Favorite Gluten Free Brownies

These are my all time favorite brownies. I still remember the first time I tried them (at Danny's mission farewell open house) this, of course, being long before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This is my friend Ellen's brownie recipe and I have since adapted it to be gluten free. They are wonderful with or without frosting, but I'm a frosting girl so that's how I usually make them. They also make a great brownie sundae if you top them with ice cream and hot fudge! I love them with chopped walnuts or pecans stirred into the batter before baking, but my husband prefers them without. To compromise, I'll often make half the pan with nuts and the other side without!

Favorite Brownies - Gluten Free

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix
3/4 teaspoon xantham gum

8 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 cup oil
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except nuts in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add nuts, if desired. Spread batter into a 9X13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy with or without your favorite frosting!

Macaroons - Daring Bakers October Challenge

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I've been wanting to make these for awhile, so I was really excited to see this as a challenge. Everything went together easily and I didn't feel too "challenged until the finished product turned out without the "feet" on the cookies. I think I need to be more patient - I put the cookies in when my oven read 375 degrees but the internal temperature per my thermometer was at 340 degrees. I was in a hurry...

I filled them with chocolate buttercream. They taste great but don't look quite right. I'll be trying this again until I get it!

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Slow Cooker Gluten Free Lasagna

I found this recipe in the Fix it and Forget it Cook Book when we first got married and have adapted it to our taste (including gluten free) over the years. It's super easy once you get the ground beef browned and it tastes great!

Slow Cooker Gluten Free Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
28 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup water
8 gluten free lasagna noodles, uncooked (I use Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles)

Place the ground beef and chopped onion in a large skillet over medium heat. As the meat is browning, add the Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Continue cooking until meat is browned and onions are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Break noodles to fit slow cooker. Place half in the bottom of a greased slow cooker. Spread half of cooked ground beef over the noodles. Layer half of the spaghetti sauce, half of the water, half of the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese over the beef. Repeat layers.

Cover and cook on LOW 4-5 hours.

Gluten Free Zucchini Muffins

I'm down to my last zucchini and have been spreading it out all week. Sunday I made chocolate zucchini cake and today I made these yummy muffins. The original recipe was actually for Carrot Muffins, but I subbed in grated zucchini and added raisins. They turned out delicious - moist and soft with just enough spice. They'd be good with a little glaze if you make them for a special occasion!

Zucchini Muffins - gluten free

2 cups gluten free flour mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees and place muffin papers in muffin tin (makes 18).

Combine dry ingredients (first 8 ingredients listed in recipe) in a large mixing bowl. Add zucchini, coconut and raisins and stir to coat evenly. In a small bowl combine milk and oil. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add liquids to flour mixture and stir until just blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes (I baked for 22 minutes) or until light golden brown. They are delicious right from the oven, but taste just as good when cooled and reheated for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Breads from Anna

When we got home after adopting our baby we had several friends offer to bring us dinner while we got settled into a routine with our little one. One of these fabulous dinner introduced me to my first taste of Breads from Anna. My friend made us the pumpkin read using the Breads from Anna mix and also an apple pancake and muffin mix to make later. I've seen Breads from Anna mixes before, but they seemed a bit expensive for someone who doesn't mind baking from scratch (that'd be me), so I always passed them over.

The pumpkin bread was delicious and the texture was moist and delicate. I ate about half the loaf by myself! Always on the lookout for ideas and hints I thought I'd check out the ingredients on the package. I almost fainted dead away when I saw BEAN FLOUR listed. Seriously??!!! How could I have eaten so much without noticing that chalking bean aftertaste? Anna is really on to something and I've been inspired to pick up some bean flour and do a little bit of experimenting (I'll let you know what I come up with). The apple muffins were delicious too, and one mix made 18 muffins. Maybe I'll just pick up some more of Anna's mixes instead of that flour...

Garden Fresh Tomato, Corn & Basil Risotto...Enjoy Year Round

I made this risotto in July based off a similar recipe at allrecipes.com. I was looking for a risotto to highlight all of the fragrant basil we had growing in our garden. I wanted to use our garden grown tomatoes too, but because of the mild summer we had in Chicago, our tomatoes didn't ripen until September and by then the basil was gone...maybe next year we can be a bit more in sync! Even using canned tomatoes and frozen corn, this risotto was delicious and tasted garden fresh (hence the name). I'll be making this again!

Garden Fresh Tomato, Corn & Basil Risotto

4 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked arborio rice
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels (I like the "baby corn")
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into this strips
salt and pepper to taste

Heat chicken stock in small saucepan and keep over low heat. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and the rice to onions and cook for 1 minute or until garlic smells fragrant.

Begin to add the chicken stock to the rice mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Continue adding stock and stirring risotto until all of the chicken stock has been added. This will take about 15- 20 minutes.

Add the frozen corn and can of diced tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender but slightly chewy. Once the liquid has been incorporated, stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil. Salt and pepper the risotto to your taste preference and serve immediately.