Shirley @ gluten free easily
I also created a new waffle recipe last week:

Multi-Grain Waffles
multigrain waffle with syrup 2

Thanks for participating.  Please read the guidelines if your haven't yet.
Now lets try out the new linky.  Remember, don’t put your name, just the recipe name or topic of your post.


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