Tres Leche Cake

Invite your friends over for this sponge cake, soaked in 3 milks, topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix

Make your own gluten free flour mixture at home. It is really simple to make and it's texture is smooth. You can substitute this equally for regular wheat flour.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Start your day with this easy and moist quick bread, topped with cinnamon sugar.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Southwestern Rice & Bean Casserole

After Anna got diagnosed with her numerous food allergies, I felt crippled in the kitchen.  The list of what I could not feed her was long, but what could I feed her?  As I scoured through my recipes, there were not very many that I could continue to make.  I had to find some new recipes ASAP, so off to the local library I went.  An hour later, I walked out, arms full, with about 30 cookbooks for food allergies, gluten free, egg free or vegan diets.  I spent several days reading through them, hunting for some new recipes for my family.

As you know, when you go gluten free, there are all kinds of strange sounding ingredients I had never heard of before like xanthan gum, tapioca starch, garbanzo bean flour.  I felt like a stranger in a new land.  The ingredients sounded strange and the recipes sounded really "earthy,"not ones my family would eat.  It was difficult to find a recipe that was similar to anything I had made before and it became really discouraging.  Where were some normal sounding recipes, things my Mom or Grandma would have made?  We tried many new foods during that time and I became determined to figure out how to make our favorite old recipes safely for Anna.  There are only a couple recipes out of that stack of cookbooks that have become a family favorite and I am happy to share one of them with you.

1 # ground beef
1 1/2 c onion, finely chopped
3/4 c green & red pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 1/2 c brown rice
3 c boiling water
1 can green chilies, chopped
1 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 t salt
2 lg garlic cloves, minced

1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown meat with onions and peppers.  Add chili powder and cook for 1 minute.  Add rice, cook 3 minutes.  Stir in boiling water, chilies, beans and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in garlic.
2.  Cover and bake 45 min.
3.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese.  Bake uncovered for 10-15 more minutes or until the cheese melts.

Optional toppings ideas:  Trader Joes Corn Salsa, sour cream and olives.

Serve with taquitos, chips and salsa.

Shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Our kids, probably like most, enjoy tasting the samples at Sam's Club.  Noah loves that the samples often come on toothpicks.  A few years ago, Noah sampled some tilapia, served on a toothpick.  When I then made the tilapia at home, he insisted he needed a toothpick to be able to eat it.  Toothpicks have since become part of our utensils when setting the table for Broiled Tilapia Parmesan.  It is funny to me, because when the tilapia is done it flakes easily making eating with a toothpick quite difficult.  You can imagine.  Or maybe you too will try eating it with a toothpick. :)

I'm working on getting a photo of this that actually looks as yummy as it tastes.  Who ever knew Tilapia was so hard to take a photo of?  Until then, when you read the recipe, picture it in your mind.  By the way, this recipe goes perfectly with Parmesan Jasmine Rice.  Add some fresh, green vegetables and you have a wonderful dinner.

1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c butter, softened
3 T  sour cream
2 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 t dried basil
1/4 t pepper
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 t celery salt
2 # Tilapia ( about 6 filets)
1.  Preheat broiler.  Spray broiling pan with PAM and line bottom with aluminum foil.
2.  In small bowl, mix toppings well.  Set aside.
3.  Arrange filets in single layer on pan.  Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip filets, broil 3 minutes more.  Then, cover filets with toppings.  Broil 2 minutes or til topping is browned and fish flakes easily.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little Allergy Bracelet

Last fall, Anna was excited to start Kindergarten.  I had never been away from her for long periods of time and it made me nervous not to be able to be her voice with her food allergies and asthma.  Anna and I had several conversations about speaking up and who to tell if she felt a reaction coming on.  I had talks with the school nurse and her teacher to make sure everyone was educated on how severe Anna's allergies are.  Thankfully, they were wonderful to work with and assured me of the systems they have place in our school for food allergies.  Her teacher told me she decided to take play dough out of her curriculum for the year.  She even took it out for the other half day kids to make sure there was no residue of it around the class room.  I was highly impressed at how well she understood and how proactive she was.  It made me feel much better about letting her go to school and be in their care.

We decided to order Anna a medical ID bracelet so that anyone around her would be able to quickly identify her allergies.  She helped pick out this adorable one we found online.  After a couple of months, she came home with these remainders in a baggie and said it fell apart at school.  So now we are in pursuit of a more durable one, one that will handle a little girl playing and hopefully a really cute one that she can actually enjoy wearing.  I have a feeling we will go through several ID bracelets as she grows.  Where have you found allergy bracelets?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Carrot Cake

Introducing our first Reader Recipe Makeover...

Dear Hope's Kitchen,

About 3 months ago my "Natural Doctor" told me I need to go gluten free/egg free because of health complications I was experiencing. 

One thing I really miss is Carrot Cake.  I love carrot cake because of its sweet and spicy taste.  The cream cheese frosting with the pecans on it mixed with the texture that the carrots and pineapple give it have left me with a serious craving!!!  Can you help me makeover this recipe so I can enjoy one of my favorite treats again?

Thank you,

Thanks Lindsey for submitting our first recipe makeover.  This recipe was found at and called for wheat flour and eggs.  Hopes Kitchen revised the recipe, substituting our gluten free flour mix for the flour, coconut oil (due to it's health benefits) for the canola oil and adding extra coconut oil in place of the eggs and added crushed pineapple.

2 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c coconut oil (make sure to melt before measuring)
1/2 c buttermilk
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
3 c carrots, finely shredded

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
5 T butter, softened
2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
3 c powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 c raisins (optional) 

1/4 c chopped pecans (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.  In a bowl, whisk together flour through ground cloves.  Set aside.  In another bowl, combine sugar, coconut oil, buttermilk and pineapple.  Stir just until combined.  Fold in the carrots and raisins (optional).
2.  Pour into prepared cake pans and smooth out the tops.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden colored and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cakes onto the cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

1.  In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter.  Beat until smooth.  Add the brown sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar (cup by cup) and salt, beating on low until the frosting is smooth.
2.  Spread frosting on top of one cake, then stack the other cake on top of the frosted one.  Now, frost a light layer over the entire cake, to avoid crumbs.   Finish frosting the cake with the remaining frosting.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans (if they are safe for you :) ).

Shared on Allergy Friendly Fridays.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Parmesan Jasmine Rice

If you are looking for a light, flavorful side dish for your entree, you've come to the right place.  I love to serve this rice along with Parmesan Broiled Tilapia.  The tilapia recipe will follow in a few days.  In the meantime, prepare this Parmesan Jasmine Rice to go along with your favorite chicken or seafood recipe. 

*Just a side note, I double this recipe so our family of 5 has some leftovers.

4 t butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c uncooked white jasmine rice
2 c water
1/2 t salt
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried thyme
4 T parmesan, freshly grated

1.  Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute.  Add the rice and stir well.  Add water and salt then bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
2.  Gently stir in the basil and thyme, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Serves about 3-4.

Monday, April 16, 2012

SOS on RSS...How to use an RSS reader

Have any of you wondered what on earth an RSS reader is?  I've been wondering lately, and my friend Becca showed me a video on it.  She explained it Really Super Simple and now I finally get it.  So in case you've ever wondered, check out this video on her blog.
What is RSS reader & How to use one

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

A dear friend has recently gone gluten free and asked if I had a recipe for cookies.  So for my dear friend and all of you readers looking for a yummy cookie recipe, that has no gluten, eggs or nuts this is for you!  Grab a nice cold glass of your favorite milk and enjoy.  Warning, proceed with caution.  Eating just one cookie may be difficult!

1 3/4 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix
1/2 c ground flax seeds (also known as flax meal)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs (replace with either 2 T flax meal whisked w/ 6 T warm water & set for about 10 minutes -or- 1 T dry Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 T warm water)

1/2 bag of mini chocolate chips
2 1/4 c gluten free oats

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In medium bowl combine flour, flax, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together well and set aside.  In mixer bowl add butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Mix until creamy.  Add egg replacement a little at a time.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and oats.
3.  Drop by spoonful onto ungreased baking sheet.
4.  Bake about 8 minutes.  Cool on sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chicken Soup

Something simple, like Chicken Noodle Soup can be greatly missed when going Gluten Free.  My Mother-in-law has an amazing Chicken Noodle Soup recipe with Mrs Grass's soup mix in it that gives it great flavor.  When Anna was first diagnosed as allergic to wheat, I thought well maybe I can still make this great soup and just substitute the noodles with rice.  However, as I read through the ingredients, there was wheat.  I'm so thankful that a friend came up with this Gluten Free Chicken Soup recipe.  Flavor abounds and it is easy to make and our kids cheer when it comes to the table.

My husband grew up having crackers topped with peanut butter with his Chicken Soup, so we include that with our Chicken Soup meal now.  Anna enjoys Baby Mum Mum's Crackers topped with Sunflower Seed Butter and sometimes her twin sister Josie wants those too (even though she is not allergic to wheat or peanuts).  Josie thinks it is a great side to the Chicken Soup too.  If you have not had Baby Mum Mums crackers, and you are gluten free, you should really try them.  Who cares if they are found in the baby food aisle.  They are yummy and cheaper than many Gluten Free Crackers.

4 c gluten-free chicken broth
4 c water
1 c brown rice
3/4 to 1 lb raw chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, peeled, sliced into half rounds
2 stalks celery, ends removed, sliced
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t dried oregano
1 t lemon juice

Combine broth and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add brown rice, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 25 minutes.  Turn heat to medium.  Add in chicken breast, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and oregano.  Cook covered 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

On Easter morning we get to host my husband's extended family for brunch.  Typically, we serve an egg bake, hard boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, kuchen, caramel rolls and fresh fruit.  This year I'm adding my Maple Oat White Chocolate Chip Scones (Gluten Free & Egg Free).  Due to the severity of Anna's allergy to egg, I wanted to try something different than egg bakes.  The idea of doing any baking with eggs and then possibly not cleaning the utensils or pans well enough and putting her at risk of a reaction has really made me not want eggs in the house.  I was rather stumped on what to make instead that would round out our menu.  And then late last night it came to me...Baked Blueberry Oatmeal!  It's always a huge hit.  It gets made the night before and then put in the oven in the morning.  Easy and yummy!  I wish I had a picture to show you.  I could wait to post this until after I make it but then you would have to wait to try it.  Next week, I'll try to get a photo attached for you to see.  But trust me on this is G-O-O-D!  Happy Easter everyone!

1/4 c coconut or canola oil (If using coconut oil, make sure it is melted before measuring)
3/4 c applesauce
1 c brown sugar
4 eggs (substitute Ener-G Egg replacer -or- 4 T flax meal, whisked with 3/4 c warm water and let set about 10 minutes)
3 1/3 c gluten free oats
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 c milk (or rice milk)

Frozen blueberries (however many you like, I use around 1 - 1 1/2 c of the Trader Joes Wild Blueberries, they are little)

Optional Toppings: warm milk & cinnamon sugar

Mix together the oil, sugar & egg substitute.  Add the oats, baking powder, salt and milk.  Stir to combine.  Place bowl in the refrigerator and let sit overnight.  In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the frozen blueberries, stir well and pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thanks to Gluten Free Fridays for letting me share this yummy breakfast with your readers!