Friday, January 23, 2015

Oatmeal Cookies w/ White Chocolate Chips and Craisins ~Gluten Free



I love cookies! Especially BIG cookies! Don't you feel better saying to yourself, "I only had one or two  cookies." Instead of, "I can't believe I just ate 4 cookies!" Yeah, me neither. Who am I kidding?

I love cookies!

This is the same recipe that I have always used for my favorite Oatmeal cookies, except I swapped all of the gluten filled ingredients for gluten-free. The first time I made these after being gluten-free I got sick. I was testing myself to see if regular rolled oats (not GF) would bother me. Big mistake.

I decided, after that one time and one time only, to not use my body as a torturous experiment specimen and just stick to only strictly gluten-free. I was trying to rationalize that oats are naturally gluten-free and that the cross contamination may not be enough to affect me. Wrong! Double wrong! ~~~Misery.

I listed the recipe below according to how I usually make these, but it is very forgiving and easily substituted. I have used turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar. You can skip the egg and use 1/4 cup of applesauce in its place. As far as the chocolate chips and craisins go, you can put in whatever you prefer: dark chocolate chips, raisins, nuts. My son is allergic to most tree nuts, so I do not use nuts in anything.

Just make sure that ALL of the ingredients you are using are gluten-free. Don't trust that spices, chocolate chips, or any other baking supply is gluten free. Make sure it is either labeled or verified by the company.

Cookie + fruit smoothie = breakfast :)



Monday, January 19, 2015

Black Bean Soup Recipe ~Gluten Free

It has been crazy cold the last couple of weeks and I have needed some serious, warm me up, comfort food.

Soup! I need soup! Some slightly spicy Black Bean Soup that takes about 5 minutes from start to finish with my awesome NutriNinja. There is nothing better than easy and yummy.

I had been wanting a Ninja to make smoothies with so we got one right before Christmas. There is hardly a day that goes by that it is not used. Love it. I never anticipated using it to make soup though. I have an immersion blender that I usually use and it certainly could be used for this also (or a regular blender), but the Ninja is just fun.

Watch the magic happen right before your eyes. Before . . .


After . . .



Here is the very yummy, super simple Black Bean Soup Recipe if you would like to whip up your own batch. You really can add in any extras that you would like to your bowl: sour cream, cilantro, onions, avocado, guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla chips.


Ingredients:

2 cans black beans - drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
1/2 cup fresh salsa
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper (optional)

Add one can of beans plus all of the other ingredients into your Ninja or blender of choice and puree.
Pour puree into sauce pan along with the other can of beans and let simmer 5 minutes or so to heat and incorporate flavors.

Makes approximately 3-4 servings depending on the size of your bowl.

I told you it was super simple and don't forget healthy.





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spritz Cookie Recipe ~ Gluten Free

If there has ever been a cookie that has made me want to spew obscenities, it is these little bites of buttery love. Christmas is the only time these are in my house. I am not up for self-torture more than once a year. Well, up until now that is.




I absolutely positively recommend this dough to everyone, whether they need to be gluten free or not. It is dreamy to work with, unlike that gluten filed [bleep,bleep.bleep] dough of my past. No more having to reload a kazillion misshapen lumps of dough that wouldn't come loose from the gun. They are dreamy.

Everyone was smiling while making these. If Momma is happy, everyone is happy!



I am so in love with these, now quick and easy, cookies that I am going to make them for every holiday I can think of. Heart shaped spritz with be piled up for Valentine's Day very soon. I am already dreaming of those cuties half dipped in icing with sprinkles galore.

If you are ready to bust out the cookie gun and get your bake on, here is my recipe that I adapted from my old BHG Cookbook.


Once cookies are cool you can dip tops in icing and apply sprinkles &/or colored sugar. If you do not want icing on them apply sugar &/or sprinkles before baking so they will stick to the cookies.

Happy baking!

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend

Gone are the days of buying a bag of all-purpose flour and not having to use an ounce of thought. I'm thinking I may need to do a kitchen remodel. Maybe something like this . . .


Okay maybe a bit over the top, but seriously!!

Where to even start with these gluten free flours/starches (that I didn't even know existed)? And the fact that everyone seems to have their own idea of the "best blend" for cookies, or cakes, or breads.

I love to bake. Let me rephrase that~ I love to bake and eat all of the yumminess created. Now that I have energy, I have been busy trying to figure out how to change all of my beloved recipes over to gluten-free. This is no easy endeavor.

So where did I start? Scouring the internet and reading everything I could find about the different flours and starches that are used to mimic a wheat based flour including: taste, nutritional value, how they react with liquids and fats, ratios, etc.. I will not reinvent the wheel and list it all out, but rather lead you to a few places for information that I found helpful:

Fork and Beans
Gluten Free Girl
Gluten Free Goddess

I decided on starting with a fairly simple blend that seems to work at mimicking the taste of wheat flour (no bean for me). I also have to avoid the use of tree nuts due to my son's allergy to them, so almond flour is out.

My Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend

To make up a 9 cup batch I use:

4 1/2 c White Rice flour
1 1/2 c Sorghum flour
2 c Potato starch
1 c Tapioca starch

I opted to NOT add xanthan gum to the AP blend and will add in the needed amount depending on what I am making. The general rule of thumb that I have found is to add:

1/4 - 1/2 tsp. per cup for cookies
1/2 tsp per cup for cakes
3/4 - 1 tsp. per cup for breads

This will definitely not be used for everything, but worked well in my Christmas cookies. Now I can get on with sharing some of the recipes I have altered using this flour blend ~Soon to come!





Friday, December 12, 2014

First Gluten Free Thanksgiving

I was just sure that everything was going to taste gross and/or weird, lacking all of the usual comforts of our Thanksgiving meal. I am so glad I was wrong. Yes things were a bit different, but overall it was good.

Nothing like going gluten free a couple of weeks before the biggest cooking day of the year. I scoured the internet for recipes to make in place of my usuals. I did not have time to test them out beforehand so I just tweaked things as I went and hoped for the best. I was very appreciative for those that have gone {gluten-free} before me.

My biggest concern was how the rolls would turn out, or if they would even be edible, so I cheated and bought a package of gluten filled frozen dinner rolls for everyone else. I love baking breads and rolls and love nothing more than a warm yeasty chewy dinner roll. That was absolutely not the case with the rolls I made. They worked, but oh so not what I am use to. Wouldn't you know that my favorite food of all time is bread and all of its relatives. Yep, feeling a bit of a pity party coming on. Okay, I am over it already because I NEVER want to feel as horrible as I did on gluten- never ever ever again!

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Turkey (of course)- Premium All-Natural Butterball

Mashed potatoes and gravy- cornstarch in gravy
(no changes needed)

Stuffing- I cubed and dried out a loaf of LiveGFree white bread in place of my
usual bag of stuffing mix. Then I proceeded as usual.

Yams- My usual canned yams are gluten free. Top with butter,
brown sugar, marshmallows and bake.

Scalloped Corn- I didn't have a cracker replacement so scratched this.

Corn Pudding Casserole- I have never had this before.
It's not quite scalloped corn, but still yummy.

Green Bean Casserole- I do not love this, so I made the usual gluten filled
kind for everyone else. (cheated)

Roasted rainbow organic carrots

Dinner Rolls- Worked in a pinch, but would not make again.

Pumpkin and Pecan Pies- Argh!! My first attempt at gf pie crust.
What a rude awakening that was. This will be a whole post of its own.
 I made 2 different crusts and pieced/smashed/pressed gently, cursed and complained.
One of them not so good, the other one an okay starting point.

I wish I had all of these crazy awesome recipes to share with you that worked out perfect the first time. Not the case. My stuffing rocked, but that is a bit too simple to need a recipe for- darn. I do have quite a few recipes I will be sharing that I have actually tested and adjusted to my liking.

The great news is that everyone enjoyed the meal and we have some great memories as a family. I will be much more prepared next year and it will definitely not be such a big learning curve. I've got this! Okay, maybe getting it slowly. Any tricks of the trade would be much appreciated :)


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