October 31, 2010


Make a Gluten-Free Pie Challenge

Monthly Challenge7My Grandma Sally died when I was 7 years old.  I still remember her well, though.  She lived on a farm, and the animals loved her.  That says a lot about a person.  She was also that perfect grandmother type—full of love, hugs, interesting things to do, and delicious food.  I remember walking into her house and inhaling the aroma of homemade pies.  It’s interesting, now that I think about it.  I’ve never been particularly fond of pies, but maybe it’s just that they never lived up to her pies.  I think her cherry pie was my favorite.

I’m a bit hesitant to post this challenge, because November is always one of the busiest months of the year for me.  This year is no different and is starting off with a trip to Minneapolis, probably another trip to my parents’ to help them pack, and of course, a big family get together at Thanksgiving.  Then amid the usual business of home schooling I have to fit in a birthday for one of my kids.  So I’m just not sure about fitting in pie making, but I really want to.  I never made an apple pie after I found a pie crust recipe I really liked working with, and I want to make a dairy free version of my pumpkin pie.  I’ll be happy if I get one of those made.

pumpkin pie slice
I think November is a good month for a pie challenge, though.  Pumpkins and apples are in season, the weather is cool enough to have the oven on, and the holidays are upon us.  I hope you will enjoy this challenge.

The biggest challenge in making a gluten-free pie is the crust.  With some pies you can simply go without a crust, but messier pies need something to hold them together, and I think a crust is an important part of a pie.   With that in mind, I thought I would link to some gluten-free pie crust recipes.
Remember to come back on Wednesdays and link your challenge posts any week in November.  I’ll be looking for challenge recipes to highlight each week.

If you are not a blogger but like to do these challenges at home, I would love it if you take a minute to leave a comment or send me an email letting me know what you’ve done.  You don’t need to send the recipe, I would just like to hear that you gave it a try.


October 30, 2010


Surfing Saturday 10/30/10

I love to know if you find these links helpful and/or enjoyable.  Leave a comment or send me an email. 

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information
$45 million Private Donation for Celiac Research
What You Need to Know about Celiac Disease (Gluten Intolerance Group)
Allergies and Intolerance

(not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
Homemade Condiments
Campfire Orange Cakes
Grilled French Toast with Sausages & Blueberries
The 5 Commandments of the Ultimate Sandwich

Non GMO Shopping Guides
The Not-So-Nerdy Way to Hem Jeans
Growing Your Own Garlic

The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide
The Best Free Windows Software

Animal/Nature Photos
The Lion Whisperer
Beagle Puppy
Northern Lights
Very Yellow Fluffy Bird


October 29, 2010


Z’s Cup of Tea – Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger

Zs flourless cupcakes
Sea from Book of Yum is the creator and usually the host of the monthly event, Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger.  This month I’m adopting Zoe from Z’s Cup of Tea.  Zoe is a teenage foodie blogger.  The goal of her blog is to “demonstrate and teach that gluten-free/dairy-free cooking and eating is for everyone, not just people with dietary sensitivities, allergies, or GI issues, and that it can be also easy – it doesn’t have to be hard.”  She also has many specific carbohydrate diet recipes on her blog.

The other week when I saw Zoe’s Gluten-Free Wednesday link for flourless chocolate cupcakes, I knew I had to make them. I have made flourless chocolate cakes before, and while good, they would always sink in the middle.  When you are talking about a 10 inch cake, it can be a pretty big depression in the cake.  That’s why I loved Zoe’s idea of making cupcakes (okay, it was Martha’s idea, but I learned it from Zoe).  I also love that she used honey instead of sugar in the recipe.

Zs flourless cupcakes-cut
I followed her recipe exactly, except that I was out of paper cupcake liners and had to use foil ones, but I didn’t think that would matter.  They were easy to make and turned out beautifully.  They did sink a little in the middle as I expected, but also as I thought, it wasn’t a big deal in a little cupcake.  The family enjoyed these, and I highly recommend you give them a try.  And don’t forget to subscribe to Zoe’s blog while you’re there.


October 28, 2010


Cushaw Pecan Pie

Shirley-Braden-Self-240x300 Shirley Braden was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in June 2003. She writes the gluten-free blog, gfe—gluten free easily. She also leads the King George Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Group, which she founded in 2004. Shirley serves on the core council of a large GIG group, as well as contributing to and editing its quarterly newsletter. Her mission is to educate all about the effects of gluten on one’s health and share her gfe approach.

It’s a pleasure to be taking part in Squash Fest and guest posting here at Linda’s! Linda has been sharing and helping the gluten-free community for quite some time with helpful information and delicious recipes on her blog and through her weekly Wednesday roundups, including her challenges to create muffins, casseroles, and more. I very much appreciate her efforts!
 Cushaw Pecan Pie
For Squash Fest, I’m sharing my love of the cushaw squash today. Have you heard of it? Don’t feel badly if you haven’t. I haven’t met anyone in my neck of the blogosphere yet who has. That’s a shame because cushaw is such a delightful winter squash. First of all, cushaws are ginormous. (Yes, ginormous is in the dictionary now.) The ones shown in the photo above are 15 and 18 inches long with the bulbous parts being 8 and 10 inches wide, respectively. (The other deep orange winter squash shown in the photo are about the size of sugar pumpkins, so that gives you a frame of reference for the size of the cushaw.) Cushaw squash can grow even bigger and weigh up to 30 pounds. In a cool, dark place, cushaws can keep up to a year by some accounts, but ours get used up fairly quickly, so I’ve never tested the cushaw’s storage ability to those limits. (I have kept them for about two months in a cold, dark corner of my dining room though.) Per Wikipedia, it seems that in some areas of the U.S., cushaws are sometimes called kershaws. Still not ringing a bell? Well, no matter. Let me tell you more about cushaws, how I learned to love them, and why I like them so much.

One of our friends, Joe, introduced me to cushaws many years ago. Two huge crookneck squashes with a creamy background and what appeared to be green stripes that had been sponge painted on, dwarfed some sugar pumpkins on the porch of his river cottage. I’d never seen these massive squash before, but they looked friendly and interesting (yes, squash can look friendly), so I asked Joe about them. He told me they were cushaw. He was surprised I wasn’t familiar with them. He told me that his parents had grown this hardy winter squash for years to share with their 10 children. Joe said that the plants are prolific; just a few plants will produce many squash. But it was when he mentioned that cushaw is slightly sweeter than pumpkin and could be used any way you would use pumpkin, that’s when my affection headed towards love! And, well, after our first time together, the deal was sealed. I love my cushaw!
Image by hspauldi via Flickr
Large food
A single cushaw squash has relatively few seeds and pulp as you can see from the photo, but provides lots of “meat.” Cushaw puree is only slightly paler in color than pumpkin puree and as Joe told me, it’s actually sweeter than that of the sugar pumpkin. Eating homemade pie using home pureed cushaw or pumpkin is an experience near nirvana in my humble opinion. Oh, incidentally, some folks even refer to cushaw as cushaw pumpkin instead of squash.

However, they are getting harder and harder to find each year around here. Last year, I found none. Zero. Zip. Nada. That meant I had to rely on sugar pumpkins for my homemade pumpkin pies and other pumpkin desserts. Because sugar pumpkins are only sold for a short period locally, my pumpkin baking ended way earlier than my family would have liked.

My friend, Joe, and I only touch base occasionally these days. I believe his parents have passed on and I’m not sure if he grows cushaw himself in his lovely, but small fenced-in garden. When I did inquire if he knew where I could find any cushaw this season, he referred me to a local “pick your own” farm that always has seasonal activities, such as hayrides and Christmas tree cutting. However, when I called, they had no cushaw. The farmer told me it had not been a good year for cushaw with the drought. It seems that this heirloom squash is very heat and disease resistant, but needs summer rain. Because I had already signed up to guest post on cushaw for Squash Fest, I was starting to get worried.

I started looking online to see if there were any farmers’ markets within traveling distance that might have vendors selling them. I didn’t locate any local purveyors of cushaw, but I did learn a bit more about them on sites like Slow Food USA. Plus, I found out that my difficulty in finding them was not that unusual.
“While the green-striped cushaw is not endangered per se, it tends to be grown in small batches, often for private use, and is not widely available in retail markets. It is a prized foodstuff in various culinary cultures, including to some southwest Native Americans, to the southern Appalachians, and to the Louisiana Creoles and Italians."
Furthermore, the Slow Foods USA site states that the cushaw is “believed to have been domesticated in Mesoamerica sometime between 7000 and 3000 B.C. It’s one of the most popular squash among the Hopi, Akimiel O’odham, and the Tohono O’odham who save seeds from previous crops.”

When we were on our way to our mountain property recently, we passed by a local nursery that always has a large assortment of pumpkins in the fall. This time I looked over quickly, and I immediately saw some cushaw! In a flash, I turned around and we headed back. There were the beauties---five of them---the only ones the nursery had. We happily snatched them up. The sales person told us it was the first year they’d sold cushaw; it was meant to be. I sure hope they’ll offer cushaw again next year.

Because our home is in the woods, I don’t have enough sunlight to grow a garden myself (and we have a hungry deer population that decimates just about everything in my yard that does grow), However, if any of you guys want to grow some next year, I’ll gladly save my seeds and send them to you! I’m serious. You don’t even have to promise me any of your cushaw in exchange. Just keep the tradition and cushaw love going! Here are directions on growing cushaw (with helpful tips you won’t want to miss, too).

Finally, my most frequent use of cushaw is in baked goods and here’s a delectable cushaw recipe (which is gluten free and dairy free). It combines the best of both worlds to make a pumpkin pie that’s more upscale and a pecan pie that’s not overly sweet. When cooking sweet or savory recipes, feel free to use cushaw the same way that you would use pumpkin. Some of my favorite recipes that I make using either cushaw or pumpkin are Crustless Pumpkin Pie, Easy Pumpkin Squares, Pumpkin Cheesecake (sorry, that recipe is not up yet), Veronica’s Pumpkin Soup, and my new Pumpkin Pie Smoothies.

Cushaw Pecan Pie

Slightly beat one egg. In a medium-sized bowl, mix egg, cushaw puree, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and pumpkin pie spice well. Pour into unbaked gluten-free pie crust.

Beat remaining two eggs. In same medium-sized bowl which you just emptied, add eggs, honey, ½ cup granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in pecans. Spoon over cushaw mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes or until filling is set. Cool. Top with Cinnamon Honey Whipped Cream, if desired.

Shirley’s Notes: While I love crustless when it comes to pies, for this recipe I used a press-in pie crust recipe that I like. Pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin can be used in place of the cushaw puree in this recipe. If you would like to make this recipe sugar free, coconut or palm sugar may be substituted for the granulated sugar, but you may want to reduce the amount slightly as coconut/palm sugar offers a richer taste.
Pie recipe adapted from recipe on Thanksgiving card from our local food bank


October 26, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 10/27/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Welcome to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!  If you are looking for gluten-free recipes and eating ideas, you’ve come to the right place. I enjoyed everyone’s links last week, and I look forward to what you have to share this week.

October’s Challenge: Create a Gluten-Free Loaf of Quick Bread – This is the last week for the quick bread challenge.  I’ll be posting November’s challenge next week so be on the look out for it.

Last Week’s Highlights:
Pear Bread from Gluten-Free Flavor Full
Vegan Whole-Grain Bread from The Daily Dietribe
Zucchini Carrot Bread from My Sweet and Savory
Coconut Bread with Pineapple Butter from Fire and Salt
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. This week we’ll hear from Shirley of Gluten Free Easily with a cushaw pecan pie recipe.

My Submission:  I did get a quick bread made last week, and it was terrific.  A couple of people have already made it and commented that it was great.

Butternut Squash Bread
butternut squash bread slice 
The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  I love seeing everyone’s submissions, and I hope you are able to visit some of the links and leave a comment.  Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back.



Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Giveaway

Taco night is a regular occurrence for many gluten free families. I know, because most weeknights I post what we’re having for dinner on my Facebook page.  In the comments, people add what they are having for dinner.  I often see tacos, and last week when I posted that we were having a taco night, several other people commented that they were having the same thing that night.

Tacos are tasty, easy, and usually a kid pleaser.  Old El Paso is a brand I’ve often used since going gluten free.  You can find gluten-free taco seasoning, taco shells, and refried beans in that brand, and we like them all.  That’s why I was eager to accept this giveaway opportunity from My Blog Spark.  I must say, this isn’t the best giveaway I’ve received from them.  The cactus chip and salsa bowl is plastic and too small to be of much use for us.  The red pepper trays are made of flimsy plastic making it a bit tricky when you put food on them.  They do, however, make taco night a little more fun.  The best part of this giveaway is not shown in the picture.  It’s a $10 Visa card that you can use to buy the rest of your taco night food.

Giveaway Prize Pack

We enjoyed using Old El Paso’s stand ‘n stuff shells.  I intended to get a couple of family taco night pictures to share with you, but my kids unexpectedly did not want their picture on my blog.  To here is one of their taco trays.

taco trayThe Giveaway:
First, everyone can print a $0.60 off any two Old El Paso Products coupon.

If you would like to win the giveaway prize pack and a $10 Visa, leave a comment on this post. Email readers need to click over to my blog.  You can leave an anonymous comment. Please make sure I have a way to contact you.  Up to four entries per person. You must leave separate comments for each entry. 
The giveaway will end on Sunday, October 31st at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.  After the winner is contacted, I  will announce the winner on my Facebook page.

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a free prize pack and gift card from Old El Paso through My Blog Spark.  The opinions in this post are my own.


October 25, 2010


Poached Chicken Thighs and Chicken Stock

Cooked chicken and chicken stock are useful in so many recipes.  I like to cook a batch of chicken and make stock at the same time.  Either can be frozen and pulled out when you need them.  You can use chicken breasts for this, but chicken thighs are both flavorful and economical.

One way I like to use cooked chicken is to make chicken salad.  It makes a great high protein lunch or snack.  It can be put on a green salad, bread, or crackers, or eaten with chips.  I also like using chicken in casseroles.  Here are a few that use cooked chicken.

Mexican Casserole
Mexican casserole 3 - on plate

Chicken Pot Pie 
chicken pot pie on plate

Chicken Tetrazzini with Broccoli
Tetrazzini on plate

Poached Chicken & Chicken Stock

Place all ingredients in a large pot and cover with water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and boil slowly for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, leave the lid on, and let sit another 20 - 30 minutes.  Check the chicken with an instant read thermometer.  It should reach 180°.

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate to cool, then skin and debone them.  Chop or shred the chicken and store in the refrigerator or freezer. (Chicken can easily be shredded in your KitchenAid stand mixer.) Strain the broth to remove the vegetables.  Cool and pour into glass jars and refrigerate. The fat can easily be removed after it has chilled. Once chilled, you can measure and pour into zip top freezer bags.  If you lay these flat in your freezer, they will thaw in cold water much more quickly than if you put them in a jar.  I like to freeze 2 cup portions. Don’t forget to label the bags!  Makes approximately 2 quarts stock.

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October 24, 2010


Another Gluten-Free Eater

Ten years ago this month I was diagnosed with celiac disease.  I’ve already written out my celiac story, so I won’t go over it again. It doesn’t look like we’ll be having a party as my son suggested in the post A Reason to Celebrate, but we’re continuing to enjoy good food. 

10 Years
Interestingly, it is that son who is now also eating gluten free.  He has given me permission to share some of his story.  Let’s just call him J.  He’s my oldest and is now 19 years old.  Over the summer he worked long hard hours for a tree company.  It was one of our hottest summers ever and he drank lots of Gatorade and water.  When he mentioned one day that he had a slight change in bowel habits, but no other symptoms I attributed it to the sugar in the Gatorade.  A couple of months later he casually mentioned that he thought he should be tested for celiac.  Work had been over for a while and he was still going to the bathroom more than usual.  He also noticed that he was more tired than usual.  Later he asked me what to do for mouth sores.  I told him that canker sores can be symptom of celiac and that I had them before I went gluten-free.

I’m going to skip a lot of details that I might give if it was my own story.  The good thing was that we had testing, including an endoscopy done very quickly.  Both blood work and biopsies were negative.  The doctor said his villi looked great.  The confusing thing is that his symptoms vary.  Sometimes he seems to have a strong reaction such as diarrhea or a mental reaction (you can read about how I react to gluten mentally here).  Other times, he seems to be fine.  After all the tests came back negative and the doctor recommended a gluten challenge, J hesitantly ate some gluten.  He didn’t react, so he ate some more.  He went a week eating normally with no strong reaction, but his canker sores started coming back and he was noticably irritable.  After that he decided he should probably eat gluten free. 

I don’t think he’s completely convinced the problem is gluten because he still has fatigue.  It may be that he needs to be gluten free longer and be more careful, or it could be that something else is also affecting him.  I find his symptoms and reactions to be too much like my own to think that it’s not gluten.  For now he is eating gluten-free, though.  He respects my opinion on the matter, but he’s not a child who I can tell what to do. 

Before we had the results of the tests, I actually wanted them to come back positive.  It seemed obvious that the problem was gluten and I wanted J to know for sure that he had to eat gluten free.  Now I have mixed feelings.  I’m glad he does not have celiac disease, and I feel pretty confident that this is a case of gluten intolerance rather than celiac.  However, I hope that he will not give up on the diet. He commutes to college and plans to do so in the future, but at some point he will move out and not have mom to cook for him.  I would hate for him to live with symptoms unnecessarily, and eating gluten-free will make it much less likely that he will develop celiac disease.  However, any accidental ingestion could trigger it.

Having another gluten-free eater in the house changes things a little.  Anything I cook or bake is always gluten free and the whole family eats it.  That doesn’t mean that everyone always eats gluten free, though.  I do purchase bread, cereal, and crackers for the gluten eating members.  Thankfully, J is not a picky eater and is pretty happy as long as he has food of some sort to fill him up.  He can do a little cooking and fends for himself pretty well.  I had to clean out cabinet space to make room for more gluten free items.  Being young and on the go a lot, I try to have some quick and easy food on hand for him.  I have made and frozen some food, but I hope to do more of that soon.

That’s the gluten-free news at our house.  It’s been 10 years for me and about a month for my son.  How long have you been gluten free?

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October 23, 2010


Surfing Saturday 10/23/10

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information
More Celiac Disease May Be Refractory
SuperValu Unveils Gluten-Free Program
Guide to Gluten-Free Beers Around the World
Gluten Intolerance vs. Celiac Disease

Food (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
Slow Roasted Apples with Maple Whipped Cream
Smoked Salmon Chowder
S'mores Pudding Pie (use gf graham crackers or cookie crumbs)
How to Make Cream Cheese Mints

10 Creative Ways to Educate Your Children About Money
Homemade Organic Gardening Sprays – bookmark this one for next year

5 Free Online Encyclopedias Suitable for Kids
50 Tips to Unclutter Your Blog

Animal/Nature Photos
Funny Dog
Funny Panda Bears
Pretty Wildflowers & Mountains
Snuggling Cheetas


October 22, 2010


Butternut Squash Bread

This delicious recipe is serving two blogging purposes.  It is my entry for October’s create a gluten-free quick bread challenge. and it is my entry for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free.  I love Diane’s scared silly theme.  She is asking us to write about foods we were once afraid to cook, but now realize that it’s silly.  Squash is one of those foods for me.  I was afraid of squashes.  I was afraid I wouldn’t like them and afraid I couldn’t cook them.  I now realize I was wrong on both counts, and it was silly of me to think that way. 

00387902 I will admit that I have had squash in the past and more recently that I didn’t like.  I don’t know if it was the particular squash or just the way it was prepared.  However, since I started cooking squash in the past couple of years, most of what I’ve made has been very tasty and did not have that nasty squashy flavor that I always associated with it.

I’ve also learned that squash is very easy to cook.  If you don’t want to deal with cutting a hard squash, just roast it whole.  If you are able to cut it in half, that will speed up the cooking time. Some are not so hard to cut and can be peeled and steamed like in this recipe.  I’ve also cooked squash in my pressure cooker.

For this month’s quick bread loaf challenge I thought of making a pumpkin bread, since I don’t yet have a recipe for that on my blog.  However, I wanted to do something a little less common, and so I used butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin.  I haven’t tried this recipe with pumpkin, but I bet it would work just as well.  This bread rose well, it was soft and moist, but not too moist.  It tasted much like pumpkin bread, but the butternut squash has a gentle flavor of its own.  My family loved it, and it was gone in no time.

butternut squash bread slice

Butternut Squash Bread

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Wet Ingredients:
Dry Ingredients:
Prepare the butternut squash puree.  I start by peeling the squash. If you’re not sure how, Amy has a great tutorial on how to peel a butternut squash. I then remove the seeds and cut the squash into chunks.  Then, I place it in a steamer basket inside a pot and steam about 20 minutes or until tender.  The squash can then be pureed with an immersion blender, a stand blender, or a food processor.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients except for the nuts.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until moistened.  Stir in the nuts.  Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake at 350° for 50 – 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes two loaves.

Note:  I'm sure other add ins would be good in this recipe.  Try raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips. You could also vary the spices and try nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice.

View Printable Recipe

For more great recipes (though not necessarily gluten free) check out Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

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October 21, 2010


Stuffed Acorn Squash: Squash Fest Guest Post

This week’s guest post is by Alta, a wonderful gluten-free blogger who you should definitely be following. Alta Mantsch started Tasty Eats At Home simply as a way to share recipes with family and friends. But after dealing with worsening health issues, and understanding the ill effects gluten caused on her other family members (her father, sister, and brother were all gluten-intolerant), in June 2009 she decided to remove gluten from her diet in an effort to find wellness once again. Soon after, she was on the road to healing, and now focuses her efforts at Tasty Eats At Home on sharing nourishing, delicious gluten-free food that will bring your heart joy and that the family will actually EAT!

stuffed acorn squash
When Linda asked me to guest post on her blog for Squash Fest, I was honored. The Gluten-Free Homemaker is by far one of my favorite blogs. Linda makes a lot of food that always soothes the gluten-free soul. She has excellent French bread, and I love her Hot Pockets – they’re excellent gluten-free versions of familiar favorites. I follow her posts regularly and enjoy them all. I was excited when she announced she was starting the Squash Fest series – winter squashes are one of my favorite foods!

I don’t think my blog reflects just how often we eat winter squashes when fall rolls around. Sure, I’ve already made a stew using butternut this year, and last fall I made a delicious risotto using a Tahitian squash (similar to butternut), but we probably eat winter squash at least once a week around here. This challenge was a perfect way to get me to share more of the awesome ways winter squashes can be eaten!

Acorn squashes are one of my favorite. You can simply cut them in half and scoop out the seeds, and inside is a perfectly proportioned bowl, a blank slate, with so many stuffing possibilities. The decision to stuff this squash with these ingredients started the way many of my original recipes do: I looked at what I had on hand, and threw in the sage growing in my garden. Voila – a savory, delicious solution to dinner!

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the insides of the acorn squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and place in oven for 30-45 minutes or until acorn squash is tender.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet to medium-high heat. Add the pork sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking into small crumbles with a spatula. When sausage is no longer pink and cooked through, remove and set aside in a medium bowl, leaving some of the fat in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and celery. Saute for 2-3 minutes, and add the mushrooms. Saute for another minute, and add the apple. Saute until the apple begins to soften, another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vegetable mixture to the sausage and add the sage leaves and egg. Toss until well-mixed. When acorn squash has finished baking, scoop mixture into the hollowed-out “bowls”. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until egg is set. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.


You can find all of the Squash Fest recipes here.  Be sure to come back next Thursday for a Squash Fest guest post by Shirley of Gluten Free Easily.


October 19, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 10/20/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Last week proved busier than I thought and I didn’t get to visit all your links, but I will this week.  Thanks for all the well wishes for my mom.  Her surgery went well and she is recovering well.  I spent most of the week at my parent’s home (or at the hospital) and they enjoyed having me cook for them.

October’s Challenge: Create a Gluten-Free Loaf of Quick Bread – I’ll be looking out for and highlighting challenge posts that are linked up during the month.  I have not yet been able to make a single quick bread this month, but I hope to this week.

Last Week’s Highlights:
Banana Pumpkin Loaf with Coconut Flour from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Holiday Pumpkin  Bread from Gluten Free & Loving It
Vegan Pumpkin Bread from She Let Them Eat Cake
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. This week we’ll hear from Alta of Tasty Eats At Home with a stuffed acorn squash recipe.

My Submission:  I don’t have a recipe of my own to submit this week, but I do have a guest post from Lynn of Lynn’s Recipe Adventures.  This is a great dairy free recipe.

Coconut Milk Custard
coconut milk custard 
The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  I love seeing everyone’s submissions, and I hope you are able to visit some of the links and leave a comment.  Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back. 



Pumpkin Recipes from Around the Blogosphere

I would venture to say that pumpkins are the most popular squash around.  It is pumpkin season and I’ve been seeing pumpkins of all sizes at stores and farmer’s markets.  I’ve also been seeing pumpkin recipes all over the blogosphere.  I thought I would highlight a few gluten-free recipes that particularly interest me.  Pumpkin bread (and muffins) and pumpkin pie have been around for a long time.  I always enjoy seeing those recipes, but this year I’m particularly interested in recipes that are a little different than the usual ones. 

Last year I learned to use pie pumpkins to make my own pumpkin puree for use in recipes.  I found the flavor to be much better than canned pumpkin, and it’s cheaper too.  Making pumpkin puree isn’t difficult and Ali had as great post on how to make homemade pumpkin puree.  If you don’t already know how, I suggest you take a look before visiting the other links.

Pumpkin is probably most often used in desserts and sweet breads.  These recipes are a little different from the usual desserts, at least for me.
pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
But pumpkins aren’t only for dessert.  I was intrigued by these recipes also.
As for my own pumpkin recipes, they are not unusual, but if you want to see them I have them listed in the post Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes.

If you have an unusual pumpkin recipe that I missed, please add your link to the comments.  Happy pumpkin eating!


October 18, 2010


Coconut Milk Custard

This is a guest post from Lynn, a friend who I met at the Blissdom blog conference in February.  Lynn lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children. She loves to cook and try new recipes. She blogs at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, sharing recipes, tips, and ideas to help you meld a love of cooking with a busy life. Lynn started on her gluten free journey in October of 2009. In January of 2010 her daughter was diagnosed with a tree nut, peanut, sesame allergy. Because of these challenges, Lynn started the blog Lynn's Recipe Adventures, she uses it to share recipes and ideas for those dealing with food allergies and issues.

coconut milk custard
I love to bake and experiment with my recipes, but I don’t always have the time to spend on gluten free baking.  That is why I love to make recipes that are naturally gluten free. You know that kind of recipes that do not contain 10 or more ingredients or a bunch of gluten free flours. Do not get me wrong, I love to make a good gluten free cookie, but some days I just need something more basic.

Custard is just that. It is an old fashioned, frugal, and simple dessert that is naturally gluten free.  Over the last year I have experimented quite a lot with custard coming up with different versions that my family enjoys.

Today’s recipe is my most recent adaptation of custard. The coconut milk in it, not only makes it dairy free, but gives it a nice depth of flavor. It adds a little something extra to simple custard. I will say though that using coconut milk in this makes it much richer than your normal custard. So, a little bit is really all you need, but if you are like me, it is a bit hard to stop eating at just a little. It was that good.

Coconut Milk Custard

In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Whisk in milk. Pour into custard type cups or a 1 1/2 qt baking dish ( I use a 11 x7 pan).  Place cups or dish into a 9×13 pan . Add 1 inch of water to outer pan (the 9×13 pan). You are making a water bath of sorts.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until set. This is good both warm or cold.


October 17, 2010


Spaghetti Squash Casserole

This post was written last November, and I thought I would repost it since the recipe was so good, and it fits well with the Squash Fest.  Unfortunately, it does contain cheese and is not dairy free unless you use a substitute. 

spaghetti squash casserole on plate
My only experience with squash that I remember from childhood was when my mom would slice, batter, and fry yellow squash.  I hated it.  I hated the flavor and texture.  That experience led me to believe that I didn’t like any squash.  Somewhere down the road I learned to like zucchini, and it has been a staple vegetable in our house for a while. 

Other than that, I stayed away from squash until last fall when I made butternut squash soup.  My family wasn’t too thrilled with it, but I enjoyed it.  I made that soup again last week and their tastes had improved to tolerating it.

spaghetti squashThis fall I tried spaghetti squash.  I’ve used it twice now.  The first time I had a rather large squash  that I baked in the oven, whole.  It was still a little crunchy when I served it in place of spaghetti noodles.  The family didn’t mind the taste, but thought crunchy spaghetti was a little weird.

The second time I bought a smaller squash and cooked it in my pressure cooker.  It turned out a little bit too done and the strands were not as distinguishable.  That was okay because I decided to use it in a casserole.  I didn’t have any ricotta cheese to make a lasagna type dish, so I decided on a variation of my pizza casserole.  It turned out great, and everyone liked it!  My oldest said he didn’t mind the squash as long as there was plenty of meat and cheese, which there was.

spaghetti squash in pressure cooker If you’ve never cooked a spaghetti squash before, there are several ways you can do it.  You can bake it whole by putting some holes in it with a sharp knife or a skewer and placing it in a pan.  Bake it at 375 degrees about 1 hour.  You can also cut it in half, clean out the inside and bake it cut side down in a pan with some water for 30 –40 minutes.  I cut it in half and placed it in my pressure cooker.  I cooked it under high pressure for 10 minutes, but 8 might have been better.

spaghetti squash in bowl
When it is done cooking, use a fork or large spoon to pull out the flesh and scrape it away from the outer rind.  It will look something like this.  For this recipe you should cook the spaghetti squash first and have it ready to go into the casserole.

Gluten-Free Spaghetti Squash Casserole
spaghetti squash casserole ingredients

Cook the spaghetti squash and scrape out the flesh.  Cook the ground beef, onion and garlic together and drain any fat.  In a greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish put half the squash, spreading it over the bottom of the dish. 
ss casserole 1
Put half the beef/onion mixture on top of the squash.

ss casserole 2
Spread half the pasta sauce on top and then sprinkle with half the cheese.
 ss casserole 3 
ss casserole 6
Repeat the layers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

View Printable Recipe

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta, especially this time of year when they are in season and inexpensive.  It’s an easy way to make a gluten free dish, but this recipe is worth making whether you have to eat gluten free or not.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, and Friday Foodie Fix.  Some of the carnivals are not gluten free, but do include links to naturally gluten-free recipes as well as ones that could easily be converted.

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October 16, 2010


Surfing Saturday 10/16/10

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information
Celiac FAQ
Celiac Disease Information

Food (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
7 Gluten-Free Baking Tips
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (if you don't already subscribe to Karina's blog, you should)
Homemade Granola
Spice Usage Tips
Organic Food Search (find farms, markets, restaurants, and more)
9 Secret Ingredients of the Frugal Foodie

Improve Marriage & Slow Down Life

Easy to Remember Awesome Passwords
15 Free Programs for Your PC

Animal/Nature Photos
25 Sweet Puppies
Young Foxes


October 14, 2010


Squash Fest: Butternut Squash Dessert

Aubree photoAubree Cherie Pack blogs over at Living Free where she dreams up new (and sometimes random) ways to create tasty food. Although Aubree has not been tested or diagnosed with Celiac disease, gluten is something that her tummy just can't tolerate. Throw in being lactose intolerant and a long history of family diabetes, and you'll understand why Aubree's blog is gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free! With her blog, she hopes to inspire others with food restrictions to still have fun and get creative in the kitchen.

I have a confession to make. I will not be sharing an acorn soup recipe like I originally told Linda. I’d offer my apologies, but this recipe is so much better! (Don’t get me wrong, I do like my acorn squash soup, but given the choice I’d rather eat this tasty dessert!)

Butternut Squash Dessert 08
I’m all about the sweets. Yes, I do like a good savory dish, but no matter what I make, sweet wins every time! When the weather gets colder my addiction to [dairy free] ice cream starts to diminish slightly and I start baking more.

This dish came about because I wanted to do something creative and tasty for Linda’s Squash special. Although it’s one of the most common squash varieties, I love LoVe LOVE butternut squash. I think it’s naturally sweet all by itself, but I decided to challenge myself by making a ‘real’ dessert. Plus I was craving a treat. The neat thing about this dessert is that it can also just be a meal. I ate one half as my whole dinner and was stuffed! Much like the squash actually…

Butternut Squash Dessert

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 cup soaked and drained raw cashews
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 10 dates
  • 10 drops liquid stevia
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 2 dates for garnish
Butternut Squash Dessert 22


Start by turning on the oven to 450 degrees and lining a medium cookie sheet or pan with aluminum foil.
Wash the squash and then cut it, length-wise, in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place the halves face down (so the skin shows only) on the aluminum foil pan and put in the oven. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until the squash is becoming tender and the skin has started to brown.

While the squash is baking, put your presoaked cashews into a food processor/blender with the almond milk and apple cider. Blend on high until you reach a smooth consistency. Add the dates, stevia, and vanilla extract next. Blend on high until it’s mostly smooth. I left some of the date pieces not completely blended but very small within the cashew paste. Spoon the paste into the holes in the squash.

Slice to dates into four pieces and press softly into the cashew paste. Put the squash back into the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and serve!


October 12, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 10/13/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Announcements:  I’m thrilled to say that this carnival has been growing.  However, the increase in participation has made putting together the monthly review by category too time consuming.  For subscribers, that means you need to click over to the blog to view the carnival links. In addition, I want to let you know that this week I will not be able to comment on each of your links.  My mom is having surgery, and I will be spending time helping her.  I’ll try to visit all the links some time in the next week and give them a quick stumble, but I won’t have time to comment.

October’s Challenge: Create a Gluten-Free Loaf of Quick Bread – I’ll be looking out for and highlighting challenge posts that are linked up during the month. 

Last Week’s Highlights:
Harvest Loaf from Chaya’s Comfy Cook Blog
Cinnamon Raisin Bread from Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Making & Using GF Bread from Jenn Cuisine (see what she does with zucchini bread)
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. This week we’ll hear from Aubree of Living Free with a butternut squash dessert recipe. So far we’ve had a recipe for Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and tips about how to roast a butternut squash

My Submission:  This week I have an easy tasty dish that’s great for using leftover chicken.

Chicken, Vegetable & Pineapple Skillet Meal

chicken, veggie & pineapple skillet

The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  I love seeing everyone’s submissions, and I hope you are able to visit some of the links and leave a comment.  Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back.  



Free Thanksgiving Ebook

The Jules Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Ebook is available for FREE before October 14th. Click here and, at checkout, enter code thanks10 (case sensitive). You'll be charged nothing, and you'll be immersed in my best recipes, tips, encouragement, and culinary creativity as you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast.

Whether you're hosting or are a guest at someone else's home, the Jules' Thanksgiving e-Book offers suggestions for both scenarios, as well as a planning checklist, an ingredient substitution guide, how to educate others about contamination issues and more.

And if you're after ideas for delicious gluten-free appetizers, side dishes, main courses, breads and desserts, you're in luck. More than 20 recipes await, including:

Cranberry-walnut muffins Pumpkin Banana bread
Corn bread Buttermilk biscuits
Traditional stuffing Cornbread stuffing
Sweet potato casserole Grandma's pie crust
Pumpkin cheesecake Pumpkin pie
Apple Pie Apple cider cake
And more!

This e-cookbook retails for $12.95, but is yours FREE before October 14, 2010. Ordering is simple and fast, just click here and enter coupon code thanks10 (case sensitive).  Upon ordering, you can immediately download your e-book from the order "Thank You" page or the confirmation email you will receive within one business day.

I have no affiliation with Jules Gluten-Free. I’m just passing along this information for those who are interested.


October 11, 2010


Chicken, Vegetable, & Pineapple Skillet Meal

chicken, veggie & pineapple skillet
This meal is delicious as is, but if you eat soy, you might enjoy soy sauce added to it.  I am on a soy free diet, and my family doesn’t particularly like soy sauce so I didn’t use any.  My husband is not a big fan of fruit such as pineapple with his meat (poultry), but I sneak it in occasionally.  He didn’t mind it too much in this dish and the kids really enjoyed it.  It surprised me how much flavor a little canned pineapple added.  It was definitely nice for a change.

This recipe is perfect for using leftover chicken.  You can use white or dark meat or a combination of both.  I used thighs for the recipe in the photo.  I served this over a mix of rice and quinoa.  It wasn’t the best combination with red quinoa, and next time I will serve it with brown rice or pasta.

Chicken, Vegetable, & Pineapple Skillet Meal

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the onion, pepper and garlic.  Sauté until tender.  Add the chicken and heat through.  Add the tomatoes and pineapple and heat.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Dissolve the corn starch in the cold water and slowly pour it into the skillet, stirring constantly.  Cook a couple of minutes until hot and slightly thickened.

View Printable Recipe

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October 10, 2010


Varieties of Squash

The other week I received a squash in my CSA box that I didn’t know the name of.  I did a little searching and learned that it was a delicata squash.  I then found a guest post by Shauna about roasting delicata squash.  I have to agree with her.  It is delicious. In keeping with the Squash Fest theme, I thought I would create a squash picture gallery for you. I’m not covering every single squash here, but maybe you will learn the names of a couple of new ones.

Acorn SquashAcornsquash[1]

Banana SquashPinkbananasquash[1]

Buttercup Squash
Butternut SquashCucurbita_moschata_Butternut[1]

Cheese PumpkinLongislandcheesesquash[1]

Crookneck Squash
Delicata SquashDelicata_Squash-small[1]

 Kabocha Squash

Pattypan Squash

Spaghetti Squash
spaghetti squash

Turban SquashTurban_squash[1]

The above (not so great) pictures were all via Wikipedia.  You can find better pictures and more squashes at the following web sites:

The Nibble - Squash Glossary 
What's Cooking America - Squash Varieties

What is your favorite type of squash?

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