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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Pie


   Years ago, strawberry pie was a frequent summer treat.  It has been awhile since strawberry pie has been served at our table because nowadays it needs to be gluten free ( and egg/nut free ) and I can no longer use the strawberry glaze package I use to buy because it has food coloring in it and our son, Noah is allergic to food colorings.  Something about strawberry season this year has inspired me to make it again and make it safe for our whole family to enjoy.   I found a strawberry glaze recipe at Taste of Home which worked great, except for me making the mistake of walking away from the stove and forgetting about the glaze while I was suppose to be stirring constantly.  Next time, I will stir constantly.  Thankfully, I smelled it and remembered it was on the stove top just before it started to burn.  Thankfully, it still turned out great, which was quite a relief since we had friends coming over for dinner.  
     For the crust, I used our family favorite pie crust recipe from Crisco that I just adjust to make it gluten free.  This crust is tender, slightly crisp, flavorful and easy to work with.  Last week, I made strawberry pie and used a graham cracker crust recipe.  I still need to tweak a couple things on that crust before I share it with you but just so you know what you have to look forward to, my husband told me the graham cracker crust was the best crust he had ever had!  And that my friends, was a HUGE compliment!  

Crust:

1 1/3 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix
1/2 t salt
1/2 c shortening, well chilled (or use 1/2 stick of Crisco shortening sticks)
3 to 6 T ice cold water  (I put ice cubes in a bowl, then add water and let it sit to get it really cold)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Whisk together flour and salt in medium bowl.  Cut in chilled shortening using a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about pea size.
3.  Sprinkle in 3 T cold water, toss with a fork.  Add water one T at a time until the dough is moist and holds together when pressed.
4.  Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten into a round disc about 1/2 inch thick.  Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  
5.  Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out between 2 pieces of wax paper.  When the dough is rolled out about 1 inch bigger than your pie plate, carefully remove the top wax paper.  Sprinkle very lightly about a tablespoon of gluten free flour over the rolled out dough.  Starting at one side, roll up the dough (with the bottom wax paper).  Then, carefully unroll it upside down on top of the pie plate.  Flute the edges.
6.  Prick the dough several times on the bottom and side of the plate with a fork to prevent it from puffing up.  Bake 15-20 or until lightly golden.  ( Crisco's recipe calls for the crust to bake for about 10 minutes, but I find with most gluten free baking recipes that the cooking time gets almost doubled).  Remove and cool about 30-60 minutes before filling.

Pie Glaze/Filling:

6 c  fresh whole strawberries, hulled (divided)
1 c sugar
3 T Gluten Free cornstarch
3/4 c water

1.  Mash 1 c strawberries and set aside.
2.  In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Sir in water and mashed berries.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir for 3 more minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.
3.  Spread about 1/3 c glaze over bottom and sides of pie shell.  Slice or halve the remaining strawberries and arrange in the pie shell.  Spoon remaining glaze over the berries.  Chill for 1 - 2 hours. 

Serve chilled. 



Monday, June 25, 2012

Feta Bell Pepper Pasta Toss


This wonderful side dish could easily double as an entree.  We had this for dinner last night with   marinated grilled chicken and they went fabulously together.  The kids even gave this their stamp of approval.  There was only one problem...we ran out and everyone wanted more.  I got this recipe years ago from Cooking Light and have made some changes, including adding more pasta so next time we don't run out.

12 oz uncooked gluten free spaghetti noodles
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 T olive oil
1 1/4 c tomatoes, diced
1 T dried parsley
1/4 t salt
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese


1.  Cook pasta according to directions.  Place cut bell peppers in a colander, drain the pasta over the bell pepper (This cooks the peppers just slightly).  Combine pasta, bell pepper, oil, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss gently and serve immediately.

Thanks to Allergy Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays for featuring this post!


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread!


 



Yesterday marked a BIG VICTORY in our home!  I made a new recipe for bread that I found at WholeIntentions.com and adapted it a little.  You need to try this one.  Seriously!  This bread has a tender crust and is soft and light on the inside.  It doesn't crumble.  You can slice it thin and it doesn't fall apart.

I'm so glad the recipe doesn't call for kneading and punching, because I don't know about you, but I get intimidated by those recipes.  This is so easy to make.  It tastes a little like an English Muffin Bread and is even wonderful the next day.  This is definitely our new "go to" bread recipe.

Noah, our gluten eating son and toughest food critic, surprisingly LOVES this bread.  He has not liked any other Gluten Free Egg Free bread we have had at our home.  So when he told me he liked it and wanted more, I did a little victory dance in the kitchen.   When I was making him a sandwich today, he actually asked for this bread instead of his regular whole wheat bread.  And that is amazing!  So thank you again Paula @ WholeIntentions for sharing this delicious recipe.

Wondering if making this at home is worth the price?  Read my Cost to Make The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread blog post...you may be surprised!

My hopes are that you will have such success with this recipe and love it so much that you will want to try these other recipes that use the same bread dough as a foundation.  The dough is so easy and quick to make, go ahead and try it in these as well.

1.  Pepperoni Pizza Rolls (melt in your mouth and bursting with flavor)
2.  Cinnamon Raisin Bread (delicious fresh or toasted)
3.  Apple Fritters (very similar to a New Orlean's amazing Beignets) - surprisingly easy 
4.  Dinner Rolls (go great with a little strawberry jam or honey)


The Best Gluten Free Vegan Bread

*Make sure dry ingredients are at room temperature before starting

3 c (324 g) GF Flour Mix - I used Paula's GF Flour Mix - see below for her recipe
2 tsp  (7 g) xanthan gum
1/2  tsp (4 g) sea salt
3 Tbsp (39 g)sugar
1 tsp (3 g) dry yeast
2 tsp coconut oil (melt before measuring)
1 1/2 c + 2 Tbsp warm water

1. Grease and dust with GF flour an 8×4 loaf pan.  Heat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Combine GF Flour Mix, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, and dry yeast in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3.  In mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and warm water together and then add the dry ingredients. Mix on high for 2 minutes, this activates the yeast. It should resemble a thicker cake batter.
4.  Pour batter into prepared pan and cover with a tea towel.  Turn OFF the oven and set the covered bread in the warm oven to rise. Carefully shut the oven door.
5. The bread will take about 30 min. to rise to just below the top of the pan.  Take the bread out carefully and set aside. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
6.  Place bread in preheated oven and bake 45-55 minutes.  After the first 10-15 minutes, tent tinfoil over the bread for the remainder of the baking time to prevent the crust from darkening too much.
7. Test the bread with a toothpick. After you’ve removed the bread from the oven, immediately rub the top with butter (or to keep it vegan, try a little melted coconut or olive oil). Remove loaf from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
8.  Let cool completely before cutting.   This makes a big difference on how well it will slice and stay together.

This is great for Sunflower Seed Butter sandwiches, paninis, grilled cheese, toast, or fresh with Homemade Strawberry Jam.   My family prefers this recipe over the Bread Machine Gluten Free Vegan Bread recipe, but I will still use the bread machine recipe on days that I need the convenience of a bread machine.

Enjoy!

Paula's Gluten Free Flour Mix (this makes enough for 2 loaves of bread plus 1 extra cup)
1 1/2 c. millet flour
1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1 c. potato starch
1 c. arrowroot powder 






This recipe has been shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten Free Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays and Gluten Free Fridays.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ice Cream Cones



Ice Cream Cones?!  Really?



Yes, you can!

These are Gluten Free and Vegan (egg free)!

I am so thankful there are so many delicious Gluten Free and Egg Free products on the market today.  These cones are surprisingly tasty.  They are crisp, tender and they do not fall apart.  You can find them at Whole Foods or Edwardandsons.com.


Ice Cream Cones & Friends...Thank you Edward and Sons for making moments like this one a sweet memory!





















Monday, June 18, 2012

Strawberry Jam

If you give a kid a muffin, chances are he'll want some jam to go with it. 

Strawberry season is in full swing.  It's time for Strawberry Orange Muffins, strawberries and cream, strawberry pie (This recipe is under construction and will hopefully be ready to share soon) and strawberry smoothies.  When strawberries are in season, it is jam making time at our home.  My all time favorite jam recipe is the one right on the Sure-Jell box, for Strawberry Freezer Jam.  I love to have a stash of this in our freezer.  It is our favorite thing on homemade, fresh and still warm Gluten Free, Vegan Bread.  Slip it into a clear cellophane bag, tie a pretty ribbon around the top and it makes a great little hostess or house warming gift.  I'm so glad we finally have more jam, it might just inspire me to try a new gluten free bread recipe this week.  Or maybe the kids and I will need to make Strawberry Jam Crumb Cake.
This jam recipe is so simple and quick...trust me, you can do it!  Your kids can even help.  Mine LOVE smashing the berries.
Thank you Kraft's Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for this wonderful recipe that perfectly tops homemade bread and toast!

What You Need

2 cups crushed strawberries (buy 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin

Make It!

Rinse 5 (1-cup) plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.
Mix water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until sugar is almost dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)
Fill all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Orange Muffins


These little muffins are heavenly!  I can't wait for you to try them.  They are kinda like having dessert for breakfast, but they are not too sweet.  You might want to serve these at your next brunch.  Or maybe you'll make them for your kids or grandkids.  And chances are, if you give a kid a muffin, he'll want some Jam to go with it.

This recipe is adapted from my favorite "pre-allergy" cookbook, Cooking Light.

1 1/4 c halved strawberries
3 T butter, melted
2 t grated orange rind
1/4 c coconut oil (melted before measuring)
1 1/2 c Natalie's Gluten Free Flour Mix
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
cooking spray ( I actually buttered the muffin tins, then dusted with gluten free flour)
2 t sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
2.  Combine the first 4 ingredients in a blender, and process just until blended.
3.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add the strawberry mixture into the well.  Stir just until moist.
4.  Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Sprinkle each muffin top with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center dry.  Remove the muffins from the pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Thank you Gluten Free HomemakerMelt In Your Mouth Mondays and Allergy Free Wednesdays for featuring this recipe on your blog!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Favorite Little App


Smart phones have changed our lives.  Everything is at our finger tips, including some great resources for making informed decisions when dining out.  My favorite little app, is one you might be interested in checking out.  It is by AllergyFree Passport and is called I Can Eat On the Go.  Check it out for yourself at Gluten Free Passport.  In the bottom bar is a section titled "My Allergens" where you can turn "on" your allergies including the options of milk, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat.  Once you turn "on" your allergies, you can go into the preferences and are able to hide menu items that CONTAIN "My Allergens."  Currently the menus they have available on the app are...

A & W
Arby's
Boston Market
Buffalo Wild Wings
Burger King
Carl's Jr
Chick-fil-A
Chipotle
Cold Stone Creamery
Corner Bakery Cafe
DQ
Domino's Pizza
Hardee's
Jack in the Box
Jason's Deli
KFC
McDonald's
Moe's Southwest Grill
Pei Wei Asian Diner
Pizza Hut
Qdoba
Sonic
Steak 'n Shake
Subway
Taco Bell
Wendy's

And this menu list continues to grow.  I have Anna's allergens turned "on" in the "My Allergens" and since my preferences are to "Hide menu items that CONTAIN My Allergens", the only menu items I see to order for her are ones that are FREE of her allergens.  However, if there is a chance there could be a trace of the allergen that is marked with a circle around the allergen's initital.

* Of course it's still a good idea to double check when you order at a restaurant to make sure nothing has changed and ensure it's safety.  Be sure to ask about ingredients and how it is prepared, if there could be any cross contamination.

There is a lot of great information on the Gluten Free Passport Website.  There is gluten and allergen friendly dining, gluten and allergy free travel ideas, free chef translation cards and apps including one for Disney!  How cool is that?!!  Have fun exploring!

Check out my page on restaurants allergen & gluten information.  There are links to LOTS of restaurant's gluten free menu's or allergen info.  I use this page often myself, when we are out and about deciding where to go out for dinner.

So do you have any favorite gluten or allergen apps that you love?  If you do, please share with the rest of us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More about Memories, Less about Allergies

This weekend marked our first ever family camping experience.  We joined some friends and went to a beautiful state park.  If you have camped with kids before, you know how much preparation goes into camping.  And camping with food allergies and asthma adds more preparation...ALL I must say was totally worth it!  The morning before leaving was filled with baking up some Banana Bread Muffins for an easy breakfast, Sandwich Bread for some sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches, Grandma's Double Good Chocolate Chip Cookies and Southwestern Dip with tortilla chips to share.  Being prepared was essential.  Necessary camping gear, personal items, food, daily medicine, nebulizer machine and meds, and Epi Pens all had to get in the car.  Along with knowing the nearest hospital location and how long it would take to get there.  One Epi Pen needed to be along for every 15 minutes of travel it would take to get to a hospital if Anna had an allergic reaction.  I declared, our family needs a travel checklist stored on the computer so that every time we travel I don't have to make new lists and hope we didn't forget something.  Wouldn't that be great?  One master list to use each time you travel.  So once preparations were set, we were ready to unplug from all media and phones, and just spend time together building memories. 
Our family's 1st Camping Trip




 We set off on a hike to a Fire Tower.  We were prepared to hit a lot of steps.  And there were a lot of steps, over 625 steps up to the top!
Sometimes your kids can surprise you, no one complained or whined and all the kids climbed quickly all the way up.  I say quickly, because the adults climbed to the top too, just not exactly quickly.  Up, up, up we went and when we got to the top of bluff the view was beautiful!   At the top, sat the fire tower, much, much taller than I had expected.   
My little Josie, bravely climbed up the narrow steep stairs with me all the way to the top!  There were about another 200 steps to get the top, but the view there was amazing!  It was a 360 degree view of bluffs all around you.  And you quickly understand why years ago this was built to locate fires in the area...although I bet it took them a while to get back down the bluff and do something about the fire.  Makes me more thankful for our technology and firefighters today.

The Fire Tower hike was followed by another hike, then a trip to the beach on the river.  The kids could have played here all day.  
Josie playing in the sand
The kids made "donuts" out of sand, built sandcastles, played in the river, caught around 200 tadpoles and covered our "I don't like to get dirty or sticky" son with wet sand.
Our camping trip strengthened these sweet friendships and built some amazing family memories!  No one was hurt and Anna stayed clear of allergic reactions!  Thank you Lord! 
We can't wait to go again!


Thanks to Fireflies & Jellybeans for featuring this post.  They have lots of great ideas for crafts, DIY, recipes and creative writing.  Head on over to their site and check them out.








Monday, June 4, 2012

Southwestern Dip


Here is a great dip for tortilla chips this summer!

2 T olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 t salt
pinch pepper
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t chili powder
1 c frozen corn, thawed
15 1/2 oz black beans
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 T red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped 

In bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder.  Pour in corn, beans, tomato, onion.  Toss together.  Serve with tortilla chips.

This dip is a great one to make the day before.  It gives the flavors a chance to fuse together.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Salad Dressings & Mayo Ideas - Gluten Free & Egg Free

This past week, I have had 2 friends change their diet to gluten free for health reasons.  Both separately expressed that the hardest thing for them with this new diet is finding an alternative to mayo and salad dressings from the grocery store.  I don't really eat either one, so I did a bit of research and here are some of my findings.  I'd love it if you too could share with them any you have found and really like.  Thanks for your help!

Kraft salad dressings
The two dressings I found on their website listed as gluten free are the Red Wine Vinegar and Herb, also the White Balsamic and Basil.  Chances are there may be more on the grocery store shelves, but there website doesn't list more than that.

So I went to Amazon and looked for a few popular dressings and found...

Greek Vinaigrette Dressing , With Feta Cheese And Oregano by Kraft appears to be Gluten Free and Egg Free (contains milk and soy)

Annie's Naturals French Dressing
Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Honey Dijon Dressing by Walden Farms
Gluten Free and Egg Free

Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing
according to the "Gluten Free Easily" blog, Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing is Gluten Free, Egg Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free.  Plus, I think it is a pretty popular one, lots of my friends love this.

Annie's Naturals Organic Thousand Island Dressing
Gluten Free and free of artificial coloring (DOES CONTAIN EGG and Soy)

Remember to always, always check the ingredients again in the store before buying them and then again at home before opening up your bottle.

While I was looking for these, I came across another blog post that has even more gluten free salad dressing ideas for you to jazz up your salads, over at Gluten Freeda.

Also, Annie's website has a great list of their dressings and underneath each one, they list if it is gluten free or vegan (which would also be egg free).

As far as mayo goes...my family won't believe I'm writing about mayo.  Mayo aversion is one of my quirks.  It is the one food I would NEVER eat, simply because that is how I've always felt towards mayo.  I've gotten over other food quirks as I've gotten older, but not this one.  This one is here to stay.  But anyways, many of you love mayo and wish you could find one that is gluten free and maybe even egg free.  Here is what I've found. (Again, please feel free to share if you have found any others you would recommend)

Hellman's Mayo
Contains EGGS but is gluten free.

Nayonaise: Egg Free, Vegan, Gluten Free Mayo (soy based)

And then, I found this recipe you might like...
Gluten Free Goddess Recipe for Egg Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Mayo

 Again, please comment below if you have found any gluten free, egg free dressings or mayo that you would recommend.  Thanks!

* I am not profiting from these companies.  I simply wanted to provide links to ingredients for you to read for yourself and also photos for all you visual learners so you know what you are looking for in the grocery store.