Gluten-Free for the Holidays

I’m back! Finally… I didn’t realize that it had been so long since I posted anything. Time gets away. Speaking of time, it is the most wonderful time of the year! 

It’s hard to pass that basket of steaming rolls to the next person without putting one on my plate. I don’t like to ask people things like, “Hey, did you use dairy free butter  in the turkey and mashed potatoes?” I wouldn’t expect them to. Who doesn’t know the best part of the turkey broth is from that stick of butter that it’s saturated in? The dressing? Nope, pass it on, too. I sincerely doubt they used gluten-free bread in the stuffing.  Are the Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow) peanut and dairy free? Probably not.

I will be feasting at my Mom’s, who is gluten free, too. Bake beans, ham, GF chex mix, and all the other amazing things she cooks up will be piled high on my plate! Yay! It wasn’t always that way. The first years were hard, especially during the holidays. Now, on our 5th year we just about have the hang of this. I will try my best to help those out there starving for a real holiday meal.

We spent Thanksgiving day at home this year.  I started out thinking I would just do a small turkey and some veggies.  It turned into more of a gluten-free feast. (Not even the gluten eaters noticed.) I found an amazing recipe online for yeast rolls and modified it a bit with what I had. The dressing is one of those things I always have to call my Mother-in-law about every year. I ask again and again, “How many eggs am I suppose to use for dressing?”

Grandma Dee Dee’s Turkey directions but I added olive oil, earth balance, thyme and rosemary… Not as pretty as Grandma’s turkeys, but it still tasted great!

Yes, it was a spectacular Thanksgiving meal that just happened to be gluten-free.

 

GLUTEN-FREE YEAST ROLLS

Modified from this blog:

http://simplygluten-free.com/blog/2011/11/gluten-free-dairy-free-soft-dinner-rolls-recipe.html

Ingredients

2 tablespoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups rice, soy, or coconut milk (or milk) – warm but not hot (105 degrees)
1½ cups White Rice Flour
½ cup superfine Sweet Rice Flour
¾ cup Tapioca Starch
½ cup Cornstarch(If you have a corn allergy you can sub all tapioca)
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 large eggs (Reserving 1 for brushing before baking)
¼ cup butter or earth balance
¼ cup honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

I got this tip from my dear friend, Tina, and it has been a lifesaver! First, warm your milk to about 105 degrees. Make sure it isn’t too hot. Next put sugar in the warm milk and whisk lightly until it dissolves. Add the yeast to the mixture and try to whisk it gently in.  Set aside while you mix the other ingredients. As Tina says, “It should bubble and foam when the yeast is happy.”

Combine the flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a bowl and use a whisk a to mix it all together.

Put the 2 eggs, melted earth balance (or butter), honey(or agave nectar) and vinegar in my mixer bowl. Add yeast mixture while mixing on low. Slowly add the flour mixture being careful not to dust yourself down with flour. (This happens to me often…) Blend the dough on medium-low for 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl halfway.

Lightly grease muffin pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spoon the batter into muffin pans. (I ran out of pans so improvised.) I used a small pampered chef ice cream scoop to make the rolls into clovers.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel in a warm place. Either on top of the oven while it is pre-heating or heat the oven to 200, turn it off and let the rolls rise in the warm oven.  Let rise until the dough has almost doubled in size.

Beat the extra egg with 1 teaspoon of water with a fork. Gently brush the tops of each roll with the beaten egg.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

BE READY FOR APPLAUSE.

 

GLUTEN-FREE DRESSING

This one is going to be a little harder to explain. I really don’t have an actual recipe that I follow. I use to hate it when my Mom or Grandma would say things like, “I don’t know Sis, just a little of that and a dash of that….”Now I am continuing the legacy on. It must be a trait you earn as you age. Like a merit badge of some sort. I will do my best do guess the right measurements. 

GF BAKING TIP:  When you begin your journey of gluten-free baking, you are sure to have blunders. Even after 5 years of baking GF, I still have bad and good baking days. On the days that my dinginess prevails I try to make the most of my mistake. Say for instance, I once had bread that came out and it wasn’t the right texture at all. It completely caved in and I have no idea what I did but it wasn’t going to make it to Alex’s lunch box.  Instead of calling it a complete loss…I let it cool, cubed it and put it in freezer bags. So my blunder ended up being my stuffing for Thanksgiving . You can also use it for meatloaf or anything that calls for breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

4 cups gluten-free bread cubes 
3/4 to 1 cup (depending on preference) onions, diced 
3/4 to 1 cup (Do equal amounts of onions and celery) celery ribs, diced 
2-4 tablespoons Earth Balance or butter
2 teaspoons GF Poultry Seasoning 
1/2 teaspoons parsley (Optional)
 black ground pepper to taste
gluten-free chicken or turkey broth large egg

Toast bread cubes  in a preheated 300°F oven for until dried, stirring occasionally to promote even browning.

Sauté onions and celery in butter until they are soft and onions begin to caramelize. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix sautéed vegetables with bread cubes, chicken broth and parsley. Use enough broth to saturate the bread crumbs but make sure it isn’t to soupy. This is where I can’t be really specific. If you get too much broth and eggs it can turn out runny…Too little and you will have dry dressing. It’s a trial and error thing. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 325°F or until golden.

To be continued……..

Salads for EVERYONE

I’m sure most of you know how to make a salad.  At my house everyone likes their salads to be personalized. My husband wants cheese and croutons (not gf croutons or dairy free cheese…), I like spinach, Kenzie loves lots of goat cheese, and Alex won’t touch a salad with a 10 foot pole! Since going gluten-free I have become a regular salad eater. I probably have a salad for at least one meal everyday.  I have learned that what I use to think was a basic salad no longer does it for me, especially since I eat them so often. So I decided to blog about my new love for salads and the many ways to “spin” a salad. I have also incorporated as many “superfoods” or healthy veggies in my salads to get the ultimate health benefits. So even though, Chris loves to load up on cheese and dressing, he doesn’t notice if I mix in a little spinach with the romaine. SHHHH….Don’t tell!

Essentials to a Healthier Salad

Romaine Lettuce (Vitamin A, C, manganese, chromium)

Spinach (Iron, folate, and loaded with antioxidants)

Kale (Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and antioxidants)

Slivered almonds (monounsaturated fatty acids)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (One serving has only 2.5 grams of fat and 22 grams of protein!)

Black Beans (antioxidants and magnesium)

Broccoli (Vitamin C and K, Calcium)

Avocados (Fiber)

Mandarin oranges ( Vitamins C and A plus fiber)

Dried Cranberries (Vitamin C and antioxidants)

Edamame (Tons of fiber and protein)

pomegranates (vitamin C and antioxidants)

So make yours mexican…black beans, avocado and some salsa mixed in with your dressing.  You can top them so many different ways, the options are endless! I like to have mine with spinach, mandarin oranges, pomegranates, grilled chicken and poppy seed dressing.  I use Briannas Home Style Dressings because they are all natural ingredients. The poppy seed is fantastic. Also, you can always throw together a quick dressing with a little extra virgin olive oil and some fresh or dried herbs.

Gluten-Free Noodles in Chicken Noodle Soup

Grandma Dee Dee’s homemade noodles use to take up about 3/4 of my plate at holiday dinners.  The woman always had noodles made. You can bet, if you were at her house she either had noodles drying on the counter or yeast rolls rising in the basement.  So I have to say, the hardest thing besides pizza was losing those noodles at Christmas! 

Another sad state of affairs? Chicken noodle soup. Now, I never ever had attempted to make chicken noodle soup ever. Why would I?  Usually, when I wanted chicken noodle soup the kids or I were sick.  It was as easy as having Chris stop at the store for some sprite and Campbell’s soup.  Those days are gone. There is one brand that makes a GF version, but it just doesn’t measure up for me. 

When trying to come up with a GF version for noodles, I began with Grandma’s recipe.  Passed down thru the generations, I grabbed my Cornelius Family Cookbook (Thanks to my cousin Mandy, who took the time to compile all of Grandma’s recipes into a book for the whole family.)  The funniest thing about that recipe is that it is so vague!!! 1 cup of egg yolks! Just add flour til it looks right???? What do I do with this? I decided to just throw caution to the wind and give it a whirl.

She was right…I mean, I didn’t know how much flour I exactly used. I just had to wait until the consistency was right. So here I am doing the exact same thing and very vaguely handing you a recipe.  I used oil in my recipe and of course added a little xanthan gum. I also figured that my regular flour mixture wouldn’t give it the right texture.  I used tapioca flour and it seemed to work well.  In the pictures my noodles look like McDonald’s french fries, but hey this is all about taste, right?

When I try this again, I would probably use a little less flour and roll a bit thinner.  I like thick noodles, but these took awhile to cook. 

Another option, if you don’t want to spend the time making noodles is to just buy rice macaroni pasta. 

So…Here it is!  It might take a few tries, but the end result is yummy!

Noodles

1 cup egg yolks (about6-8)

Tapioca flour or cornstarch

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. salt

water if needed

Beat egg yolks then add in oil.  Mix in salt and tapioca flour until you get a consistency that is good for rolling out.

(anywhere between 1-2 cups is what I used plus some for rolling out) Add water if you think it gets too thick.  Roll out at desired thickness and cut with pizza cutter into strips. Let dry.

Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups chicken stock or broth (Make sure it doesn’t have wheat!!!!)

1/2 c. onion

1/2 c. carrot

1/2 c. celery

Fresh mushrooms (if desired)

1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. Thyme

1 Bay leaf

Noodles

2 c. Cooked chicken cubed

I used a crock pot to make my soup and just added all the ingredients and cooked on low. If you do it this way don’t add the noodles until the middle of cooking time.  (about 6 hours)

Over the stove heat broth, onion, carrots, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper until boiling. Add noodles and simmer about 8-9 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Honey Roasted Pork Loin

This recipe is delicious!  It is also easy, which makes it close to perfect if you ask me.  I started using pork loins after going to a friend’s house for a cook-out. They had wrapped a 3 lb. marinated pork loin in foil and slow cooked it on the grill. It was so tasty, I’ve been hooked ever since.  Pork loins go on sale frequently where I shop.  I often will take it to the butcher while I’m shopping and ask them to slice it for me into pork chops. (It’s much cheaper than buying 4 pork chops at a time, plus they do it for free.) When I get home I separate them into freezer bags for later use.

I came across this recipe on food.com and decided to tweak it a bit. Funny, this recipe was already gluten-free, so I didn’t have to change any of the ingredients.  Most people think you have to scour the globe to find gluten-free foods. In reality, most of the food that people should eat, is already GF. Vegetables, fruits, meats (uncured) are all naturally gluten-free.  It’s the processed foods you really have to worry about.

I doubled the marinade for this because I like to sit aside a bit to baste with in the beginning of cooking.  It seems like the more marinade I use the more tender the roast, too. I also wrap the loin in a great big piece of foil, so I can get as much juice as possible to stay in the roast. (Something my Mom does with her ham and works quite well.) It tends to make the pork roast even more juicy!

Honey Roasted Pork Loin

  • 2 lb. Boneless Pork Loin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c. Honey
  • 4 TBSP. Orange Juice
  • 4 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Thyme
  • 1 c. Organic Chicken Stock (Some chicken broth does contain wheat)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Mix together the honey, juice, oil and thyme. Pour over the pork. Add the broth to the pan. Baste during baking.  Bake until temperature reaches 150 (45-60 minutes).  

All Occasion Sugar Cookies

Okay…So, I know what you are thinking. Why didn’t she post this before Valentines Day?? Sorry, procrastination is my biggest flaw. Lucky for all of you, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! Sugar cookies are such a tradition in my family. My Mom always had heart-shaped cookies for me to take to school on Valentines Day or Christmas cookies during the holidays.  It was something I always enjoyed helping my Mom do. Sugar cookies are a tedious job, let me tell you! Rolling, cutting and decorating takes time. That’s what makes them so special.  A lot of love goes into making these cookies and it always brings back memories of feeling special as a child. Decorate them however you want, sugar sprinkles, icing, ect. They are wonderful!

All Occasion Sugar Cookies

  • 2/3 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Butter or Earth Balance
  • 1/2 c. Spectrum Shortening or Crisco
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. Gluten-Free All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a large mixing bowl beat sugar, butter, and shortening. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add to sugar mixture and beat on low-speed, scraping bowl often until dough is mixed. Roll out and cut into desired shapes. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Gluten-Free Pizza

 

Pizza. Yep. The most excruciating part of going gluten-free is by far letting go of pizza. What I wouldn’t do for some pizza hut, right now…When Alex first went gluten-free, the rest of us were still gluten eaters for the most part. (My husband still hasn’t made the transition…) Chris would go pick-up a pizza, I would open the garage door, and he would sneak it in. I never could wait until Alex went to bed, so I would quietly step out into the garage and stuff an entire slice of pizza in my mouth. I’m talking 2.5 seconds and that piece of pizza was gone! I can still hear Alex, “Mom, what are you doing out there?” I know, that sounds like a selfish thing to do, but in my defense I have been addicted to gluten way longer then my kid had.  I’m sure someday when he reads this, he will forgive me.

So, I’ve been working on gluten-free pizza for going on 4 years now.  The first time I made a gluten-free pizza, I was super excited about it and thought it looked great. Alex, took one bite and spit it out, and Chris looked at me with that, “You can’t seriously think I’m going to eat this for dinner”, look in his eyes. Granted, it was a brick with tasteless soy cheese on top.

I use parchment paper in a lot of my gluten-free baking. It looks like wax paper, and it’s used for cookies and cakes, ect. so they won’t stick to the pan. Seriously, nothing is going to stick to this stuff. Sometimes I’ll bake my pizza on it if I feel like it is sticking bad and it comes out great. Another alternative is the new GF Bisquick mix has a pizza recipe (for a quicker pizza). When I make it with the bisquick, I can actually pour the batter onto the parchment and spread it out to make a circle. Very easy.

I always roll the pizza dough out on wax paper and then flip it over and peel the wax paper from the bottom. It makes the transition to the pan a lot easier, as the dough is a lot harder to work with then regular dough. To be honest, I don’t know that I ever even attempted homemade pizza until we went gluten-free. I mean, that’s what delivery is for right? We now use Daiya cheese or goat cheese for toppings, boar heads pepperoni’s are excellent, also. Technically, goat cheese is not dairy free, but it was the only thing that came up on Kenzie’s sensitivity test that didn’t cause a reaction. They both tolerate it very well and we haven’t had any issues with it. Oddly enough, I’m actually allergic to dairy and get asthma symptoms when I eat cheese but seem to do well with goat cheese. (I’m not a huge fan myself, but my kids would eat buckets of it if I let them!)

So this is the recipe that has come to be are main pizza recipe.  I have tweaked it here and there, which has resulted in the recipe I give you now. I feel like it still has room for improvements, so feel free to pass on any ideas! Top it however you like and enjoy!!!

Gluten-Free Pizza

  • 1 TBSP Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 c. Sorghum Flour
  • 2/3 c. Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/4 c. Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1/4 c. Tapioca Starch
  • 2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tsp. GF Italian Seasoning
  • 2/3 c. Warm Milk or Milk Substitute
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is best)
  • 1 tsp. Cider Vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix dry ingredients. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients while the mixer is on low. You might need some extra flour to work with the dough. No need to knead the dough, just get it to where it looks like a ball. When ready to roll out, use wax paper and extra flour. (Sometimes it’s easier to use another piece of wax paper on top and then peel it off before transferring it to the pan.) Once you have it on the pan, bake for 7-8 minutes before adding the toppings. Then 15 to 20 minutes or until toppings are browned.

Gluten-Free Breakfast

When I think of breakfast, I always think of my Grandparents. I remember spending the night at my Grandparents on a weekend and awaiting a huge breakfast of our choice.  At my Grandma Dee’s, it was always….”Do you want 1 egg or 2?” Of course I would say, “How about 3…” If I wanted pancakes, we had pancakes. She was definitely a short order cook. You name it you got it. Now, at Grandma Betty’s (shown in the pic) we would always have biscuits and gravy, eggs, pancakes….She would make a huge spread of everything. We would beg my Grandpa to get out of bed so we could eat. I can still hear Grandma yelling, “Dale, get out of that bed or we will eat without you!”

My love for cooking comes from my Grandmother’s.  They would  teach me something new every time I came over. Of course, all this food we ate was full of gluten! So now that we can’t have gluten anymore I have had to teach myself how to cook all over again. Cooking gluten-free is very different. Eggs need to be room temperature…Flours are all completely different in consistancy…My first few loaves of bread were a catastrophe! I remember throwing our poor dog loaves of bread out on the deck. You could hear the bread hitting the ground, CLUNCK…Everytime she would try to carry it off, she would drop it because it was like a brick. It’s no wonder that dog didn’t lose some teeth over that!  So, patience is necessary when starting the gluten-free diet.

The granola and waffle recipes are our favorite breakfast foods. I, like my Grandfather, like to sleep in.  You can make both of these ahead and enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The waffles can easily be froze and put in a toaster when you are ready to eat them.  I like to make a double batch of waffles and freeze a bunch of them.  If you are trying to be more healthful you can substitute oil with flax-seed meal on the waffles. I have also tried the waffles using agave nectar instead of honey. (lower glycemic index)

ENJOY!

Very Best Waffles

1 cup GF flour blend of your choice

3 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 TBSP. Sugar (honey or agave nectar can be substituted)

1/2 tsp. xanthum gum

3 eggs separated

1 cup vanilla Rice or Coconut Milk

1/4 c. canola oil

1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat your waffle maker. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Separate the eggs…whites go into a large bowl and yolks go into the flour mixture. Add the milk to the flour mixture and whisk well. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the oil and vanilla to the batter and mix well. Pour the batter over the egg whites and whisk. Pour into waffle maker making sure not to overfill as this can be messy!!! If freezing, allow to cool before putting into freezer bags for later use.

GF Granola

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (can use splenda brown sugar, but cut in half)
  • 1/4 cup honey(or agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole raw cashews or nut of your choice, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup dried blueberries or cranberries(shown)

Heat the oven to 350°F Combine butter, brown sugar, and honey in a small saucepan, place over medium heat, and stir until butter has melted and brown sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon; and set aside. Add sugar mixture, nuts, coconut, oats, and dried fruit.  Stir until mixture is moist throughout. Spread mixture on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted and lightly browned, about 10-15  minutes. Stir and continue to bake until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with milk or eat by itself. WARNING: It is addictive!!!!

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