November 30, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 12/1/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I certainly did.  My brother usually does the cooking and does a great job of making most of the dinner gluten-free.  My sister and I are also dairy free this year so I made a separate batch of mashed potatoes for us.  I also contributed a sweet potato casserole and gluten/dairy free pumpkin pies.  We had a great time and spent several days with extended family.  I took a blogging/computer break, and it is taking me a while to get back into the swing of things. 

Guest Posts:  If anyone is interested in doing a guest post for me in the next month, let me know.  A holiday related post would be great, but anything gluten-free related would be good.  Just send me an email.

Monthly Challenge:  November’s pie challenge is now over, and hopefully I will be posting December’s challenge on Friday.

Last Week’s Highlights: There were several pies & tarts to wrap up November’s challenge.  You’ll want to visit them if you missed them last week.
Ginger Maple Pear Pie from The Pink Cowgirl
Chocolate Pecan Tart from No Grain, No Pain
Pumpkin Cheesecake from No Grain, No Pain
Walnut Cranberry Pear Tart from Sugar & Spice
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursday.  There will be one more Squash Fest post from Ellen of I Am Gluten Free.

My Submission:  Here’s a great way to use leftover roast beef.

Roast Beef Skillet Meal

roast beef skillet meal

The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  Because of the holiday I did not get to visit most of the links last week.  Hopefully I will be able to do so this week. Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back.


November 29, 2010


Roast Beef Skillet Meal

As I have mentioned before, I like cooking food, particularly meat, that will last for two meals.  Recently I shared a way to use leftover roast chicken in soup.  This week I’m sharing a way to use leftover roast beef.  I cooked a large chuck roast the first night.  Chuck roast is inexpensive and becomes tender when cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.  I cooked mine in the pressure cooker for 1 hour under high pressure and it was perfect.

This recipe is an all-in-one meal.  I used a combination of white rice and red quinoa for the grain.  The two can be cooked together.  I cook mine in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes under low pressure.  You could use any variety rice and/or quinoa that your family likes.  I used broth I saved from cooking the roast to cook the rice/quinoa mix.

roast beef skillet meal

Roast Beef Skillet Meal

If you don’t have leftover rice or quinoa to use, get that started cooking.  Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet.  Chop the onions and carrots and sauté them in the oil until about half cooked.  Add the zucchini and cook until almost tender.  Clear a little space in your skillet and add the garlic.  Let it sizzle and cook a minute until golden and aromatic.  Move everything to one side of your skillet.  Add the beef and red wine and heat for a couple of minutes, then stir it in with the vegetables.  When the meat is hot through, add the hot rice and/or quinoa and mix together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

View Printable Recipe

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November 28, 2010


Immersion Blender: Tools of the Trade

Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments
If you are looking for gift ideas to give to a loved one or to put on your wish list, an immersion blender is something worth considering.  Until I purchased this one several months ago (with the help of Kohl’s cash), I had never used an immersion blender.  That means I’m really not an expert on using it.  I had read about people using them for things like butternut squash soup, but their usefulness seemed pretty limited.  Still I was interested.  Then when I was looking for one to purchase, I found this Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments.  I thought the mini chopper enhanced the usefulness of the tool, and I was right.

I’m still limited in my use of the immersion blender.  It can probably be used in ways I haven’t tried, but what I have used it for it is very good at.  I have really enjoyed making butternut squash soup this fall, and I can’t believe how fast the immersion blender turns it into a smooth soup without ever having to transfer hot liquid to and from my blender. 

The whisk attachment which came with this blender is handy, but not my favorite choice for a whisk.  I can also attach a whisk to my hand mixer, and that is my preference because the mixer has different speed settings.  The hand blender is either on or off.  That’s it.  And it’s pretty fast for a whisk.  We’ve had more than one mess to clean up from stuff being flung out of the bowl and spattered around my kitchen!  If you do use the whisk, make sure you use a deep bowl, and monitor the kids while they use it. J

The mini chopper attachment is very handy.  It’s size is perfect for chopping an onion, a couple of carrots or some nuts.  I find that if I leave it out on my counter, I use it pretty frequently.  If I put it away, I tend to forget about it and out of habit use a knife and cutting board.  If getting uniform pieces of onion is important in your recipe, use a knife; if it doesn’t matter, the chopper sure is quick.  I also like the fact that the bowl is small so it doesn’t take up much space in my dishwasher or on the counter.

If you are only interested in the immersion blender, there are plenty to be found without the other attachments.  For me, the mini chopper made this particular purchase worth while.  I love the immersion blender, but since I don’t use it frequently, I feel that the whole thing is more useful combined with the chopper. 

I’m interested in finding more ways to use my immersion blender.  If you own one, what do you use it for?


November 27, 2010


Surfing Saturday 11/27/10

image Image from

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information

Overview of Celiac Disease
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Producing Gluten-Free Products in a Non-Dedicated Kitchen (intended for commercial kitchens, but could be useful at home)

Food (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
Famous Restaurant Recipes You Can Replicate at Home
20 Best Cooking Blogs for Extremely Adventurous Eaters
Eat Healthy America: 52 Superfoods

Homemade Cleaner:  Make Cleaning Natural
Cool Inventions (though I think some are just silly)

Common Windows 7 Problems & How to Fix Them

Animal/Nature Photos or Videos
Dalmation Picture
Beautiful Garden
Dog chasing ball video
Sunset photo


November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving


I have nothing new for you today or tomorrow, but I’ll be back on Saturday with the weekly round up of links. I hope you all enjoy your day.  Stay safe and healthy!

November 23, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 11/24/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week.  If you didn’t see my recent posts, I have 10 Gluten-Free Holiday Tips and a roundup of a few of my Thanksgiving worthy recipes.

November’s Challenge: Make a Gluten-Free Pie.  Link your pie recipes here on Wednesdays, and I’ll highlight them the following week.

Last Week’s Highlights:  I’m thrilled to have lots of pies and related recipes to highlight this week.
Pumpkin Cream Pie from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Tart from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
No Roll, Never Fail Press in Pie Crust from gluten free easily
Food Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie from Gluten Free & Loving It
Jeweled Coconut Cream Pie from Gluten Free Gigi
Bananas Foster Cream Pie from Sugar & Spice
Vegan Walnut Pie from The Mommy Bowl
Vegan Spinach Pie from Book of Yum
Spinach, Mushroom, & Tomato Quiche from Cozy Home Scenes
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. We’ll be taking a break this week, but there will be one more the following week from Ellen of I Am Gluten Free.

My Submission:
Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup

The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back.


November 22, 2010


Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup

There will be no Squash Fest post this week due to Thanksgiving.  Instead, I thought I would post my own squash recipe today.  This soup would go well with some leftover turkey.

I have found that butternut squash soup is one of my favorite soups.  You can add things to it like the apple and potato found in this recipe or just keep it simple.  You can also try different herbs and seasoning.  Butternut squash just has such a pleasant flavor and blends up so nicely, that I seem to enjoy it no matter what I add or don’t add to the soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Prepare the vegetables.  Heat the oil or butter in the bottom of a pot.  Add the onion and sauté until softened.  Add the chicken broth and heat to boiling.  Stir in the vegetables and rosemary.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  The amount of time will depend on how small you cut them.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Blend the soup with an emersion blender, or by adding it in batches to a stand blender.  The soup should be smooth with no chunks in it.

View Printable Recipe


November 21, 2010


Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

I thought I would give you a round up of some of my recipes that might be useful for Thanksgiving.

Vegetables & Side Dishes:

Green Beans Almondine
green beans almandine

Zucchini with Walnuts
 zucchini with walnuts

Gold Potato Casserole 
(can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen)
 gold potatoes - served


Corn Bread
gluten-free corn bread


Pumpkin Roll

Applescotch Dessert
(could easily be made dairy free with substitutions)

Pumpkin Pie
pumpkin pie slice

Pumpkin Pie - Dairy Free
pumpkin pie slice GFDF

If you are looking for a stuffing recipe, Shirley’s Surprise Stuffing uses tortilla chips instead of bread cubes, which makes it an easy option.  I made this just for myself to eat last year, and it was quite good.  If you are not particular about stuffing, you’ll probably like it.  I think I’ll make it again this year for me and my gluten-free son.  Also, Iris shared an  Acorn Squash Stuffing with us the other day that looks delicious.


November 20, 2010


Surfing Saturday 11/20/20

imageImage from Fotolia 

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information
Interview with Shelley Case, RD: Celiac and Gluten-Free Diet
Leaky Gut May Occur from Gluten Even in Absence of Celiac Disease

Food (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Creamy Dairy-Free Ice Cream with One Ingredient
Dinner Tool (meal planning and recipes, including gluten free)
Going Gluten-Free:  Sample Menus

Cleaning with Vinegar
How to Make a Simple Blind

Google Search Instant Preview
10 Online Synonym Dictionaries

Animal/Nature Photos or Videos
Cute Baby & Animal Photos
Baby Elephant
20 Utterly Happy Dogs
A Beautiful Tree


November 19, 2010


10 Gluten-Free Holiday Tips

00422843 Image from

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and Christmas is only five weeks away! Some of you may be approaching the holidays with a bit (or a lot) of fear and trepidation.  Food is a huge part of holidays whether it is family gatherings, office parties, or a special meal for you and your immediate family.  If you are on a special diet of any kind, these occasions can be a real challenge.  Although I’ve been gluten free for ten years, this year will be an adjustment for me as I face the holidays with new diet restrictions--dairy and soy free.  In addition, I now have a son who is gluten free, and I want to make the holidays as easy for him as possible.

With that in mind, I thought some holiday tips would be helpful to both you and me.  These tips are geared towards food and eating, but I would like to start by reminding you that your relationships with family and friends really are the most important part of the holidays.  Food is quickly consumed, and then it’s gone.  Relationships are lasting.  Try to focus on time with people, and the food might not seem so important.

1.  Plan.  Plan.  Plan.   I know.  It used to be so much easier, didn’t it?  You probably had to do some planning then, but now you have to do a lot.  If you are one of those people who really doesn’t care much about food, then you can get away with minimal planning, but if food is important, you have to plan.  See the following points for the specifics of planning.

2.  Communicate and Educate.  This is best done ahead of time (hence the planning point).  If you will be eating at someone else’s home or a restaurant, talk to the cook (or cooks) ahead of time.  Let them know of your diet restrictions, and find out if anything they are making is gluten free or could easily be made so.  Most people don’t mind using corn starch to thicken gravy instead of flour, but they won’t do it if they don’t know.  Educate them on cross contamination and the need for clean surfaces, utensils, bowls, pans, etc.  Communicate nicely, and don’t expect them to make everything gluten-free. 

3.  Contribute to the Meal.  You might want to contribute to the main meal and the dessert so you have something you are sure is safe for both.  Desserts in particular often contain gluten, but gluten-free desserts are just as delicious and can be enjoyed by all. 

4.  Bring Your Own Food.  In addition to contributing food for everyone, you may want to bring something just for you.  If attending a holiday party, bringing your own crackers could be helpful, or maybe you will want to take your own stuffing or dinner roll for Thanksgiving. 

5.  Prepare and Freeze Food in Advance.  It’s no fun to be stressed out over food when you should be enjoying the holiday.  If you plan ahead and know what foods you want to have for particular occasions, many of those foods can be prepared and frozen.  I have made multiple pumpkin rolls and frozen them a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. 

6.  Oversee Food Preparation.  You can’t do this in every situation, but you often can.  If the event is at your home, of course, this is easy.  But even at a family member’s home you can often work with the cook to make sure contamination is avoided. 

7.  Watch Out for Contamination When Food is Served.  Your efforts to keep something gluten free while it is being cooked can be totally destroyed by crumbs from rolls or a serving utensil that is used for the stuffing then dipped into the green beans. 

8.  Get Your Food First.  I know this can seem a bit awkward, but getting your food first can ensure that it stays uncontaminated from situations like I mentioned in number seven above.  Take as much as you think you will want and don’t go back for seconds.

9.  Set Food Aside.  Hold back some food from the serving dishes so that all of it doesn’t risk contamination.  That way you can enjoy some of the leftovers too.

10.  Smile.  Smile.  Smile.  Even if you don’t feel like it.  Smiling will enhance your mood and help you feel less stressed.  Reflect on how much better you feel being on a gluten-free diet.  Remember that a diet change is better than taking medications.  Enjoy your gluten-free food, and treasure your relationships.

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November 18, 2010


Acorn Squash Stuffing: Squash Fest

Iris Higgins 165 Iris began writing The Daily Dietribe when she first started eating gluten-free over a year ago. In addition to sharing her gluten-free recipes, she writes about her experiences as a weight-loss counselor and her own struggle with weight and binge eating disorder. Iris got her MA in psychology, but then realized she wanted to become a registered dietitian so she could help others find a healthy balance with food. She’s going back to school now to get her MS in nutrition at Bastyr University in Washington.

acorn squash stuffing
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I'm sure most of you have your holiday meal all planned. Every year, there are those staples that must be on the table. Perhaps it's the green bean casserole that your uncle waits for all year. Or the gravy that your sister ladles over everything on her plate. Or if you're like me, you impatiently await the creamed onions, delighted that no one else likes them as much as you do. Of course, with Thanksgiving only a week away, the last thing you need is another dish to add to your list of things to make. But I'm going to give you my recipe for acorn squash stuffing, and I'll tell you why. Because you need to make this. You can still make your regular stuffing. In fact, you should because everyone will be eagerly expecting it. But then you should make up a batch of acorn squash stuffing to complement the traditional stuffing. I made this last year for my first gluten-free Thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit. In all honesty, there were only three of us there, but I loved it, and my mom said it was the best stuffing she's ever had. My stepdad didn't say a word, but he ate everything on his plate with gusto.

So what makes this stuffing so special? Of course there's the fact that it's made with acorn squash, which is perhaps one of my favorite foods. Add to that the dried cranberries and chopped pecans that meld with the traditional flavors of onion and celery, and you'll be happy to skip the turkey and just go for seconds of stuffing. Okay, maybe that's going a little too far. I'm sure you won't be skipping turkey. But you will want to go back for seconds on this one. 

Need some more ideas for how to use your squash? Try these:

Acorn Squash Stuffing

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with oil and set aside.*
  2. Heat a large pan with the olive oil. Add the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
  3. Turn the stove off and take the pan off the heat. Whisk in the chicken broth and egg. Stir in the bread cubes. Pour the mix into a large bowl.
  4. Completely stir in the acorn squash, dried cranberries, pecans, and cinnamon and spoon into the muffin tins.
  5. Bake for an hour.
*This should make approximately 16 muffins.

SquashFest3I originally planned this to be the last week of Squash Fest, but there will be one more guest post from Ellen of I Am Gluten Free.  That will be posted the week after Thanksgiving. You can view the previous Squash Fest posts here:


November 16, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesday 11/17/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

Last week we had over 30 entries which I think is a record for this carnival.  I love seeing all your entries each week, and I appreciate your participation.

November’s Challenge: Make a Gluten-Free Pie.  Link your pie recipes here on Wednesdays, and I’ll highlight them the following week.

Last Week’s Highlights:  We only had one real pie recipe submitted last week, and since it was the last submission you may have missed it.  However, Stephanie seems to think a quiche qualifies as pie, and after I submitted a rather quiche like breakfast pie last week, who am I to argue? J
Cranberry Walnut Pie from Extraordinary Life
Savory Veggie Quiche from No Grain, No Pain
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. This week we’ll hear from Iris of The Daily Dietribe with an acorn squash stuffing recipe.

My Submission:  I’m submitting a pie recipe I posted on Friday, but don’t miss the Ham Loaf I posted this week, and come back on Friday for some gluten free holiday tips.

Pumpkin Pie - Gluten & Dairy Free

pumpkin pie slice GFDF

The Carnival:  If you’re new, please read the guidelines.  Thanks for participating, and don't forget to leave a link back.



Gluten-Free Holiday Baking eBook


If you are looking for some great gluten-free holiday baking recipes, all in one place, you’re in luck!  Jeanine at The Baking Beauties has put together a collection of  recipes submitted by bloggers and readers.  This eBook contains over 35 recipes and it is completely free and available for you to download. 

You’ll find cookies, pies, truffles, cakes, and of course I had to contribute my cinnamon rolls.  It’s a great resource, and since it’s free, there’s no reason not to download it.  Stop by The Baking Beauties and learn more about it.  While you’re there, remember to thank Jeanine for doing this.


November 15, 2010


Ham Loaf

ham loaf whole2The holidays are approaching, and while we often look for new recipes to serve on the actual holiday, it’s also nice to have new ways to use the leftovers.  This is a great way to use leftover cooked ham.  I know Thanksgiving is turkey day, but some people might also serve ham.  I actually used turkey ham for this recipe.

Ham loaf might not be new to you, but was new for me.  I was looking for a way to use up some ham and came across a ham loaf recipe.  I then looked up other similar recipes and came up with a combination of things I liked best about each.  We really enjoyed this ham loaf and I know I’ll be making it again.

I have seen recipes for larger loaves, but they take longer to cook (up to 2 hours).  An hour cooking time is pushing it for me.  I put the loaf together in the morning, placed it in the loaf pan, covered it with foil, and refrigerated it until evening.  Then while the oven was preheating I made the glaze to go on top.

Most glaze recipes use some vinegar with the water, or even all vinegar.  My family does not like vinegar and I was afraid it would ruin the ham loaf for them.  Feel free to substitute apple cider vinegar for part of the water in the glaze.

ham loaf slice

Gluten-Free Ham Loaf

Grind the cooked ham by finely chopping it in a food processor.  (If you have a meat grinder that should work too.)

ham - groundPlace all the loaf ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low for about a minute of just until all the ingredients are well combined (no lumps of potato flakes).  Or put the ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand.

Press the mixture together and place it in a greased/sprayed 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Press it into a loaf shape. 

Combine the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until boiling.  Boil a couple of minutes, then pour over the loaf.

Bake the loaf at 375° for about 45 – 55 minutes, basting once or twice. 

View Printable Recipe

This post is part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.  All are food carnivals which are not gluten-free, but you may find some naturally gluten-free recipes there as well as inspiration for converting recipes to be gluten free.

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November 14, 2010


How to Peel Garlic

Using garlic is one of my favorite ways to add flavor to food.  I didn’t always use it, but it is something I have learned to cook with.  When I first started using garlic, I only used the jars of minced garlic.  I still keep a small jar in the refrigerator for those times when I run out of fresh or am in a real hurry.  However, I now prefer to use fresh cloves of garlic. 

When you buy fresh garlic, you get a bulb which is made up of multiple cloves.  The cloves have layers of peel around them and the whole bulb.  Before you can chop or mince garlic for cooking, you need to peel the cloves, and sometimes that can be tedious.  Here is the easiest way I have found to peel garlic.

Separate the cloves you want to use, and use a sharp knife to cut little bit from each end of the clove.

garlic unpeeled

Lay the flat side of your chopping knife on a clove and carefully (watch the sharp edge!) press on the knife with the palm of your hand.  Use enough pressure to cause the clove to break slightly.

garlic crushed

Now the garlic peel should come right off.

garlic peeled
If you need your garlic clove whole for some reason, there is another method that is kind of fun, but it doesn’t always work.  I just recently learned this from reading Cooking Light magazine while sitting at the orthodontist.

Once again, trim the ends of the garlic cloves (Cooking Light did not suggest this step, but I find it helps) and place them in a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl with a glass lid or dish.  I used a saucer.

garlic in bowl

Holding the lid or plate securely, shake the bowl vigorously.  If you’re lucky, the peels will fall off all the cloves.  If not, at least a couple should be peeled and you can try shaking again.  Any that sill have peel on them should be pretty easy to peel by hand at this point.

garlic in bowl peeled

How do you peel garlic?


November 13, 2010


Surfing Saturday 11/13/10


I’ll be enjoying some beautiful countryside as I visit my parents today.  We’re in for some great weather too.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Gluten-Free/Celiac Information
Gluten-Free Cooking Tips for the Holidays from Carol Fenster
Thyroid Cancer Increased with Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac

Food (not necessarily gluten-free but adaptable and/or inspirational)
Roasted Garlic Three Ways
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

How to Properly Feed Your Guests
Surprising Traits that Reveal Your Personality
Homemade Puzzles for Preschoolers

20 Places to Find Free Books Online

Animal/Nature Photos or Videos
Funny Animal Photos
White Tigers Get New Mom
Orange Bugs
Red Fox


November 12, 2010


Pumpkin Pie - Gluten & Dairy Free

pumpkin pie slice GFDF
I avoided making pies for many years, but last year was a breakthrough for me.  I learned to make gluten-free pie crust and fresh pumpkin puree.  I shared my gluten-free pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it. 

This fall when I went dairy free, pumpkin pie was one of the first things I thought about missing.  For some reason I thought it would be really difficult to replace the evaporated milk in the pie and the butter in the crust.  How silly of me.

The other night we had a very early dinner, so afterwards the kids asked if I could make a dessert for later.  I responded with, “I could make a pie.”  You should have seen their eyes light up!  When I told them I had a pie pumpkin that I needed to use, they weren’t as excited.  Pumpkin pie wasn’t their first choice, but it was all I had to work with.  Plus the fact that I had been wanting to try a dairy free version.

First, I needed a dairy free pie crust.  I could have used my gluten-free pastry dough recipe that I recently used for a breakfast pie.  It worked well dairy free, but I really wanted to try my first pie crust recipe.  When I started making it, I realized it calls for a little bit of millet flour.  I didn’t have any on hand, so I decided to use sorghum flour instead.  In place of the butter I used Spectrum organic shortening (non hydrogenated palm oil).  The crust was pretty good, but the sorghum flour made it drier and more crumbly.  Next time, I’ll definitely go back to using millet flour.

Next, I needed a substitute for evaporated milk in the pie filling.  I thought coconut milk would work well, but my pickiest son thought I should use almond milk.  He doesn’t dislike coconut milk, but he doesn’t like coconut flavor in just anything, and he would be able to taste it.  The original recipe called for 1 cup evaporated milk, but I only used 3/4 cup almond milk.  Instead, I used 1/4 more pumpkin puree.  Otherwise, everything was the same.

The pie baked beautifully.  This time I put foil on the edge of the crust to keep it from browning too much.  The result was a very delicious pie that we finished off in one evening.  In fact, the kids who were not so thrilled with pumpkin pie both commented on how good the pie actually was.  I think they forgot how much better pumpkin pie is when made with fresh pumpkin puree.

pumpkin pie whole GFDF

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

Prepare the pie crust dough according to directions, but let it rest while you put together the rest of the ingredients. 

Combine all the ingredients using a fork to mix them together. 

Roll and press the pie dough into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Add the filling to the unbaked pie crust.  Bake at 400 degrees 45-55 minutes (longer for a 9 inch pie). 

Cover the crust with foil or a pie shield after about 30 minutes.   You can use foil by cutting a large round hole in the center of a piece of foil and placing it over the pie, loosely forming it to the sides of the pie dish. 

Let cool (at least mostly) before cutting.

View Printable Recipe

For more great cinnamon recipes visit Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.  This post is also a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays where you will find many (but not all) gluten-free recipes.

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November 11, 2010


Delicata Squash Stuffed with Orzo: Squash Fest

HeidiProfile3 Heidi is a stay-at-home mom  who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005.  Later, her oldest son was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 5.  In 2010, after her youngest son was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a casein intolerance and an egg allergy, Heidi and her husband  began trying something different with their children: raising them to love natural, whole foods.  Heidi shares the great recipes she’s found, as well as information on her new passion, understanding the complexity of gluten sensitivity on her blog Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom.

Orzo Stuffed Delicata Squash 
I love autumn and all the foods that come alive this time of year.  Apples, chile (part of the territory of living in New Mexico), cranberries, pomegranates, and winter squash.  Prior to this year, my squash experience had been limited to just 3 varieties: acorn, butternut and pumpkin (and typically doused with something sweet like maple syrup or Cool Whip).

Blogging for the past year and a half has been one of the greatest gifts of my life because it opened the doors to an entire world of ingredients I had never known before.  I greet each day with the anticipation of learning something new from some really amazing food bloggers and it makes me a little sad that it took 36 years and a life altering celiac diagnosis to get to where I am today.  I was raised on highly refined convenience foods loaded with chemical preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, partially hydrogenated fats and added sodium and sugar (but because they were fortified with added nutrients, we were told those foods were nutritious).

It feels good to finally be free from that snow job.

So this year I decided to break away from the typical repertoire of mainstream grocery store offerings and discovered a vast selection of bizarre looking winter squashes at my local co-op.  We have tried all sorts of new (to us) varieties of squash including Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard, Kabocha and Delicata.  What's been particularly special for me as a parent, is watching my kids giggle at the sight of all the funny looking squashes and come up with new names for them like "Frankenfoot" and "IchaKaboca Crane" (which of course made them even tastier, LOL!).

Winter squashes are a great source of Vitamins A and C as well as potassium and fiber.  Winter squash is also a good source of Vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate and they even contain omega-3 fatty acids.  You can read more about the amazing health benefits of winter squash on

The Frankenfoot Delicata squash is also called a “sweet potato squash” because of it’s creamy pulp and similar taste.  Originally, I was just going to roast it, but I decided to look around for something more unique instead (as if the Delicata weren't unique enough).

A recipe for Delicata Squash Stuffed with Orzo in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce (click here for the full recipe) on caught my eye.  Michael’s creation was too beautiful to ignore, so I set my sights on creating a modified gluten-free version of it.

The biggest obstacle to this recipe was obviously the orzo pasta because there doesn’t seem to be a GF version on the market (here’s an idea: maybe companies could quit trying to make more gluten-free brownies and focus on something more useful like GF orzo!).  After doing a little bit of digging online, I found another blogger who showed how she makes her own orzo and I shared the information about that on my blog here.

Following Michael's recipe was a snap (I'm not really a recipe developer, more of a recipe tweaker/gluten-free tinkerer).  The squash was easy to prepare and assembling the dish took no time at all.  Well, except for the orzo.  I spent way too much time on the pasta, especially for a post on squash!  I ended up forgoing the bread crumbs and pumpkin seeds because I had a few growlers barking at my heels. No matter, my husband and oldest son loved this dish.

A little confession here: I've been battling a chronic sinus infection for six months now and have lost my sense of smell (and therefore taste).  I hope to have this cleared up soon, but in the meantime all of the tasting and therefore recipe tweaking on my blog has been courtesy of my official taste-testers (the food I prepare is for them anyway, right?).  My husband really enjoyed this dish, although he did say that upon initially seeing all of the ingredients that don't usually "go together," he was skeptical.  But as the flavors began to meld for him, he was impressed.  None of the ingredients seemed to overpower each other but blended quite well into something new (his words).  Just enough sweet and nutty flavor from the squash ("earthy" as he would say) to balance the tart punch of the dried cranberries and pomegranate seeds.  The hint of sage from the sauce added a pleasurable third dimension of flavor.  My son was not as descriptive, other than to say he liked it and then he ate the whole thing (which for a 7 year old, is pretty much all I'm going for!).

What I am starting to realize is just how versatile winter squash can be (so much more than a maple syrup and whipped topping  delivery vehicle) and how it can be a better "base" ingredient to so many wonderful dishes.  I could easily see our family having more fun with these under-appreciated vegetables.  Instead of reaching for the same boring potatoes (there's only so much you can do with a potato), I will be wandering the produce aisles of my co-op looking for more funny-looking squash.

And I know what my husband will be planting in our garden next year! :-D

You can view the previous Squash Fest posts here:SquashFest3


November 9, 2010


Gluten-Free Wednesdays 11/10/10

Gluten-Free Wednesdays2

I apologize for not visiting and commenting on everyone’s links last week.  Being gone for two days was more tiring and put me farther behind in everything than I anticipated.  You can read about my trip to General Mills here.  I always appreciate each person’s participation.

Giveaway:  I have a Live Gluten Freely giveaway going on right now with lots of General Mills products.

November’s Challenge: Make a Gluten-Free Pie.  Link your pie recipes here on Wednesdays, and I’ll highlight them the following week.

Last Week’s Highlights:  I was pleased to see a few pie links last week.
Apple Pie with Crumb Topping from Loving Life’s Little Moments
Caramel Apple Pie from I Made Toast
Hawaiian Pie with Coconut Crust from Easy to be Gluten Free
Squash Fest:  Don’t forget to stop by on Thursdays for a guest post on squash. This week we’ll hear from Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom with a stuffed delicata squash recipe.

My Submission:

Breakfast Pie
breakfast pie 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.



Live Gluten Freely Giveaway

Sunday I shared with you my experience at General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis.  Today I have a giveaway from General Mills through My Blog Spark.  General Mills now makes over 300 products that are labeled gluten free.  These products are made in a dedicated environment and are tested to less than 20 parts per million for gluten.  I prefer to consume products that are tested to 10 ppm and are part of an outside certification program such as GFCO.  Therefore, I only use products such as those in this giveaway occasionally.  Please remember that you are responsible for determining what products are safe for you or your loved one to eat.

Having said that, this is a great giveaway!  One winner will receive one of each of the products shown in the picture below.

Genera Mills Gluten Free Products
I was provided with all of the above products from General Mills through My Blog Spark.  If you’re interested in knowing more about these products, here are a few of my previous reviews:
I think Lara Bars are a great on-the-go snack filled with nuts and fruit.  Potato Buds are a terrific substitute for bread crumbs in recipes such as meatloaf, meatballs, and salmon/crab cakes.

If you would like to win this giveaway, leave a comment on this post. Email readers need to click over to my blog where 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, November 14th at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.  I will select the winner randomly using  Once contacted, the winner needs to respond within 24 hours.   After I have heard back from the winner, I  will announce the winner on my Facebook page.


November 8, 2010


Breakfast Pie

I did it.  The first week of the challenge I created a pie.  I didn’t mean to, but that’s how it ended up.  Of course, when I wrote the pie challenge, I envisioned dessert pies, and this pie is meant for a meal.  But it is a pie with a bottom and top crust.

breakfast pie slice

You see, we often have breakfast food for dinner on Saturday nights.  Last Saturday, it was 5:00 before I began thinking about what to make.  I had a tube of frozen turkey sausage so I threw it in some cold water to start thawing and later finished the thawing in the microwave.  I flipped through my favorite cookbook, and saw a recipe for sausage bites.  They were meant to be a snack or party food, but they sounded good to me.  This particular cookbook is not gluten free and the recipe called for two cans of crescent rolls.  I decided I would us my multipurpose pastry dough instead, but didn’t know how much to make.  I decided to make a single recipe, but it turned out not to be enough to line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan and have a layer for the top.  So I simply went smaller and put it into a pie dish.  I used a 10 inch pie plate, but 9 inch would be better. 

I changed the filling slightly by increasing the egg and omitting the cheese.  I made the whole thing dairy free by adapting the pastry dough.  I used Spectrum shortening instead of butter (I haven’t found soy free Earth Balance sticks), and almond milk.  The dough was not quite as easy to roll out, but it still worked well and tasted great.

The pie held together very well.  We all enjoyed it plain, but it seemed to be begging for something on top of it.  The family started pulling out different sauces and trying them.  One son liked Ranch dressing.  Salsa probably would have been good, but we were out.  Taco sauce was not good.  My husband was convinced that a white biscuit type gravy would be just right, while a couple of us really liked jelly.  Just a little jelly gave it a real breakfast feel.  It was like eating sausage and eggs with biscuits and jelly.  Yum!

breakfast pie whole

Gluten-Free Breakfast Pie

Prepared the dough according to directions, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cook the sausage in a skillet until the meat is done. Drain.  Break the eggs into a medium bowl and beat lightly.  Add the sausage and cheese (if using) and stir to combine.

Roll half of the dough into a circle and place in the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Add the sausage mixture.  Roll the other half of the dough and place on top of the pie.  Pinch the edges together to seal.  Poke holes in the top of the pie with a fork.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Cool about 5 minutes before cutting.

View Printable Recipe

For more great recipes (though not all gluten free) visit Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.


November 7, 2010


Gluten-Free Summit at General Mills

Last week I mentioned that I was travelling to Minneapolis, and now I can tell you why.  General Mills held a gluten-free summit!  The summit included ten gluten-free bloggers, Shelly Gannon, wife of former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon, Danna Korn, author and founder of and Raising Our Celiac Kids (ROCK), and Carol McCarthy Shilson, Executive Director of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.  There were also numerous General Mills and contractor employees.

GF Summit bloggers1Shirley, Lynn, Vanessa, Maureen, and Jill

The summit was about all things gluten free, not just General Mills products, and I believe that all of us bloggers came away from the summit with the feeling that we had been heard.  Our experiences, our frustrations, our concerns, our needs, and our wants were all voiced and General Mills listened.  In fact, I think they found it very enlightening.  I’m not free to give you any specifics on General Mills’ plans, but I can say they are interested in helping and becoming involved in the gluten-free community by doing more than creating gluten-free products.  I think one small fact that really helped us believe that to be true is that the CEO of General Mills has a gluten free family member.  General Mills is a major corporation, and their honest desire to understand and get involved in the gluten-free community is a big deal, and something I am grateful for.

You might be wondering, as we were before attending, how they fed us.  Tuesday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano.  That’s right, an Italian restaurant!  With all the excitement I forgot to take pictures until dessert, but we were served gluten-free bread and had a full menu of gluten-free choices, including gluten-free pasta dishes and pizza.  Because of being dairy-free I went with filet mignon and vegetables which were delicious.   Here are a couple of the desserts (I had the sorbet on the left):

GF Summit Sorbet GF Summit Chocolate Cake

For breakfast on Wednesday, we had delicious baked goods from French Meadow Bakery, many of which were dairy free.  For lunch we had a terrific selection of Pad Thai dishes from Big Bowl.

GF Summit Breakfast
Wednesday we met as a combined group and in smaller groups for lots of discussion.  One really big concern that both Shirley of Gluten Free Easily and I raised was the issue of cross contamination with General Mills’ gluten-free products.  It was interesting to learn that although some of their products say “Made in a gluten free processing facility,” it is actually not a separate building but what was described as a dedicated environment (we did not see any of the processing facilities).  While they do test to 20 ppm, the proposed FDA standard, many people, including Shirley and my son, do react to their products.  Our suggestion, which was echoed by Carol McCarthy Shilson, was to enroll in the Gluten-Free Certification Organization program.  We tried to impress on them the fact that it is a matter of trust.  We need to feel safe about eating their products, and if we can’t do that, then their involvement in the gluten-free community will be hindered.  While nothing could be promised by the people there, we were at least encouraged by their willingness to listen and their openness to criticism.

We ended the day by doing a little baking in the Betty Crocker kitchens.  We broke into groups of two or three and prepared desserts from recipes they gave us using their gluten-free dessert mixes or the gf Bisquick and other ingredients.  I got to work with Cinde of Gluten-Free Taste of Home.  It was a fun experience, though those of us who are gluten free (some of the bloggers are not gluten free themselves but have a gf child or spouse) did not feel safe eating the products because of the wooden spoons, rolling pins, and spatula handles that could easily harbor gluten.  It was a learning experience for General Mills!

GF Summit Cinde & MeMe & Cinde

All in all, it was a wonderful, though very full and tiring, trip.  I’m still catching up from being gone two days.  I loved meeting everyone involved, but I was especially happy to connect with the other bloggers there.  They included:
I will have more to share with you in the months to come.  In the mean time, you can stop by the General Mills gluten free website, Live Gluten Freely for recipes and more.  Also, be on the lookout for another General Mills giveaway.

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