Monday, March 28, 2011

Honey Roasted Nuts

I've been buying similar pecans by the can, and they were a but pricey.  So, when I found this recipe, I gave it a try.  The results were better than I anticipated.  Of course, I like to eat these on their own, but they're a delicious addition in salads or crumbled on peas or green beans.

1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
4 c. nut halves (walnuts or pecans)
2 to 3 tbsp. sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line pan with foil and grease foil. In saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, butter and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Put nuts into medium bowl. Pour honey mixture over nuts and stir until evenly coated. Spread on prepared foil-lined pan.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until nuts are glazed and lightly browned. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from pan.
  4. In medium bowl, combine sugar and remaining cinnamon. Toss with glazed nuts to coat.
Makes 4 cups.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lies and Truths

I was just now reading another Celiac's blog, and I enjoyed her humor-based reality.  I'm going attempt to share my personal lies and truths:

  1. Truth - I enjoy eating at the homes of my friends.  I do not expect my gluten-eating loved ones to prepare gluten-free food for me in their homes.  Food safety for people with super-sensitivities like mine is tricky.  It isn't a good idea to cook food for me in the same pan that was used to fry glutenous foods.  Drawers are known to get crumbs in them, and if I eat with a spoon or fork that kissed a crumb, I'll get sick.  Right away.  You don't want to know the details, but you'll see me dashing to the bathroom, holding my head and belly simultaneously and scratching my skin.  It's not a pretty sight.  So, please allow me to bring my own food.  I really don't mind!
  2. Lie - I am glad to have Celiac disease.  No!  No!  No!  My dear husband, when I found a long list of restaurants that specialize in gluten-free food in Atlanta - where we were headed for a vacation - gently accused me of being happy to have Celiac.  Yikes!  I am far from proud or delighted to be living the rest of my days on a strict gluten-free diet; I was, however, ecstatic to find that the Atlanta community embraces my particular situation and provides delicious, safe restaurant foods.  We Celiacs like to be pampered a bit, just like "regular" people.  Do you have any idea what it's like to go to a restaurant and watch everyone else partake in aromatic fresh, warm bread dripping with butter while you look at a menu full of masterpiece gourmet culinary delights only to discover that you can only eat salad greens with  no dressing?  The icing on the cake is when the server pops over to our table after we finish eating and asks, "And what can I get you for dessert?"  Auggghhhhhh!  Back to my original point:  No, I am not glad to have Celiac.  Goodness!
  3. Lie - I cook gluten-food for my family.  Nope.  The first thing that I did, if my memory serves me, when I was diagnosed was clean out my pantry.  My next door neighbors must have thought I was goofier than they thought.  I kept taking them flour, spices, canned food and box-mixes for a week until I was sure that gluten was totally removed.  I was a cleaning-diva, too, making my best effort to remove any traces of microscopic crumbs.  I gave my beloved Tupperware and my non-stick pots and pans to Goodwill and bought some glass food containers and new cookware.  My rule:  I want to live a very long time, so at our house I cook exclusive food.  That means gluten-free.  It was a hoot at first, because I didn't really know what I was doing, and the food tasted horrible.  Now, after years of gluten-free cooking classes and buddy-recipe-study (thank you, Internet!), my husband and daughter are happy to eat gluten-free dinners at home.  I still make them sandwiches on the weekends, and they can bring home glutenous take-out if they're having cravings, but I prepare foods that I can eat.  (Is there really someone out there who prepares two separate meals every night?  Good grief!)
  4. Truth - I know where the restroom is located in just about every establishment I visit.  It is a necessity!!!  We all have our little quirks.  Well, that is mine!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gina's Gluten Free Biscuits

My husband made a comment not too long ago that surprised me.  I'd just found this recipe, and I was super excited to give it a try, when my dh said, "I think that you're glad you're Celiac."  No!  No!  No!  That wasn't it, but I can see how he got that impression.  There are SO many delicious recipes and Celiac friends out there, that when you connect with a really good one, it makes you smile.  

There was a period of time when I mourned delicious food.  Not doughnuts or pizza or soft bread - just really tasty food.  Then I began discovering blogs and recipes.  That led to new friends and conversations.  I follow a good number of blogs, but the first one I followed was Gina Gluten Free.  Gina really knows how to cook!  I borrowed and adapted the ideas for this recipe from Gina.

1 t. white vinegar 
¼  cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 large eggs 
2 cups of white or brown rice flour
½  cup potato starch 
¼  cup tapioca flour
½  cup corn starch
¼ cup flax meal
1 T. xanthan gum
3 T. sugar or honey
1 t. salt 
2/3 cup skim milk powder
2 1/2 t. dry active yeast for your breadmaker
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the liquid ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and pour carefully into bread machine baking pan. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (except xanthan gum) and add to baking pan. Place the baking pan in the bread maker. Select the normal/basic/white cycle and start the bread machine. After the mixing cycle begins, slowly add the xanthan gum.  
  3. Allow the dough to rise in the bread machine.  After the dough has risen in the bread machine, remove it and form into small rolls in greased muffin tins.   
  4. Allow the dough to rise in the muffin tins a second time.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gluten Free Pizza Video

I have tried so many pizza crust recipes in an effort to find what I think is the best one.  My calzone-recipe makes an excellent dough, but this one is delicious, too.  I often use basil pesto instead of tomato sauce for my topping base.

This recipe is amazing!  The presenter has a list of other videos on youtube at

Gluten Free Cookie Bars

I am not a big dessert person.  But, occasionally I like to eat something sweet!  This is goofy, but sometimes I get my fix from watching a cooking show on TV or reading  a recipe.  I know, that's goofy.  Really.  

My point is this: When I cook a recipe for cookies, brownies, or cake, you know that it's going to be good or I wouldn't keep it as part of my plan.  This recipe is yummy!


Don't you want to make them, too?  You can see the recipe in its entirety at 

TN Gluten-Free Restaurant Menus

Check out!  There are extensive updates and reviews for gluten intolerant readers.

Tonka Truck Williamson

My husband and I bought Casper, a Maltese puppy, after we had been married about two years.  What a precious little guy!

We decided that Casper needed a little buddy to play with while Glen and I were away at work, so we purchase another Maltese from a friend.  It just happened that the second dog's name was also Casper, so we re-named #2 to "Two." 

Casper and Two lived happily together for many years until they were both old and in diapers.

After our two Maltese passed away, I promised myself that I would never ask my husband for another dog.  I was worn out from brushing ... and brushing ...

A few months before our older daughter was going to leave to attend college, we began to think that we might add another dog to our family to keep our younger daughter company in her sisters' absence.  We started looking at and reading books about different breeds in an effort to find the dog that would fit with us.  My husband discovered Tonka through Petfinder and the Collierville Animal Shelter website. 

Tonka loves to cuddle under blankets, prefers coats and sweaters to shivering, monitors all traffic - including leaves, insects and birds - on our street, and doesn't sit still for longer than a minute.  He's a little thief!!  After parenting our little Maltese lap dogs, we have adjusted to this hyper little comedian, Tonka Truck Williamson.

I had to cut this coat off Tonka.  I was able to sew it without using Velcro or snaps.  That turned out to be a mistake.  He somehow managed to put one front arm in its entirety through the neck hole (which was barely large enough to get his head through), and his other front arm was bent and stuck in a front sleeve.  The little guy couldn't move!  So, I cut the coat off and threw it away.  I'm thankful that I have this picture, though!

Pasta with Lemony Herb Sauce

I love to fix this quick and easy pasta dish for my family.  You can add shrimp or chicken if you want, but it's delicious on its own without meat.  I adapted the recipe from Food Network to meet our gluten-free needs.

6 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
2 (8-oz.) boxes of gluten-free pasta (spaghetti or fettuccine)
2 t. lemon zest 
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 T. of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once simmering, add the onion and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring continuously.  It will take about 5 minutes for the mixture to get soft and translucent.  Remove from heat and stir in half of the fresh herbs. 
  3. Return the (empty) pasta pot to the stove.  Add the onion mixture, the rest of the olive oil, the rest of the herbs, the reserved pasta water and lemon zest.  Season with salt and pepper, stir, add the pasta and toss to coat.  
  4. Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley sprigs before serving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

I adapted this recipe after finding it in a Taste of Home Dinner on a Dime magazine as I was waiting to check out at WalMart.  The recipe is found on page 37 of the Feb/March 2009 issue.  It is one of my favorites!

1 package of baby shrimp, frozen and pre-cooked
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 package of gluten-free spaghetti pasta or fettucini pasta
3/4 cup of gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, saute the garlic in oil until it is crisp.  Stir in the shrimp, broth, parsley, salt and cayenne pepper.  Cook until heated through.
  3. Drain the pasta; add it to the shrimp mixture and toss to thoroughly coat.

Condensed Soups for Gluten-Free Gourmets

I panicked when I first realized that I can't use Campbell's cream soups anymore.  Thank goodness, I found these recipes at!

Creole Pasta with Smoked Sausage

2 (6-oz.) boxes of gluten-free pasta and cheese
1 lb. gluten-free smoked sausage (I use Hillshire), sliced
1 cup frozen onion, bell pepper, and red bell pepper seasoning blend
1 can gluten-free tomatoes with green chilies
1 tsp. gluten-free Creole seasoning
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta; add cheese sauce from package.
  2. Cook sausage and seasoning blend over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes, or until the sausage is browned.  Then, add the tomatoes with their juices to the skillet, stirring to combine.  Remove from heat.
  3. In a serving bowl or dish, combine the pasta, sausage mix, and Creole seasoning.  Serve immediately after stirring.

Gluten Free Turkey Burgers - SO Juicy!!

I saw Christina Ferrare cook these on "Big Bowl of Love" one morning on T.V., and they looked so good that I had to make Turkey Burgers for dinner that night.  I was used to attempting to doctor hamburgers so they weren't boring, and this recipe was the ticket!  You can see the original recipe at

1 lb. (ground) turkey meat
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. kosher salt and black pepper or to taste
1 1/2 T. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup canola oil

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 t. hot sauce
  1. Mix the dressing ingredients together, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the burger ingredients.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.  Shape into 4 burger patties.  (The mixture will be gooey.)
  3. Pre-heat (on high heat) a heavy skillet that is large enough to hold all 4 burgers so they don't touch one another.  Add the burger-cooking oil to the skillet and swirl it to cover the skillet bottom.
  4. Carefully add the burgers to the skillet, being careful not to let the burgers touch each other.  Lower the heat to medium, and allow the burgers to cook undisturbed for four minutes.  
  5. Flip the burgers and cook four minutes on the other side.  Then, reduce the heat to low and add 1/4 cup of water.  Quickly cover the skillet with a lid, slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.  Continue to cook four more minutes.  
  6. Flip the burgers; add cheese if desired.  (Allow one more minute with the lid ajar to allow the cheese to melt.)
You can serve these on a bun, but they are super delicious standing alone with the dressing. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gluten Free Gnocchi and Chicken Soup

The recipe comes from:

1 lb. GF potato gnocchi (recipe follows)
1 cup chicken breast meat, cooked and diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cream
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup carrots, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. parsley
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to top soup when serving
  1. Saute the onion, celery, spinach, carrots in olive oil until the onion is almost translucent.  Add the chicken, broth, and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Slowly add gnocchi to the boiling broth. 
  2. Turn down the heat; simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cream.  Slowly allow the mixture to come to a boil; turn it off.  Top with Parmesan cheese.
Gluten-Free Gnocchi
4 large Idaho or Russet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour 
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1.   Wash, pierce and bake four potatoes in their skins at about 400 degrees for an hour.  Cool them slightly, peel the potatoes, melt the butter into them, and beat potatoes thoroughly (use a food processor or a hand-held or stand mixer until they’re finely beaten). Cover them in a bowl and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2.   Whisk together the flour and xanthan gum to combine. Add the flour and xanthan gum mixture slowly to the cooled potatoes; knead it in, squeezing the dough as you go until it holds together.
3.   Roll the dough into 3-6 inch ropes that will form the basis for the small gnocchi. After you have rolled a few, let them sit for a few minutes. It will allow the flour mixture to absorb the moisture of the potatoes.
4.   Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Cut the ropes into 1″ pieces with a sharp knife, then mark each with the tines of a fork to make ridges (it allows the gnocchi to hold onto sauce better). Once the water is boiling, gently drop each gnocchi, one by one - in batches of 20 or so- allowing them to cook for about 3 minutes or until they float to the top.  Use a slotted spoon to remove gnocchi from the boiling water and set them aside. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve with tomato or other sauce.

Gluten Free Lasagna

1 ½ packages of gluten free lasagna pasta, uncooked (about 1 lb.)
1 lb. ground beef
32 oz. can GF tomato chunks
12 oz. can GF tomato paste
1 T. Italian herb seasoning
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
24 oz. low-fat cottage cheese
4 T. parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook ground beef; drain fat.  Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and Italian seasoning.  Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley; set aside.
  4. Spoon and spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 15x9x2 pan.  Place a layer of lasagna pasta sauce in the dish, covering the entire surface.  Cover the pasta with 1/2 of cheese filling mixture, spread across; add 6 oz. Mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of uncooked noodles and 1/2 of meat mixture.  Repeat.  Save 4 oz. Mozzarella cheese to top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cook for 10 minutes before cutting and then serving.
*    The first time I made this, I was confused about making lasagna and not boiling the noodles first, but it works with the GF lasagna noodles.

Gluten Free Calzones

1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees) 
2 T. sugar
1 pack GF active yeast
1 ½ cups brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
2 cups tapioca flour
1 t. xanthan gum
1 t. guar gum or 2 t xanthan gum
2 T. rice bran
2 t. salt plus additional sea salt to sprinkle on top
3 T. olive oil plus additional for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Proof the yeast:  Fill a 2-cup glass measuring cup with 1 1/2 cups water and microwave - about 55 seconds.  Check the temperature to get the water to 110 degrees F.)  Warm up the water and add sugar and yeast.  Stir quickly; let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  You should get a tan foam on top of the water.
  3. While the yeast is proofing, whisk all dry ingredients together.  Once mixed, add to mixer bowl.  Add the proofed water-yeast mixture and olive oil.  Mix until a firm dough ball is formed.  Add more olive oil if the dough is not holding together, and mix.  (This dough doesn't need to "rise.")
  4. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/8 inch thick.  (Add more olive oil if the dough is too dry and roll again.)  Cut out the calzones.  (I use a medium round mixing bowl like it is a cookie cutter.)
  5. Fill the lower third part of the circle with your choice of fillings (pizza or pasta sauce, cheese - cheddar, mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, etc., - mushrooms, onions, pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, salt, basil, parsley)
  6. Once the toppings have been added, fold the calzone in half, bringing the exposed edges together.  Press to seal and move to a cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake to 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Once baked, they'll be very hot, so let them cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Gluten Free Pizza Dough

(This recipe makes dough for two casserole-dish pizzas.)  The recipe comes from Gina, Gluten Free and is an adaptation from  Thank you, Gina, for sharing!

1 T. gluten-free yeast
1  t. salt
1 lightly beaten egg (large)
1 cup plus 1 T. water
1 t. cider vinegar or 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid
2 T. honey
2 T. vegetable oil
  1. Combine mix, yeast and salt.  
  2. Heat water to lukewarm (110 degrees).  Add vinegar, honey, oil, and egg. Beat the mixture well to prevent the egg from cooking.  Add wet to dry ingredients; beat on low speed to combine. (The mixture will be thick.)
  3. Knead dough by hand or with dough hooks for 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. 
  4. Divide the dough in half.  Grease two glass casserole dishes.  Place your hand inside a plastic baggie, and oil the bag.  Put one dough ball into a dish.  Using the greased or oiled bag-hand, spread the dough out evenly.  Repeat with the second dish and dough ball.    
  5. Bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.  Allow to cool before serving.

Gluten Free Crusty Bread

I've been making GF mix breads and breadmaker homemade breads, but this recipe replicates the delicious and crusty (as close to a baguette as you'll ever get) bread. 

This recipe comes from Viking Cooking School:  Adapted from Shauna Ahern, the “Gluten Free Girl.”

1 ¼ cups potato starch
1 ¼ cups almond flour
2/3 cup certified gluten free oat flour
½ cup millet flour
2 t. xanthan gum
1 t. guar gum
1 T. kosher salt
1 T. rapid-rise yeast
1 T. honey
1 1/3 cups warm water (120 degrees)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 T. canola oil, plus extra for oiling bowl
½  cup ice cubes

Special Equipment:
Pizza stone
Cookie sheet
Dough scraper
Stand mixer
Silicone rolling mat
1.   Sift together the potato starch, almond flour, oat flour, millet flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, salt and yeast.  Set aside.

2.   Combine honey, warm water, eggs and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix for 30-60 seconds.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients; increase the speed to medium, and beat until the dough is well formed, about 1-2 minutes.  The dough will be soft and sticky.

3.   Using a dough scraper, scrape the dough into an oiled bowl; cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap.  (The dough will be sticky – do not try to handle with your hands or work more flour into the dough.)  Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about one hour.

4.   Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Lower one oven rack to the lowest position; place an empty cookie/baking sheet on it while the oven is preheating.  Position another rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat a pizza stone on the center rack.  Using the dough scraper, turn the dough out onto a lightly potato-starch-dusted silicone rolling mat.  Dust  your hands and the dough lightly with potato starch as well.  Using the scraper, cut the dough into two equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a small oval loaf, and use a very sharp knife to score three ¼–inch deep diagonal slashes on the top of each oval loaf.  Be careful not to press down too hard, or you may deflate the loaves.

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

(This recipe makes 6-8 tortillas.)  

1 cup white rice flour 
⅓ cup potato starch 
⅓ cup tapioca flour 
⅓ cup fava bean flour
2 t. xanthan gum 
1 t. baking powder
½ t. sugar 
1¼ t salt
2 T. shortening 
¾ to 1 cup warm water

  1. Combine all dry ingredients; cut in shortening using a pastry blender.
  2. Add the warm water, starting with 3/4 cup and mix well.  Continue to add water until a soft, cohesive dough is formed.
  3. Heat a griddle to medium heat. Shape a ball of dough into a flattened disk, shaping the outside edges in to form a round circle.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to form a round disk about ⅛ inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter.
  5. Bake one tortilla at a time on a hot griddle until the surface bubbles. Turn only once; the first side will have brown areas when done.
  6. Bake until the second side has slightly browned.
  7. Place in a tortilla warmer or wrap in a cloth until serving time. (You can freeze tortillas in a sealed plastic bag for up to three months.)

Memphis Gluten-Free Restaurant Menus

Abuelo's (available in the restaurant but not online)
Mellow Mushroom (pizza!) in Germantown (available in the restaurant but not online)

I list these restaurants because the servers and cooks appear to be knowledgeable regarding my need for food safety and no cross-contamination.