September 13, 2013

September 13, 2013 is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!

I almost forgot that Today was National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!

Thankfully I was so kindly reminded, where would I be without social media offering support, advice, and deliciously ridiculous gluten free recipes! You know what I am talking about. Although my family and friends have always been wonderful, none have Celiac's so it is nice to relate to others who do. But that is not what today is about, it is about sharing your Gluten-Free lifestyle. 

Bake something special for yourself, your family, your friends, or co-workers today. Whether you're living with Celiac Disease, know someone who is, or you just have an interest in alternative diets and want to explore a Gluten-Free lifestyle, everyone will appreciate and/or be intrigued by the effort you make today!

I can't wait to make the famous Delicious GF Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies that all my family and friends love! Thanks to Gluten-Free Goddess for testing and sharing this wonderful recipe!

December 30, 2012

A Taste of Christmas

Each year it is more and more difficult to shop for everyone including family and friends. After to much time spent on Pinterest I decided I would make homemade Holiday Gifts that I could give to everyone. Something a bit more personable and yummy straight from my kitchen. With the help of Andrew, I tested several gluten free cookie recipes out. I don't think he minded much, who could resist a reason for a cup of milk and cookies. I settled on two recipes that I found online. Confessions of a Gluten Free Mom and Gluten Free Goddess have such delicious, easy to follow recipes. What I love most is that there is always room to make the recipe fit your lifestyle and your tastes. 

I enjoyed baking for once, let's be honest I am not a baker! Instead of using a Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour mix, I enjoyed shopping for and testing out different Flours. I did have a hard time finding Sorghum Flour, so I ordered it online at I found that a pack of canning jars were reasonably priced. These are wonderful because you can reuse after you make the cookies. 

After filling all jars with the Gluten Free Cookie ingredients I attached a hand written recipe card, with instructions on how to bake. 
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 28 to 30 Cookies

1 cup Sorghum Flour
3/4 cup Potato Starch
1/2 cup Almond Flour
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
3 cup Canola Oil
2 large Eggs, beaten
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks (I prefer 60% or more)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the Sorghum Flour, Potato Starch, Almond Flour, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, and Brown Sugar. Add in the oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat the dough for two minutes, until it is sticky and smooth. Add in the dark chocolate chips, and stir by hand to combine. Cover and chill the dough into balls (no bigger than 1 tbsp size, the bigger the size the bigger the cookies spread out when baking). Place a dozen or so on the lined baking sheet and press down lightly-not to flat. Bake for 14 minutes (I cooked mine for 12-13 minutes due to my oven). The cookies will look golden-but still feel slightly soft to the touch. They crisp as they cool. Cook cookies on a wire rack. For more information on this recipe please visit Gluten Free Goddess!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
Makes 12 to 15 Cookies
1 cup Superfine White Rice Flour (or Sweet Rice Flour)
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1 cup Cornstarch
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Salt (or 1/2 tsp if you prefer less)
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Shortening (I substituted 1 cup room temp butter)
1 Egg
1 1/2 Vanilla Extract
Extra Potato Starch for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, use 2 cookie sheets wrapped in parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time until combined. The dough will be soft. On a bread board sprinkle with potato starch, take half the dough with your hands and flatten it and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using plastic wrap over the dough while using a rolling pin will help with sticking. Cut cookies in desired shapes and place on cookie sheet. You can re-roll the scraps and make more cookies until the dough is gone. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. Remove the pan immediately from the oven and let cookies cool on pan, then remove to wire rack. For more information on this recipe, please visit Gluten Free Confessions!

The homemade jars were such a hit! I received so many compliments on how I put these gifts together and how delicious they were. I brought a batch of the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies with me to all my Holiday parties. No one had any idea they were Gluten Free, which always gives me a giggle. It is so great when I can cook or bake something that tastes just like it would if it were filled with Gluten. With some jars left over, it will come in handy in the future when I need to make something or just need to fill my sweet tooth! 

I also used some jars and filled them with my favorite Gluten-Free Super Energy Bars. This was a great option for the more health conscious friends and family! Each recipe just as good and I loved the way the ingredients looked layered in the jar. This will have to be a Holiday Tradition in my house!

November 24, 2012

Pass The Pie Please

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I couldn't be more grateful to share it with family and friends. This year I had two Thanksgivings, yes I said it....TWO! Both hosts were absolutely wonderful and made both 100% gluten free. Amazing right? With a bit of knowledge, experimenting and preparation they were both a big hit! And the best part was no one even thought twice about it being Gluten Free. I have such wonderful friends and family who were adventurous to try something new and support my life style.
Dinner was easy to plan, we cooked the turkey and stuffing separate and made it with gluten free bread. Whole Foods sells gluten free bread for stuffing pre-cut in the freezer section. Sides were the usual; squash, mashed potatoes, and more vegetables to boot! Plus you can not forget the apple cider and wine!
Dessert took some planning, we made apple crisps and pumpkin pie. After some research and I found a Gluten Free magazine that is wonderful in all the right ways. In the Living Without Magazine I used the Mary's All-Purpose Flour Blend for the Apple Crisp and it turned out super delicious! As for the pumpkin pie, I used a Gluten Free Whole Foods Bakery Pie Crust and canned Pumpkin Pie Filling by Libby's. It is naturally Gluten Free and listed on the can.

Mary’s All-Purpose Flour Blend
Makes 6 Cups

2 cups Brown Rice Flour
2 cups White Rice Flour
1 1/3 cups Potato Starch (not Potato Flour)
2/3 cup Tapioca Starch/Flour

Mix ingredients together. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.

Apple Crisp
Makes 6 Servings

4 cups Sliced tart apples (about 4 medium)
2/3 to 3/4 cup Brow Sugar (packed)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Gluten Free Oats
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/3 cup Butter or Margarine, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees, grease square pan, 8x8x2 inches. Place apple slices in pan. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm and with light cream or ice cream.

After all the planning and experimenting Thanksgiving dinner times 2 were a hit! Not to mention the dessert's were all gone by the end of the night. I will be doing this again next year! Perhaps with a fun twist. Until then I am going to eat all the pie I can!

October 21, 2012

How Do You Like Them Apples?

I couldn't miss going apple picking this year, it is one of my favorite times of the year! We decided to try a different orchard this year. Honey Pot Hill Orchards, had a gorgeous bounty of apples, pears, and more.
Today started off sunny and suddenly in the middle of picking apples and trying each variety it started to rain. We quickly took cover to the Appleshop where Andrew ate warm apple cider donuts and not to mention picked up a fresh Pumpkin Pie. After 45 minutes of rain the sunshine came back out and we happily returned to apple picking. Unfortunately the cider donuts nor the pie were Gluten Free, but I had all the apples I could choose from and they were all GF!

It is a miracle that we had any apples to take home, since I could not stop eating them! I can't wait to start cooking and eating all the apples we picked!

July 1, 2012

Birthday Celebrations!

May and June are always big birthday months! Filled with cake, ice cream and fun events this year I had a blast celebrating my birthday, Andrew's, and Maryellen's!

Who could resists Gluten Free Salted Carmel with Dark Chocolate Chunks Gelato from Whole Foods? YUM!!!

 Andrew surprised me with dinner and dessert at Bobby C's! This restaurant features an Italian Gluten Free Menu and the dessert was fabulous. With good wine and dessert I was super happy to spend this evening with Andrew!

I ordered a Gluten Free cake specially made for my friend Maryellen. She is quite lucky to have a birthday the day after mine. So this year I surprised her with a delicious gluten free cake from Glutenus Minimus! As she has gone along with me on this Gluten Free journey by choice of a healthier lifestyle!

Andrew's birthday always follows mine and this year I had to plan big! I served him one of his many favorite Beers, ice cream cake and tickets to see the New England Revolution vs Seattle Sounders! We had a BLAST!!

Gluten-Free Super Energy Bars

I have been feeling low on energy lately and have found myself eating every few hours. To help curb and satisfy my cravings I went in search for the perfect pick me up. I found a recipe I liked via, Imagine Childhoold Blog. I have done some changes to suit my palette and I enjoy making these yummy treats each time. Thank you for the inspiration Imagine Childhood!

Depending on my mood I like to add a mixture of nuts and seeds each time. My favorite fruits to add are raisins or cranberries. The best part about this recipe is that I keep it in the freezer to snack on, on a cold day.

Gluten-Free Super Energy Bars
Makes 36 Bars
1 cup raw almonds or mixed nuts (coarsely chopped)
1 cup raw pepitas (and/or sunflower seeds)
1 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins)
1/2 cup toasted flax seed (grinding it will give you the full nutritional benefits, but you can leave some seeds whole for the extra nutty crunch)
1 cup honey
1-4 oz of the darkest gluten-free chocolate you enjoy (optional)

Mix all of your dry ingredients together (except the chocolate) in a parchment lined baking pan. In a saucepan, heat honey until it is at the hard ball candy stage (300-310 degrees). Stir continuously during this process and test to see if it is ready by dropping a bit of the boiling honey into a glass of ice water. As soon as the honey turns into hard candy when you do this, it is done.

Quickly pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula. Time is of the essence here so don't pour the candied honey on until you are ready to mix it all up. Within a few minutes the mixture will have cooled enough to be able to press it out using another sheet of parchment paper on top of the mixture. Use the palms of your hands to press the bars into a uniform thickness (about 1/4-1/2 inches). When you are done pressing it out remove the top layer of parchment and place the sheet into the freezer for a few moments. When you can peel the bar mix up off the bottom layer of parchment take it out of the freezer and cut it into bars. Return the bars into the freezer for a little longer. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water and dip the bottoms of the bars into the chocolate and let it cool. Store in an airtight container with layers of parchment between the layers of bars. Keep in a cool place.

February 26, 2012

Putting my love of Food, Health and Art back on top!

Life seems be getting in the way of things lately. 
Everything stops today and today I am putting my love of food, health and art on top!

For the last few months I have been having challenges with my health and with the newest venture of finding a Celiac specialist in the Boston area I am learning to be my own advocate and press forward to find answers or at least find a way to regulate my health. With my love of food still going strong where can I go wrong! Armed with new found information and my eagerness to continue to learn about my Celiac's Disease I am marching forth and continuing. 

Where do I begin? I could just start at the beginning now but what fun would that be if I didn't share all of the fun adventures of cooking, traveling, and exploring from the last few months. 

This past fall I really got into the baking spirit and started with an easy but very delicious Banana Bread. Doesn't it look fabulous!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Serves 10

1/3 cup Canola Oil
2/3 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Bananas, mashed
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chunks (60% or more)
(Additional: Raisins, Walnuts, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9" x 5" non-stick loaf pan. Cream together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer. Add flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon to egg mixture, alternating adding bananas.

Beat until smooth. Stir in dark chocolate chunks, nuts or raisins. Batter will be somewhat soft. Transfer to pan and bake for 1 hour.