Gluten Free Holiday Cookie Exchange

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Last year I hosted a Gluten Free Cookie Exchange at the holidays – and it was terrific! I know I took a picture of the cookie spread, but for the life of me I can’t find it. So I will add the photo if I ever come across it.  I think we had 10 bakers and we did batches of 8 cookies.  The presentations were beautiful and the cookie variety was awesome! From memory we had: gf no bake cookies, gf chewy cherry cookies, gf cheese cake brownies, gf toffee cookies, gf homemade mounds bars, gf peanut butter crispy rice treats, gf macaroons, gf almond-flavored wreath cookies, and gf buckeyes! All of the cookies were delicious – their gluten free nature drew no attention to itself.  Some of the bakers typically follow a gluten free lifestyle, and know the ins and outs of baking celiac safe goodies.  Some of the other bakers do not follow a gluten free diet – but they were very willing to learn how to bake in a celiac safe fashion. (Big shout out to my wonderful family for embracing the gluten free thing!)  Therefore I provided the following guidelines on gluten free baking.

  1. Wipe down counters, cutting boards, and any surfaces that you’ll be working on. If you are using a mixer, wipe down the mixer too.
  2. Peanut Butter is gluten free.
  3. Nestle Toll House chocolate chips are gluten free.
  4. Rice Krispies are NOT gluten free – although you can find “gluten free” crispy rice cereal (the box will be clearly labeled as gluten free).
  5. Oats are not usually gluten free, but you can easily find gluten free oats – Trader Joe’s has them and the brand Bob’s Red Mill also makes them.  They are labeled as “gluten free, pure, uncontaminated oats”, etc.
  6. Check to make sure any candy that you use is gluten free. For example, licorice is NOT gluten free.
  7. Fresh packages of sugar, butter, gluten free flour, peanut butter, etc. are ideal in order to avoid cross-contamination.
  8. “When in doubt, leave it out” – If you have any questions, just let the host know!
So, if you are inclined, consider hosting a gluten free cookie exchange so that you and others can enjoy a wide variety of homemade holiday cookies.
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Qiller Quiche with Grain Free Crust

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omg – I made this quiche this week and it was so good.  I loved it. I know it’s funny to love your own cooking, but dang this was good!  It was a cheesy broccoli quiche made with an almond flour crust.  For the crust I used the recipe from my cookbook Turtle Soup – which is an SCD cookbook.  Here is a similar crust recipe that I found online – I used butter but this recipe uses coconut oil.

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-pie-crust/

The crust was easy to make. It took a long time, but each step along the way was easy. Most of the time was spent on the dough chilling, so you can chill also and it’s not labor-intensive.  Then I beat 4 eggs, and mixed it with about 1 1/2 cups of cooked broccoli (steamed/boiled in a brine) and about one cup of shredded “mexican blend” cheese. (Fresh shredded cheese of course would be a better choice.) I poured it into the cooked pie crust and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees. I then forgot that I had it in the oven until I noticed the delicious aroma that reminded me. It was about 30 minutes.  Fortunately it had not burned and I pulled a beautifully-done quiche out of the oven. Who needs timers, right?! I am already craving another batch of this quiche.


Chicken Lentil Soup

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This recipe rivals the yummy lentil soups served at Middle Eastern restaurants!

Ingredients

1 bunch scallions

1 small bunch of celery (small because it was organic)

5 carrots

About 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt

16 oz red splits lentils (I get mine from Edison Grainery)

1 1/2 tablespoons marjoram

1 1/2 tablespoons parsley

4 cups of chicken broth (homemade if possible!)

About 8 oz of frozen cooked cubed chicken breast (I batch cook this and freeze it)

6 cups of water

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat.  When pan is hot, add the scallions, carrots, celery, and salt.  Sautee for 20 minutes.  Add chicken broth (mine was frozen when I put it in the pot), lentils, marjoram, parsley, cooked chicken, and water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  The lentils cook very fast, so this is a pretty quick recipe.  Another “One Pot Wonder” – if you don’t know already, I love simple quick recipes using real food ingredients. 🙂 Always taste to make sure the salt content is right.


The Easiest Applesauce Ever

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If this really is “The Easiest Applesauce Ever”, then it must be made in a crock pot. Yup, it is!!!  Get out your crock pot (large size) and 24 red delicious apples.  Peel and core the apples, and chop them into large pieces. When I do this, I slice off the top, then the bottom of all the apples.  Then I peel all the apples. Then I cut each side from the core – which means there’s a little bit of apple thrown away with the core, but it’s so much faster than chopping down the center of the apple.  I chop the sides into a few large pieces and then throw all of them into the crock pot and add 1 1/2 cups of water.  Turn crock pot to high.  Come back 4 to 6 hours later, and you have applesauce.  You could leave it chunky, but I like to puree it in my Vitamix when it cools.  I don’t add anything else because I like the pure form of applesauce.  Straight up Red Deliciousness!

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Shire Stew

This recipe is a fall favorite in my household – even the little kids like it.  It makes the house smell so good while it is cooking!

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Ingredients

Olive Oil for sauteeing

1 bunch Scallions

5 Carrots

1/2 stalk Celery

About 1/2 pound Green Beans

2 pounds Grass Fed Ground Beef

About 8 medium sized Potatoes

1 1/2 tsp Parsley

1 tsp Sage

1/2 tsp Rosemary

1 1/2 Marjoram

Salt to taste (I use 1 to 2 tablespoons of sea salt)

8 cups water

Corn Starch to thicken (optional)

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Directions

Have your meat defrosted if not already. Prep and chop the scallions, the carrots, the celery, and the green beans.  Peel and chop the potatoes; set them aside.  In a large soup pot, cover the bottom in olive oil and set the heat to medium.  When the oil is hot, add the scallions, carrots, celery, green beans, and salt and sautee for about 15 minutes.  The veggies should be soft/translucent.  Add the ground beef and herbs to the veggie mixture and cook until the beef is all browned.  Then add the chopped potatoes and the water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least a half hour.  If you have time, you can simmer longer for a richer flavor.  I used to add corn starch to thicken, but I don’t anymore. If you want to add corn starch, do so after you are done simmering the stew and it’s been off the heat for a bit.  Then stir in a 1/2 cup or more of the corn starch and it will thicken as the stew continues to cool.  Be sure to taste it so see if it has the right amount of salt. I love my “One Pot Wonder” meals!


Clean the Cupboard Trail Mix (Gluten Free)

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This ranks up there as one of the easiest recipes ever – homemade trail mix from ingredients that are already in your cupboard.  Today’s mix features the following unique ingredients:

  • Walnuts (produced in a facility where wheat was NOT present)
  • Cashews (same for the cashews)
  • Arrowhead Mills Puffed Rice Cereal (first time featured in trail mix for me)
  • Glutino Pretzel Sticks (we gluten free folks have these stuffed in every corner of our lives, don’t we?)
  • Angie’s Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn (Certified GF Costco purchase)
  • Nestle Chocolate Chips (but I have Enjoy Life mini chips on the shelf too, for a vegan mix)
  • Sun Maid Organic Raisins (from Costco, they have proved their shelf life, just sayin’)

Pour them into a large mixing bowl and mix. Transfer to a gallon sized ziplock bag. Enjoy a little every day til it’s gone. 🙂

 


Chili meets Dirty Rice

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I love this recipe – it is based on a dish that my Mom made when I was growing up. Her dish was called “Texas Hash” and I still make that version sometimes. So here is Chili meets Dirty Rice.

Sautee chopped onions and bell peppers in olive oil in a good sized pot. Add salt to taste. After those veggies look translucent, add 2 cans of drained cooked beans. I frequently use black beans and kidney beans. Add 2 cans of undrained diced tomatoes, about a cup and a half of rice (brown, white, quinoa, whatever…), and about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. I mix my own taco seasoning from Penzey’s spices that I have in the cupboard.  Add about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice absorbs the water, about 30 minutes. And that’s it! Super simple. It’s ready when it’s cool enough to eat. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or any of your favorite chili toppings!