Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Penzeys Buttermilk Dressing and Dip

    As you may already know, I am a big fan of Penzeys Spices.  I use their Northwoood Fire to make my hot wings, their Krarkow Nights to season my pork chops, their cocoa, season salt, turkish seasoning, dried garlic.....
One slide out draw full.   These are the bulk bags of spices.
An upper cabinet full.  Individual jarred sizes.

    This Buttermilk Dressing and Dip spice is awesome!  You mix this with your favorite allergy free mayo and dairy free milk and it tastes just like ranch!    It has no preservatives or anti-caking agents in the ingredient list.  It contains salt, bell peppers, garlic, onion, sugar, black pepper, parsley, thyme,  and basil.  If you don't want to mix up your own, then you really need to try this one.   This dressing is great served with veggies, with french fries (like the dressing at Outback Steakhouse - a mixture of ranch dressing and sour cream), or in mashed potatoes.  Yum! Yum!

   They are in 24 states but if there isn't one near you, you can order from them directly at Penzeys.com.

GF Betty Crocker Apple Pie Dump Cake


1 box of favorite GF yellow cake mix

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) or more to taste

1/2 cup dairy free butter substitute, cut into small pieces
( I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)


Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. 

Pour the apple pie filling in the pan. 

Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the apple pie filling. 

Sprinkle nuts on top.

Dot the cake mix with the shortening. (Do not mix together.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Cook's Notes:
*I really liked this dessert, but my crew gave it a 50/50 split on liking it.  The loved the filling but not the topping.  Hubby and I both liked the topping.  I am wondering if they didn't like the cake mix itself.  Next time I am going to try the topping with a different brand of cake mix, probably Gluten Free Pantry.  
* I have also seen this done with a sugar cookie dough topping.  You can make up a batch of GFsugar cookies and drop heapings of dough on top of the pie filling and bake.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fresh From Elizabeth's Kitchen Review - Cooking Class at Harvest Market

Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes
     We had our cooking class at our local grocer, the Harvest Market, complete with a tasting table of food from Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes.  
     We had a great time!  We ate great food, had good conversation, and made Elizabeth's Lemon Tea Bread.   Elizabeth and her team were wonderful enough to provide the cookbook and The Pure Pantry Mixes as door prizes.  It was great fun!
      I previously wrote a review of her cookbook, but I thought it would also be great to have others review her food as well.  You won't have to trust just my opinion any more.

      The survey evaluated how the food tasted.  The choices were bad, average, good, or excellent.

 Here are the results:

      Mojito Chicken
             80% Excellent
             20% Good

       Quinoa Tabouli
             80% Excellent
             20% Good

        Cilantro Rice
             20% Excellent
             80% Good

        Lemon Tea Bread
              80% Excellent
              20% Good

        Heirloom Tomatoes and Mozzarella
              100% Good

        The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Old Fashion Chocolate Chip,
              100% Excellent

        The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Sugar
              100% Excellent

         Out of the seven items tasted everyone thought the food was either excellent or good.  I would say that the cookbook is a real winner!   I know that I enjoy it, made the Mojito Chicken again just the other day.  

Corn Free Caramel Apple Pie Filling - Canning for the winter

     When the weather gets milder here, it means you will not find me in my kitchen but out in my yard.  The past couple of weeks the weather here in Virginia has been pretty nice.  Now of course this week was an earthquake followed days later by hurricane Irene, but still.... before all that, the weather was beautiful.
     I went outside to prep a new garden bed.   I had been at it for hours when I took a break.  I had been staring at the ground so long that when I drank my water bottle and actually gazed up over my fence, I spied a groaning apple tree in my neighbors yard.
     I don't know why I hadn't noticed before.  I am not a nosey person, but I was missing the blatantly obvious.  My young dwarf apple tree was done giving apples for the year, and we ate all of ours.  There was none left for canning or dehydrating.  I had the idea that I should casually walk over and ask if I could pick some of her apples.  They are a family of three and there were way more apples than people to eat them.  But I chickened out, and sent my kids, who are not half as shy as I am.
     She enthusiastically gave my kids permission to take all the apples they wanted!  Wow!  What asking will do for you!  I picked about three bushels.
     Happy and giddy with our bounty,  it quickly soured to hot kitchen labor.   I made applesauce of course, but I decided to try something new---canned apple pie filling.
     We have made several pies and have loved them.  One quart jar was enough for one apple pie.  Next is an apple pie dump cake.
      With plenty of apple pie filling stored for the winter, I am back to being happy and giddy!
**Disclaimer- as stated by Food Safety, Clear Jel is the only approved starch to can with.  Cornstarch  is also used by many.  If you make this recipe using arrowroot starch, it is at your own risk and we accept no liability.**

I used the recipe from Squidoo.


About 6 pounds apples, peeled, cored, sliced
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup arrowroot starch
3 Tbsp lemon juice
8 cups water divided (6 cups/2cups)


Before starting, sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.

Have your apples peeled, cored, and sliced.  Pack your apples into the canning jars, leaving about
1 inch of head space.

In a large pan, mix sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and 6 cups water.
In a separate bowl, mix arrowroot starch, lemon juice and 2 cups of water. 

Over medium heat,  stir the sugar mixture until almost boiling.  

Stir in arrowroot starch mixture, and stir quickly until the arrowroot is blended and thickens. 
Remove from heat immediately, and ladle hot syrup over the apples, leaving about 1/2 inch head space. 

Gently tap down the mixture to remove the air bubbles.  

Put lids on and process in a water bath canner.  For pint sized jars process for 15 minutes.  For quart sized jars process for 20 minutes. 

I got about 4-1/2 quart jars filled.  

Cook's Notes
The original recipe called for 10 cups of water.  I found that if I used that much water,  the pie was too loose for me.  When cooked it never really thickened and set up firm.  I recommend playing with the water until you find your preference. 

The apples will rise to the top after you process them. 

* Please note as stated in the comments below that if you are doing long term storage that it is recommended that only Clear Jel be used safely.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Buckwheat Sausage Casserole

I tried my favorite grits casserole recipe using cream of buckwheat.  It was just as tasty and for those of you that can have eggs, serve it up with one on top. Mmmm!

Pocono Cream of Buckwheat cooked according to package, serving 4
 instead of cooking with water use 2-1/2 cup chicken broth and 2-1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
 ( I only had fresh red pepper on hand, but I usually cook it with green pepper)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 pound of sausage

1 (8 ounce) package of Daiya Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste


Brown the sausage, onion, and green pepper in a large skillet.  Drain off grease.

Mix the sausage mixture, buckwheat, Daiya cheese, and salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased baking dish.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  

If it appears to be browning to fast.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Buckwheat cooked
Cook's Note:  The buckwheat cooked up looser than grits.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

GF Dairy Free Plum Blueberry Cake

I saw this recipe in the latest edition of Every Day Foods and just had to try it gluten free.   
 Here is the adapted version that is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and egg free.

10 Tbsp dairy free shortening (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup light brown sugar packed
1 cup of firm ripe plums cut into wedges
1 cup blueberries
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 flax egg ( 1 Tbsp flax meal + 3Tbsp hot water and let sit for 10 minutes)
1 1/2 cup of GF all purpose flour
1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 tsp poppy seeds
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rice milk + 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven 375 degrees.  In an 8 inch round cake pan place 2 Tbsp dairy free shortening.  
Place cake pan in preheating oven until shortening melts.
Swirl shortening to coat the sides.
Sprinkel 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the shortening.
Arrange plums and sprinkle blueberries over  brown sugar.

In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat 8 Tbsp and 1/2 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy.  
Beat in flax egg, and orange zest.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, xanthan gum, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
Beat in half of the flour mixture until well combined.
Pour in the rice milk mixture and blend.
Pour in the rest of the flour until well combined.  Dough will be thick and stiff.
Spread batter atop the fruit mixture.  I used my hands to spread the dough evenly around.

Bake cake until it is golden brown.  Rotate once during baking.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes.  
 If you find your cake is browning to fast, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
Remove from oven and let cool in cake pan.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan and invert cake onto a serving plate. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Enjoy Life Handmade Crunchy Cookies Review

by metellieca
A quote from Cookie Monster says it best in his tweet in March of 2010,
 "Maybe you hear rumor that me going on a diet. Not true. Me just eating healthy foods AND cookies. What wrong with dat?"

Who doesn't love cookies!  These new handcrafted cruncy cookies by Enjoy Life are sure to get you gobbling up cookies and sweeping up the crumbs.

Enjoy Life's new handcrafted crunchy cookies are phenomenal!   The chocolate chip cookies... no lie... taste like Chip's A'hoy!  If you buy no other cookie, buy theEnjoy Life Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookie, 7-Ounce (Pack of 6)
But if you love cookies as much as I do, then don't stop there.  They have three other varieties  that are super delicious.

Enjoy Life had a recipe on the box for quick and easy moon pies with the Vanilla Honey Graham Crunchy Cookies that look sinfully good.  Of course we couldn't wait to make moon pies, those cookies were calling us.  We ate them straight away, and the crumbs were flying!  They were delicious.  Now I have to order six pack box from Amazon to get enough to eat and make those moon pies! 

The Double Chocolate Crunch Cookie was also superb, and I plan on making easy ice cream cookie sandwiches out of these. 

I can't say enough great things about these cookies!   Mmmmm!  No dieting here!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Upcoming Cooking Class - Fredericksburg, VA

    Raising Allergy Kids is excited to be partnering with Harvest Market to present a cooking class that centers around taste testing Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes  cookbook.  That night we will be cooking her Lemon Tea Bread and sampling her Mojito Chicken over Cilantro Rice, trying her Quinoa Tabouli , and trying several of The Pure Pantry Cookie Mixes.  
     We hope you will join us for a night of delicious taste testing and cooking.  Feel free to call the Harvest Market to sign up at 540-507-8040 for this Celiac class held August 25th at 7 pm.  The Harvest Market is located at 7610 Heth Salient Street, Suite 112, Spotsylvania, VA 22553.

      Until then try The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Sugar,  and make her recipe for 

Almond Crescent Cookies 

  • 1 package of The Pure Pantry Cookie Mix, Sugar,
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 cup of butter or dairy free butter substitute
  • 1 large organic egg or egg replacer
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar to dust the cookies
  1. Using electric mixer, cream together butter (or butter substitute) and egg ( or egg replacer) until well blended.  
  2. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. Add contents of package and almond flour.
  4. Mix until all ingredients are combined and dough forms into a ball.
  5. Remove dough ball from bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celsius).  Grease two cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap.  
  8. On work surface covered with gluten free flour, roll dough into long log. 
  9. Using a knife, cut log into 1/2 inch (12mm)  slices (about 1 tablespoon of dough each). 
  10. Using your hands, roll each dough slice into a crescent shape and place on prepared cookie sheet.  
  11. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Remove cookies from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
  13. Place half the confectioner's sugar in a baking pan.  Place slightly cooled cookies in a 9x12 inch (23x30cm) baking pan and pour remaining confectioner's sugar over the cookies.  
  14. Roll each cookie around in the sugar to coat.  Let cool in the sugar for at least 30 minutes.
  15. Remove cookies, shake off excess sugar and store in air-tight container.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Enjoy Life Mega Chunks Review

         If you love Enjoy Life's Semi Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips you will love these Mega Chunks.  I opened the bag with no intent of making chocolate chunk cookies.  I wasn't in the mood for cooking.  I snacked on these chunks straight out of the bag.  I will admit, I was having a moment. 
         These delicious hunks of chocolate are perfect for putting in your favorite blondie recipe or chunky chocolate chip cookie.  But in case you are having one of those day... just know that Enjoy Life has you covered.  You can get a little chocolate fix right out of this bag.  

Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch Granola Review

What's in this granola?

Our family had the opportunity to try Enjoy Life's Double Chocolate Crunch Granola.  
It was a huge hit in my house!  We usually add Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips in our favorite granola cereal, so it was a real treat to have the chocolate chips already included.  
One of my daughters announced that this tasted just like Cocoa Pebbles to her.  I don't know about that, I was always partial to the Fruity Peebles myself.  What I do know is that it was really, really good!  I ate mine straight out of the bag.  The kids ate it with rice milk, and loved the chocolatey milk effect.  All nine of the kids gave it a thumbs up and I gave it a pinky's up, because that was about the size portion my kids left me to try! 
 I will be adding this one to our grocery list.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fresh From Elizabeth's Kitchen Cookbook Review

Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes
Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen: Gluten-free & Allergy-Free Recipes

     Where to start, where to start...
     I received this beautiful cookbook Friday.  Excitedly, I stayed up until midnight marking off all the recipes I wanted to try.  I got up bright and early Saturday morning, stopped by the farmers market and local grocer to buy all my supplies.  By 10 a.m. I had donned my apron and started cooking.

     I started with the Gingerbread Waffles with Cinnamon Poached Pears.  My kids flocked to the kitchen and wouldn't stop commenting on how great it smelled, and the  "When can we eat?" questopms began.  ( That was the most frequently asked question all day.)  By the time they were ready, and plated, they were gone.  I couldn't bake these up fast enough.  They were scrumptious!  Truly a gingerbread lover's delight!  My kids have now put it on the menu to have at least one night a week.

     Next was Grilled Chicken with Pomegranate Chipotle BBQ Sauce.  Because we have so many little hands reaching for food, bite size portions are the way around here.  I made this using chicken wings.  This BBQ sauce is tangy with just a hint of smokey heat.  It is was good!  (Just don't forget to salt and pepper the chicken before saucing it, like I did.   I spiced mine up afterwards and it was all good!)

     Asian Veggies in Tamari-Seasme-Ginger Stir-Fry Sauce was next on the list.   I cheated a bit here.  The recipe called for freshly chopped veggies.  I used a bag of our favorite frozen veggies with fresh bean sprouts and napa cabbage added at the end.   I loved this recipe because it tasted good and was quick to hit the table.   Ten thumbs up!  

      Cheddar Drop Biscuits were next to be made.  Now, it has been a long time for me, but I swear these little tender nuggets reminded me of Red Lobsters Cheddar Biscuits without all the greasiness, but all the wonderful taste.  These are fantastic biscuits!  I have made them everyday since I received the book.  The kids can't stop asking for them.  I made these dairy free with the Daiya cheese alternative and you wouldn't know the difference.  The other great thing about this recipe is that it is quick to make, about 15 minutes to whip up.  This recipe is a now a permanent addition to our dinner time meals.

     After all that cooking the sweet craving hit.  I made the Cranberry Ginger Pound Cake and the Lemon Tea Bread.   The pound cake was a pleasant change of pace from the norm.   It wasn't overly sweet and I enjoyed the taste of the ginger and cranberry together.  I have only one kid who will eat cranberries in family, and we both agreed that it was really yummy.  It was tender and delicious.

    The Lemon Tea Bread was a taste of heaven.  It was so good I ran two pieces over to a  friend.  This gluten friend could not believe that it was gluten free.  This bread reminded me more of a cake than a bread.  What makes this bread extra special is the glaze.  The glaze reminds me of lemonade.  When you pour it on top of that hot bread it just soaks it up.  Oooooh my...the whole bread just melts in your mouth.  Confession - I am addicted to this Lemon Tea Bread.

     That was the end of cooking on day one.  I was tired, and happily full.
The next day......

     .....was Mojito Chicken. 
     I have never had a Mojito anything in my life, but the photo of this chicken made me wanna try.  It was a real palate pleaser.  My kids tasted it and talked about how much they loved it, while they reached for seconds.  Next time I am going to throw it on the grill.   I have just two left over pieces that I plan on making into a grilled panini tomorrow!  Yum!!  

     The Quinoa Tabouli was a real treat.  My kids have never had anything like it.  It got mixed reviews. Maybe it is more of an adult dish, I am not sure.   Most of my kids thought it was a little too tangy. I loved the recipe but for everyone else's taste buds, next time I will cut the lemon juice in half.  That said, I really liked this dish, and plan on making it again.  I loved all the fresh veggies in it.  This one is a keeper.  I would take this to any picnic or potluck.

     Lastly, the Sweet Potato Gratin reminded me of my mother's sweet potato pon (without the marshmallows on top).   This was a winner all the way around in my house.  It can be made egg free, which I did.  Being a Southerner,  I like my pon a little sweeter so I added a little more sugar, and it was perfect.  I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.  The Pecan Cinnamon Topping added a nice crunch to the fluffy sweet potatoes.

     The Final Decision: 
  •  I am thrilled to have this cookbook on my shelf.   I wouldn't hesitate to buy two copies, one for me and one to give as a gift.  There wasn't anything I cooked that I didn't like.   That is a rarity.  
  • I like the arrangement of chapters.  For instance, Chapter Three is soup and salads.  A perfect pairing if you are making a light dinner for yourself.   Chapter Four is Family Dinners, again this chapter offers you a complete meal.  The chapter has a mix and match of options. If you don't want to think about planning dinner at all,  she has that covered too with several suggestions in the back of her book.  Meal planned! 
  • I used The Pure Pantry Pancake and Baking Mix to make the Gingerbread Waffles but if you are allergic to corn products, the flour blends in her book have no corn. 
  • If the recipes can use substitutes, it is noted.  She has included some recipes that have egg free, or dairy free options. 
  • I am still looking forward to making the Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Biscotti and Carrot Ginger Soup and Carrot Cake and......so many more.  

     Stay Tuned!!!! 
      I have most of the above mixes and plan on trying them. 
 Don't want to have a sugar rush all in one day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

     This recipe is adapted from the August Woman's Day Magazine.

  • 1 lb of strawberries, hulled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (1/4 oz)  envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can of chilled coconut milk
  • 1 cup of dairy free yogurt
  • GF Chocolate cookies (wafer type)
  1. Buy or make chocolate wafer like cookies. ( I used Trader Joe's brownie mix.  On the side of the bag are directions for making the brownie mix into a cookie.  I made wafer type cookies from this recipe.  Any of your favorite chocolate cookie would do. )
  2. In a blender pulse the strawberries, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  3. Remove 1/4 cup of the strawberry mixture and place in a small saucepan.
  4. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the mixture and let rest for one minute.
  5. Turn on the stove to low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer mixture back to the blender and blend again.
  7. Transfer mixture to a bowl.  Add the chilled coconut milk and yogurt.  
  8. With an electric blender, blend until well incorporated.
  9. Place a piece of parchment paper lengthwise in the bottom of your loaf pan, making sure there is overhang on the sides.  This will act as  'handles' to lift the cake out of your loaf pan.
  10. Arrange 3 cookies or more to cover the bottom of your loaf pan.
  11. Arrange cookies around the outside of of the loaf pan. 
  12. Pour the strawberry mixture into the pan. 
  13. Start placing cookies in rows like the picture below.  I inserted five rows not counting the perimeter of the pan.  Eight rows is what the original recipe calls for, so go for it.   (Okay, I know my rows aren't straight!  Make yours better.  Because the mixture is not super stiff, the cookies tend to sway a little.)
  14. Place in freezer until frozen solid.
  15. To serve, let sit out for a few minutes to defrost.  
  16. Turn upside down and cut into slices.