Monday, August 26, 2013

Oat, Fruit, and Nut Bars

I just received a huge order of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit from  I love that so many of their products are certified gluten free.  No need to worry about cross contamination!

I purchased so much this time because they enticed me with an offer of free shipping on orders over $75.  I'm weak, what can I say.  :-)  I was going to make biscotti, but a Sugar-Free Mom recipe for Oat & Fruit Breakfast Bars caught my eye.  I changed it up a lot, so be sure to check out the original for other variations you could make.  

I always love an excuse to get out my stick blender! 

Lots of healthy ingredients in this recipe! 

Ready to go in the oven! 

My husband absolutely loved these bars!  He took them to work every day for lunch until they were gone.  I enjoyed them several days for breakfast.

Oat, Fruit & Nut Bars


1/2 C tahini
2 T raw organic honey
1 C mashed bananas
1 T ground flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 T pure vanilla extract
1 C diced figs
1/2 C dried blueberries -- chopped
1/2 C dried bing cherries -- chopped
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1/2 C gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C chopped pistachios or cashews


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 by 13 baking pan with parchment paper, then spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  

Combine the tahini, honey, bananas, flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and vanilla with a stick blender or in your food processor.  Add the diced figs and process until smooth.

Place the banana mixture in a large bowl, then stir in the oats, seeds, dried fruit, and nuts.  Pour the mixture into your prepared pan, spreading it evenly.  

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until browned around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out fairly clean.  

Let cool completely before cutting into 16 bars.  Store in the refrigerator.  

After making this recipe, I saw a recipe for Banana Split Bars on I made them today, subbing cashews for the nuts called for in the recipe.  They were very good, but I prefer my Oat, Fruit and Nut Bar Recipe.

Linked to:  Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gluten Free Gnocchi

Both my husband and I grew up eating homemade gnocchi.  It's one of the perks of having Italian grandmothers.  We even learned how to make Mammaw's gnocchi when we still lived in Pittsburgh in my gluten eating days.  There was no way we were letting my husband's grandmother's best recipes be lost.  Mitch and I have made gluten free gnocchi several times with different flours and even purple potatoes.  Every time we made them, we weren't completely satisfied with the outcome, and the kitchen was always a huge mess.

They look gorgeous, but they didn't wow me enough to go to all the trouble to make them again.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks

Updated July, 29, 2018

For dinner tonight, we had honey balsamic chicken drumsticks with jasmine rice and green beans.

I had not made this recipe in at least two or three years, and I made a few changes tonight, so I decided to give this post a facelift, and add some new pictures. 

My husband said dinner was an A+, and we all wondered why I hadn't made this in so long. It really is a delicious and easy dinner, and we all enjoyed the marinade made with coconut palm sugar and coconut aminos, instead of brown sugar and soy sauce. 

Gluten Free Honey Balsamic Chicken Drumsticks 


12 chicken drumsticks
1/2 C white balsamic vinegar
1/2 C honey
1/2 C coconut palm sugar 
1/4 C coconut aminos
6 garlic cloves - peeled and cut in half
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Optional - 2 C uncooked rice, prepared according to package directions (cook with water, and do not add oil, butter, or salt)


Add the vinegar, honey, coconut palm sugar, and coconut aminos to a large freezer bag. Seal the bag, and massage the ingredients to combine before adding the garlic, rosemary, and chicken.  

Squeeze out the air before sealing the freezer bag. Massage the drumsticks through the bag, making sure the marinade is evenly distributed.  

Marinate the chicken for 4 hours in the refrigerator, flipping the freezer bag every hour. 

Remove the chicken from the fridge, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place the drumsticks on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and pour the marinade into a small saucepan, removing the garlic and rosemary.  

Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned in large spots. Turn the chicken over, turn the oven to low broil, and cook until nicely browned on top. 

While the chicken is cooking, bring the marinade to a boil to kill bacteria, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is done, or the marinade begins to thicken. Stir every couple of minutes.  

Pour or brush the marinade over the chicken, reserving some for your rice.

Serves 4

Recipe Notes

In the past, I made this recipe with brown sugar instead of the coconut palm sugar, and Tamari reduced sodium soy sauce instead of the coconut aminos. I do not like the taste of coconut, but coconut palm sugar and coconut aminos do not taste like coconut. 

I used Lundberg Organic California White Jasmine Rice tonight. 

In the past, I have made Lundberg short grain brown rice with this recipe, but my daughters prefer white rice. 

Adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Balsamic Chicken Drumettes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing

For me, Thanksgiving is not complete without a good stuffing/dressing recipe, so when I was diagnosed with celiac, we worked on creating a gluten free version of my family's favorite stuffing recipe.  Because we smoke our turkey, we don't put our stuffing in the bird, like my family did when I was growing up.  Thankfully, it's just as good baked in the oven.  

First tip, DO NOT skimp on the butter.  Use the two sticks!  My mom tried to cut back on the butter once, and the whole family noticed the stuffing was not as good.  They're still talking about it years later.  :-)

I start by sautéing the onion in all that butter, which will seem excessive at this point.    

After a couple of minutes, put the carrots in the butter bath.  

Next up, add the celery.  

Finally, add the red pepper.  You could use green, yellow, or orange bell peppers in this recipe, but I use red, because it is sweet, and I like the color it adds to the stuffing.  

While my vegetables are cooking, I crumble my bread and cornbread into a very large bowl.  

I am all about making things as easy as possible on Thanksgiving.  I could make cornbread from scratch, but it is easier to use a mix.  I like to make my cornbread a day ahead for even less stress on the big feast day.  

The morning before Thanksgiving, I put my Whole Foods Bakehouse Gluten Free Sandwich Bread on the counter to defrost and dry out.  

Make sure you add enough chicken broth to make your stuffing super moist.  It should be moist enough to form stuffing balls, like meatballs, that stick together easily when pressed, but not so wet that chicken broth is dripping all over, and pooling in the bowl or pan.  

If you prep it ahead and put it in the fridge, you might have to cook your stuffing for 40 minutes.  From room temp, it cooks up in about 35 minutes.  I use a deep 9 x 13 aluminum disposable pan for easy cleanup.  

For me, no piece of turkey is complete without stuffing on top of it.  I only make stuffing once a year, which makes it extra, super special.  Smoked turkey, cornbread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, apple orange cranberry relish, cream cheese pumpkin pie, and apple crostata - hands down, it's my favorite meal of the year. 

Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing - serves 12


1 C (2 sticks) salted butter 
1 1/2 large sweet onions - diced
2 C carrots - chopped 
2 C celery - chopped
2 large red bell peppers - chopped 
One 9 x 9 pan of cooked cornbread 
2/3 loaf gluten free bread - stale/dried out or toasted 
32 oz gluten free chicken broth
1/2 C fresh curly parsley (chopped)
Optional - kosher salt 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the onion, carrots, celery, and red peppers.  Cook each vegetable for a couple of minutes before adding the next one.  Cook until everything is soft, then add the parsley, and continue to cook for another minute or two.  Optional - add 2 or 3 pinches of kosher salt to the vegetables.  

Crumble the cornbread into a very  large bowl, then add the bread, ripping it into small pieces as you add it to the bowl.  Add the cooked vegetables, and stir.  Add chicken broth until your stuffing is nice and moist.  I usually use about 3 cups.  

Cook uncovered in a deep 9 x 13 pan for about 35 minutes, until the top is slightly browned.

Recipe Notes

I have considered adding an apple or two to the recipe, but I am afraid certain family members would revolt.

2015 Update - I used to use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix, but this year, it did not cook well, so we ended up using muffins we had made with Williams-Sonoma Gluten-Free Corn Bread Mix, and the stuffing was so much better than in previous years.  We made 12 muffins with the mix, but only used 6 of them, because that is all we had left.  Because we did not use as much cornbread as in previous years, we did not have to use as much chicken broth.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gluten Free Meatball Soup

Today, I was lacking cooking inspiration, and did not feel like going to the grocery store.  Maybe it's because I've been sick for 3 days.  Meatball Soup was a last minute idea I had before I had to pick up my girls from school, and who doesn't love soup when they are sick?  

I pulled a bag of meatballs out of the freezer, and defrosted them in a sink full of cold water while I drove to school.  You can view my mini meatball recipe here.  

Tonight's dinner was all about working with food I had in the house.  I always have chicken broth, San Marzano tomatoes, and Cannellini beans in my pantry.  

My girls loved it, and I have plenty of leftovers for dinner tomorrow, because my husband was not home to enjoy the soup tonight. 

Meatball Soup


1/2 large sweet onion - diced
1 T olive oil
2 cloves (1 tsp) garlic - minced
64 ounces gluten free chicken broth
1 can San Marzano tomatoes - 28 ounces or less 
2 cans of cannellini beans - rinsed
Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, and Romano or Parmesan cheese to taste
2 C short grain brown rice - uncooked (I use Lundberg)
1/2 recipe of gluten free mini meatballs - uncooked


Cook the brown rice according to package directions.  

In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat until slightly browned, then add the garlic. Stir the garlic and onion mixture for another minute or two, until the garlic begins to brown, before adding the chicken broth, meatballs, tomatoes, and beans.  If your tomatoes are whole, squeeze them and break them up before adding them to the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about an hour, until the rice is cooked.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Put rice in your bowls before adding the soup.  Garnish with a sprinkle of Romano or Parmesan.  

Recipe Notes

This recipe was inspired by my aunt's meatball soup.  She usually adds a little carrot and celery too, but not being a fan of either vegetable, I rarely use them when making soup.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Cake

I have loved Eat Live Paleo's Flourless Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Cake since the first time I made it, but because it was so rich, I ate it with a lot of vanilla ice cream.  A whole lot!

This weekend, I decided to change the recipe up a bit.

I have always used Ghirardelli Intense Dark for this recipe, but this time I used 2 Ghirardelli bars and one Cadbury Dairy Milk bar.  I also added kosher salt, vanilla, and agave to the recipe.  

While I was making the cake, I enjoyed a little aroma therapy with my Penzys Vietnamese Cinnamon.  When I'm using cinnamon, I like to take the lid off and put it on the counter while I cook.  Every once in a while, you get a whiff of that wonderful cinnamon.  It's amazing!  


10 ounces total of dark and milk chocolate -- 2/3 to 1/3 ratio
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter -- room temp
3 large bananas -- mashed
4 large eggs
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp agave (could substitute honey)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.  

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and set aside to cool.  

In a mixer, cream the butter before adding the bananas, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and agave.  Stir in the melted chocolate and pour into the pie plate.  Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until set.  This cake is best served at room temperature or right out of the fridge.  

This cake is amazing left over.  I actually like it better cold.  I didn't even need any ice cream with it tonight!  :-)

Some day I might try it with some cinnamon whipped cream. 
Cinnamon whipped cream --  in a mixer, combine 1 C of heavy whipping cream, 2 T sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp vanilla.  Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  

Gluten Free Mini Pancake Muffins

When I saw a recipe for Maple Sausage Pancake Muffins on Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, I knew this was the recipe I wanted to adapt to make mini pancake muffins.  Several people in the Facebook group Gluten Free Families had also been posting ideas for pancake muffins too, motivating me to finally try them.  

To start, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and made a batch of King Arthur GF pancake mix that I purchased at The Fresh Market.  I whisked together 2 large eggs, 6 T unsalted butter (melted), and 2 C of lowfat milk (I used Lactaid), before adding the pancake mix.  I followed package directions and let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken.  The box says you can make this dairy free by adding 4 T oil and 1 1/2 C of rice milk.  

My husband cooked 1/2 package (1/2 pound) of Jimmy Dean Regular Premium Pork Sausage, which is labeled gluten free.  We used paper towels to remove all the grease from the sausage, then put it in a small bowl with 1/2 C of maple syrup.  I have never liked strong maple syrup, so I buy Archer Farms Organic 100% Maple Syrup Grade A, Medium Amber from Target.  

Stir well so that all the sausage is completely coated with the maple syrup.  

I reserved 1 cup of the pancake mix before adding the sausage.  Stir gently to combine.
I added 1/2 of a ripe smashed banana to the remaining pancake mix.  

I filled up my greased mini muffin tins and baked them for 20 minutes on 350.  The King Arthur GF Pancake mix makes 48 mini muffins.  

I loved the mini maple sausage pancake muffins so much that I ate them for breakfast and lunch.  My husband preferred the mini banana pancake muffins.  I froze the leftovers so I have a quick breakfast option for the school week.  

I considering adding frozen raspberries or blueberries to the reserved cup of pancake mix.  I'm sure my kids would also have loved some mini chocolate chips.

This recipe would work with homemade pancake batter or other gluten free mixes.  Check out the great suggestions Lynn has on her blog post about Maple Sausage Pancake Muffins.  

What ideas do you have for mini or regular-sized pancake muffins?  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Olivia's Cafe Lunch/Dinner - Disney's Old Key West Resort

On the Disney World Addicts Facebook page I follow, someone asked about Olivia's Cafe.  After looking up the menu, seeing they had shrimp and grits and flourless chocolate cake, and reading good reviews on TripAdvisor, I decided we had to try this restaurant at Disney's Old Key West Resort. 

Disney describes Olivia's Cafe as a casual restaurant that serves home-style American cuisine with a Caribbean twist.  

The lunch/dinner menu had several choices that were appealing to me, but I came for the shrimp and grits.  Chef Matt told me that every entree can be made gluten free, and Udi's bread and GNI rolls are available for sandwiches.  Shana, our waitress, also mentioned that gluten free pancakes and Mickey waffles are available for breakfast, and there is a dedicated fryer for french fries.  

The sugar free lemon cheesecake is gluten free, but I'm a chocolate addict.  I seldom pass up gluten free chocolate desserts!  :-)

When Chef Matt brought me this Ener-G bun, I did not have high hopes.  These rolls are almost always mediocre, but today, they were perfectly heated and quite tasty with the olive oil, that I think was seasoned with oregano and salt.   The only other Disney restaurants that I have found them to be edible are Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot, and Remy on the Disney Dream.  The chef at Remy sliced them up and cooked them so they tasted like French bread!  

I was very happy with my shrimp and grits.  They had a little kick to them!  

The flourless chocolate cake was very good and the presentation was beautiful.  I loved that it was warm, rich, and super moist.  It would have been perfect with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream!  It's made with Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix, butter, dark chocolate, rum, expresso, and eggs.  

Chef Matt brought me a Babycakes card and told me that with 24 hour notice, he could have their products available for people to eat at Olivia's.  Good to know!  

Overall, we were all happy with our dining experience at Olivia's Cafe.  The food and service were both worth going back for.

You can view the breakfast and the lunch/dinner menus for Olivia's Cafe, and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Olivia's Cafe?  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Barbeque Chicken Wraps, Salsa Chicken Wraps, & Barbeque Pork Wraps

A Sugar-Free Mom recipe for BBQ Chicken Cheddar Burritos with Mayo Free Slaw caught my eye earlier this week.  I had just purchased some Toufayan Wraps and this was the perfect recipe to test them out.  I wasn't sure how my girls would react to the chicken, cheese, and cole slaw in the wrap, but they were a huge hit with everyone in the family.

I found these wraps in the deli section at Publix.  They weren't frozen like most GF wraps and I didn't even need to warm them up!  

I set my Crock Pot to low and cooked my chicken breasts in my favorite barbeque sauce -- Guy Fieri's Bourbon Brown Sugar.    

I shredded the chicken and added some sauce from the Crock Pot.

I love cole slaw without mayonnaise.  I added extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and black pepper to a bag of Fresh Express Angel Hair Cole Slaw.    

GF Barbeque Chicken Wraps 


3 large chicken breasts 
1 bottle of barbeque sauce 
GF wraps 
Shredded cheddar cheese -- to taste (we used Organic Valley Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese) 
1 10-ounce bag of coleslaw 
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper


Cook chicken breasts in the barbeque sauce.  I used my Crock Pot set on low, and they were done in 3 1/2 hours.  Shred the chicken and add some of the sauce from the Crock Pot.  

Dress the coleslaw with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  

Add chicken, cheddar cheese, and coleslaw to each wrap.

Adapted from a Sugar-Free Mom recipe for BBQ Chicken Cheddar Burritos with Mayo Free Slaw

Salsa Chicken Wraps

This recipe is also great with salsa instead of barbeque sauce.  I used Newman's Own Peach and Mango Salsas. Put enough in the Crock Pot to cover the chicken.

 I added a 1/2 an avocado to my wrap, along with the cheddar cheese and slaw.  Delicious! 

Barbeque Pork Wraps

I have also made this recipe with 4 large center cut pork chops from The Fresh Market.  I put some BBQ sauce underneath them and on top of them in my crock pot.  Pressed for time, I only cooked them for 1 hour and 45 minutes on high.  They were incredibly tender and juicy, and were great with this recipe.  My husband said he liked the pork better than the chicken.  We layered pork slices, cole slaw, cheddar cheese, and avocado.