Category Archives: Special Occasions

Gluten-Free Stuffing

My Thanksgiving guests this year said that this gluten-free stuffing was as good as any they’d ever had!  Since I used pre-made stuffing cubes from Whole Foods, it was as easy as any I’d ever made too!  It made me wonder why I only make stuffing during the holidays.

I used this recipe from wholfoodsmarket.com, substituting more celery instead of carrots, and using a full 4 cups of broth to make the stuffing more moist.  I made it the night before, so that the broth would fully soak into the bread, but you can make it right before baking too.  I increased the baking time to about 45 minutes to give the broth time to cook into the bread.  If you cannot get the pre-made cubes, just make a loaf of gluten-free bread, then cube and toast it.   

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Matzo Bread

Matzo Bread is part of the Passover Celebration, remembering the story of God freeing the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery.  They left in such haste that they didn’t even have time for their bread to rise.  Matzo is made with no yeast, and is more like a cracker than bread.

I made it especially for Passover, but it was so good and so easy, I’ll be using this recipe now all year to make these light, flaky crackers.  I can’t wait to try it with soups, dips, cheese, and all the other things that usually marry crackers.  This would also be a fun thing to send in a lunch box with meat and cheese – Lunchables style.

The recipe is from julesglutenfree.com and uses her wonderful flour blend, which you can find again at the end of this post.  My added tip is to score the dough with a pizza cutter where you want to break the pieces apart before baking.  They will break into even rectangles instead of random places.  Also, I just pressed the dough right onto the parchment paper I had lining my baking sheet.  It worked fine.

Thanks, Jules, for another terrific recipe!  You’ve taken one more thing off my list of “things I wish I could still eat” with this addition of gluten-free crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. water
  • 12 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450° F (static) 425° F (convection).

Whisk together Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour and almond flour then add in the liquid slowly while stirring with a fork or pastry cutter. If the dough is too dry, add additional water by the 12 teaspoonful in order to get dough wet enough to form a ball but not be sticky.

Form a ball with the dough and pat out onto a clean surface or pastry mat dusted with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. Pat with your fingers to flatten the dough and roll to the thickness of a saltine cracker, then prick all over with a fork. Sprinkle with additional coarse kosher salt, if desired.

Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or just until slightly browned.

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Chocolate Cake

Doesn’t this look amazing?!

In all my years of gluten-free eating, I have never been brave enough to serve a gluten-free cake to all my “normal” guests.  I just couldn’t make them eat my gluten-free, slightly dry and crumbly version, when I could have treated them to a good old-fashioned Chocolate Sheet Cake, or “Mama Cake” as we call it in our family.

With this recipe though, I can make one cake, and have everyone ooh and ahh about how moist and delicious it is.  Though I’ve posted it before, it begs repeating, because this time I added icing and made it into a layered cake.

It works as a beautiful birthday cake with chocolate frosting.

It also works with colored icing for a kids’ cake.  This one was a Star Wars battle scene created my son.

If you have any leftovers, remember that you can freeze individual servings.  Chocolate cake on demand is a very good thing.

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Filed under Birthdays, Dessert

Burger King’s New Gluten-Free Safe List

Burger King has just come out with a list of gluten-free choices.  I really appreciate all the companies that make the effort to do this.  It makes it so much easier to navigate eating safely.  Unfortunately, we still have to be vigilant about how they prepare their foods.  Cross contamination is always an issue, and how they handle the food as they prepare it is critical too.

I recently investigated a Burger King before their list came out and was so excited to find that their french fries were gluten-free AND fried in a dedicated fryer.  I almost hugged the manager.  However, if not for her diligence in listening to how careful we needed to be, we would have been sent down the glutenation tunnel.  Yes, the fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer, BUT, when they come out, they are dumped in the warming bin next to the onion rings and scooped into the bags using the same tongs as the onion rings.  The manager assured me that she would get new tongs and scoop them right from the fryer to our bags, so we were safe.  But, only because she told me how their process worked.

It concerns me that Burger King lists these “gluten-free” foods as safe, when it is likely that there will be these kinds of issues.  The lesson for me is to read the lists, but continue to ask questions about food handling.  I think the lists are a step in an easier direction, and one that I really appreciate.  But, the burden remains on the consumer to check it out themselves to ensure safe eating.

Here’s the link to Burger King’s list.

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Holiday Sugar Cookies

Making Christmas Cookies is one of our favorite traditions, and we always share the creativity with my Mom.  The boys love each part of it:  rolling out the dough, pressing the cookie cutters into it, and of course, adding icing and sprinkles.

We used the recipe from Jules Gluten Free and had great results.  I doubled it, making all the cookies but only icing a few.  The rest I’ll put into the freezer to pull out a little at a time so we can have fresh cookies throughout the month.  I put the  icing in individual baggies with about 1/2 C. in each baggie to pull out of the freezer at the same time.  You can find Jules’ recipe below for the cookies.  For the icing, I just use the recipe on the powdered sugar box.

This Cookies Cutter set will give you any shape you’ll need to make cut-out cookies any time of year.  They’re fun to make for any occasion – even if the occasion is just a happy day.  🙂

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies

Ingredients:

14 cup shortening (e.g. Earth Balance® or Spectrum® Palm Oil Shortening)

14 cup canola oil

23 cup granulated cane sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract

1 34 cup Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour (recipe for mix below)

12 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. water (as needed)

food coloring (optional)

colored sugar or frosting (optional – see below)

Directions:

Cream shortening, sugar and oil several minutes with an electric mixer, until very fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla extract and food coloring. Mix in the dry ingredients, adding in tablespoons of water only as needed to keep the dough together and avoid dryness (err on the side of this dough being wetter so that after refrigeration, it’s not too dry). Pat the dough into a disc shape, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough until very cold, at least 3-5 hours (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 350 F (static) or 325 F (convection).

Lightly flour a clean rolling surface with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. Roll the dough to approximately 1/8 inch thickness and dust cookie cutters with flour before using to cut out shapes. You may also roll thin coils of dough of different colors and braid into candy cane or other fun shapes.

Place cookies onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and decorate with colored sugar, if desired. Bake approximately 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to lightly brown at the edges. Cool on a cooling rack and frost with gluten-free frosting, if desired.

Jules Nearly Normal Flour Mixture:

1 C. rice flour

1 C. potato starch

1 C. cornstarch

1/2 C. corn flour

1/2 C. tapioca flour

4t. xanthan gum

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Christmas Tree Brownies

Here’s a super easy and super fun Christmas Treat!  I brought these to our family Christmas, because I needed something easier to make than pie.

You start with the Betty Crocker Brownie Mix and bake it in a pie pan.  Top with icing and green sprinkles or green icing.  I brought it to the gathering this way, so that the kids could decorate their own tree with M&M ornaments and a gluten-free pretzel tree trunk.   Thanks, Betty Crocker, for this great idea!

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Traveling Gluten-Free

Traveling takes a little more forethought and planning when you’re eating gluten-free.  You can’t just stop at any old restaurant along the way or even assume that there will a place to eat in the airport.  There are many places that will work, but just in case, I always keep a good stash of food with us.  In fact, having safe food at hand is so important that I pack food before clothes, because we all know that it’s never good to see Mommy the kids in a full-blown hunger melt down.

It’s helpful to carry along food that can pack and keep well.  For car rides, I pack lots of apples, Nature Valley Almond Crunch bars, several types of trail mix, cheddar rice cakes with Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Spread (and plastic knives), chocolate rice cakes with a jar of peanut butter, and Honey Rice Chex.

For plane trips, I bring an entire food carry-on with Almond Crunch bars, apples, rice cakes, a package of Hormel Naturals deli meat packed inside a large Ziploc bag with an ice pack in it, and trail mix.  Be careful of anything “liquid”.  This includes peanut butter in a jar, and I know from experience that airport security has no sympathy for under-privileged gluten-free eaters.  They’ll take that peanut butter right out of your bag, no matter how much you beg.  Usually you can find fruit and Lay’s chips in an airport if you need it too.  And, most hamburger places can accomodate you if needed.

I plan enough food to last us the trip, then if we do find a restaurant where we can eat, it’s a bonus.  If not, we’re still set.

If we’re in the car, I’ll even pack food for our stay.  We traveled 5 hours away a few weeks ago to visit friends for 2 days, and I had more food sacks than suitcases.

If we’re flying somewhere, I visit the grocery store once we get there to stock up.  You can buy a cooler there, fill it up, and eat most meals that way.  We’ve even brought an electric skillet and a crock pot with us to cook in hotel rooms, and most rooms have microwaves now.  That means you could eat cereal, microwave eggs, or gluten-free oatmeal for breakfast.  Lunch could be microwave quesadillas or rice cakes with meat and cheese, chips and fruit.  And dinner could be your restaurant meals.  Dinner could also be canned chili with Fritos, quesadillas, Taco Salad with canned beans, or Baked Potatoes.

Even though it seems daunting, planning is the key.  You just have to get used to putting food into your agenda.  And, you have to prepare yourself to be a traveling grocery store, which means you may need an extra suitcase just for food.  In the end though, it’s cheaper than eating out, usually healthier anyway, and much more peaceful knowing you’re prepared.

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