Gluten Free Ginger Snaps – Comfort food for March snow

Gluten Free Ginger SnapsSome people like chocolate chip cookies, some sugar cookies. In my house, ginger snaps are the go-to cookie. It’s our traditional cookie that I make on Christmas tree decorating day. It’s the cookie that gets the most requests through the year. We like them soft, though, not crispy like the store-bought kind. If you like soft ginger cookies, these cookies are for you: just the right amount of spice, just the right amount of slight crispness on the outside. They’re just right. I use a vegan butter substitute instead of the butter, but don’t skip the shortening. The shortening gives them that nice chewy sort of texture without being dry and brittle. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
½ C. Butter
¼ C. Butter Flavored Shortening
1 C. Brown Sugar
¼ C. Molasses
1 Large Egg
½ C. Brown Rice Flour
½ C. Coconut Flour
½ C. Almond Flour
½ C. Sorghum Flour
2 T. Tapioca Starch
2 T. Potato Starch
1 ½ t. Xanthan Gum
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Ginger Powder
1 t. Cinnamon
½ t. Ground Cloves
¼ C. Sugar for dusting

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º. Add butter and shortening to a mixing bowl and blend. Cream with brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Blend in molasses and egg until thoroughly mixed. Add remaining ingredients and mix well, until there are no lumps. Scoop with a 1” scoop and roll lightly into a ball. Dip in the sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Gently slightly flatten the cookies. Bake in preheated oven, about 9 minutes, until golden brown and done (that’s when baking 2 trays of cookies at the same time – 8 minutes should be fine for baking just one tray). Cool 2 minutes and put on cooling rack to finish cooling.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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More Bacon, Please: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts – It’s What’s For Dinner

Bacon Wrapped Chicken BreastsReally, I’m not a total bacon nut. Yes, it probably does make most things taste better, but, really, I don’t sprinkle bacon on everything we eat. My family, on the other hand, probably would if I would let them. I guess there’s a show called United States of Bacon (or something like that) that my husband and kids were watching and they saw bacon wrapped chicken thighs and were kind of gaga over them, so here’s my stab at the recipe. Okay, so I only had boneless breasts, so I used those instead of chicken thighs, and I made up a stuffing that I use as my regular go-to stuffing for stuffed mushrooms. I found a gluten free brand of barbeque sauce, so I didn’t need to make my own: Dinosaur BBQ Sauce is gluten free (there are some others, but Dinosaur was the most affordable and the only name brand one there), and I used the honey garlic sauce because I thought it would compliment the sausage stuffing well. This turned out really good. It’s more like a Saturday night recipe, though, because it is a little time consuming. Wrapping the breasts in bacon isn’t the easiest thing to do and it takes a little patience. In terms of cooking, it really is an overall easy recipe. It just takes a little bit of time. I served them with smashed yukon gold potatoes and it was a nice mid-week meal. Hope you give it a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded thin
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. Italian Sausage, casings removed
½ lb. Mushrooms, chopped
1 Shallot, chopped finely
½ Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
½ Cup Chicken Broth (gluten free)
6 Tbsp. Shredded Dairy Free Cheddar Cheese
18 Slices Thinly Sliced Bacon
¾ Cup Barbeque Sauce (gluten free)

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the sausage. Break up sausage while cooking. When almost done, add the shallot and cook until translucent. Add in mushrooms and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat. Add in the bread crumbs and chicken broth and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 375º.
To stuff the breasts: lay out each breast. Place about 1/3 cup of the stuffing over the breast. Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the breast and wrap with 3 pieces of bacon. Brush with barbeque sauce. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes. Baste again with barbeque sauce about half way through the cooking time. Turn the oven to broil and broil for about 3-5 minutes, until top is slightly caramelized. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings (very generous servings: we each only ate about ½ of a breast).

Gluten Free Cherry Pie

GF Cherry PieLast weekend my daughter and I went to my sister’s house for a girls’ night sleep-over. Love girls’ night sleep-overs! The best thing about them (besides no boys allowed) is that we have dessert all to ourselves. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Crust:
(make this twice to make a top and a bottom crust)
1 ¼ C. Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (can probably use regular AP flour, but I haven’t tried it)
½ t. Xanthan Gum (omit if using regular AP flour)
½ t. Salt
3 T. Cold Butter
3 T. Butter Flavored Shortening
2 Large Egg Whites
1 t. Vinegar
Filling:
3 (16 oz.) Cans Red Pitted Cherries, reserve 1 cup of the juice and drain the rest
1 C. Turbinado Sugar
¼ C. Potato Starch
½ Tsp. Almond Extract
1 Tbsp. Butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
For the Crust: Add all dry ingredients to food processor and mix thoroughly. Add butter or shortening and blend until mixture looks like crumbs. Add the egg whites and vinegar and mix thoroughly. Add mixture to a large zip top bag that has been sprayed with cooking spray on the inside. Flatten out and put in the refrigerator for one hour. Repeat Recipe to make the top crust of the pie. Remove from refrigerator and roll out to fit a 9” pie pan. Cut open the bag and invert the crust over the pie pan. Press into pan and form edges.

For the filling:
In a medium sized saucepan, cook 1 cup of the reserved cherry liquid with sugar, potato starch and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium low heat until thick. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add cherry liquid to the cherries and almond extract. Combine thoroughly and add mixture to prepared pie crust.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 375º. Top pie with second crust and crimp edges. Bake for 40-50 minutes on bottom shelf of oven until top is browned. Take the pie out of the oven and let rest at least 15-30 minutes before serving.

Because I Love My Daughter So: Maple Bacon Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Maple Bacon Coconut Milk Ice Cream 2My daughter is a bacon fiend. She actually used her own money this summer to buy herself chocolate covered bacon at our county fair. This is an adaptation of a recipe I found on the internet. It’s basically the same recipe, except I added xanthan gum to it so it makes it a little creamier and easier to scoop when it’s fully frozen.
Seriously, what better combination is there? Maple. Bacon. You can thank me later….Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Can Coconut Milk
½ Cup Maple Syrup
¼ Cup Turbinado Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
¼ Tsp. Salt
4 Egg Yolks
¼ Tsp. Xanthan Gum
½ lb. Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:
Put a metal or glass dish over a pot of water and bring the water to boil. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, xanthan gum, and salt to bowl. Whisk with fork until mixture is hot. Beat the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by adding a few generous spoonful of the coconut milk mixture to the egg yolks and stirring until the egg yolks are almost up the same temperature as the milk mixture. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the coconut milk in the bowl and stir until the mixture is velvety looking and slightly thickened, like a thin pudding consistency. Completely cool mixture in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Don’t try to hurry this step because you want the mixture to be fully cooled before processing in your ice cream machine (unless you happen to have a restaurant quality ice cream maker and then it doesn’t matter). Process the coconut milk mixture according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer. When the ice cream is about half done, add in the crumbled bacon. This is a very rich ice cream, so you can get a lot of servings out of this little bit of ice cream.

mmmm…comfort food: Gluten Free Dumplings

GF DumplingsWe tend to have a different view of comfort food, for the most part. My family’s view of comfort food is something like chicken cordon bleu. When my son turned 9, our pastor asked him what his favorite food is (thinking that he would say ‘pizza’ or something like that) and my son said ‘chicken alfredo.’ But, we do like the occasional typical comfort food. My family loves chicken and dumplings. They actually prefer the gluten free dumplings over the wheat dumplings. These are fluffy and flavorful. The texture is lovely with the stew. You can use these for any stew. I had some leftover roasted chicken and potatoes and I chopped it all up, added some chicken broth and thickened it and then I added thickener to it (you can use arrowroot flour or cornstarch mixed with a bit of water to make a slurry). This is an easy, mid weeknight meal. I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
⅔ Cup Brown Rice Flour
⅓ Cup White Rice Flour
⅓ Cup Millet Flour
½ Tsp. Xanthan Gum
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
¼ Tsp. Dried Basil
¼ Tsp. Salt
Pinch Dried Thyme
1 Large Egg
½ Cup Milk (soy milk is okay)
¼ Cup Canola Oil

Directions:

These dumplings can be used on top of any stew. I made a stew of leftover roasted chicken and vegetables.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, basil, salt, and thyme. Mix well. In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the egg, soy milk, and the oil. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Bring your stew to a boil. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, drop the dumpling mixture into the boiling stew. Cover immediately and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, until dumplings are cooked through. Makes 5 generous servings (3 dumplings each).

Road Trip – Gluten Free White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Road Trip – what a better time for junk food. Well, technically, I don’t really consider white chocolate macadamia cookies ‘junk food,’ but it’s definitely something I don’t eat all of the time. Here was my stab at some gluten free cookies. I had some macadamias and white chocolate chips I’ve been meaning to use, so I settled on these. Of course, you can use the same recipe and just substitute chocolate chips for the white chocolate and skip the nuts or use some other nuts. Play with your food. This recipe turned out pretty good. They’re a little chewy, with a slight crispy texture on the outside. And the white chocolate / macadamia mix is a great combination. Perfect road food. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
½ Cup Butter or Vegan Butter Substitute, softened
½ Cup Shortening
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tbsp. Water
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 ½ Cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
½ Cup Brown Rice Flour
¼ Cup Coconut Flour
¼ Cup Millet Flour
½ Tsp. Baking Powder
½ Tsp. Xanthan Gum
¼ Tsp. Salt
12 oz. White Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375º.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the water and vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flours, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Slowly add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Add in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
Scoop onto ungreased baking sheets (I used a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop). Slightly flatten the cookies. Bake in preheated oven for about 8-9 minutes, until bottom is golden brown. If baking 2 trays at the same time, switch the shelves half way through the baking time. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets before removing to cooling racks. Makes about 4 dozen (or less if you eat a lot of the cookie dough).

Buckwheat FettucineI only make pasta once in a blue moon. I don’t know why I do it so little, but really when pasta is so cheap, and you can generally get pretty good pasta, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Well, that was until now. Gluten free pasta is a lot more expensive and the taste isn’t always wonderful. Corn pasta – yuck. Brown rice pasta is pretty tasty, but it is expensive. I’ve always wanted to try making my own noodles, so, of course, Valentine’s day would be the perfect time to do it. I made wheat fettucine for the men of the family and made these soba noodles for my daughter and me. These probably aren’t completely soba noodles, but I’m not into soba etiquette, so I’ll call them soba because they were made with buckwheat. I like these hearty noodles. I served them with some sauteed chicken and mushrooms, and a dairy free alfredo sauce. It was a nice valentine’s treat and good for my heart too. I threw together the alfredo sauce, so I’m not adding the recipe here, but I’ll figure out what I did and I’ll post that recipe soon. Until then, enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Potato Starch
½ Cup Buckwheat Flour
½ Cup Brown Rice Flour
1 Tsp. Xanthan Gum
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor, add in the potato starch, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and xanthan gum. Mix thoroughly. In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs and olive oil. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture. Process until the mixture pulls together and eggs are fully incorporated into the dry mixture. Remove from food processor and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rest for about 30 minutes. When rested, cut the dough ball into 3 pieces and roll out until flat enough to pass through a pasta machine. Start at the widest setting and pass through a couple of times. After each time of passing through, I fold it in thirds and pass it through again. Diminish the setting and pass through a few times. Keep diminishing until desired thickness. Cut into desired shape. You can either cook immediately. If cooking fresh, cook in salted water for a few minutes until soft to the bite, but not mushy.
If you are not cooking it fresh, you will need to let the noodles dry. First, hang the noodles and let them dry until slightly dry and hard to the touch, but still pliable. (I used a clothes hanger and hung them from my kitchen light fixture.) Soba Noodles Hanging
Remove to a baking sheet and let dry overnight. You can toss them with a little white rice flour to prevent sticking. To cook, cook in salted boiling water for about 8-12 minutes, until desired doneness. Cooking time will vary according to how thin you make your pasta.
Makes 8 servings.

Gluten Free Poundcake

Pound Cake 2I love my family. I pray every day that the Lord will show me how to be a blessing to them. That can mean anything from playing a game with one of the kids when he’s down or going for a walk or just laughing at their corney jokes. On days like Valentine’s day, it usually means making them a nice dinner and trying to make something that each of them likes. Usually chocolate is the dessert of choice for Valentine’s day, but today I went for gluten free poundcake. Well, first of all, I was making a big dinner and we had to eat early so we could go to our nursing home ministry, so making two separate desserts (gluten free and non gluten free) was not in the plans, not even possible. My son Luke doesn’t like chocolate, so I came up with poundcake and strawberries. Strawberries are a winning choice in our family on any given day. This cake turned out to be a winner too. It has that nice, cakey-dense-but-not-too-dry texture. Just a little sweetness, but not too sweet. I hope you like it. As a side note, you can make this in a loaf pan instead of in individual Bundt pans and it will be just as good. I put the directions at the bottom of the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Butter, room temperature (I used a vegan butter substitute)
1 Cup Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 Tsp. Vanilla
½ Cup Soymilk
1 Cup Sweet Sorghum Flour
⅓ Cup Coconut Flour
⅓ Cup White Rice Flour
¼ Cup Brown Rice Flour
2 Tbsp. Arrowroot Starch
1 ½ Tsp. Xanthan Gum

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease 6 mini Bundt pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar into the butter while mixing, scraping the bowl while mixing. Add in the eggs, one at a time while beating. Add vanilla and soymilk and beat until thoroughly combined. In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until well combined. Scoop a generous ½ cup of mixture into each Bundt pan. With wet fingers, smooth batter. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
(*Option: you can bake this in a loaf pan. Grease a loaf pan and pour mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 55-65 minutes at 325º, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean)
Cool on baking rack. Serves 6.

Dairy Free ‘Parmesan’ Cheese

Dairy Free Parmesan CheeseThe one last link to make for a perfect Friday Night Pizza Night: Dairy free ‘parmesan cheese’. Man, I could eat this by the spoonful. I tried a couple of different variations. One of them turned out to taste like a powdered cheddar that will taste good on popcorn, but that’s for another post at another time. This one is about as close to parmesan as I could get. It has that slightly smokey, salty, nutty flavor like parmesan does. I hope you try it sometime. It tasted great on top of the pizza, really gave it a little bite like parmesan does. It’s also easy to make. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
½ Cup Almond Meal
2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast Flakes
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds*
½ Tsp. Fine Sea Salt
¼ Tsp. Smoked Salt

Directions:
*To toast the sesame seeds, put into a small sauté pan over medium high heat and stir until the seeds start to pop and smell fragrant. Be careful not to over-cook because they will burn fast.
Add all ingredients to a small food processor or coffee grinder and process until it looks like parmesan cheese (kind of like gritty snow).

Dairy Free Cheese (for pizza)

Dairy Free CheeseYes, I know, this is supposed to be a gluten free blog, but for me, dairy free goes hand in hand with gluten free, so ya gotta do what ya gotta do. First, I have to say that I have hated every dairy free cheese that I’ve bought from the store. Ugh. Really nasty. And I’ve tried every one that our store sells and every one that I’ve found at other stores. AND, they’re not cheap. It’s a lot to pay for a plastic/soy tasting nastiness. Okay, I shall step down from my soap box now. I mad a dairy free cheese a couple of times before that I liked. It was a cheddar kind of flavor to it. But, it doesn’t taste that great on pizza It’s tasty in an omelet or on a gluten free quesadilla, but not on pizza. This cheese tasted great on pizza. Okay, so it doesn’t melt that great on pizza. Maybe it would on a grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla, because you can cook it longer, but it still has a very nice taste on the pizza. Plus, it has a very delicate texture, so it doesn’t taste like little shreds of plastic, even though it doesn’t melt like traditional mozzarella. I have to admmit, though, that the ingredients aren’t exactly easy to find. I make a 40 minutes drive to be able to buy the nutritional yeast flakes and agar flakes, but I know that they sell it on amazon.com too. Give it a try. It’s fun to make and tasty. Enjoy!


Ingredients:

1 Cup Raw Cashews
1/3 Cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Smoked Sea Salt
2 Tsp. Onion Powder
½ Tsp. Granulated Garlic
1 ½ Cups Water
2 Tbsp. Agar Agar Flakes

Directions:
Cover the cashews in water about 1” over the level of the cashews. Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours, or overnight. I soaked mine for about 5 hours.
Drain cashews well. Add cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, salt, onion powder, and garlic to a food processor bowl. Bring the 1 ½ cups of water to a boil and add the agar agar. Stir while boiling for one minute. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for another 7 minutes, until agar flakes are completely dissolved. Add agar mixture to the food processor with other ingredients and process until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a dish to mold the cheese in. I have a cheese mold that is just the right size, but you can use any container that is about 2 cups. Line the dish with plastic wrap and spray with cooking spray. Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared dish and let sit for about 2 hours until the cheese is set and ready to be used.