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Preview: Going Gluten-Free

Going Gluten-Free

A place for me to blog my experiment of going gluten-free and hopefully help others who are doing the same.

Updated: 2018-03-22T18:28:30.528-04:00


I'm baaaaaaaack!


Life is actually slowing down.  Oldest is off at school (well, Conservatory), and I'm only homeschooling two now.  My 11th grader will be dual-crediting at a local community college next fall and I will only have ONE that I'm responsible for!  WOW.

This, combined with kids changing preferences in activities has given me a little bit more free time to cook and experiment with new recipes.

I hope to at least post twice a week with some new recipes and even some new product reviews.

Gluten-free life is so much easier nowadays!  So many new products and they are GREAT products out there.

Stay TUNED!!!!

Zucchini Ravioli



It's been almost a year since I've posted a new recipe.  Really, a YEAR?!  I'd like to say that I've been having a lot of good fun, traveling the world, started a new job, whatever....but honestly, life happened.  School started.  My kids got busy, and therefore, I got busy, and so...not only did I not have time cook, but I really had very little time to do anything.

This year has had ups and downs. Laughs and tears. And here I am a year older, renewing my joy and heading back into the kitchen.

If you're on Facebook, you know all about the new food videos that float all over, every day I drool on my keyboard due to the culinary treasures that appear before my eyes. One has planted itself in my brain, and would not be gone until I made it for myself.  Zucchini Ravioli. You've seen the video.  You've drooled on YOUR keyboard, too. I know you have. Don't even bother lying to me.

As I began prepping meals to freeze for our vacation, I decided, I must try this concoction. I've made lasagna before, using zucchini as noodles, but never tried to use the zucchini as a wrapper. I investigated several different recipes and decided to make a conglomeration of them and make my own. This is what I came up with, I submit for your approval.

Zucchini Ravioli

2 large zucchini squash
1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta, or the equivalent of homemade ricotta
10 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan, divided
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
28 oz of your favorite pasta sauce (I like to use Pepino!)

Using a mandoline, slice zucchini into very thin strips.  Lay in single layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, 1/4 Cup of parmesan, 1/2 Cup mozzarella, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Mix well.

Prepare a 13 X 9" casserole dish by spraying with cooking spray and pouring about half the jar of pasta sauce in the bottom, spread to coat.

Lay two strips of zucchini down, in a cross pattern (one section will be shorter than the other).  Place a scoop of the zucchini mixture where the two strips of zucchini overlap.  Fold in shortest ends, and roll the rest of the way to create a little "square" package.  Place in prepared pan in a single layer.

Continue to make bundles until the pan is full.  Pour the rest of the sauce overtop the "raviolis".  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese overtop.  Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes - remove foil for the last five minutes.

Once removed from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Philly Steak Stroganoff


Well, it's been a while.  It's been summer, what can I say?  Between trying to soak up as much time at the pool, and still managing all of our summer activities, it's been quite a flurry of crazy in our house. It's hard for me to believe that we've already completed our first week of school for the new year, and we are embarking on our second.  My kids are real troopers, though, and are working hard to get done each day early enough to still hit the pool and make it to our evening activities.

I'm trying to recommit to my Trim Healthy Mama ways.  It's a great plan, but I've been a BAAAD BAAAD girl all summer, and my waistline has shown me just how bad.  I weighed myself this morning and I was horrified!

Well...they say to begin with "S" days, or "Satisfying" Days.  Well, let me just tell you, my dinner was definitely SATISFYING!

Philly Steak Stroganoff
1 1/2 - 2 lbs THIN sliced sirloin beef (I used the steak slices in our meat section NOT STEAKUMM!), cut into thin strips
10 oz Cremini Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
Small Onion, diced
Small Green Pepper, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
2 Tsp Herb-Ox Beef Granules (not an on plan ingredient!  You can use beef broth, but changes consistency)
1/2 Cup dry red wine (not a sweet wine, I used a Shiraz/Malbec blend)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

In a large wok heat about a tbs of olive oil on medium heat, sauté onions and peppers, after 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Continue to cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have cooked down.  Add beef granules and red wine.  Cook until the wine is reduced down by at least half.  Place veggie mixture in a bowl, return pan to medium heat.

Once pan has reheated, add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add beef and sautè until no longer pink.  Add garlic.  Cook until the beef is cooked through and any liquid that formed has cooked off.

Add veggies (and the juice from sitting!) back into the pan with the beef and garlic.  Add heavy cream.  Stir around the pan and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes at a good simmer.

I served this over Zoodles (well, spiralized Zucchini noodles that I lightly sautéd in a hot pan with a scant tsp of olive oil).  Only cook them for a very short amount of time, you want them to be a bit soft but still have texture.

I'm very satisfied over here!

Cappello's Gluten Free Pasta - A Review


I know, I know, where have I been, why haven't I been cooking?  I have been, just not much new, etc. Been doing a lot of Trim Healthy Mama recipes that are not my own.  Occasionally, I break from my diet and do something uncharacteristically decadent and naughty!  (For my THM friends, these should ONLY be used in an E setting, not an S setting at all!  LOL :) )

A while back, I read in a magazine about a new product line that specialized in fresh pasta.  Capello's.  There is Lasagna Sheets, Gnocchi and Fettuccini. Luckily, I live near a Wegman's and was able to purchase them fairly easily and not have to order them online.  They were very pricey, in store they were $8.99 - which to my amazement is cheaper than they are online!  And definitely not something I'm going to use on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis, maybe even not on a monthly basis.  An occasional treat, yep, sure will.

I made a lasagna for my husband and son, two of the pasta lovers in my house.  I believe my son eats some sort of pasta every day. I did the normal meat sauce/ricotta/mozzarella layering with the sheets and baked.  They were delicious, not gummy and wonderful.  I was able to make two regular lasagnas in bread pans.  I also had enough to make a vegetable lasagna in a bread pan.  This leads me to conclude that you'd be able to do a 9 X 13 pan fairly easily.  I also had a few small segments of sheets left that I used to make a few cannolini's out of with some left over vegetable filling.

All, very, very delicious.  I definitely recommend highly!

Black Bean Chili (THM E)


The weather in PA has been confusing to say the least.  Of course, this is rather normal around here.  One day it's hot, the next freezing.  And potholes are totally in bloom OUCH!  Our schedules are actually busier than normal and it's getting crazy.  Usually by Spring I'm ready to put away the crockpot and move on with fun spring menus.  This year, not so much.  Continuing to rely on the crockpot as I'm often out of the house during normal "dinner prep" hours...running kids to their evening activities.

Yesterday, I combined my recipe for black beans with some extra seasonings and some chicken and it turned out to be a very delicious black bean chili.  Will comment, I added ONE CUP of frozen organic non-gmo sweet corn.  I do corn is SERIOUS moderation, as in, 1 meal every couple of months as it's not purely on THM plan.  For the non-THMer, feel free to add more if you see fit.  Also, I love Tastefully Simple products, Onion Onion, Garlic Garlic and Seasoned Salt are my go-to products.  Worth every penny.  I'm listing in the recipe just as dried minced onion/garlic and seasoned salt, but do yourselves a favor and check into Tastefully Simple, you won't regret it!

Black Bean Chili (THM E)
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast*
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast - cubed*
2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Cup frozen corn
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 - 2 Tbs Ground Cumin (to your preference)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or to your heat preference)
Salt to taste

*you can use all ground chicken (increase to 2 lbs) or use 2 lbs of cubed boneless skinless chicken breast

Layer all ingredients into a 5 to 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours - adjust seasonings to your preference.

I liked served with 0% greek yogurt and a tiny sprinkling of 2% Cheese (small enough that you remain in an E setting).


Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (THM E)


Where've I been?  Here.  Buried under mountains of laundry, loads of dust and piles of paperwork.  Life has been a little crazy.  Three homeschooling kids, with lots of activities, I barely have time to breathe, let alone cook.

Newfound desire to cook more often, and Trim Healthy Mama are inspiring me.  Tonight, we're having stuffed peppers.  Usually, you use beef, and rice, and all sorts of things that just are not, well, healthy.  Definitely warm and comforting, but...not good for a waistline you're trying to decrease.

Hubby & I sketched out a menu for the week this week, based on our schedule, and the kids' schedules.  Tonight's meal must be a crock-pot meal, or it will not be done at all.  One kid at classes, taking two others on a field trip, then rushing home to take MIL to a doctors appointment means that I have to have it in the crockpot before I leave for the field trip.

We decided on Stuffed Peppers.  I'm making it THM-friendly so I don't have to be off-plan for dinner! :)  Patting self on back.

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 medium-sized Peppers (I used a combination of Green, Orange & Red), cut in half and seeded
1 1/2 lbs. of Ground Chicken Breast
1 1/2 Cups COOKED Tri-Color Quinoa (I like Ancient Grains Brand)
2 Tbs. Dried Minced Onion, divided
2 tsp. Dried Minced Garlic, divided
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt, divided
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (make sure there's no sugar in there!!!)

In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken breast, cooked quinoa, 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.  Mix well to combine ingredients.

Place a scoop of the chicken mixture into each of the halves of pepper - I like to overstuff a little bit - I know, I know, I shouldn't....but I mound it in there and create a dome on top!

Pour about 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a 5 to 6 quart crockpot.  Place as many peppers in one layer as you can, cover each tomato with a little sauce, add the rest of the peppers.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over all of it.  Sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.

Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!!!!

*sorry no picture - my family DEVOURED it too quickly!!!

Baked Ziti With Homemade Ricotta


I was feeling rather domestic this morning.  I always find when I'm short on time, the only thing I really WANT to do is cooking.  I know, that sounds counterintuitive, but cooking and baking relax me.  Help me focus on something other than my worries.  I've always loved it.

Anyway, last week I bought just a little too much milk, combined with the fact that my kids did not like the choices of cereals in the cabinet meant that there was WAY too much milk in my fridge this morning - all of it about to go bad!  I was able to salvage a half gallon to make ricotta cheese.  A task I've never done before, but seemed easy enough.  And the guilt over wasting milk when there are children in our community who would love that milk forced me to give it a go!

I'm glad I did.  Followed the recipe here.  Yummy.  Easy.

I turned it into a Baked Ziti for dinner tonight.  Can't wait.

Baked Ziti with Homemade Ricotta

1 recipe of homemade ricotta (or about 15 oz of pre made ricotta)
1 egg
1 8 oz box of your favorite GF pasta (I used Ancient Grains large Penne)
1 lb ground meat (I used Hatfield ground pork)
1 28 oz Can jarred tomato sauce (use your favorite that is GF) - I used Aldi's Simply Nature
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Prepare Ricotta.

Mix ricotta with 1 egg.

Prepare pasta, drain and rinse.

Brown ground meat, add jarred tomato sauce.  Set aside.

Return drained pasta to pot.  Add sauce, ricotta and 1 1/2 Cups of the shredded cheese.  Mix well and pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

Top with remaining Cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups


Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!  Seriously, folks, I can't even MAKE this stuff up to justify my baking bug.  I used to HATE pumpkin, but as I've aged, I've grown to love it, even crave it.  I'm still pretty picky about the things I eat with pumpkin.  I don't do pumpkin spice lattes (mostly because I don't do coffee...blech!), I don't do pumpkin flavored chocolate (icky!)...but I do do pumpkin cake.  Pumpkin cheesecake seemed like the perfect dessert.

Since following THM, I've been trying to figure out a good pumpkin recipe that I can crave.  As my usual, I can't just find a recipe and follow it to a "T", I have to take several and make a conglomeration that fits MY needs (and, well, let's be honest, what I have in my house!  HA HA HA!).

Here's what I came up with and I hope you like them as much as I do.  Creamy fall perfection. :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups (THM S)

1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Canned Pure Pumpkin
4 oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half or almond milk)
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/8 Cup + 1 Tbs Truvia (or your favorite sweetener equivalent)

Mix all ingredients in the blender.  Pour evenly into 4 4 oz greased Mason jars (or equivalent ramekins).  Bake in a 325 oven for 25 mins.  I placed mine in a water bath (using a square cake pan, I placed the mason jars in the pan and poured hot water about half way up the jars - this is referred to a bain-marie).

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the bain-marie for about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove jars and dry off the bottoms and allow to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight (if you can wait THAT long, seriously!).  Top with a small squirt of Light Whipped Cream (like Redi-whip).  Enjoy!

GF Sweet & Saltines


Last weekend we went to a pot-luck at a friend's house.  It was a lovely autumn evening, and we ate chili, salad, and lots of goodies there that I could not eat.  Sigh.  Such is the plague and curse of going to a pot-luck and being the only person who's gluten-free.  I had stopped at my favorite, local, gluten-free bakery and picked up a batch of cupcakes to take with me so I could have dessert.  I'm still allowing myself a weekly indulgence, even though I'm working on being a Trim Healthy Mama. Dinner was great, my friend assured me she made her chili with her own seasoning mix, so it was definitely gluten-free - she actually has a son who is gluten-free, so that was nice!  And, I had my cupcakes.  Which were delicious as always.

However, one of the guests showed up with a pan of Sweet & Saltines by Tricia Yearwood.  It smelled amazing.  And people were walking around and gnawing on it and gushing about how delicious it was.  I was officially, unequivocally, jealous.  Made my cupcakes pale.  Sigh.  I wanted some.

I set out this week to find a gluten-free, saltine like cracker, and found Schar Table Crackers, which I figured to be a good mix.  So, I set off to make this.  First, a review on the crackers themselves, they were packaged in such a way that they would not go stale as you wait to eat them, and so that they didn't break apart.  I appreciate a company that not only has a dedicated gluten-free facility, but takes such care in packaging that they would arrive to your table in such a manner as being edible!  Also, for taste and texture, they are very similar to a saltine and definitely satisfy that crunch need!  There for they were perfect for this recipe!

And as you can see....SUCCESS!!!  I only indulged in one piece as the bulk is a gift for a friend that I'm seeing tomorrow.  BUT, I did get to try it.  And that made me happy.  Very happy.  :)

White Chicken Chili


Autumn is here.  Leaves are falling (much to my husband's chagrin).  Evenings are getting colder.  People are getting sicknesses.  In fact, hubby's in the throes of an awful cold right now, poor guy!  Was sitting here, thinking, what can I feed him for dinner that is yummy, warm, comforting.  He's at work, had to trudge downtown today for an important meeting.  He'll be coming home later, tired, most likely frustrated at either traffic or train ride, wanting something that will be ready the instant he walks in the door.

He's always talking about an amazing white chili he had somewhere, can't even remember where.  I've tried it a couple times, and have gotten close.  I usually shy away from white chili because it just takes one wrong ingredient to throw off the color!  And now that I'm trying to make our dinners align with Trim Healthy Mama (there's that word again, I'm serious, go check it out!), I had extra thinking to do.  I had all the ingredients except for the green chiles.  A quick trip to our grocery store less than a half mile away and that was solved.

It's brewing in the crockpot awaiting his arrival.  (And you'll only SEE this post if he deems it worthy!).

White Chicken Chili (E on THM)

2 lbs Ground Chicken (make sure it's the lean, lean, lean cut; or use two lbs of chicken breast cut in chunks)
2 Cans Great Northern Beans, drained & rinsed well
1 medium onion, diced
1 Cup Low Sodium, Low Fat Chicken Broth (or fat free, or homemade with fat skimmed off!)
2 small cans diced green chiles
1 Tbs dried minced garlic (or 2 cloves)
1 Tbs. Cumin Powder (or to taste if you like more smokey of a taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp White Pepper Powder (usually found in asian markets)
*note, if you like spicier, add more white pepper, more green chiles and maybe a jalepeno! :)

Brown ground chicken with the diced onion until just cooked through.  In a 5 qt crock pot place beans, green chiles, minced garlic and other spices.  Add the brown ground chicken with onion mixture on top.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Cook on low 5-7 hours.

I topped mine with a little bit of 0% Fat Greek Yogurt and about a tbs of 2% Mexican Blend Cheese.

Crock Pot Beef & Mushrooms


Somehow, starting THM (you sick of Trim Healthy Mama, yet?  I'm not!!!!)...anyway....

Coming up with on-plan recipes and dinners have rekindled my love for experimentation.  It's quickly dropped temperatures here in the northeast, and life has gotten a lot busier.  When it's cold, and we're busy, I rely heavily on my crockpot.  Tonight is no different.  My oldest had classes at her co-op, we have bowling and Chik-fil-A with our friends this afternoon, and dinner needed to be ready when we got home so that hubby can go off and enjoy the football game with his cigar shop buddies.

While at the grocery store yesterday, I got a great deal on Eye of Round Steaks.  Of course, when standing in a grocery store looking at the meat displays, I don't always know HOW to cook the item, especially when it comes to red meat.  I can hold my own, but I've had many flops.

This is not one of them.

Crock Pot Beef & Mushrooms (S)
2-3 lbs Eye of Round Steaks (or an Eye of Round Roast)
10 oz pkg Cremini (or baby Bella) mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, cut in half then sliced
2 Tbs A1 (or similar) Steak Sauce*
2-3 tsp Steak/Grill Seasoning
8 oz tomato sauce (make sure it's a sugar free one, some brands sneak sugar in there!)

*okay, so steak sauce contains LOTS of off plan ingredients, including sugar...BUT you're using such a small amount and you'll get so little in the final product, I really, personally, don't mind using it!)  To be THM faithful, omit this ingredient and increase tomato sauce by 2 Tbs and add a plan approved beef broth granules or liquid aminos.

In a large 5 quart or 6 quart crockpot, line with a crockpot liner (this makes clean-up super easy!).

Lay onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, lay the mushroom slices on top of that.  Open your steaks (or roast) and sprinkle liberally with the steak seasoning.  Lay steaks in the crock pot..if you have to do two layers, cover one layer with the steak sauce, and the other with the tomato sauce.

Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Remove steaks from crockpot, cover with onions and mushrooms (strain as much as possible).  Do this very gently as the steaks will fall apart like a pot roast would, it's very tender. Transfer cooking liquid into a sauce pan.  Using Glucomannan (about a tsp or so sprinkled over and whisked in), or your preferred method of thickening (corn starch, flour/butter, etc).  I use Kuzu Root Starch, which is not THM approved, but works very well to make a smooth gravy.  Thicken juices to a gravy and serve along side the beef.

I serve this with a salad and mashed cauliflower!  YUMMY!!!

Fruit Punch Tea


Since going on THM (Trim Healthy Mama), and losing a little bit of weight, I am greatly encouraged.  One of the staple drinks is GGMS or Good Girl Moonshine.  Unlike it's namesake, it is NOT alcoholic!  I haven't yet acquired the taste for this, but in my efforts to reduce my soda intake (well, eliminate it as much as possible), I've come up with a tea I like to drink.  I make this caffeine free so that I can enjoy any time of day.

Fruit Punch Tea

2 Black Cherry Berry Celestial Seasonings Tea Bags
2 Raspberry Zinger Celestial Seasonings Tea Bags
2 Country Peach Passion Celestial Seasonings Tea Bags
2 Decaffeinated Black Tea Bags
1 True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade Drink Mix Stick
1 True Lemon Black Cherry Limeade Drink Mix Stick

Brew the tea bags in 1.5 quarts of boiling water.  I steep them until it is almost cooled.  Pour into a 2 quart pitcher.  Add the True Lemon Drink Mix sticks and stir well.  Add water to make 2 full quarts and stir again.

Store in the refrigerator.

Prior to serving, to make it more THM friendly, add a Tbs. of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Casserole


Okay, so, where have I been?  Uninspired, culinarily speaking.  Spent our summer resting by the pool, running errands, doing laundry, escaping the heat.  Ended our summer with a vacation at the beach.

Over the summer, I discovered Trim Healthy Mama.  Read the book, studied it, tried recipes in the book.  Trolled Pinterest with fervor.  And I'm back.  And my desire to cook has returned!  To say I was stuck in a rut is a major understatement.  We did way more "fend nights" than ever before.  Even my eldest chided how I made grilled chicken and salad every Monday night for dinner.  You know it's bad when even the KIDS are getting bored with their favorites.

When we returned from vacation, I went more full forced on THM.  I'm still not 100%, but I'm having fun experimenting, and learning new tips and tricks.  One thing I really like about this plan is that is very easily gluten-free (there are some gluten containing products, they are easily avoided).  The other, is lack of deprivation.  Just 10 days on this diet and I'm already down 3.2 lbs.  Not bad.  Long way to go, but every journey begins with the first step.

Tonight's dinner was combination of using up some grilled chicken in the fridge, and some frozen broccoli I bought on vacation.  A little bit of cream cheese and parmesan, and viola, a new dinner dish for us!

My eldest, who does not like cheese, wrinkled her nose and only served herself a very small portion at first; quickly came back for seconds.

In the THM world, this would be a very solid S due to the level of fats.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Casserole

2 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts, grilled and cubed
1 8 oz package of Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, softened
1 16 oz package of frozen broccoli, thawed (but not cooked)
Salt & Pepper to taste (I used a little sprinkle of each)
2 Tbs Almond Meal
2 Tbs Golden Flax Meal
2 Tbs Parmesan Cheese

In a large bowl, mix together chicken, cream cheese and broccoli.  Spread in a 2 quart baking dish that has been either buttered or sprayed with (THM plan approved) cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together almond meal, flax meal and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over chicken casserole.

Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until really bubbly.

Let set about 5 or 10 minutes once it's out of the oven.

I served with a salad. :)

I hope you enjoy!

S'more Cups, please!


In a former life, the one before I had my third child and still had a little extra time on my hands, I was a Pampered Chef Consultant.  Of all the pyramid-marketing-sell-in-your-home businesses, I knew Pampered Chef was for me because I loved to cook, and bake, and teach other people how to do the same, Pampered Chef was the perfect fit for me.

After my third child was born, several things happened at "home", so we moved from our little house in Phoenix, back to near my parents.  All of my Pampered Chef tools came with me.  ALL of them.  And I love them.  This recipe can obviously be made without Pampered Chef tools, but it is a delicious summer treat.

Since it is NOT my own recipe, or I didn't really alter anything other than using gluten-free ingredients, I do not want to take credit for it, so I'm linking it, here.

Pampered Chef S'more Cups

For the Grahm Crackers, I used Kinnickinnick S'morables, 1 whole box.  I used Walmart's Great Value Regular Sized Marshmallows, used 24*. For the chocolate, I used Aldi's Choceur Chocolate Large bars, 2 of them.  Butter and Powdered Sugar were Giant Brands.

The Pampered Chef recipe recommends using the LARGE Marshmallows, I didn't have them, that's why I used normal sized ones, it worked JUST FINE.

The picture above IS the ones I made, not the Pampered Chef Picture.

This will make summer more fun, and more delicious.  I promise!!!!

MexiBlack Beans


I do not have pictures of this one, the two times I've made it, my family has eaten it so fast I have not had a chance to take a picture.  It would be a flurry of hands and an empty pan.

The first time I made it, it was quite the fluke, but I decided to try again to see if it was really as good as we all thought, or just a mistake.

VERY important to check your ingredients and make sure that they are GLUTEN FREE, I know versions of these are not.  PLEASE make sure you check.  The first time I made the recipe, I used Nature's Promise Black Beans and Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles.  Tonight, I used Aldi's Dakota Brand Black Beans and their Taco Rio brand of Diced Tomatoes & Green chiles.  I will say the Aldi version was spicier.

MexiBlack Beans

2 Cans Black Beans, drained (but DO NOT RINSE)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, undrained
1 Tbs Dried Minced Onion*
1 Tsp Dried Minced Garlic*
*I like to use Tastefully Simple Onion Onion & Garlic Garlic - It is processed in a facility that processes wheat.  When discussing with my rep she did say that they clean the lines, but they don't guarantee gluten free ness.  Since I'm doing this by choice and not by medical necessity, I take the risk, you do not need to!

Place beans in a sturdy pan, add diced tomatoes and green chiles (do not drain them).  Add minced garlic and minced onion.  Bring to a boil and return to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until beans thicken and the garlic/onions absorb the liquid.  Let stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Wonderful topped with cheese and sour cream! :)



Pizzelles.  Every year, my step-mother's ex-mother-in-law would make pizzelles for Christmas.  (Did you follow that?).  Long family story, but my step-mother ended up being the one taking care of her in her end days.  I'll call her Grandma S for today.  Grandma S. would come over every Christmas eve, and she would bring two things with her, egg nog and pizzelles.  Her eggnog was NOT for children (and depending on how much she imbibed while making the eggnog was in direct correlation with the level of her voice and the amount of laughter that would ensue for the evening).  She made two types of pizzelles, Anise & Vanilla/Almond.  I'm not much of a licorice person, so I did not always care for the anise ones, for a few years she made them with vanilla extract and just used the anise seeds, I liked them rather than straight on anise ones.  The Vanilla Almond were AMAZING. I would easily down 4 or 5 (cough cough dozen) before arriving at my parents house (in my later years, it was my job to pick up Grandma S. from her apartment on Christmas Eve).From that time till now (yes, going on over 25 years), I'd always wanted to learn how to make pizzelles.  They sounded difficult, especially since they only happened once a year!  Fast forward to two weeks ago when a kind soul on Freecycle listed a Pizzelle Iron available, picked up from her front porch.  I had to.  And, of course, I did.And, for the average homeschooler, there is no greater holiday that Evaluations and The Last Day of School.  Today, is that day for us.  I thought the pizzelles would be a fitting bribe for our evaluator (not that she needs them, but I love baking, and she usually loves my treats, so I decided this was as good a reason as any to experiment).I cannot eat traditional Pizzelles anymore, gluten and all that.  So, I tried it with GF flour.  It was so stinking yummy, I might actually dream about these.  The possibilities are endless, and the flavor combinations?  Not to mention to make ice cream cones or waffle bowls?  Oh please!  Thank goodness it's summer and I have a reason to celebrate!Oh, and they were NOT difficult AT ALL.  I don't know why people wait for Christmas to make them.  I sure won't.  In fact, I might make more later today.  Yum.Pizzelles1 1/2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (use your favorite)2 tsp Baking Powder3 large eggs3/4 Cup granulated sugar2 tsp Almond Extract1 tsp Vanilla Extract1/2 Cup Butter, meltedPowdered Sugar for dustingIn a medium bowl, whisk together GF Flour and baking soda.Melt butter, add in extracts and mix well.Start preheating your pizzelle iron (yes, necessary evil! You must use a pizzelle iron!).In a mixer, beat together eggs and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes until it's light yellow and it appears that all the sugar is dissolved into the eggs.On a low speed, slowly drizzle in butter/extract mixture.  Add dry mixture and mix until just combined.  The batter will be thick and sticky.Follow amount directions for your pizzelle iron - mine did well with my 1 1/2 TBS Cookie Scoop.  Follow your makers directions for cooking the pizzelles.  (Mine is a cheapy cheapy Toastmaster one, each cookie took about 1 to 2 minutes).  Remove from iron with a rubber spatula and allow to cool.Dust with powdered sugar.[...]

Aldi adds a Gluten-free Line - Live Gfree


My other blog is all about Aldi Markets.  I love Aldi.  It's so inexpensive, so easy to shop.  Since going back to gluten-free, it's been fairly easy to continue to shop there because they clearly label their foods that are gluten-free.  I like that a lot.  If it doesn't have the label, I don't buy it.

Last week, I made a simple pulled pork using Aldi's Bar-b-que sauce and half of a pork loin roast.  My family RAVED over it.  It was soooo easy, and sooooo cheap!  And it was soooooo gluten-free!

Well, when I hit the store this week, what do my wondering eyes do I see?  A full gluten-free line.  Granted, it is a "special buy" which means that they are test-marketing it.  The most popular products will likely be added to their full time line up in the next year.  I've purchased one of everything to give them a try, and already sent a letter to Aldi corporate to thank them for trying it out.

Anyway, I was THRILLED and wanted to share the news with all of you!

Banana Fritters


I've been growing weary of my Banana Walnut Muffins (which I often alter and add mini chocolate chips instead of walnuts!).  I've been making them frequently when I have overripe bananas.  I just could not face making another batch today on my normal Tuesday cooking day.  I had two very large, very overripe bananas (you'll see the recipe calls for 3 medium, these two would have been 3 medium).  I went in search of something different to do with them.

Below is an adapted recipe from an Everyday with Rachael Ray for Banana Fritters.  If you are not gluten-free, follow her recipe, no need for modifications.

Another recommendation I have is to heat up the oil while you are preparing the batter.  If left to sit too long, the batter really GROWS! :)  The recipe calls for a lot of baking powder.  I thought it was too much at first, but, it makes sense with how light and airy these turn out!

The other alteration I made was using powdered sugar to finish vs. granulated.  I prefer this to add some sweetness.  I do believe that these would also make delicious pancakes!


1 Cup GF Flour Blend
2 Tbs Baking Powder (confirm it's a GF one, not all are!)
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbs Brown Sugar (I used only two, if you like sweeter, you could add more)
1/2 Cup Half & Half
1 egg, beaten
3 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered Sugar

In a pot, start 1" of Vegetable Oil warming to 365 degrees (I used unrefined coconut oil, not extra virgin).

In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.  Whisk in half & half and egg.  Stir in mashed banana.

Drop tablespoons full of batter into oil, frying in batches.  I put about 3 in at a time as I was using a small pot.  Flip them over with you can see the browning on the edges.  Allow to finish frying.  Remove from oil and drain.

While the fritters are still hot, dust liberally with powdered sugar, this will allow the sugar to melt and become like a glaze on the fritters.

Enjoy.  Rachael Ray's recipe says this serves 6.  Not the way I eat them, it doesn't!!!! :)  LOL!!!  ENJOY!!!!!

Baked Cinnamon Cake Donuts


Let's face it, I love a good donut.  I cannot lie.  I might be Homer Simpson.  I don't necessarily drool over donuts, but I could very easily.  The local GF Bakery has lovely donuts, they're fried.  I have no patience for frying anything.  I'm more of a baker.Recently while reading a magazine, I noticed a recipe for a baked cinnamon donut.  Sigh.  Called for real flour.  Started my brain churning.  My wonderful friend, Amy, gave me a donut pan and a long-john pan for Christmas.  So, I had the hardware.  It's making the software work that's the key.Now, if you're looking for dense cake donuts, this is not that recipe.  If you're looking for light and fluffy yeast donuts, this is not that recipe.  If you're looking for something in the shape of a donut with a light and fluffy texture, this is the donut for YOU!  (and for me, I loved them!!!!)  When you let them cool, the exterior gets a sticky/crunchy outside with a soft fluffy inside.  I enjoyed that very much.  Even better, drip frosting over them.  Or douse them in butter and then cinnamon sugar.  The donut part itself is not overly sweet.As with anything, confirm your sources for your ingredients are gluten-free.  I choose to use a lot of items from Aldi because they are clearly labeled when they are truly gluten-free.Baked Cinnamon Cake Donuts2 Cups GF Flour Blend (use your personal favorite here)1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar1 Tbs Baking Powder1 Tsp Xanthan Gum1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt1 Large Egg, lightly beaten1 1/4 Cup Whole Milk2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted2 Tsp Vanilla ExtractOPTIONAL:1 Tub of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting (yep!  Gluten-free!!!)OR4 Tbs melted Butter1/2 cup Granulated Sugar1 Tbs CinnamonPreheat Oven to 350 degrees.Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients (also known as the "muffin method", thank you AB).  Mix until combined, do not over mix.Gently spoon into a donut pan or long-john pan.  Bake for 17-19 minutes (long-johns will take 25 minutes or more) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.For the frosting, I melted about 1/4 cup or so of the Betty Crocker in a bowl for 8 seconds and gently spooned over the cooled donuts.  This will allow it to cool as a thick glaze on top.Enjoy!!![...]

Gluten-free Waffles - KAF Recipe Review


Hey there folks, how are you doing out there in GF world?

I know.  Homemade GF Waffles.  Why make something GF when they really aren't that expensive out there in the "real" world.  Well, convenience aside, I do like being in control of the ingredients that go into my food, and with all the "styrofoam in our food" scares lately, I thought I'd give waffles a try.  That and my amazing husband, who gave me a Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler for Christmas,  also got me the waffle plates, and quite frankly, I was DYING to try them out!!!

Since re-entering the GF world, I've gotten a little braver again.  Decided to make my own flour blend. Grateful for a local store that does bulk foods, I was able to spend about $20 and make a HUGE batch of gluten free flour.  Here's my breakdown, and so far, it's worked very nicely in all my recipes:

White Rice Flour (I got one that was extra milled, so less gritty)
Brown Rice Flour
Sweet White Sorghum Flour
Tapioca Starch

I did 6 cups of each and mixed well.

Some of the recipes out there added Xanthan Gum, I prefer to add mine per recipe, when mixed in a flour like this, you can never really be sure that you getting the correct amount.  I follow the rule of thumb of 1/2 tsp per cup in a "breadier" or "cakier" type recipe.

Armed with my new flour, my Griddler fitted with waffle plates, and my whisk, I set out to make the perfect waffle.  Ooooops, I need a recipe!!!!  In comes King Arthur Flour - you know, the flour people who now sell a GF flour??? - they had one!  The  KAF GF Pancake & Waffle Recipe was easy to follow and worked like a charm! Thanks KAF!!!

I doubled their recipe for them so that I would have some to freeze.  In my Griddler "waffle iron" it made 5 4-waffle flats.  So, basically, 20 individual waffles.  I did freeze them flat after cutting apart and I warm them up in my toaster.  They are SO, SO, SO good, and so much better than store bought!

The were light and fluffy in all the right places, crispy and crunch in all the right places, and doused with a good syrup OR slathered in crunchy peanut butter, they just satisfy that waffle urge.

Give them a try, I believe you won't be disappointed!

Triple Decker Brownies - AKA Devil Bombs


Okay, so it's floating around Pinterest, FB and the general internet world.  This picture of an individual brownie pan, layers of chocolate chip cookie dough, a Reese's Peanut Butter cup and covered in brownie batter.  All set to bake for 18 minutes at 350.  It looks delicious.

But, when you're gluten-free, a recipe that is made of all pre-made foods is hard to just make.  I've heard that there is a Pillsbury version of a pre-made gluten-free cookie dough, I have only seen this one place, and I didn't feel like running out to get just one ingredient.  And you COULD use a pre made brownie mix, though, I suspect you would have some leftover (gee, leftover brownie batter is a BAD thing????)  So, this is what I did to make mine.

FIRST, I used a muffin pan instead of a special unitasker (thank you, AB for such an amazing word). SECOND, I made a half batch of my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (which happens to be the one on the back of the Baker's Corner Semi-sweet Mini Chocolate Chips (Aldi brand, gluten-free, it's awesome and inexpensive).  Then I made a half batch of the King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownies.  I made the pan easy to clean up by using the Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil Baking Liners.  (I removed the white paper liner and used ONLY the aluminum foil liner).  I also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  I unwrapped my 6 packages of Reese's and began my layers:

1 Scoop Cookie Dough, pressed flat
1 Reese's PB cup, lightly pressed into the cookie dough
Cover with brownie batter

I did end up with some leftover cookie batter.  And brownie batter, too.  Oh, for shame.  LOL :)  Of course, I baked it.  LOL :)

I made the pan easy to clean up by using the Reynold's Wrap Aluminum Foil Baking Liners.  (I removed the white paper liner and used ONLY the aluminum foil liner).  I also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

I try to be honest in advertising, the brownie did "sink" in the middle, which I kind of expected.  Truly, this effects appearance and not taste. :)

I also needed to bake a bit longer, not sure if it was the pan or the fact that it was gluten-free.  So, go for about 23-25 minutes vs. the 18 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.  This, I believe, is the hardest step in the entire process.  Waiting for these to cool is torture.  This is why I have renamed them Devil Bombs.  Only the Devil would make you wait for these.  Only the Devil.

Mama F's Mega Slaw


I found some in the fridge and was able to take a picture! I thought it was all gone,  in my house, I actually take that as high flattery.  My kids, especially, love my coleslaw.  In fact, they measure all coleslaws on a scale from 1 to Mom's.  I decided to shake it up a bit this time and make it a little differently.  The sauce was the same, but what I put in was different.  It was a big hit, as shown by the near empty container.

Mama F's Mega Slaw

1 16 oz Bag Coleslaw Mix
1 12 oz Bag Broccoli Slaw Mix
1/8-1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2-1 Tsp Celery Seed, to taste

In a very large bowl, add 1/8 Cup red wine vinegar.  Dissolve salt and sugar into the vinegar.  Add the Mayonnaise.  This is where you adjust the vinegar, if it's not tart enough, add 1 Tbs at a time to desired tartness.  Mix in slaw mixes.  Add pepper & celery seed to taste.  Allow to marinate in fridge at least 1 hour before serving.

Oh, and don't expect leftovers. :)

Crock-Pot Chicken Burgers Divine


I think one of the most frustrating things when you first convert to a GF lifestyle is crock pot meals.  The crockpot is a source for true, down-home, comfort food.  Most recipes call for Cream of Something soup, or have pasta, or some other prefab ingredient that cannot be found gluten free.

Enter GF Convenience foods that I never knew existed, and aren't even touted as GF.  But should be!

I made this dinner a few weeks ago, my husband and son went wild over it.  I made it again tonight, just to make sure it was not a fluke.  It wasn't.  Normally, I serve over mashed cauliflower, but tonight I splurged and baked potatoes before I left for gymnastics with my youngest.   Let me tell you, the gravy made from this meal over baked potatoes is just over-the-moon deluxious! :)

I hope you enjoy!

Crock-Pot Chicken Burgers Divine

2 Packages Purdue Short-cuts Spinach & Garlic Chicken Burgers (the Oven Roasted would be good, too)
2 Cans Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 10 oz package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin

In a 5 or 6 quart crockpot, lay half the onions slices on the bottom, top with half of the sliced mushrooms, top with 4 burgers.  Pour over one can of the soup.  Repeat layering and top with last can of soup.   Cook on low for 4 hours.

Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, mashed cauliflower, or your favorite side dish.

This creates a lot of gravy, which becomes this rich and deliciously decadent mushroom soup if you reheat and add a little bit of cream or stock.  Don't let all that wondrous flavor go to waste! :)

Gluten-free Fried Rice


I don't know about you, but when going gluten free, I realized that Chinese Takeout would really no longer be a choice.  Many years ago, before going gluten free the first time, we used to order Chinese every Sunday night.  It was our family tradition.  My kids liked it, my husband liked it, I liked the night off cooking.  The first time I went gluten free, I was sad, no more Chinese Takeout on Sunday nights.  I might even have cried.  Maybe.  I mean, my husband's and my first day almost 20 years ago was for Chinese Food.  It held/holds a special place in my heart.  Of course I made do.  And when I went back to eating gluten, I happily consumed Chinese again.Last week, after a tiring day on Sunday, we decided to order Chinese food.  I had to order mine steamed without sauce.  It was "okay", and I doused it with Saj-J Gluten-free Tamari sauce.  But it wasn't the same.  I watched my kids down Fried Rice, dumplings and Chicken & Broccoli.   It was good.  But missing that "Chinese Takeout" element for me!Armed with two pints of steamed white rice, and my bottle of San-J, tonight, I decided to make my own fried rice.  The Results were well worth it!  Everyone enjoyed it.  I put it in the leftover containers just to make it "feel" authentic!Gluten-free Fried Rice2 Pints Leftover Chinese Steamed RiceSan-J Gluten-free Tamari (see directions for amount, it will vary on the rice)1 tsp Nakano Rice Wine Vinegar16 oz bag Frozen Mixed Veggies (I used Cascadian Farms), defrosted1/2 lb Leftover Cooked meat, diced -  your favorite (I used cooked Turkey breast tenderloins, but you could do chicken, pork, beef, or none)3 Tbs Vegetable Oil1 Tbs Sesame Oil2 Cloves Garlic, peeled but left whole1/3 - 1/2 Cup green onion, thin sliced, greens only2 eggs, beatenSesame Seeds,  for garnishBreak up rice in a large bowl, and toss with rice wine vinegar.In a large wok or skillet, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oils on med-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add garlic cloves (whole) and allow to cook in the oil.  The the garlic is lightly bubbled, brown and soft, remove from oil, set aside and save.Add rice to wok and press into the wok.  Allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes, and stir around.  Pour San-J Tamari sauce over the rice to make brown - circle the pan two times and do a shake or two in the center.  Continue to stir the rice around.Add defrosted vegetables on top of rice.  Circle the pan again with San-J Tamari sauce. Cover and allow to "steam" for about 3-5 minutes.  While this is happening, dice the cooked garlic very finely.  Remove cover and stir vegetables into the rice.  Add diced meat of choice and stir again.  Cover for another 3 minutes.After this, create a "well" in the center of the wok.  Add beaten egg and cover.  Allow egg to cook in the well for about 2 to 3 minutes until starting to set.  Stir eggs as best you can in the well and allow to finish cooking.  Only stir into the rice/vegetable/meat mixture after completely cooked.Add green onions, minus about 2 Tbs, and mix well.  Remove rice from heat.Sprinkle with remaining green onions and sesame seeds prior to serving.Enjoy![...]

Snow Day Fun - Paw Print Pops


Due to the outrageous storm outside, and the 6" plus inches of snow that have fallen since 7 this morning (no lie!), I've had to waylay my plans to go food shopping for the gymnastics meet that is happening this weekend at my daughter's gym.  Instead, I prepping the Paw Print pops that will be for sale at the Concessions Stand.

Was happy to find that the Make & Mold Chocolates sold by A.C. Moore stores is gluten-free.  :)  I'm also finding that doing this is easier than I thought it was going to be!  I was always sort of afraid of doing candy molds, but it's working really well, and I'm having fun, to boot.  In spite of the white stuff coming down outside my windows!