Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy*, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts*

Do you ever crave a big scoop of ice cream in the dead of winter?  Or a cup of hot chocolate in the middle of July?  Well today was one of those out of season cravings.  I wanted a pumpkin cookie in the middle of Spring.  I realized that I hadn't included one of my favorite fall recipes on my blog.  So here it is!

  • 12 Tbsp Earth Balance Shortening (or soy free shortening)*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1  Ener-G Egg Replacer egg made according to directions
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Mock Pamela's Baking Mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup of raisins ( or chocolate chips)
  • (Optional - 1 cup of walnuts chopped)*


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the shortening and the sugar until fluffy.  Add pumpkin, egg replacer, vanilla, and mix well.  Combine the Pamela's mix, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Slowly add flour mixture to creamed shortening until blended.  Add raisins, and walnuts.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet.    Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing.  

Makes approximately 36 cookies.

Note:  Use your favorite powdered sugar frosting and drizzle atop the cookies.
           *I have noticed with Earth Balance Shortening, that I consistently use less than regular shortening. If your cookies appear more crumbly, try add 2 Tbsp more of your allergy free shortening.

Kaula Pig In A Slow Cooker

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Soy

I went to a church event the other night and on the refreshment table was Kaula Pig.   I forgot how much I loved Kaula Pig.  I talked to the person who made the dish, and she described the recipe to me, and how easy it was to cook it in a crock pot.  I looked it up on the internet for specific measurements and found this one on All Recipes by Kikuchan.  It was perfect. 

  • 1 (6 pound) pork butt roast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring


1.Pierce pork all over with a carving fork. Rub salt then liquid smoke over meat. Place roast in a slow cooker (crock pot).

2.Cover, and cook on Low for 16 to 20 hours, turning once during cooking time.

3.Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook-Cookbook

     I believe this book has been out for months, and I am just getting around to it.  I have to say that I had no real plans to buy this book.  It was actually a gift.  I had looked at her previous cookbook, "The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook" and didn't find much in it that my family would eat. ( That isn't to say that other people wouldn't find it useful or delicious.)  So, I admit that when this one came out, I wasn't in a rush to buy it.  I would gladly wait for it to come to my local library, and test it out that way.  Cookbooks are just tooooooo expensive for me to buy, without testing out a few recipes first. 

     However, now that I own the book, I am going to try out the recipes and review them here on my blog.  As you can see, I have already tabbed my book, with recipes that I am going

     I am working on a strawberry pie, and cooked her sponge cake recipe to replace the lady fingers, originally called for.  I will let you know how it turns out.  So, within the next week or so, I hope to have a good report on this cookbook.  I think desserts are the best part of any meal!

Sneak peak photo of the Sponge cake:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tandoori-style Turkey Burgers

Free from: Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Egg, Corn

If you need a change of pace from the normal burger, give these a try!

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb sausage (mild or hot)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

    Heat grill to medium heat (around 300 degrees).  In a large bowl mix turkey and sausage.   Mix in garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in to the meat.  Form into patties.  Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until done.   Serve on your favorite gluten free bun.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jammin it Up!- Strawberry Jam Pectin Free

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy
It is becoming that time of year again, time to pick strawberries.  The farms will be picking in a few more weeks, but for now, our local Harris Teeter's was having a great sale at four for five dollars.  So, I decided to start a little early making jam.  This will in no way stop our family tradition of going to the local farm to pick strawberries, but getting an early start is always good for me.   Especially since we just consumed our last jar of freezer jam.  Hence, the need to make lots of jam this weekend.  

  I have been picking strawberries and making freezer jam with my family for the past thirty years.  I now do it with my kids.  We have always made it with pectin (the jelly that you see on your right in the picture above).  However, now that we have corn allergies, and pectin contains dextrose, that is most likely a corn derivitive, we now make pectin free jam for my one sons ( the jar on the left).

I have including both recipes:

Pectin Free:
(I got this recipe from cincinnatilocavore and reprint it with their permission.)

Tips (read these before making the jelly.):

When I bought three quarts of gorgeous berries from Neltner, I was careful to select quarts that had a few berries with green tips -- this is the first secret to making no-pectin strawberry jam. There's pectin in unripe strawberries, and those with a little green left on them have plenty of pectin.... You only need a handful of berries with green tips in each quart to provide enough pectin to gel your preserves.

I wash, hull, and roughly mash the berries -- leaving a lot of big chunks, as in my opinion that's what preserves are all about -- and then after I've brought it to a full rolling boil for five minutes, I pour the whole thing into a sieve to strain the berries from the syrup and put the syrup back into the pot for further cooking. That's the extra work part, but it's also the second secret to making no-pectin strawberry preserves. Cooking and cooking and cooking the entire thing down until it's reduced will also work to prevent runny preserves, but it also tends to produce a 'cooked' taste. Which is still good, but I want a fresh taste. So I reduce only the syrup, then add the berries back in after the syrup has reached the gelling point.

Yield: approximately 3 8-oz jars of preserves per quart of berries

Strawberries, a few slightly unripe, slightly mashed
1 c sugar per cup of mashed berries
1 T lemon juice per cup of mashed berries (optional, but I find the lemon juice brightens the taste.)

Fill canning kettle with water to cover 1/2-pint jars by 2 inches, cover, bring to a boil, and keep it there.

Set 1/2 pint (8-oz) jars and lids into a pan of hot water over lowest heat. You'll need 1 jar per cup of mashed berries.

Wash and hull strawberries. Mash to big chunks and measure by the cupful into a large heavy non-aluminum pot. Add 1 cup of sugar per cup of mashed berries, cover, and leave for several hours. Bring to a full rolling boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the sugar from sticking and burning. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl, allowing syrup to drip through sieve for a few minutes. Set the sieve aside, return syrup to pot, add lemon juice, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly and boiling on high heat until candy thermometer reads between 220 and 222. Return contents of sieve to pot and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle into hot 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/2" headroom. Wipe jar rims with damp cloth, cover with hot lids and screw on lid rims without tightening. (The lid rims are only there to hold the lids in place during processing; tightening them can both interfere with processing and cause you to dislodge the lids when removing the lid rims before storing your preserves.) Set jars into canning rack and drop into boiling water in kettle. Cover kettle and process 10 minutes, remove from water, and set on rack to cool. Once cool, check seals (press gently in the center of the lid -- if you feel a slight pop and the center flexes down and then back up again, the lid didn't form a seal and that jar should be refrigerated and used within six months), remove lid rims and label.

Pectin-Freezer Jam (In case you can have corn):
(I have always used the Ball Recipe that comes in the pectin box.)

2 cups of mashed strawberries (about 2 - 1 1lb containers)
4 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 box of pectin

Combine prepared strawberries with the lemon juice.  Add sugar, mixing it thoroughly and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Combine 3/4 cup water and Ball Original Fruit Pectin in a small saucepan.  Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly.  Boil hard for 1 minute, continuing to stir.

Add cooked pectin mixture to fruit mixture.  Stir in 3 minutes.

Ladle the freezer jam inot the clean, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.   Apply caps and let the jam stand in refrigerator until set, but no longer than 24 hours.  Serve immediately, refrigerate up to 3 weeks, or freeze up to one year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Difference between Jelly, Jam, and Preserves

     Jelly is made by cooking the fruit juice with sugar, pectin, and lemon juice.  Jelly is firm and usually contains no fruit pieces.  It is clear and bright.

    Jam is made from mashed, chopped, or the pulp of the fruit and made with sugar, pectin, and lemon juice.  Has a semi-jellied texture.

    Preserves are fruit cooked with large chunks or whole pieces of fruit, and are suspended in the jelly.  The texture isn't smooth like jelly or jam.

Then there is a whole list of other things:

     Marmalade is a citrus-based soft jelly.  It includes both the flesh and peel of the fruit, which are suspended in the jelly.

      Conserve is a mixture of more than one fruit.  It typically has nuts and raisins added.  It is cooked until it is thick. 

is a spiced condiment, with its origins from India.  It is a sweet and sour condiment, that almost always calls for vinegar.  It is often made with fruit and sugar, which gives it its sweetness.  Different recipes will also call for different spices, that can make it hot and spicy.  All the ingredients are mixed and simmered slowly. The consistency is that of a jelly, salsa, or relish. 
    Fruit Curd is made with egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice, and zest.  It can also contain egg whites, or butter.  It is cooked to thicken, then cooled to form a smooth, intensely flavored spread.

Fruit Butter
 is made from larger fruits, such as apples or pears that is stewed together with sugar, lemon juice and spices.  It is often run through a sieve or cooked until thick and smooth.

    Fruit Spread is made with fruit juice concentrate and a low-calorie sweeteners to replace all or part of the sugar, or made with no sugar at all.

(Top right picture is strawberry jam---Photo by Patricia R.  Middle left picture is marmalade--Photo by Amanda Slater.  Bottom right picture is Chutneys from Bangalore--Photo by Charles Haynes.)

Enjoy Life Cookies for Everyone--Cookbook Review

            This book touts a collection of 150 recipes that are not only gluten free, but also free of dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and eggs.  This book devotes four chapters (55 pages) to the benefits of alternative eating, the what's and where of allergens:exposing hidden and harmful ingredients, stocking an allergy friendly kitchen, and allergy friendly baking 101.   These are good chapters if you are just getting started, and gives explaination of the purpose of certain foods in baking.   The rest of the book are recipes that are broken down into the categories of drop cookies, bar cookies, no bake cookies( tartlets, and other bite sized goodies), and lite bites ( healthy cookies, bars, and bite size treats).

            With 150 recipes, there is surely something for everyone. We decided that each child that could cook, would pick a recipe to bake, and we would rate it as a family. We rated the recipes on a scale of 0 to 10. 10 stars--everyone liked it. 0 stars--no one liked it.   Here are the six recipes that we tested.  You will notice our taste testers have code names, named after foods.  So you will see Kids Code Name Choice and then The Name of the Recipe.

  • Momma Endive's Choice --- Oh-So-Delicious Sandwich Cookie   (9 Stars ) 
              This cookie remind me of a mini whoopie pie.  The chocolate cookies cooked up firm, but soft on the inside.  The recipe call for a powdered sugar filling.  I opted for a peanut butter filling instead, because we were in the mood for a Reese cup taste.  The kids and Dad loved it.   Momma  thought it had a hint of grittiness, but was still very good. 
             I really liked that this recipe called for your choice of white, brown, or sorghum flour.  We used a blend of all three. 

  • Chowder's Choice ---Choco-Loco Bites  (5 stars)
            These are brownies made in a mini muffin tin.  They are great little snacky foods, that yield about two dozen.  They were a little dry when cooked at the time given.  I undercooked the last batch and that helped.   

  • Streudel's  Choice ---Lovely Lemon Raspberry Bites  (3 stars)
              The biggest reason for not liking these muffins, were the texture.  I knew when I read the ingredients it probably wasn't going to be a winner, but to be fair, I followed the recipe ( with the exception of using blueberries).  The main ingredients were lemonade, sugar, and white rice flour.  Most of the time, when a recipe calls for only white rice flour, the baked item tends to be gummy.  This recipe was no exception.  Dad commented that it was waxy, and reminded him of chewing on a candle.  I think this recipe would have been better with a blend of flours.  Maybe we will try it again with our favorite flour blend. 

  • Yummy Chocolate's Choice---Chocolicious Petit Fours  (7 stars)
 (I didn't get a picture of these.  They ate them all before I could get one!)  
               Once again, this one called for only white flour.  I couldn't bear to do it again, so I  used a blend of brown rice, white rice, and sorghum flour, instead of the called for white rice flour.  I then proceeded to follow the rest of the recipe as written.  The cake bars were nice and firm.  Most of the kids liked these small squares of chocolate cake.  The adults were quicker to notice that the cake just crumbled in your mouth.  Neither of us really liked that sensation.  We would have preferred a moister cake.

  • Sweet Tart's Choice--- Hearty Chocolate Chippers (6 stars)
                 These cookies were well received by the kids.  The adults weren't all that thrilled.  This recipe relied heavily on sorghum flour.  The adults like their sorghum in smaller amounts, so this was a bit too much.  However, if you are a sorghum lover, then these cookies are for you.  The cooking time was too long and that needed to be drastically adjusted.  It cooked in half the time recorded. 

  • Cheesburger's Choice --- Light'n Lacy Oatmeal Crisps  (10 stars)
             Everyone in the family absolutely loved these!   These are just like the Oatmeal Lace cookies.   This recipe is definately going to be added to our recipe box.   Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!

                The cold hard facts were, that my kids gobbled up five out of the six cookie recipes.   They throroughly enjoyed them.  As for the adults, we enjoyed  two out of  the six.  In the end, I am torn.  In fairness to the author, I only tested 6 out of 150 recipes.  I am going to check the book out from the library and try some more recipes.  When I make more cookies,  I will be sure to post the updates.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fabulous GF Wrap Sandwich Bread

Free of:  Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Egg, Corn,Yeast*

     I cannont say enough wonderful things about this recipe that I found on Gluten Free Gobsmacked.  She in turn got off the DelphiFourm Celiac Group, modified from GF 135 Recipes by Washburn.  ( I know that was long, put I want to make sure that I get the credits right.)  
     This recipe has many reviews from all the people who have tested it.  They all gave glowing reviews.  I knew with so many good reports that I needed to try it.  This recipe was all that everyone touted it to be.  With one modification of my own, to make it egg free, I was in business.  All the posted comments were very useful and I used them all.   One reviewer even made it yeast free by just omitting the yeast and sugar.  I am going to try that tomorrow.  I will let you know how it goes. 
    We not only used this as a sandwich wrap, but we used it today for our new hot dog buns!  Next we will be trying grilled cheese sandwiches and cinnamon toast!  All the kids declared this a keeper, and it really is!


  • 1 cup Authentic Brand superfine brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp xanthun gum (or guar gum)*
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast* (see note below)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar ( I used rice vinegar)
  • 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 egg replacer eggs (Ener-G eggs made up)


        In a large bowl, mix brown rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthun gum*, salt, and gelatin.    In a heavy duty mixer, mix water, vinegar, oil, egg replacer.  Slowly beat in the dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Once combined, beat on medium high for 4 minutes.
        Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Put a little oil on the parchment and rub a thin coat on.  Spoon batter onto jelly roll pan.  With a spatula that had been dipped in water, begin to smooth out the dough to the edges of the pan.  Try to spread as evenly as possible, filling the pan.  Keep dipping the spatula in water as it begins to stick again.  Repeat process until done spreading.  Using a fork, prick the tops of the dough.  Place dough in a warm spot, allowing to rise 35-40 minutes. 
        Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.   Bake for 11-15 minutes or until the top is slightly brown.  Allow to cool 15-30 minutes before cutting and using it.  Cut into the size you would like. 

 Advice from others who have cooked this:
  • to store leftovers, place in a ziploc bag and leave at room temperature to maintain flexiblity.
  • can be used as a pizza crust; sprinkle with seasonings and use as a garlic bread, or cheese bread.
  • freezes great. 
  • some people increased the water to a 1 cup.  I used the 3/4 cup  and water on the spatula and it worked great.
  • omit the yeast and sugar, make as usual, to make it yeast free.
  • original recipe called for 2 eggs.  If you can tolerate eggs, then you can use the eggs.  You blend the eggs in with the water, vinegar, and oil.  Also, when using the eggs, omit the gelatin.
**Update to posting:
          I tried this recipe without the yeast and it worked great!  Thumbs up on this one.
          I also used guar gum and it works as well as the xanthun.
Pictures of the process:

Dough in the mixer. 

Dough in the pan.

Bread cooked.

Bun for our hot dog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Free of: Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy
I found this recipe on All Recipes, submitted by Debby.  This recipe has 298 reviews and got four and an half stars out of five.  People rated this as a great recipe.  With that many people saying that it was good, I had to try it.  I needed a good Italian dressing to make my pasta salad and a marinade for my chicken breasts.  Like a lot of people who reviewed the recipe, I cut down on the amount of salt.


1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon white sugar

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

2 tablespoons salt


1.In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in a tightly sealed container.

2.To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

Warm Green Bean and Potato Salad

Free of: Gluten, Soy, Corn, Egg, Dairy

This is recipe comes from the November Issue 2009 of Martha Stewart's Everday Foods Magazine.   It is one of our family's favorite side dishes.

Serves 4
  • 1 pound red new potatoes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with 2 inches salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high; add potatoes and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, mashing potatoes slightly, until golden brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.
  2. Add bacon to skillet. Cook until bacon is browned, about 3 minutes. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add to potatoes along with lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

Free of:  Gluten, Soy, Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Nuts*, Peanuts
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups Mock Pamela's Baking Mix
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grate your zucchini.  Squeeze the zucchini between paper towels to remove excess water.  In a mixing bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, vanilla extract, and zucchini.  Add in the brown sugar and beat.  Add in the Mock Pamela's mix, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and beat.  The batter will be thick.  Stir in coconut, walnuts, and chocolate chips.  Line your muffin tins with baking cup liners.  Scoop the batter by icecream scoop fulls into baking cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes a dozen.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Young Baby Coconuts

 I was in my local Asian Supermarket, and shopping for a regular, brown, round coconut, when I spotted a young baby coconut.  I thought to myself,  Wow! For fifty cents more, they have already taken the outer shell off and I can just get to scooping out the coconut meat.  This is great! Less work!
     That just goes to show you what I know about young coconuts. Nothing.  This was going to be my first experience with a young baby coconut.   I got it home and started grating away.  What?  What is this?  It was fibery and gross, as I shredded away.  I certainly couldn't use this in my cookies and granola bars.  I decided to cut through the hairy husk and quickly hit upon a very hard core. 
    Exasperated,  I thought,  "Oh, come on!  I just want some coconut meat!"  I realized that I was totally clueless and ran to the internet to look up this mysterious, young baby coconut.   I happened upon this website, http://www.living-foods.com/articles/youngcoconuts.html.  It talked about how there is less meat in a young coconut as compared to a mature one.  Bummer!  I was actually looking for quantity.  So, if I wanted the same amount of coconut meat as a mature one, I would need to buy at least two young coconuts.  It was also very descriptive about how to cut it open.  Hallelujah!  The down side was, what I thought was going to be less work, was really the same amount.
     I finally got my coconut open (lots of hammering) and scooped out the soft flesh.  It tasted great!  I saved the coconut water, and cooked with it.  It gave wonderful flavor to my oatmeal!  (We like to cook with coconut milk when we prepare our oatmeal.)  I would definitely buy it again.  I chopped up the flesh, because it was so soft that I couldn't easily grate it.  I am going to use it in my granola bars.  I can hardly wait!